07/15/21

Looking at Josh Hammer’s Opinion Piece (2021) “…Experts” (Part 4 of 4)

0019 Second, I look at the confounding of the sovereign and institution levels of the society tier, implicit in Josh Hammer’s opinion piece, and intrinsic to BG(il)L corporate media’s use of the word, “expert”, in reference to a federal bureaucrat.

0020 The following two-level interscope portrays the first two levels of the society tier.  The interscope for the society tieris developed in the masterwork, How To Define the Word “Religion”, available at smashwords.

0021 Here is a diagram.

0022 According to the first paragraph of Josh Hammer’s opinion piece, bureaucrats exercise federal power2b within the “bowels” of the administrative state3bC.  They do so by filling in legislative ambiguities and authorizations2bC. Bureaucratic decrees2bC establish the order1bC that vague legislation2bC mandates.

0023 How do federal bureaucrats develop their rule-based protocols?

They follow their “guts”… I mean… their “experts”.

0024 Of course, the metaphors of bowels and guts point to digestion.  Digestion nourishes the body.  What body?  The administrative state?

0025 So, I ask, “What if the administrative state is a body?”

Well, the body is animated by a soul.

What is the soul of the administrative state?

0026 Well, why do the legislators pass vague laws2bC that authorize federal bureaucracies to do what they deem appropriate in order1bC to achieve certain organizational objectives2aC?

They do so on the basis of righteousness1aC.

0027 Does this imply that the Congress confounds the potential for order1bC with the potential for righteousness1aC?

Yes, for the past century, Congress establishes institutions3a within the federal government3bC on the basis of righteousness1aC, leaving the (federal) institutions themselves3aC to fill in the details of the authorizations2bC.

0028 This confounding constitutes one of two types of religion.  Infrasovereign religions are institutions3aC arising out of righteousness1aC and bounded by the necessity of order1bC.  Sovereign religions are institutions3aC that require (and exercise) sovereign power3bC in order to implement their organizational objectives2aC.

The other type of religion is suprasovereign3cC.

0029 While Josh Hammer’s point concerns the manipulative use of the word, “expert”, to refer to a federal bureaucrat, there is a deeper current in his opinion.  Vaguely-worded legislation authorizing bureaucracies to fill in the details2bCconfounds order1bC and righteousness1aC and constitutes the formation of a sovereign religion3aC.  Such legislation2bCviolates the first amendment of the Constitution, forbidding the federal government from establishing a religion.

07/14/21

Looking at Josh Hammer’s Opinion Piece (2021) “…Experts” (Part 3 of 4)

0012 From the prior blog, I construct the following Greimas square.

0013 Each word is a placeholder in a system of differences.  Clearly, the word, “expert”, is not the same as the word, “bureaucrat”.  But, the words are entangled, and therefore, the distinction is subject to manipulation.

0014 What are the key relational features of this distinction?

0015 The first contrast involves rules (A:B contrast in 1 and 2).

The expert knows the rules.  The expert does not make the rules.  The expert is rule-bound.

The bureaucrat makes and enforces rules. The bureaucrat is rule-following.

Hammer reinforces this contrast by saying that the vast majority of rules governing the everyday lives of Americans are made behind closed doors, by federal bureaucrats.  This governance fulfills the vision of progressive President Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924, President 1913-1921).  The administrative state has grown for over a century.

0016 The second pair of contradictions (A2 to B1 and B2 to A1) involves performance and discourse.

Expert discourse is bound to subject-matter.  The expert knows the rules of the subject-matter.  Personal and organizational circumstances are not supposed to influence the expert’s advice.  The expert is supposed to be objective (and, ideally, suprasubjective).

Administrative discourse is bound to rule-making and rule-enforcing.  The bureaucrat engages in ministerial operations.  Bureaucrats tend to be subjective, while pretending to be objective, and intersubjective, while feigning to be suprasubjective.  Hammer highlights these points by saying that bureaucrats disdain give-and-take political wranglingand prefer the ministrations of an enlightened clerisy.

0017 What does this imply?

The use of the word, “expert”, by the federal government, for a person in its employ, is misleading.

The word, “bureaucrat”, is not misleading.

0018 Does the slogan, “Trust the experts”, sound as convincing as “Trust the bureaucrats.”?

Here is a good example of deception through the manipulative use of spoken words.

07/13/21

Looking at Josh Hammer’s Opinion Piece (2021) “…Experts” (Part 2 of 4)

0005 First, I ask the question, “How does the term, ‘expert’, distinguish itself in spoken language, defined by Ferdinand de Saussure as two arbitrarily related systems of differences?”

Or, more briefly, how does the spoken word, “expert”, hold a place in a finite system of differences?

0006 An answer: The word, “expert”, has a unique Greimas Square, a configuration of four elements (A1, B1, A2 and B2).  Each element forms a corner in a square.

Here is a picture.

0007 Here are the rules: A1 is the focal word.  B1 contrasts with A1.  A2 contradicts B1 and complements A1.  B2 contrasts with A2, contradicts A1 and complements B1.

0008 The term, “expert” goes into A1.

What contrasts with A1?

How about the word, “bureaucrat”?

“Bureaucrat” goes into B1.

0009 What contradicts the bureaucrat?

Expert discourse focuses on the subject-matter and does not take into account other issues.  Subject-matter discourse (A2) is content-oriented.

0010 What contrasts with subject-matter discourse (A2)?

Administrative, rule-making discourse does (B2).

0011 In the next blog, I show the diagram.

07/12/21

Looking at Josh Hammer’s Opinion Piece (2021) “…Experts” (Part 1 of 4)

0001 Josh Hammer authors an opinion piece for The Epoch Times.  Zerohedge reprints the opinion on Friday, June 4, 2021 at 9:00 p.m.  The full title is “Covid-19 Has Forever Destroyed America’s Trust in Ruling Class ‘Experts'”. 

0002 I only want to look at the first paragraph.

0003 I will look at this paragraph in two ways.

First, I will use the Greimas Square.  The Greimas Square is introduced in Comments On Philip Marey’s Post (2021) “Insurrection”, appearing in this blog in January 2021.  To date, no series has been generated for the Greimas Square in smashwords.

Second, I will use the first two levels of the society tier.  The two-level interscope is introduced in A Primer on Sensible and Social Construction (available at smashwords).  The society tier is posited in the masterwork How To Define the Word “Religion” (also available at smashwords).  

The two-level interscope recently appears in this blog with Saturn-Jupiter Conjunction in Aquarius (Jan. 2021), Be Little Men (Sept. 2020) and Comments on Yoran Hazony’s Post (2020) “Challenges of Marxism” (Sept. 2020).

0004 Here is the first paragraph of Josh Hammer’s opinion piece, reproduced for examination in the following two blogs.  There are three sentences in this paragraph.  I present them in sequence.

Hammer writes, “As even many casual observers of America’s fractious politics are aware, the overwhelming majority of lawmaking at the federal level no longer takes place in Congress as the Constitution’s framers intended.

“Instead, the vast majority of the ‘rulemaking’ governing Americans’ day-to-day lives now takes place behind closed doors, deep in the bowels of the administrative state’s sprawling bureaucracy.”The brainchild of progressive President Woodrow Wilson, arguments on behalf of the administrative state are ultimately rooted in, among other factors, a disdain for the messy give-and-take of republican politics and an epistemological preference for rule by enlightened clerisy.”

07/7/21

Looking at Manvir Singh’s Article (2021) “Magic, Explanations, and Evil” (Part 5 of 5)

0016 To me, Singh’s three cultural selection schemas for malevolent magic recapitulate the scaffolding below them.  Evilis a privation of good.

0017 Malevolent magic is like a figure in a mirror.  It is not the good that stands before the mirror.  Instead, it is a purely relational being that recapitulates the figure that stands before it.  Something is wrong.  Something is missing.  There is nothing behind the surface of the mirror, even though the reflected image seems real.  The reflected image seems to stand behind the surface of the mirror as if occupying space in a real world.

Can anyone see what is behind a mirror?

0018 Perhaps, this explains why Singh cannot see the magic of everyday life that both underlies and supports his expert statistical analysis.  He cannot see through the glass upon which he stands.  He looks down and sees the world above him, full of witches and sorcerers, instigators of mystical harm.

0019 Razie Mah’s comments associate features of Singh’s essay to elements in a category-based nested form.  Singh’s argument retains its integrity, even as his vision is transubstantiated from a reflection into a real anthropological subject of interest.  What is the nature of magic?  Does magic touch base with the presence underlying the word, “religion”?

0020 Anthropologists take note.

Print out copies of Manvir Singh’s publication in Current Anthropology and Razie Mah’s Comments on Manvir Singh’s Essay (2021) “Magic, Evil and Explanations”.

Present the pair to a few graduate students, asking, “Which is real and which is fake?”

Is Anthropology a science? Or is it a discipline of interpretations?

07/6/21

Looking at Manvir Singh’s Article (2021) “Magic, Explanations, and Evil” (Part 4 of 5)

0014 For example, a number of ladies in the community, noting that berries are in season, set out to collect several baskets.  They perform the rituals of gathering to ensure success.  Then they set out, chattering, as always.  During the harvest, one mother is bit by a spider that no one can identify.  After hastily returning, they bring the spider’s remains to the shaman.

The shaman is concerned.  He makes a paste to put over the bite.  The next morning, the woman is dead and the berries, left overnight in the baskets, are mysteriously rotted.

0015 Later, questions arise.

07/5/21

Looking at Manvir Singh’s Article (2021) “Magic, Explanations, and Evil” (Part 3 of 5)

0010 Singh identifies two principle components to harmful magic, witchiness (PC1) and the evil eye (PC2).

What happens next?

0011 Singh proposes a model to account for the observation.  The model consists of three schemes of cultural selection.

The first selection (F) is for intuitive techniques of harmful magic.

The second selection (G) is for plausible explanations of misfortune.

The third selection (H) is for myths that demonize a subgroup (in this case, sorcerers and witches).

0012 Singh misses the scaffolding beneath the glass that he stands on.  His exposition is on malevolent magic.  He does not seem to realize that malevolent magic recapitulates the open, generative magic of group living, including…

…intuitive techniques for beneficial magic (F’)…

…plausible explanations of fortune (G’)…

…myths that celebrate the group (H’).

0013 Here is a table.

07/2/21

Looking at Manvir Singh’s Article (2021) “Magic, Explanations, and Evil” (Part 2 of 5)

0005 Anthropology stands astride the narrower, more technical, disciplines of Sociology and Psychology.

Manvir Singh constructs a modern paradigm for a topic dear to Anthropology, but not to the narrower disciplines.

What is the nature of magic?

0006 Singh publishes the results of a Mystical Harm Survey, applied to 60 societies on the Probability Sample File of the electronic Human Relations Area Files.  He uses principal component analysis to reduce forty-nine raw variables to two principal dimensions with the greatest variation.

Principal components?  Greatest variation?

0007 Principal components are the dimensions with the greatest variation in a scatterplot.

Typically, principal component analysis shows variables that are relevant to the topic at hand.

For example, when considering mystical harm, one would expect significant variation between a common person and, say, a warlock, along some parameter that might be called, “warlockness”.

0008 Singh finds two parameters distinguishing common folk, sorcerers and witches.  Witches are high in PC1 and low in PC2.  Sorcerers are low in PC1 and high in PC2.

PC1 is witchiness.  Witches fly, meet in secret in the forest on a full moon, suddenly appear and disappear, and so on.  To me, witchiness is the embodiment of malicious magic.  Witches not only perform magic, they live it.

PC2 is the evil eye.  Sorcerers do not embody the magic that they perform.  Instead, the magic resides in their gaze.  The evil eye is a harmful mystical operation that signifies a whole range of magical works.  The evil eye is the worst.

0009 Singh does not dwell on the seemingly philosophical distinction between embodiment and gaze.  Neither do the anthropologists who are pleased with the scatterplot of PC1 and PC2 in Figure 1 (of the article).  Anthropology looks like science.

07/1/21

Looking at Manvir Singh’s Article (2021) “Magic, Explanations, and Evil” (Part 1 of 5)

0001 This blog compliments Comments on Manvir Singh’s Essay (2021) “Magic, Evil and Explanations”, available at smashwords and other websites selling electronic works.

0002 Singh’s article appears in Current Anthropology.

Manvir Singh is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse, France.

To me, his work contrasts with Sasha Newell, who, in 2018, publishes a theoretical piece titled, “The Affectiveness of Symbols”, also in Current Anthropology.

Singh aims for science.  Newell focuses on interpretation.

0003 Will the discipline of Anthropology turn towards an empirio-schematic approach or towards an approach where the word, “science”, is no longer relevant?

Mark Horowitz, William Yaworsky and Kenneth Kickham publish a survey, under the title, “Anthropology’s Science Wars: Insights from an New Survey”, in 2019, in Current Anthropology.

0004 These three papers tell us much about the divided discipline of contemporary Anthropology.

05/4/21

Looking at Jeff Hardin’s Essay (2019) “Biology and Theological Anthropology” (Part 15 of 15)

0079 Jeff Harden follows his appeal with summaries of faithful Christian approaches to human origins.  These approaches include models of existential recapitulation, of protohistory, of representative ancient ancestors, of recently, elected representatives and of genealogies, as opposed to genetics.

None of these are adequate.

0080 Why?

They do not fit the fairy tales about Adam and Eve.

0076 In this look at Hardin’s article, another option appears.  It appears as a mirror image of his opening question.  It asks, “Why doesn’t evolutionary science recognize a twist in human evolution?”

The answer wonders, “Why is our current Lebenswelt not the same as the Lebenswelt that we evolved in?

The hypothesis of the first singularity is a scientific mechanism that works as an adjunct to theological formulations.

Indeed, we come to a new age of understanding, which the late John Deely, calls “The Age of Triadic Relations”.

0077 Here is a picture of three masterworks and their corresponding periods in human evolution.

0078 My thanks to Jeff Hardin, Chair, Biologos Board of Directors, for his mind-opening essay.