AI, Bad Science, and Astrology

All in the name of finding yourself.

You and Your Community

The cellular biologist will struggle to explain the whole of cellular activity without considering forces outside the cell.  What about the system of surrounding cells, the organ system, the connective tissue around the organ, other organ systems, the neuro-immuno-hormonal milieu of the body as a whole, and even the environment in which the body lives? Community matters!

Biology has a problem when it gets mesmerized by the imbalance that comes with advanced microscopic pictures. We start to lose the forest for the trees. We would need to rely on a healthy scientific process to correct our errors. Corrupt science anticipates or desires certain results, only sees what it anticipates or desires, and goes so far as to change things that don’t fit the picture. This can be led by a subtle bias or can be blatant.

Absolute Power

We all know when there’s power or prestige at stake it can overwhelm the gentle fabric of human integrity. There are fixes on Wall Street. There’s doping in sports. Cheating infiltrates all sectors of academia. There’s deceit in sales; there’s trickery in politics. Governments use power to keep power…

“Occupants of public offices love power and are prone to abuse it.”

— George Washington

…People lie on their taxes and are unfaithful to their spouses. Schemes to defraud Medicare are common; so it should come as no surprise that scientists lie and fabricate studies for a lot of different reasons.

Summary so far

We have important things to re-discover but science is beholden to a corrupt power system. It’s boring. We need something to disrupt the aging tale.

What would it take to expose it all? It would take a massive shift to release the grip on the entrenched models of corruption that exist. It would take a seismic shift. Is it here?

The shift

Can you sense it? A huge societal upheaval is at hand. Artificial Intelligence is at the core of this change. Massive amounts of data have been generated over the last 20 years. It increases every year on an exponential curve. Data generation seemed to be a somehow isolated phenomenon because the implications were not graspable. Machine learning changes that. It is powerful enough to meaningfully navigate and sort through the data to put it to use.

The early prediction is that so many old ideas and systems won’t survive. With them, out-of-date or corrupt power systems will be destroyed. The front edge of new systems threatens even the tightest grip of the status quo. It’s chaotic but there’s great potential. Eventually, the new systems get controlled by new power structures. Is AI controllable? If it is, whose hands will its massive power be in? If it’s not, what profound uncertainty accompanies that?

This week’s tech advancement story

Stories written across the world (likely generated by AI content programs) detail Elon Musk’s announcement that Neuralink has “successfully” put a chip in a human’s brain for the first time.

“The device is about the size of a large coin and is designed to be implanted in the skull and extend ultra-thin wires directly into the brain. Neuralink said the wires would be surgically placed in a region of the brain that controls movement intention. The initial goal of the so-called brain-computer interface is to give people the ability to control a computer cursor or keyboard using their thoughts alone.”

Change is coming.

Science Embarrassments

Here’s another example from this week’s news of how any part of the old system that is in decline is at risk.

“The prestigious Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston will retract six studies and correct 31 more as part of an ongoing investigation into claims of data manipulation.” This is a huge story that hinges on an independent scientist using machine learning to scan scientific papers looking for fraud.

From editorial comments:

“There’s a ton of incentive in the sciences to publish novel and compelling results. There’s also a substantial disincentive to point out issues as this scientist’s work has. Rather, the strongest incentive is to go along to get along. If you’re an aspiring Ph.D or post-doc, it’s very dangerous to point out issues with a slide or adjustments and clarifications in an image that distorts results.”

Science needs to be allowed to see the phenomena. Science cannot support other agendas than learning how the world works. Our whole medical system is built on the assumption of honest science.

Alzheimer’s

Want more on fabricated data causing uncomfortable squirming in the scientific community? In 2022 a story emerged about an independent investigation finding fabricated results in a seminal 2006 Alzheimer’s paper. More than 2,200 subsequent studies referred to the finding — and now must also be reconsidered. Does this help to explain why no single trial basing a treatment on beta-amyloid has been successful? This was an investigation around consideration of the approval of Aduhelp, which is back in the news this week.

“Biogen (cambridge MA) has announced it will give up ownership and halt sales of Aduhelm, an embattled Alzheimer’s disease drug that was scrutinized following its 2021 approval… Biogen also faced criticism because it was initially charging $56,000 per year for the drug. The Cambridge, Massachusetts, company later slashed the price in half, but critics said it was still too expensive for a drug not proven to slow memory and thinking problems… On Wednesday, Biogen said it would also halt a post-approval study of Aduhelm, which the FDA required as a condition of the drug’s approval.”

It’s possible the drug trial was not favorable and it spurred the drug discontinuance. Should we know that?

It’s at moments like this when it can feel like we are a bit lost in space. Maybe machine learning can jostle the old power system, but if corruption is so rampant, are we hoping that AI will save us? That can’t be the case. Won’t it be used by corrupt forces to make better fabrication? How do we get oriented?

Written in the stars

Remember the truth of the cell lying in the bigger systems around it? Well, life and circumstances on Earth cannot be understood without considering the communities to which the Earth belongs: the solar system, the galaxy, the neighboring galaxies, and the universe as a whole.

There is a particular planetary-stellar configuration that is just starting and will last the next twenty years or so. Since last March it has been in a transitional period. This past week marked a surge in its influence. The astrologers say this pattern shakes up the status quo and is an agent of innovation and reform. The change it brings is radical. I’m referring to Pluto’s entry into Aquarius. The last time this happened was 250 years ago.

New ideas and reform: two highlights from the last time the earth saw this configuration are Edward Jenner’s work with the first vaccine, one for smallpox, and the French and American Revolutions.

250 years before that was the Catholic Reformation and the years immediately following Martin Luther’s 95 Theses.

Wade in

It’s a bit of a stretch to comprehend how distant bodies in the solar system and beyond can affect us; for the modern mind, this concept borders on ridiculous. I can see that. One could argue it’s no less ridiculous to think our system can be understood as one that stands alone.

I’m not saying that every astrology offering as we see them is safe, balanced, or relevant. That would be like equating dating with love.

I’m saying truth exists, just as love exists, and there’s a band of people on earth which is maybe bigger than we think, who appreciate the challenges of wading through the complexities. They even see it as that which gives their life purpose.

This band is not frustrated by the lies, the deceit, or the obstructive fabrications. Getting frustrated is just the first trap in the maze.

It sees it all as its puzzle, and puzzles are fun, in case you’ve forgotten.

The revolutionary step is to try to be integrity in every area of your life. And when you fail, be kind to yourself.  The band of people knows we will fail and fail and fail but some victories sneak in there, and whatever victory we can muster is greater than 1000 fails.

It’s going to be a wild ride. I’m glad you’re here to make sure we have more victories.