Saturday, February 24, 2007

Cyber Tooth Tigers (Part 2)

Weight and Switch

Are recent rumors of Cyber Tooth Tiger sightings true?

Isn't the real truth that men did not co-exist with them?

Ignore the possibility at your peril

Then again, you might want to consider this:

Michael Crichton's essay
" Why Politicized Science is Dangerous".

The essay is posted on his "State of Fear" site. Crichton is a master at psycho-linguistic manipulation. He is indeed a Cyber Tooth Tiger. A sleek, clever, killer writing machine who knows how to home in on all the weak spots in your neural networks with just a couple of jabs of his sharpened quills. Let's see how it is done.

Imagine that there is a new scientific theory that warns of an impending crisis, and points to a way out.

This theory quickly draws support from leading scientists, politicians and celebrities around the world. Research is funded by distinguished philanthropies, and carried out at prestigious universities. The crisis is reported frequently in the media. The science is taught in college and high school classrooms.

I don't mean global warming. I'm talking about another theory, which rose to prominence a century ago. ... Its supporters included Theodore Roosevelt ... The theory was eugenics, and its history is so dreadful --- and, to those who were caught up in it, so embarrassing --- that it is now rarely discussed. But it is a story that should be well know to every citizen, so that its horrors are not repeated.

So were you paying attention to what was happening in the different parts of your brain? Did you speed read? Did you step back afterwards to critically analyze each pre-planned chess move?

The above is of course just an abridged and annotated excerpt. In the actual essay (linked to above), the Cyber Tooth Tiger takes his time, sneaks up on you more slowly, guides you into the trap more craftily. Here we just wanted to cut to the chase and kill. In general, Michael managed to put GW (or PO) on equal footing with eugenics , and ultimately with Nazism (equal weighting) and by so doing, discredit all of them at once. Weight and switch. Clever, no?

How exactly did he do it? Let's pause for a bit of background. In general, the human brain operates as a "neural net". It is structured to assign different weights to different inputs. So in the case of Nate's article regarding "future discounting" (discussed one post below), a very large weight is assigned to inputs dealing with the here-and-now (especially, clear and immediate dangers) while much lower weights are assigned to inputs that deal with the future-and-may_never_happen stuff. If you think about it from an evolution and survival perspective that makes very good sense.

The human brain is "adaptive" though, and quite able to shift weights as the situation unfolds. That is both a strength and a weakness.

With that as background, let's "weight" in with a closer look at the Cyber Tooth's hunting tactics:

Imagine that there is a new scientific theory .......

This theory quickly draws support from leading scientists, politicians ....


Michael is playing games with your head from the get go. With word #1 he is getting you to suspend disbelief. Just "Imagine".

He is getting you to think in the future, high tech sense. It's "new" and it's "scientific". You are swimming with the "leading" futurists of our times, the scientists, the celebrities ... "prestigious" universities.

He is playing with your need for social validation and for instant gratification. The theory is "quickly" adopted by society's "leaders". Are you willing at this point to mentally swim away from this prestigious school of fish? Are you willing to place yourself outside of the main stream? Of course not. We all want to be part of the Main Stream Meditation (MSM). We all want to be safely tucked in the middle of the social group. Let's examine some of the more subtle chess moves just played by our crafty Toother:

Imagine ....

This theory quickly draws support [and] ... The science is taught in college and high school classrooms.

I don't mean ... . I'm talking about another theory, which rose to prominence a century ago. ... those who were caught up in it, so embarrassing --- that it is now rarely discussed. But it is a story that should be well know to every citizen, so that its horrors are not repeated.

OK. So there you were swimming comfortably with the upper mucky mucks of society. You had been plunged innocently into a dream like and imagined future, all the while mixing it up with celebrities, politicians and other "prestigious" types. It is a happy dream.

Suddenly though, the vortex reverses on itself. You find yourself spinning backwards in time. You are not in a "prestigious" university. You're in college. No. You're in high school. Then you are face to face with Michael, in the first person. The Cyber Tiger has lunged himself right into your personal safety zone. Burst your dream like bubble. And just at that emotionally charged moment, he pulls the switch-aroo. It's not the future anymore he tells you. It's the past he's talking "about". The far back past. A century ago. An unquestionable part of "history". And all while he is crouched there, still in your face.

More disquieting in this situation is the sense that "you" are sitting helplessly trapped in your "highschool classroom". Remember? It is your "history" teacher's classroom to be more specific because we are talking about Roosevelt and other historical figures. Remember? And now here we are in high school worrying about dreadful "embarassment" and "horrors". Did you spot all that? You're worrying about "repeating" the mistakes of history and being doomed by it. Did you spot all that?

Go back to the top of Michael's essay again. Observe that Michael has been busy activating the reptilian and limbic fear centers in your brain. Were you paying attention? He started by talking about an "impending crisis". Actually, his web page prominently displays the word "Fear" (state of fear). Part of your brain saw it, even though another denies it. He started threatening you with social ostracism, all the while encouraging you to leave on your own. If all the top people accept the new and complicated theory then why shouldn't you? Well because the theory is a "horror". Why there is no difference between any scientific theory and Nazism itself. Do you see the connection now? State of Fear? Nazism? Global Warming supporters? They are all part of the same cultist movement according to Crichton.

Deeper into the essay, Crichton drives the point home with ardent repetition:

Now we are engaged in a great new theory that once again has drawn the support of politicians, scientists, and celebrities around the world. Once again, the theory is promoted by major foundations. Once again, the research is carried out at prestigious universities. Once again, legislation is passed and social programs are urged in its name. Once again, critics are few and harshly dealt with.

Once again, the measures being urged have little basis in fact or science. Once again, groups with other agendas are hiding behind a movement that appears high-minded. Once again, claims of moral superiority are used to justify extreme actions. Once again, the fact that some people are hurt is shrugged off because an abstract cause is said to be greater than any human consequences. Once again, vague terms like sustainability and generational justice --- terms that have no agreed definition --- are employed in the service of a new crisis.

I am not arguing that global warming is the same as eugenics. But the similarities are not superficial.

[still under construction]

...[under construction] I was trying to play games with your mind also. If you are an English major, you should have noticed that the title of my argument should be Weigh and Switch, not "Weight". What I'm trying to do is to sneak in a hidden connection with "Bait and Switch", which as you know, is a deceptive practice used by some merchants. ... To Be Continued

Cyber Tooth Tigers

If you have not read Nate Hagens' latest post on The Oil Drum, I highly recommend that you do.

Also, right click on the image to the right and open it in a new window for a higher resolution view of the scene. Nate has the following caption under his version of this pre-historic montage:

"Dumbo, caught obsessing about higher planetary CO2, did not leave any descendants"

The point being that in so far as evolution is concerened, worrying about the here-and-now trumps concern over the far off future and the many what-if's that populate it.

Nate provides an excellent discussion regarding "future discounting", this being an aspect of human nature, and indeed of most mammalian brains, to give much less weight to things that might happen in the far off future.

In other words, if your gas tank is near empty and you are on the open highway late at night, your pressing worry is over making it to the next gas station. You are not focused on how perhaps, your burning of the last gallon of gasoline will increase Global Warming or how it may send the world over the top of Hubbert's Peak. You're focused on just making it through the next hour.

The topic here is directed to a different aspect of the Saber Tooth Tiger picture above.

Note that the tiger is taking advantage of Dumbo's neural weighing system. Like all mammals, Dumbo has a nervous system that attaches variable weights to different inputs.

I want to warn you about another kind of tiger, not a Saber Tooth Tiger, but rather about the Cyber Tooth Tigers out there. ... To be Continued