THE Science, Ideology, and 'Disruptive' Research

It’s dizzying, isn’t it?!

It does help to have some basic concepts and principles in mind, as I’m sure you do. The other is not necessarily an enemy but rather simply one that is exterior to myself. The other is one for whom I am responsible and by whom I must behave ethically.

This is quite different from “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Such temporary alliances and adversarial relationships are fluid depending on utility, having nothing to do with responsibility or ethics, only usefulness. They utilize others, rather than considering one’s responsibility to the other or ethical requirements.

In our relationship with another, there is also room to bear witness against wrongs, which brings into question how one should behave when wronged, what is appropriate? For example, since another is exterior to my self, it is anyone. I do not deem another “the other.”

That being said, if I intend to behave ethically and responsibly, yet am repeatedly wronged by another, what are my options for dealing with this situation? Would it be wrong, for example, to dismiss that person, thus denying that person access to my self as well as denying that person more opportunities to wrong me? This is something quite different from denying the self or existence of the other. It is a method of self-protection, a type of restraining order. No arguing and striving. No warring. But no more chances to continue to commit the wrong.

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I thought the other wasn’t just anyone, but an antithesis to yourself. So it can feel like you are being wronged. And it’s true that our personal grievances are sometimes buried beneath a mountain of universal injustice.

Such things are not so easily judged in others, and sometimes we are unaware of it in ourselves.

I’m very much uniformed in the social sciences, but I’m pretty sure every group that has alienated another has justified it in their mind.

There is a better way thankfully even when we are wronged. I’ll never forget the story Mark Laaser told about how he was reconciled with his father who had sexually abused him.

Over here, and out here in rural Michigan, which gets a lot more rural as you go north, the answer is ENCLAVE. Many families we know are on their third generation of home school supplemented with homeopathy, cupping and ear-candles. Stay away from the evil cities and evil city folks. Shun the world. Stick with seperatist churches. Revere the Amish. “Be” fake Amish. However, one can’t have such luxuries closer to the city (town, village, suburb), where that “life style” is not the majority or norm.
Closer to population centers, there’s a huge home-school movement and growing “classical academy” movement here now among the survivors of “purity culture.” These poor “kids” (parents) and their kids. They seem to think they can live in the christian past, while raising their kids in the present with no real tools to help them navigate or survive.
James Dobson has done his work well, scaring families into their corners out of fear for the world, guiding them on the path to irrelevance with gauzy apologetics that only work for true believers.

James, your side work is really important, and you do it well. The task is enormous.

You might find the discussion of the other helpful here: Emmanuel Levinas (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) .
Also, Ryszard Kapuściński’s book The Other contains 3 very readable essays that are practical discussions of the concept of the other in his work as a journalist. Good deal of overlap in the pieces, so you don’t really need to read them all, but I found them all enjoyable.

Essential in the concept of the other is the idea of intersubjectivity, the face-to-face encounter, responsibility toward the other, and an ethical stance.

Penner also referred to Levinas’s concept of the other in TEA. Check the index for page numbers. Penner also quotes Westphal, using Levinas’s concept of the other. Check pp 153 and 154.

Certainly, by then the abuse had stopped, hadn’t it? One would also expect some sort of confession and repentance to have been part of the process. That would seem to be key. At last for me it would.

Google has a huge left wing bias. I’ll bet you don’t see it. Thus, by your own standards, I should reject any information I find there outright. However, I have a more excellent way, oh Theophilus…

Like I have said many times, I reject argument from authority. It is a very common logical fallacy to accept what so-and-so says just because of their “expert” status. Conversely, failing to consider a source because of their supposed lack of authority or expertise or bias is also logical fallacy.

Opinions of “experts” are still just opinions. Its the data they have, the logic they use, and the results they achieve that are important. Of course, you don’t need to be a recognized expert to find/create good data, use logic, or achieve good results.

Further, the concerning sources I mentioned off the top of my head: Healthy Skeptic, Lomborg, Shellenberger (Shellenberg so Mandrake (@Klax ) doesn’t get “sic” :sunglasses:). I was very clear that it is the data and studies they point to that has value. Data and studies ARE the very source we should be looking at. Anyone wishing to be fully informed about the whole Covid response fiasco would be wise to check out Healthy Skeptic. Like I said before, ignore his off topic commentary and rants. Look at the studies he links to. Maybe read his summary of the study and see if you agree.

If you have to have “experts”, then Bhattacharya and Malone come to mind. As well as the huge number of health-care professionals who didn’t get the covid vaccine. I expect many here just dismiss those “experts” out of hand. I thought they made compelling arguments and seemed to have the logic, data, and results to back up their positions. However, instead of robust debate with their opponents where this could all be sorted out, they were censored. That makes me suspicious that motives like the profits of the drug companies were the driving factor, not reasoned medical debate.

The only way to avoid group-think is to step out of our bubble and look at the data those we agree with don’t share. That’s easy for personality types like me since I am skeptical of everything. Maybe that’s my fatal flaw. Anytime anyone says some science or anything else is “settled”, my BS sense starts tingling. Almost nothing is that certain.

BTW, I don’t have too many issues understanding the science, but you don’t know me and probably don’t have much of an idea of what it takes for a formerly wimpy nerd to become a successful USAF pilot. To show I am being objective and just arrogant, while I was successful as a pilot, I failed in terms of promotion. I’ll bet if I would have accepted the USAF culture more quickly and didn’t question everything I wouldn’t have been a Major for 12 years…and that is the INTJ Achillies heel… :upside_down_face:

So getting past all the above drivel, is there any way for center-left to center-right to stop the hostility, listen to each other like we used to, restore trust in our institutions, and work together to find optimum solutions? Or are we destined to become more hostile and dismissive of each other?

Still it’s the difference of the other that is basic.

“The condition and quality of Otherness (the characteristics of the Other) is the state of being different from and alien to the social identity of a person and to the identity of the Self.”

I’m sure. Laaser only began to process the abuse much later in his adult life. What stood out was how Laaser told the story of him counseling a man who described his use of gay hookup sites. Later Laaser found himself considering to have a look at one of these sites. As he, I forget exactly how he said it, took the thought captive, he realized he just missed his Dad… I’m still awe struck by that.

Well, I pretty much disagree with your assessment. The Industrial Revolution is really a red herring here. What is important is what is happening now. Wind and solar simply can’t can replace fossil fuels. All you have to do look at the ever increasing brownouts and blackouts as reliable energy generation sources like nuclear and coal are shut down and replaced with green energy.

In many third world nations they are heating and cooking with wood. That means cutting down their forests and putting nasty pollution into the air. This is very unhealthy. It is morally wrong to not let them develop out of their poverty into cleaner living and longer life expectancy, and that won’t happen with wind and solar.

If people were really serious about cleaning up the planet and improving poor people’s lives, we would be full speed ahead on natural gas and small nuclear power plants. Natural gas is readily available, cleaner, and more energy dense that coal, wood, and heating oil. Fracking isn’t the monster that Green Energy, Inc says it is. Besides, if we went all-in on small nuke plants–like have been safely powering Navy ships for decades, natural gas use would quickly fade away.

The total environmental impact, from acquisition of raw materials, though operation, to disposal; of wind, solar, and electric cars is huge. An incremental approach that slowly transitions us off gas and diesel, through natural gas, to nuke power is completely doable. Maybe we can’t get rid of all gas and diesel, but if most vehicles were hybrids powered by natural gas, and electricity came from these small nuke plants, we would greatly cut our emissions and environmental load. But Green Energy, Inc. will fight that until the end.

Shellenberger and Lomborg reference the IPCC reports. My understanding is the IPCC is the gold standard for climate science. My issue is that politicians, activists, and Green Energy, Inc. always take the worst case scenario, not the most likely, and use the worse case as support for the economy killing approach that will make them more rich and powerful…as opposed to what is best for the planet and the people.

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Fair enough. I’m not an atheist.

Sorry, but I didn’t understand your reply to my comment about the possibility of forming an infinite series through successive addition. Or at least, I could sort of understand some of the individual statements you were making but I couldn’t quite grasp the overall point that you were trying to make.

The best guess that I can make is that your reply to me was trying to address the philosophical implications of infinity. However, my reply to you was only addressing the mechanics of infinity. This was because your previous statement, “I am certain an infinite series cannot be formed through successive addition”, was factually incorrect on a mechanical level. Infinite series are formed through successive addition pretty much by definition[1], and it’s trivial to construct one whose limit converges.

And that has nothing whatsoever to do with atheism.

[1] Nitpickers’ corner: there are some infinite series that are constructed through other means, such as continued fractions. But that doesn’t affect the point I’m making here.

Would this be true if an infinite number of events cannot occur in time? This doesn’t necessarily prove theism, but I’ve yet to see an atheist consider the alternative to be atheism.

I don’t understand your point about the mechanics. I assume there’s something you are meaning about defining it as you did in the equation. Which seemed to be no different than drawing a line with little arrows on the end of it to represent that it goes on forever. It’s a symbolic infinity. Ok fine. And no disagreement from me either between the contradiction that exists in putting the real and natural numbers in a one to one correspondence.

Now, I’m also pretty sure you understand my comment about how it’s impossible for a person or any natural phenomenon to perform an action an infinite number of times.

You are curious what the 4% (what you curiously call a ‘huge’ number) of unvaccinated doctors must know that the rest don’t … Perhaps you should instead be wondering what the 96% (notice how much huger that number is than your ‘huge’ number) …what do they know that your 4% don’t? Were they all so noble as to put their own lives on the line in order to maintain some desperate conspiracy about vaccines - even though they must have known better? I’m a skeptic about such alleged nobility. I think they knew something that you continue to bury your head in the sand over: that the robust debate has already been waged. Your side lost. You claim to be interested in debate, but I’m a skeptic about your claim. You seem more interested in a predetermined result (that your political ideology must prevail) than you are in any truth. Somebody who is really interested in debate won’t ignore results and data about the debates already concluded. It’s like somebody wanting to really pretend to be knowledgeable about the sports world and the relative abilities of various teams, and yet they steadfastly ignore final scores of games - and only take an interest in whatever slice of data that shows their least favorite teams in the worst possible lights. That isn’t how a real skeptic behaves.

I thnk Theophilus would be considerably more interested in truth than you seem to be. You look at Google and the world and see nothing but left wing bias. It never occurs to you that you may have moved far enough right that you have to look left to see pretty much most of reality and all the rest of us. But I bet you don’t see that. Rest assured - everybody else does.


Thanks for the Wikipedia article. Very thorough. The ethics section is of particular value I think.

Parent child relationships are incredibly complicated, even when they are good. The desire to have a father/mother, which Laaser really hadn’t had as a child - his was a monster - can be overwhelming among those who were abused. As a mature adult, my friend was also able to reconcile with her father, who had been verbally and physically (not sexually) abusive. This process included a genuine confrontation of his past and real repentance on his part. As adults many who were abused as children are so desparate to have the parent they never had, they will forgive and bury any and all crimes, leaving the horrors unresolved and the guilt merely whitewashed.
I don’t know Laaser’s story. Good for him, if he was able to forgive the old man. If the old man, however, never confronted his own sins and crimes, named the, claimed them as his own and repented, well, then he’s still the same monster, and Laaser was hanging on to a fiction.

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4% can still be a large number… even in just the US.

Yes – so how much breathtakingly larger is the 96% then? 24 times larger than your large number! So whatever ‘awe’ you feel about that team of ‘skeptics’ - make sure to multiply your ‘awe’ by 24 as you consider the team of skeptics on the other side.

  • Statistically speaking, does 4% even “break the statistical surface”?

Large enough to get censored

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If they’ve been so censored, then how is it so much of society is so fluent with their claims? How did they succeed so well in getting their message out that they managed to get such a huge proportion of our population to buy into it - many of them at the cost of their lives and their family’s well being?

I’m beginning to think that conservatives in the U.S. need to take field trips to some other countries to see what real censorship looks like. Russia comes to mind.


There are a few issues here. First, yes, we should indeed be talking about data and reasoning. For example, here is a recent summary of the data and reasoning behind the claim that covid deaths have been undercounted rather than overcounted in the US, along with links to the original studies. If you wish to dispute this conclusion (which is indeed broadly accepted by experts), by all means, have at it. Read the papers and tell us what is wrong with them.

Second, it is true that you don’t need to be a recognized expert to collect and analyze good data, but you do almost always have to be an actual expert. Without knowledge of a field, you have no way of knowing what kinds of problems there are likely to be in the data you’re looking at – and there are always problems and biases in data. Without expertise in statistical analysis, any conclusions you draw from quantitative data are likely to be nonsense. I’m a computational biologist decades of experience successfully analyzing quantitative data, including epidemiological data about many infectious diseases. But I still stop and listen to actual epidemiologists when I’m analyzing epi data because they’ve probably thought of things I haven’t. And they listen to me, too. Expertise actually matters.


Dana Morningstar makes a very important point in a book called Out of the Fog, about how people suffering from narcissistic abuse will excuse the behavior: “This person was screaming, but at least they didn’t hit me… they hit me, but the bruises will go away…”

I think I see where you’re coming from now. You’re considering whether or not infinity can have a real, physical manifestation—in other words, whether something physical can be infinite in extent or not. That’s a different question and not one that we’re capable of answering scientifically. We can measure the size and age of the visible universe, and we can place a lower limit on the size of the universe overall, but that’s all.

In mathematics, infinity isn’t regarded as something physical per se: rather, it’s a conceptual limit. Formal mathematical proofs don’t actually refer to infinity explicitly. Instead, when I write an infinite sequence like this:

\sum_{k=0}^\infty\frac 1 {2^k} = 1 + \frac 1 2 + \frac 1 4 + \frac 1 8 + \cdots = 2

they tell you to try to imagine the smallest positive real number that you can think of (this is referred to as \delta), and no matter how small it is, you will be able to find a number \epsilon such that the sum of the first \epsilon terms will be closer to 2 than \delta, and so too will the sum for every other number of terms n > \epsilon. In other words:

2 > \sum_{k=0}^n\frac 1 {2^k} > 2 - \delta

Hmmm… what’s plausible does not have to be scientific, and claiming plausible deniability if it falls outside the scope of empirical verification is a type of (conscious or unconscious) ideology.

We really do know an infinite number of events cannot occur through a successive sequence.

And there really is an infinite being, just not an infinite number of things.