Archive for dialecticism

Pscience Unchained

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Revolution with tags , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2013 by Rob Wallace

rotundaschool_fmtCalvin Candie: I’m curious, what makes you such a mandingo expert?
Django: I’m curious what makes you so curious.
–Quintin Tarentino (2012)

A friend’s Facebook post inspired this rejoinder. It’s no sectarian dig, mind you, no sucker punch.

I mean only to dial up a call I made here previously for the kind of people’s science that in Owenite England, unchained from the socioeconomic dictates of the aristocratic church it fought, prefigured Victorian naturalists by decades,

The term ‘hall of science’ was first mooted in the Co-operative Magazine of October 1829, which reported a lecture by Frances Wright: ‘Turn your churches into halls of science, and devote your leisure day to the study of your own bodies, the analysis of your own minds, and the examination of the fair material world which extends around you.’

In Alfred Russel Wallace, a scion of the halls of science, like that of the South London Rational School depicted in our graphic, the largely independent lineage matched the reluctant Mr. Darwin to a theory of natural selection. No mean feat for a people’s science or pscience (for which, to riff off a recent flick, the “p” is silent).

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The Red Swan

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Influenza, Revolution with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 28, 2013 by Rob Wallace

Cover RG Wallace 'Red Swan' Full Version PDFThe following is an excerpt from our first e-single, available here as a PDF. Consider the single, on the political economy of Nassim Taleb of ‘Black Swan’ fame, a freebie. We do ask that those who can afford it consider donating to Farming Pathogens. Your help is greatly appreciated. The full version adds explorations of Taleb’s animosity towards science, his anti-theoretical theory of history, his assumptions about human nature, and, for good and for ill, applications of Black Swan thinking to disease modeling.

Perhaps by chance alone Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s best-selling The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, followed now by the just released Antifragile, captures the zeitgeist of 9/11 and the foreclosure collapse: If something of a paradox, bad things unexpectedly happen routinely.

For better and for worse, Black Swan caustically critiques academic economics, which serve, more I must admit in my view than Taleb’s, as capitalist rationalization rather than as a science of discovery.

Taleb crushes mainstream quantitative finance, but fails as spectacularly on a number of accounts. To the powerful’s advantage, at one and the same time he mathematicizes Francis Fukuyama’s end of history and claims epistemological impossibilities where others, who have been systemically marginalized, predicted precisely to radio silence.

Power, after all, is the capacity to avoid addressing a counternarrative. Continue reading