My Understanding?

Source: What is Scientism? | American Association for the Advancement of Science

At the link above you will come across a fairly good description of scientism, as the author understands it. You’ll find others and not all will agree with him. I for instance don’t. Not entirely and not as he does.

Scientism is one of those words who’s meaning, who’s description depends a lot on our experience in the subject of science. It depends a lot on how we see science and on how we were taught science to be. For my part I was taught to see science in a certain way, and to apply it in a certain way.

As I see it science isn’t really a thing, but a way of discovering and learning. Science isn’t really about knowledge, but more a way of learning. A way of discovery and how to verify and confirm that what you have learned is true. Science is a matter of faith, faith in our ability to verify and learn, but not faith in science per se, but in how the scientific method can and will lead to learning.

In short science is not a matter of fact, but more a matter in finding out. A matter or learning from observation, trial, and experience what is going on in the world. In a recent photo on the web we saw a raccoon sleeping in a man’s living room. When a commenter said that raccoons are dangerous she was right. But at the same time she neglected to point out that sometimes some animals can be so comfortable around humans they really have no problem with them, and may well come to adopt a particular human as part of his family.

This is where science comes in, for by using science we are able to accept that things don’t have to be the way we were told they should be. That there are things not dreamt of in our philosophy.

As I see it scientism is the belief that we can take the pronouncements of scientists on faith, that they are matters of faith and not to be discounted just because they are matters of revelation and authority. In scientism science consists of a series of hoary old prophets stomping down off a mountain bearing stone tablets bearing the Word of God upon them. As far as I can see scientism is science as religious belief, and that’s not how science works.

And as far as I can see science and the scientific method can be applied to most anything, even things that we assume can’t be, for as we learn of them we will learn just how they could work if they indeed were. For we are an animal that needs to understand, or to think we understand even when our understanding is wrong. For that gives us a basis on which we can learn of our errors and correct them. Science gives us the tools we need to discover and correct our mistakes. Scientism denies us those tools and insists that we take what we know as holy writ. Science is a pair of reading glasses making our world clearer. Scientism is gouging out the eyes because what you see, albeit oh so dimly and blurred, offends you.

So that is my understanding, how I see scientism. My understanding is necessarily blurred, incomplete, but at least it’s a start and one I can improve upon. What is your understanding, can it be improved, and can you let it be improved?

They Live

Source: Home – Sasquatch Genome Project

I’ve decided I’m going to make this very plain, there is a great ape living in North America, and the link above provides evidence for this.

The problem is not with the evidence provided, but with Ketchum’s interpretation of it. She says it’s proof that the sasquatch is a hybrid of Man and some unknown ape. She says this because it would appear that they found gorilla DNA in the samples she tested. Ah, doctor, that’s not how it works.

Now I’m not what you’d call literate when it comes to reading the results she provides, but somebody much more competent than I came to this conclusion. Namely that what the specimens showed was a lot or gorilla DNA. This leading me to the conclusion that the sasquatch of North America is descended from a common ancestor of gorilla and human.

Unfortunately her mistake regarding what the sasquatch is unfortunately led certain other parties to conclude that the animal does not exist. Indeed cannot. I’ve forgotten what the logical fallacy is called, but assuming that being wrong in one area means you have to be wrong in everything. That’s not how it works. What her work did do is demonstrate the existence of a great ape living in North America, and which may even be native to this continent assuming that it is a separate species instead of a sub-species of yeti.

But there are those bigfoot scares, because to them only humans can be bipedal apes. And that when it comes to the sasquatch you can rely on the authorities.

I say, “Bull shit.”

When anybody says anything that is counter to the available evidence they can’t be relied on. That’s what it comes down to, and what it means is that some self-identified scientists can only be called creationists where this subject is concerned. They talk like creationist, they think like creationists, they act like creationists. And I say it’s damn well time they damn well stopped.

There is nothing supernatural about bigfoots, they’re just damn apes.

That Phrase You Keep Using

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating religious discrimination claims against two airports because plans for Chick-fil-A restaurants were scrapped after complaints about the fast food chain’s stance on LGBTQ issues.

Source: FAA investigating two airports where Chick-fil-A restaurants were excluded

Now I have to conclude that barring a party for its stance on anything where a government facility is concerned is not right. Something about making no law regarding the establishment of religion. But, at the same time for a representative of a company to say they aren’t out to oppress a party when they damn well are, tells me that the company in question cannot be trusted. As Jesus of Nazareth once said, “Make your ‘yes’ a ‘yes;’ and your ‘no’ a ‘no’. In short, speak honestly.

When the consequences of an action means harm to another, than supporting that action in any fashion means you support it.

Some People

A former business manager for late Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee was arrested Saturday in Arizona on charges including elder abuse, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Source: Stan Lee’s former manager arrested on elder abuse charges

Some people just have to control the lives of others. Most especially the lives of those they have been put in charge of. Said abuser was just a common bigot and convinced that he was better than Stanley. Though I suspect that it was fear of growing old and dependent on others himself that shaped his behavior. Just remember that one day you may well be old yourself and in need of assistance. And that the old are still worth your consideration.

Some People Just Need to Control

The Department of Homeland Security is being sued for ignoring Freedom of Information Act Request

Source: Dept. of Homeland Security Gets Sued by NBC 7 San Diego and Reporters Committee – Photography is Not a Crime

This is an example of what you get when certain parties just have to be in charge of things, especially when they just don’t have the competence to be in charge. David Brin is right when he says we need transparency where our government is concerned, and what we’re seeing here is an example of this. This is grade C tyranny and I say it’s about time we spoke out and let the petty despots know we’re not going to put up with it.

Have You Considered?

That yes, they are games, but they have damn all to do with role playing. You can role play in one, but that’s not really what they’re for. What they are for is achieving goals, the role playing is just something you can do but don’t really have to. Your play can be entirely mechanistic, emoting is entirely something else.

My experience in this matter goes back to 1976, when my prestidigitator (now a word) character found himself faced with a dragon. Knowing I was out matched I backed off. The greatly amused dragon let him go, knowing full well that a 1st level MU was just no challenge. (Then there was the fact the DM playing the dragon was greatly amused.) A bit later I talked a balrog into almost killing the dragon for me (I lied outrageously), which lead to my PC getting tons of loot and 8 7th level dwarven henchmen (different mechanics concerning henchmen back in those days).

My experience was, it matters more how you handle a situation than what you can handle. And that your goal is really to amuse the guide.

Years later I read about an encounter in the adventure Necropolis for Mythus. (Spoiler) The encounter involved a demon driven insane by long incarceration by the big bad in a room in a crypt. Said demon really had no trouble taking care of the party, but he was more interested in using them to stymie his foe. So he told them how they could escape, and what they needed to do to defeat the villain Rahotep. Note that they could escape his room, he just couldn’t.

From these two incidents I learned that you can handle matters differently, and that how you handle things can profit you. You have more tools than just your weapons, and more alternatives than just mindless violence. And I first learned this when I was 20, an age when boys are nitwits by and large. To put this simply, this is why I much prefer to treat them as guides to adventure, because that’s really what they are. Adventure Guides is what I’d rather call them, for in my experience treating them as such works a lot better than insisting on them as games.

So use your initiative and be flexible. You’re there to have fun, not to slavishly follow some thoughtless regulations.

Unrelated

I’m getting close to 3,000 subscribers to this blog. But seeing as they are excessively shy they haven’t told me why. What the heck am I doing right?

When Greed is a Cardinal Sin.

Insulin is the difference between life and death for people with type-1 Diabetes. They say they are tired of watching the cost of the drug continue to increase in the United States.

Source: When diabetics can’t afford insulin, they turn to the black market. This Michigan woman helps them do it

There are various reasons why some people have type one diabetes. For the most part it’s because they just can’t produce insulin themselves, so they need to inject it. And seeing as they need to remember when to do it, and they need to do it in unusual amounts, leads to complications.

And after considering the problems the diabetic has keeping track of all he has to, now start considering what he needs to pay for the insulin, the syringes, and the tools he needs to keep track of. Andfor  we make matters worse when we treat insulin as a luxury item.

That’s what it comes down to. There are parties who apparently think that all persons with type one are fabulously wealthy and can afford outrageous prices for what they need to survive. Or, if they can’t afford it, deserve to die. I have to ask, when did becoming insulin dependent become a death penalty offense? I say we stop the shit and make insulin free to all who need it. I mean, corpses can’t contribute to society, at least not for very long. Call it an investment in people, and give those who manufacture and distribute insulin a break on their taxes. For every ounce of insulin donated to the diabetic community the donor gets a tax reduction and positive feedback. A special discount on necessary items maybe.

There is a reason why greed is considered a deadly sin, and I say it’s about time we cut it out.

‘Bout Time

The training is part of countywide effort to transform how the justice system responds to those with mental illness

Source: County to fund de-escalation, mental health crisis training for officers – The San Diego Union-Tribune

This is really nothing new, San Diego has long had what is know as the Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT), but they are not always available, and are often overwhelmed. What our DA is proposing sounds to me like the city will be applying the training given to those on the PERT team to all officers, and even when medical personnel aren’t available at least the cops will know who to call when faced with a mental health crisis.

Of course it means spending money, but better I say to spend a little on prevention to a lot on cleaning up after a death or major injury.

So a thumb’s up to DA Summer Stephens and I hope this means a safer world for those in crisis and the officers called on to handle them.

What We Think We Think

Source: Postmodernism – Wikipedia,

The essay I linked to above goes into what the author understands about postmodernism to some detail, but as I understand it what it comes down to is, we can’t really understand it.

Not in its entirety. Not to any totality. For we are a limited animal that really can’t handle all that much stuff, not to any real great degree. And to make matters even worse, we can’t really understand what others understand. Not really, for our ability to communicate is flawed and there is really no way for us to truly inform each other. Your Christianity is not my Christianity, for what you learned, what you know, what you understand cannot be what I know, learned, or understand. You get right down to it your version of Christianity can have but one member, and that is you. Unless, that is, there is an omniscient God, in which case He would constitute the second member of your religion is so much as he can understand how you understand.

As I understand it, postmodernism says that we can’t really know. Not completely. Our understanding, our knowledge is provisional, and depends a great deal on what we can know and on how we can know it. That said, it is possible to take things too far, for there are those who say that we can not know anything, and that what we think we know is wrong. If that’s your case, I don’t think it means what you think it means.

Our knowledge is imperfect. So far as that is true we are wrong. But what we know and how we know it can be tested. It can be verified. Years ago I read the account of a naturalist who did a study of a mated pair of ravens in New England. After one year of study he had came to certain conclusions about them and thought his work was done. But then he continued the study for another year. After the second year of study he came to another conclusion, that his first conclusion was wrong. You get right down to it, the most important word in a scientist’s vocabulary is, “Oops.” This naturalist found himself saying “oops”, for he had been in error. And the lesson I learned is that you can never conclude a study, for as long as you do a study you will learn where, when, and just how you are wrong. As somebody once observed about subjects in a biology experiment, once set up and running the organism will do what it damn well feels like. You get right down to it, regardless of the field of science everything is probabilistic and nothing can ever truly be deterministic. You want simplicity you’ve got to dig deep.

That is how I understand matters and it should give you some idea of where I’m coming from when I write about matters. I can’t rea lly know how I know things, and I rather doubt anybody can. At the best I can do no better than to let you know what I’m thinking, and to give you some idea of how I came to that conclusion. Though I must ask that you remember that there will be times when I will find myself saying “oops” and correcting my errors when I become aware of them. Then correcting my corrections when I learn that they are wrong. For we are a flawed animal and perfection can never be a part of us.

They Have a Problem

Source: RewardsZone USA

As I understand it, I qualify for a MacBook from these people, the last step is to sign up for an offer. However, it doesn’t appear that you can sign up. Not really. You sign up and I think you’re then supposed to be sent to a page where you would then continue with what should be the last step. But there’s no redirect. In my considered opinion these people are frauds.

As far as I can see I qualify for a MacBook and that they owe me a MacBook. I don’t trust them and I don’t expect to ever receive that MacBook. I’m writing this to let you know about what happened to me, and to warn you should you see any offer like though something like FaceBook or the like. This amounts to a scam as far as I can see, and the sooner they are shutdown and are made to pay for what they are doing the better.

If you’re going to make an offer, make it an honest one. If you must have participants qualify by filling out forms, surveys, and/or accepting offers, then let them fill out those forms, surveys, and/or accept offers without exception.

Just thought you’d like to know.

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