Countercurrency as Insurgency:  Reflections on the old and new face of the “internet” in light of Gale and Null.

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There is news, there is old news, and there is history.  Gale and Null’s article is old news on the verge of becoming history.  Moreover, it is full of unsubstantiated grandiose pronouncements and distortions of all kinds.  To begin with the title itself is deceptive.  Is Wikipedia a new venue in and through which Communists are identified and persecuted?? Are either Gale or Null Communists?  No.  But the title does get them the attention of people who are radical.  And then there is the questionable old news:   pronouncements such as that the internet is the “final frontier” for free thinkers”.  As recent developments in human communication technology show us, we are on the brink of a revolution which will not only liberate human thought but human social relations.  If it works, Blockchain technology will provide us with secure, trusted and truthful modes of direct human interaction which can, at least potentially, undercut existing social institutions such as banks, companies and even governments.  It is a big If, but within the range of what is possible.

In their second paragraph they move on to the very old news that the internet is “censored” and then, too quickly, to the existence of “party storylines” and ideological distortions of the truth.  Censorship has been around forever.From Greece to modern times, there has been censorship.  Socrates was sentenced to death in order to censor his ideas, the primary one being that man should question the traditional beliefs of a deeply religious pagan society.  When the Catholic Church burned heretics, it was a form of censorship.  To censor is to not allow ideas which challenge the status quo to enter public arena; to surveil is to watch people in order to ascertain their ideas, values, and actions. Edward Snowdon showed us but the tip of the iceberg that is the “surveillance state”.   The old news is that every aspect, every moment of our lives are watched not just by computers, but through the phones we carry about with us, which track our locationand  whose microphones can be turned into listening devices.  We are tracked through our metro cards, through our credit card, by any cards we carry and use.   We can be traced through our genetic profiles. There are cameras everywhere.  There isgreat war being waged right now by tech specialists against surveilance states, one which Blockchain technology is actively engaged in, to protect people’s privacy through hyper encryption apps and  systems.  Science and math have become weapons of human liberation.

Eventually,  this article moves to its direct point of attack. We are informed that, like other tech giants, Wikipedia is compromised by “biases and preferential treatment to private interest groups.”  Well duhh.  And then tothe real point of this article: Wikipedia is responsible for “ruining the reputations and tainting the careers of numerous people, notably health professionals and academics who fail to live, teach and practice in alignment with Wikipedia’s very narrow scientific criteria….”Whose reputation? Which health care professionals?  Well Gary Null himself.  If one looks up Gary Null on Wikipedia one uncovers a less than flattering portrait of him that labels him a charlatan and a fake.  It is this portrait that has provoked his personal ire and prompted him to write this rambling article.  Moreover, I would remind everyone, that Wikipedia makes no claim to “truth”, and for this very reason, no scholarly article would ever cite Wikipedia.  I have taught young people just entering college; in essence, high school students, who know better than to cite Wikipedia.  It is just not done.  Thus, the assertion that Wikipedia “… has become the Internet’s monolithic gatekeeper, and controller, of free encyclopedic knowledge.” Is ludicrous.

The article rambles on and the authors continue to discuss old news, now become history.  They venture into the realm of philosophy telling us that “Modern Skepticism(which is???) is a continuation of earlier Scientism (which is?) founded by the early naturalists (such as) who declared that the only thing that exists is the natural world,”  which is ascertained through the senses. The term they are searching for is “empiricism” which in fact, dominated scientific thinking up until modern developments in physics.  What they are attempting to bring forth is the ancient debate between the “materialists” and the “idealists, between the Presocratics and Plato, and the larger question of whether our senses deceive us.   But they are not well educated enough to understand what it is that they are talking about, and so all the gratuitous quotes and ill defined terminology.

Thenthe attack on Dawkins which is not an attack on his understanding of evolution, but an attack on his attack on religious and non scientific beliefs.  He is attacked for his “intolerance” of religion, not on the basis of his science.  But why should he or I be tolerant of other people’s religious beliefs when they have no bearing in truth?  And why should scientific proofsbe suspended when dealing with unproven religious beliefs?  Tolerance for untruth is no virtue.

I could go on and on in my criticisms of this article, but I have already exceeded the word limit established by the editorial board of Countercurrents, something the authors never respected.  But kid yourself not, this article is an attack not on Wikipedia, but on Science and the truths which science has established. It is an attack on Wikipedia because in it Gary Null is painted as a quack, whose treatments have no scientific foundation in fact and so science itself must also be attacked.  In order to defend himself, his image and his business, he must attack both Wikipedia and science.  Attacking Wikipedia is one thing, but attacking science is a fool’s game.

Meanwhile, a scientific and mathematical technological revolution is proceeding; one which will hopefully, liberate and unify humanity by making power decentralized, privacy protected, and if not truth thentruthfulness a standard.

Mary Metzger is a 72 year old retired teacher who has lived in Moscow for the past ten years. She studied Women’s Studies under Barbara Eherenreich and Deidre English at S.U.N.Y. Old Westerbury. She did her graduate work at New York University under Bertell Ollman where she studied Marx, Hegel and the Dialectic. She went on to teach at Kean University, Rutgers University, N.Y.U., and most recenly, at The Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology where she taught the Philosophy of Science. Her particular area of interest is the dialectic of nature, and she is currently working on a history of the dialectic. She is the mother of three, the gradmother of five, and the great grandmother of 2.


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