Response to Diane Ravitch NPR Interview on “Reign of Error”

Please see Diane’s blog and NPR for my responses. Both are similar with some small differences. (archived below)

(From Diane’s Blog)

“I heard this broadcast this morning and was disappointed by your rationale towards technology.

What is technology? This term is often used broadly without specific consideration to what you are actually talking about. It seems you are considering that computer technology may make teachers obsolete. You may forget that the printing press is also technology, and computer technology which you are specifically referring to in the context of education is simply an evolution of the printing press. Can improved books and learning materials make teachers obsolete? If they are unwilling to change their methods then possibly some of them; yes. This will result in increased demand for teachers with the new skill set.

As someone in the education industry, you might think I would be worried about this possibility, but I am not. My reasoning is straightforward. Future computerized educational learning systems will contain thorough curriculums, and someone with expert knowledge will need to assist in the programming and updating of these curriculums, as well as the analysis of results. This demand may simply replace the in classroom demand and represents a shift from on-premise teaching to remote teaching.

So your concern Diane (and like-minded followers and teachers) should not be whether or not your time and knowledge will become obsolete.. Your concern should be whether or not you will have the skills and ability to embrace the future of delivering education.”

(From NPR)

“It seems that many share your predilection Bertis, but it is emotionally motivated and subjective.

I heard this broadcast this morning and was disappointed by Diane’s rationale towards technology.

What is technology? This term is often used broadly without specific consideration to what the conversation is actually talking about. It seems that you, Diane and many others are considering that computer technology may make teachers obsolete. We must not forget that the printing press is also technology. Computer technology, specifically referred to in this interview, in the context of education is simply an evolution of the printing press. Can improved books and learning materials make teachers obsolete? If educators are unwilling to change their methods then possibly some of them; yes. This will result in increased demand for educators with the new skill set.

As someone in the education industry, one might think I would be worried about this possibility, but I am not. My reasoning is straightforward. Future computerized educational learning systems will contain thorough curriculums, and someone with expert knowledge will need to assist in the programming and updating of these curriculums, as well as the analysis of results. This demand may simply replace the in classroom demand and represents a shift from on-premise teaching to remote teaching.

So your concern and Diane’s (as well as any other like-minded followers and teachers) should not be whether or not the time and knowledge of our teachers will become obsolete.. The concern should be whether or not we will have the skills, ability and open-mindedness to embrace the future of epistemology. This invites the question – What is the most efficient method of delivering education?”

References
NPR Interview: http://www.npr.org/2013/09/27/225748846/diane-ravitch-rebukes-education-activists-reign-of-error
Diane Ravitch Blog: http://dianeravitch.net/
Diane’s Blog re: NPR Interview: http://dianeravitch.net/2013/09/27/maybe-my-best-interview-ever-npr-morning-edition/

Did the Cold War Really End?

At risk of sounding like a conspiracy theory enthusiast, I have noticed a recent revival of Cold-War-eqsue feuds reminiscent of a past era many people thought was behind us.

It seems to me that in looking at the big picture from a timeline perspective, the cessation of the Cold War was simply due to economic conditions of that time (partly due to technological limitations IMO e.g. The Star Wars Project and its response in Russia) and much of the same philosophies that sparked and fueled the original conflict(s) still exist.

With the advent of groups such as the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation), and increasing tensions with the U.S. and China (Hacking issues, Globalization issues), Russia (Snowden, LGBT), the Middle East and Arab Nations (Egypt, Syria, occupations, protests, etc) – it seems that the worldviews haven’t changed much since the Cold War Era and it is still a contest of “him vs him”.

These events all allude to escalating differences between the nations that will hopefully subside peacefully.

The realization and cooperation of achieving common goals and identifying and understanding our “human purpose” is of great importance. Until this is realized, we will always be in a circular endless loop of preparation for war, war and recovery.

(Addendum: this is starting to sound a little like 1984, “at war with eastasia, at peace with eurasia, at peace with eastasia, at war with eurasia..” :/ ).

References
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_Defense_Initiative
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_War
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai_Cooperation_Organisation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberwarfare_in_China
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Globalization
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_economic_reform
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Snowden
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Russia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_Spring

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four

Humanity – The Great Genetic Experiment

Postulate

I always assume the premise of a supreme architect. If you are uncertain of this, you may want to debate with me first. Nonetheless, you may find my latest ponder below to be interesting.

I’ve had many conversations about evolution and existence and/or creation. Today I was sitting in my office chair leaned back with my hands clasped together rested on the table, holding a long stare into a blank white wall while I thought over my most recent teleological discussions and I had a thought.

Many people have considered that we are possibly an experiment. If this were assumed to be true, then it would pose the question – what kind of experiment? Why?

What if the experiment of humanity, created by a supreme architect, is for the purpose of identifying the genetic markers and traits that separate humans with desirable qualities from those that are not desirable.

Desirable for what you might ask? It’s a where actually – “Heaven”, of course.

Life Extension and Senescence

I read an article in National Geographic yesterday (April 2013 issue), which described genetic markers that scientists are identifying which are common among individuals with increased resistance to certain senescent illnesses (things old people are often afflicted by); such as cancer, diabetes, alzheimer’s, heart disease, etc.

The idea behind these studies and experiments is to improve our underlying genetics to become more resistance and potentially immune to these illnesses.

I presume, similar to a vaccine, modified benign viruses are one possible catalyst with strong likelihood for hosts of genetic improvement. Nanotech is another, though far off. Either way, it seems obvious to me, when considering some of this new science on the horizon, that there is a strong likelihood for success in eliminating illness, and ultimately extend our lives indefinitely.

The ideas of life extension and genetic enhancement are quickly moving from the realm of science fiction to reality, and this thought combined in my mind with my recent teleological debates and also possibly merged with ideas on the ethics of genetic manipulation and their relation to God (recently observed this on the show Fringe).

These 2-3 ideas, when mentally merged, led me to consider something I had not thought of before. If mankind were “designed” and “programmed” to self improve our own DNA, then what if there is a reason that this is the study we are are collectively embarking upon.

If an advanced race or being were to create a lesser race out of raw materials then it may want to test indefinite permutations of these materials to find groups of combinations that were relatively unique, but also work well with each other. This would result in control groups, or a single large control group, that would make perfect inhabitants in an environment staged for a another purpose, without worrying about distractions that these individuals may cause one another if afflicted by intense greed, illness or erroneous behavior.

This sounds to me like the perfect candidates for “Heaven”.

Existence

You might consider, if a supreme being or beings existed with these kinds of capabilities, they could simply simulate the best combinations and retrieve “the winning personalities”.

I agree with this. It may re-define our existence.

Human Existencea (tangible?) physical simulation designed to allow the self replicating internal agents (that’s us) to determine an ideal state for themselves (incl. genetic) based on predefined initial parameters (physics and absolute truths).

This is similar to an artificial bee colony algorithm and would result in a race of humans perfectly suited to solving difficult tasks encountered in their physical realm.

If we can perfectly adapt to our own physical realm, then we might make good candidates for assisting in any realms that may lie beyond.

Patterns of Violence

At this point in time, Federal Agencies may be compiling police reports filed across the country where officers were reported to have used excessive force or racially motivated wrongful actions. The file will come in handy if the revenge of Dorner spawns copycats.

The psychology of Dorner is not complex. After some research into his history, and reading his “manifesto”, it seems to me that he was an implosive personality and years of anger boiled deep within him before he finally exploded.

Dorner made his attempts to become a whistleblower and lost his cases, multiple times. Subsequent media frenzy and renewed interest in his case may eventually prove he was victimized but he’s already crossed the line with his actions so it doesn’t matter anymore.

One of the aspects of these recent events around Dorner that concerns me is how many other racial and vengeful motivated acts may be committed over time brought on by similar conditions.

Many people may see this as a police officer gone rogue, but they will fail to see a pattern of violence which may be dangerously increasing until it is too late.

Once again, the perception of these events creates the reality, and the probability of civil unrest only increases.

You must ask yourself, is perception reality?

References
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/10/us-usa-california-cop-idUSBRE9160SM20130210

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/02/09/1185809/-Christopher-Dorner-Manifesto-Uncensored

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind%E2%80%93body_problem

A New Equation for God

What this is not

There are various equations and proofs by mathematicians asserting their particular finding is proof of the existence of God. Two of such which are fairly popular are Godel’s proof and Euler’s formula (e^(pi*i)+1=0).

Both are great discoveries and have lended their share of contributions to science, religion and mathematics, but yet they still fail to serve as complete proof of the existence of God and have both been refuted as such.

My small post here is simply the presentation of a hypothesis. I do not assume to stand on equal ground as the mathematicians who have derived the formulas mentioned above, but I find myself pondering on something I believe to be the precipice for a great future discovery.

Who is HE

Many religious works, both Judeo-Christian and otherwise have attempted to humanize deities in (what I believe is) an anthropomorphic attempt to rationalize our existence.

However, Einstein and many other deists (incl. pandeists, etc) try to reason that God is a force. Modern culture has even attempted to identify this concept using much imagination and creativity.

I also believe God is a force, however, I am surprised to have difficulty finding much literature or information suggesting the connection between this Great Force and our consciousness as a force.

Forces at work

There is literature and research suggesting our “consciousness is an active force that we exert upon the universe”. It is met with some speculation from the scientific community; but the field of nueroscience as a whole contains many uncertainties, so as a theoretical possibility, in my opinion, it is sound.

If we can define ourselves – our consciousness – as a force, this may help us to understand how the Supreme Architect is similar to us; and serve to define both of our shared existences in terms that can prove the existence of one another in the same manner as systems of equations.

Preternatural Forces

Force – any influence that causes an object to undergo a certain change, either concerning its movement, direction, or geometrical construction.

A force may be exerted by either a living or “inanimate” object. For many years, humans have exerted forces and hardly understood the forces exerted by the “inanimate” around them. Wind moves around us, powered by the unseen magnetic force of the Earth, and objects are compelled to the ground by yet another unseen force of gravity.

If it is possible that every human can simultaneously feel the effects of gravity and that such a force can exist, then it leads one to wonder what other unknown forces exert their energy on the entirety of the universe? Cosmic background radiation is further proof of the existence of such forces.

If such forces exist, and God is a force, then an equation for God would be an equation for such a force. This may be indefinitely outside of our comprehension, but my instincts tell me a piece of this equation is right in front of us – it is our mind.

Connected

How is it that two people who do not know each other can form the same idea, sometimes exactly the same, even when separated by great distances? This phenomenon (the name of which evades me at the moment) cannot be easily explained.

One may consider that people contain similar priori knowledge based on events they have experienced, but in many cases throughout history, this explanation is lacking. Where does the first idea come from? How can separate disparate persons stumble upon these “first ideas”?

Knowledge and Forms

My epistemology (the study of knowledge and its source) is highly influenced by platonism. In accordance with this, I believe that we can conceive of ideas such as absolute truth or goodness, but can never fully achieve these “forms”. Our lives are an endless series of attempts to reach the pinnacle of these “perfect forms“, but we always fall short. Many (most) religions are focused either directly or indirectly on this same goal.

What drives us to these forms? Do we truly have full control over our stream of consciousness or are our thoughts moving forward driven by forces towards goals that feed our relentless discontent? (i.e. economic problem, human condition).

Brain Activity

The electrons in your brain are constantly in motion, a process we are increasingly attempting to understand as our technology improves. However, this biomechanical process is unlike any other organic process on Earth. Once the process kickstarts, it cannot be stopped and restarted, as medicine understands very well that brain death is irreversible.

Thus, the electrical activity in your brain is the result of various one-way force(s) at the least, the same force(s) shared between all of us. To understand why you share the same thoughts as someone thousands of miles away from you is to recognize that the force that drives these electrical signals compels us all.

Good and Evil

Why do some mental electrical patterns go bad? What shared forces do these individuals share that have driven them towards similar ends. Psychology tells us certain events are shared between many of these individuals, but what about the exceptions? Is it simply probabilistic?

For many centuries, even in modern day, the belief in demons and angels was undoubtedly attributed to personified beings. These creatures represented absolute good and absolute evil, once again reminding me of plato’s perfect forms. My contention to this ancient belief, is that these absolute forces exist within each of us, and move between the mental projections of our self (dualism).

By simply believing or not believing in these forces, we contrive to a doctrine. As there is no middle choice, it is not possible for the absolute existence of either good or evil to be false. Even atheists and agnostics are subscribers to beliefs, and in sharing those beliefs are affected by their shared force, which may continue to flow through other minds.

One might contest that these thoughts travel through the senses and cannot flow to a mind that is sheltered from its influence, but if this were the case, then the first idea could never occur. If the force were self-contained, then independent discovery by unconnected persons of similar and sometimes exact ideas with varying backgrounds and experiences would not be possible.

If this is true, then the force was there before the mind; it is immortal and impersonal. To define the equation of this force that represents the perfect forms we are all attempting to achieve, is to prove the existence of God. To communicate with this force, and attempt to reach it, is the chase of Nirvana and the expulsion of temptations and evil introduced by the flaws in our own design.

We are each at war within ourselves. This conflict is the realization of these forces, and by extension the realization of the existence of the Supreme Architect. He is a force within each of us, like a small light, and through this demonstration He has connected us to Him. To give in to contesting forces is the suicide of ideals. You willingly are free choose to believe in the existence and source of these absolutes. I can only imagine the alternative to be a grim silent implosion of your own mind.. into a void of darkness.

References
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6del%27s_ontological_proof

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euler%27s_formula

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Force_%28Star_Wars%29

http://www.renresearch.com/consciousness.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroscience

http://www.mathwarehouse.com/algebra/linear_equation/systems-of-equation/index.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Force

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_microwave_background_radiation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_priori_and_a_posteriori

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistemology

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platonism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_condition

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_problem

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stream_of_consciousness_%28psychology%29

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biomechanics

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_death

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dualism_%28philosophy_of_mind%29

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_Forms

texas aims to protect 2nd amendment rights‏

On Wednesday, Texas freshman Rep. Steve Stockman introduced his Restore the Constitution Act in response to Obama signing a flurry of unconstitutional executive orders and actions following his anti-firearms speech last week.

The bill would make it a misdemeanor for any state or federal official to “enforce or attempt to enforce any acts, laws, executive orders, agency orders, rules or regulations of any kind whatsoever of the United States government relating to confiscating any firearm, banning any firearm, limiting the size of a magazine for any firearm, imposing any limit on the ammunition that may be purchased for any firearm, taxing any firearm or ammunition therefore, or requiring the registration of any firearm or ammunition therefore.”

http://marketdailynews.com/2013/01/24/senator-dianne-feinstein-unveils-her-promised-attack-against-the-second-amendment/

The Congress of Companies arrived in NY this morning

Chief executives of more than 80 big U.S. corporations, including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Boeing, joined forces on Thursday to pressure Congress to reduce the federal deficit with tax reform and spending cuts.

Ahead of a gathering at the New York Stock Exchange, the U.S. corporate chiefs said it is urgent and essential to put in place a bipartisan plan to fix America’s debt.

You may already be familiar with large summits which involve corporations directly in world affairs, but this event happening right now in New York is not your usual lobbying or talk on globalization and international trade.. in my opinion, this is even bigger news..

Corporatocracy anyone?

Reference:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/25/us-congress-deficit-idUSBRE89O09U20121025