Why Only Academic Speculation Can Measure The Depth Of The Rabbit Hole

The negative impact of academic speculation over the last 150 years cannot be overestimated. It has led humanity around by a ring in its nose, from pointless argument to pointless argument. This is the infertile soil that produced systems like Technocracy, Sustainable Development and Global Warming. ⁃ TN Editor

The headline said, “Polluted Air Can Cloud Your Morality, Lead to Unethical Behavior.” It is a classic of ‘reporting’ in today’s age of speculation. It’s also typical of today’s academic rubbish given credibility by a sensationalist media. The origin of the story was an academic article in Psychological Science, the journal of the Association for Psychological Science. Because of that, it is a good model to explain what is wrong with it, how it was done, and how the practice developed. The damage caused by misleading society, not to mention the trillions of dollars wasted on meaningless research requires drastic remediation. (An interesting event occurred when using a grammar checker on my article. It suggested I replace ‘academic’ with the word ‘scholarly.’ Ironically, that is the entire thrust of this article. In practice, they are not the same at all.)

The academic article proves nothing. It is of no consequence to anyone other than those who produced it. The majority of what universities produce or do in all faculties is similarly irrelevant to the real world that supports them. A majority of the university production is irrelevant, but it is worse in the newest faculty on campus, the social sciences.

There were only two faculties at 19th century universities, the Natural Sciences and the Humanities. That began to change in 1859, the year Darwin published The Origin of Species. Darwin knew the limitations of his work and was reluctant to publish until the work of Alfred Russel Wallace was brought to his attention. Most people are familiar with the social impact of Darwin’s work generally called social Darwinism.  An important example was Herbert Spencer’s comment about “survival of the fittest,” appealed to Darwin, so he included it in the sixth edition

However, there was a very different impact that became more profound. Its impact was great but is little understood by most. Quite simply, the science community used Darwin’s Theory of Evolution to defeat religion. It is why you see books like Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion or Christopher Hitchens work, “God is not Great,” as part of the modern public debate.

This article is not written to argue for or against religion, but to explain what happens when a major institution in society is essentially removed. The reaction in the academic community and the knock-on for society created much of today’s societies. Darwin’s Theory effectively eliminated God as an explanation for humans existing and being so different than all the other species, including the apes. Wallace said Darwin’s Theory failed to explain the difference and therefore failed.

Darwin attempted to provide an answer in The Descent of Man published 12 years after Origin.   He tried to argue that although no one species could do what humans do, each species could do something. This led to the joke that if you sat enough chimpanzees in front of typewriters, they would eventually produce all the works of Shakespeare.

Canadian genetics professor David Suzuki illustrated academic illogic, environmental bias, and an intellectual disconnect when he wrote,

Economics is a very species – chauvinistic idea. No other species on earth – and there are may be 30 million of them – has had the nerve to put forth a concept called economics, in which one species, us, declares the right to put value on everything else on earth, in the living and non-living world.”

It doesn’t take nerve to do it, it takes intellect. Suzuki is also wrong about the number of species and the idea of placing values on things. All animals do it. The difference is all other animals only have one value, whether it is edible or not. There are no other species that could even imagine economics or any other discipline.

This idea is a natural lead into the impact of Darwin’s Theory because Economics is just one of many disciplines, like Anthropology, Sociology, and Political Science, collectively called the Social Sciences. It is now the largest faculty in most universities. It exists solely to replace God’s explanation for humans being here and so different from all other animals. I call it collective human navel-gazing. It adds nothing to explain why humans are so different.

The trouble is what they claimed to know had already evolved from experience and common sense. Sadly, there is no university in the world that offers even a half credit in it. After coming into the university system as a 30-year old mature student and then teaching for 25-years, I learned that they would need someone from outside to teach it. As Prince Philip, in a rare wise observation, said, universities are the only truly incestuous systems in our society.

The only skill these social scientists (a term which in itself is a contradiction) developed were the abilities to speculate and create non-existent problems to produce more research money to further their careers. J. Scott Armstrong asked the question “Does an Academic Research Paper Contain Useful Knowledge?” His findings are disturbing but not surprising.

I conducted an analysis to estimate the percentage of published papers in forecasting that contain useful knowledge (Armstrong and Pagell 2003). We defined useful knowledge as evidence that could contribute to better decisions than would have otherwise been made in given situations. We concluded that only 3% met this definition. My opinion, supported by an analysis of literature in marketing (Armstrong 2003), is that the percentage of useful papers in marketing is even lower.

I suspect that most of that 3% are people who use the data for their own career -enhancing paper.

Now let’s examine how these papers are produced. They start with a bias and then set up a study to prove it. In the article mentioned at the start,

“Researchers from Columbia University conducted experimental studies and surveys of past data to find indications of air pollution exposure affecting crime and deviant behavior.”

They justified their credibility and bias by referring to previous studies. The implications of this are that they are just confirming and furthering what others established.

“Our findings suggest that air pollution not only corrupts people’s health, but also can contaminate their morality,”

The first problem of any study or even a simple discussion is the definition of terms. As Voltaire said,

“If you wish to converse with me, define your terms.”  

How do they define ‘morality’? What do they consider ‘crime’ and ‘deviant behavior’? How do they define ‘air pollution?’

Then, they commit the cardinal sin of research by claiming a correlation is conclusive evidence. My favorite example for the classroom was that Diet Coke causes obesity. Research shows that more obese people drink Diet Coke than any other group.

The authors of the moral behavior study assume that the subject’s reaction to visual images of air pollution was the cause of the change of behavior. There are many other explanations most of them more logical than the tenuous claims of the study. Our senses are designed to inform us and allow us to react, so of course, the subjects reacted to visual signals. The nature of the group, which is naturally biased, will predetermine results. Aren’t low-income areas always around industry because land is cheap and poor paying jobs are available? All surveys or polls are taken by people willing to do them.

For example, a similar correlation study between climate and crime claimed that crime rates increased when the Santa Ana winds blew in California. That’s the correlation, but the cause and effect were that in low-income areas people, who can’t afford air conditioning, leave their windows and doors open inviting crime. They spend more time outdoors and drink much more beer, thus increasing the potential for conflict.

In the study we are discussing, a second part explains what is really happening.

Another experiment sought to verify the link between anxiety and air pollution. Participants were shown photos from Beijing, with some images depicting notably smoggier scenes and others showing much cleaner views of the same area. The individuals were tasked with writing essays about what they thought it would be like to live there. Later, specialists measured the essays for anxiety. Sure enough, those who imagined themselves living in the cleaner areas displayed lower levels of anxiety in their essays compared to people who wrote about living in polluted areas.

Apart from the problem of objectively determining a subjective level of anxiety from an essay, there is the obvious analysis. Only an academic would claim such ability and, only an academic would think the outcome significant. Of course, anxiety changed, humans are designed and programmed to respond with an increased level of anxiety because they need a coping strategy. It’s called survival.

The phrase “sure enough” is appropriate because all of these studies fulfill the comment I heard years ago about Sociology and Psychology. They try to prove with statistics, which presumably makes it scientific, what your grandmother already knew.

Perhaps the best example of the failure of a social science to resolve anything is anthropology. The entire discipline is devoted to showing how humans are different from the other apes. They decided what made us different was the ability to walk upright, so we became Homo erectus. The distinction wasn’t enough because other apes could walk upright, albeit for short stretches.

The next distinction was our ability to make tools, so we became Homo habilis, but then Jane Goodall discovered chimpanzees making tools.

The next category began to confront the real factors that make humans different. It involves our ability to think conceptually, that is to take two ideas and combine them to create a third, basic problem-solving. This requires wisdom, so we became Homo sapiens, the Latin for wise. Then, studies involving chimpanzees saw them drag boxes from the side of a high-ceilinged room to climb up and reach bananas hanging from the ceiling.

This posed a real challenge. What was left? It is hard to imagine, but they decided what made us different is our ability to tell lies. Since this requires a double concept, you have to think of the truth then a way to bypass it, we became Homo sapiens sapiens – the doubly-wise ape. Then this idea was challenged when watching a gorilla through a one-way glass they saw it break a toy. Using the 300-word sign language skill of the gorilla, they asked who broke the toy. Almost without hesitation, the gorilla pointed at the other gorilla.

In discussions with anthropologists I learned that they are now thinking we are the only animals capable of thinking about death or at least an after-life. As I immediately pointed out, that is where we came in, thinking about an afterlife is central to religion.

After 159 years we have come full circle. All that emerged was an entire faculty, the social sciences, that dragged the level of academic research down and wasted trillions of dollars on speculative research that only advances their careers. Trump is correctly increasing more vocational training. He should pay for it by closing at least 70% of the self-perpetuating, redundant, society damaging, universities. For most students, they are a socially acceptable form of unemployment.




Millions Of U.S. Homes Are Massively Tracked By Their Smart TVs

Technocrats crave any and all data including data relating to your behavior. Technocracy was defined as the “Science of Social Engineering” as early as 1938 and nothing has changed. Smart TVs aim to change your behavior, period. ⁃ TN Editor

The growing concern over online data and user privacy has been focused on tech giants like Facebook and devices like smartphones. But people’s data is also increasingly being vacuumed right out of their living rooms via their televisions, sometimes without their knowledge.

In recent years, data companies have harnessed new technology to immediately identify what people are watching on internet-connected TVs, then using that information to send targeted advertisements to other devices in their homes. Marketers, forever hungry to get their products in front of the people most likely to buy them, have eagerly embraced such practices. But the companies watching what people watch have also faced scrutiny from regulators and privacy advocates over how transparent they are being with users.

Samba TV is one of the bigger companies that track viewer information to make personalized show recommendations. The company said it collected viewing data from 13.5 million smart TVs in the United States, and it has raised $40 million in venture funding from investors including Time Warner Cable, cable operator Liberty Global and billionaire Mark Cuban.

Samba TV has struck deals with roughly a dozen TV brands — including Sony, Sharp, TCL and Philips — to place its software on certain sets. When people set up their TVs, a screen urges them to enable a service called Samba Interactive TV, saying it recommends shows and provides special offers “by cleverly recognizing onscreen content.” But the screen, which contains the enable button, does not detail how much information Samba TV collects to make those recommendations.

Samba TV declined to provide recent statistics, but one of its executives said at the end of 2016 that more than 90 percent of people opted in.

Once enabled, Samba TV can track nearly everything that appears on the TV on a second-by-second basis, essentially reading pixels to identify network shows and ads, as well as programs on Netflix and HBO and even video games played on the TV. Samba TV has even offered advertisers the ability to base their targeting on whether people watch conservative or liberal media outlets and which party’s presidential debate they watched.

The big draw for advertisers — which have included Citi and JetBlue in the past, and now Expedia — is that Samba TV can also identify other devices in the home that share the TV’s internet connection.

Samba TV, which says it has adhered to privacy guidelines from the Federal Trade Commission, does not directly sell its data. Instead, advertisers can pay the company to direct ads to other gadgets in a home after their TV commercials play, or one from a rival airs. Advertisers can also add to their websites a tag from Samba TV that allows them to determine if people visit after watching one of their commercials.

If it sounds a lot like the internet — a company with little name recognition tracking your behavior, then slicing and dicing it to sell ads — that is the point. But consumers do not typically expect the so-called idiot box to be a savant

“It’s still not intuitive that the box-maker or the software embedded by the box-maker is going to be doing this,” said Justin Brookman, director of consumer privacy and technology policy at the advocacy group Consumers Union and a former policy director at the Federal Trade Commission. “I’d like to see companies do a better job of making that clear and explaining the value proposition to consumers.” About 45 percent of TV households in the United States had at least one smart TV at the end of 2017, IHS Markit data showed. Samba TV, which is based in San Francisco and has about 250 employees, competes against several companies, including Inscape, the data arm of the consumer electronics maker Vizio, and a startup called Alphonso.

It can be a cutthroat business. Samba has sued Alphonso for patent infringement. Last year, Vizio paid $2.2 million to settle claims by the Federal Trade Commission and the state of New Jersey that it was collecting and selling viewing data from millions of smart TVs without the knowledge or consent of set owners. In December, The New York Times reported that Alphonso was using gaming apps to gain access to smartphone microphones and listen for audio signals in TV ads and shows.

Samba TV’s language is clear, said Bill Daddi, a spokesman. “Each version has clearly identified that we use technology to recognize what’s onscreen, to create benefit for the consumer as well as Samba, its partners and advertisers,” he added.

Read full story here…




Altering Human Genetics Through Vaccinations

Just as a few Big Tech companies control media exposure on the earth, so to will a few Big Pharma companies control the genetic future of planetary citizens. Technocrats are outside of all ethical and moral bounds, bent on the ‘science of social engineering.” ⁃ TN Editor

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has launched efforts to create a vaccine that would protect people from most flu strains, all at once, with a single shot.

Over the years, I’ve written many articles refuting claims that vaccines are safe and effective, but we’ll put all that aside for the moment and follow the bouncing ball.

Massachusetts Senator and big spender, Ed Markey, has introduced a bill that would shovel no less than a billion dollars toward the universal flu-vaccine project.

Here is a sentence from an NIAID press release that mentions one of several research approaches:

“NIAID Vaccine Research Center scientists have initiated Phase 1/2 studies of a universal flu vaccine strategy that includes an investigational DNA-based vaccine (called a DNA ‘prime’)…”

This is quite troubling, if you know what the phrase “DNA vaccine” means. It refers to what the experts are touting as the next generation of immunizations.

Instead of injecting a piece of a virus into a person, in order to stimulate the immune system, synthesized genes would be shot into the body. This isn’t traditional vaccination anymore. It’s gene therapy.

In any such method, where genes are edited, deleted, added, no matter what the pros say, there are always “unintended consequences,” to use their polite phrase. The ripple effects scramble the genetic structure in numerous unknown ways.

Here is the inconvenient truth about DNA vaccines—

They will permanently alter your DNA

The reference is the New York Times, 3/15/15, “Protection Without a Vaccine.”It describes the frontier of research—the use of synthetic genes to “protect against disease,” while changing the genetic makeup of humans. This is not science fiction:

“By delivering synthetic genes into the muscles of the [experimental] monkeys, the scientists are essentially re-engineering the animals to resist disease.”

“’The sky’s the limit,’ said Michael Farzan, an immunologist at Scripps and lead author of the new study.”

“The first human trial based on this strategy — called immunoprophylaxis by gene transfer, or I.G.T. — is underway, and several new ones are planned.” [That was three years ago.]

“I.G.T. is altogether different from traditional vaccination. It is instead a form of gene therapy. Scientists isolate the genes that produce powerful antibodies against certain diseases and then synthesize artificial versions. The genes are placed into viruses and injected into human tissue, usually muscle.”

Here is the punchline: “The viruses invade human cells with their DNA payloads, and the synthetic gene is incorporated into the recipient’s own DNA. If all goes well, the new genes instruct the cells to begin manufacturing powerful antibodies.”

Read that again: “the synthetic gene is incorporated into the recipient’s own DNA.”

Alteration of the human genetic makeup.

Not just a “visit.” Permanent residence. And once a person’s DNA is changed, he will live with that change—and all the ripple effects in his genetic makeup—for the rest of his life.

The Times article taps Dr. David Baltimore for an opinion:

“Still, Dr. Baltimore says that he envisions that some people might be leery of a vaccination strategy that means altering their own DNA, even if it prevents a potentially fatal disease.”

Yes, some people might be leery. If they have two or three working brain cells.

This is genetic roulette with a loaded gun. Anyone and everyone on Earth injected with a DNA vaccine will undergo permanent and unknown genetic changes…

And the further implications are clear. Vaccines can be used as a cover for the injections of any and all genes, whose actual purpose is re-engineering humans in far-reaching ways.

The emergence of this Frankenstein technology is paralleled by a shrill push to mandate vaccines, across the board, for both children and adults. The pressure and propaganda are planet-wide.

The freedom and the right to refuse vaccines has always been vital. It is more vital than ever now.

It means the right to preserve your inherent DNA.

Read full story here…