Saturday, December 25, 2010

My Guest Postings on Watts Up With That?

Well, I've hit the "big time" as a Guest Contributor at the most popular climate science blog in the world, Watts Up With That? (WUWT)

[Update 06 Jan 2011: I now have more postings on WUWT than I care to list. Click Here for links to ALL of Ira's WUWT Postings.]

[Update, 31 Dec 2010: As a result of my posts on WUWT, picked up by other sites, this month (Dec 2010) we hit an all-time record of nearly 14,000 page views here at The Virtual Philosophy Club, as readers follow links back here. That means your comments and topics here have a better chance of being read than ever before.]

Have a look at my maiden posting at Do We Care if 2010 is the Warmist Year in History featuring the adjacent graphic [click it for a larger version].

Its only been up since around 4PM this afternoon and has already garnered over 50 Comments and over 2000 page views so far.

[UPDATE 28 DEC 2010]

I've posted a second topic, NASA's Sunspot Prediction Roller Coaster to WUWT late last evening, and, as of 10:30AM today, there have been over 2000 page views and over 75 comments. See the adjacent graphic [click it for a larger version].

[UPDATE 28 DEC 2010]

As of today, my two topics on WUWT have garnered over 16,000 page views!

[UPDATE 31 DEC 2010]

I've posted yet another big one at WUWT based on my earlier posting here at TVPC. If that topic interested you, head over to WUWT Clean Coal (Say WATT?) Our Energy Future and read some of the 150 Comments, most intelligent, and of all shades of opinion, and my sparkling replies (at least IMHO :^).

Ira Glickstein


Howard Pattee said...

This obsessive arguing over details of global warming (the ignorance and uncertainties make both sides’ arguments largely vacuous) is worse than irrelevant. It is diverting us from the crucial energy use and distribution problem of the entire world. Whatever the temperature does, the present trends in consumption of energy (and population growth) are not sustainable.

Most of the developed countries
consume more energy than they produce
. This is not just because of resource geographical distribution but because people in developed countries use too much energy. The disparity in
consumption of energy per person
is growing and is compounded by the fact that population growth rates are highest is countries with low per capita consumption.

As Hans Rosling enjoys pointing out, only by raising the living standards of the poorest can we check population growth. This will happen only if these disparities in energy distribution and consumption is reduced.


Ira Glickstein said...

Howard, as you say "the ignorance and uncertainties [over details of global warming] make both sides’ arguments largely vacuous". I agree the exact (or even approximate) direction, causes and consequences of climate change are uncertain, despite massive spending on NASA GISS, the UK CRU, IPCC, and other government-funded climate research.

Does it not bother you that the same set of US data was analyzed by GISS seven times, and each time they concluded their own previous efforts were wrong, and not by a little bit, but by half a degree C out of the century of warming they estimate may be three-quarters of a degree? Does it not appear the analysts were being pushed to make the more recent year appear warmer and the older year cooler, to validate their vacuous theory of runaway warming? This cannot comport with your view of the ethics of the scientific method.

Given the above ignorance, why are we even considering massive public spending and expensive government mandates that will wreck our economies to curb the use of fossil fuels? (Cap & Trade, etc.)

As for your other points, I agree that population growth is alarming and will slow down only when the poorest have higher living standards, and that traditional energy resources are dwindling (oil and gas, but, at least in the US, not coal).

However, I do not think even liberal democratic western governments, much less the emerging BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) and especially not the third world, will (or even can) do anything to even out the resources and living standards, even if I thought they should. You taught me much of what I know about evolution and natural selection. How did you miss the "survival of the fittest" lesson I absorbed?

Ira Glickstein

Howard Pattee said...

Ira, of course “bad science” bothers me. Any science that is politicized or made into a public controversy is likely to be corrupted. It is difficult enough to maintain objectivity within the isolation of a professional academy with strict standards. Most scientists (including climate scientists) hate politics and popularization for that reason, and they are generally poor at PR. The problem is that once a topic becomes a “popular” public controversy it is very difficult not to get trapped into “taking a position” that is no longer detached. Congress, the media, and Internet blogs are not where scientific issues should be decided.

Your other assumptions are contrary to the evidence. “Survival of the fittest” is literally just a tautology. The question is: What favors fitness? The evidence is that most of the great novelties in evolution were the result of cooperation, not competition. On the contrary, many extinctions were caused by competition. The evidence of history is also that cooperation works better than wars for cultural evolution as well. Many developed nations, both governments and NGO's, support aid to undeveloped countries.

There is also no evidence that government support of conservation will “wreck our economy.” The evidence is that our present economy has been thoroughly wrecked by greed and lack of financial regulation, certainly not by conservationists.


Howard Pattee said...

Ira, you say “I do not think even liberal democratic western governments, much less the emerging BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) and especially not the third world, will (or even can) do anything to even out the resources and living standards. . .”

A little search shows you are right about BRIC, but wrong about liberal western democracies. Look at the fancy graphs of how
rich countries are helping poor countries

Howard Pattee said...

Ira, I spoke too soon. You are also wrong about
Russia’s foreign aid and Brazil’s foreign aid


Manfred said...

"Whatever the temperature does, the present trends in consumption of energy (and population growth) are not sustainable."

Howard, your initial posting is already entirely false.

The consumption in the western world combined with a qucikly shrinking population (ex immigration) is easily sustainable and a relief for the rest of the world.

What is not sustainable is the combination of increased energy consumption AND population growth and the main issue is clearly the latter with some countries increasing their populations by a factor of 2 every 20 years or even faster.

Raising the standards of living for the poorest does not work in muslim countries. Population growth in rich Arab countries is among the highest in the world, rich individuals in these countries contributing spectacularly. Same is valid for muslim immigrants into the west.

With the muslim proportion of the world's population increasing rapidly, your preferred way is simply not working.

Ira Glickstein said...

Howard, we agree on "bad science" and the corrupting influence whenever a scientific issue gets caught up in public policy decisions. However, was it not the Global Warming alarmist scientists that thrust themselves into public policy by issuing dire predictions in the name of science and demanding expensive government-directed solutions. Although I believe most of the climate research scientists were sincere, at the time, we now know that there was no "tiping point" climate crisis.

My two WUWT postings make the point that even the best-funded scientists have not, and probably cannot, make accurate measurements or valid predictions of very complex things like the natural cycles of climate and Sunspots.

Public-funded climate science research and related predictions should, of course, continue, but the scientists should not claim their models are infallible, or even right half the time. Indeed, anyone who says "the science is settled" in areas like climate and Sunspots and such, should be hung up by their, ...uh, suspenders.

As for "survival of the fittest" of course that involves cooperation between species with common interests and competition with those with other interests. The fox species improves the fitness of the rabbit species by cleverly catching, killing and eating the slow dumb rabbits and the rabbit species improves the fox species by running fast and smart, thus starving the slow dumb foxes. The entire food chain is made up of relationships like that.

In the arena of societies and nation-states, similar cooperation and competition rules apply. Aid to poor third world countries by rich western democracies and BRIC are justified on the basis of our common humanity, but, in reality, are almost totally for selfish interests.

Why? Because we need to protect our access to critical raw materials and low-cost manufacturing, and we need to develop markets for our higher-tech products.

So, we promote public health projects that save lives and thus raise the rate of population increase. (At least initially - there is a considerable lag before lower infant mortality and higher living standards kick in to limit family size.) We thus create an excess population and an endless stock of low-cost labor and a continuing need for imported food, medical supplies, and other products and services available only from rich countries.

If they have petroleum or other mineral resources, rich countries set up high-tech extraction industries and shipping terminals and train natives to operate them. This raises the average standard of living, at least for those natives who are members of well-connected tribes and families. We then help impose a political system with a veneer of democracy that is actually run by an oligarchy or strong men to maintain order and protect our investment.

A friend of mine who came here from Bangladesh expained it thus: Farmers used "inefficient" manual methods to pump water for irrigation. So, some US humanitarian NGOs gave them electric pumps and generators that were so much better than the manual methods that the latter were abandoned.

Then, when the high-tech equipment began to fail, they needed expensive spare parts. And then the cost of petroleum-fuels went up. After ten years, the farmers were worse off than before.

Ira Glickstein

Howard Pattee said...

Manfred said, “What is not sustainable is the combination of increased energy consumption AND population growth. . .”

Pattee said, “"Whatever the temperature does, the present trends in consumption of energy (and population growth) are not sustainable."

So far we completely agree. The question, then, is: What should we do about it?

All the western democracies (and Russia and Brazil) support underdeveloped countries. As my link shows, there are many categories of support. (Ira gratuitously asserts that the motive is pure selfishness, but the motive is irrelevant.) I gave a link to Rosling’s vast statistical data to predict the consequences because he knows more than I do about the subject.(See also Rosling predictions.)

So if Manfred and Ira think the rest of then world is wrong with this approach, I would ask them: What do you propose to do about unsustainable growth?


Ira Glickstein said...

Howard asks "So if Manfred and Ira think the rest of the world is wrong with this approach, I would ask them: What do you propose to do about unsustainable growth?"

I cannot speeak for Manfred, but I agree with him that the problem of population growth is mainly with Muslim (and, I would add, virtually all fundamentalist theocracratic) societies that are stuck on maximizing fertility.

In my social Darwinism view, fundamentalist societies have over-learned the lesson that the best way to expand and conquer was to procreate at higher rates that their competitors. In the olden days of high infant mortality and low worldwide population density, that was a winning strategy. But, considering sustainability, no more.

What the rich countries have done, by helping the poor cut infant mortality, is to exacerbate the population problem. Yes, as their living standards go up and they adapt to low infant mortality, population increase will stabilize and even decrease below replacement values, as it has in some European countries, as Manfred says (ex immigration). But, how long will that take? Probably at least three generations. US Italian Catholics have rates comparable to the average, but Hispanics have higher rates and Muslims still higher. And, that is in the US! Their rates in their native (poor) countries are considerably higher.

So, how to achieve sustainable growth? I would say technology (more efficient generation of energy and higher yield food crops, etc.) to support higher population densities, along with what humanists (most of whom live comfortably in the rich countries off the fat of their parent's labor) would regard as exploitation of the people living in poor countries. That is Nature's way, is it not?

Ira Glickstein

Howard Pattee said...

Ira and Manfred believe the problem of population growth is mainly with Muslim (and, Ira adds, virtually all fundamentalist theocratic) societies. I agree this is part of the problem, but if you look at Rosling’s graphs you see that it is China and India that always dominate the population. Their problem is not because of religion, and they are attacking the problem with education and contraception.

Ira states (without any evidence), “What the rich countries have done, by helping the poor cut infant mortality, is to exacerbate the population problem.” Does Ira conclude that increasing the infant mortality will solve the problem? This is not a reasonable view, and it is contrary to much evidence. For example, in strongly Catholic countries in South America improving living conditions, education and contraception are very effective (See Guttmacher report.) All the evidence I can find shows that standard of living, education, and low birthrate are causally correlated (seeWikipedia on Demographics.)

Your solution of more technology will help only if developed countries aid undeveloped countries in its use for their benefit, not for exploiting their resources as we have done and are still doing.

Also technology will not address what you think is the main problem, the religious fundamentalist, for which you have suggested no ideas for solution.


Ira Glickstein said...

Howard, I should have been more specific. When I wrote "fundamentalist theocratic" societies I intended to include all societies that currently or over recent generations had high rates of infant mortality and that, as a consequence, have established the custom of maximizing fertility. I admit I used the wrong words which, coupled with "Muslim", naturally led you to believe I was refering only to "religious" Islam and perhaps Catholic doctrine that virtually requires a woman to have as many children as possible.

OK, given that most poor countries have, for the reasons set out above, a strong custom to maximize birth rates, when well motivated NGOs intervene and upgrade hygene and medical care, the immediate result is population increase. How long does it take for a strong custom to die out? I believe it takes at least a few generations unless, as in Communist China, there is a "one baby" edict enforced by police power and complied with by abortion of girls. I guess you could call that "education and contraception" but I would not be so charitable.

Replacement level is about 2.33 children per family. India (2.81) is above that level, but a better example of more or less democratic action to limit population, but it has been far less effective than China's way. Both China (1.23) and India are in the BRIC group, with Brazil (1.90) and Russia (1.34) where the population is relatively up on technology. They have a real chance to modernize and will continue to benefit from upgrades to hygeine and medical care.

But, what about non-BRIC poor countries? Any progress in limiting population growth? Yes, certain Catholic countries in South America and Europe have ignored Church doctrine, but it has taken at least a couple generations of improved infant mortality. What about Muslim countries? Not a very good story with the exception of Turkey (2.14) and a couple others with some secular tendencies that have westernized over a few generations. Saudi Arabia (3.35) is way up the list, despite, or perhaps because, of all the petrol income.

Your Wiki Demographics link illustrates the issue well. Look also at the map and country list, the source of my numbers. The US (2.05) is below the replacement line, but the World (2.55) is above it. Surprisingly, Israel (2.75) is above the World. Is that due to their growing Israeli Arab population or the religious Jews who see it as their duty to expand Zion? The Israeli Arab's brothers and sisters in Palestine (5.05) may answer that question.

Central Africa is the hottest on the map, with rates of 4 to 7, and next are the Mideast and Muslim Asia, with rates of 3 to 4. The US is in the green region (2 to 3) along with most of South America, North Africa, South Africa, India, and the northern MidEast. I wish they had changed colors at the 2.33 replacement line to help us see that the US was below that line and much of South America is above it.

Howard ends with: Also technology will not address what you think is the main problem, the religious fundamentalist, for which you have suggested no ideas for solution. Why is that our problem to solve? Just build defences against illegal immigration and continue to exploit their resources if they have any, and let THEIR GOD take care of the rest.

Ira Glickstein

Howard Pattee said...

The strong exploiting the weak is simplistic and not properly Darwinian. Why did the human brain evolve with its potential for rational cooperation, planning, and technologies as well as exploiting?

What is missing in statistical averages is the dispersion within a social group. At what social level should cooperation begin ― and end? Should humans exploit (kill) the weakest member of the family (like some animals and primitive cultures do)? Should countries “legislate” by civil wars?

As Rosling points out, in India the dispersion is enormous. The state of Kerala is like a developed country (much better education and health statistics than Washington DC; 91% literacy), while some northern states are illiterate and the poorest in the world. As predictable, Kerala with the highest standard of living has the lowest population growth in India.

In their book Winner Take All Politics Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson give more reasons why this economic dispersion does not make a healthy society. In the US the level of economic inequality has not been this bad since the eve of the Great Depression. We have a political economy in which the financial rewards are increasingly concentrated among a tiny enormously rich elite, and whose risks are borne by taxing a large middle class whose standard of living is now decreasing.

Income inequality in the United States is higher than in any other advanced industrial democracy, comparable to that in backward countries such as Turkmenistan, Ghana, and Nicaragua. This only increases political polarization, mistrust, and resentment between parties that refuse to cooperate. In spite of the rebellious Tea Party, the power of lobbyists and the media are controlled by personal and corporate money and are increasingly corrupting the workings of our democratic political process.

As to the population issue, there is no reason to believe that US demographic forces are different from undeveloped countries with respect to rates of immigrant (e.g., Hispanic and Muslim) population growth. Consequently one would expect that growth rates would be reduced if they obtained a higher standard of living and better education.

For these reasons I don’t agree that simply exploiting them as cheap labor, as you propose and as businesses do now, will result in a stronger society.


Ira Glickstein said...

Howard, can you imagine a smart fast fox thinking, "OK, I'll let that rabbit go so my slow dumb neighbor fox has a better chance not to starve, or, better yet, I'll catch it and give it to him and his family"? Unless the other fox was a close relative (shared genes), that would be unthinkable because it is clearly non-adaptive.

As you point out, "the human brain evolve[d] with its potential for rational cooperation, planning, and technologies as well as exploiting." That advance added another dimension to adaptation.

Humans of the same tribe, ethnic group, neighborhood, nationality, language, occupation, religion, and so on cooperate across genetic lines (shared memes). Tribalism, and its younger brother nationalism, strengthens the society. Peasants fill the armies of kings and craftsmen and tradesmen pay taxes and receive some level of social support because they believe (rightly so) they are better off as a lower or middle class citizen of the monarchy that they would be if the huns or vandals or even the neighboring kingdom took over.

As history unfolds, neighboring countries with similar memes unite to invade (or protect themselves from invasion from) other groups of nations, and so on. Economic cooperation and competition is less destructive than warfare, so we see rich countries selling their products to poor countries in return for cheap raw materials. "Humanitarian" motives impell missionaries to spread the Gospel of God, and advisors to impose more "progressive" political and economic systems on poor countries. (See "Utopia Limited or the Flowers of Progress" by W.S. Gilbert.)

As for economic inequality within a country ("dispersion" Rosling calls it), I agree that it weakens a country if it grows too great. However, I do not think the US is anywhere near that dividing line. As for the "middle class ... standard of living is now decreasing" that may be true over the past few years with the economic mess (caused, in my view, by too much government interference in the economy, fostering the false belief that the government was competent to protect investors and home owners from financial reversals) but, over a multi-decadal time horizon, it is false.

Ira Glickstein

Howard Pattee said...

Ira asks if I can imagine a smart fast fox thinking, "OK, I'll let that rabbit go so my slow dumb neighbor fox has a better chance not to starve, or, better yet, I'll catch it and give it to him and his family"?

I have no idea what a fox is “thinking.” I can only see how it acts. Our dog, Parker (named after Dorothy Parker) took care of our slow dumb cat and would intervene when Mary Ellen and I argued too long. Ethologists try to use natural selection and game theory to explain such behavior, but human ethics that combines both emotions and reason is far too complex to explain.

In Plato’s Meno Socrates goes on and on showing that virtue is a very complex idea that not subject to clear definition (along with other culture-based ideas like truth, beauty, and justice). No simple definition will fit the hundreds of virtuous behaviors (see Wiki Virtue)

Aristotle also went on and on about virtue in Nicomachean Ethics but in a much more practical way than Socrates. He saw the futility of abstractions: “Doctors do not need to philosophize over the definition of health in order to treat each case.” Aristotle’s practical golden rule was limited to friends: "We should behave to our friends as we would wish our friends to behave toward us." Compassion has many forms and is a culture-based virtue common to all great religions. (Each of the 114 chapters of the Qur'an, with one exception, begins with the verse, "In the name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful.")

It appears to me that your conservative social Darwinism views and game theory do not begin to cover the complexity and variety of virtues that make up ethical human behavior. It is also obvious that conservatives have a more restricted view of compassion than liberals.


Ira Glickstein said...

Howard asserts: " It is also obvious that conservatives have a more restricted view of compassion than liberals."

I agree liberals certainly talk about compassion much more than conservatives. But, do their actions comport?

Nope, according to this study that shows:

"-- Although liberal families' incomes average 6 percent higher than those of conservative families, conservative-headed households give, on average, 30 percent more to charity than the average liberal-headed household ($1,600 per year vs. $1,227).

-- Conservatives also donate more time and give more blood. ...

-- People who reject the idea that 'government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality' give an average of four times more than people who accept that proposition."

If liberals are more humanitarian, it is with other people's money and by government mandate. Talk is cheap, which is why liberals talk so much about how good they are.

Lawyers talk all day about ethics while engineers are usually silent on the matter. Which profession is more ethical?

Ira Glickstein

Ira Glickstein said...

The best line in today's newspaper column is "In 2005, Vice President Cheney gave 77 percent of his income to charity. He also shot a lawyer in the face, which I think should count for something."

Ann Coulter compares the meager charity donations of leading liberal President and VP candidates and office holders to the more generous donations of conservatives, some of whom have lower total incomes that their liberal peers.

This shows how, as Howard wrote, " It is also obvious that conservatives have a more restricted view of compassion than liberals."

In other words, a smart fast liberal fox would have so much compassion for his slow dumb neighbor fox that he or she would demand that the government raise taxes to pay for a welfare bureaucracy that would employ and pay their liberal friends well. The conservative fox would be more likely to contribute to a charity that helped foxes learn to catch their own rabbits.

Ira Glickstein

Howard Pattee said...

Ira, you should read more philosophy and fewer newspapers.

Brooks’s data has innumerable interpretations, as his critics have pointed out; and as Brooks says, the book is a “polemic,” not an objective view. For example, I give money to our 240-year-old Congregation Church that I no longer attend because I don’t tolerate their theology. I do support the congregation’s liberal political stands. In the past they were anti-slavery and for women’s suffrage, and today they are for reproductive choice, gay marriage, women’s equal rights, and immigration reform. Could it be that my motive for giving is not a feeling of compassion, but an unchristian feeling of anger at conservatives whose goal is to take away these fundamental personal liberties?

In other words, Brooks’ data says nothing about motives. We do know that a majority of conservatives believe Christian teachings, and that Jesus gave very explicit requirements for inheriting eternal life (Mark 10: 17-25). So, if the rich man “grieves” at giving away his riches, is it more likely that he’s feeling compassion for the poor, or that he is thinking of the big cost of eternal life?

In philosophy “compassion” is a complex emotion closely related to the concept of virtue, and not susceptible to precise definition, as my links to Socrates and Aristotle were meant to show (and I could have added Spinoza and many others). It is not about tithing or giving blood. It is described as how you feel toward another person. Literally it means to share feelings especially pain. It implies empathy and tolerance toward other’s feelings, not a rational action or a judgment. You don’t have to read my previous links, but at least look at Wikipedia “compassion”.

Consequently, one cannot infer the underlying feelings or motives of a person just by observing his physical actions or his monetary transactions. This is because the same action can be perceived as selfish for one person, deceptive by another, and virtuous for a third.

As Aristotle points out, compassion is often a “conflicted” emotion. Often the person does not even understand his motive, or rationalizes that there is a good motive for an evil action. St. Paul said: “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” Spinoza agrees: “For the man who is subject to emotions (“human bondage”) is under the control, not of himself, but of fortune, in whose power he so greatly is that often, though he sees the better for himself, he is still forced to follow the worse.”


Ira Glickstein said...

So, Howard, bad motives cancel out the value of the contribution? If a person gives to charity out of guilt or desire to have his name chiseled into the stone of a college building, or pays to feed the poor to buy his way into heaven, etc., that does not count to the good?

Conversely, good motives excuse behavior that damages others? Cheney had a good motive (shooting a deer) when he mistakenly shot his friend the lawyer, in the face, so that made it OK?

By that kind of reasoning, Cheney's giving 77% of his income to charity in 2005 is invalid due to (what his enemies assume were) bad motives, but his mistakenly shooting his friend was valid?

The poor and downtrodden cannot eat compassion no matter how sincere and unselfish it may be.

But, when an entrepreneur, out of total selfish interest, starts a business that provides quality products and services at the lowest possible prices to happy consumers, and, due to innovation and efficiency is successsful, and provides steady jobs to thousands of willing workers, and reaps handsome financial rewards for himself and investors, that is somehow suspect because he was lacking in compassion?

Spare me the compassion that teaches class warfare (that the poor are, prima facie, victimized by the rich) and their only salvation is being trapped into the welfare state (that will go bankrupt like Greece and others). Give me more of the selfishness that funds risky investment and reaps great rewards for investors, consumers, and workers.

Ira Glickstein

Howard Pattee said...

Ira, other than the fact that you don't know what I'm talking about, I agree with you completely!

As indicated by my links, along with Socrates, Aristotle, St. Paul and Spinoza, I'm trying to point out, apparently unsuccessfully, how difficult it is to understand one's own motivations, and as Spinoza says, insofar as you don't understand them you are not free, but "bonded" to outside causes ("fortune").

Joel began an early philosophical (as opposed to polemical discussion) of why C-minds and L-minds were different. He recognized that there are great minds of both types. Why is that?

Your selfish capitalist (or communist) utopia does not exist. Neither does Jesus' compassionate utopia exist. Yet both these extreme views have passionate and militant supporters.

Aritotle said you have to find a golden mean: "Moderation in all things." What motivations keep us from seeking moderation? Why is politics about extremists?


CentralCoastRick said...

Dr. Pattee, we haven't met and this story may be way off the mark, but the discussion reminded me of it more than once.

An young professor of mine in a graduate physics class told of one of his instructors (my recollection is this happened at Harvard), who was well known for shuffling about the lectern, not saying much. He often would say a few words and then write a result (frequently the same result as in the text).

He asked a student to demonstrate an issue and the student teasingly shuffled, mumbled a few words and then wrote the result on the board.

"NO!" said the professor, with no amusement. "Right result, wrong method!"

I often recall this story when I hear someone suggest that when others reach different conclusions, either their methods must be wrong or that the issue is too complex for them to understand.

I'm not suggesting that the senior professor didn't have the intuition to know that his student was wrong - - -

Howard Pattee said...

I agree with Ira’s opinions of lawyers and engineers. Lawyers talk a lot and nothing gets done. Engineers get it done and don’t talk about it. In China, Deng’s “socialist market economy” has resulted in great respect for science and engineering. Out of curiosity I read the biographies of the current Chinese Politburo, and sure enough they are mostly experienced engineers of all types, electrical, aeronautical, petroleum, rocket, systems, and some economists (no lawyers).

In 2004 China adopted an new Energy Policy that has produced impressive results when compared to the US. China is now the largest producer of wind turbines, solar cells, and clean coal-burning equipment. It has more than 25 nuclear power plants under construction. It is producing about 5 times the number of engineers/year than the US.

In contrast to China, the Tea Party conservatives in congress, if they had any professional education, it was in law or business. I could find no engineers or scientists. Worse, they appear to be anti-intellectual and ignorant of science. For example, Michele Bachmann, the founder of the House Tea Party Caucus is against everything related to conservation, education and science. Her law degree was from Oral Roberts University. She believes in teaching intelligent design and wants to phase out Social Security and Medicare.

The only active scientist in congress, Bill Foster, a Harvard physicist, was replaced by Tea Party supported Randy Hultgren, an evangelical Christian who “walks in faith” and believes God guides his steps. He has no knowledge or opinions on technology. Another new Tea Party congressman wants to stop “wasting money studying fruit flies.” Another says he will try to eliminate the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Department of Education. They are against conservation, evolution, abortion, stem cell research, gay marriage, and all gun controls. They are for prayer in schools, mandatory sentences and the death penalty.

I think voters made a bad choice, and I see no strategy to stop our decline.


Ira Glickstein said...

Keep in mind, Howard, that Herbert Hoover was a mining engineer and Jimmy Carter a noo-clar-er engineer!

I'd much rather have businessmen and businesswomen in public office, because they know, first hand, what it means to make a payroll, what it costs to buy health insurance for their employees, how much time and effort go into complying with crazy govenment mandates and regulations, and the most scary sentence in the English language" "I'm from the government and I'm here to help!"

Instead, we've had mostly lawyers and/or big-city politicos who have absolutely no idea where wealth comes from or that it can be earned, the old-fashioned way in the public marketplace by providing products and services consumers really want and are willing -even anxious- to buy, creating profits for investors and jobs for workers - oh, and taxes to support those employed by the government and on the public dole (assuming there is more than a slight difference between these two categories :^).

China has made great progress by relaxing central planning and allowing their naturally intelligent people (East Asians are about 3% above average world IQ) become entrepreneurs and engineers. They have, so far, been able to keep the lid on free political expression, but, with the Internet and intenational communications necessary to support technological literacy, it will not be long before that blows off.

What has the Department of Education or Science and Technology Policy (or the Energy Department, etc.) done to improve anything in their areas of supposed expertise? NASA did great work, years ago, with space exploration, but nearly all of it was via private contractor corporations. Now, as I showed in my WUWT postings on Sunspot predictions and temperature tracking they are way incompetent. A businessperson may not be an expert mathematician, but, if you put a "$" sign in front of it, he or she will get the correct answers. NASA overestimated the most recent Solar Cycle by 240 to 280% (according to their own published estimates), and has changed their accounts of 1934 and 1998 mean US temperatures by over a half-degree Centigrade, which is two-thirds of the total they claim for Global Warming over the past century or so. An engineer would say their signal to noise ratio is far below unity.

Ira Glickstein

Howard Pattee said...

Ira, you may be right about sunspots, and I can sympathize with your rants against dumb parts of the government, but that’s not what’s worrying me. My last post is about how China’s pragmatic, scientific approach to government planning is predicted to outperform us, and how the Tea Party’s religion-based anti-intellectual, anti-scientific approach to government will do us in. Effective planning takes a scientific frame of mind. Religious and ideological extremism won’t do it.

Like Reagan and laissez-faire conservatives, you repeat a simplistic dogma that government is the problem and taxes are bad. The government’s main function is to protect the nation, but this requires central planning and some degree of government control. You scoff at what you label as “liberal elite academic intellectuals,” but the history of technology shows that in the long run, they are our only hope of competing.

David Brooks in a recent column points out that it is the quality of the leaders that is important, not how much or little government controls. He says, “There have been cases when big government has encouraged virtuous behavior (the U.S. during World War II), and cases when big government has encouraged self-indulgence and irresponsibility (modern Greece). There have been cases when small government was accompanied by enterprise and development, and cases when small government has led to lawlessness, corruption and distrust.” Look at history. There are virtuous governors and corrupt governors, virtuous industrialist and corrupt industrialists, virtuous scientists and corrupt scientists. That is because they are all humans who are virtuous and corrupt, educated and ignorant.

Here is some history. I remember WW II when the government took control of every aspect of production and economics of the US. Prices, wages, resources, and production facilities were controlled by government appointed committees. In effect, it was total government controlled, planned-economy socialism! (It also took complete control of my personal life.)
One of many vital planning committees was the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC). Vannevar Bush, who had experienced the lack of cooperation between government, industry, scientists, and the military during WW I, asked Roosevelt to form a committee to coordinate academic researchers, industry, and the military, without requiring congressional oversight. In 1940 Bush took Roosevelt a single sheet of paper describing the NDRC. Roosevelt approved it in ten minutes. (It later became the Office of Scientific Research and Development.) Note that the participants were the epitome of liberally educated elite academic intellectuals.

(Continued in my next post)

Howard Pattee said...

As expected, conservatives in the government and industrialist complained that this was an un-American and unconstitutional attempt to bypass congress. Twenty years later Bush wrote: “There were those who protested that the action of setting up NDRC was an end run, a grab by which a small company of scientists and engineers, acting outside established channels, got hold of the authority and money for the program of developing new weapons. That, in fact, is exactly what it was.”

Fortunately, even against constant conservative ideological opposition, this totally government controlled and planned economy worked as planned. Record production was achieved. Many new technologies were created. America became the “Arsenal of Democracy.” Half the daily US cost of the war was paid by progressive taxation ― 24% was the lowest rate ― 94% was the highest. There was no unemployment, and people saved by buying War Bonds, because government forbade industries to make civilian goods.

Even so, America’s entry into the war (and even winning the war) was a close call (as Churchill recounts it). Lend Lease was opposed and delayed by conservatives, and universal conscription passed by only one vote! If an ideological conservative had been president, or even if a few more conservatives had been in congress, WWII would have been lost in Europe, or prolonged indefinitely.

After the war, the taxpayer-supported Marshall Plan restored Europe’s economy. Truman knew that conservatives would fight the plan (especially if he proposed it), and even though ex-president Hoover supported restoring German production. (That is why it was called the Marshall Plan.)

Government supported scientific research, and the tax-supported GI Bill changed our culture as well as our universities. America became the most influential and respected world power. Conservatives also opposed the GI Bill and it also passed by just one vote. Government support of academic science has never been popular with conservatives, even though it has allowed our universities and technologies to become the greatest in the world.

If conservatives choose to gain power by submitting to the religious anti-intellectual dogma of the Tea Party leaders, America will continue its decline in its international stature, its economy, and its security.


Ira Glickstein said...

You make your points well Howard, and I agree that central planning is the most efficient way to run a society, so long as the dictator, and his or her science and technology advisors and managers, are all brilliant and benevolent and totally selfless, and that's the rub.

Yes, David Brooks is right that it is the quality of the leaders, as much as that of the citizenry, that is important. A pack of lions, led by a sheep would be inferior to a pack of sheep, led by a lion (until, probably very quickly, the lions ate their sheep leader, and one of their own took over).

During WWII, as you point out, the US was in dire risk of being conquered by the Nazis and everyone, labor, corporations, government, and the people pulled together, mostly voluntarily, due to the common danger perceived by all. Yes, money was saved by chaneling production towards war goods and prohibiting the manufacture of many civilian goods. Is that a good blueprint for now?

I don't know how what you perceive as a religious orientation by the Tea Party has anything to do with how their elected Congress people and Senators (and 2012 President :^) will influence government operation, so long as they do not try to impose a particular religion or prevent the free exercise of spritual beliefs, including those who, like me, do not accept the idea of a personal God. I do not think I am particulary anti-intellectual (I are one :^), nor do I think the Tea Party, which has many strains of orientation, is anti-intellectual. What they generally are is anti-elite, opposed to the idea that adademics, who may be the best versed in some obscure domain of knowledge, are any better than a moderately successful businessperson or any other person who earns his or her money honestly by working hard and smart. Nor are the Tea Party crowd generaly anti-technology compared, for example, to a bunch of English professors.

Do you agree with William F. Buckley's statement that he would rather be governed by the "first 50 names in the Boston phone book" that the Political Science faculties of Harvard and Yale? Think about it for a while, and the answer is obvious!

No doubt, China is on its inevitable rise, having partially freed themselves from the yoke of despotic Communism, and now able to exploit its wonderfully capable people. But, I do not think the US and other Western-oriented nations are on an inevitable decline, so long as we save ourselves from the socialistic hedonism of countries like the one you mentioned, modern Greece.

Ira Glickstein

Howard Pattee said...

Ira, I have thought about the question: Would I rather be governed by the "first 50 names in the Boston phone book" or the Political Science faculties of Harvard and Yale?

After reviewing the CVs of some of the faculty in Harvard's Department of Government (there is no Dept. of Poli. Sci.)the answer is obvious! I would be relieved to be governed by such experienced and knowledgeable experts.

Yale Poli Sci is way too conservative.


Ira Glickstein said...

Thanks, Howard, but have you reviewed the CVs of the first 50 people in the Boston phone book?

It is not a question of liberal or conservative, but rather of real-world experience and common sense and -dare I say it- diversity.

You have been a college prof for most of your working life, so you have a better idea of the general experience and world views of those in your departments, particularly Binghamton U, where I met you. Would you pick those fine people, highly qualified for their academic knowledge and experience, to run anything? You may differ, but I would rather have a random selection from the Binghamton phone book.

But, you may be correct. The Harvard Government Department would probably agree with your political views more than a random set of people from Binghamton.

Ira Glickstein

Howard Pattee said...

The question, “Who should govern?” is important and deserves more than Buckley’s facetious choice of answers. The reality is that neither your academic Binghamton faculty nor random Bostonians are likely to be skilled at politics or even interested in becoming politicians. Plato’s Republic asked “Who will justly govern?” Socrates concluded that the rich would be the most unjust and the philosophers the most just. The rich angrily disagreed and put Socrates to death, proving him right!

Universities learned very early to keep separate the academic Ivory Tower of philosophy, arts, and science from the world of business and politics. In Judeo/Christian tradition, the term Ivory Tower (Song of Solomon,7:4) was a symbol for a metaphysical space of solitude and sanctity where one can seek truth, or God, uncorrupted by power and authority.

The reason for this separation is obvious. Conservatives in power do not like change or divergent ideas, as many thinkers throughout history have discovered the hard way. Not only great thinkers like Socrates, Eckhart, Spinoza, Bruno, and Galileo, but many lesser academics have suffered from political retribution. (That’s one argument for tenure.) Conservatives, both religious and secular, speak derisively of the Ivory Tower because that is where their power and authority is challenged, and where novel ideas originate that have changed civilizations. It is only natural that academies are occupied by liberals with relatively little money and power. (Certainly liberals are corrupted by power no less than conservatives.) Of course a conservative congress has power and can undo liberal programs, but what do you think a conservative academy could do besides complain about liberal new ideas?

Modern universities have developed “professional” schools to help isolate academic thinking and translate it to action in the marketplace and in politics. Many professors have learned to play double roles; but most solid state physicists are not trying to sell computers, and most geneticists are not trying to cure cancer. Engineering and medical schools take care of that.

In political science and economics, there are many think tanks like Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Stanford’s Hoover Institution, the Brookings Institution, and the Council on Foreign Relations where scholars have had great influence on active politicians.

Unfortunately, the new House members that were supported by the Tea Party do not suffer interaction with academic political scientists and economists. Most of these “new conservatives” are fundamentalists whose religious belief systems are not swayed by evidence and rational thinking.


Ira Glickstein said...

Thanks Howard, I did not know the Biblical origin of "Ivory tower" nor (according to Wikipedia) that it has been used to describe the purity of Mary. But:

"From the 19th century it has been used to designate a world or atmosphere where intellectuals engage in pursuits that are disconnected from the practical concerns of everyday life. As such, it usually carries pejorative connotations of a wilful disconnect from the everyday world; esoteric, over-specialized, or even useless research; and academic elitism,...

Socrates was a great philosopher, but would you put him in charge of running any department of government or business or the university?

Philosophers might well be the most Just governors, but would that result in more or less opportunity and technological development and lfestyle, and, -most important- security from the invading hordes of barbarians? I think not.

You say "Conservatives in power do not like change or divergent ideas,...". Yes, L-minds are full of diverse ideas, but they love the ideas per se, for their aesthetic qualities, regardless of their practicality, or even truth in the larger sense. C-minds love what ideas can accomplish, in practical terms, in the marketplace where real people choose and select the winners.

Yes, the ivory tower has been the source of many ideas that later profoundly changed the world, for better or worse, and I support a role for the humanities departments. But, it would be a disaster to let these fine folks out in public and have them attempt to run anything (see President Obama's economics team, most of whom have been replaced after their failure to "create jobs" despite spending trillions).

One of my favorite stories is about the engineer who had worked his way through college doing manual jobs. After working hard in his profession, getting married, and raising a family, he found himself retired and alone, his wife having passed away and his children and grands living their own successful lives with minimal contact.

So, he had time to think, and he did. "What is the REAL meaning of life?" he asked himself.

He had many conversations with the leader of his house of worship and others in his town, with no satisfactory answer. So, the engineer looked elsewhere, read many books, and even got an audience with several prominent clerics and professors, all to no avail.

Finally, he investigated Eastern religion and philosophy and heard about a guru who lived in isolation on a mountain in Tibet. Spending the last of his savings, the engineer traveled there and hired a sherpa to take him up to the guru. Well, halfway up the mountain, the sherpa stole all his belongings and abandoned him.

Struggling alone, the engineer continued his quest up the mountain. Reaching the top he trudged to the guru's hut and staggered inside. The guru, sitting atop a high chair, welcomed him warmly, "What may I do for you, my son?"

The engineer briefly reviewed his life story and quest for the answer to life's persistent questions, in particular, "What is the meaning of life?"

"Life, my son," the guru said brightly, "Life, is a fountain!"

The engineer looked up at the guru in abject disappointment, and growled, "What do you mean 'life is a fountain'? I've struggled all my life and come thousands of miles and climbed a mountain to hear your words, and that is all you have to tell me? That is crazy!"

The guru looked down in surprise. "You mean life is not a fountain?"

In our discussion, the guru stands for the ivory tower mentality, all theory and no real experience. The engineer stands for those of us who, while we respect academia, have lived real lives. Who knows better the meaning of life? Who is better qualified to govern?

Ira Glickstein

Howard Pattee said...

Ira presents an excellent example of conservative anti-intellectualism. He makes fun of the academic mentality apparently without having being exposed to (or absorbed) much philosophy or a liberal education. Ira explains his ignorant guru: “In our discussion, the guru stands for the ivory tower mentality, all theory and no real experience. The engineer stands for those of us who, while we respect academia, have lived real lives.”

Like it or not, conservatism is a philosophy not a product of engineers, and historically philosophers have lead more worldly “real lives” than typical engineers.

Socrates’ real life is unknown, but after his sentence of death Socrates refused the offer of his friends to escape, and Crito could not understand why. Socrates poses the rational conservative’s question to Crito which is: “Do you imagine that a State can subsist and not be overthrown, in which the decisions of law have no power, but are set aside and overthrown by individuals?" In other words, if individual citizens decide to disobey the laws of their society, without suffering any consequence, based solely on their personal “liberal” opinions, then there can be no lawful society at all? Socrates was a liberal academician but a political conservative.

Liberals only other answer is to leave their society, like Spinoza, or publicly shut up, like Galileo. My last post explained why academics have learned why they can not act effectively as philosophers and politicians at the same time.

There are many examples. Edmund Burke has generally been viewed as the philosophical founder of modern conservatism, as well as a representative of classical liberalism. He was a philosopher before he entered politics and became an MP.

Reagan did not invent monetary conservatism, he read Hayek who by any account was an elite academic intellectual with a “real life” as rich as any engineer I know.


Ira Glickstein said...

THANK YOU Howard for your link to Reflections on Reagan the Intellectual which acknowledges that President Reagan could actually read books and analyze economic and political policies based on the philosophical works of great intellectuals!

I've read and still have a copy of the book your link mentions, Reagan, In His Own Hand (2001) with 259 personally written essays he read on his radio program. The publishers were compelled to reproduce some of them in their original, handwritten form, with annotations by Reagan himself, because he has been widely portrayed as a gun-slinging, horse-mounted cowboy without intelligence or a brain to speak of, whose only innate capability was, as a B-movie actor who played second-fiddle to a chimpanzee, to simply read other people's words. To that, his ultra-liberal son has recently charged Reagan had Altzheimers while serving as President.

It is the stock in trade of the left to portray successful conservatives as anti-intellectual, stupid, mean-spirited, and worse, because, as you seem to accept, they really believe if conservatives had intelligent brains they would be liberal intellectuals! I also have a copy of the book by the former Governor of Alaska, who, without benefit of a rich or influential family, managed to rise from the PTA to town council to mayor to oil commissioner and beyond. She too has been portrayed as brainless and every word she utters is parsed until it bleeds.

Don't they realize they diminish themselves when they admit they were defeated in the polls by illiterate buffoons with mental diseases?

Yes, Hayek, Reagan's financial oracle, was an amazing intellectual giant with new ideas. His insight into the essential vacuity of socialism was groundbreaking. But, who listened to him in his time? What effect have his thoughts had on our times? Reagan understood and tried, but, as your link informs us, politics trumped reason.

You mention Socrates, Burke, and Hayek as politically conservative and mention that Burke was a classical liberal and I agree, because I would call myself a classical liberal if not for the fact that the socialists have given the L-word a bad odor.

But, bottom line, would you elect a modern-day Socrates or Hayek (or even Burke) as President or Governor or even Mayor?

If an academic intellect (like President Obama?) happens to get elected, in your words "... they can not act effectively as philosophers and politicians at the same time." But, I believe a successful entrepreneur can act effectively as a businessperson and politician at the same time, because the mindset and tactics and strategies are nearly identical.

Ira Glickstein

Howard Pattee said...

Ira asks, “But, bottom line, would you elect a modern-day Socrates or Hayek (or even Burke) as President or Governor or even Mayor?”

I don't think there are rules for great leaders. By the tone of his post, I conclude that Ira doubts that any intelligent and persuasive thinker who chose to study philosophy could be successful if he left the academy for politics. Of course this is exactly what Burke did, and with great success.
There are, of course, great political leaders that were self-educated. Washington, Franklin and Lincoln come to mind, but Ira should accept the fact that there are great politicians who were successful in spite of undergoing a liberal education and studying philosophy. Two of many examples:

Thomas Jefferson studied philosophy, mathematics, and metaphysics at the College of William & Mary. He studied the writings of the British Empiricists, including John Locke, Francis Bacon, and Isaac Newton. Jefferson called them the "three greatest men the world had ever produced"

James Madison entered Princeton University. in 1769 (then the College of New Jersey). Through diligence and long hours of study Madison graduated in 1771. He studied philosophy, Latin, Greek, science, geography, mathematics, rhetoric, and speech and debate. After graduation, Madison remained at Princeton to study Hebrew and political philosophy.

Tocqueville admired these Founding Fathers, but he observed that equal voting rights of a generally poorly educated population would not ensure that such well-educated and virtuous leaders are elected. In fact, he thought it would do quite the opposite. Those with superior intelligence and elite education would either join intellectual circles to study the complex problems of society in academies or universities, or they would use their superior talents to take advantage of “America's obsession with money-making and amass vast fortunes” in business or finance. The poorly educated voters will elect what is left, the “mediocre and corrupt seekers of political power.”

"In every democracy, the people get the government they deserve." Whether or not Tocqueville said it, he would agree; and never has such a long-range prediction proved more correct!


Howard Pattee said...

Ira, of course I agree with you that the left’s attacks on Palin are unfair (and vice versa); but returning to what you said in an earlier post: “I don't know how what you perceive as a religious orientation by the Tea Party has anything to do with how their elected Congress people and Senators (and 2012 President :^) will influence government operation, so long as they do not try to impose a particular religion or prevent the free exercise of spiritual beliefs. . .”

But imposing their beliefs is exactly what they do! Their religious mind set is threatened by liberal education, especially science education. This dogmatic religious orientation of Tea Party candidates limits everyone’s personal liberty. Typical sample: Boehner, Bachmann, LoBiondo, Nunes, Rooney, and Westmoreland (new members of the House Intelligence Committee) are conservative Catholics and fundamentalist Protestants who are uncompromisingly Against: abortion, gay marriage, gay adoption, assisted death, stem cell research, any form of gun control, immigrant amnesty, and government health care (except for themselves). They are For: tougher drug sentences, intelligent design, school prayer, and the death penalty.

But beyond these hot button issues, it is the anti-intellectualism that is most dangerous. A democracy can succeed only with an educated electorate that can appreciate a variety of opinions. Here is one of Hayek’s views of conservatives that applies to the Tea Party candidates:

“When I say that the conservative lacks principles, I do not mean to suggest that he lacks moral conviction. The typical conservative is indeed usually a man of very strong moral convictions. What I mean is that he has no political principles which enable him to work with people whose moral values differ from his own for a political order in which both can obey their convictions.”


joel said...

Howard said: But imposing their beliefs is exactly what they do! Their religious mind set is threatened by liberal education, especially science education. This dogmatic religious orientation of Tea Party candidates limits everyone’s personal liberty. Typical sample: Boehner, Bachmann, LoBiondo, Nunes, Rooney, and Westmoreland (new members of the House Intelligence Committee) are conservative Catholics and fundamentalist Protestants who are uncompromisingly Against: abortion, gay marriage, gay adoption, assisted death, stem cell research, any form of gun control, immigrant amnesty, and government health care (except for themselves). They are For: tougher drug sentences, intelligent design, school prayer, and the death penalty.

As an atheist and a Tea Party member, I don't see the logic in the above. You see their religions as imposing opposition to a long list of issues. I'm also against all of them, but I'm an atheist. What we have in common is being political conservatives. You claim, " For example, I give money to our 240-year-old Congregation Church that I no longer attend because I don’t tolerate their theology. I do support the congregation’s liberal political stands. In the past they were anti-slavery and for women’s suffrage, and today they are for reproductive choice, gay marriage, women’s equal rights, and immigration reform." It sounds to me that you might well be a member of the religious left and that the above issues represent an unthinking dogma for you. Don't you see the symmetry? The L/C Mind theory fits perfectly, since it implies blindness on both sides.

nikman said...

I stumbled across this blog for the first time a few minutes ago and discovered that Howard Pattee is posting.

I don't know what more to say right now. Except that there should be a system in place enabling us to pick his brain regularly on a vast array of topics relating to the philosophy of science. If he doesn't want that he should have posted using a pseudonym. You reap what you sow, dude.

Ira Glickstein said...

Thanks Nickman for your positive comment on a regular here, Prof. Howard Pattee. Howard was Chairman of my PhD committee at Binghamton University. I consider it a real privilege to have him as a continuing positive influence in my life.

Please let us know how you know Howard. We can always use intelligent and courteous Comments here, so please join us.

Ira Glickstein

nikman said...

IIRC it began with "Artificial Life Needs a Real Epistemology" which was almost literally a breath of fresh air. At last, something besides all those stultifying functionalists.

The best thing up till then had been another HP, Hilary Putnam, who's still not chopped liver. More recently, of course, the computational complexity folks (Scott Aaronson et al.) have weighed in to the advantage of sanity. Anyway, I particularly love this:

"The problem also poses an apparent paradox: All signs, symbols, and codes, all languages including formal mathematics are embodied as material physical structures and therefore must obey all the inexorable laws of physics. At the same time, the symbol vehicles like the bases in DNA, voltages representing bits in a computer, the text on this page, and the neuron firings in the brain do not appear to be limited by, or clearly related to, the very laws they must obey. Even the mathematical symbols that express these inexorable physical laws seem to be entirely free of these same laws."

You asked.

Howard Pattee said...

Thanks for the complement. If time permits, I enjoy having my brain picked. That 1995 quote is indeed what I had thought about for many years. From childhood we are taught that every event has a cause, and that every event is the result of natural laws. In fact, the evidence for both beliefs is weak or mythical.

The evidence is that we (living systems) choose what we perceive as an event and we favor events that can be described as causal and that that can be predicted by laws. We survive by that choice because it is ultimately the result of natural selection. The evidence is that most of the structures in the universe including organism are undetermined by laws and are mostly selected frozen accidents.

We have also been saddled with Aristotle’s logic of causality that can prove the existence of God as the First and Final Cause or the uncaused cause. His logic also implies determinism.

In contrast, modern quantum cosmology sees causality and determinism as just the illusion of good statistics of primordial uncaused spontaneous creations and symmetry breaking. Of course we could still say that God is a (gratuitous) uncaused cause; but how do we know S/He is not just playing dice?


Ira Glickstein said...


Picking Howard Pattee's Brain - He says he enjoys it

Ira Glickstein