0] To provide members with a personalized updated version.
1] To provide our citizens with an introduction to basic science.
2] To prepare the citizens for impending social change circa 2012.
3] To provide those involved with the NAU programs with the benefit of Technocracys 80 year study of operating our Continent as a single operational unit.
* * * * *
...The Organization is dealing with social phenomena in the widest sense of the word; this includes not only actions of human beings, but also everything which directly or indirectly affects their actions. Consequently, the studies of Technocracy embrace practically the whole field of science and industry. Biology, climate, natural resources, and industrial equipment all enter into the social picture; and no one can expect to have any understanding of our present social problems without having at least a panoramic view of the basic relations of these essential elements of the picture. All things on the earth are composed of matter and therefore require a knowledge of chemistry. These things move, and in so doing, involve energy. An understanding of these relationships requires s knowledge of physics. Industrial equipment, as well as the substances of which living organisms are composed are derived from the earth. This requires a knowledge of geology and earth processes. Man is himself an organism, and derives his food from other organisms. Hence, a knowledge of biology is necessitated.
The purpose of this study course is not to give any person a comprehensive knowledge of science and technology, but rather to present an outline of the essential elements of these various fields, as they pertain to the social problem in a unified picture.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Skip to summarized introduction and begin
Persons have previously come to the Organization for one of many reasons such as entertainment, instruction, etc. Some have come from a sense of duty which compels them to support what they honestly believe, others have come out of sheer curiosity. We are well aware that the type of material presented in the general lectures you have heard, or in our literature have not been adequate either in form or substance to afford a full understanding of what our work is. For those interested in learning more, this course of study is necessary. It means just that--study; and you should be warned that it will not be great deal of fun. Many of you will be entering the field of science for the first time.
The immediate activity of the Organization directs itself towards two general ends. There is the analytical purpose which inquires into fundamental relations among the various parts of a Price economy, and which discloses the reasons for the collapse of such a system in any civilization that converts energy at a high rate. There is also the synthetic purpose that designs a control which will successfully operate just such a high energy civilization. Please do not think of the analytical aspect of the Organization as the destructive aspect for there is nothing destructive about it. It does not destroy the Price System. The Price System destroys itself. Nor do we particularly like the antonym of `destructive.' The word `constructive' has been bandied about so much by leaders of the
present system that it begins to have an odor all it's own. We shall not however study either of those sides of the Organization. Not at once anyway. We shall study, not the Organization, as such but the soil in which it's roots are spread-- science itself. It is appropriate for you to ask at the outset of your course, what is this thing called science? How does it differ from something that is not science?
Though there are a number of definitions current in dictionaries and writings of various kinds, we prefer to treat the matter at greater length. Perhaps there will be a definition of sorts later. We want you to have at the end of this discussion a fairly clear answer to your questions; a fairly clear idea of what is meant by a scientific mind, a scientific viewpoint, and a scientific approach to a problem. We shall commence by investigating the meaning of a very common word--the word `fact'. That has a familiar sound. You have all been using it all your lives and yet if you were to ask two people picked at random for the meaning of the term you would get rather dissimilar explanations. To a scientist fact has a very specific and a very rigid meaning.
Please remember this definition in essence if not in exact words. It is important serving as it does as the starting point of your studies. A fact is a close agreement of a series of observations of the same phenomenon. Let us consider this for a while, We find a strip of steel and undertake a determination of it's length. The investigator lays a scale parallel to the unknown length and measures it. He reads the scale at, say, 10.0 centimeters, but he does not accept as a fact the probability that the strip is 10 centimeters long. He repeats the measurement taking care that his work is well done; That no errors that he might have formerly have overlooked affect the result. Possibly he uses a more accurate scale, one with a vernier, and let us say he reads the length to be 10.0 centimeters. In such a simple measurement as that of linear distance to one or two decimal places, probably two observations would be an extensive enough series to establish this fact, the length is so many centimeters, but if accuracy to the fifth or sixth place were required our scien-
tist would employ instruments more refined than the simple scale, and undoubtedly he would make more than two determinations. The most probable value for the velocity of light is 2.99796 times 10 to the power of 10 centimeters per second. I do not know and could not possibly guess at how many observations this fact is the result of. Likely many hundred. Once an apparatus is set up successive determinations can be made rather quickly. In the definition just given, the word `observation' is used in the broadest sense. It means, of course by direct observation by our various sense organs, and it includes observations through an interpreter, as it were. In many cases the phenomena we are examining lie outside the field of our direct perception, and we then must devise ways of causing them to produce effects which lie within that field. For example, we are directly aware of electro-magnetic radiation having any wave length between approximately 0.4 and 0.8 micron. (a micron is one 10,000th. of a centimeter.) We see this as light. We observe radiation shorter than 0.4 micron, that is, ultra-violet light, or even X-rays, much shorter yet, by exposing to the radiation a special photographic plate protected against ordinary light. How do we observe radiation with the wavelength of 0.75 of a mile, which is unrecordable by photographic processes? That particular wave length is in the range of marine signals, and we could detect it on a ship's wireless.
We have said a fact is a close agreement of a series of observations. Now, what about those `facts' that cannot in any manner be observed by man; those that, because of their remote or occult character, not only lie outside the field of his perception but refuse to exhibit themselves even through his most ingenious apparatus? it is implicit in our definition that there are no such facts.
One more point, and we shall be finished with our definition. It is a sine qua non of scientific work that all observations must be susceptible to confirmation. They must be so carried out that they may be repeated at will, or if they are not repeatable, must have such a nature that you and I can ourselves substantiate them. If we care to do the requisite work. We make a careful distinction,
you see, between verifiable and non-verifiable observations because from the former come facts, while from the latter come well--what? Many devious and wonderful things we shall not scrutinize in this study course. We assure you none of them is within the scope of science. Science is built upon facts as we now understand them. Science is indeed nothing more than a system of facts and principles elaborated from facts. It is indispensable, therefore, that we check the verifiability of observations before we accept them as a valid basis for fact. Suppose we came upon a document signed by a dozen names and properly notarized. The document states that the undersigned have just returned from the planet Venus, where they erected a monument to Colonel Stoopnagle. We would have the perfect agreement of a series of observations of an event, and the statement cannot by any means be disproved. But even non-scientists would be apt to reject this as a fact. If you are now offended by such a puerile illustration, here is another nearer home. Slightly more than a hundred years ago there was published a book purporting to be a translation from engravings on a number of gold plates or tablets dug out of a hill near Palmyra, New York. After the translation were made the plates were buried in another secret place. At the beginning of this book, preceding the translated text, appears the written testimony of eight men saying that each of them had seen and handled the plates, that the plates were heavy, had the appearance of gold, and were covered with a curious inscription. These men were all devout Christians, and they called upon their God to bear witness, so that, all in all, the testimony is a very impressive document indeed. Clearly, the existence of the gold tablets cannot be reestablished today, since they have disappeared. Therefore their existence is not a fact, Even though more than a hundred thousand people believe that it is. Only when, and if, the plates reappear as all Mormons expect them to do some day, and are placed in a museum accessible to all of us, only then will their existence become a fact.
Assuming you have never visited Sydney, Australia, how do you know that there is a city by that name? You may have heard people
mention it, or seen the name on maps, but perhaps something is being put over on you; perhaps it is all a great hoax. When Napoleon's chief spy, Karl Schulmeister, was working himself high in the ranks of the Austrian secret service, he received almost daily a copy of a Parisian newspaper. He said an agent of his smuggled it across the border. Naturally, the Austrians got a lot of information about conditions in France. The truth was that the newspaper was printed solely for Schulmeister and the Austrian generals, and each edition consisted of only one copy. It was all false, all exactly what Napoleon wanted his enemies to know. Might it not be the same with Sydney? The reason each of you believes in the existence of this place is because you know that knowledge is the kind that can be verified. You know many persons must have checked it's reality by going there. You know that if worst came to worst you could go there yourself. This, then, is a fact, one which like all facts of science, can be reestablished by anyone. The student of science in our schools has laboratory courses in which he actually does check the work of others in simple experiments. This is done partly to develop his manual dexterity in that sort of thing, but mostly to drive into his head the knowledge that all observations may be so checked.
About all we have done so far in this discussion is to give you a definition, and to explain exactly what was meant by it. Why this insistence on exact meaning? We promised to tell you about science in general, and then proceed to split hairs about something so small as would surely make little difference in the composite whole. This brings us to another point. A scientist always knows exactly what he is talking about. That sounds like a boast, but it is really quite the opposite. It is just that a scientist pays attention to the exact definition of terms; he should never use a term beyond it's definition, and he should never use an undefined term at all. Many, quarrelling with me on that last, will say one must somewhere use undefined terms. But we have a way out of that difficulty which will be indicated in a moment. Now,
contrast a rigidly defined term with the expressions used in fields other than science---in finance, in politics, law, etc.
Suppose you were reading an article on economics and came upon the word `price' as you undoubtedly would do many times a page. Now everybody is credited with knowing the meaning of `price,' but you, being a particularly inquiring individual, insist on exact definition. You would discover that almost every economist, when he bothers to elucidate his terms at all, attaches to the word `price' a different meaning. Some define it as the measure of the ratio of the scarcity of money to the scarcity of any commodity. Others make no mention of scarcity whatever. Still others introduce psychological and social factors. Invariably you will find that a definition when given is followed by great amounts of explanatory and qualifying material. This means the definition represents what is in the author's mind, not what is in the minds of all users of the word. For example: The Encyclopedia Britannica starts off by regretting there is no exact meaning for the word, and presently works into the definition, `Price is value expressed in terms of money.' Then comes the qualifying material which says, in effect, this does not mean values are determined independently of or prior to the determination of their prices, or that values of goods and money are determined separately. Some story of an exchange is necessary, after which the values thus determined appear in the guise of money prices.
We are also told that the abstract notion of exchange value is a generalization of the simple idea of price. One who finds this less clear than he hoped would naturally try to discover what is meant by value, since price is expressed in terms of it. He would discover there are three conceptions of value: exchange value, subjective value, and imputed price. He would read the opinion that `value is the greatest philosophical achievement of the 19th century' but nowhere would he find a statement of what it is. He would be gratified to learn there exists, however, if not an exact meaning, at least a theory of values, a theory that requires consideration of the following points: What is the nature of value? What are the fundamental values, and how are they to be classified? How may we determine the relative values of things, and
What is the ultimate standard of value? Are values subjective or objective? What is the relation of values to things or of value to existence and reality?
Let us go no further into the matter of price, for it does not appear necessary to labor the point that a term whose meaning has not been specified by general agreement among men is unsuited for the rigorous transmission of intelligence from man to man. In this connection, however, we shall take up another little problem. A hunter is standing near a large tree, and a squirrel is hanging onto the opposite side of the tree. The hunter now moves in a circle completely around the tree until he regains his starting position, but at the same time the squirrel also moves around the tree in the same direction and in such a manner as it always faces the man, and as the tree is always between it and him. Now, the problem is this: Does the hunter go around the squirrel? The correct answer is not `yes,' and it is not `no.' The correct reply requires an exact definition of the verb, `go around.' If we define `go around' as meaning that the hunter is first south, then west, then north, then east, and finally south of the squirrel, he very obviously does go around it. But if we agree that `go around' shall mean first opposite the squirrel's belly, then it's right side, then it's back, then it's left side, the answer is just as definitely `no.' Here, again, we see the necessity for exact definition. It is inimical to the integrity of our thinking to use words loosely. Lack of careful definition sires more illegitimate offspring, widely varying sports that take the form of controversies, debates, arguments, than a whole countryside of rabbit farms. Many problems outside science would vanish into thin air if definition were exact.
Before we leave the subject, let us ask if anyone can define a term used in connection with measuring the strip of steel--the word `centimeter.' How long is a centimeter? It is useless to say it is the 100th part of a meter; that, in effect, is saying it is twice one-half centimeter, One merely asks: `How long is a meter? Is there possible an exact definition of length not in terms of other units of length?' Yes. In the International Bureau of Standards near Paris is a certain bar of metal--one only. It is an alloy of, I think, Platinum and Iridium. On this bar are two marks, and a
centimeter is defined as one 100th the distance between these two marks when the bar is at 0 degrees Centigrade. This is an example of the prosaic, matter-of-course way scientists have of going about things. If they cannot define a term in terms of other terms, they define it in terms of an object or system of objects in the external world. That is how we avoid using undefined terms. We trust the distinction between a definition and a fact is clear. You will have many of both in your studies. A definition is an agreement, wholly arbitrary in character, among men; while a fact is an agreement among investigations carried out by men. It is a definition that a centimeter is one 100th the distance between certain marks on a certain bar at a certain temperature. It is a fact that a particular strip of steel is ten centimeters long.
So far we have been talking about fairly fundamental things. Just how fundamental. you may ask, and is there anything more fundamental? Let us see if we can go deeper yet. Let us try to strike the very foundations of science. Science is a fair palace of lofty dimensions. Does it rise out of the massive earth rock itself, or is it erected upon sand and apt to crumble utterly should the unshored plain ever shift? You see, even if we fail to take you to the heights of science--at least we start you at the bottom. So let us descend toward that bottom to see if we can at any depth discard the relatively fundamental and deal with the absolutely fundamental.
We have used the quality of agreement to describe the intrinsic character of both facts and definitions. There are in science agreements other than those of fact or definition. These are called postulates, and it is the postulates of science, three in number, that are the foundations of science. Now, a postulate is a curious mixture. It partakes of the nature of a fact in that it is a statement of fact, but differs from a fact in that the observations supporting it are not confirmable. A postulate partakes of the nature of a definition in that it is an agreement among men, but it differs from a defini-
-tion in that it concerns no trivial matter of nomenclature, and in that it is certainly not arbitrary. A definition, as we know, is a mere shortcut in the language. Power is defined as the time rate of doing work. Obviously, we could go through all scientific literature, cross out the word `power,' substitute the phrase `time rate of doing work,' and entirely eliminate a definition from the vast amount of material the mind must handle. Definitions which can be done away with thus easily cannot be per se the fundamental things we seek. But there is no more essential, however complex, manner of stating a postulate. And there are no already existing propositions from which it may be deduced.
The first postulate states that the external world actually is. In other words, a chair, a pencil, a city, the mountains, rivers, oceans, continents really do exist. We can at once go to work on them without having to establish their existence.
The second postulate states that nature is uniform. This means we do not have to flounder about in a world wherein a sack of flour suddenly transforms itself into a fish, and that into an automobile, and that into an oil well. The second postulate is our protection against chaos.
The third postulate states that there are symbols in the `mind' which stand for events and things in the external world. The total sum of all such symbols in all minds, after eliminating duplicates would be the sum total of that kind of knowledge for us; and the sum total of all things and events meant by these symbols, provided the symbols should ever become complete in number, would constitute the entire physical world. This means, in effect, that the mind itself is uniform. Mathematicians will note that the third postulate establishes a one-to-one correspondence between all that is in our minds and all that is in the external world. A corollary of this is that there is nothing in all the world that has the priori quality of being unknowable. In this paragraph the word `mind' has been used in it's conventional sense. Later in the course we shall consider `mind' from a somewhat different and highly interesting point of view.
We shall not discuss the postulates further for the reason that a scientist has nothing whatever to say about them.
Every scientist is agreed that so long as he shall live, he shall not ever question these postulates, nor require any proof thereof. They are the rules of his game, and he is no more concerned with rules of other games than a bridge player is about baseball rules.
Is science built on a firm foundation? Yes it stands properly ordered and rock solid upon the enduring base of it's postulates. Take note too that science is forever impregnable against attack originating outside it's postulates. The criticism of metaphysicians, of philosophers, of mystics, are categorically absurd; are invalidated at their very source by so originating. And bear in mind that it does not become you as scientists to discuss questions of ultimate truth, nor ultimate reality, nor anything else ultimate. as novelists or theologians if you like but not as scientists.
Now, in a paper that purports to introduce you very informally to the field of science, why has no mention been made any of the sciences themselves, if only that you may know what they are about? We have not spoken of heat, sound, electricity, hydraulics, etc., which are branches of physics, nor of zoology, cytology, embryology, etc., branches of biology, nor chemistry and it's branches. Why not? Simply because there are no sciences. There is only one science. It makes little difference what you call it. Call it the science of existence or the science of the world, or just plain science. It is only very elementary phenomena we can identify as belonging exclusively to one or another of the name-labels that a hundred or so years ago were thought to distinguish one science from another. When we reach phenomena of any complexity--and you need not be told most of the world is very, very complex--we find the facts of one-name label mixing with those of another to such an extent as it is mere sophistry to think they should be treated separately. Suppose we bring together two substances, carbon dioxide and water. Nothing much happens as you know from your experience with charged water. Bring them together on the leaf of a plant in the presence of chlorophyll, and still nothing much happens. But allow sunlight to fall on the leaf and these two simple
substances will be synthesized into additional plant tissue, cellulose. Here we have light, chemistry and botany all in one reaction. Consider deep ray therapy where advantage is taken of the fact that malignant tumor cells have three to four times the electrical condenser capacity of benign tumor cells. Here we have electricity, short-wave radiation, and human pathology becoming one problem. Diathermy and radio surgery are other examples of the connection between medicine and what were once called extra-human phenomena. Consider photopheresis, where a particle of gold or selenium or sulphur suspended in a strong stream of light moving towards the source of the light, even though that be directly above the particle. Thus we establish a liaison between light and that elusive thing, gravitation. Consider the photolytic cell where an electrode of lead and one of copper oxide are immersed in a solution of lead nitrate. No current flows in the dark, but if light is allowed to strike the inner face of the copper oxide electrode a strong although not a steady current is produced. Here we have chemistry, electricity, and light functioning together. The wedding of biology and chemistry is expressed in the word biochemistry. If you undertake the study of chemistry you will reach something called physical chemistry which might just as well be called chemical physics. The chlorophyll of plants mentioned a moment ago and the hemoglobin of your blood have very similar chemical structures. Your blood contains the same salts as sea water and in virtually the same proportions, not so much the sea of today as that ancient Cambrian sea that existed before ever there were warm-blooded animals. Do you see that there can be no frontiers within science; that there is, indeed, only one science?
The two aspects of the Organization, analytic and synthetic which have formed the subject matter of lectures you have heard in the past, have already been pointed out. This would not be an effectual preface if we failed to show that these two aspects are characteristic of the whole field of science. The collecting of facts of all avail-
-able kinds, by carefully repeated observations in all parts if the world by all types of interpreting apparatus is clearly of an analytical nature. What do we do with these facts as they are collected? Is our work finished when we make a report in the literature and neatly file it on a library shelf? The high-energy civilization about us should demonstrate to anyone that this is not so. Facts are powerful tools in our hands continually in use. They are good tools; but if you will again consider the definition you will see that no fact is absolutely certain, having been established by inductive methods. Fifty observations may have agreed very closely but we cannot say positively that therefore the next fifty will so agree. We can say only that it is probable that they will. Thus does the great store of facts in the literature serve as a basis for what is most probable. The mechanism of scientific progress is this: We start with any phenomenon we care to from a simple electrical effect in the laboratory to a high speed Diesel engine. We say, `On the basis of what we have observed, such and such a modification will probably produce such and such a result.' Then it is tried if the probability is great enough. Sometimes it works and sometimes not. But out of the times it does work comes our intricate civilization with all it's marvelous technical accomplishments. Science is in a dynamic sense essentially a method of prediction. It has been defined as being the method of the determination of the most probable. In tossing a coin, how does one know how many times heads will turn up? How does an insurance company know how many people will die next year? How does a Geologist know where to drill for oil? How does the designer of a building determine how many elevators will be required? How does the weather bureau predict what the weather will be tomorrow? How can the astronomers predict to within seconds an eclipse of the sun 150 years hence?
These are all illustrations of scientific predictions. Some of these predictions as you well know, are more exact than others but they are all based on the same fundamental principles of reasoning from the basic facts. When more facts are known, more
accurate predictions can be made. That is what is meant by the most probable; not that by this method one knows exactly what will happen, but by it's use he can determine more nearly what will happen than by any other method.
But machines must be operated in accordance with their design. If you wish to speed up your automobile, you must press the accelerator pedal. Into this problem enter no abstract considerations whatever, such as, is it ethical to speed up an auto this way, or is this the best of all possible ways of doing it? The machine is built simply to accelerate in response to this one operation. This is a useful lesson to digest. No machine, no group of machines may be properly operated except as specified by their design. America's idle factories, her wanton destruction of food supplies while her citizens remain undernourished are results of trying to operate a system by other criteria.
Just a word or two about engineering. It is a frequently used term and some slight explanation of it should be offered in the light of what has been said you can see that a scientific laboratory is not always a single building on a college campus. More often the dimensions of a laboratory coincide with the boundaries of a city or of a nation. Suppose you have the problem of transporting a liter of sulphuric Acid from one side of the room to the other. The best solution would be pick the bottle up and carry it across. It is very simple. Suppose, however you are confronted with the same problem on a somewhat larger scale. You receive a 10,000 gallon tank car of sulphuric Acid on a railroad siding, and want to use the acid on the second floor of your plant. Now you must consider a number of things that did not enter into the smaller problem. What material will you install to convey the acid? What motive power will you use to propel it? Where will your storage tanks be located? Finally, do you buy in large enough quantities to warrant the erection of a sulphuric acid manufacturing plant on your own premises? This is the engineering side of chemistry. On the basis of established facts, the solution that is probably the best must be
found for each question. Similarly with other scientific work. Laboratory electricity is the production of electrical energy in a Voltaic cell. Electrical engineering is the production of electrical energy by a waterfall, and the transportation of it a hundred miles at a hundred thousand volts. Please recognize that we are still within the field of science, and remember no frontiers are set up anywhere in this field. There is only one science, and there is no essential difference between science and engineering. The stoking of a bunsen burner, the stoking of a boiler, the `stoking' of the people of a nation are all one problem.
Since we are now actually to begin studies in this field, let us recapitulate the several pieces of equipment we have for the job. First, of all there are five senses through which the external world is perceptible to us. Next we have a mind to reflect upon what is perceived. But it is now a critical mind, unwilling to accept knowledge until inquiry is made into the sources thereof. Let us indicate here, and let us emphasize the incomparable quality of that mind which is able to entertain something that it neither believes nor disbelieves, something upon which it withholds judgment until the source-observations have been verified or their verifiability affirmed. This critical mind is aware of the uselessness of thought unless thought be clothed in exact terms. With this mind a simple experiment performed with the hands and viewed with the eyes weighs heavily, while the testament of however many men concerning un-confirmable observations even though that testimony be preserved between the covers of a finely tooled covers of a rare book, weighs much, much more lightly than a feather. We are continually aware that science is more than a dry catalog of facts, it is a dynamic and powerful tool before which all problems shall someday yield. This, then, is the equipage we carry as we approach the physical world. That actual uniform world our postulates give us. I think we should not find it burdensome.
Links to lessons