Posted by: graemebird | November 5, 2008

The Case In Favour/A Better Geology/The Three Faces Of Mars/Missing A Coherent Counter-Case.

Supposing there was evidence that Mars had been colonised. Not that life had evolved there. But that the planet had been for a short time home to some sort of outpost? Supposing that someone told you that “there is evidence that Mars once had some sort of outpost of intelligent life there.”

What would you say? What would you think? What would be the COUNTERARGUMENT to that statement?

Supposing you said “You are crazy” in reply? Supposing you said “What has happened to you?” Supposing you said “No there is no such evidence.” 

Well to some folks these are powerful arguments that go deep into the heart of the matter. To some folks the combination of statements such as this, along with feeble jokes and general flippancy…….. are decisive. We might call these people Obama-sympathisers for the depth they see in arguments of this sort. We could call them Obama enthusiasts for their perception of depth where no such depth exists.

I prefer to call them complete fucking retards.

I don’t find these sorts of statements any kind of substitute for COHERENT THINKING METHODOLOGY.

Can anyone come up with a coherent counter-case to the evidence thats there?  Why would one dismiss the evidence in the first place? In both the hypothetical and actual cases?

Someone comes up to you and says:

“there is evidence that Mars once had some sort of outpost of intelligent life there.”

Now supposing this person isn’t just doing the kids game that you do at school. You know where you keep insisting that something is true when you know its not true and when they finally are convinced you yell “SUCKER!!!”

Supposing he’s not playing the kids game on you? What reason would you have to disbelieve him in the first place? Why is it such a unbelievable situation? What is it that you suppose you know about science, geology, economics, philosophy and any range of other subjects that makes the proposition unbelievable to you yet quite believable to me?

What is it that you think you know that I don’t?

You see I never thought about it for some decades. Then a few months ago I saw the photos. I said “Why. Look at that. Thats evidence that this planet was once used as an outpost”. Its not an emotional matter to me. The evidence is there. It is evidence. And its good evidence. And I’m searching for a coherent counter-case to that evidence.

Do you imagine you know that the Universe is only 13.5 billion years old and so hardly enough time for such shenanigans? I assure you you know no such thing. The Big Bang theory is appallingly bad theory and far from proven. Actually its quite ridiculous.

Do you think you know something about Mars being uninhabitable? Well yes. And so we don’t see much in the way of evolved macro-scopic life there. We were talking about evidence for an outpost. So what is the problem? What is it you think you know?

Antarctica is also “no place to raise your kids. In fact its cold as hell…”. But if we go there and we stumble across one of the outposts. We would say….. “this looks like evidence for an outpost.” And we wouldn’t gainsay such evidence or pretend its not there. Unless we were stupid. One cannot ever make too many allowances for died-in-the-wool idiots.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Essentially there are three coherent hypotheses for what we see on Mars. When we look for the truth the technique is to hold these three in parallel. There is the idea that there is some sort of rope-a-dope conspiracy to doctor up all the photos. Maybe not by the oddball enthusiasts. But by NASA itself. In this conspiracy NASA is doctoring up all the photos to make it look like there is really interesting stuff there and in reality there isn’t. And that this might be a rope-a-dope to topple the amateurs. Since NASA are professionals and “don’t try this at home kids.” Or it could be some other sort of conspiracy by enthusiasts. Perhaps unintentional. Perhaps with malice to deceive.

The second possibility is that we are fooling ourselves about what we know about natural geological occurrences. In this scenario Mars can give us a great boost in our understanding of geology. But those dickheads at NASA are such morons they are point blank refusing to investigate this scientific scoop. This scientific scoop could overturn all sorts of geological paradigms and what could be learnt would be immensely beneficial here on earth. In many ways. Not the least of which would be commercial.

The third possibility is that its an outpost. Like what we would see on the moon if we set up an industrial outpost there, on a commercial basis, and somehow we disappeared, and a future civilisation found the remnants of an outpost there many hundreds of thousands of years later.

Now I’m open to all three of these paradigms. But what I have failed to find out is the coherent counter-argument against the third paradigm.

We are dealing with dim bulbs here. Thats whats really going on.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

THE KEY INTER-STELLAR ENERGY SOURCE.

Once I had a look at things it stuck out for me what the scenario must have been if we are going with the third paradigm. Science fiction has gotten us used to thinking about all sorts of awesome devices and powers and the reality is likely to be much more mundane for civilisations that have progressed further than we have.

Science fiction is all very unrealistic in my book. Because it works in denial of sound economic laws. We can only be as advanced as the extent of the division of labour and capital equipment allows us to be. And the division of labour is dependent and limited by what is possible in planetary trade. So to have an advanced civilisation you must have a global economy. Going to another solar system in a space-ship is not taking the technology of an entire civilisation with you. Any more than taking a backpack to the South Pole.

A space-ship represents a sophisticated piece of capital equipment. One that needs to be maintained and that it would take an entire planetary economy to maintain with ease. One that needs a good energy source.

What would that energy source be out of the ones that we know? Uranium fission? Well you have it in submarines. But you need all that cold water to keep the reactor cool. And how do you know you can find more uranium where it is you are going?

To find, mine, purify and enrich uranium takes an entire mining industry. It is not something you are going to put together on the fly as traveller far from home. That would be like Captain Cook hoping to set up a musket factory on some Pacific Island rather than taking the muskets with him.

The energy source we would need to be able to refine and use on the fly would be Helium 3 Fusion. From what we know now, barring some other unknown energy source our energy source would be Helium 3. Which can produce electricity directly as well as be used for a controlled nuclear fusion reaction. In otherwords Helium 3 could sustain the running of the ship and everyone within it at the same time as producing some sort of thrust.

Helium 3 can be found on any rocky body in the solar system that is not surrounded by a substantial atmosphere and does not have a substantial magnetic field associated with it. So it could be found anywhere by your interstellar travellers, in what would have have to be a substantial craft.

WHY MARS? WHY NOT CHOOSE EARTH?

Now supposing you are hoping to find refuge in a solar system almost like this one? You suss out the various planets from afar and work it that you get to investigate them further at close range. There you are impossibly far from home, you could find yourself in deep trouble at any time, and its a matter of survival. Lets say its 5 million years ago. Venus is too hot. Earth is magnificent. Lush. Chock full of resources. 

But out further there are two moons orbiting eachother and sometimes getting very close. One is Mars. One is a smaller moon but it has some sort of atmosphere and plenty of water.  EARTH OR TWO MOON JUNCTION. Which do you choose?

Well you would choose Mars and its other Moon. The reason being is that everything you do depends on the capital goods that you have with you. As embodied in your ship. You choose the location to go with your backpack. The escape velocity of earth is too difficult. Too many things can go wrong. And what you need is one lush planet. And one planet to access Helium3.

Well we have that here on Earth. We have our lush planet. And we have the Moon from which we can get all the Helium 3 we could ever want. But thats from our point of view with many billions of people. In our example there is a small colony of individuals in a bit of a bind. They choose the two-moons over the planet with the moon since it fits in with the the only capital goods that they have. It fits in with their established energy-production system. If they lose the capital goods they have right with them then they lose everything. They can never reconstitute that harmony between the energy source and the capital goods needed to gather and harness that energy source.

Hence the duo of Mars and the Watery moon is the no-brainer.

Now when you go to see these strange pictures of Mars you will see that everything is all mundane and what you would expect from a colony with that pre-history to it.

So where is the coherent counter-case?

And why would you doubt whatever evidence arrives? I don’t know about you. But I don’t think I have some sort of automatic knowledge. I just follow the evidence and try and interpret what it means.

Here are the slides again:

http://www.metaresearch.org/solar%20system/cydonia/asom/artifact_html/default.htm

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Responses

  1. Jackass of the year, James Haughton, somehow managed to think this thread was about Obama. Haughton is an idiot and a CO2-bedwetter who clearly has one government job too many. He’s dead wood. And a walking advertisement for mass-sackings as a way of saving the taxpayer money.

    Its Obama everything. Everything is about Obama with this crowd. Bama gonna get your dishes clean. Bama cleaner than Mr Sheen. Bama gonna end the deficet, Bama get the money ‘fore its spent……………….

    Everythings About Obama. The left is in a frenzy of stupidity at the moment. But none stupider than Haughton:

    “I’d like to nominate Mr Graeme Bird for Wank of the Year, for apparently believing that the election of Obama means that there are aliens on mars:”

    We are talking a serious dimwit here. But he’s drumming up readers for my blog. So thats fine with me.

  2. http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2408989.htm

    Here’s some representative leftist stupidity from ABC unleashed. I showed up to try and pop this bubble. But its worth being in the right mood to have a good laugh here.

    Apparently you have to become President to be able to come on in out of the rain if you are a black man:

    Helvi :

    06 Nov 2008 8:46:50am

    You can come out of the rain now, Obama…
    …………………………………………………………..

    Just for Helvi.

    http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=QCcHZ2_p7MA

  3. Thats not an argument Adrien. Now you have just got to pick your game up when you come to this site. That stuff seems to go down well with one or two people at the Jacobin site Catallaxy.

    But its too stupid, mindless and juvenile for this site.

  4. Mr. Bird,

    I’m a little unclear on one aspect of the argument. Are you accepting a coherentist epistemology as one premise, or just an anti-foundationalist one? Or is the strategy to show how even on a very weak coherentist epistemology, your conclusion follows, assuming premises which the vast majority of educated adults would accept?

  5. Mr Bake,

    Good to see someone else here with manners. Now speak in plain language as Mr Bird does and we may get some good discussion going.

  6. You are speaking philosophy-boy 101 gibber DBake. Your chances of getting back to reality will be much enhanced if you speak of philosophical matters in plain English.

  7. Sorry about the unclarity.

    The COHERENT THINKING METHODOLOGY– is that based on the thesis of coherentism? Coherentism is the thesis that a conclusion is justified by being coherent with the rest of a person’s beliefs and background assumptions. Coherence is usually explained in terms of things like logical consistency, simplicity, and explanatory completeness.

    In other words, it’s justified to conclude that Mars was at one time an interstellar outpost if that conclusion is logically consistent with the rest of one’s beliefs, if it’s simple, and if it reduces the number of unexplained facts and coincidences one believes in.

    The standard weakness of coherentism, as I’m sure you’re aware, is that a conclusion coherent with your beliefs may not be coherent with someone else’s, if they have different starting assumptions. Conclusions, it seems, are justified relative to a person. Two people may disagree, but as long as each person has beliefs that are logically consistent with each other, etc, we can’t say that either one is being unreasonable, or reasoning poorly.

    For example, someone with different starting assumptions might look at the same evidence you’ve looked at and conclude that aliens are not responsible for the Martian outposts, but rather, flying Ninjas. As long as his assumptions are consistent with one another, we have to say that this is a reasonable conclusion.

    But flying Ninjas? That’s crazy.

    I know. This is the weakness of coherentism. (Another way of pointing out the weakness is to note that for any finite amount of evidence, there are an infinite number of theories logically consistent with the evidence.) Normally coherentists get around this by saying that they are arguing based on assumptions that the vast majority of human beings already accept. Even the most ardent advocates of ninjitsu admit that Ninjas cannot hold their breath for significantly longer than an hour. And their maximum flying speed is considerably slower than that of a 747. The flying Ninja hypothesis is clearly inconsistent with facts like these.

    But someone could still have an extraordinarily abherant system of beliefs, and the flying Ninja hypothesis would be consistent with that belief system. So my question is, does the COHERENT THINKING METHODOLOGY rule such a person irrational (that is, does it go beyond mere coherence in the requirements it puts on drawing good conclusions), or does it say that such a person is reasoning well, albeit in a highly idiosyncratic way?

  8. It’s good to see someone like Mr Blake in here posing questions rather than just the typical lot shitting on about excessive credit causing weathing creation and other fraudulent crap.
    It’s late and I’m drunk so I can’t come up with much. But I’m guessing your hinting at things like bumble bees flying and dolphins jumping out of the water being contradictory to current belifes in physics. Which were seen to be a form of COHERENT THINKING METHODOLOGY at the time. Something like that aye?
    Either that or your taking this down a Kantian/Hegel road that ends in mysticism.

  9. You show up whenever your drunk Clinton. Show up in whatever state you like. Its better to have a smart bloke who takes ideas seriously and on the turps then it is to have any of these other dummies that show up.

    And yes D-Blakes made himself very clear. And its all good stuff. Lets go through it:

    “The COHERENT THINKING METHODOLOGY– is that based on the thesis of coherentism? Coherentism is the thesis that a conclusion is justified by being coherent with the rest of a person’s beliefs and background assumptions. Coherence is usually explained in terms of things like logical consistency, simplicity, and explanatory completeness.”

    Right. And yes as defined this coherentism that you speak thereof, which I would just simply say is internal-logical-consistency….. Well yes this is necessary but not sufficient. From an almost moral point of view if someone has internal logical consistency, unless they have some sort of ideology that might be clear and presently harmful, then one ought tend to have some respect for their viewpoint. In practice though, people who tend to be consistent 95% of the time are often hiding some massive inconsistency and when you confront them with it out comes the defensive behaviour. And you see them acting in a sort of “fundamentalist way”

    But consistency cannot get anyone rightful certitude. Only full spectrum convergence gives one rightful certitude. I’ve sketched out a POSSIBLE scenario that would explain the existence of what appears to be the remnants of a lunar base. But this being consistent with all the know facts and not contrary to any known fact CANNOT make me rightfully certain about it.

    And after all I also included two other paradigms in parallel. But there is just not a whole lot more that can be said about the other two. Except that the three of them together carve out broadly almost the entirety of the universe of possibilities. Not in the specifics but broadly.

    Whereas the earlier reactions I got to the photos were quite ridiculous.

    “In other words, it’s justified to conclude that Mars was at one time an interstellar outpost if that conclusion is logically consistent with the rest of one’s beliefs, if it’s simple, and if it reduces the number of unexplained facts and coincidences one believes in.”

    I wouldn’t say that. A conclusion sounds like CONVERGENT EVIDENCE AMOUNTING TO PROOF. Well actually its almost there apart from the two other possibilities. If the other two possibilities are not even close its pretty hard, from where I sit to think of a fourth.

    You see being COHERENT wouldn’t normally come close. But because we are at a loss to find a fourth broad paradigm, and the first two seem pretty lame, then its hard right now that the third cannot be the case, except perhaps the lack of mental resourcefulness by myself and my critics hasn’t come up with a fourth.

    So not its not really about a single internally-consistent and logical conclusion being true. As this COHERENTISM if taken seriously would imply.

    Its more like we are at a loss to make a good case for paradigms 1&2 and we are at a loss to find a serious paradigm 4.

    We might say it was really dumb elves what put them there. To escape the idea of intelligent life. Or we might say that God put that jive there to test our faith. Well thats paradigm 4 & 5 right there. But they don’t appear so convincing either.

    So again. No its not a case of coherintism (by your definition of the phrase) but a case on finding it damn hard to see the alternatives. Or to find a serious counter-case.

    “The standard weakness of coherentism, as I’m sure you’re aware, is that a conclusion coherent with your beliefs may not be coherent with someone else’s,…….”

    In practice thats not much of a weakness. One ought judge ones scenarios against reality. Not against the other guys. Because the other guys haven’t come up with a coherent counter-case. So the situation of the others hasn’t yet arisen.

    “… if they have different starting assumptions…..”

    They won’t put their starting assumptions on the table. So the question has not arisen. Their thinking would be taken into account. Particularly as it might lead to something (and this is important) OUT OF LEFT FIELD THAT HAS COMPLETELY SLIPPED MY MIND. This can happen all the time. I thought about monetary policy for twenty years without every following the reasoning of 100% backing through. I felt like such an idiot when I found out about 100% backing. And prior to that I thought I had the most well-considered positions on monetary policy around. TWENTY YEARS.

    It is here we must be humble. Since a new paradigm can seem to come out of a clear blue sky as it were. Leaving us dumbfounded at our former blindness. In a way I’m fair begging for my critics to come up with such a different slant to the problem. And so far they have not done so.

    ” Conclusions, it seems, are justified relative to a person.”

    No thats no good. One million people believing one million stupid things and convincing one million others cannot change the history that was or influence reality except via influencing the public debate.

    “Two people may disagree, but as long as each person has beliefs that are logically consistent with each other, etc, we can’t say that either one is being unreasonable, or reasoning poorly.”

    Yes thats true. That was my sort of starting point. But they both cannot be right. And more than likely they are both wrong at least in some respect. But CONVERGENCE ought to allow us to figure out which of the two, has some aspect of their reasoning which is untenable in terms of the facts of reality as they are known.

    “For example, someone with different starting assumptions might look at the same evidence you’ve looked at and conclude that aliens are not responsible for the Martian outposts, but rather, flying Ninjas.”

    Well thats what we want to hear. If someone has a good flying Ninja paradigm lets have out with it. Like that could be paradigm six. After the elves and God.

    “As long as his assumptions are consistent with one another, we have to say that this is a reasonable conclusion.”

    In practice they won’t tend to be will they. I mean we could catch up with people studying Ninjitsu and ask them if they are able to fly and get by without oxygen and they would likely tell us no. Still they could be bullshitting us one supposes.

    “But flying Ninjas? That’s crazy.”

    “I know. This is the weakness of coherentism.”

    The weakness really is in your definition. You’ve used a word for “internal-logical-consistency” and come up with the idea that this is some sort of ‘ISM”. Like some sort of school of thought that people actually adhere to.

    The situation is far more simple than that. The situation is that from the point of methodology internal-logical-consistency is necessary for sound methodology.

    Its necessary for sound methodology. And its necessary to get to rightful certitude. But it is NECESSARY BUT INSUFFICIENT TO GET TO RIGHTFUL CERTITUDE.

    The whole of what you are talking about ought simply to be condensed to the above. Its a bad mental habit to attribute a school of thought entire to INTERNAL-LOGICAL-CONSISTENCY and then use the name you’ve given that alleged school as a way of dismissing the need for this trait.

    Any school of thought that does not have internal logical consistency is a school of thought that practices bad methodology. Hence while some of their conclusions might turn out to be right by sheer chance the school of thought itself has nothing really to say about methodology.

    But we can say very clearly that internal logical consistency is necessary for good methodology but insufficient for rightful certitude. To get to rightful certitude we rank and rerank competing paradigms in parallel as to plausibility as the new evidence rolls in. And we find can be rightfully certain about a proposition if we have full-spectrum-convergence for that proposition. As well we ought to usually be able to say what paradigm is the default paradigm.

    “(Another way of pointing out the weakness is to note that for any finite amount of evidence, there are an infinite number of theories logically consistent with the evidence.)”

    Not really. Not in broad brush. Since your evidence is coming from convergent angles there is usually only a few reasonable paradigms that present themself. In this case I can only even GENERATE three reasonable paradigms. If the rest of the people out there were putting in the hard yards we might find others. And we might be on our way to finding the solution to this mystery.

    ” Normally coherentists…..”

    Settle down. There is no such thing. No such school of thought. There might be a fictional character that is like that. Sherlock Holmes would have this view of things. Elery Queen. Miss Marples. People like that in these early detective stories. But you cannot be seriously telling me that this is a school of thought.

    Whereas this alleged school of thought is wrong yet at least they have some of the methodology right. And any school which poo poohed their methodology of placing importance on internal-logical-consistency would be a school of thought that had their methodolgy wrong. But as we have asserted internal logical consistency for each of ones paradigms in parallel is necessary for good methodology and necessary for rightful certitude BUT INSUFFICIENT for rightful certitude.

    “…….get around this by saying that they are arguing based on assumptions that the vast majority of human beings already accept……”

    Well people can accept things and these common assumptions can be complete bullshit. But I’m pretty sure that there is no such school of thought as what you are claiming.

    “….. Even the most ardent advocates of ninjitsu admit that Ninjas cannot hold their breath for significantly longer than an hour. And their maximum flying speed is considerably slower than that of a 747. The flying Ninja hypothesis is clearly inconsistent with facts like these…..”

    Right. But we really aren’t interested all that much even if they claimed otherwise.

    “But someone could still have an extraordinarily abherant system of beliefs, and the flying Ninja hypothesis would be consistent with that belief system.”

    Right but not with reality.

    ” So my question is, does the COHERENT THINKING METHODOLOGY rule such a person irrational (that is, does it go beyond mere coherence in the requirements it puts on drawing good conclusions), or does it say that such a person is reasoning well, albeit in a highly idiosyncratic way?”

    Well he should have sorted the facts out by now. And if he believed that some of these fantastical things were possible they would be sterilised into another paradigm in parallel.

    HERE IS SOME MORE ON THE CORRECT EPISTEMOLOGY. WHICH I CALL “CONVERGENCE EPISTEMOLOGY:

    https://graemebird.wordpress.com/2006/05/03/deductive-bivalent-exactitude-versus-rightful-certitude/


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