Article 19

Where Are We Now?

Having spent my civil service career from my post-doctorate recruitment grade of senior scientific officer, to chief scientific officer and director of a former national laboratory which included seven years in a headquarters division in London at the senior principle scientific officer grade; and having been motivated throughout by my personal objective of providing the administrative grades with experiment-acquired knowledge for the replacement of their preferred beliefs and opinions, I have to record that while no administrator ever sought to refute my proffered knowledge by debate, they never  adopted it in their policy formulations which continued to be belief-only reflections of their own interpretations of the beliefs and opinions of electorates, by which in turn, they sought to influence whichever political party was temporarily in power. Again, when in disgust, I requested early retirement to try my luck as a private-sector knowledge-only consultant, I found that private companies were also disinclined to accept knowledge which they did not dispute, but which they were reluctant to endorse for fear of offending administrators from whom they sought contracts and for fear of failing to gain sub-contracts from other private companies which themselves were fearful of offending administrators to the detriment of their own governmental contracts in what was and remains a competitive belief-only commercial/governmental world, run by fund-distributing bureaucrats through whichever political party happens to have an elective majority at any given time.  

As to the beliefs/counter-beliefs and opinions/counter-opinions of electorates and of commentators thereon, I always return to Socrates who is reported to have observed that the demos was quite capable of voting one way after listening to two debaters on one day and voting the opposite way the next day after listening  to two different debaters on the same topic; and to have demonstrated by question and answer sessions with his contemporaries that none of them held sustainable meanings for the terms (abstract nouns) which they had recourse to in their debates; and that consequently in my terms they could not sustain a differentiation of belief from knowledge.  Again, when told that the Oracle had declared him to be the wisest man in Greece, he is reported to have said that his wisdom was that he always knew when and why he didn’t know.  However, for such attempts to clarify the thoughts of his contemporaries he was accused of corrupting the young  and obliged to drink hemlock.  Perhaps, it is this fate which ensured a demotic preference for belief over knowledge ever since, a preference perhaps excusable when definitive knowledge was as limited as it was in the lifetime of Socrates, the knowledge-only stonemason, but surely it is not excusable in the era of twenty-first century science.

As to my own lifetime, I noted as a university student that scientists themselves were largely unclear as to the nature of their scientific-method of knowledge-acquisition in that they seemed to take its experimental source for granted, rather than describe it as our sole means of acquiring cause-effect knowledge of reality; that no history of science ever described the centrality of its role; that no such author ever saw his account of history as an opportunity to explain experimentation by reference to its essential role in each step of the history he was otherwise expounding; that consequently the readers of histories of science written by pseudo-scientists such as Karl Popper and indeed Charles Darwin, never recognise the absence of the cause/effect experimentation which they themselves never undertook and consequently they make no reference to it in their self-styled historical accounts of science which reveal their reluctance to acknowledge the work of Gregor Mendel (1822 – 84) who applied cause/effect experimentation in his investigation of character-transfer in successive generations of the pea-plant (1857- 69) or to Cardinal Nicholas de Cusa (1401- 64) who sought to eliminate all other causes in his investigation of air as the sole cause of weight-increase in growing plants and wrote a book on the use of the balance in his cause/effect experimentation.  However, he was ignored until taken up by Jan Baptist van Helmont (1577- 1644) at which point the carbon dioxide content of the gas mixture which is air was recognised to be the material cause of the effect which is plant growth in general.      

However, a general recognition of the need for cause/effect experimentation is not to be expected, if even those who practice it do not explain it to their general readers. Nor can we expect this absence of  explanation to discourage the imagination of such entities as the subconscious which cannot be known to exist in reality. When I first read Freud in my student-day efforts to differentiate science from non-science (nonsense) definitively, I noted that while Freud purported to access the subconscious of his patients, he could not by definition access his own; and that his book was thus meaningless, as is confirmed by a Spectator article on Confirmation Bias of 15/8/20 which shows that training to eliminate the subconscious bias of racism does not work, though the author Lewis Feilder still fails to recognise that it doesn’t work because conscious access to the subconscious is make-believe.                    19/8/20.

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