Error draws sustenance from ambiguity

In part, error owes its existence and its long “life” to ambiguity.

The more empirically words are defined, the more words lose their ambiguity, and to speak metaphorically, error finds that the shadows in which it hides have been diminished. When terms are defined empirically, error is more easily exposed.

For example, the word “cause” – to be a scientific term, any term, including the term “causation,” must have the EXACT same meaning every time it is used.

Try to define the word “cause” empirically so that it means exactly the same thing in  these two cases:

  1. HIV causes acquired immunodeficiency (of course it does not – it is merely a contributor). The term “acquired” is meant to exclude all genetic sources of immunodeficiency.
  2. The motion of the 8 ball was caused by a collision with the cue ball.

I have used the second example to define the terms “cause,” “driver,” and “contributor” empirically. #2, restated, “The motion of the 8 ball was driven by a collision with the cue ball, with contributions from a number of phenomena, including air resistance and the friction of the table.”

As noted, HIV is one contributor of many to the development or “acquisition” of immunodeficiency, where “acquisition” excludes all genetic sources, including those genetic defects with slow penetrance. Among the many contributors to the development of immunodeficiency are a toxic lifestyle (such as those of the first AIDS patients), exposure to toxic substances, consumption of toxic substances, poor stewardship of the body – including inadequate nutrition and poor quality sleep -,  cancer (a huge contributor to immunodeficiency when it is present), and so many other things contribute to outright immunodeficiency.

Once a single contributor is established to any effect, causation is out the window.

Measured empirically, the degree of immunodeficiency makes it clear that none of us is completely immuno-sufficient, and our immuno-sufficiency merely decreases after HIV infection gets out of control. When terms are properly defined, the error of Robert Gallo et al. has nowhere to hide. His error derives sustenance from ambiguities in the current use of the terms “cause,” “acquired,” “immunodeficiency,” even “HIV” with all of its strains and quasi-species, and ambiguities in the exact degree of immuno-sufficiency of the patients prior to an infection with the virus(es).

A second example. Anselm’s error re existence.

Defined empirically, to exist is to be imperfect, and in EVERY way imperfect.

If something is perfect, eo ipso, it does not exist, and its existence is impossible, at least

by THIS definition.

Now Anselm has at least one more reply: to define things empirically is to exclude god from possibility. God is a noumenon, as Kant would say, and is not knowable by or through phenomenology (including the scientific study of phenomena).

Yes, and I agree. But that implies that god does not exist in the way that we know existence empirically. Thus, while I might entreat an enemy to show me mercy, I would not expect success by entreating god for mercy in the same way. I would not expect that prayer would be efficacious beyond what can be explained by chance.

Pullo and Forculus – go figure, in the fictional TV series, “Rome,” at the exact moment that Pullo is praying to Forculus to unlock his prison cell, a guard unlocks his prison cell, and gives Pullo the opportunity to redeem himself from the crime of striking a superior officer. Even with the laws of probability at hand, I would have a tough time convincing Pullo that his prayer was not efficacious.

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The killer counterexample

A book has been written claiming that wheat is the cause of America’s weight problem.

The killer counterexample is Jared Vogel, who lost over two hundred pounds eating wheat every day in Subway sandwiches (as I understand it, even the oat bread Subway serves contains wheat; all of their other breads are wheat).

If he ate wheat every day and merely maintained his weight, that would contradict the thesis of this book, but it might just be an exception to the general rule.

But actually losing over 200 pounds by consuming the putative cause of obesity is a killer counterexample. That simply cannot occur if the thesis is true.

Madness is the rule among men

How mad we are may be seen by what percent of people believe the ruse of the bard’s Hamlet.

His ruse = being mad, while pretending to be sane, pretending that he is only pretending to be mad.

They err who think one cannot be mad, while pretending to be sane, while claiming to be pretending to be mad.

The evidence that Hamlet is actually mad begins with his hearing and seeing things that are not real. So many people believe in spirits and ghosts that they do not see this as delusional, but it is. At the start of the play, his entire belief system about the nature of man is as delusional as belief in fairy tales like religion. His delusions extend to his justification for killing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, dupes of the king, by claiming that they made love to the employment. Insane squared! His best defense for his cruelty to Ophelia is “not guilty by reason of insanity.”

By human standards, my Hamlet, though stressed more severely than the bard’s, is and remains sane – he hears no voices, sees no ghosts, believes not a jot in anything supernatural; before Darwin, he intuits that man is the kissing cousin of the chimp; he believes in nothing that is directly contradicted by reliable evidence, believes in nothing absolutely, and believes only in things to the degree that they are supported by evidence of the most reliable kind.

To be sane in this world is as rare as being honest; ’tis to be one in perhaps ten thousand.

Yahweh is my enemy

I hate Yahweh – with a passion. But I forgive 70×7 times the people who created this repulsive, elitist, psychotic god, who teaches us that slavery and genocide are A-OK.

To date, I have found only one thing that I share with this psychotic god –

we both hate whiners. I trust that this does not make me as psycho as Yahweh is.

PS: since Allah is Yahweh on steroids, I hate Allah more. I also forgive the people who outdid the psycho creator of the super-psycho Yahweh.

A Nietzschean medicine

is a poison that if it does not kill you, it makes you stronger.

Was the medicinal conifer tea of arbor vitae that mysteriously and quickly cured Cartier’s sailors of scurvy and syphilis a Nietzschean medicine?

Compare the story of Mithridates VI, the King of Pontus, who used ever increasing doses of poison to give him immunity to ordinary doses of the poison. He used poison and made it act like a medicine.

Poison: Medicine = two sides of the same coin, as are dying: becoming stronger.

To heal, and in general, to become stronger, one must sometimes almost die. The cure for a malady may well proceed through tremendous torment.