Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Spirit of Neo-Luddism

It was almost exactly 50 years ago on December14, 1962 that Mariner 2 reached Venus and sent radio signals back to Earth. But the space age shouldn't last for long. 10 years later NASA launched their last flight to the Moon. Today NASA is criticized for being"lost in space" and having no clear strategy for the future.
What happened with the space program is only the peak of the iceberg of the pathetic situation of mankind today in general. Since the beginning of the 70s there is an apparent decline in technology with only on exception: semi-conductors and computer technology. There can be no doubt that this technology has immensely advanced and continues to advance. But apart from that, there is nothing positive to report.
  • Mankind is not able to get to the Moon anymore. A second attempt by the so called Constellation program utterly failed and had to be cancelled.
  • The space shuttle was never able to fulfill its expectations (launch from any airport, cheap, fully reusable) and is now also cancelled.
  • Long range travel with supersonic speed cannot be achieved anymore since the Concord has been grounded.
  • At the beginning of the 70s mankind was just a small step away from commercial nuclear fusion reactors. No progress has been made since then and even nuclear fission reactors are shut down worldwide (Germany, Japan).
  • Prototypes of sophisticated car engines were developed in the 60s and early 70s with electric fuel engines or pistonless rotary engines (Wankel engine). However we still drive cars with primitive combustion engines based on the design of Nikolaus Otto at the end of the 19th century.
An entire generation has obviously refused to do anything to advance mankind any further. And this phenomenon is not only visible when it comes to technology but also in the mindset of our current generation.
  • Any technological progress is perceived primarily as negative.
  • Any investment in a space program or new technologies (e.g. magnetic levitation trains) is considered to be a waste of money. However feeding unproductive masses in order to multiply their numbers is considered useful spending.
  • Creationism has become a widely accepted and equally valid theory along with evolution.
  • Religious superstition has returned and displaced humanism and reason (Evangelical christianity has become more and more influential in the US. Islam has resurged first in Persia 1979, then all over the Middle East.)
  • Human rights have become undermined. Censorship has become more and more accepted to suppress whatever is considered offensive, blasphemous, immoral, or not politically correct.
  • The state has been empowered to enact arbitrary laws in total disrespect of individual freedom as long as it can be claimed that it is for the common good (e.g. public health, security, etc.)
  • Preindustrial tribal cultures have their primitive traditions equally valued as modern humanist philosophy.
  • The gold standard was abolished in the beginning of the 70s creating the perfect means to accumulate wealth without producing anything and playing with virtual numbers, effectively establishing a financial aristocracy. Now even primitive tribal chieftains from the Arabian Peninsula can enjoy full respect of the international community by joining the financial aristocracy.
  • Theoretical physics with its useless mathematical models without any practical application has superseded real science and engineering. Physics has become a matter of faith where we have to believe the revelations of this new academic clergy who alone have the authority to decree "scientific truth" (Big Bang, dark matter, singularities, n-dimensional string theory etc.).
All this is the result of the irrational neo-Luddite mindset of one generation: the so called "baby boomers". They have brought humanity to an effective standstill and led us on a path back into the medieval Dark Ages.
Why is it that old sci-fi  movies from the 60s look more futuristic than a sci-fi movie of today that only excels in unrealistic special effects that tell no story? This is the spirit of today. The generation of the last decades prefers impossible dream worlds over the real world. They don't care about what is possible or not, because they prefer thrilling entertainment in the safety of their homes. This is what led to the success of computer technology, which enables these impossible dream worlds to become true, even if it is only on a computer screen.The only important thing is that no risks are involved.

Even modern wars must not cause any harm anymore. They are fought remotely with drones controlled from 10,000 miles away on a screen by an employee with an 8-hours office shift. The military obviously very much enjoys playing war, much more than 40 or 50 years ago, when wars were actually dangerous and involved the threat of a nuclear holocaust. But today's wars should not be too real with real casualties on either side. It has become easy and fun to attack another country, since no real risk is involved and its outcome will not change any status quo. It just keeps the usual conflicts going on. Before one side can win, a cease-fire is declared, so both sides can keep their face and go on with their eternal conflict. This is where the generation of today prefers to spend money on, instead of funding space missions.

Humanity is definitely on the wrong track. There is no way that we will ever progress again, if we continue on this path. We have to go back to the way of thinking that was still prevalent in the 60s and start over. Whatever mankind has done since then should be discarded, because nothing good has come out of it.
We need a new positive way of thinking. We have to embrace progress and technology. We have to understand that the future of mankind is in space. We don't need to waste our efforts on Earth. Earth has already been colonized by man. There is nothing more that we can hope to achieve here on this planet.
We need better engines, better energy sources (nuclear fusion) and new visions for the future. We have to get rid of superstition and religion, tribalism, ethical indifference and a nanny state that promotes wrong values. We need to be willing to take risks, to open our minds up for new ideas. We need bravery and courage, not an urge of safety and social security. We have to understand that quality is more important than quantity. It is better to put effort in one expensive but really advanced invention than equipping the masses with cheap junk technology for their entertainment.

If mankind manages to build a colony on another planet, it will be remembered for all human history. But nobody will remember, if we manage to equip everybody on this planet with the latest model of the iPhone,r a flat screen TV with 3D capability or an economic car. We should make positive sci-fi movies about the future, not negative dystopias that are so fashionable these days. 
We need to put an end to the spirit of neo-Luddism of the baby boomer generation, or otherwise mankind will have no future. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The "Big Bang" Cult

Astronomer at the California Institute of Technology have just corrected the supposed age of the oldest known galaxy to 13.3 billion years using photos by the Hubble telescope. This means that this galaxy already existed in the form as we see it today only 380 million years after the supposed beginning of the universe. 
Nevertheless they still stick to the obsolete Big Bang theory.
How would galaxies as they exist today have formed after just 380 million years and then continued unchanged for the next 13.4 billion years in a totally different environment? The universe was much smaller, hotter and denser in this time. It was shortly after its energy condensed into matter. There is no scenario imaginable how matter would have aggregated into galaxies with fully developed stars in such a short time. So if you apply common sense then the Big Bang theory has now been utterly disproved. There is no way that the Big Bang could have occurred 13.7 billion years ago, and an earlier date doesn't fit into current models of this theory. But theoretical physics simply refuses to accept the overwhelming evidence. 
Fact is that the Big Bang theory cannot hold anymore. We have to accept some kind of steady state theory as cosmological model. The steady state theories have their own problem too, but at least not such serious problems as the Big Bang theory, which is totally unable to explain the observations that we can make with our telescopes.
The universe has no beginning, at least not in form of a Big Bang. This is now certain beyond any doubt. The Big Bang theory is dead, so dead as any scientific theory can possibly be. And those who deny this fact can only have other motives than scientific reasoning. Theoretical physicists have become just as stubborn as creationists. They insist in a similar theory of a young universe in spite of plenty of evidence for the contrary.
This recently corrected age for the aforementioned galaxy is not the only example for objects that are simply too old for a universe created by a Big Bang. Globular clusters have also be suspected to be possibly older than the "Big Bang universe" due to their composition of stars. And objects, which are apparently too old for the universe, are not the only problem that the Big Bang theory has.
For today's theoretical physicists the Big Bang theory has become unfalsifiable. For this reason it ceases to be a scientific theory. It is a faith.
The Big Bang theory is part of a creationist cult, because without it there would be no place for a divine creator of the universe. But all observational evidence points in the same direction: The universe has no beginning, so it was not created, and therefore there cannot be a creator.
The Big Bang is no science anymore it is a cult, with a creation myth not different from the book of Genesis or Greek or Sumerian mythology.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


There are three distinct approaches of forming an opinion about a certain topic:
The first one is based on what I'd like to call "naivety". This means someone has little or know knowledge about a topic and forms his opinion based on his first impression and simple conclusions from his own direct observations.
The second one is based on what I'd like to call "knowledge". This means one has some kind of knowledge about a topic, but this is either incomplete or partially based on wrong data.
The third one would necessarily be based on "full knowledge" and would therefore be the optimal approach.

I'd like to explain this further by an example, which is quite fitting for our current season of the year.
Some years ago during Christmas time there was an article in newspaper somewhere in Latin America, which had conducted a survey among school children about the meaning of Christmas. The children were asked, why Christmas was celebrated. In Spanish Christmas is called "Navidad", so this allows no direct conclusion to a Christian background from its name.
One child answered that Christmas was a family holiday, where everybody comes together and has a big family dinner. Another one told the journalist that it is a holiday where children get a lot of gifts. A third child answered that it is a celebration of peace worldwide.
So the journalist who wrote the article was outraged that today's children were totally unaware of the original meaning of Christmas and that it had lost any spiritual meaning to the young generation. Of course he was convinced that the children were totally ignorant of the truth and that Christmas was the celebration of the birthday of Jesus Christ.
At least this was what  he had learned. And assuming that his education was so far superior than that of these children, he could only pity them for their lack of knowledge.
However he was wrong. There is no record about the date of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. The church declared arbitrarily the 25th of December to be his birthday, because it was the date of a pagan festival (winter solstice, Saturnalia), which was very popular. In order to erase the pagan background of this festival, they gave it a Christian meaning. So they established the tradition to celebrate Jesus' birthday at this date. Although most other Christmas traditions had nothing to do with Christianity but with the original pagan meaning, e. g. the Christmas tree, the candles, the Christmas gifts etc.
Therefore the seemingly ignorant school children were far closer to the truth than the outraged journalist with his half-knowledge about the topic. In fact Christmas has far more to do with gifts, family and peace than with the birthday of Jesus of Nazareth, which is very unlikely to have occurred on  a 25th of December.
I this example the children based their opinion on naivety, while the journalist based it on half-knowledge that led him farther away from the truth.

Hardly anybody of us is free from that kind of half-knowledge. And many of us make the same mistake as this journalist. We assume us to be more educated than seemingly naive and ignorant people but we might ourselves have misguided opinions based on our education that is possibly incomplete or contains false data. 
The problem is that the one whose knowledge is incomplete or false is never aware of this fact and believes his knowledge to be complete and true. He simply cannot know that there is more necessary data to form a correct opinion. 

To demonstrate how ubiquitous this phenomenon is, I will give another example. 
A common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract.
Some naive people frequently try to treat this disease with antibiotics.
This behavior is vehemently criticized by physicians and scientists. Since a common cold is caused by a virus and antibiotics are only effective against bacteria, this treatment is totally useless and might even be harmful due to the negative side-effects of antibiotics... - according to their opinion, which is again based on half-knowledge.
The empirical fact is that antibiotics are indeed effective against a common cold. Some scientists try to explain this fact away by attributing it to the placebo effect of those antibiotic. However antibiotics are even then effective, when they are not expected to be so by the patient in cases when they are prescribed against a totally different disease stopping the respiratory infection only as a side-effect.
The reason is that the human body is a more complex system than the simplistic mechanical model of those physicians and scientists. The most severe symptoms of the common cold are not caused by the virus itself that is responsible for the initial infection but by opportunistic bacterial infections of the affected respiratory tissue. And against these opportunistic bacteria antibiotics are quite well effective. Once the opportunistic bacterial infection is suppressed, the immune system can deal with the remaining viral infection much faster and more efficient.
Again the half-knowledge of those scientists and physicians who learned that antibiotics don't work against a virus has misled them to an opinion, which is farther away from the truth than the naive opinion of those people who have no clue about the mechanisms of infections at all.

Half-knowledge is dangerous. It can lead to inferior decisions than even total ignorance of a subject. The problem is that we can never be sure, if we have really full knowledge about a topic or only half-knowledge. This is why we should always be skeptical about everything we believe to know. We should not right away discard any naive opinion of rather ignorant people who form their opinions just on personal observation and no education. We should always question ourselves and what we have learned from our education.