Very early in his medical career, when my father was doing his residency in the emergency ward of a Sydney hospital, his bestie was a fellow young doctor who was Jewish. Proper Jewish. Yarmulke, Temple every week… the whole nine yards.
Our families were close.
One of his daughters was probably my first age-appropriate hetero crush. (There was a nanny prior to that I can only dimly remember.) I have fond, hazy memories of her from a combined holiday to Samoa… one of the many instances where my mother the psychonaut almost died in the Pacific… this time from an extreme reaction to something in the kava. (Or the saliva that was in the kava. Traditional preparation is not without its ickyness.)
Sitting in a McDonald’s -a mainstay of medical staff across the world- after a twenty something hour shift that finished at dawn, my father and his friend ate breakfast.
After finishing his hash brown, my father’s friend remarked that he probably shouldn’t have eaten it because it may have been cooked on the same grill that the bacon was cooked on. (It’s deep-fried in vegetable oil so it’s fine but that’s not the point here.) My father, because he is a bit of a dick, asked his friend whether he really believed that the creator of the universe would take issue with such a small, accidental, culinary transgression.
He told me his friend’s response. “If you start to question one part of it, you end up questioning all of it.”
Which brings us to TED. This from Celia Farber:
I’ve been immersed in this war for a long time–it spans so many fields of science, from AIDS to Vaccines to Global Warming to Nutrition, Health, to Paranormal studies, parapsychology, Quantum Physics and beyond. The bullies, calling themselves “skeptics,” have had one singular weapon which has been impossible to counter, as it is designed not to be answerable, namely pure relentless mockery. Reputation destruction. Wikipedia bullying. Charges of “pseudo-science,” and “woo,” to anything at all that doesn’t conform exactly to a fiercely reductionist, materialist, market driven and frankly misogynist approach to “Science.” Anything that slows booming global bio-tech and pharmacological progressivism is “denialism” and “woo,” and any scientist who steps out of line, no matter how esteemed, how decorated or respected, is thrown into the garbage compactor.
The garbage compactor approach didn’t work this time. R2D2 got to the controls. Check it:
Nowhere do they explain why their science board cooked up their ridiculous reasons for taking down the videos in the first place. I mean, seriously? None of these fine, exceedingly well educated people thought to, you know, go through the videos to see if their accusations were true? Or, here’s a thought, ask the presenters for more information? So poorly thought out were these reasons that Hancock destroyed them with two words: “Show me.” Unsurprisingly, Sheldrake was able to produce the mysterious studies that the science board believed didn’t exist. And on and on. The reasons for taking the videos down in the first place were pure crap and everyone knew it.
And I just love, love, love that this demolition came out of Whitechapel… fetid, creepy, stalking ground of Jack the Ripper, home to Huguenot plotters, refugee kabbalists, Spring-Heeled Jack, Blitz rubble, domestic Islamists and brooding Hawksmoor churches. E1 has long been a chaobomb lobbed at the paranoias of the ruling elite.
Because paranoia is what it is about. They’re terrified of more people seeing the man behind the curtain. The old approach of sending in the identity-stealing, nazi-policy-promoting, paedophile-friendly, neckbeard-shocktroops completely failed. No longer can a few silly little materialist bloggers unilaterally dismiss facts because they don’t like them. As I have been saying for the last couple of years, the ontology of creation is being democratised. We’re gonna win. Here’s an excerpt from an interview with Thomas Nagel that Chris Knowles shared in the Secret Sun facestalk group:
Materialism, then, is fine as far as it goes. It just doesn’t go as far as materialists want it to. It is a premise of science, not a finding. Scientists do their work by assuming that every phenomenon can be reduced to a material, mechanistic cause and by excluding any possibility of nonmaterial explanations. And the materialist assumption works really, really well—in detecting and quantifying things that have a material or mechanistic explanation. Materialism has allowed us to predict and control what happens in nature with astonishing success. The jaw-dropping edifice of modern science, from space probes to nanosurgery, is the result.
But the success has gone to the materialists’ heads. From a fruitful method, materialism becomes an axiom: If science can’t quantify something, it doesn’t exist, and so the subjective, unquantifiable, immaterial “manifest image” of our mental life is proved to be an illusion.
Here materialism bumps up against itself. Nagel insists that we know some things to exist even if materialism omits or ignores or is oblivious to them. Reductive materialism doesn’t account for the “brute facts” of existence—it doesn’t explain, for example, why the world exists at all, or how life arose from nonlife.
If you think this may be an overstatement of the significance of a spat involving an expensive little club run by a guy that declared the web ‘over’ in 2008 that mistakes cute marketing strategies for world-changing innovation… then consider the fact that there are two ‘McDonald’s questions’ on the table.
For TED, the first is internal: “If these sad little neckbeards are utterly incapable of providing counter-evidence to Hancock and Sheldrake… then maybe they’re…?”
The next is very much external and involves all of us: “Wait a minute. Are you seriously saying that these so-called proper scientists (stage magicians and bloggers) can’t find a single argument to defend their faith-based position that we are nothing more than meat robots? Not one? They just pull the videos they don’t like, run away from the questions and just expect us to live in their wrong, soulless world? That is a baseless, unprovoked attack on our entire experience of the universe and I will not be subjected to criminal abuse.”
Returning to Craig Weiler’s earlier post:
We’ll have to do this again. And again, and again. Each time we’ll have more people on our side and we’ll make a little more noise. At some point, we’ll be loud enough that our wrath will be more unpleasant than allowing us a place at the table. It’s a long road, but we just took a big step. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Nor have I. In a Talebean sense, Materialism™ can be considered robust. It is solid enough to appear impervious… until it isn’t, like a fortress by the sea. Genuine, open, enquiry can be considered the HMS Antifragile. This is how the Battle of TED Harbour is playing out, this is how their miscalculations are unfolding.
So cry chaos and reload the cannons.