The Battle for Facts.
"It is an objective fact that not one single objective fact exists."- Discuss.
When the cultural infrastructure, or the wealth, of Rome declined below a certain level, the entrenched artistocracy became vulnerable to attack, which came from the north, and also came from within. In both cases, the power bids came from groups who eschewed, or did not comprehend, certain basic tenets of the aristocracy. Most of the vandals from the north, and also the new internal power groups - slaves and others - did not comprehend the culture and wealth they sought to take over, so that in capturing it they destroyed it.
The above metaphor, not based on facts, is used to illustrate the current crisis in our culture as the Age of Reason, or the fruits of the Renaissance, draws to a close. Seeking greater career security than classical science offered, a traitor group within science grew up which in 1927, at Brussels/Solvay, replaced science by a meta-religion called Modern Physics. The dogma for Modern Physics was agreed and codified at Solvay, much as happened to christianity at the Council of Nicaea, and reluctant bishops were either forced to toe the line or excommunicated. (In both cases, some bishops acquiesced, but spoke out a few decades later against the enforced dogma. Even worse, the Jesus of Modern Physics, Einstein, spoke out from the beginning, but was suppressed. There would have been trouble had Jesus been alive and attended the Council of Nicaea!) At the core of the dogma of Modern Physics, as in religion, was the principle that objective fact did not exist. At the centre of Modern Physics is Mystery - wave-particle duality, uncertainty principle, and so forth.
Turin, Theocharis and Catt regard this issue, of absolute facts, as the pivotal question of the twentieth century.
John Leary-Joyce, along with virtually every other scientist and non-scientist today, welcomes the assertion that not one objective fact exists. The reason for its popularity is that it is thought that for a man to say that facts exist is proof of his bigotry. The liberal thinker feels that in order to be open to views from all quarters, he must not tie himself down in the bigotry of absolute facts. This is of course slovenly thinking. John has led me to the most powerful proof that at least one objective fact exists in the universe. (This is all that Turin, Catt and Theo seek to prove.) When he next asks me a question, I will ask him whether it is an objective fact that he wants an answer. When, as he must, he says; "No," I will walk away.(When presented with this development, Turin told me I was developing "scientific judo". Hockenjos said I was developing eastern methods of teaching.)
Two things are illustrated by the putative dialogue between John and me; Rudeness and Breakdown of communication.
A decade ago I said that Ethics is one of the defences of an entrenched Establishment. Anything done in defence of an entrenched Establishment is ethical. Anything done which threatens an entrenched Establishment is unethical.
Thanks to John, we can now add 'rudeness' to the formula. It is impossible to be rude by reiterating bland, politically correct information. Conversely, a politically incorrect statement is by definition rude. Thus, when on the phone I asked John whether it was a fact that he was attemprting to converse with me on the phone, and he said 'No', and I then rang off, I was by definition rude, because I was undermining the politically correct dogma that facts do not exist. This was 'proved' when he immediately rang back with some foul language, and then he himself rang off. (An irrational Political Correctness can be undermined by exploitation of its internal inconsistencies.)
In education, the theory is that we travel from the Known to the Unknown. If there is no common ground at the start of the lesson, so they theory goes, then nothing can be added during the lesson. Modern Physics wallahs, and the rest of today's decadent society tucking in behind them, are attacking the possibility of useful communication (beyond PC liturgy) by the apparently unrelated dogma that objective facts do not exist. The assertion that facts do not exist is an act intercommunicational terrorism; an attempt to sabotage discourse which closely parallels the IRA's attempt with the Bishopsgate bomb, to sabotage business activity in the City. Its effect is to block the possibility of meaningful communication towards development of a subject beyond the currently politically correct dogma. The removal of the solid ground of fact from which to develop is a powerful defence of the status quo and its high priests. (This is very similar to the catholic church's being threatened by religious fundamentalists who claimed to reach truth via the bible, which was God's word, without the mediation of God's priests.)
When E. A. Newman, my patron for my WSI invention in NPL (National Physical Laboratory), was presented with a radically new theory of electromagnetism by myself and my co-researchers, he responded with a long essay on whether absolute facts existed. That is, even my patron, who engineered massive government funding of university and RSRE research into my inventions, had to promote the irrelevant twentieth century dogma about facts when confronted by new theory, not by fact. This shows the pervasiveness of the dogma that facts do not exist, and the desire to promote the dogma, even in an irrelevant context. My co-researchers and I had visited Ted Newman to canvass support for us to publish our censored new theory of electromagnetism, not on the grounds that it was true. However, the thrust was clear. If the new theory had no more truth than the established theory that it sought to supplant, then why bother? The assertion that facts do not exist, although superficially liberal, is deeply conservative, reactionary and decadent.
Breakdown of communication.
The political thrust behind the assertion that facts do not exist, is the need for an entrenched, decadent Establishment to block communication of new information, both factual and other. New information threatens entrenched factoids and also entrenched views. The vandals who destroyed Rome did not know that the survival of Rome required the survival of avenues of communication on many matters relating to its dynamic cultural and physical infrastructure. The vandal leaders (internal and external) wished to take over a frozen structure and exploit its wealth. This applies to Modern Physics wallahs who have captured science faculties around the world. The vandal leader's failure to comprehend, and his attack on, the dynamic nature of cultural and physical wealth is what makes him a vandal, much more than outright destruction by his footsoldiers.
Ivor Catt, 121 Westfields, St. Albans AL3 4JR, England 1oct96