Games of Unknowledging – Part I


“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance,
it is the illusion of knowledge.”
— Stephen Hawking

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How much do we know? How much do we not know? How much or how little should we know or shouldn’t know? Why do we either know it or don’t know it? What creates ignorance, keeps it alive, hidden, distorted, or used for political-military purposes?

Agnotology, according to Wikipedia, is a recent new field of study about culturally induced ignorance or doubt. Renown cosmologist and theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking (above) sums up our task well. In our current age of technological devices and data, the internet (particularly social media) and the speedy access to and dissemination of information, as well as the instability or unavailability of quality broader education, it has become more paramount than ever before in human history for us to recognize, grapple, dissect, and understand exactly what state, who for, and how well knowledge and ignorance coexist or are imbalanced, and if it is significant or insignificant and why.
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Ignorance is generated in many various forms. Naivety, neglect or apathy, myopia, secrecy, disinformation, extinction, censorship or suppression, faith, and forgetfulness. They are all sources and surrogates of ignorance. By it’s very definition it permeates many recognized and unrecognized domains. Writing about women’s rights and their social issues past and present, Penn State University’s Dr. Nancy Tuana says:

“…it is important that our epistemologies not limit attention simply to what is known or believed to be known. If we are to fully understand the complex practices of knowledge production and the variety of features that account for why something is known, we must also understand the practices that account for not knowing, that is, for our lack of knowledge about a phenomena or, in some cases, an account of the practices that resulted in a group unlearning what was once a realm of knowledge. In other words, those who would strive to understand how we know must also develop epistemologies of ignorance.”

Dr. Tuana has several poignant scholarly publications about the epistemology of ignorance, especially regarding women’s treatment throughout human history. I will be diving into and swimming in her research and philosophies later in Part II of this series.

Perhaps for now it is best to start with general taxonomies of ignorance (the horse) before diving into the depths of the key agents of modern ignorance I personally want to cover in later parts (the cart).

General Classifications of Ignorance

Native or Innocent State is the first class and it defines ignorance that is a deficit to overcome, or something to grow out of, as a naive child would eventually learn that getting 8-hours of sleep per day is actually beneficial in the long-term, or that lying necessarily leads to more lying.

Time and Mental Constraints is the next class. We cannot possibly study and understand all things. We must leave some alone, select what subjects deserve our needs and attention. As a result, this form of ignorance is a product of inattention and can be lost for a period of time or forever.

Moral-Exemplary Caution is the third class and it includes ignorance for the sake of survival, protections, or mental, physical, and emotional stability. For example, jurors in court for a criminal case are strongly urged to remain ignorant (unbiased) to publicized facts, rumors, opinions, or news stories about their case. The various cinema movie-ratings by the Motion Picture Association of America currently have five designations for films suited to particular age groups. Which uranium and plutonium combinations are highly classified so as not to fall into the wrong unethical hands. And certain forms of torture on prisoners have specific classifications.

Strategic Subterfuge is the last classification of ignorance and the hardest to detect in real-time. Two prime examples of strategic subterfuge would be the World War II Allied Manhattan Project from 1942-46 and Operation Fortitude/Bodyguard in 1943-44, both highly successful webs of deception that shortened the war with Germany and Japan.

There are times and conditions that do warrant ignorance — it is not always bad. And yet, these four classes of ignorance give rise to other important questions. For instance:  Are there other sorts of events/conditions that ignorance creates which we might be unaware? When and how does knowledge create ignorance? What other forms of resistance, tradition, inattention, apathy, calculation, or distraction creates more ignorance? When does ignorance generate confidence, timidity, or arrogance, even megalomania? Because of ignorance what patterns of competence or disability are thereby brought into existence?

I hope to answer some of these questions, but I will also leave it to you my readers to answer some yourselves.

Bias and Concealment

One of the most catastrophic probabilities facing humanity is climate change. In few other global crises has there been more profound, proliferated bias and concealment than on climate change.

They are the world’s most distinguished minds of geophysics, meteorology, atmospheric science, geography, and other disciplines and they comprise the IPCC. Their studies and publications encompass the work of over 800 scientists and over 1,000 peer-reviewers from 130 nations around the world. Inside the U.S. the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science have all ratified their findings. Abroad, the National Academies of Sciences in Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and three others also verified and confirmed the IPCC’s findings. See consensus image below.

IPCC Abstract

Despite the fact that worldwide theory, evidence, and consensus support the claim that anthropogenic global warming is underway, there is a remarkably high number of doubters, particularly in the U.S., that believe these reports are inaccurate, acts of worldwide(?) political-economic conspiracy, or completely fabricated. How is this possible? Six reasons, says Erik M. Conway and Naomi Oreskes.

The Six Main Cold War Contenders

It could be convincingly argued that there are only two or three main contenders against climate change science, but Conway and Oreskes reveal all major contenders and their interconnected allies during the Cold War, an era of mega-business and even bigger deep-pocketed business moguls. Would you consider these six listed below having direct and indirect mutual interests?

The George C. Marshall Institute — was founded by Robert Jastrow, Frederick Seitz, and William Nierenberg. The institute’s influence and popularity on post-war policy, Congress, and public opinion cannot be overstated. It was originally formed to streamline national security and defense policies in the Cold War against the Soviet Union. Its public mission statement at the time was “to encourage the use of sound science in making public policy about important issues for which science and technology are major considerations.” However, after the end of the Cold War the institute turned its attention to environmental issues receiving major funding from oil and gas corporations like Exxon-Mobil, at least $715,000 between 1998 and 2008. In 2001 after only 5-months as executive director, Matthew B. Crawford resigned explaining “[the Institute] is fonder of some facts than others.

April 1983 issue

Robert Jastrow — a planetary physicist and lead scientist with NASA, Jastrow, along with Seitz, Nierenberg, and Siegfried Fred Singer, together headed all major skepticism to climate change and other health and environmental crises between 1982 to the 2000’s. How these four scientists are closely connected will be covered below.

Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) — SDI was a proposed missle-defense “shield” with orbiting space-lasers presented in March 1983 by President Ronald Reagan. When 6,500 academic scientists unionized to not accept or solicit any government funds for the program, Robert Jastrow was so furious that he rallied several well-known scientists of specific fields within the Defense Department and the military-scientific community to combat SDI opposition via the George C. Marshall Institute. He would also accuse the Union of Concerned Scientists, a big challenger to SDI, of being agents for Mikhail Gorbachev and the Soviets.

Big Tobacco — Fortune 100 tobacco corporations like R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (aka Nabisco Group Holdings) spent $45-million between 1979 and 1989 toward finding and publishing evidence or arguments casting doubts about cancer, heart disease, and other smoking-related adverse effects, cases and deaths with their supporting research and publications. The principle advisor for these doubt-publications:  the aforementioned Frederick Seitz.

Acid Rain — is contaminated rainfall from sulfate emissions from power-plants and nitrous emissions from auto exhausts. In 1970, 1977, and 1990 emission standards legislation addressed and updated this growing atmospheric contaminants begun by the Clean Air Act of 1963. Just these measures, from the already established scientific studies and results, took as they say, acts of Congress, over a 50-year period to be adopted! Oh, and the aforementioned S. Fred Singer and Reagan’s White House stalled reports from OSTP, the Office of Science and Technology Acid Rain Panel in which Singer served.

Chlorinated Fluorocarbons (CFCs) — sulfate emissions and nitrous emissions soon lead to higher public awareness of refrigerators, AC units, hair spray, and other various stratospheric contaminants which deplete the ozone layer, known as CFC’s. In 1995 Sherwood Rowland, Mario Molina, and Paul Crutzen won Nobel Prizes for their contributions in Chemistry identifying the damaging effects of CFC’s to the ozone layer. The twice aforementioned S. Fred Singer argued against these men and afterwards even to Congress opposing their findings!

The Impact of These Tactics

During the 1992 mid-term elections, Republican pollster and media advisor Frank Luntz sent out a memo instructing federal Republican candidates to implement the political counter-strategy of scientific uncertainty:

“The scientific debate remains open.

…you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate.”
“The Luntz Research Companies – Straight Talk”, p. 137, – See also Mooney, The Republican War

A 2007 Gallup poll showed that 60% of Americans believed global warming was happening, which meant too that 40% felt there was still “a lot of disagreement among scientists.” Yet, in fact by 1979 — 28-years earlier! — scientists around the globe were increasingly unanimous that what Charles David Keeling had proven about rising CO² in the 1960’s was increasing more in the ’70s. Surveys of the scientific literature worldwide from 1965 to 1979 found only 7 articles predicting cooling and 44 predicting warming. What is also strangely peculiar is that the bulk of the scientific work was done in the U.S. As of March 2016 little has changed in the public eye at only 64% believing it is happening. Why the snail’s pace? No surprise, it isn’t a quick easy answer, but there are two major contributing factors:  1) the IPCC with the Kyoto Treaty (and Doha Treaty) and 2) the Republican-held U.S. Senate ten out of the twelve relevant years concerning the 1997 Byrd-Hagel Resolution (S. Res. 98).


Since 1990 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) along with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and their scientists from 191 member nations and territories, found irrefutable cumulative evidence of global warming. In 1997 a protocol for fighting global warming and reducing greenhouse gas concentrations, the Kyoto Protocol, was adopted in Kyoto, Japan based on the consensus of these scientists around the world and how to reduce and reverse the effects of human-sourced causes. Sadly, the U.S. Senate voted on July 25, 1997 (95 to 0) rejecting this protocol if it did not impose firm emissions limits on the developing nations like India or the People’s Republic of China, both major sources of carbon dioxide emissions along with the United States. This S. Resolution 98 effectively shut-down the Kyoto Treaty before President Clinton could have an opportunity to push for ratification. As of today, the U.S. is the only major industrialized nation refusing participation in the Kyoto and Doha agreements.

After many articles in Business Investor’s Weekly, Forbes Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal S. Fred Singer continually challenged the work of these scientists around the world including those winning the Nobel Prize, others did so as well, mimicking Singer such as political scientist Bjørn Lomborg. Four renown scientists countered Singer and Lomborg with their publication “Misleading Math About the Earth” in January 2002. John Bongaarts, John Holdren, Thomas Lovejoy, and Stephen Schneider demonstrated that the majority of Lomborg’s citations were not from reputable scientific sources, but media-entertainment articles and non-scientific publications. But the damage and impact of the media onslaught had been done. Time Magazine named Lomborg one of the most influential thinkers of 2004.

The Cold War “old guard,” the market fundamentalists, the paranoid contrarians like Singer, Jastrow, Seitz, and Nierenberg saw any challenge or questioning of America’s proud free-market system as anti-capitalist, pro-communist, pro-socialist, and pro-regulatory on suffocating scales! Thus, without the broader information of evidence, data, and pure science from all points, favorable and oppositional, too many doubts were biasedly cast about the science and scientists. Capitalism triumphed over Soviet communism, but now it has to rectify its own excessive waste and impact on the ecosystems. Leave it to the mega-corporations of the world and it goes unchanged and buried. Though unfettered sourcing of our planet’s fossil-fuels was our “free lunch,” our Industrial Revolution, and our two World Wars, followed by the prosperity of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s, global warming is now the rising bankrupting unreckoned invoice. The accumulated interest, charges, and principle-balance could have and should have been confronted and corrected during the last 50+ years. Instead, warehouses of well-funded doubt and unknowledging were produced in its place.

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In Part II of Games of Unknowledging, I will delve into the widely used, but less known exercises of Manufactured Uncertainty, some Women’s Rights and Equality (or non-rights and inequality), and the lost worlds and knowledge of Abortifacients. I do hope you’ll return for it.

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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64 thoughts on “Games of Unknowledging – Part I

    • Have to agree John. The other week Swarn posted an article about our current Texas State Board of Education — which is (hyper?) Conservative, to put mildly — having passed, approved, or adopted the exclusion of several pivotal verbs in science textbooks. For example, removing the word evaluate. HAH! Can you imagine John, Texas public and charter school students not being asked or challenged to evaluate something? It would not surprise me at all if the next verbs, or concept, or method of comparing and/or contrasting were next on the chopping-block! 😮 😡

      Does anybody around here remember what is meant when an educator abides in and teaches… “Do not teach them what to think, but HOW to think.“???? ❓ 💡

      Liked by 3 people

  1. Um..well…ya hello Professor. Ah.. I was going to comment but my eyes are still spinning and glassed over, and my nose prints on the screen need to be cleaned off first. My voice is strained from yelling “what the hell does that mean…” and my fingers are cramped from being used as place holders on the screen while I looked stuff up.

    So while I am wishing you the very best, the most in loves and hugs, I think I will pass on this one. 🙂 Hugs

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    • Hahaha…no worries Scottie and apologies that I used a few too many uncommon terms, descriptions, and less-known policies. I feel you already understand much of this simply in spirit — you are a wonderful person with good instincts. If you change your mind and want to finish this series, but have some bumps on words or any other ideas, PLEASE don’t hesitate to ask! I’ll shoot you my personal email addy so you can ask anything privately and I’ll reply privately. 😉 ❤

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      • Thanks. I will give it another read in a bit. Sometimes I understand better if I step back for a while then try again. Plus it never hurts to read something several times. I get that it is about climate change and the problem some things cause. I do want our planet to survive and be healthy, it is the only planet that supports my way of life in our solar system. I have not found an RV to go out of the system yet, to look for another planet to live on. So let’s keep this one well, our habitat healthy, produce enough food, watch our population growth. I know some people think it is wrong but sex can be done and fun without making a quiverful of babies that no one can afford to educate or feed. OK, I have received the email you sent. Hugs

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        • LOL… an RV to go outside our solar system! 😛 I totally concur Scotty about keeping our pale blue dot healthy. This part of the series is indeed about climate change and its origins, as well as WHY still today only 64% of Americans believe it is happening. So it is equally important to understand why this ignorance persists. One factor, at least for my home state, is what John Zande and I touched on above. But in the next part/post I will get more into how ignorance is manufactured, and cleverly manufactured at that. Therefore, I feel the study and understanding of Not-Knowing is just as critical as “knowing” — or to put it more precisely, understanding the many degrees of knowing.

          In my personal opinion Absolute Certainty is a false human construct which has no place in reality, yet on the other hand, there are most definitely degrees of probability, high probability, and compelling or highly compelling degrees of plausibility. As John alluded to above, truth or certainty are fluid, they can fluctuate in degrees with time, cumulative evolution, and collective intelligence… hopefully for the wiser. I do strongly feel that progressive collective intelligence CANNOT be attained within or under closed Monistic systems of belief.

          Hugs to you too Scottie. Hit me up via that personal email if you’d like. 🙂

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          • OK Professor. I think that nostalgia and inertia have a lot to do with people not wanting to let themselves agree that the climate is changing. But that is not the part of the series for that subject yet? Hugs

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            • Good point about nostalgia and inertia. To your question concerning this part of the series, I went light on climate change because out of the many forms of ignorance, climate change is a little more known — thanks to scientists around the world — by the world population despite the polls showing no change (essentially) in the U.S. The unbiased scientific evidence and facts are easily available for the unlazy to find, read, study, evaluate, compare, contrast, etc, and make an informed EDUCATED decision. If not, then Mother Nature will just slap tha shit out of them in the face or ass at some point. 😉 LOL

              I will concentrate more on the mechanisms of ignorance, than climate change and those horrible politics surrounding it. 🙂

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        • “In my personal opinion Absolute Certainty is a false human construct which has no place in reality” — I agree with you on this Professor, certainly . . . er . . . well, almost certainly. No, seriously, I’m a relativist, unfashionable though it is these days, but it’s the only approach that makes sense to me when one looks (as best one can) at the Big Picture. This is a tremendous article, by the way, for which I here pay you your just dues. Not exactly haiku though, is it? 😉

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          • Hahaha…no, it CERTAINLY is not haiku! And in my study of this enlightening subject, one I am enjoying immensely, it has become quite clear to me that to be fair to self and others, we really should understand the degrees and half-degrees of knowing and not knowing in all its forms, yes? A relativist Hariod is a good, wise, and approachable posture. Bravo Sir!

            Please do return for the remaining parts of the series. I most CERTAINLY want to know/read your feedback! Deal? 🙂

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          • Hariod a question please, by relativist do you mean that you take what is most likely by evidence to be the reality or true thing? Why is it unfashionable ? Thanks. Hugs

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          • OH , yes I would love to listen to a seminar to go into detail on causes and results of those groups. Also if there was unintended consequences they did not want but now can’t stop? Hugs

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          • That is “almost-to-most certainly” another eye-opener to delve into Hariod. Thanks for mentioning! I could probably and easily write full blog-posts on them alone! Ugh. Right now I’m condensing a manifesto in a marketing pamphlet from a law firm in New York, NY who profits from and bills to businesses & corporations fighting lawsuits against “Private Self-Appointed Surgeon Generals“. They are “most definitely” on the side of selling uncertainty and sustained ignorance. 😡

            Both of you stay tuned! 🙂

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        • Hi Scottie! I spotted your YouTube channel the other day, my friend — lovely to see you and hear you talk. 🙂 By ‘Relativism’ I mean adapting a capacity to see things (e.g. evaluate situations) from differing perspectives, and all at once, as it were, rather than taking a fixed view as being the sole one possible, or the only one you can entertain

          Actually, if we think just about ordinary communication, then for it to flow freely we need to embrace the other’s perspective and meld it into our own. If we don’t, we entrench, the communication becomes polarised in a fixation of clung-to opinions, wouldn’t you say? You very much strike me as a great communicator, someone who listens considerately, but who also states their case and position as seen fit by themselves. That’s Relativism at play, one might say, because you’re holding different perspectives in mind and, although having a felt preference for one in particular, perhaps, your mind is willingly shifting relative to any possible final position in establishing (what is likely a moveable) Scottie’s paradigm — the field of thought within which Scottie’s mind moves. It isn’t to be without opinions in a sort of post-modernist free-for-all of there being no authority to be had in views of any sort, but rather it’s seeing everything contextualised and interrelated, not as discrete ‘objects’ that are ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.

          Relativism is unfashionable — particularly Moral Relativism — because we live in a world in which we’re all supposed to hold definitive positions, and our leaders, our media personalities too, are all expected to immediately hold definitive positions on pretty much everything. When did you last hear a politician say, “I’ll need to think that through,” or “There are two sides to this argument.“? Hardly ever, right? No, it’s all black and white stances, polarisation, and look at the mess we’re in with World Politics because of it. The media encourages this Absolutism all the time, and will crucify those who won’t take sides, who won’t play the polarising wars of words.

          Apologies for having gabbled on too much already! All best wishes, Hariod.

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          • Thank you Hariod. I appreciate both the compliment and the explanation. I agree with you. I guess I am a relativist also. I was told by a teacher I admired that he learns more by listening than he does by talking. I agree with that, so I do try to listen to what people write or say. I think to have set positions that are unchangeable lacks reason. New information should color your views, understandings, and opinions. As to looking honestly at others views, how would I be able to form a rational opinion on it if I did not listen to what they were saying and try to see it clearly. I can’t respond to others if I don’t comprehend what they are saying. I may think they are saying one thing, and respond wrong because they are saying another. I think it can be summed up by the double circles idea. I have an understanding of reality in one circle. You have another view of reality in your circle. where the circles overlap is where we share a view of reality.

            Lastly, I have been spending time understanding the new idea of identity politics. I still don’t understand it fully. However I do dislike ideas that refuse to see the overall need of a cause by focusing too deeply on the purity of the subject. For example, the fight against discrimination gets messed up when people start trying to determine the degrees one group is discriminated against versus other groups. Rather than saying no one should be discriminated against, I was recently informed that as a gay man I was oppressing women. I kid you not, as a group of college people had a ranking system of discrimination. I thought that effort would have been better spent trying to end discrimination of anyone.

            Thanks again Hariod, I hope this explains a bit how I try to look at things. I like the idea: I don’t know everything and that I can be wrong. I like to learn. Life would be horribly boring if I thought I already knew all there was to know and was always correct. 🙂 Be well. Hugs

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            • See Scottie, you just proved once again that you understand enough of this knowing and not-knowing hubbub in spirit first — your humility — and then by your genuine efforts will know more, and as a result not-know too, 😉 and you will be rewarded (and challenged) for yourself and by others! ❤

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  2. the epistemology of ignorance, especially regarding women’s treatment throughout human history” – I look forward to part two, I suspect it will be even more interesting.

    You have the largest horse and cart I have ever seen sir. Hahahahahaha.

    or that lying necessarily leads to more lying.” – I don’t believe you.

    There are times and conditions that do warrant ignorance — it is not always bad.” – Some would say bliss. This can be quite true so long as one never finds out that say their partner lives a double life and spends three months of the year not at a business course in the seashells, but in Las Vegas as Penny Spender the best striptease artist in the US.

    Climate change deniers are sat in the same dingy as flat earthers.

    Most enjoyable Professor, I shall return again for the next segment, and leave you with a song that popped to mind along the above theme.

    – Esmeralda the Empress of Strategic Subterfuge upon the Cloud

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  3. A very informative and thought-provoking essay, and I love the Hawking quote. Here’s a few of my observations, for what it’s worth:

    1) The demise of middle class prosperity in the western world, combined with a systematic shift in educational focus from broad-based curricula towards highly specialized occupational training, have denigrated the quality of education systems and reduced the prevalence of critical thinking in the general population – which are both imperative for democratic governance.

    2) The natural, evolutionary state of human cognition is predominantly subjective. We are designed to use intuition, pattern-recognition, and other intellectual shortcuts in order to make decisions quickly. The time-consuming process of unbiased objective thinking is very difficult for us, and the problems detailed above in my first point are making it even more difficult. Yet, I believe the continued survival of our civilization is dependent upon objectivity.

    3) Subjective thinking is a perfect breading ground for emotionalism, reactionary behavior, narcissism, sociopathy, confirmation bias, and a whole host of other psychological conditions which are antithetical to the healthy social organization of large, diverse populations.

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    • Thank you kindly Robert, and I think your three points are WELL WORTH repeated readings, contemplation, and digestion! They’re excellent!

      To #1 —
      Yes, the products of capitalism, especially lightly regulated or unregulated capitalism. But not just that, as you point out, the decline of curricula or earnest popularity of the Humanities, Fine Arts, Classic literature and music, etc, everything typically non-technical non-occupational. And for the U.S., one of the most work-addicted, laborous-hours-addicted populace on the planet! 😦

      To #2 —
      Funny you touched on that Robert. I was just having a discussion with another blogger — Iwannabealady — about how our human brains MUST be super-efficient (on about 12.6 watts metabolic-energy) and she had questions. She’s now reading my 6-part series Untapped Worlds. The Part I intro gets into exactly what you said: find shortcuts and quick decisions! However, now that as a species we no longer live in the predatory wild of 40, 60, or 100,000 years ago, we have all evolved and advanced through a time of much more reflection, study, restudy, higher cognitive functions (e.g. abstract complex equations & algorithms), social infrastructure and collaboration (to degrees 😉 ), have landed on the Moon and now pushing on to Mars! But as I think we are both pointing out, hyper-specialization — which is perhaps another word for tunnel-vision? — in particular pockets, groups and/or nations of the world, if ignored or left alone will dilapidate our strides over the millenia for increased objectivity and empathetic tolerance and understanding.

      To #3 —
      You could NOT be more correct Sir! I could tell you some crazy, frightening stories about my years working in the inpatient Psych/A&D field (all ages) and public/charter Special Ed years (4th – 12th grades) with wards-of-the-state kids removed from dysfunctional and highly dysfunctional homes. Everything you’ve stated is so and not improving. Why? If interested in-depth, read The Land of Opportunity? If not, then suffice to say here that by NOT investing short-, mid-, and long-term in your state’s or nation’s youth and their critical quality BROAD common core curricula — like Texas hasn’t been doing the last 25-30 years — one day the volatile social problems become overtaxed diressed, skeletal programs which turn into social unrest/rebellion, which gets much worse after that… for ALL socioeconomic classes!!!

      Great stuff Robert. Thank you for this and your continued feedback & thoughts in the future, I hope! 😉

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  4. Their studies and publications encompass the work of over 800 scientists and over 1,000 peer-reviewers from 130 nations around the world.

    Do you have any idea how small that number is in relation to the 6 billion people we have, of which well over 800 people are competent (if not brilliant) scientists. These 800 are not above being biased or wrong either. Remember, they’re relatively few in number, and the only difference between these scientists saying climate change is an issue and that it’s definitively man made have consolidated their efforts and their opponents have not.

    That does not mean they don’t have opposing views they’re failing to address, doesn’t even mean they outnumber scientists who disagree with them, or that they’re automatically right even if they *were* a majority. I mean…. just saying. There’s a *reason* so many people remain skeptical to this day; the case they make, apparently, just isn’t very convincing.

    Like you said, they’ve been trying to push this narrative for *decades*.

    Liked by 1 person

    • First of all, thank you Jack for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I hope you are able to continue returning Sir.

      Do you have any idea how small that number is in relation to the 6 billion people we have, of which well over 800 people are competent (if not brilliant) scientists.

      Yes I do have an idea; a very good idea. Your distinction of the two (opposed) groups is poignantly made. I applaud that. Another good distinction in addition to yours is that 7.5 billion on the planet and then that group of “non-scientists” within those 7.5 billion — that “majority” you mention — TALK like they are scientists, but the field and its interdisciplinary fields are NOT AT ALL their field of expertise. Their actual field of expertise might be something completely UNscientific, but they try to talk as if they know everything about climatology or a scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, e.g. Jim Inhofe. HAH!

      Like myself, there is absolutely no way I’m going to talk as if I am a military veteran of 3-4 combat deployments or a refugee of a horrific civil war because I AM NOT! Though I can empathize with combat veterans and war-inflicted refugees and their unimaginable experiences, I have no possible justification to pretend to be a REAL veteran or refugee. And should I be so deluded to think or act like a veteran/refugee, hopefully there are plenty of well-educated, intelligent, adequately informed people out there with excellent critical-thinking skills to recognize whether I am deluded or for real. Jim Inhofe is no climatologist and could NEVER be a friend of NOAA, let alone a member. LOL 😛 Hence, when he talks or writes about climate-change, he will absolutely be the very LAST person on Earth I’d read or listen to. Government legislation? Sure, I’d listen to him; hear him out. Science? The environment? Not interested in his views in the least. He doesn’t have a clue. Yet, as I mentioned in the post, 36% to 40% of Americans choose to believe non-scientists like Jim Inhofe, and that’s why I’m writing this blog-series: ignorance. I mean, if you are having heart problems would you go to see an accountant or a cardiologist? 😉

      Your point about consolidated efforts is definitely correct. Science, when it is interdisciplinary, does not really concern itself as much with the end as it does with the shared (open to criticism) means. Science doesn’t concern itself so much with majority or minority. Look how long it took the scientific community to finally accept/approve Albert Einstein’s theories of relativity and Brownian motion.

      There’s a *reason* so many people remain skeptical to this day; the case they make, apparently, just isn’t very convincing.

      Perhaps not. And perhaps “convincing” isn’t possible against mega-funded uncertainty campaigns and blatant denial in the face of compelling cumulative scientific evidence pointing at only one or two plausible causes. After all, one cannot be as convinced about special relativity, energy/matter equivalence, or Brownian motion if you do not possess an advanced knowledge of physics. Doesn’t mean Einstein is off his rocker if WE do not understand it. Maybe this planet needs a lot more legitimate (unpaid?) scientists and less contamination and corruption? Is that asking too much? Hahaha 😉


  5. Pingback: Games of Unknowledging – Part II | Professor Taboo

  6. Well since part II came out, I figured I better read part I! As always your gift at language combined with your excellent research into a topic often leaves me too impressed to remember that I am also supposed to be learning something! lol

    I guess one thing I was confused about was in regards to how you separate ignorance and deception. Or perhaps you don’t. For instance when you talk about strategic subterfuge you give as an example deception. I mean I guess as I lay it out you aren’t really being contradictory, it just seems to me that there is a difference let’s say in simply being uneducated about a particular subject, or thinking you know something about a particular subject, but not being up-to-date, as opposed to someone intentionally exploiting your cognitive biases to get you to believe in one particular thing or the other. And very often it is through emotional exploitation. In many ways that emotional part of ourselves is a gatekeeper to learning and the acquisition of knowledge. Those who deceive essentially have learned how to bribe the gatekeeper and all sorts of nasty things can get let in. lol Of course there are some people who use those exploits, but don’t do so insidiously. Religion comes to mind there. An organizational structure so powerful even many of the adherents don’t realize that they are coercing a certain set of beliefs through fear and constant repetition. On the contrary many would feel like they were helping those they loved.

    If we then look at things from a neurochemical perspective such that the reinforcement of the neural pathways that form our beliefs about the world release dopamine in the brain which activates our reward system. We also know that attempting to differ our pattern of thinking can actually make us physiologically unwell. So how much is ignorance really germane to the discussion when (and this sounds pretty cynical) may be we are just rats doing what we need to do to get our cheese and not get zapped.

    It seems to me that really, and this relates back to a previous series you did about the finiteness of our energy, that all ignorance is really related to the time and mental constraints category. Since I have finite time and energy, how many articles can I realistically read before coming to some conclusion? Should I trust the pastor who is a member of my community? Or what this politician I do not know says on TV? Should I give up my dopamine rewards and feel physically unwell on the hopes that I will have a better understanding of the universe? Of course such a conscious decision wouldn’t be made, but this is the way I think we work. There is a cost to feeling unwell. There are costs that gaining new knowledge could lead to you being abandoned by friends and family. Ignorance might have been bliss. Trying to make new friends, having no family support, being depressed about losing people in your life. Few of us have the time or energy to go through such isolation. Even your category about ignorance based on a native or innocent state. Such a state usually implies that one might still one day learn certain knowledge. Indicating that their total energy expenditure up until now has been already put to as much use as it can, and as time advances so will the person’s knowledge and experience.

    Anyway, I am not sure if I’ve made any cogent points, but this was a fascinating topic to write about. I never really thought about ignorance before. Well done Professor!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhhh, Swarn. Very fine questions and thoughts! Thank you, thank you! Let me have several minutes to consider your excellent comment and get back to you today, hopefully this morning with my thoughts. 🙂

      Once again Swarn, many thanks for your considered provocative comment and questions. I hope you’re able to do the same with the following Parts as well. 🙂

      Yes, the earlier series you reference is (ironically?) Untapped Worlds. We are indeed creatures of priorities/choices then habits. It is how we’ve been currently wired after some 120,000 years on this planet. Fortunately, fewer choices we make today have lethal catastrophic consequences allowing us more time/energy toward WISER choices for self, family, community AND now greater numbers for our species! Of course, understanding why some humans have no or little desire to consider/choose beyond self and immediate community/peers is perhaps a form of ignorance, huh? Ignorance of a profound concept called Strength (survival?) in Numbers! If one studies closely those creatures (insects particularly) that have learned and evolved to work together as a Superorganism — e.g. ants — it’s not rocket science to see how well they have survived this fragile harsh planet the last 5 to 92-million years! HAH! We humans have only been SEMI-cooperating(?) at best for maybe 40,000 years?

      If we humans want to begin approaching those numbers, that rate-of-survival/success, then whether a human has the time or energy to widen and deepen their knowledge-experience for self, family, community/peers will be directly proportional to the probability of their survival and/or extinction. Unless of course the human race decides to let Artificial Intelligence and Social-media to do all the work for them! 😛 Hah! Can you say, “RISKY! Just bend us all over, grab our ankles and say ‘Don’t use any lube!’“? I don’t know about you Swarn (actually I can make a good guess), but I fucking WANT to find and SPEND the necessary time/energy that is currently humanly possible to at least increase the chances MY descendants survive a long, long time! 😉 But I know full well we (my family & immediate peers) cannot do it ALONE in small numbers!

      I guess I’m saying we don’t have much of a choice unless everyone (or those certain minority fatalistic groups) on the planet want to go extinct. Meanwhile we should AT LEAST learn to recognize those extreme fatalists and their cousins, the subtle deceiving ones. Am I making sense? An excellent place to start, IMHO, is to learn what we know, what we don’t know, and why.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’m certainly with you, that in theory knowing everything we know now, is the best path for going further. But as you point at that simply isn’t possible given our contraints on time and energy. Maybe AI is the “God” we need. Would all that knowledge breed wisdom, that I think is the ultimate question that divides many great thinkers out there who are worried or not worried about AI.

        Regardless, it is clear that we could be doing a better job of educating people, and that there are content areas that even nations with greater education are missing content areas that probably should be addressed. Like cognitive biases, logical and fallacious argumentation, and probably a good smattering of world history. Of course the good thing about having so many people is the diversity of passions and paths people take in the pursuit of knowledge. And I would say that the most important problem we should be solving is still poverty. With no poverty the extra cognitive energy people have available makes them much more likely to use critical thinking and reasoning skills.

        I’ll try to get to Part II in the near future!

        Liked by 1 person

        • All very good valid points Swarn. And it is indeed true that not any one individual can be an “expert” on all subjects, for the mere fact of TIME itself and its evolution of knowledge-ignorance. That said, I do believe everyone should always be willing to defer to experts-in-the-field. For example, the IPCC above in this blog-post. Personally, I consider over 800 acclaimed scientists, 1,000 peer-reviewers from 130 nations in the fields of climate, to be MORE THAN SUFFICIENT cumulative consensus that things must change and soon, like yesterday! Geeezzzz! Point being that when the cumulative consensus of scienctific experts doesn’t align to YOUR personal world-views, nor your community’s/organization’s model — i.e. YOUR NON-SCIENTISTS of that field — something more (sinister?) is going on. In the field of psychology/psychiatry that is quite diagnosable. LOL

          Naturally, I look forward to your feedback and thoughts on the following parts to this series. Thank you kindly Swarn! ❤

          Liked by 1 person

          • And I agree wholeheartedly with that. Given our time constraints, it seems in our best interest to default to experts for knowledge we simply don’t have time to investigate ourselves. While I feel like discovery should be an important part of a curriculum, I think that there also has to be a certain amount of memorization as well. To me it simply becomes wasteful to simply have students rediscover everything again. Certainly showing them how discovery works is extremely valuable. As adults we need to be aware of how science and discovery works, and thus realize those people in a particular field are practicing that, and coming up with the best results possible based on that process. I guess it comes down to trusting in the process. People will say that things always change and history shows how often scientists have been wrong, but this to me is a gross misrepresentation. Most of the time, scientists aren’t completely wrong, they just aren’t completely right. Buying into what scientists are selling doesn’t necessarily lead you astray in fact it’s usually quite the opposite, because it gives you the proper foundation to leap forward.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Fantastic points Swarn! I completely agree with you again. As you’ll read in Part II, from A.B. Hill…

              All scientific work is incomplete — whether it be observational or experimental. All scientific work is liable to be upset or modified by advancing knowledge. That does not confer upon us a freedom to ignore the knowledge we already have, or to postpone actions that it appears to demand at a given time.

              What I find that often hinders “science and discovery” is being taught at a young age an imbalance between a fluid knowledge-ignorance curriculum and a strict monistic-binary curriculum or indoctrination, consequently destroying/flawing much human creativity, genius, and/or resourcefulness. In other words, conform or be cast out. 😦 As I will cover in Part III, there is even some value to a child and teenager being allowed to LEARN lying/fabrication in order to test, retest, gaining wisdom and discernment, AT LEAST learning (softly or in hard ways) types of boundaries, both human and Natural. Yet of course, I feel/believe there are proper ways of “testing” — e.g. ficticious or pseudo-ficticious role-playing. 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

  7. Your opening quote struck a chord. I lived for a time in Marin County, just north of San Francisco and the acknowledged capitol of woo-woo in that state. I observed two people feeding what I thought were bizarre beliefs back and forth to one another in what I think was a form of bonding (Oh you believe that, too?) And then I saw something get invented out of whole cloth that confirmed their shared beliefs. I recognized this as I was a participant in the activity described by one of these “sharers” and know that the spin put on the event by my friend just wasn’t true.

    I think a great deal of illusory knowledge comes out of interactions in which people are striving to be acknowledged by another or a group as a peer. As another example, I had a friend who quite strongly wanted to be rich. Since he interacted with rich people (he was in sales) he adopted many of their beliefs and argued these beliefs to his middle-class friends (of whom I was one). I could not tell whether he truly believed some of the nonsense I heard him utter, but I believe people who want something in the way of recognition can transform themselves into believers, based upon “facts” they are sure, but of course they do not know. Religious belief is of this sort. But a more common desire to be accepted by people around us is the source of much of this wishful (?) thinking.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Steven Hawking does know a thing or two, huh? 😉

      Funny how dramatic or thrilling versions of a story/event can sway opinion no matter what the facts may be. Pandering at its most efficient effectiveness. Your two examples Steve are good examples of how we humans, probably soon after birth, seek and NEED that acknowledgement, that acceptance. Does it ever completely leave us or diminish to trivial amounts? The alternative, and perhaps an extreme example, is what happened to the German people in the 1930’s until 1944-45(?) — allowing a very charismatic man lead them down a path of utter destruction, and until 1944 they LOVED IT and LOVED HIM!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Pingback: Cyber-status: Self-Reminder | Professor Taboo

  9. “The illusion of knowledge.” That is a great quote covering the transformation of our society from book (generally agreed upon fact) learning, to our modern propaganda filled news (Faux News a fine example,) and our propaganda filled social media (pick one.)

    We also have the problem of filter bubbles both social, and computer algorithm driven search engines that tend to find your particular area of preferences and spam/suggest much more of the same interests, and/or spam you with multiple windows of ads based upon your recent searches (the ads don’t particularly apply here in this conversation, but worthy of mention.)

    Now combine these issues, and toss in an underedumacated society of beer drinking Billy Bobs, who are likely to believe anything they hear from their social bubble, and pretty much the computer bubble as well, because they do not understand how they are being manipulated. Even if they are told as much, they would probably scoff in disbelief and crack open another beer. Then tell their buddies everything they heard over another beer, and the misinformation travels the pike until it becomes a false reality. (is there such a thing?)

    The misinformation wars is upon us. Fact based reality is under attack. Our society, and our democracy is under attack. The people who profit from misinformation must be held accountable for what they have done, and what they are doing.

    …recall the links I sent you earlier. For the broader perspective of how bad this situation really is.

    Anyone using social media should delete their accounts immediately. Stay in touch with the telephone or e-mail like we used to. All voting mechanisms should revert back to non hackable ballots. Faux News should be fined for every provable lie they sell to the public. We need to take a step back with all of this. It has gotten out of control. The manipulators have gotten away with too much already.

    I hate to sound like some wackaloon alarmist with a conspiracy theory, but this shit is real people. Either that, or I have fallen for the misinformation misinformation campaign and have become a wackaloon alarmist with a conspiracy theory. (Which is a real possibility I must consider lol)

    Great post man.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do not disagree with 98% of what you’ve stated Shell; only 2%. The part about being douped by a misinformation misinformation double whammy campaign where there are multiple versions of realities and subrealities, yes? 😉 😛

      I believe you’ll enjoy Part II, III, and the Conclusion as well.


      • Well I wasn’t stating that as a strong probability, only a slight possibility that cannot quite be discounted to a zero sum, given that many things with very small odds of happening does not make them impossible. IOW I’m just leaving the door open lol 🙂

        Glad you found it because I didn’t save it, and could not reproduce it in its entirety again without having lost much of the moment. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Texas’ 1836 Project | The Professor's Convatorium

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