Saturday 4 January 2020

Churches have neglected that dishonesty is a sin

The real Christian churches have been pretty solid concerning the reality (and identity) of sexual sins; but have neglected dishonesty - which is surely the most pervasive sin of modernity among the middle, professional and leadership classes.

Consequently, churches have become strategically dishonest - without awareness, hence without repentance - and this is a factor in their continuing corruption: their absorption-into The System. 

This has happened because The West has become dominated by bureaucracy; management has  become the most frequent job and activity of the upper classes - and management is intrinsically dishonest in its nature and operations.

I have seen this happen through my adult life in science, academia, education and medicine - but most strikingly in science. From 1985-2000 British science went from being almost wholly honest to being almost wholly dishonest. The corruption was earlier in other systems.

And when the leadership have become habitually, pervasively, calculatedly dishonest - then everything will fall apart; because in a system permeated by lies and distortions, nobody knows anything about anything.

Dishonesty in langaue is analogous to inflation of a currency. When dishonesty reaches a certain level then communications lose their meaning; indeed become counter-productive; because we only know that language does not mean what it claims or seems to mean - but we do not know what language does mean.

We cannot even be sure that language is untrue, since sometimes (in specific places) it will be true - but truth in one place does not any more imply truth in another place.

And the pervasiveness of untruth degrades real truth from honest people - since liars can easily 'disprove' truth by lying about it (which we see all the time and everyday in the mass media).

Thus the problem: Not only is dishonesty a sin; but it is (like cowardice) a sin that undermines all virtues and enables all other sins - both in public discourse and (even more lethally) in our own minds.

It is a sin which is engaged in by almost all middle class people, on a daily - hourly - basis for their jobs, upon which their livelihoods depend. So, all the churches are jam-packed with professionally dishonest people; people who are paid to be dishonest and who would be punished for truthfulness. And since managers are the most dishonest group - the sin is worst among those who administer the system.

In effect, truth has been replaced by status; as happened in science where a peer review cartel nowadays (and for several decades) controls appointments, promotions, publications, funding and prizes - hence the consensus of science-managers defines what counts-as 'truth'.

Yet there is near zero awareness of this fact. Consequently, evil is pursued under cover of lies, with impunity.

All this will - I believe - become obvious very soon; when the totalitarian power grab begins - probably under the excuse of the 'climate emergency'.

When the demonic global Establishment (try to) take-over the nations; and impose a centralised system of omni-surveillance and micro-control - I do Not expect many Christian churches to refuse to cooperate. indeed, I don't expect them to notice what is happening.

Indeed, I expect Christian church leadership to regard World Government (in a 'good cause', naturally) as 'a good thing', overall and potentially*.

When that happens, the only spiritual alternative for Christians will be in their own consciousness; their own personal commitment to follow Jesus rather than corrupt institutions. Either individuals will opt-out of the System of Evil, or everybody will be opting-in, passively, by default - while lying about the fact.  

Note: As commenter 'Epimetheus' said yesterday: "Everybody's solutions revolve around somehow getting the world's most powerful and wicked people to bring about Utopia. But the joke's on us - this is their Utopia."


dearieme said...

I've just looked through the first few pages of your book and was taken by your complaint about the fragmentation of science. Then a thought occurred: who among the Great Scientists have I ever read in the original? Darwin's Origin of Species, of course - but that was hobbyist, a matter of general interest. Who have I read as a technical matter? Just one: James Clerk Maxwell.

I'd be willing to bet that that is more than most of my younger colleagues in, say, the last thirty years of my career could claim. More than most of the older too.

Bruce Charlton said...

@d - The main reason for reading the great scientists is in pursuit of science - when there have been aspects of the original work (e.g. assumptions) that have been built-into what came after, to the point that they become taken for granted and almost invisible. So, Origin of Species is worth reading for that reason - for theoretical biologists (such as I was). Or, What is Life by Schroedinger is worth reading as the foundation of modern (post Oswald Avery) biology - because it was Sch.'s assumptions that reformed the definition and scope of biology (via ex-physicists like Delbruck and Crick).

dearieme said...

"assumptions ... become taken for granted and almost invisible." Spot on! That's why I looked at some of his original papers.

Anonymous said...


I followed the link in your post to The Corruption of Science, and proceeded to read straight through it. Amazingly insightful work!

May I ask a few questions based on my reading of it?

1. What are your views or thoughts, if any, on the current phenomenon of independent amateurs and reneged professionals who are dissenting from the mainstream scientific consensus and conclusions on a myriad of topics, BUT WHO themselves are not “producing research” but are basing and supporting their alternative hypothesis, theories and conclusions on the body of “Science” that is the product of “Professional Researchers”? To put that very broad and general question in more concrete terms, something like (i) the challenges being put forward against mainstream "wisdom", e.g.: The Cholesterol Hypothesis of heart disease; the advice to avoid saturated fat; the advice to follow a grain-based and high fiber diet; the advice to do cardio exercise, etc etc and (ii) the corresponding iconoclastic and renegade advice to eat a meat-based diet; do resistance training (not cardio), eat saturated fat, etc, etc. It appears that many of the amateurs and renegade professionals involved in this endeavor are pursing truth and holding themselves to a standard of truth in their endeavors. YET, as they are not themselves researchers, they cite and rely upon Mainstream Science to support their theories, i.e. they sift through the Professional Research and find things that bolster and support their theories, and yet (per The Corruption of Science) much or all of that “Science” is either wrong or cannot be verified a True. Again, I cannot avoid the intuition that these people are Truth Seekers, acting in good faith and with high standards. Are their intuition and personal case study practices sufficient? And citing “The Science” ends up being beside the point or even counter to the nature of their endeavor? (A list of such people could include P.D. Mangan, Anthony Colpo, Malcolm Kendrick, Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet, Art Ayers, among others) I see a similarity between the Direct Knowledge or Intuitive Knowledge you advocate for spiritual matters, and the type of insights that these people have in the realm of health and fitness: i.e. the knowledge is reached through intuition and direct knowing, not "evidence" alone. Does citing (corrupt) evidence help their case?

2. What practical advice would you follow or give to people who face catastrophic illnesses such as cancer, who realize that much of the existing State of the Medical Art will be wrong, counter-productive, voodoo or cargo cult treatment, etc? It is terrifying to read The Corruption of Science, and then contemplate being diagnosed with (say) pancreatic cancer, and realizing that it will be all but impossible to know whether a given doctor’s proposed treatments are useful, harmful, neutral etc. This is a purely hypothetical question, and I am not seeking medical advice. But I would be curious at a macro- or big picture level, how you would suggest people go about dealing with such situations. I can recall seeing a number of Op-Eds by medical doctors who admit that when faced with such illnesses, many doctors do not follow the protocols that they prescribe (and are required to prescribe) to their patients.

3. What do you think of scientific researchers such as James Tour who are explicitly Christian, reject Darwinian evolution, but are still part of the “Professional Research” system? Are they able to be islands unto themselves of “Good Science”, or is it simply impossible, i.e. if one is part of the bureaucratic and managerial system, one is by definition corrupt and engaged in False Science/Professional Research and nothing more? (I realize this last question includes a solicitation of your opinion on a specific person, so I understand if you would not want to address it.)

Thank you for your work. And obviously I have no expectation that you have to respond to any the above, but will appreciate whatever you choose to address, if at all!

The Social Pathologist said...

And when the leadership have become habitually, pervasively, calculatedly dishonest - then everything will fall apart; because in a system permeated by lies and distortions, nobody knows anything about anything.

And that is THE issue. The only way you can fix up such as system practically is by raising a generation that thinks that calibration to the Truth is mandatory and that Lying, in all its forms is wrong. i.e. Sound Religion.

You're quite right however, in pointing out that many contemporary religions have forgotten this basic principle and instead concentrate on issues such as sexuality or social justice and put truth on the back burner.

Bureaucracy is not the problem per se. It's a dishonest one that it is.

One of the really interesting things about nearly all bureaucratic systems is that they are set up in such a way that it makes it impossible to fire the malign operators. One of the guys who really influenced my thinking of bureaucracies is Curtis Le May, the main guy behind the U.S. Strategic Air Command. He transformed it from a useless organisation to one which genuinely frightened the Soviets. He summarily hired and fired bureaucrats according to their performance. He was not, however, a "yes man" type of guy, and welcomed insubordination where it could be seen to improve the performance of an organisation. A rare breed indeed. Le May demanded honesty and efficiency if for no other purpose than for being effective. He was later pilloried by the U.S. institutional hierarchy.

Bruce Charlton said...

@SP - The bureaucracy you describe is actually military hierarchy. It was the 'Fuhrerprinzip' that the Nazis used to replace all (bureaucratic) committees with individuals; and it worked a lot better for them than voting/ consensus decision making (which does not work at all, except by accident - as we know from experience!).

The distinction is whether individuals or a group (committee) makes the decisions and are responsible for them (but groups are not ever in practice responsible); including the ultimate decisions.

@SN - Thanks for your comment.

None of your questions have general answers - because science is not an algorithm. It is not a 'truth-machine' or process. Science is about truth-seeking people addressing *specific* questions/ issues/ problems - if these people are able, creative, diligent, they may discover something; but the methods are not pre-determined.

Same about specific scientists. To evaluate a scientist one need to know that specific person, preferably in a personal way by interaction over a period of time - to evaluate his ability and honesty.

Same about specific diseases. There is no generalisation. Some diseases have effective/ safe non-mainstream treatments; other diseases have (apparently) no known effective treatment. There is no *system* for finding out.

Epimetheus said...

Mr. Charlton, you've infected me with a fascination for the whole human axis of bureaucratic versus personal relationships. Are bureaucratic relationships intrinsically evil because they aren't based on personal love?

There's an interesting passage I read recently, about how the fate of the entire Falklands War rested on the relationship between Rear-Admiral John Woodward, the commander at sea, and Admiral Fieldhouse, who commanded the whole operation from Northwood, England.

"The generally successful working relationship which obtained between Fieldhouse and Woodward in 1982 owed much to their earlier acquaintance as submariners, and was more a case of extemporized method surmounting higher-command organization than it was a vindication of that organization. The command structure risked disaster, and with other personalities in the key positions it might have become inoperable." The Rules of the Game: Jutland and British Naval Command (p. 587).

I read Woodward's The Hundred Days, where he talks about the whole campaign from his perspective, and he explicitly talks about how his knowledge of his old friend's personality saved him from disaster on several occasions (and probably a court-martial).

That Rules of the Game book talks about how, at the Battle of Jutland, all institutional and bureaucratic relationships were stripped away, leaving only personal relationships and personal knowledge. The weakness of the latter was one of the major reasons the German fleet got away. The British commanders barely knew each-other. The book is also a treasure trove of cases where the blind following of procedure led to catastrophe, starting with the Victoria-Camperdown collision.

It seems that the far, ragged edge of war strips away everything that is artificial, insubstantial - and this includes all bureaucratic relationships. It's telling that Napoleon fell from power when all his friends from his first wars weren't around any more. Many conquerors simply bring all their personal friends into power, regardless of competence, because trust & acquaintance are primary.

Bruce Charlton said...

@E You could read the Cancer of Bureaucracy article I linked, and search this blog for the b word and for 'voting'.

Epimetheus said...

Thanks - I've already read your entire archive. I wonder if you know any good resources for that 'Fuhrerprinzip' stuff - that sounds fascinating.

Bruce Charlton said...

@E - You can find references on Google, but most of them are more about virtue signalling than explaining or acknowledging the advantages of the system.

It is very simple, individuals are always responsible to other individuals (instead of committees or other groups; and therefore no votes) - essentially, it is simply the military form of hierarchical organiation applied to civil society.

If you were to draw the typical 'flow chart' of the responsibilities and specialisms of any modern organisation (such as is universally used in Quality Assurance managment nowadays - ) this would have specific persons in the linked boxes, instead of committees.