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The study of knowledge and its conditions

L&FP43: Big-S Science, Official Consensus and the pessimistic induction

It is highly relevant and timely to now ponder “Big-S Science and appeals to official consensus i/l/o the logic of the pessimistic induction and what warrant entails,” with “degrees of warrant, open mindedness and tolerance/diversity.” It is probably best to start with the pessimistic induction, here, via SEP: If one considers the history of scientific theories in any given discipline, what one typically finds is a regular turnover of older theories in favor of newer ones, as scientific knowledge develops. From the point of view of the present, most past theories must be considered false; indeed, this will be true from the point of view of most times. Therefore, by enumerative induction (that is, generalizing from these cases), surely theories Read More ›

L&FP, 42a: The limit on Mathematical knowledge

Here, a video series explores Godel’s incompleteness results: The core point is that Hilbert’s scheme collapsed, nicely summarised. The Godel incompleteness results and the Turing machine halting challenge made Mathematics irreducibly complex. So, Mathematics, too, is a venture of knowledge as warranted, credibly true (so reliable) belief, which must be open to correction. An exercise of rational, responsible faith, not utter certainty on the whole, once a sufficiently complex system is on the table. (Yes, first duties of reason obtain . . . here, there be dragons that love chick peas [Cicero . . .].) The defeasible [= defeat-able] framework for understanding knowledge extends to Mathematics. A fortiori to Computer Science and Physics, then onward across the spectrum of disciplines Read More ›

L&FP42: is knowledge warranted, credibly true (so, reliable) belief?

It’s time to start delivering on a promise to address “warrant, knowledge, logic and first duties of reason as a cluster,” even at risk of being thought pedantic. Our civilisation is going through a crisis of confidence, down to the roots. If it is to be restored, that is where we have to start, and in the face of rampant hyperskepticism, relativism, subjectivism, emotivism, outright nihilism and irrationality, we need to have confidence regarding knowledge. Doing my penance, I suppose: these are key issues and so here I stand, in good conscience, I can do no other, God help me. For a start, from the days of Plato, knowledge has classically been defined as “justified, true belief.” However, in 1963, Read More ›

L&FP 40: Thoughts on [neo-?] Reidian Common Sense Realism

We live in a civilisation haunted by doubt and by hyperskepticism. One, where skepticism is deemed a virtue, inviting hyper forms in as champions of intellect. The result has gradually led to selective hyperskepticism that often uncritically takes the word of champions or publicists for Big-S Science, while doubting well founded but unfashionable analyses or even self-evident truths. H’mm, just in case someone is unclear about or doubts that Self-Evident Truths exist, here is one . . . with an extra one for good measure: (Of course, I also have argued that there are self-evident truths regarding duty; particularly, inescapable first duties of reason that actually govern responsible reason, argument and discussion, starting with duties to truth, right reason, warrant Read More ›

Semi-circles and right angle dilemmas . . .

Daily Mail reports on a class assignment for seven year olds that happened to be set for the daughter of a Mathematics Lecturer at Oxford. Maths lecturer is left baffled by his seven-year-old daughter’s geometry homework and turns to Twitter for help – so can YOU work out if it’s true or false? Dr Kit Yates shares his seven-year-old daughter’s maths homework to Twitter The question asked students whether a semi-circle had ‘two right angles’ or not The maths lecturer, from Oxford, admitted that he was stumped by the problem  People were left baffled by the question and came up with conflicting answers  By Kate Dennett For Mailonline Published: 17:40 GMT, 25 February 2021 | Updated: 17:40 GMT, 25 February Read More ›

Dr Thomas Frieden, formerly Director of the US CDC, 2017 in NEJM, on the need to go beyond placebo-controlled studies as “gold standard”

One of the key steps in dismissing evidence of efficacy of hydroxychloroquine-based cocktails in treating early stageCovid-19 for patients in vulnerable groups on an outpatient basis is the use of the premise that such evidence is of low quality as it does not match the “gold standard” of placebo-controlled, randomised tests (often. RCT’s). However, observations are observations, natural regularities are often observable from the first few trials, evidence is evidence, ethical and practical considerations are real, and valid scientific methods do not reduce to applied statistics. It is in that context that we should attend carefully to remarks by Dr Thomas Frieden, writing in NEJM 3 1/2 years ago, in terms that uncannily anticipate our current woes: Despite their strengths, Read More ›

Dr Raoult Roars — new articles on findings and issues about HCQ + Cocktails for Covid-19

IHU- Méditerranée Infection, Marseille, is a significant French research institute that has continued its work on CV 19. For the record, here are excerpts from some recent work, headlined from threads where such would be buried: EXH 1: >>COVID-IHU #15 Version 1 du 27 Mai 2020 Early diagnosis and management of COVID-19 patients: a real-life cohort study of 3,737 patients, Marseille, France Abstract Background: In our institute in Marseille, France, we proposed early and massive screening for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Hospitalization and early treatment with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin (HCQ-AZ) was proposed for the positive cases. Methods: We retrospectively report the clinical management of 3,737 patients, including 3,054 (81.7%) treated with HCQ-AZ for at least three days and 683 (18.3%) Read More ›

A low-cost ventilator based on the Ambu Bag (do you think a “Gold Standard” Placebo control is needed . . . )

Ventilators are a key treatment for Covid-19, and there has been a wave of interest concerning development of low-cost ventilators; especially with a projected Covid-19 wave in excess of 100 millions for Africa. Here, then, is the Israel developed AmboVent, one of something like 300 fast-track initiatives to develop such globally: Video: This is of course one of several designs pivoting on the nearly ubiquitous manual respirator bulb, as per a suggestion that has been on the table for some time. Now we see a [near-?] commercial product. Video on the suggestion: Their blurb: The AmboVent initiative is led, by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) 108 electronic depot in partnership with Magen David Adom (MDA) (Israel’s red cross). The R&D Read More ›

Dr Zelenko’s HCQ-based ALT-ernative to the near-Business As Usual (n-BAU) approach

Jerry drew our attention last night to a radio interview by Dr Vladimir Zelenko. In this interview, he summarises his approach and rationale, giving results and making several announcements. (Unfortunately, the media cannot be embedded at UD as it is not YT. Kindly, go here; and make sure your browser has no active ad blocker.) On listening last night, here are my first observations on highlight points: Brazil and Israel are doing his early treatment, clinical diagnosis (backed up by nasal swab test), outpatient-oriented dosage for vulnerable patients protocol, ALT-1. He has treated 405 in that profile and sees 95% reduction on the expected death rate for the n-BAU baseline. He points out that the Raoult [by implication] protocol, which Read More ›

On Scientific Methods and alternatives to the “Placebo Control is the gold standard” view, in the face of pandemics (–> Logic & First Principles, 38)

It is clear that we need to re-think how we go about doing science to warrant approaches to the pandemic. So, allow me to headline a comment from the double-blind thread: KF, 16: >> I am also thinking back to the old “Scientific Method” summary we were taught in schools and its roots in Newton’s Opticks, Query 31: As in Mathematicks, so in Natural Philosophy, the Investigation of difficult Things by the Method of Analysis, ought ever to precede the Method of Composition. This Analysis consists in making Experiments and Observations, and in drawing general Conclusions from them by Induction, and admitting of no Objections against the Conclusions, but such as are taken from Experiments, or other certain Truths. For Read More ›

Are double-blind placebo-controlled studies the rightful “gold standard”? (So that, whatever does not “measure up” can be discounted or dismissed?)

As we have seen in recent weeks as Covid-19 and Hydrochloroquine cocktail treatments have been on the table, there is a clear tendency to view and treat double-blind placebo controlled testing as a “gold standard” yardstick and to then use such to discount and dismiss whatever does not “measure up” such as Professor Raoult’s work over in France. I will now argue in outline that such an attitude is selectively hyperskeptical, seriously ethically, epistemologically and logically flawed, and sets up a crooked yardstick. It is a commonplace in Medical research that arguably more lives were saved, net, than perished through the tainted medical studies in the Nazi death camps. However, the taint was seen as so serious that a programme Read More ›

BREAKING: After Prof Raoult’s 78 of 80 success ratio test, France approves [Hydroxy?]Chloroquine for Covid-19

France 24, English has the vid: This is a breakthrough of hope for those who may fall victim to the disease. HT, Vivid. I link the Daily Wire report Vivid links, given the onward confirmation: France Officially Sanctions Drug After 78 Of 80 Patients Recover From COVID-19 Within Five Days By  Amanda PrestigiacomoDailyWire.com The French government has officially sanctioned chloroquine, a drug often used to fight malaria, for certain patients infected with the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. “The French government has officially sanctioned prescriptions of chloroquine to treat certain coronavirus patients,” France 24 English reported Saturday. “This ensures continued treatment of patients who have been treated for several years for a chronic condition with this drug, but also allows a Read More ›

Logic and First Principles: Summarising first principles and duties of reason

As we continue to ponder the core of responsible rationality, it is helpful to ponder a summary of what we have won: I recall, way back, being taught how the seventeen first equations of Boolean Algebra [which can all be verified as equivalence relations through truth tables] were of equally axiomatic status. But then, I got the logic of being infection, and began to see that in fact, from the ontological perspective, identity and its close corollaries are prior: Then, there was that old philosopher who said that truth says of what is, that it is; and of what is not, that it is not. Sometimes, the truth does fit in a nutshell. Here, that truth accurately describes reality. That Read More ›

The issue of epistemic rights and duties

Back in 2007, “todangst ” of the “rational response squad” atheistical site wrote: To say that I am within my ‘epistemic rights’ to hold to a claim, I am saying that I violate no epistemic responsibilities or obligations in believing in my claim. (Rights and responsibilities go hand-in-hand.) An epistemic obligation is an intellectual responsibility with respect to the formation of, or holding to, my beliefs. The basic obligations would include 1) Not forming a belief dishonestly, through self deception. 2) Not misrepresenting how we can to hold a belief (claiming a belief came through reason, when in fact it was inculcated into us in infancy, and merely verified afterwards) 3) Not forming a belief irresponsibly (for example, seeking only Read More ›

JCW on the need to face inescapable, necessary first truths

Famously, Epictetus had an exchange with someone on the necessity, credibility and utility of logic: DISCOURSESCHAPTER XXV How is logic necessary? When someone in [Epictetus’] audience said, Convince me that logic is necessary, he answered: Do you wish me to demonstrate this to you?—Yes.—Well, then, must I use a demonstrative argument?—And when the questioner had agreed to that, Epictetus asked him. How, then, will you know if I impose upon you?—As the man had no answer to give, Epictetus said: Do you see how you yourself admit that all this instruction is necessary, if, without it, you cannot so much as know whether it is necessary or not? [Cf J. C. Wright] However, many today miss the point. J C Read More ›