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L&FP, 59: Building a body of knowledge in a hyperskeptical, ideologically polarised era that often dismisses truth and objectivity

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It’s not hard to recognise that we are in a hyperskeptical, ideologically polarised warped thinking age at war with objective truth and knowledge. Fundamentally, our academics have betrayed us, starting with putting the inferior substitute, skepticism, in the place of prudence. Once that was done, there is no firewal on skepticism so it spiralled into selective hyperskepticism that promotes favoured narratives while finding any excuse to dismiss the despised other.

Inevitably, knowledge has fractured.

So, let us again turn to the JoHari window to see how it can help us build a responsible, and often counter-narrative body of knowledge:

Now, steps of thought (adapted from an earlier comment):

1: We must properly understand what knowledge is, including its subtleties, limitations and challenges.

2: This, we can see i/l/o the warranted, credibly true [so, reliable] belief approach, buttressed by the moderated insights from Dallas Willard. To wit:

To have knowledge in the dispositional sense—where you know things you are not necessarily thinking about at the time—is to be able to represent something as it is on an adequate basis of thought or experience, not to exclude communications from qualified sources (“authority”). This is the “knowledge” of ordinary life, and it is what you expect of your electrician, auto mechanic, math teacher, and physician. Knowledge is not rare, and it is not esoteric . . . no satisfactory general description of “an adequate basis of thought or experience” has ever been achieved. We are nevertheless able to determine in many specific types of cases that such a basis is or is not present [p.19] . . . .

Knowledge, but not mere belief or feeling, generally confers the right to act and to direct action, or even to form and supervise policy. [p. 20]

In any area of human activity, knowledge brings certain advantages. Special considerations aside, knowledge authorizes one to act, to direct action, to develop and supervise policy, and to teach. It does so because, as everyone assumes, it enables us to deal more successfully with reality: with what we can count on, have to deal with, or are apt to have bruising encounters with. Knowledge involves assured [–> warranted, credible] truth, and truth in our representations and beliefs is very like accuracy in the sighting mechanism on a gun. If the mechanism is accurately aligned—is “true,” it enables those who use it with care to hit an intended target. [p. 4, Dallas Willard & Literary Heirs, The Disappearance of Moral Knowledge, Routledge|Taylor& Francis Group, 2018. ]

3: This means, an adequate body of knowledge is ours, independent of what those who object, are skeptical, are selectively hyperskeptical or are outright polarised have to say. Known to us, unknown to others, not yet known to the world at large is still valid knowledge. Thus, knowledge can be counter-narrative and counter cultural. When falsity sits on the throne, sound knowledge will be an exile.

4: At the same time, we are using a commonplace, weak form sense of knowledge, which seeks truth (& may often hit it) but which recognises limitations and possibility for error. So, we need to be our own friendly critics, willing to seek criteria of adequate warrant . . . including, recognising when negative knowledge is what is established, i.e. limits of knowledge and knowing that we do not have positive knowledge. (Where feasible, this may be the framework for a research proposal and project, including pretty informal or simple cases.)

5: Similarly, we welcome responsible, reasonable, friendly “outside” critics, as they help us refine our knowledge base. (Some of these may even be willing to join the body of knowledge project and are part of the emerging school.) But, let us beware the concern troll or idea hit man, sent out to undermine and discredit for advantage.

6: By contrast, hyperskeptical and hostile, irresponsible or dishonest critics lock themselves out. By their tone, tactics, refusal to be reasonable and resulting rotten fruit shall ye know them.

7: Now, adequacy. In an empirical context, we follow Locke on the candle set up in us:

[Essay on Human Understanding, Intro, Sec 5:] Men have reason to be well satisfied with what God hath thought fit for them, since he hath given them (as St. Peter says [NB: i.e. 2 Pet 1:2 – 4]) pana pros zoen kaieusebeian, whatsoever is necessary for the conveniences of life and information of virtue; and has put within the reach of their discovery, the comfortable provision for this life, and the way that leads to a better. How short soever their knowledge may come of an universal or perfect comprehension of whatsoever is, it yet secures their great concernments [Prov 1: 1 – 7], that they have light enough to lead them to the knowledge of their Maker, and the sight of their own duties [cf Rom 1 – 2, Ac 17, etc, etc]. Men may find matter sufficient to busy their heads, and employ their hands with variety, delight, and satisfaction, if they will not boldly quarrel with their own constitution, and throw away the blessings their hands are filled with, because they are not big enough to grasp everything . . . It will be no excuse to an idle and untoward servant [Matt 24:42 – 51], who would not attend his business by candle light, to plead that he had not broad sunshine. The Candle that is set up in us [Prov 20:27] shines bright enough for all our purposes . . . If we will disbelieve everything, because we cannot certainly know all things, we shall do muchwhat as wisely as he who would not use his legs, but sit still and perish, because he had no wings to fly.

8: Now, much of what we do turns on inference to best current, empirically anchored explanation and associated models. That is,

9: on current observed, recorded and shared facts O1, O2, . . . On, predictions, P1, P2, .n . . Pm and trajectory of investigations I(t), we can see which of live option explanations/models E1, E2 . . . Ek account well for the O’s, has a good track record in translating P’s into correctly predicted O’s, and of these, which is coherent and explanatorily elegant [neither ad hoc nor simplistic].

10: Of these we may have a few short listed E’s {Es} or a best one Eb, which then are focal for onward investigation.

11: In our relevant case, when an Eb emerges, we have an epistemic right to accept it on abduction/ inference to best explanation, though we remain open to adjustment and correction.

12: On either case, we have a body of knowledge, the set {Es} are our candidate alternatives, known to be the collective best, and if we have an Eb, that is saying {Es} has become a singleton. Obviously, a good rival Er, would open out the set to {Eb, Er}.

13: With this in hand, we see that the negative knowledge case of Eb, is a special case, let’s call it E0.

14: We thus see how a body of knowledge can be built even in the face of objection or hostility.

15: It then confers “the right to act and to direct action, or even to form and supervise policy.”

FAIR COMMENT: ID has attained that state, though it faces sharp and too often irresponsible objection. A capital illustration is the point recognised by Lehninger’s literary heirs:

“The information in DNA is encoded in its linear (one-dimensional) sequence of deoxyribonucleotide subunits . . . . A linear sequence of deoxyribonucleotides in DNA codes (through an intermediary, RNA) for the production of a protein with a corresponding linear sequence of amino acids . . . Although the final shape of the folded protein is dictated by its amino acid sequence, the folding of many proteins is aided by “molecular chaperones” . . . The precise three-dimensional structure, or native conformation, of the protein is crucial to its function.” [Principles of Biochemistry, 8th Edn, 2021, pp 194 – 5. Now authored by Nelson, Cox et al, Lehninger having passed on in 1986. Attempts to rhetorically pretend on claimed superior knowledge of Biochemistry, that D/RNA does not contain coded information expressing algorithms using string data structures, collapse. We now have to address the implications of language, goal directed stepwise processes and underlying sophisticated polymer chemistry and molecular nanotech in the heart of cellular metabolism and replication.]

Knowledge is a challenge, especially in an ideologically polarised era. END

51 Replies to “L&FP, 59: Building a body of knowledge in a hyperskeptical, ideologically polarised era that often dismisses truth and objectivity

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    Building a body of knowledge in a hyperskeptical, ideologically polarised era that often dismisses truth and objectivity

  2. 2
    Fordgreen says:

    An interesting post. although most of it is above my head. How would one translate this into practical advice, particularly when encountering potential new sources of knowledge?

    Also, what does “i/I/o” mean, haven’t seen this before.

  3. 3
    Red Reader says:

    1) i/l/o means “in lieu of”: “This, we can see [in lieu of] the warranted, credibly true [therefore, reliable] belief approach…”

    2) “we are in a hyperskeptical, ideologically polarized warped thinking age at war with objective truth and knowledge”.
    Another word for the state of mind which this statement describes is “the disbelief approach” or just plain “insanity”.
    We are in an “age of insanity”.

    For example, belief in ancient mythology was founded upon disbelief in objective reality.
    The “myth of our age” is the universe popped out of “nothing”.
    The “belief” that “something” comes from “nothing” is not supported by the laws of physics nor any observed phenomena.
    The unbelief in objective reality is the root of insanity.

    The human brain intuitively recognizes “cause and effect” and “design”.
    The “fundamental idea of God”, for example, is the rational, logical conclusion of “belief” thinking, thinking that is consistent with what the brain intuitively knows of “cause and effect” and “design”.

    When a human will chooses to ignore what the brain intuitively “knows”, the human “mind” becomes divided against itself.
    One part of the brain continues to “believe” what it intuitively knows to be true and real.

    But another part of the brain tries to make sense of the world while willfully ignoring what is consistent with objective reality, i.e. what it actually knows to be true.
    The result is madness, insanity.

    Sometimes, conditions will bring a person back “to their senses”, back to the world of objective reality, where “cause and effect” belies belief in magical thinking such as “something” coming from “nothing”.
    We hear of these cases from time to time.

  4. 4
    William J Murray says:

    Red Reader said:

    The unbelief in objective reality is the root of insanity.

    If there is an objective reality, it begins and ends with fundamental, inescapable self-evident truths, like A=A and 3+3 [–> 2, ED] =5 and “there are no square circles.” Beyond that category of statements, “objective reality” is a hypothesis for which no evidence can be gathered, even in principle.

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    FG, a little confession here: I am laying out a strategy for reformation — yes, RR, by way of return from insanity. I am saying we have a cultural civil war and we need to adapt the JoHari Window using what Intel agencies and the agile coders do with it. Here, we recognise that key knowledge held and acknowledged as in common is under assault, the very phrase “my truth” speaks volumes, sad volumes. We have to recognise that power-backed narrative and linked agendas have replaced sound knowledge on too many topics. A fast-growing list of topics. Start with, 1619 vs 1776 is an example of culture form marxist critical theory radical misanthropic and anti civilisational revisionism designed to make us ashamed of our civilisation’s blessings and needs to be corrected and duly balanced especially given the warning in Plato’s ship of state and in Ac 27 as microcosm case study. Extend the tactic to ever so many other cases. And obviously, not to the good. So, we have to identify objective truth, justify its warrant, slowly build a sound, independent — and, too often alternative or even counter-cultural — body of knowledge, then perhaps rebuild the consensus of sane soundness. As that happens, we will have to correct widely promoted but unsound knowledge claims and linked false and often accusatory narratives. Narratives that are frankly anti-civilisational and ruinous. Forgive me, I have had to here lay out a framework pivoting on a key form of modern inductive reasoning (argument to reliability by typically empirical support not demonstrative “proof”), abductive inference to the best explanation. Along the way the negative knowledge, knowing what we do not know will be key. KF

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    RR, some very telling observations. My only significant quibble is the brain is a sophisticated computer, it is the mind that knows. The brain is involved but does not exhaust, maybe you might want to look at the Smith, two tier controller model: https://uncommondescent.com/atheism/reference-the-smith-model-an-architecture-for-cybernetics-and-mind-body-free-will-determinism-compatibilism-analysis/ KF

  7. 7
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, Thanks for thoughts. I do think that, given the weak sense of knowledge of practical practice, objective knowledge goes beyond self evidence. Kindly cf. Dallas Willard as adapted. KF

    PS, Pardon an argument:

    The truth claim, “there are no [generally knowable] objective truths regarding any matter (so, on any particular matter),” roughly equivalent to, “knowledge is inescapably only subjective or relative,” is an error.

    Which, happily, can be recognised and corrected.

    Often, such error is presented and made to seem plausible through the diversity of opinions assertion, with implication that none have or are in a position to have a generally warranted, objective conclusion. This, in extreme form, is a key thesis of the nihilism that haunts our civilisation, which we must detect, expose to the light of day, correct and dispel, in defence of civilisation and human dignity.

    (NB: Sometimes the blind men and the elephant fable is used to make it seem plausible, overlooking the narrator’s implicit claim to objectivity. Oops!)

    Now, to set things aright, let’s symbolise: ~[O*G] with * as AND.

    This claims, it is false that there is an objective knowable truth, on the set of general definable topics, G.

    Ironically, it intends to describe not mere opinion but warranted, credible truth about knowledge in general. So, ~[O*G] is self referential as it is clearly about subject matter G, and is intended to be a well warranted objectively true claim. But it is itself therefore a truth claim about knowledge in general intended to be taken as objectively true, which is what it tries to deny as a possibility. So, it is self contradictory and necessarily false.

    In steps:

    PHASE I: Let a proposition be represented by x
    G = x is a proposition asserting that some state of affairs regarding some identifiable matter in general including e.g. history, science, the secrets of our hearts, morality etc, is the case
    O = x is objective and knowable, being adequately warranted as credibly true}

    PHASE II: It is claimed, S= ~[O*G] = 1, 1 meaning true
    However, the subject of S is G,
    it therefore claims to be objectively true, O and is about G
    where it forbids O-status to any claim of type G
    so, ~[O*G] cannot be true per self referential incoherence
    =============

    PHASE III: The Algebra, translating from S:

    ~[O*G] = 0 [as self referential and incoherent cf above]
    ~[~[O*G]] = 1 [the negation is therefore true]
    __________
    O*G = 1 [condensing not of not]
    where, G [general truth claim including moral ones of course]
    So too, O [if an AND is true, each sub proposition is separately true]
    ================

    CONCLUSION: That is, there are objective general, particular and — as a key case — moral truths; and a first, self evident one is that ~[O*G] is false, ~[O*G] = 0.

    Therefore, the set of knowable objective truths in general — and embracing those that happen to be about states of affairs in regard to right conduct etc — is non empty, it is not vacuous and we cannot play empty set square of opposition games with it.

    That’s important.

    Also, there are many particular objective general and moral truths that are adequately warranted to be regarded as reliable. Try, Napoleon was once a European monarch and would be conqueror. Try, Queen Elizabeth II of Britain and the Commonwealth recently passed on after just over seventy years as a Constitutional Monarch and has been succeeded by Charles III, her son. Try, Jesus of Nazareth is a figure of history. Try, it is wrong to torture babies for fun, and more.

    Ours is a needlessly confused age, heading for trouble.

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Plato’s Ship of State:

    It is not too hard to figure out that our civilisation is in deep trouble and is most likely headed for shipwreck. (And of course, that sort of concern is dismissed as “apocalyptic,” or neurotic pessimism that refuses to pause and smell the roses.)

    Plato’s Socrates spoke to this sort of situation, long since, in the ship of state parable in The Republic, Bk VI:

    >>[Soc.] I perceive, I said, that you are vastly amused at having plunged me into such a hopeless discussion; but now hear the parable, and then you will be still more amused at the meagreness of my imagination: for the manner in which the best men are treated in their own States is so grievous that no single thing on earth is comparable to it; and therefore, if I am to plead their cause, I must have recourse to fiction, and put together a figure made up of many things, like the fabulous unions of goats and stags which are found in pictures.

    Imagine then a fleet or a ship in which there is a captain [–> often interpreted, ship’s owner] who is taller and stronger than any of the crew, but he is a little deaf and has a similar infirmity in sight, and his knowledge of navigation is not much better. [= The people own the community and in the mass are overwhelmingly strong, but are ill equipped on the whole to guide, guard and lead it]

    The sailors are quarrelling with one another about the steering – every one is of opinion that he has a right to steer [= selfish ambition to rule and dominate], though he has never learned the art of navigation and cannot tell who taught him or when he learned, and will further assert that it cannot be taught, and they are ready to cut in pieces any one who says the contrary. They throng about the captain, begging and praying him to commit the helm to them [–> kubernetes, steersman, from which both cybernetics and government come in English]; and if at any time they do not prevail, but others are preferred to them, they kill the others or throw them overboard [ = ruthless contest for domination of the community], and having first chained up the noble captain’s senses with drink or some narcotic drug [ = manipulation and befuddlement, cf. the parable of the cave], they mutiny and take possession of the ship and make free with the stores; thus, eating and drinking, they proceed on their voyage in such a manner as might be expected of them [–> Cf here Luke’s subtle case study in Ac 27].

    Him who is their partisan and cleverly aids them in their plot for getting the ship out of the captain’s hands into their own whether by force or persuasion [–> Nihilistic will to power on the premise of might and manipulation making ‘right’ ‘truth’ ‘justice’ ‘rights’ etc], they compliment with the name of sailor, pilot, able seaman, and abuse the other sort of man, whom they call a good-for-nothing; but that the true pilot must pay attention to the year and seasons and sky and stars and winds, and whatever else belongs to his art, if he intends to be really qualified for the command of a ship, and that he must and will be the steerer, whether other people like or not-the possibility of this union of authority with the steerer’s art has never seriously entered into their thoughts or been made part of their calling.

    Now in vessels which are in a state of mutiny and by sailors who are mutineers, how will the true pilot be regarded? Will he not be called by them a prater, a star-gazer, a good-for-nothing?

    [Ad.] Of course, said Adeimantus.

    [Soc.] Then you will hardly need, I said, to hear the interpretation of the figure, which describes the true philosopher in his relation to the State [ –> here we see Plato’s philosopher-king emerging]; for you understand already.

    [Ad.] Certainly.

    [Soc.] Then suppose you now take this parable to the gentleman who is surprised at finding that philosophers have no honour in their cities; explain it to him and try to convince him that their having honour would be far more extraordinary.

    [Ad.] I will.

    [Soc.] Say to him, that, in deeming the best votaries of philosophy to be useless to the rest of the world, he is right; but also tell him to attribute their uselessness to the fault of those who will not use them, and not to themselves. The pilot should not humbly beg the sailors to be commanded by him –that is not the order of nature; neither are ‘the wise to go to the doors of the rich’ –the ingenious author of this saying told a lie –but the truth is, that, when a man is ill, whether he be rich or poor, to the physician he must go, and he who wants to be governed, to him who is able to govern. [–> the issue of competence and character as qualifications to rule] The ruler who is good for anything ought not to beg his subjects to be ruled by him [ –> down this road lies the modern solution: a sound, well informed people will seek sound leaders, who will not need to manipulate or bribe or worse, and such a ruler will in turn be checked by the soundness of the people, cf. US DoI, 1776]; although the present governors of mankind are of a different stamp; they may be justly compared to the mutinous sailors, and the true helmsmen to those who are called by them good-for-nothings and star-gazers.

    [Ad.] Precisely so, he said.

    [Soc] For these reasons, and among men like these, philosophy, the noblest pursuit of all, is not likely to be much esteemed by those of the opposite faction [–> the sophists, the Demagogues, Alcibiades and co, etc]; not that the greatest and most lasting injury is done to her by her opponents, but by her own professing followers, the same of whom you suppose the accuser to say, that the greater number of them are arrant rogues, and the best are useless; in which opinion I agreed [–> even among the students of the sound state (here, political philosophy and likely history etc.), many are of unsound motivation and intent, so mere education is not enough, character transformation is critical].

    [Ad.] Yes.

    [Soc.] And the reason why the good are useless has now been explained?

    [Ad.] True.

    [Soc.] Then shall we proceed to show that the corruption of the majority is also unavoidable [–> implies a need for a corruption-restraining minority providing proverbial salt and light, cf. Ac 27, as well as justifying a governing structure turning on separation of powers, checks and balances], and that this is not to be laid to the charge of philosophy any more than the other?

    [Ad.] By all means.

    [Soc.] And let us ask and answer in turn, first going back to the description of the gentle and noble nature.[ — > note the character issue] Truth, as you will remember, was his leader, whom he followed always and in all things [ –> The spirit of truth as a marker]; failing in this, he was an impostor, and had no part or lot in true philosophy [–> the spirit of truth is a marker, for good or ill] . . . >>

    (There is more than an echo of this in Acts 27, a real world case study. [Luke, a physician, was an educated Greek with a taste for subtle references.] This blog post, on soundness in policy, will also help)

    KF

  9. 9
    Alan Fox says:

    KF overlooks and his Johari window overlooks the fundamental problem; human ability to understand is limited by human capacity for understanding. As Wittgenstein remarked:

    If a lion could speak, we would not understand him.

    The limited cognitive ability of the lion and his lack of experience of our culture
    would prevent any meaningful exchange.

  10. 10
    Alan Fox says:

    KF does in some ways remind me of Wittgenstein’s lion. 🙂

  11. 11
    kairosfocus says:

    AF, what part of, unknown unknowns, knowing what we do not know (negative knowledge) and cases of false narratives and arguments posing as knowledge has been missed? Or even, loss of the common sound core of knowledge? KF

    PS, Meanwhile, this we credibly know:

    “The information in DNA is encoded in its linear (one-dimensional) sequence of deoxyribonucleotide subunits . . . . A linear sequence of deoxyribonucleotides in DNA codes (through an intermediary, RNA) for the production of a protein with a corresponding linear sequence of amino acids . . . Although the final shape of the folded protein is dictated by its amino acid sequence, the folding of many proteins is aided by “molecular chaperones” . . . The precise three-dimensional structure, or native conformation, of the protein is crucial to its function.” [Principles of Biochemistry, 8th Edn, 2021, pp 194 – 5. Now authored by Nelson, Cox et al, Lehninger having passed on in 1986. Attempts to rhetorically pretend on claimed superior knowledge of Biochemistry, that D/RNA does not contain coded information expressing algorithms using string data structures, collapse. We now have to address the implications of language, goal directed stepwise processes and underlying sophisticated polymer chemistry and molecular nanotech in the heart of cellular metabolism and replication.]

    See https://uncommondescent.com/darwinist-debaterhetorical-tactics/protein-synthesis-what-frequent-objector-af-cannot-acknowledge/

  12. 12
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS, Of course, those who have imposed a crooked yardstick as asserted standard of straight, accurate, upright, will object to what is truly straight. Sometimes, even to a naturally straight and upright plumb line.

  13. 13
    kairosfocus says:

    BTW, the JoHari Window — that is taken from the names of the people who devised it — long predates me. The use by Intel agencies is apparently longstanding and the acile coders have taken it up. It fosters discussion of known/unknown and onward of imagined knowledge. Thence, Dallas Willard.

  14. 14
    Alan Fox says:

    I wasn’t crediting you with inventing the Johari window, KF, only of appropriating the idea.

  15. 15
    Alan Fox says:

    All your claimed knowledge of DNA is vicarious, KF. At least I have seen DNA (drawn out on a glass rod, gloriously iridescent, having been precipitated in phenol) with my own eyes.

  16. 16
    kairosfocus says:

    AF, personalising, polarising, distracting, using loaded language again. US Intel agencies long since extended the Window, the Agile Coders more recently. I am simply using it as a means of gaining insight on key epistemological issues . . . it is about knowledge, after all — connected to our current cultural mutiny on the ship of state. KF

    AF, 99% of knowledge is based on acknowledging the teaching of credible authority. Lehninger is a representative and thank you their photo on p. 189, of DNA strands bursting from a bacterium compared with an Assyrian text, would be enough for a reasonable person, and there are many other images of Chromosomes; I recall the excitement of a fellow student when he saw that the leaf miners he was studying had giant chromosomes. The issue is not, ever looked though a microscope at DNA but instead, it expresses in part coded algorithmic information used in protein assembly. With what that points to.

  17. 17
    William J Murray says:

    KF,

    The truth claim, “there are no [generally knowable] objective truths regarding any matter (so, on any particular matter),” roughly equivalent to, “knowledge is inescapably only subjective or relative,” is an error.

    Just to reiterate, I don’t assert that there are no objective truths regarding any matter. You and I draw the line at different places. I draw the line after the category of truths I describe is self-evident, fundamental, necessary truths. You draw that line much, much further out.

    How far out that line can be drawn depends on the actual nature of reality and existence. You have presented (not created) a model of reality that extends well beyond what we agree on, what we might call the common subset of fundamental aspects that are at the core of both of our more extended views.

    Here’s the problem: you don’t get to use that extended model of what reality and existence is to criticize my model because it is not applicable. That is a circular argument. You can only appropriately criticize my model by using that which we agree on: inescapable, core, fundamental truths.

    You often claim my model is self-referentially incoherent, but that’s not true from my perspective because I submit to those core, fundamental, inescapable truths. They are not my invention and they are the “plumb line,” as you say, for evaluating my model and yours. I don’t get square circles just because i say so. I don’t get A is not equal to A just because I say so.

    I would argue that my model is as internally consistent and at least as practically effective as yours, and indeed offers a far, far wider range of opportunity that can be experimented with and evaluated because it does not conceptually confine the capacity of “objective reality” into the narrow constraints of your model.

    And here’s the thing: every day actual experimentation in quantum physics further validates my model and further undermines yours, dating back 100 years. My model is thus far more accurately predictive of ALL of the verified results of those experiments; yours has been shown to be less and less supportable by such experimentation.

    Now, that doesn’t mean your model of “credible, warranted knowledge” isn’t extremely useful and predictive; but so was (and is) classical physics and then general-relativity spacetime. However, each revolution in physics has shown us that there is far, far more to our existence, to what reality actually is, than we previously thought even imaginable, because the results of GR and QM experiments shocked physicists and went against the intuitive, commonly-accepted norms of how we think about reality and existence and how things work.

    I see your perspective as a highly functional model of what I’ll call “classical knowledge” and how it works. But, it didn’t matter how much physicists thought the new evidence violated the way things should be, violated what they thought was the only rational way to think about such things; it didn’t matter how much Einstein or those around Galileo could not fathom how the evidence could possibly be right; it didn’t matter that physicists spent 100 years trying to disprove what the evidence indicated from those early QM experiments: the evidence is what it is.

    We can either adapt our model of what “knowledge” means and how it is acquired by expanding our model of what “objective reality” is and how it interacts with our existence, and what it means about our existence, or we can progress the same way knowledge has always advanced about such things, “one funeral at a time.”

  18. 18
    William J Murray says:

    Quantum physics experimentation is not just calling into question classical concepts of reality and existence, it’s demonstrating that the model of “classical knowledge” you preset is no longer sufficient. That doesn’t mean it no longer has value or no longer works in most common situations; but it does mean that it is insufficient when it comes to understanding fundamental aspects of reality, existence and experience as revealed by 100 years of experimentation.

  19. 19
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, first I am not giving a classical model of knowledge, but a weak form sense in part shaped by the reliabilism and open endedness of science, medicine, law and similar responsible praxis. I am in effect saying that knowledge is a commonplace, not an exceedingly rare entity, where proportionately the self evident though important is nearly vanishingly rare, and knowledge of analytic truths though more common is still rare. Next, my view on Q-Mech etc is informed by the correspondence principle, once we are at sufficient scale the classical result will emerge and this because of its high empirical reliability. Going beyond, my purpose has been to use JoHari to help us address ultra modern fragmentation of knowledge and establishment of our own independent, responsible bodies of knowledge towards informed praxis. It also helps us understand what was done to cynically discredit the knowledge commons and impose agenda driven accusatory narratives energised by Frankfurt School derived neo-/cultural- marxist so called critical theories, which typically disguise ideological imposition as liberation. “Liberation” from soundness and/or prudence is anything but, as say 1619 vs 1776 abundantly shows. We can see whatever remains in the commons, see what others claim that differs from ours, look at the vast province of unknown unknowns, then evaluate claims, warrant, degree of positive vs negative knowledge, etc, and then rebuild legitimate authority of expertise towards being the good people in the storm as things move towards shipwreck at Malta and as we may have to deal with attempted golden parachute bailouts . . . cut away the pinnace . . . etc. Having already sufficiently addressed the idealism you have espoused in recent times — reluctantly and after much demand from you, I need say little more on it. The pivotal point is, there is a serious cultural hurricane packing tornadoes in it running amok, we need to deal with it and see how to rebuild a sound cultural knowledge base. KF

  20. 20
  21. 21
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, I should note the algebraic analysis also extends to any particular identifiable domain. If we can know enough to recognise that a claim x is in/out of domain, D, the same analysis obtains. Just substitute D for G and speak to domain D. Then, we must recognise the balance of positive/negative knowledge for D, i.e. we may have a subject where knowing just how little we know is the most important point of knowledge. KF

  22. 22
    Fordgreen says:

    KF: “It is not too hard to figure out that our civilisation is in deep trouble and is most likely headed for shipwreck. (And of course, that sort of concern is dismissed as “apocalyptic,” or neurotic pessimism that refuses to pause and smell the roses.)”

    I think some Christians would say the demise of civilization is a sign of the end times. If so, should the focus be on reforming society (probably a loss cause) or winning souls for Christ?

  23. 23
    Red Reader says:

    kairosfocus
    “My only significant quibble is the brain is a sophisticated computer, it is the mind that knows.”
    No objection.
    I didn’t want to go into brain vs mind vs heart.
    The mind includes both brain and heart somehow.
    The brain processes, the heart “knows”
    Insanity is what happens when one willful deploys their brain against their own heart.

    As Herbert Spencer is reported to have said, ““There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” (Contempt=willful close mindedness)

  24. 24
    kairosfocus says:

    FG, if you point to eschatology, I would note Ac 2 where it is “now” — i.e. 30 AD — fulfilled that IN the last days that God pours out his Spirit on all flesh and calls men to repentance through the gospel. Where as that fits into the Jeremiah-Daniel timeframe, I would put the Day of the Lord into the scales and hold the last days have been in process for 2600+ years. Further, as was just pointed out in a sermon, the call is to disciple the nations, including teaching them to live by the ethics of the good news of the Kingdom. As repentance implies, gospel ethics cannot be severed from gospel substance; cf. The Lord’s Prayer and “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done on earth as in Heaven.” This points to the countercultural, transformational, fullness of Christ theme brought out operationally in Eph 4:9 – 24 ff. So, we cannot slice apart the good news of God’s Kingdom, as its ambassadors. In that context, too, we must set to rights the warped thinking that has undermined understanding of truth, knowledge, personal identity, personal responsibility, ethics and more so that people can even hear a message that proclaims truth. For to many today, if you say X is true, at best they hear true to/for you; at worst they think you are a theocratic, hate speaking bigot trying to set up a right wing Christofascist Gestapo run police state — actually, the National SOCIALIST German Worker’s Party, NSDAP = Nazi, was consciously of the LEFT — under some new Inquisition. Those sorts of things have to be exposed and broken before any soundness can be restored. When knowledge is warped as a concept, and truth, right reason and prudence with it, a crooked yardstick is being used to reject the straight, upright and accurate. That is our peril. KF

  25. 25
    kairosfocus says:

    RR, you have raised some significant points. KF

  26. 26
    Fordgreen says:

    KFL “… must set to rights the warped thinking that has undermined understanding of truth, knowledge, personal identity, personal responsibility, ethics and more so that people can even hear a message that proclaims truth”

    How do you expect this to happen? As illuminating as this blog may be I’m guessing it is just a molecule of water in a vast ocean.

  27. 27
    Red Reader says:

    kairosfocus,
    I regret that I did not put in the extra work needed to clarify my thoughts in my 3 comment above.
    Here is what I now wish I had written: (Certainly, even this could use more work, but this is closer.)
    —–
    KF wrote: “we are in a hyperskeptical, ideologically polarized warped thinking age at war with objective truth and knowledge”.

    Another word for the state of mind which this statement describes is just plain “insanity”.
    We are in an “age of insanity” (one of many in human history). This is the “disbelief approach” or the “nothing makes sense approach”.

    The myth of our age is the universe popped out of “nothing”. It is the logical conclusion of “disbelief” in any intelligence greater than one’s own. This “belief” that, therefore “something” comes from “nothing” is not supported by the laws of physics nor any observed phenomena. This unbelief in objective reality is the root of insanity.

    The human brain intuitively recognizes “cause and effect”, “design”, “purpose”, “meaning”. The human heart intuitively “knows” what is true, what is consistent with observed reality. The “fundamental idea of God”, for example, (as opposed to “something” from “nothing”) is the rational, logical conclusion of the heart’s “belief” thinking, thinking that is consistent with what the heart knows to be true based on what the brain sees and identifies.

    When the human will is motivated by irrational “unbelief” to override the human heart’s belief in what it “knows” to be true based on what the human’s brain sees and identifies, the result is madness, insanity.

    Sometimes, conditions will bring a person back “to their senses”, back to the world of objective reality, where “cause and effect” belies belief in magical thinking such as “something” coming from “nothing”. We hear of these cases from time to time.

  28. 28
    kairosfocus says:

    FG, the above is part of the process, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Yes, we see narrative dominance games out there but a glance at Ac 27 should give sobering pause as to what happens when our clever schemes and narratives suffer a collision with reality. KF

  29. 29
    SomeGuy says:

    This is a profound post IMO. When I speak with millennials and gen x people I find moral relativism is now widely accepted, even if they don’t really know what it is. Truth and objectivity have become victims of this world view. This allows them to dismiss most of the previously accepted principles in science, religion and philosophy.
    As an example, atheists no long worry about how free will can exist if we live in a purely material world where everything occurs in a deterministic manner governed by the laws of physics.
    You can believe anything if you can just throw the body of knowledge gained over centuries, not by proving it wrong, but just by ignoring that knowledge by claiming there is no absolute truth, but only relative truth.
    It’s a lazy and foolhardy way to approach the big questions of life and it’s no wonder society is changing so fast, and not for the better.

  30. 30
    Fordgreen says:

    KF, Is it fair to say then from an eschatology perspective you are what is called a “post-millenarist”? (I’m guessing that maybe you don’t like such labels!).

    Do you see any signs that the Church is starting to take up the challenge to bring about the reforms you talk about?

  31. 31
    kairosfocus says:

    FG, no I am not, but I note that ours is an anomalous time in which we have challenges with recognising the comprehensive nature of the gospel. Start with the first of the Heb 6 principles, repentance, the gospel cannot be severed from gospel ethics and discipleship. Once there is critical mass, societal reformation is a natural outcome of sound discipleship. For example we should vote Rom 1. KF

  32. 32
    chuckdarwin says:

    Red Reader/3

    The “myth of our age” is the universe popped out of “nothing”.
    The “belief” that “something” comes from “nothing” is not supported by the laws of physics nor any observed phenomena.

    But yet God gets a pass when he/she/it “creates” the universe from nothing (ex nihilo).
    Myth is myth, I don’t see much distinction between the two…….

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    CD, nonsense and you know it. God as necessary being reality root and creator is just the opposite of the notion that our world or its antecedents arose from utter non being, which has no causal powers. Were utter non being ever the case, such would forever obtain. Infinite causal-temporal thermodynamic succession being an infeasible supertask, circular retrocausation also being a world from a non existent hat, what is left is finitely remote beginning rooted in necessary being reality root. KF

  34. 34
    relatd says:

    CD at 31,

    Of course you wouldn’t. The Catholic Church is growing.

  35. 35
    kairosfocus says:

    RR, interesting again. I suggest the world from non being issue is actually deeper than physics, it is logic of being, hence my comeback to CD just above. KF

  36. 36
    relatd says:

    Fordgree at 22,

    The end of the world, or civilization, is not happening yet. Certain conditions need to be met, certain things need to happen. At the moment, we are not in the ‘end times.’ The United States needs to return to Biblical values. To Biblical truths. It’s happening but those who don’t want this are lying in an effort to stop it. People are seeing the destructive fruit of the “Sexual Revolution” of the late 1960s. Families torn apart. The promotion of perverse sexuality. The promotion of sex with anybody.

  37. 37
    chuckdarwin says:

    KF/33, 35
    Before you start throwing the “n” word (i.e., nonsense) around, you need to re-read your own turgid, jargon-laden, grammatically challenged posts. Start with No. 33, supra………

  38. 38
    Fordgreen says:

    Related: “The United States needs to return to Biblical values”

    Just the United States or did you mean to say the whole world? Or does the US have a special part to pay in God’s plans?

  39. 39
    relatd says:

    Fordgreen at 38,

    Since I live in the U.S. and an election is coming up, I’m focusing on just the U.S. here. Yes, the whole world needs to hear the Gospel. And Western Europe is having the same problems, and in at least one country, worse, as the U.S. Just because I don’t mention the rest of the world does not mean I’ve forgotten about them or have no concern for them.

  40. 40
    Fordgreen says:

    @Relatd, Thanks.

    You mentioned an election coming up. Do you think politics will play a pivotal role in bringing in the Kingdom of God, or will it be (as some Christians believe) more through churches reaching out to individuals with the gospel? In other words, less about political change and more about personal transformation?

  41. 41
    relatd says:

    Fordgreen at 40,

    Still focusing on the U.S., an incredibly distorted version of politics is occurring. And, even worse, actual good journalism is declining. This means Americans have a greatly distorted picture of the various political parties. For example: Some believe it is politicians and not average people that promote and vote for certain issues. That is certainly wrong. People decide the issues. But, in some cases, lies are published about candidates and certain issues. What I am saying is people need to hear the truth. Not part of the truth but the whole truth. The Catholic Church has been at the forefront of describing what abortion actually is for many years. The reaction has been Churches being vandalized and even set on fire.

    The Church’s mission is to preach the Gospel and this will continue. The Kingdom of God is not yet. The new Heaven and New Earth are not yet. As in Jesus’ time, some will accept the Gospel and live it out, while others will not. Obedience to the Word of God is required. Actually following the Commandments is required. Some people experience conversion but it doesn’t stay with them while for others, it takes root and produces good fruit.

  42. 42
    kairosfocus says:

    CD, again, you wrote a nonsense assertion that reflects want of understanding of the logic of being. Utter non-being, the true nothing, would have no causal capability and were it ever the case . . . it can hardly be said to actually exist . . . such a case would forever obtain.* There would be no onward world such as ours or indeed any domain of reality. By sharp contrast, a finitely remote necessary being root of reality and creator is an adequate cause of a world such as we inhabit. Creation ex nihilo means, in that context to bring into existence as opposed to modifying what already is in existence. This is as opposed to a demiurge, where, as Enc Brit summarises: “. . . the Demiurge is the agent who takes the preexisting materials of chaos, arranges them [–> imperfectly!] according to the models of eternal forms, and produces all the physical things of the world, including human bodies.” A world of difference lies in that distinction. KF

    PS, Just in case, here is the sense of obtain:

    ob·tain (?b-t?n?, ?b-)
    v. ob·tained, ob·tain·ing, ob·tains
    v.tr.
    To succeed in gaining possession of as the result of planning or endeavor; acquire.
    v.intr.
    1. To be in existence, in effect, or customary: “standards, proprieties that no longer obtain” (Meg Greenfield)
    .
    2. Archaic To succeed.
    [Middle English obteinen, from Old French obtenir, from Latin obtin?re : ob-, intensive pref.; see ob- + ten?re, to hold; see ten- in Indo-European roots.]
    ob·tain?a·ble adj.
    ob·tain?er n.
    American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

  43. 43
    kairosfocus says:

    FG, the realm of God’s rule is not yet in fullness but is manifest in part through the gospel, its built in ethics and those who live under that principle. We know that even such a partial manifestation can and does act as a force for good in a community, with Ac 27 at Fair Havens as a key case in point. KF

  44. 44
    kairosfocus says:

    Relatd, as excerpted in 8 above, mutiny, looting and incompetent navigation of the ship of state with coordinated targetting of any alternative to the voyage of folly. KF

  45. 45
  46. 46
    Fordgreen says:

    KF: “… the realm of God’s rule is not yet in fullness but is manifest in part through the gospel, its built in ethics and those who live under that principle.”

    Where do you think the best manifestations of God’s rule are in the world right now? Which institutions and/or churches?

  47. 47
    kairosfocus says:

    FG, UD is not a site for theological debate as a main focus [sometimes, it can be counter productive, feeding the theocracy slander . . . ], and I do not think further delving on theological and theologically driven issues is of great help. What I will simply do is observe that there are degrees of theological-biblical and ethical soundness and different degrees of capability and opportunity to make a difference for good. Sadly, too often what makes communities more willing to listen is the pain of consequences of going over the cliff, much as Ac 27 exemplifies. KF

  48. 48
  49. 49
    kairosfocus says:

    AF, you full well know the answer, as was recently explored here; your long sustained hyperskeptical denialism moves us not one whit. The issue in this thread is to address the needless splintering of knowledge and linked polarisation in our day so that we must find a way to understand it, which is where JoHari comes in. To observe and orient effectively is the basis for decision and action. KF

  50. 50
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Where do you think the best manifestations of God’s rule are in the world right now? Which institutions and/or churches?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-mBpN5Hnf8

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pe4OtnPJGpo

  51. 51
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    The body of knowledge is present for thousands of years (Christian Church – writings from Early Church to Seventh Ecumenical Council ) the problem is you have to believe first so that knowledge can become active and working . It’s the same like trust in family , you first decide to trust the future husband/wife and then you marry him/her. Trust is someting very mysterious a combination of courage/risk and reason for a higher goal.

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