Posted by: graemebird | May 3, 2006

Deductive Bivalent Exactitude Versus Rightful Certitude.

Godless Theologians (The Mystery Of Philosophy) Part 1.

For psychological reasons I will refer to philosophers as Godless Theologians.

An old farmer and a young godless theologian are walking across the fields towards a town. On all sides as far as can be seen the land is unfenced. They come across some cow manure. Still fresh but hardened around the rim.

This is the cause of some excitement. But how can they be sure that it is in fact an example of cow manure?

They feel it. They take a bite out of it. They smell it. They climb up in a tree and see if it looks like cow manure from that angle.

Perhaps it really is an example of cow manure says the godless theologian, struggling to work back through various premises to find a cutely worded argument.

“Lucky we didn’t stand in it.” says the farmer. In this story they were indeed lucky they didn’t stand in it……

The godless theologian now faces a problem. Since bivalent deductive logic leads to the infinite regress of premises he must find a way to dogmatically section off the regress. Or if he wants to hide the nature of what he is doing he might write a massive book to convince everyone he has worked out the conclusion he wants by bivalent deductive logic.

But everyone knows that this is futile. Since we haven’t even proved that reality isn’t imaginary through this largely worthless methodology.

The godless theologian is composing words and sentences of his treatise proving the momentous event of the two of them finding the cow manure. He is working backwards so that he can talk conversationally around the subject; nudging definitions here and there, so that the last string of premises leading up to his eventual conclusion will sound as ‘syllogistic’ as possible.

The central problem with the way godless theology (that is to say “Philosophy’) has developed is that the godless theologians have confused bivalent deductive exactitude with rightful certitude.

Rightful certitude is not bivalent deductive exactitude. Bivalent deductive exactitude cannot lead to rightful certitude. Rightful certitude can be had without bivalent deductive exactitude. The two things are not related..

Consider the farmer and the godless theologian. Do you feel they have authentic rightful certitude as to the continuing, or at least historical, status of the object that they had taken to be cow manure?

If so from whence did they get such certitude? Surely they are unrightfully overconfident? Surely they brazenly or naievely ignore the works of the Bishop Berkeley and the Scotsman Hume.

In this world we get rightful certitude, not from tendentiously deducing it, but from one source and one source only.

That source is CONVERGENCE.

This cannot be proved by deductive bivalent logic but fear not. Since bivalent deductive logic has not been able to prove anything at all it cannot be the standard by which we achieve certitude.

Godless Theologians: (The Mystery Of Philosophy) Part II

As soon as the farmer and the godless theologian make it into town they do what every good citizen would do and they alert the media. News of the excitinig discovery whips around the small built-up village by word of mouth. Within a short time they are being carried on the shoulders of enthusiastic people past cheering crowds. Young Mothers hold their babies up to get a look at the new heroes above the applause…….

But in all the excitement the young godless theologian hasn’t had the time to think and put pen to paper. So he hasn’t gotten his bivalent deductive arguments sorted.

The godless theologian has a guilty secret. He is a master of taking inductive arguments and labouriously reworking them into very convincing-looking faux-deductive ones. He knows its a fraud of course.

He uses reams of paper in order to get this done and when anyone looks like they might find out what he’s up to he is in a panic. He spends a very long time ripping up his workings-out into very small shreds of paper before burning them.

In the story is there anything that the Godless Theologian can do to prove further that this was cow manure?

As the crowd carries him on their shoulder and the young single women ( and the others too) eye him lustily, knowing that the press conference will soon be upon him, he is busily trying to get some convincing bivalent deductive argumentation together.

But if he writes a whole book as large as Norman Mailers ‘Ancient Evenings’ can this do anything to increase the level of rightful certitude of the farmer, the Godless Theologian himself, and of public opinion as to whether it was indeed cow manure they found?

I don’t think it can. I think bi-valent deductive exactitude has been wrongfully confused with rightfull certitude and that this has set up a viscious circle in philosophy. Where those who wish to do the right thing have been led down the wrong path and have been made to look foolish. And wherein arguments multiply like weeds. And wherein incorrigible nihilists are made to look good and philisophically with-it.


Evolution: Without convergence you would have nothing. But we can have some rightful certitude about it. Though we cannot have rightful certitude about excluding some alien intervention (ie intelligent design) somewhere along the line. We cannot really have much confidence in any VIEW of evolution..

The reason we can have some confidence in the general thrust of evolution is that evidence for it converges from all sides and all angles. Any one thing on its own and you would have next to nothing.

The idea that the Universe is expanding and accelerating in its expansion:

It fails the convergence test. We can have scant rightfull certitude about this since the theory leans on the theory of red shift almost exclusively. What they ought to do is map out all the stars that they can get independent evidence for before they jump to the conclusion of how far that star is away and how fast it is moving. This is a very sloppy effort from those science workers.

The existence of the historical Jesus:

At first blush this is open to question. Since outside the movement there is only Josephus as an independent source. I would say we would have near certitude but not total certitude. However this is one case where recognising that convergence is the only source and ultimate test of rightful certitude could inspire some effort to clear up all doubt. Or to conclude that some doubt will likely always remain.



  1. “The strawman concotion that identifying bullshit constitutes a reasonable examplar of the challenges of epistemology, dopey.”

    Now I never said what you just said. So I will ask again having sidestepped your lying. What strawman? There was no strawman was there Fyodor. You were just being an idiot weren’t you?

    “Because it would help you to identify the abundance of non-sequiturs and lack of syllogism in your post. You might also learn something, brains trust.”

    What about YOUR lack of syllogism? If I think that bivalent deductive logic alone can never prove anything complex in the real world I’d hardly then start with a process that I reckon is useless. You are not too bright are you Fyodor.

    Right. So I’m going to pull out my Schaums outline on logic. Maybe do a few little numbers about Socrates being a man and all men being such and such. So Socrates is such and such…… Or some such other stuff where we already know the answer before we get through the premises.

    And then after reviewing this I will then say “OH MY GOODNESS. THE SCALES HAVE FALLEN FROM MY EYES. FYODOR WAS SO RIGHT”

    No in fact that wouldn’t happen you are being an idiot. We do not find any sort of certitude through bivalent deductive logic. You were being a lying cunt trying to pretend the issue was that I didn’t know what a syllogism was. And I suggest you stop being a lying cunt and address the issue.

    Now my suggestion is that you find one major belief that you are sure of that you can be sure of by deductive logic alone. One major belief about some complex real world matter.

    Ready Fyodor:


  2. So shit for brains. Lets hear it then? Let us hear the real world matter of some complexity that you have managed to gain absolute certainty about via bivalent deductive logic…….

    And show your working out.

    You’re fucking lying is what’s going on here. Either put up your claim your workings out with the absolute proof or admit that you are wrong.

    You are lying.

    (What a fucking cunt hey?)

  3. I find all this talk of lying, dumb, cunts and cow shit fascinating. But I still can’t work out what exactly you mean by “convergence”.

    Could you put forward a simple explanation without calling anyone a cunt in the process?

  4. I’m not dodging it penguin. But just for starters are you a beleiver in evolution…

    Take my example of evolution. How is it that you think you know that evolution is the real deal. Given that on the face of it all we have is some fossilised skeletons. The skeletons don’t talk and they cannot tell us of their ancestry.

    Think also of why it is we have the 5 well-known senses and also the senses of balance. Why six or seven senses?

    Why did not evolution focus and perfect 2 or 3? Or even just 1 or 2?

    Surely having better eyesight would have been evolutionary useful.

    How about eyes on the back of our heads? Surely that would have given us a decisive advantage.

    In philosophy they sometimes wall off direct sense experience as opposed to other forms of knowledge…….. SEEING IS BELIEVING!

    Now some extreme skeptics will go so far as to deny the existence of all sorts of things. The Richmond (Melbourne) swimming club for example. They’ll say that the pool exists but the swimming club is a fiction. They’ll tell you that it aint real if you cannot stub your toe on it.

    But I sez this priveledging of sense experience is arbitrary. And that the rightful certitude that we can get from sense experience is but a subset of the certitude we can get more generally from CONVERGENCE.

  5. Ok, but you still haven’t fully explained what convergence IS.

    Now I’m not trying to be a smart-arse about this, but somemore plain-speak would be appreciated.

    Are you saying that it is necessary to verify a premise from many angles (if we are talking about convergence) before we can be sure it is true (rightful certitudude)? If so I don’t see how this is at odds with deductive reasoning. In fact isn’t that the whole point of the scientific method? That you propose a hypothesis based on observation, then your hypothesis is tested again and again by different people (scientists) until either it gains credibility as a known theory or until someone finds a way to refute the original premise/hypothesis?

    Also, how many different “angles” do you need before being SURE something is true (in your theory). Or are you never 100% sure about anything? In which case how do you differ from deductive logic/reasoning?

  6. Ha Ha.

    The same penguin? After an whole year almost?

    Well it really doesn’t matter.

    No it might not be at odds with deductive reasoning. But take the idea that the Universe is accelerating in its expansion.

    Well they get that from assumptions of red shift.

    So you have all these distant galaxies and because of this red shift they say they are so far away and moving away at such and such speed.

    But its not in every case that they have convergent information for that.

    So when a bizzare result comes up that the Universe is accelerating in its expansion then they are quite unjustified in feeling sure about this result.

    Now it comes down to it that their notions of the big bang rest on their notions of the expanding universe.

    But as we have seen this is vastly insufficient regardless of how many maths equations they do.

    Hence the big bang theory is on shaky ground and ought not be taken seriously.

  7. It should be taken seriously until some other theory can fit better with observation. That does not mean it should become gospel however it should be taken seriously. And that means if you want to dismantle this prevaling theory you need to do a serious job of producing both contradicting evidence and some alternate theory that fits more of the observed phenomena. Quantum theory contradicts General Relativity but we still take both theories seriously because in spite of the contradictions they are both extremely useful.

    Thus far your criticism of the expanding universe theory is like being on a life boat far out to sea and suggesting that we should abandon ship because you are not convinced that the life boat is entirely sea worthy. You can swim off through the waves looking for a better boat, however I’ll stick with this imperfect vessel until I can actually see a better option.

  8. No thats wrong terge.

    The prevailing thinking gets no special favours.

    You go instead with the convergent evidence.

    What you are advocating is philosophical bigotry.

    Its akin to ancestor-worship and is a block to progress and truth-seeking.

  9. I’ve been spending the day going thru your archives, Bird. These are some of the most brilliant thoughts I’ve ever read. Your philosophical breakthroughs are enormous. It speaks volumes for the decline of Western civilisation that you are not more celebrtated. I intend to print out this blogpost and distribute it to my family members.


    Spread the word around. I’m glad you have the supersmarts to understand what I’m talking about.

    Clearly you have a philosophical background.

  11. You have improved on Popper, Mr Bird.

  12. Good post Graeme, when I was investigating matters neurologic that could not be determined by some experiment(methodological limitations in experimental design) I invoked convergence across levels of analysis(in vivo, in vitro, biochemistry, cellular, physiological, epidemiological). It works but it is very time consuming and demanding.

  13. PS: I appear to have the same view of evolution as yourself: the evidence for it is overwhelming but the HOW of evolution is still very much in debate. Eg. It is only in the last decade the the possibility of horizontal gene transfer has gained prominence and there is now clear evidence for a lamarckian style of inheritance(epigenetics).

  14. Right. Thanks for your comments. Notice we must make the assumption of cousinship with evolution. And we start dividing out the evolutionary tree with many nodes where an absent cousin is presumed to be. Like there will be nodes where we don’t have a speciman. When we are talking geological time we at first don’t even really worry much about chronology or direct lineal ancestry between any two species that we have inferred from actual fossil evidence.

    So we build up our view of evolution using the minimum assumption and the minimum assumption is that all species are cousins of some sort.

    Only at the very last stage, when all the evidence is in do we infer direct lineal descent. Our main stock in trade is the assesment of degrees of cousinship when drawing up and extended evolutionary tree.

    And so everything in evolution is convergence. Because there is no direct evidence. The hypothesis is incredibly strong yet all the tracer-lines of convergence are in themselves weak.

    The standard view of evolution just two decades ago was very poor and implausible. It was akin to the “Whig Version Of History” where you have the ascent of man as a sort of manifest destiny.

    Actually without sound money and capital goods we can lose it all. Right down to losing complex speech. And becoming just animals again.

    So some version of evolution is absolutely inescapable because of the tremendous convergence. But I argue it is nothing like the common view.

    I argue that there is two forms of evolution and they are:

    1. New-Niche-Morphing evolution.

    2. Pumping holocaust evolution.

    I argue that in the former case the competition is mostly within the species and the whiggish paradigm appears on the surface of things to work quite well there.

    So in this case the evolution will proceed smoothly until the sleek model that fits the niche is found and then evolution will tend to halt.

    But in the latter case evolution is squeezed out of the species through a series of disasters that whittle their population right down and good times that allow their population to explode.

    Basically, as I see it there is only these two.

    Except for one more factor. I argued that there was a Lemarkian component to evolution. Not that Lemark was right but that there had to be a Lemarkian component. I argued this on sheer inductive grounds.

    The argument runs like this: If two billion years ago some amoeba managed to find a way to pass on the lessons of its environment to the next generation, then it would be advantaged to such an extent that this Lemarkian component would wind up being a ubiquitous feature.

    Anyway I was called a Stalinist by communists and recovering communists for having this view but the argument was inescapable. I have since been proved dead right. And the Lemarkian component is the new study of epi-genetics.

    Now onto something you said:

    “John Hasenkam Says:
    October 10th, 2008 at 12:42 pm
    Good call Jason. Mel, knock it off. I have been stating that we need some economists to sort this mess out and Jason hits the nail on the head: better to shut up and wait for the relevant experts to put forward some solutions. All this talk about what needs to be done by far too many wannabes is just muddying the waters.”

    I am that expert and I have been talking about little else for the last 3 years. These were the famous threads of doom. When people who simply would not face the truth kept the threads going indefinitely.

    And now that the disaster has blown out pretty much all I was talking about has come to the surface but there is a great deal still below the surface.

    There is the unmitigated disaster of derivatives. Under the surface there is not just fractional reserve in cash. But in all commodities. We have become a world of fractional reserve everything with the massive derivative market supporting these bad practices, and the government supporting the derivatives market, and the taxpayer getting gypped three ways by all of this.

    Its a derivatives/fractional reserve PANDEMIC and we will lurch from one disaster to another if we don’t deal with it. Once this bank disaster is over there will be a new commodities disaster. Prices will run all out of whack with necessities like oil going to $200USD for extended periods then dropping to 100 and then lurching to 300. All our economies will become more unstable. We will face shortages all the time.

    None of this is capitalism. Its a pandemic perversion of capitalism and we have to see our way out of it with extreme prejudice.

  15. Graeme,

    You might want to read, The Trouble With Physics. Lee Smolin. The last 2 chapters deal precisely with the “academy”and institutionalisation of science.

  16. Yeah. Thanks for the tip. And keep a stiff upper lip.

  17. f two billion years ago some amoeba managed to find a way to pass on the lessons of its environment to the next generation, then it would be advantaged to such an extent that this Lemarkian component would wind up being a ubiquitous feature.

    Not even the next generation Graeme, hence my earlier reference to horizontal gene transfer. It is now firmly established that single cell organisms can share their DNA at astonishing rates and levels. This goes a long way to explaining why bacterium can adapt so quickly. I have always been perplexed at this rapidity of change and felt it was a fundamental challenge to the hit and miss mutation concept of adaptation. We now know that perspective was in serious error. For decades people thought I was loopy for challenging some tenets of evolution. I take some comfort in the recent research which clearly reveals that those who so readily adopted the hit and miss mutation approach were simply following the herd.

  18. Right. And this is a big problem in science. Its a sort of cult-of-personality combined with the curse of the lone paradigm. Its like they learn one paradigm and see any attack on it as an attack by inferiors on their exalted status and the status of their science heros. It unscience since it gets in the way of further knowledge.

  19. I think the idea is that matters ought to be submitted as if for laity-review. And also there is none so exalted that they ought to be able to ignore the basic laws of reason.

    For example in the world of cosmology its pretty easy to apply certain reductions to absurdity even if you are not experienced in these matters. But when you go to do it the people who have invested time and money learning all this stuff in some detail get all shirty. But they have got to be able to justify a lot of this nonsense to ordinary people.

    Like they’ve gone so far as to take on an excel-spreadsheet view of the Universe. Where you can magically create some space somewhere and the entire universe is pushed apart. Just ridiculous and all to bolster untenable ideas where the results they were getting should have been thought of as clear falsification of their fundamental beliefs.

  20. […] Explore posts in the same categories: Uncategorized […]

  21. One of the many fantastic things about this philsophically-historic and pathbreaking post, is seeing John Hasenkam at his best.

    I have always recognised that out of all the Catallaxy refugees/alumni, Hasenkam is one of the best in terms of scientific-affinity.

    Others like this are myself, Dover, CL and thats really about the end of it.

    But when it came to the science scam of the age. The biggest scam in science ever, Hasenkam was never totally full of shit. Its just that he always seemed to go weak-headed in the face of the motherload of propaganda.

    Hasenkam later adopted the name of “Evil Leftie”

    A bit weak-minded. But a good guy. A little like Taya Peterson. But Taya never took a head injury? So what is Taya’s excuse?

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