The Scientific Method

(The following is a paraphrase) In science we have an ethic. We argue from evidence based on publicly available information. When you become a scientist you agree to be bound by that, even if the evidence goes against your own theory. To do this you must first have disagreement before you can devise a theory to test. A problem is not definitively solved until we have evidence from experiments. Lecture at NSF, Leo Smolin, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Physics in trouble, why the public should care. Podcast on the Research Channel.

090926TGT_dsc4358SsDr. Smolin is a physicist highly trained in the use of the scientific method to differentiate between measurable facts and hypotheses. He is qualified to speak about the scientific method, the universal laws of physics and the various theories and facts therein.

I hear quite a few people grabbing some untested or inadequately tested idea that physicists are throwing around and presenting this idea as a fact in some book or in their practice. This is fun and it is probably as comforting as the various ideas about God, spirit and spirituality, but it is not science. Science is the study of measurable facts using the scientific method. (And by the way, this does not mean we got the answer we want in one isolated experiment, even if that experiment was published. The scientific method requires more than one result as proof.)

Spirituality and religion are sometimes fun and sometimes comforting and sometimes a way to sell books. Mostly they are fine and beautiful and real. But they are not science, and I think it’s sad when we use fake science rather than real measurable facts as we try to deal with the measurable, solvable problems that we are now facing in our culture and our environment.

It’s time to learn the difference between spirituality and science so that we can get the maximum benefit from both. We should not limit our spirituality by tying it to measurable facts — fake or real. On the other hand, we will never solve factual problems if we aren’t willing to acknowledge and deal with the facts.

We All Need the Same Thing

Open Letter to Chet Edwards,

When people care about their own personal desire to win, more than they care about anyone else — often they try to get everyone arguing about something ELSE, and when nobody is looking at the REAL issue, they grab it.

090810_dsc2697sIf we fall for this scam — everyone loses because the important discussion about the difficult problem is never held. Up to now the ONLY things I have heard were answers to people who are screaming about things that are not relevant to the problem of the long-term welfare of the United States of America.

The bottom line is:

These people who make up things to fight about could very well tear this country apart, so I hope you do not “wait to hear what they say” before you decide how to vote. You have gotten lots of money and other perks for your good old boys, without regard to what is best for the whole country.

This time, the need of our country is more important than your good old boys, and frankly I don’t understand their logic, because if the country goes down the tubes they will go with it. I also don’t understand all this fighting, because everyone NEEDS the same thing if they are to get what they WANT, and that thing is a vibrant USA. That is the issue, and we should be discussing it among ourselves.

So I hope you have the guts to do what is best for the country without regard for whatever nonsense the idiots come up with to distract us from our most important goal.

Move the Moon, it Bugs me

“Make President Obama Stop Global warming.”

You must be kidding.

That organization (and I have to say a lot of other organizations) get no money from me. And the hungrier they are for the green the more ignorant the claims they come up with, some of them.

But that makes Global warming an even worse problem doesn’t it:

1. Obama can’t fix it without our help;

2. All these people who could be helping are wasting their energy thinking of stupid things to say to raise money.

To spend your time thinking or talking about what you can not do to help mankind Is a waste of your brain and the time you could be spending doing something worthwhile..
There is more that you CAN do than you can ever do.
Just make sure that whatever you do now does not make life worse for someone else later on.

Health Insurance

I am very happy that I have my government insurance program (Social Security and Medicare) and I can not imagine why anyone who is in danger of unemployment would be trying to prevent our government from making these government obligations available to all the people. Of course I paid my bit for it, and I always knew I was helping to pay for other people who were in worse trouble than I. And happy to do that.

So I will plan to go to the demonstrations, but I do keep wondering why? Why not spend my energy doing something more substantive. Why not find a way to use my personal power to make exactly the point that I wish to make about health insurance instead of trying to get on TV so that someone else will do it for us. (Of course I know why, it’s very difficult to think of ways to get our word across that great gap between us and the government.) The media are supposed to bridge that gap, and demonstrations do catch the attention of some elements of the media, but there is no reason to believe those media will actually present our message — and demonstrations are not rational discussion.

In fact, most demonstrations nowadays seem to be intended specifically to draw our attention AWAY from the real issues so we will not think about the common welfare but only about fighting with someone who disagrees with us.

I feel very sure that every individual person who really cares about the common welfare can find an easier, more direct and probably more effective way to make his views known to his friends, neighbors, representatives and to the media. Good old fashioned neighborly discussion would be a start, carried forward with rational, well considered letters, emails and Touchstone radio pieces. And support KEOS or your own independent media.

Evolution is Real

What is the difference between a word and a real thing?

The biggest difference is that people make up words. People do not make the reality of how the universe functions, or how the ecosystem functions. That kind of reality is imposed upon us by God or by Fate, or whatever we choose to call it it is way far more powerful than us. I don’t know a good word for the giver of reality, but I do know it isn’t me.

Words are not that kind of reality. “Tree” is not a tree, it is a word. I am thinking right now about my favorite tree:090118TGT_dsc8566LSs

I bet my tree is not what you were thinking before you saw the picture. My tree is a reality, and it would be a reality whether or not I were here to see it or say the word tree. Or ki. Or arbol.

That’s why we have the word “theory.”

A theory is an idea that we humans have that we hope is a reality but it will take some time to prove it. If we are doing science, we have some ways to prove it is not real, and if we try hard for a hundred years or so and we fail to prove the theory is not real, then probably it really is real. If it is real, then it was imposed by God or Fate, because we know we didn’t make it because it is more powerful than we are.

So. Here are some words for you.

“Theory of X-Inactivation.”

“Theory that the earth is flat.”
“Theory that the earth is round.”

“Theory that the earth circles around the sun.”

“Theory of Thermodynamics.”
Wait, we changed the name of that one. We changed it to the “First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics.”

Because we have a word for a thing does not mean it’s a real thing. It also does not mean it’s NOT a real thing. A thing is real or it is not real. Whether or not it is real might have nothing to do with whatever words we use to describe it.

Biological evolution is a change in the gene pool over time. Whatever we name it has nothing to do with whether or not it is real. We can prove it is real. You can prove it for yourself. Easily. So why are we arguing over the words we use to describe the reality? “Theory of Evolution”? Evolution is one of the laws of God or Fate, like the laws of thermodynamics and gravity. The earth ecosystem could not exist without those realities because whoever set it up that way – that’s how they set it up.

Realities are good things to know about – so why are we wasting our hot air arguing over words when we could be learning about the realities of God? Or whatever made it all work to give us life.

Are you a Man or a Trained Elephant?

When humans originated in the ecosystem, we looked to the power of the natural balance of the life to define our evolution; now we look to the corporations. The corporations define our wants and needs and drive our survival behaviors very much in the same way that my grandparents bred, raised and trained the horses they used for farming and transportation. We are the livestock the corporations breed, raise and train to turn the wheels of their voracious growth. Their training methods — the right touch on the TV to make us want what they have to sell (tobacco is in the news again for hooking children; the medical community as a drug pusher), and the fake debates they generate that keep us competing with each other, rather than forming communities for our common welfare (imagine convincing individuals that they are more important than people, and turning the religion of love into a killing machine).

Unfortunately, in the battle between the corporations and the ecosystem, we know who will win in the long term; and the corporations know from nothing. But for now the corporations are winning. They have convinced us that growth is more important than balance and that debate is more useful than discussion and community.

090525TGT_dsc1340LSs copyI have one friend who was nose-in-the-air when she saw that I live in a singlewide mobil home in the middle of a pasture. And so I asked myself the question, what would I add? I would change two things for real benefit: I would replace the yucky carpet with linoleum, and I would add solar. Otherwise, I have shelter, food, heat and air, hot and cold running water and a toilet and electricity and I owe nothing to any bank. Any changes I might make would not be to benefit myself or my community, but only to show other people that I can buy more stuff than they can.

Those corporations really have us sucking at their teats.

And they aren’t even alive.

Another Fake Debate, Pro-Life

As Teddy analyzes in his blog, the “debate” over pro-life and pro-choice would seem to be almost entirely artificial, based in words rather than facts. It clearly is not based in reality.

The reality is that balance among all the myriad elements of life on earth, including death, is the only way that LIFE can sustain itself, and I have to believe the Creator wanted to create sustainable LIFE. Growth is not sustainable. Humans, by our growth fetish, in both economic and population terms, are truly threatening LIFE, that is, ALL of life as we know it.

God created death so that life might exist. Our problem is not to defeat death; if we defeat death, we will destroy life on earth as we reproduce like mice in a cage with no place to go. Our problem is to maintain our honor in our relationships with both life and death. What we are doing now is saving people with our left hand and killing them with the right. That is one way to maintain balance, but I question if it is either ethical or honorable.

If God created LIFE, then he created life as the earth ecosystem, a network of checks and balances within which excess growth leads to destruction. That’s the way it is; that’s the way it works; who is to claim that God made a mistake?

Truly ethical people do not argue over fake debates; they discuss issues with a goal to reach a humane understanding of the larger problems faced by human kind and the many possible ways to resolve these problems to bring maximum benefit to all of LIFE. As God created it.090607TGT_dsc1653Ss