Monday, 1 April 2013

Relativism, the bane of sceptical scientific enquiry

There's no doubt that the failure to teach mathematics in practical social and political terms boils down to a failure to teach logic and discriminating understanding. The great evil in our society, in my humble opinion, that haunts our enterprise (and I say this realizing i'm sending the fox among the chickens) and has been allowed to flourish in the absence of mathematical understanding is relativism.

Relativism is the idea that there is no distinction between Shit and Shinola. That all ideas are somehow operating on equal footing. So one person is a chaos theorist, another is a follower of the revelations of this or that new age guru, someone else is channeling information from the Pleiades star system, and we have been taught that political correctness demands that we treat all these things with equal weight.

Because we have no mathematical ability, no logical ability, we don't know how to ask the questions that expose some positions as preposterous, trivial, insulting to the intelligence and unworthy of repetition.

We are all comfortable at bashing science, flailing away at that, but that isn't our enemy; science is capable of undertaking its own reformation and critique and his been engaged in that fairly vigorously for some time. The enemy that will really subvert the enterprise of building a world based on clarity is the belief that we can not point out the pernicious forms of idiocy that flourish in our own community.

This problem is growing worse all the time, just pick up a copy of magical blend or shaman's drum and you will discover an appeal to the level of intellect that will make that makes what's going on with television advertising look like a meeting of the Princeton Institute of advanced study. We have tolerated too many loose heads in our community; we are not willing to take on the karma involved in argument and discourse that actually gores somebody's ox so that at the end of the day Iridology or Mormonism or some other institutionally supported foolishness lies in shreds on the floor. We consider this politically incorrect.

If we had learned mathematical logic, or reason or rules of evidence, then when someone approaches this excited to inform us that said the ruins of Atlantis have been spotted in the deep sea off Lake Titicaca, we would be able to respond to that with the contempt it deserves.

To me all of these things are intelligence tests. And the people who pass the intelligence tests are not worrying about pro Bono proctologists from other star systems in their bedrooms.

So, we have perfected politeness. We have perfected the ability to listen to damned foolishness without betraying without so much as a flick of an eyebrow that we realize what we're in the presence of.

Now I think its time to refine our mathematical skills , learn to think straight, and not be afraid to denounce the pernicious forms of foolishness which are visciating the energies of our community and making us appear marginal and absurd in the discourse about truly transforming society.

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