Posts Tagged ‘Space of Ignorance’

Entropy of belief will keep increasing in a post-religion world

August 12, 2015

If the space of ignorance is infinite then increasing knowledge cannot reduce the real extent of the space of ignorance. However, whether the space of ignorance is infinite or not, increasing our quantum of knowledge always increases the perimeter of what we know that we don’t know.

The space of ignorance

Belief and faith can only exist in the space of ignorance. Whether the human psyche needs to have beliefs – which by definition are in the realm of ignorance – is an open question. I strongly suspect that humans do need to make some assumptions – call them beliefs – about areas of behaviour and motivation and appreciation, the reasons for which lie in the space of ignorance.  However, it is not clear to me that these assumptions are necessary to live our lives. I “believe” that they do help in achieving a better “quality” of life – but even that is just a belief – an assumption in my space of ignorance. The level of “beliefs” that any individual needs, I think, must vary with the individual.

Religions exist as an organised set of beliefs in the space of ignorance. Organised religions take it upon themselves to impose those set of beliefs on their followers and even to expand the numbers of their followers. Followers can argue interminably about the superiority of their particular ignorances over the ignorance of others. This applies to their gods as well. “My unknown god is better than your unknown god” maps to “My ignorance is better than your ignorance”.

In a post-religion world I expect that we would have moved beyond “organised religions” where sets of beliefs are imposed on others. “Freedom of choice of religion” would come to its logical conclusion to become “freedom of belief”. I can see that individuals would be free to select which beliefs or sets of beliefs they preferred to use as assumptions. They would be free to mix and match components from different belief sets – as it suited them or they judged to be beneficial for their own lives. They would be free to change their beliefs at will. After all they would merely be swapping one item of ignorance for another.

But my point is that the human psyche needs to make assumptions about the unknown (whether unknowable or not). The choice of these beliefs influence our values and then our behaviour our aesthetics and our motivations. The need for such assumptions/beliefs will not reduce in a post-religion world. But our selection of these beliefs will be less constrained. Sets of belief will not be as rigidly enforced by “organised religions”. We will choose those that suit as. Individuals may choose to believe in reincarnation if they wish to; or in the Daughter of God if they prefer or in no god at all. They can believe in a God of Dark Energy or his Son, the God of Dark Matter in an infinite Universe with a Paradise – or a Hades – lying beyond. There will be more beliefs than ever before – all in the space of ignorance. Maybe the Law is that the entropy of belief can only increase.

But there will still be psychopaths and sociopaths who will try to impose their particular ignorant assumptions on others


Pope’s fatwa presents a cosmic teapot and passes the buck on global warming

June 16, 2015

A draft of the Pope’s 192 page fatwa, due on Thursday, was leaked in an Italian magazine over the weekend. The Vatican protests that it is not the final version.

If the leak is correct, the Pope does not claim that he believes in the man-made global warming fantasy. He does not claim that he has received some Divine Revelation. He stops short of declaring jihad. Instead he takes a populist position but in a rush of cowardice he passes the buck to “numerous scientific studies”. For those (such as The Guardian and Huff Po) expecting authoritative support from the Catholic God, through the Pope as his infallible mouthpiece, this fatwa may be as explosive as a wet christmas cracker.

“though other factors may be involved, numerous scientific studies indicate that the majority of the global warming in recent decades is due to the large concentration of greenhouse gases… emitted above all due to human activity,”

He blames the developed world for the lack of development in the third world. He forgets that the developing world desperately needs to use fossil fuels to continue their development. He makes the fundamental mistake of thinking that the development of one part of the world is at the expense of other parts. He forgets, in his ignorance, that the poor are not poor because the rich are rich. This following section is from a translation at Bishop Hill

For poor countries, the priority should be the eradication of poverty and social development of their inhabitants; at the same time the scandalous level of consumption of certain privileged sectors of their population must be considered and better counter corruption. Of course, they must also develop less polluting forms energy production, but for this they have need to rely on help from countries that are grown much at the expense of pollution today the planet. The direct exploitation of abundant solar energy requires that you establish mechanisms and subsidies so that developing countries can have access to technology transfer, for technical assistance and financial resources, but always paying attention to concrete conditions, since the compatibility of the systems with the context for which they are proposed is not always properly assessed. The costs would be low when compared to risk of climate change. In any case, it is above all an ethical choice, based on solidarity of all peoples.

As usual the Pope – just like idiot Muftis promoting jihad – operates in the Space of Ignorance and as his “authority”, he presents the views of others operating in the Space of Ignorance.

The man made global warming “theory” is based on untestable hypotheses.  Climate “science” is not science it is advocacy.

Human emissions of carbon dioxide are less than 5% of all carbon dioxide emissions.

Carbon dioxide emission sources (GT CO2/year)

  • Transpiration 440
  • Release from oceans 330
  • Fossil fuel combustion 26
  • Changing land use 6
  • Volcanoes and weathering 1

Carbon dioxide is accumulating in the atmosphere by about 15 GT CO2/ year. The accuracy of the amounts of carbon dioxide emitted by transpiration and by the oceans is no better than about 2 – 3% and that error band (+/- 20GT/year)  is itself almost as large as the total amount of emissions from fossil fuels. ….. 

Bertrand Russel with his “cosmic teapot” pointed out that the burden of proof lies upon those making scientifically untestable claims rather than shifting the burden of proof to sceptics. To paraphrase what he wrote

Many orthodox global warmists speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in political IPCC  reports, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.

Or as he elaborates

To take another illustration: nobody can prove that there is not between the Earth and Mars a china teapot revolving in an elliptical orbit, but nobody thinks this sufficiently likely to be taken into account in practice. I think man made global warming just as unlikely.

O ignorant priest! O cowardly priest!

And not specifically for this Pope but for all “priests” everywhere and including the “high priests of false science” and the high priests of jihad : O who will rid us of these troublesome priests.

Fatwas and papal encyclicals are all bull

June 14, 2015

I am distressed by the fact that so many humans give so much credence (or any credence at all) to priests. All “priests” are in the business of imposing their beliefs onto others. What is not knowledge is ignorance. And beliefs only exist in the space outside knowledge. Imposing beliefs on others is just the imposition of ignorance. Each individual should at least be allowed his own ignorance. The “good” priests at least confine themselves to imposing their beliefs onto those who choose to suspend their intelligence and agree to be subjugated. The “bad” priests are those who seek to impose their beliefs on all and using force if necessary.

Science is the process by which ignorance becomes knowledge. And beliefs are, of course, required only when there is no knowledge – in the Space of Ignorance.

What is not knowledge is ignorance. Religions only exist in the Space of Ignorance

I find the idea that a few people and their spokesmen, whether some Mufti or the Pope, are taken seriously when they tell others what to believe, quite repugnant. In fact I find the idea that any  “priest” who – by definition – operates in the Space of Ignorance – and tells others what particular bit of ignorance they are to follow, effectively denies and degrades the sentience of the “follower”.

And while I have no objection to anybody wishing to subordinate his own capacity for thought and to unthinkingly “follow” some other person’s belief within the Space of Ignorance, it does not increase my respect for that person. Encyclicals, bulls and fatwas are merely opinions. They are all about beliefs in the Space of Ignorance. They are required only for matters of belief and are not required for matters which lie in the area of knowledge. Papal encyclicals are of a somewhat lower status than a papal bull.

Slate: Encyclicals are authoritative, not to be criticized or rejected lightly by members of the church, but they are not infallible. Only three doctrines developed in the past 200 years are considered infallible, and all were issued as bulls: the Immaculate Conception (that Mary was born without original sin), the Assumption (that Mary was taken up body and soul into heaven), and the definition of papal infallibility issued by the First Vatican Council.

There is a distressing and contemptuous suspension of reason when a papal bull – regarded as infallible – has to be issued that the Pope is infallible. ” I am infallible because I am”.

But there is no difference between a papal encyclical which is a form of pastoral letter – sent by the Pope as a shepherd to inform all the unthinking sheep of his congregation what they are to believe, and the fatwa issued by some idiot Imam as a command to all those who choose to suspend their own intelligence. (A fatwa is actually a religious legal opinion and can only be pronounced by one who is a Mufti. All Imams are considered learned enough to be Muftis). Of course a papal bull would be a command to the faithful but would only have excommunication (nowadays) as the sanction for non-compliance. Non-compliance with a papal bull could be heresy and once upon a time demanded torture and death. A fatwa on the other hand is stuck in some distant past and may still require death for non-compliance.

In areas of ignorance where religious beliefs do not impinge, the process of science is not in conflict. But it took until 1835 for the Catholic Church to permit books on the heliocentric nature of the solar system:

The Catholic Church’s 1758 Index of Prohibited Books omitted the general prohibition of works defending heliocentrism, but retained the specific prohibitions of the original uncensored versions of De revolutionibus and Galileo’s Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. Those prohibitions were finally dropped from the 1835 Index.

Many fatwas and encyclicals are opportunistic and often stupid. A fatwa from Saudi Arabia as recently as 2000 declared that the sun revolved around the earth. In 2005 an Indian mufti issued a fatwa against the tennis player Sania Mirza and her tight tops. Also in 2005 another Indian mufti declared that a 28 year old woman raped by her father-in-law was now in the position of mother to her husband and had to leave him. A fatwa from an idiot mufti in Malaysia banned “tomboys”. Children are still prevented from vaccinations against polio because of a fatwa.

Encyclicals from the Pope are more sophisticated than fatwas issued by a multitude of silly muftis, but just as opportunistic and equally inane. In 1864 a papal encyclical (Quanta Cura) condemned freedom of individual conscience or that the will of the public could override any law, human or divine, among many other idiocies. In 1937 a self-serving encyclical written in German (Mit brennender Sorge) was issued to protect Catholics in Germany and which denounced the theories of “race and blood”, but did not name the Nazis or Hitler. Just 5 days later another encyclical (Divini Redemptoris) denouncing communism and bolshevism and designed to mollify the Nazis was also issued. In 1968, another encyclical (Humanae Vitae) condemned contraception. In 1991 the encyclical Centesimus Annus praised labour unions and insisted that the end of the Cold War did not mean that Capitalism was the only model of economic organisation. In the last 100 years all the encyclicals issued have been about opportunism and political appeasement.

A papal encyclical has been expected for some time – any day now – on Climate Change. This would continue the recent tradition of populist political correctness. But it probably will not say very much about the sexual abuse of children by its priests. But addressing  climate change itself is some confirmation that, for the Catholic Church, hypothesised global warming (renamed to be the almost meaningless term “climate change”) lies in the Space of Ignorance and is not knowledge.  It is expected that the Pope will call on all good Catholics to stop using fossil fuels and stop eating meat or at least to get their cows to reduce their flatulence. But knowledge needs no papal encyclicals – only beliefs do.

Global warming belief is – as with all religions – placed in the Space of Ignorance. There is no “science” involved in “climate science”, when there is no testable hypothesis. No “climate policy” anywhere in the world has any climate parameter as a measurable goal. (The talk about a global warming of 2C is based on a parameter that is calculated not measured – and the calculations themselves are suspect). That the Catholic Church and this Pope espouse global warming orthodoxy is only “proof” that global warming is nothing more than a belief in the Space of Ignorance. It is Religious Alarmism of the worst kind. That the Catholic Church supports this belief could – hopefully – be its kiss of death.

But the bottom line is that encyclicals and fatwas are only needed in the Space of Ignorance and are all bull.

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