Monday, February 28, 2011

The Grand Designer is God! – says (inadvertently) Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow

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The 2010 Bantam Book The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Caltech physicist Leonard Mlodinow purports to show that physical laws account for life and reality, without the intervention of a prime mover, God.

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But after one reads the book, with all the complex interlocking laws of quantum physics and the hypotheses of the so-called M-theory as presented by Mlodinow (mostly), one has to conclude that, indeed, a supreme mind, a thing we can call God, did indeed create the universe and life as we know it.

Physicists try to promote their god – mathematics – with abstruse theories and convoluted mathematical gyrations, but after all is said and written, the conclusion that only make rational sense is that reality is, indeed, a concoction of a sensate entity, no matter how that entity is defined.

Our belief, however, is that God existed – we think He/It died or has gone hidden, as expounded by such writers as Richard Elliott Friedman in The Hidden Face of God [Harper, 1995].

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No amount of mathematical machination by physicists destroy the early thinking of philosophers such as Aristotle, or the great theologian Thomas Aquinas – that God is (or was) the designer of the Universe and life itself.

Chapter 7, The Apparent Miracle (Page 165 particularly), provides the unconscious belief in God by Mlodinow (and Hawking also?) exampled by the thoughts of Kepler, Newton, and Einstein, who themselves believed a mind (God) created the laws that govern the Universe and life.

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The book can be skimmed in parts, as much of it presents the gyrations of physicists who are as flummoxed by existence as laymen are, but who pretend, like the alchemist of old, to have access to the secrets of life, presented by them as mathematical theories, obfuscated so as to feign hidden knowledge.

M-theory is a reworking of the philosophies of the early Greeks and the scientific investigations of such luminaries as Galileo, Maxwell, Newton (of course), and others. The Grand Design tries to make a case for M-theory, calling it “the unified theory that Einstein was hoping to find” (Page 181) and is, in fact, The Grand Design.

That’s an egregious stretch.

M-theory and string theories are all extrapolations of earlier thinking by Biblical writers and the Greek, Islamic, and Scholastic thinkers of the past.

The inherent quandary (about reality) of physicists is not masked by their obeisance to mathematics, which didn’t really arrive in science until Newton, and have been ballyhooed by physicists and science ever since, but not making any sense, as scientific use of math (or arithmetic) of any kind is merely an elitist ploy to make laypeople believe that science has an inside track to the truth of existence.

But as Richard Bucke shows in his masterwork, Cosmic Consciousness, reality is something so transcendental that human minds can only occasionally observe it but never truly understand it.

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For Hawking and Mlodinow (and others, such as Dawkins, Smolin, et al.) to write that that they are near to resolving The Grand Design is beyond preposterous; it’s hubris of a massive kind.

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Scientology, Ufology, and Psychology

The New Yorker issue for February 14/21, 2011 has a lengthy piece by Lawrence Wright [The Apostate, Page 84 ff.] about a Scientology defector.

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The article presents an overview of Scientology and especially L. Ron Hubbard (its founder).

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Those interested in the Navy’s connection to UFOs will find clues to that connection in the article, but they will find much more about the founder of Scientology, and it’s not a pretty picture.

Just as Christianity is marred by the machinations of its early followers and Constantine, and psychology is saddled by the permutations of Freud to make psychoanalysis viable to his colleagues [See Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson’s “The Assault on Truth: Freud’s Suppression of the Seduction Theory” – Ballantine Books, NY, 1984/2003], Scientology is riddled by the flaws of its founder L. Ron Hubbard.

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And ufology? Where has that artful and contrived discipline gone wrong?

Ufology has no definitive founder, but the progenitors of the faux “science” were (and are) men flawed by a lack of scientific acumen and a lack of intellectual credentials.

Whereas Freud has great insights about the human mind and behavior, he muddled those profound insights by fudging truths and facts to make his (psychoanalytic) movement palatable to psychologists and the Victorian populace of his time.

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L. Ron Hubbard had no profound insights, but his movement (Dianetics and then Scientology) has been promulgated by a patina of distortions and concocted legends of his acolytes, just as happened with Christianity. [See Bart D. Ehrman’s “Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible…” – Harper One, NY 2009]

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In Ufology, one can’t point to a single person who led the study of UFOs astray but one can point fingers at persons such as Phil Klass (a perverse skeptic), Stanton Friedman (a biased researcher), and a host of other “ufologists” who had or have an agenda that has little or nothing to do with truth or science but is, rather, a ploy for self-aggrandizement.

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The raft of persons who’ve led the study of UFOs/flying saucers astray is too vast to list here, and most readers know to whom we refer.

The point is that movements are always corrupted by followers or instigators who have self-promotion as their premise or ignorance at their foundation.

Psychiatry, Scientology says, is a crock. And Scientology may be right. Psychiatry moved away from a therapy based on the study of the mental afflictions of people to an overly of symptomatic suppression with drugs or various kinds, a move away from the methodology of Freud and his followers.

Freud may have compromised his movement by altering the truth of child seduction but his methodology for getting at unconscious truths was remarkable and unique, even helpful to those afflicted by neuroses of a sexual kind.

But the little insight by Scientology about psychiatry and drug-therapy doesn’t offset the flawed premises of L. Ron Hubbard, as you will see by the New Yorker article.

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And since Jeffrey Masson exposed the flawed, dishonest Freudian account of child seduction – the root of neuroses according to psychoanalysis, and Bart Ehrman (among others) exposes the flawed, distorted beginnings of Christianity, why has no one exposed the flawed roots of ufology?

Yes, skeptics of UFOs abound, and some in the UFO community have assailed the fraudulent in the UFO/flying saucer era, but no one has made as thorough assessment of the UFO crockery as have Dr. Masson of Freud or Bart Ehrman of Christ’s early devotees.

L. Ron Hubbard has been skewered, and Freud too, along with Jesus’s early disciples. But nowhere has anyone taken on the personalities that have tried to make ufology a valid enterprise, using lies and distortions in the process.

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Is that because ufology is seen, intrinsically, as the canard it basically is? Or is it because no one has the intellectual stamina to assail a thing as ridiculous as ufology?

We think it is both…

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Poeta Doctus

Bryan Sentes is an instructor of things creative, poetry among them.

He also has an interest in flying saucers and the Air Ship mystery of the 1890s.

Here is his curriculum vita:

TESL teacher; creative writing instructor, Concordia University: now, literature and composition teacher, English dept., Dawson College, Montreal; chapbooks: Budapest Suites (1994), Gloze (1995), On the Phantom Air Ship Mystery (1995), Seventh Column (2001), X Ore Assays (2001), Luffere & Ōđere (2003), For a Few Golden Ears (2004), A Crow’n’ o’ Sough Noughts (2004), The Hunger of the Starlings (with artist Juan L. Gomez-Perales), Tanchaz (2005), Symposia Scholia (2006), Melathalassemia (2009), In Canis Major (2009); trade eds.: Grand Gnostic Central (DC: 1998) and Ladonian Magnitudes (DC: 2006). Readings at various venues, Spoken Word, Experimental, and Institutional, in Canada, Holland, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, & United States, performing with Piedro Pietri, Jerome Rothenberg, Raoul Schrott, and Yoko Tawada,among others; & reviewer, translator, scholar (sociology of religion, mythology, & popular culture), radio interviewer (e.g., William Gibson, Douglas Featherling, Martin Amis).

Click here for access to his brilliant, erudite blog, Poeta Doctus

Wednesday, February 02, 2011