Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Philosophical Weeding

The movie inspired the Trust, to fund improvements to the slums of Kenya.

My analogy is that minds do not only require weeding but a constant attention. This is education. Knowledge must be reestablished in each generation whilst our ignorance is a billion years old, an observation reflected in the saying, attributed to many: 'The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.' So the wise go by the evidence of experience as a part of knowledge, not it's Trump, not by using the encounter as yet another form of confirmation. Know one thing first - your mind was never 'built' by processes that favored the thinker but far more so those that assisted the survivor. What exists now however is a world far different from the environments that evolution acted within. The presence of postmodernism, which became the rule of no rules, of 'alternative facts' and contradiction, the pressures of academic globalization (the (over?) capitalization of education) and the unprecedented rise of the Internet have led to the spectacular profusion, or perhaps just the recognition?, of our addiction to beliefs which are not only bizarre but unmistakably anti scientific, overtly paranoid.

Humans are natural fools, all included, easily tricked by our own perceptions but also why we find the theatre and music so entrancing to begin with, why drugs and other behaviors are addictive and why we can revel in the simplicity of the direct experience, what to us feels numinous, magical but which is just a product of wonder, never to be confused with understanding. And, uniquely, we are also the only creature with the capacity to learn, to the extent we do, if we choose to. What learning we have achieved however did not come from wrote learning, from mere repetition of what others had already discovered. This is not learning at all, only mimicry, barely more than a chimp is able to do. Real learning is quite a different affair because it depends upon realizing the failed attempt - the test. without which we are unable to discern whether or not we have achieved success or failure. An honest process values falsification and philosophical cowardice avoids it. And it is here that most problems begin, not with the information, but with a mind that is such an efficient trickster that it would call our own ignorance and imagination real and guarantee it's immunity from reason.

The largest hole in education is actually epistemological, not informational. It is that we do not teach ourselves or our children to value thinking, nor what methods lead to a well examined life, only to value tradition and it's ability to overrule intellect absolutely. Tradition has no error correction systems or processes, being repetition only. Any claim that something supernatural for example is unapproachable by thinking alone has, if you notice, just contradicted itself. What is it that writes the words? Only fools and charlatans claim to be directed by unseen forces but one need only look around to see the armies of the similarly decent but gullible, the followers, to understand how easy it is for the anti intellectual to profit. We do not educate ourselves as to why our own minds would find themselves so effortlessly misled and why honesty is so elusive.

"If you cannot determine if your belief is false, how can you determine if it is true?"

If there was one line to recall for the budding wise person it would be this. Learn it by wrote and then apply the axiom, the truth of it, not to the speculative but the mundane, the ordinary. Try it out upon each and every question. Is there an elephant in the moon? Is there any possible way to say it's false? Then how can we determine it's true? The point is never to engage in wars of beliefs but to examine the manner in which we believe we establish reliable ones and, importantly, if we are honest enough to say we'd throw them away should they fail to meet that standard. Is it better to run across roads? Can we determine if the claim is false? Obviously yes, therefore we can determine it's truth. Is there a Universal Intelligence (the hub of chiropractic philosophy)? And the answer "We can't measure it yet", is not open minded, it is at best credulous and at worst the rule to begin prevarication - to lie that we know when all we are is ignorant. We have done nothing but avoided an honest response, an open exchange. You have witnessed the beginning of the worst of humanity - the beginning of a fraud.

So explained is the Poppers rule of falsification, what he defined as science and interestingly what he did not define as truth. He also mistook falsification for what it ultimately was - the kernel of ethics. So I disagree. Truth, as in an absolute, is as elusive as anything which cannot be determined - we do not even know if 'truth' is true, so quite the self contradiction, but we do know of many millions of true statements and we know there is only one reliable epistemology for it. So to pretend that truth is eternally uncertain is to render the whole excise one of masturbation, each in their corner going at it. Philosophers often make too much of grand visions while discounting reality. Only last night my daughter and I invented a 'dichotomous key', a way for working out problems (generally of natural classification), where each question only has two possible answers - yes or no. And so we worked through many true and false statements. Not only did we but as a result we came to understand the manner in which we begin to understand, not by jumping to the conclusion (I like to believe that Cassowaries are more closely related to Ostriches (so I can pass a test without needing to know or understand)), but by using an intelligent methodology - an honest approach, not a foolish one. So the word 'truth' is often uttered but never clarified and is always the perfect habitat or camouflage for bad ideas. "Who can say what's true?", is used by those who are afraid to learn, never those honest enough to take note that they do so all the time. "Is your name Susan?" Yes. "Then it's true?" Yes. To tie reality up in the 'truth' which no philosopher can find is finding nothing but bad arguments and lending a hand to confusion. It is not wise nor is it education. You might be more familiar with: "The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." Scientists, and those who fancy themselves as one, love to parrot this Carl Sagan quote, usually only the first half because the other: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" is not palatable if all one wishes to do is avoid embarrassment and pretend to know something.

Most problems emerge because of our very human proclivity for making up complete bullshit and calling it science and philosophy. We don't care if what we say is sound or robust, only that we pretend to ourselves and others similarly selfish or credulous, that it is. It doesn't matter if we can determine whether or not our beliefs are false only that we claim them to be true and you might be surprised at how much utter garbage is published in clinical sciences for example for the simple reason that it's epistemology - how the ideas were put together - was largely driven by traditions of faith thinking (whether or not it felt right or was a part of a gurus anecdote). To wit - There are dozens of derivations of Applied Kinesiology for the uncomplicated reality that it was stagecraft to begin with and consists of (genuinely honest) people with a slim grasp of neuroscience and epistemology stringing together what looks like something happening, when what is occurring is the equivalent of self delusion. Even the best scientists such as the Nobel Laurette, Richard Feynman, warned us against ourselves so this is the biggest mistake - we prefer to allow our colleagues to remain ignorant and are not ethically bothered that they continue to sell it to the public. This is not unusual but what is unethical, unprofessional, is to fail to bring it up. So while I appear to be a vicious critic, I write this because we are a profession, not a Sunday school. Without trying to sound to sentimental, I care, a far more persuasive compassion than the hollow claims of 'love'. In all but rare exceptions that word is only fit for pop songs, platitudes and the genuine experience.

As I've illustrated in my daughters example, such a 'method' of justification extends well beyond opinion and anecdote leading it away from religious attempts at comprehension towards reliable knowledge. Religions are a perfect vehicle for community and a shared sense of purpose however a wise person would be asking exactly how those purposes were defined. Questions are a right. To listen is the professionals duty, otherwise our methods only lead back to our own assertions, the purely circular argument. Why bother fooling ourselves? Why not just admit to preferences and excuse them from rational discourse? Preference is what I like to wear not what a truth might be. The answer of course is that our minds evolved to be quite naturally fond of fictions, not organized methods of thinking or problem solving, so repeating errors is something we do best. The fool pretends that enthusiasm or rank insistence is the equivalent of knowledge because hundreds of millennia of dumb survival ensured that each ancestor had no real way to discern whether or not the rumbling earth wasn't an irritated and clearly enormous monster or invisible being. Confidence mixed with rapid reaction was a clear winner in the evolutionary stakes, the equivalent 'formative years' as a species there was the purely pragmatic process of selection and survival. But it is wrong to assume that this narrative is nihilistic. Quite the contrary, our common story binds us all together, beyond the tiny tribal perspective. Traditions built on faith pretend unity and practice ideological secession, such a dull, repetitive and dangerous cycle.

Being a wise and intelligent species overall is a difficult challenge but hypothetically possible if education is put to the fore, not aligned with epistemologies designed to propel us in reverse. Best to begin with teaching children how to weed their minds of ideas that were honestly tested and found lacking.  We can be even smarter gardeners and examine the parasitic idea to see what went wrong and how to build a better comprehension. Only then can we build knowledge and retain the better idea, the better ethic and perhaps a better world.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Rewriting Professional Ethics

The paranoid have all the facts ((paraphrase) William S. Burroughs).

And the wise never will.

So often our hindsight lays clear what the better approach should have been, or at least what might not be worth repeating. This isn't unusual and is expressed and experienced so often in our lives, often to the point of exasperation. So it's a truth to say that significant discoveries are 'obvious' only with hindsight, that we wonder why on earth we never saw it. It's plain but common self deception (this 'curse of knowledge'), that many things simply appear easy to comprehend even though, when asked to expand, most are unclear of what it is they say they know is true. It just is apparently. The mind never evolved to be an epistemologist only a survivor, and it takes a great deal of effort, initially, to quiet that strong tendency to simply stop thinking altogether and revert to what we understand best - our own ignorance. If we bother to dispense with our preferences and study evolution honestly, without the need to inject cherished beliefs (whatever they might be) - the process that built us and our nature is clear for all to see. It was one of humanities greatest ideas, discoveries, facts. To attempt to understand most things without the desire to know, and just pretend to, is to repeat the error.

My focus over the past 5 or so years has been to deal with a profusion of information in an attempt to better grasp it and teach it with simplicity and clarity, and the question, although there have been so many, boiled down to this - why do we think and behave in this manner? It does not, or rather should not, dwell on the appearances of behavior as so many of the social sciences have done. It is not a problem to observe (and they do this very well), but to do so without knowledge of evolution is to have 'one hand tied behind our backs'. Reflexes, thinking, the way we make philosophy and science and social dynamics are only comprehensible by referring back to evolution, in itself revised but only to find it more robust than before. To think otherwise is to think it rational to claim that tomorrow, who knows, the earth may be flat again. And the only groups which view evolution as a threat are those built on faith, who not only have a different narrative but one built upon little but anecdote, popularity, the ease with which errors are perceived as true and the non sequitur, upon the minds own 'faith thinking'. Even the various faiths disagree most vehemently with each other, to the point of ultimate absurdity. Why any should believe that science has anything to do with any ones gods is the symptom of dogmatism generally - they all have all their own facts which are only distinguishable from each other by how far each is prepared to leap backwards into it's past.

Traditional Chiropractors, those who view their work as the opportunity, their mission or service to spread the faith of chiropractic philosophy do so within an ethical void. Even the US Central Command contains within it's rules the directive to avoid using the services to "proselytize any religion, faith or practice..." even though the rule is often broken. In Australia however, the current ethics codes are being re scrutinized and in my opinion the simple adoption of this phrase would achieve two things simply. It is easy to insert while revision is largely waste and it sends a simple message - in democratic countries, anyone has the right to practice and believe any of the thousands of faiths (such as the faith of Universal Intelligence, the Major Premise of Stephenson's Green Books), but that no one in a professional capacity has such a right.

Where I sit in my office I see no stained glass, no crucifix, no Dreamtime, no statue of Buddha but I admire and respect a secular law which allows all to be practiced personally, tribally. Those objects and images might matter to me in some way but my office is it's own sanctuary of professional ethics, and here the rules are clear. In the Australian code it says that while I may "hold personal beliefs and values" they do not transfer over to those held by a professional. The state has no right to demand that I stop believing in a Dreamtime for example but neither do I have the right to recast, revise or rework professional ethics to suit my own personal Universal one. Giving humans so much philosophical leash only leads to them feathering their own nests, we see our worst. As a result, Vitalism has morphed into a distinctly fundamentalist and repellent US style evangelism. If it were ethical to dispense with rules altogether (which is what a chiropractic faith desires) so then all rules of professional conduct are reduced to anecdote. If, in principle, it were philosophically moral to use cultural preference as profession and science then it would be ethical to allow a child to die if I thought it best to administer dance instead of proper care. No one would be offended if culture accompanied, but not informed, modern professional practice, but this is never the objective of fundamentalists. Theirs is a particularly Trojan horse, complete with it's own parasites, it's merchants and charlatans, and it is for them that the codes of conduct must state the obvious, not be indifferent to the fatuous comeback of "That's about personal belief" as if it was just fine and dandy that a professional used the same epistemology. And this comment came directly from the keyboard, to me, from the minister for health. If I can use cultural anecdote as professional collateral then why do we believe that such a rule applied 'equitably' doesn't allow the professional to manufacture lies relabelled as expert opinion? It happens all the time. Anecdote is not a measure of a professional standard but something which must be understood as a potential, and commonly significant, bias. But what if I claim my anecdote to be truth? Then we have the rule of anarchy posing as profession. A dunces cap on a well dressed person, the emperor with new clothes.

The code is not direct enough. We have a significant problem in my profession because humans easily confuse their own tribes with what a fact is and then foist it, their own unwillingness to know, only to pretend, upon an unsuspecting public. And with this lack of interest in knowledge, their credulity, consequently comes a low standard of care. Predatory behavior, clutching at children and families 'for life', taking advantage of fear and uncertainty to trigger a lifetimes 'need' for care. No one ever suggested that a chiropractor not practice in a 'family' setting but this is not that. To the evangelist a family is not people, just a flock for the faith - to feed or fleece or fuck. People who hold political positions advertise themselves as miracle workers and teach others that they too can perform miracles through faith alone, directing them away from, never towards, learning only some illiterate imitation. Their 'miracles' are not some colloquial aside but as an article of their faith in the UI, as a professional service. Professional development points are awarded to people known to be conspiracy theorists, taking donations from some of the worlds most credulous and paranoid ringmasters who believe that subluxations are Satan's work, the proceeds of which have funded a hijacked research body, now a vehicle for creationism, for the teaching of vitalism (spirit worship) as if it still represented a science which it failed to do over 300 years before. It is fraud and the ethical codes have allowed it to happen because ethics (a subject I still manage to teach) is, if taught well, offensive to frauds. Other professionals still have quite the tendency to deal with corruption by shooting it's whistle blowers, not correcting the problem. I even had the CEO of the board advise me that it was "my job" to correct the damage done to students (who attend a publicly funded University) by offering basement level external 'education' which included indoctrination into the faith of UI, sealed by the implementing of the siege mentality. A major tactic of  fundamentalist 'education' is to repeat the same thing, play music, and try to generate a few tears, basically invigorate the individuals desire to intellectually masturbate and stop thinking altogether. People demand 'rights!' as professionals while the bulk of the profession chooses to remain indifferent and the only expansion in the profession has gone along legitimate lines - by publicly stating that the past belongs to itself, by releasing ourselves from the ideological servitude of paranoia.

We are professionals.

We are neither religions, faiths or practises.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Chiropractic Philosophy And Gun Control

Intelligence or ethics is no prerequisite for power.

The world always provides fodder for war, intrigue and black humor. As I was listening to the radio this morning, I heard a US politician apologize (excuse) for the most recent gunning down of civilians. 26 lay dead, 20 more injured, as the 'tactically dressed' man opened fire on a congregation inside a small Texas church. Just as predictably as gun violence in the USA, any perceived threat is met not with reason but primitive reactions. People might tell you that they are complex creatures (we are) but that doesn't extend to complex thoughts, to well reasoned actions, at all. 

The right screams for rights and the left for what appears to be the same, the right to life, but what is apparent is the inability of people to learn. When Obama brought in laws that sought to restrict gun ownership the US responded with such paranoia that the gun industry expanded. Laws that looked as though they would achieve one thing, established quite the opposite.

Similarly, although the figures are not nearly as clear, or present at all, the growing vocal opposition to the religion called chiropractic philosophy (unethical by professional standards), may well aid it. Ideological wars are as common as breakfasts as far as human society is concerned, since the human mind evolved to be an excellent tribe member not a wise rational thinker. So although the church of the Universal Intelligence (chiropractic philosophy) is only an effective tool for attracting our worst qualities (narcissism, creationism, fundamentalism, fraud, stupidity), those traits are widely shared by humanity. While we all hope that our species will exceed it's most base desires we cannot escape the fact that we are first and foremost a species, creatures, not a collection of magically driven beings destined for enlightenment. But the fact is that the later non explanation is more intuitively popular and is far more easily believed if education is crippled, faith thinking elevated, professional boundaries breached and ethics slaughtered. Humans only learn by finding out they were wrong not by pretending to be right and spending a life perfecting ignorance. This is exactly what happens when you live through an identity which, in your mind, is utterly irreversible, dogmatic, a fundamentalism, a 'true belief' that is it's own absurdity. If we cannot test anything, we do not have a 'yet' we have a 'nothing yet' and to pretend otherwise is to ossify any intelligence we ever had. We may just as well be back 'in the cave'. So a dogmatic profession will continue to exist but it has never expanded unless local associations have chosen to respect learning, not use it to promulgate it's faith.

Does this mean that we should abandon oppositions to ridiculous gun laws (I personally have a license so the matter is not one of extremes) or the intrusion of religion into education and professionalism (the stupid claim that creationism can replace evolution), faith into education, hubris into candour? While it will always be easy to offend people one need not try, one need only point towards the honest answer and wait for the outfall so the decision is easy - remain indifferent or press on. I suggest the later. If a god was found lurking, hand held high, if there was anything at all except insistence from 'philosophers', then we would honestly include a god as fact in the record and teach accordingly. But to inject dogma into education (as if it were fact) in the absence of anything but force, nothing but a persistent philosophical whining, is to practice nothing more intellectual than swinging a club. It may well bring you comfort to believe all sorts of things but it never amounts to education and certainly not a profession.

So you may be interested to learn that when the politician from the USA rationalized the murder of 26 people in a small town in Texas he used the only logic that paranoia knows - he never mentioned the issues of mental health or firearms, he said it wasn't as bad as Hitler. Similar logic is the sine qua non of the paranoid gun owner and traditional chiropractor. But one need not give up a belief to hold a more ethical position. There is nothing wrong with believing in spirits only pretending you know. After all, Martin Luther still believed in a god concept but pressed for reformation. He agreed on a god but disagreed with the rules and so contradicted his own god (apparently). No one on earth can show the former as a truth only the later - that the religions practiced in a void of reason and ethics are even worse than the weak apologetics that remains, but at least it is not the pure totalitarianism that having a single tribe at the helm would give although that is easy to achieve. One need only ensure that the subject is never brought up, that the need to remain 'civil' to stupidity is more important than ethics and life itself. This is our problem.

But we are a profession.

We are not a faith.