Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Meet Morgue: Proving Some People Will Swallow Anything.

What do you get if you take misunderstood mathematics, half-baked new-age pseudo-philosophy and cult leader like intensity wrap it in Alice Cooper style make-up, plonk Barbie's wig on it and stick it on Youtube?

You get Morgue (left), a self-professed guru who wants to tell you how mathematics shapes reality. He says wants to lead you to what he seems to claim is a new paradigm of reality called Hyperianism.... or at least that's what he says he wants to do. Others may suggest he wants to fill your head with pseudo-intellectual clap-trap in an effort to get your money. They may also suggest that Hyperianism is so vague and nebulous it's clear Morgue is making it up as he goes along. Some may say that during the course of Morgue's videos you'll actually learn nothing barring how you can support him on Patreon. In fact, if you bung him $25 per video he'll swallow a sword for you. But what does he expect you to swallow in return?

This may seem a bit random for a guru such as Morgue to be offering, but it's a call back to his previous occupation as a "sideshow freak". I'm not even kidding here. At a time presumably prior to his great awakening Morgue worked as a "shock artist" hammering nails through his tongue on the Venice beach sidewalk as a member of the "Venice Beach Freakshow" troupe. (below left).

Morgue seems to be heavily inspired by the work of author Mike Hockney who also operates under a series of pseudonyms including but not limited to Michael Faust and Adam Weishaupt. Why so many pseudonyms? I suspect this is related to Hockney's attempt to establish "Pythagorean Illuminism" as the one true religion. Easier to do if several people are writing about it rather than one.

In particular, the similarities include: Morgue places heavy emphasis on Euler's equation as does Hockney. The only difference being Hockney refers to the equation as "the God equation" whilst Morgue calls it the "soul equation", barring this, their interpretations are uniquely nonsensical and as such it feels like the difference in nomenclature is entirely cosmetic.

Also, Morgue describes Hyperianism as "the one true religion" and emphasises it's basis in rationality and mathematics as does Hockney with his "Pythagorean Illuminism". All four have the same grammatical style, favour the same imagery and quote extensively from the same authors and philosophers.They all also hold both science and orthodox religion in contempt. This is despite heavily referencing Christianity, Hockney, Faust and Weishaupt having written several books among them regarding Christianity and Morgue quoting from the book of Enoch. Essentially the two systems are the same barring some jargon. Or as Alan would put it...

Unsurprisingly, I'm going to focus on Morgue's attack on science and his manipulation of logic and maths to support Hyperianism and the alleged benefits of this "new religion". I include time codes for the claims made by Morgue. HIs most explicit comments on science come from his video "Why Science is the new irrational religion." (below).

The nonsense begins immediately: (00:05) "Science's explanations about your existence and purpose are false as those of mainstream religions."

Well, at least this is easy to counter. Science isn't designed to tell you what your purpose is or why you exist. This the job of philosophy or religion, if you choose to engage in those things. If you need to be told your purpose science makes no bones about it: look elsewhere.

(00:25) "(people in/ the people of) Every era thinks that they have everything figured out and the ideas of the past were crazy... in the future what we consider science will be gone..." 

It's completely fallacious to assume that because we've been wrong in the past, we must be wrong now. Many of these eras that Morgue refers to were before the development of the scientific method. It was the advent of science that allowed us to correct the misapprehensions of the past. Are we correct about everything right now? Doubtfully. I'm sure we'll add to our knowledge. Our models if reality will become refined. The problem Morgue has is he doesn't understand the difference between refinement and replacement, as the next quote will establish.

(03:01) "Classical mechanics was once considered to be absolutely correct... Today it is known that classical mechanics is completely and utterly wrong... It's been replaced by quantum mechanics..."

This is completely and utterly wrong, quantum mechanics did not replace classical mechanics. Newton's laws of motions were not replaced, and still, provide the best explanation of the behaviour of macroscopic systems. Quantum mechanics simply added to classical mechanics, adding a framework that allows us to model microscopic systems. Likewise, Einstein's theory of general relativity did not replace Newton's law of gravity. It added to it. Classical mechanics did not accurately describe very large and very small objects, that's all. One of the most startling things about both additional theories is when we adjust parameters to those of everyday objects, the laws of classical mechanics are recovered. In quantum physics, we refer to this as the correspondence principle. We'll come back to classical mechanics in a moment.

(1:29) Morgue claims that science forgoes rationality in favour of knowledge gained through "sense data". Hyperianism, he claims forgoes this inductive method favouring instead a deductive method. 

There's no doubt that deduction is a safer way of ascertaining knowledge than induction, but the problem is that ultimately any assessment of reality must rely somewhere on induction and sense data. What Morgue falls into here is the Presuppositional apologetics style of argumentation adopted by some creationists in recent years. He wants his method of data gathering to be extra-sensory so he can claim that it trumps science, but this requires him to claim he has a method of acquiring data that is not delivered through the senses. This requires the claimant to regress to divine intervention as even mathematics must be assessed by the senses!

Where is Morgue getting his data from if not his senses?

He never tells us.

Whilst he is correct in his assessment of science using induction, this isn't necessarily a weakness. Even the most robust physical law, such as the first law of thermodynamics, "In a thermodynamic process involving a closed system, the increment in the internal energy is equal to the difference between the heat accumulated by the system and the work done by it." is based on induction. We can't know this law holds in every part of the universe. We can only say that in all cases we examine this law is sound. This is the axiom of the uniformity of law. If a scientific law holds "here" it must hold "there", if it holds "now" it must hold "then".

To see how induction can be better than deduction, consider this example:
Induction tells us down syndrome sufferers possess a third copy of chromosome 21. We know this because thus far every Down's Syndrome sufferer we've examined has possessed this attribute. We've never found this in a subject who does not suffer from this condition. Morgue would argue that system operates on deduction, but without empiricism. So his deduction using logic alone would be:

Premise 1: Gerry has a third copy of chromosome 21.

Premise 2: All people with a third copy of chromosome 21 have Down's syndrome.

Conclusion: Therefore, Gerry has Down's syndrome.

That's great and it's correct. But with empirical testing, which Morgue condemns how do we check premise 1 and 2 are correct? In Hyperianism the above statement is as accurate as this one:

Premise 1: Sam has blond hair.

Premise 2: All people with blond hair have Down's syndrome.

Conclusion: Therefore, Sam has Down's syndrome.

Clearly logic without empiricism doesn't necessarily lead to accurate models of reality as we have no way of verifying the premises. If we can experiment, It tells us nothing. Likewise, if Morgue sacrifices the axiom of uniformity, a Down's syndrome marker may be a third chromosome 21 today, not every other day. It may be a marker in Warrington, but not in Wichita.

Morgue's main misunderstanding of science is exemplified by the following quote:

(03:25) "Just because science comes up with material inventions does not mean they (scientists) know the truth about reality. Just because science came up with smart phones and smart pads doesn't mean they know anything about reality..."

Sorry Morgue, but it categorically does mean that! The fact that the models of reality provided by science have utility and have delivered an untold amount of innovation tells us that these models are correct. Morgue compares this innovation to a person praying for another's recovery from an illness and that person actual recovery having nothing to do with this prayer. Agreed. The subject's recovery is a correlated event, but how can we possibly say that the invention of the iPhone was just correlated with the discovery of the microchip without causation. Its operation, Morgue tells us by extension, would be the same even if Maxwell hadn't successfully mapped equations describing electromagnetic radiation leading to the revolution in physics that occurred at the turn of the 20th Century.

(04:23) "even though classical mechanics is 100% wrong it allowed us to put a man on the moon"

I don't really know how to respond to that statement. I suppose all one can ask is how Morgue proposes we reached the moon?

Morgue repeats this claim about classical mechanics over and over again during the video. Clearly, it's his main point and it's about as flawed as a claim can possibly be.

 (06:00) "Science should develop a system based on mathematics."

It's patently clear from the above statement that Morgue has never studied physics. A science that is simply an extension of mathematics. Laws of physics are described mathematically before they are described with terminology. The other sciences hardly do away with mathematical description either. For example, mathematical models are vital in population biology. It's irritating how Morgue seems intent on claiming exclusivity for mathematics to his crackpot religion.

(06:40) The science doesn't know everything argument.

I'm not going to quote directly here, simply because Morgue sets up a long-winded analogy about aliens and tables just to tell us that science is flawed because it hasn't yet discovered everything. It's an argument I'm sure we're all familiar with. Morgue reels off a list of components of a table until he reaches the fundamental particles. But like a man driving towards a cliff top he's ignoring the signs on the way warning him of the drop. The reason Morgue can reel off these ever minute components down to fundamental particles is because of the remarkable success of the scientific method. We've probed deeper into nature than ever could have been dreamed by Democritus, the ancient Greek philosopher who first posited the idea of a final undividable state of matter, the atom. Theory and mathematical models have taken us further than the sculptor's blade, further than even the electron microscopic. And it will take us further still. That infinite regression of Morgue's, so loved by creationists, will become more lengthy as time goes on. It may always have an "ah-ha" point where the Luddites can reel off names no longer and thus proudly boast "science doesn't know everything then!" but that point will take longer and longer to reach. Perhaps even long enough to make even dumbest journeymen realise how far science has taken them from their initial point.

(07:57) "If you can't account for what everything is made of, you can't account for anything at all"

So I can't think of a better point than to turn the tables on Morgue. Can he account for what everything is made of? No. Well, I guess we're in the same fucking boat then! Expect in our science boat we've got wonderful things like the internet you're using to stream your bullshit to an audience anywhere in the world in the blink of an eye. We've got models of reality that have proven utility. What has your boat got in it?

Where are the results of the utility of your theory mate?

Morgue quotes Max Planck during his video (below), it's a common theme that runs through his videos. He frequently quotes scientists or philosophers in a way that is designed to lead his viewers to believe they somehow support his view of the world, of reality and of science.

I feel it's fitting to end this analysis of this particular video with another quote from Planck:

Sounds like Planck wouldn't have been sold on Hyperianism. Morgue tells us "Hyperianism rejects scientific materialism. " It's outmoded and outdated. Morgue says this whilst profiting from the advancements made by science. Isn't that hypocritical? Fear not though, hypocrisy comes naturally to Morgue. In another video, he condemns social media, then urges his followers to "like, comment, share and subscribe". In the same vlog he condemns the spending of money on fads and trends, consumers are dogs he tells us. Then he urges followers to visit his Patreon where at the modest price of $25 dollars a video, he'll shove a sword down his neck for you!

And it's working for him. Currently, 243 followers are paying Morgue $1,777 per video. In fact, 2 followers are paying him $250 per video. I hope they're reading this. Hey you two, he thinks you're his dogs. He says so right in his "Higher Entities" video. But he's grateful though. 

In my next post, I'll look at another of Morgue's videos and how he explicitly claims mathematics and in particular Euler's formula supports Hyperianism. In doing so we'll try to nail down what Hyperianism actually is, and in delving deeper we will discover the worryingly cult-like undertones involved here.