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August 2018

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Internet Giants – You Are Not as Smart as You Think You Are

I just had this one published in The American Thinker which you can find here or you can just keep reading...

Google, Facebook, Twitter and other large Internet companies have taken it upon themselves to censor and block content they find offensive.  Unfortunately for some of us, they seem to find any thought which might be described as conservative to fall within this offensive category but their actions are dangerous regardless of the political leanings.

They each have their own methods of doing so, but they are trying their best to control what the public hears and sees and thereby shape what is thought.  Obviously newspapers and other media have been doing somewhat similar things for ages but these present attempts are of a different magnitude.

Never before has any media companies had this level and control of “share of mind” over billions of people.  Google and Facebook and their subsidiaries (WhatsApp, YouTube, Instagram, etc.) control around 75% of all Internet traffic, almost all advertising. 

Over half of the entire world, 4 billion people uses the Internet.  Over 250 million people came online in just the last year!  The average Internet user now spends around 6 hours each day using Internet-powered devices and services. 

The problem with their attempting to control and rig the game is they simply aren’t as smart as they seem to think they are.  What forces are they going to unleash with their manipulation and censorship in an attempt at thought control?  There is no way of knowing as the various social interactions between hundreds of millions of people are far too many and far too intricate to predict.

They are playing with fire and the results down the road might be terrifying for all.  In affect they are unknowingly creating ripples in the normal flow of human existence; ripples which might become waves which might crash down upon millions, if not billions of individuals.  There simply is no way of knowing. 

But there is a better way.  These companies can still make their billions selling advertising and reach but if they and we are to survive they need to treat the rest with a laissez faire attitude.  Let the unguided actions of millions drive things.  Swarm intelligence will always work better than attempted manipulation, always.

Swarm intelligence is a relatively new field which attempts to explain and understand the collective behavior of group animals; think of honey bees, schools of fish, herds of bison, flocks of birds, etc.

The intelligence of the swarm is a significant multiplier.  Rather than relying solely on individual intelligence, these groups create a collective intelligence that is orders of magnitudes beyond that of any individual member.

They do so without any leader, with no management of any sort, with no one “seeing the big picture”.  In fact having no one in charge is a key ingredient to swarm intelligence!

This incredible increase in intelligence is driven by countless interactions between individual members with each following simple rules of thumb and reacting to their local environment and those members around them.  That’s it.

And although it may be difficult to grasp, this self-organizing behavior has no cause and effect, it simply is.  This process is the basis for the success of the human race.

Swarm intelligence also smooths out the ripples which may occur.  It allows for a natural flow of events, with constant feedback loops to minimize the chances of a ripple turning into a wave turning into a life-destroying crash. 

Obviously events may still lead to catastrophe.  But allowing swarm intelligence to do its magic certainly decreases the odds and ensures the negative consequence, whatever it may be, will be the minimum possible.  Putting a “boss” in charge and attempting to direct events is just as certain to increase the odds of catastrophic failure somewhere down the line. This is a scientific fact just as certain as gravity. 

So social media and Internet giants, please stop your attempts at thought control.  You are truly putting the future of the entire planet at risk.  Remember, a good rule is first do no harm and the first step here is accepting you are not as smart as you think.  Please, stop your attempts at thought control, step back and let swarm intelligence do its magic.  Trust the people.  The lives of billions of people are in your hands and the science is clear.

John Conlin is an expert in organizational design and change.  He also holds a BS in Earth Sciences and an MBA and is the founder and President of E.I.C. Enterprises, www.eicenterprises.org, a USA-based 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to spreading the truth here and around the world, primarily through K-12 education.  E.I.C. Enterprise’s GoFundMe page can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/so-you-believe-in-science-eh

 
 

Inner-City Carnage

I just had this one published at The American Thinker which you can find here or you can just keep reading...

In the course of my management consulting, I’ve been to some of the toughest neighborhoods in the country.

If you do business in these areas, you know to always visit them relatively early in the morning, before the animals wake up. Thus in my travels I’d see four and five-year old kids playing like all four and five-year olds do.

But, as they got older, they developed an increasingly hard look in their eyes. And, by only nine or 10, many had a look in their eyes no child in America should have.

Even at that age, they had put up with more crap than one can imagine. The neighborhoods they were born into have astonishing crime rates. The few terrorize the many and unlike the police, they don’t leave.

A great deal of America’s $500 billion annual illicit drug trade flows through their world. An illegal trade where violence and fear take the place of contracts and the rule of law.  An illegal trade which unfortunately often offers the best economic opportunity for many.

Job opportunities are limited and youth unemployment reaches heights unheard of anywhere else in the country. A hand up is not an easy thing to find in these neighborhoods.

In many of these places, a culture has taken root where the very keys to success are viewed as being somehow foreign and something to reject, not embrace. These realities are true regardless of one’s heritage but it has fallen disproportionally on black Americans.

What of the education opportunities presented to these children today? The inner-city schools these children are forced to attend are a national disgrace. Education has been called THE civil rights issue of our time by political leaders across the political spectrum.

What we see in the inner-cities is the result of a lot of factors. But a major one is the collapse of the educational system decades ago resulting in generations of people, each receiving a lousy education. Generations of people pretty much screwed from the womb with their only hope being a chance for a decent education.  Without that they are lost.  Without that they have little hope.  In the face of this desperate need, the schools that are forced upon these children are an obscenity.

It is quite easy for someone who has never witnessed these realities to talk about hard work and pulling one’s self up by the boot straps.  It is much easier said than done.  What future truly awaits a 12 year old with very poor reading and writing skills, little to no math skills, and no command of the English language?  They are supposed to happily go to jobs pushing a broom or flipping burgers?  And fighting for these jobs against an army of illegal immigrants who are willing to work for below-market wages?  Or is a much more logical path one of crime?  Far too many of these inner-city schools are simply one stop on the assembly line from school to prison or the cemetery.

It is a fact that blacks commit an astonishingly high percentage of all crimes, especially when you consider their percent of the total population. The NAACP reports “one in six black men had been incarcerated as of 2001 and if current trends continue, one in three black males born today can expect to spend time in prison during his lifetime.”

In the vast majority of cases, spending time in prison destroys a person’s economic situation today and, in many situations, the rest of their lives. Losing one generation to prison usually ensures their children will also be born poor and forced to attend lousy public schools, thus perpetuating the cycle. Public schools where violence in the norm. Public schools that operate more as day-care and institutional holding cells than as institutes of education. Public schools where even the top performers are not prepared for college.

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.”

But the public education system is doing neither for the poor souls forced to attend these life-destroying institutions.

How many of the problems of the inner-cities in general and of black Americans in particular find their roots in generations of failed education? We will never address the issues of race, crime, poverty and the pathologies they unleash until we at least provide an opportunity for every child in America to attend a quality school where their intelligence and character are developed to the peak of their potential.

Will every parent and child take advantage of this? Of course not. But until everyone who wants it is given a true opportunity to send their kids to quality schools, this country will fail in its basic commitment to those poorest among us. And, when you consider the resulting crime statistics and the cost of filling our prisons, that’s a problem for all of us.

For the richest country the world has ever seen to allow this destruction to these young lives is simply wrong. Not every parent is “parent-of-the-month” material but at least let’s give those who cry out for help a chance by offering them a school which at least have the potential to save their life rather than destroy it.

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John Conlin is an expert in organizational design and change.  He is the founder and President of E.I.C. Enterprises, www.eicenterprises.org, a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to spreading the truth here and around the world, primarily through K-12 education. 

He’s seen first-hand the harm being caused by our nation’s schools and believes it’s time to do something about that.  E.I.C. Enterprise’s GoFundMe page can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/so-you-believe-in-science-eh

 

I will convince you of a fact-based God in less than 1,500 words

You can watch it here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEZxE66_mhE&t=251s  or read it below...

Of Course God exists

The Conlin Challenge - I will convince you of a fact-based, as opposed to a faith-based God in less than 1,500 words

So you believe in science, eh?  Excellent, so do I.  One aspect of this scientific thinking is a laissez-faire attitude towards results.  A person who truly follows a scientific-way of thinking shouldn’t care one way or the other about a certain experiment; they simply attempt to map reality and by definition must follow the facts wherever they lead.

True followers of science are therefore immune to allowing personal biases to infect their professional thinking.  With that said I challenge you to reassess your thinking regarding God.  In less than 1,500 words I will convince you of the physical reality of God.  Don’t believe me?  Then take the Conlin Challenge.

In any analysis it is always best to begin at the beginning, and the beginning of us is that we evolved on this planet.  There has probably never been a theory so overwhelming supported by the facts.  Thus we are directly physically related to all life on the planet.    

Physicists have also discovered we exist in this thing called space/time and although it may seem incredible this means the past and even the future actually exist as a real, physical reality.  We experience time kind of like a wave passing through this space/time and don’t have access to the past but this does not mean it does not exist.

I am tangibly connected to a millisecond ago, to a minute ago, to my birth, to my parents, to all life.  We are part of a single, cohesive and connected Life and the illusion of being a separate, discrete, “stand-alone” entity is just that, an illusion.  The more fundamental reality is there is no boundary when we examine life from a space/time perspective; there is only Life and all life is simply a part of it. 

This Life could just be the continuous flow and off-spring of basic replicators from 3.8 billion years ago, which of course it is.  But this fact says nothing regarding God, one way or the other.

If one wants to take it a step further, this same thinking flows back all the way to the Big Bang.  We truly are one with the universe (whatever that means), in a very real sense; as real as anything in this world.  At this more fundamental reality our independent, self-contained perspective is the illusion.

This isn’t based on faith but on fact and already discovered reality.  Are you with me so far?  Everything I’ve said is fairly well accepted fact.

Let’s then move to evidence of this “connectivity” as played out in our everyday lives.  A few years ago a co-worker’s mother was enjoying one son’s soccer game while another was playing ice hockey.  Midway through the soccer game she leapt up and informed her husband they had to leave immediately because their other son was injured.  This was witnessed by all their friends in the stands.  And sure enough, the son playing hockey had broken his leg at that exact moment.

Similar stories have been told by people for thousands of years; mothers knowing their far-away child had died in war; people being aware of things they could in no ordinary way actually know.  Of course there are charlatans, grifters, and just the plain crazy out there but if we examine these things from a scientific perspective, even a single occurrence must still be explained. 

Near-death experiences are also evidence of there being “more” than just what our everyday senses experience.  Yes I know many (most?) might not be real but there have been plenty of cases where knowledge of and seeing events are documented which simply “can’t be”.

If we follow Occam’s razor, the answer to this is quite obvious; there is more than we know and there is a connectivity which transcends our senses. 

There is some evidence similar-type things also occur among animals.  This shouldn’t be too shocking as they too are simply a piece of this larger Life.  In fact it would be shocking if this weren’t the case as the entire concept of distinct species fades away once one takes a longer time perspective.

Yet for many “science” folks out there, their mental paradigm simply doesn’t allow them to consider all possibilities.  Their bias towards “no God” renders them blind to any evidence which contradicts their mindset.

In the early science days almost all scientists were religious and although they were just opening the door on all the discoveries this science-way of thinking would discover, they still worshipped God.  They considered their work and the discovery of the truths of the natural world to be in honor of God.  In fact they believed God desired us to discover these truths.

Today the vast majority of scientists are non- (or even anti-) religious. Few have any direct experience with religion at any level.  And to the detriment of science, now rather than worshipping God they often seem to worship themselves. 

Many loudly proclaim themselves to be atheists, which to me is simply a childish anti-religion religion which consciously ignores the facts in front of us.  As Einstein noted, “The fanatical atheists are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who—in their grudge against traditional religion as the "opium of the masses"—cannot hear the music of the spheres.”

So what do we know?  We are a physical continuation of all Life, in fact of all things, and there seems to be some sort of connectivity which exists between us.  There is more to this life than our senses can perceive, which isn’t really shocking, and it seems to transcend our physical being.  At the individual level let’s call this a soul.  That’s a word which has been used in the past and there seems no reason to attempt to create a new word.  At the universal level let’s call this God.

Do any of us truly have any idea what this God or soul is actually like?  Nope.  Does this mean that if I have a soul, so does my dog?  Yep.  A reality we face is it is difficult if not impossible to talk about things which are like no other thing in the entire universe.  You have no point of reference and thus these are impossible to describe.

Does this God and soul fit into your preconceived notions about what God and your soul are all about?  Probably not.  So what?  And if people choose to build a faith-based belief system on top of this fact-based foundation, I’ve got no problem with that.

I can hear the anti-religion “scientists” right now saying, “well sure John this might be true but there isn’t a personal or Christian God.”  To which I reply, in what other area of science do you think the same?  In what other area of science do you loudly proclaim what isn’t when you have no evidence whatsoever to back up your claim?  These are simply the bigoted thoughts driven by the limitations you put upon yourself via your mental paradigm.

This has driven a childish war on religion waged by those who operate under the heading of science.  It is simply wrong and the damage this long war has wrought deforms many present thoughts about science and God.  Science doesn’t need to be or should be an attack on God.  It should be an unbiased search for the truth, for reality.

Look in the mirror and ask yourself why you are fighting this?  You can believe in all the weirdness of the quantum world yet are unwilling to accept the facts regarding God?

As Galileo noted, “Where the senses fail us, reason must step in.” If you addressed these known facts from a true scientific perspective you would embrace these truths.  You would be celebrating, rejoicing. 

We know these things to be true and it is as incredible as any scientific discovery ever made.  In fact one could argue from a human perspective this is the most important scientific discovery ever made.  This reality should be taught in public schools across the globe.

Do we know what this all “means”?  Perhaps that question makes as much sense as asking how does purple smell?   It is nonsensical.  What does it “mean” when 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom are placed next to one another at room temperature?  Does the then formed water molecule “mean” anything?

The evidence is overwhelming.  There is a God.  You might feel the scales are not tipped very far in favor of this truth but that too is meaningless.  Following the laissez-faire perspective of science, you have no choice but to accept the evidence and to embrace the reality of God and your part of this bigger picture.

Rejoice!  What could be grander than this discovery?

 

Government will be the death of us all

Just had this one published at World Net Daily which you can find here or you can just keep reading ;-)...

In the flow of this 3.8 billion year-old river of life it is death, not life which drives evolution.  Death is that which sculpts the flow of life.  In the marketplace of business it is failure, not success which too shapes, sculpts, and hones that which survives. 

Whether it is an inability to survive in ever changing physical conditions or an inability to convince enough people to purchase your goods or services at the price you require, demise of the entity controls and shapes what remains.

Death and failure are the invisible hands which ensure these systems remain somewhat in balance.  They put a brake on a natural tendency for expansion since growth is only allowed via success.  There is simply no other way.  They also put a brake on poor management by sooner or later severely punishing unproductive behavior.

Death and failure also create a dynamism which infuses the entire system and thus guarantees a flow of experimentation, change, improvement, adaptation.  This occurs regardless of any individual entity’s desires.  As the great business guru W. Edwards Deming noted, “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.”  This is true whether life or business.

There is one exception to this and they put the entire planet at risk.  These entities are the non-profit organizations we call government.  Unlike the for-profit world, these entities seldom have the mighty chisel of market failure to shape and sculpt them. 

In addition, governments do not have to create at least one dollar of value for every dollar consumed, a feat they seldom if ever achieve.  Thus the more government takes, the poorer the rest becomes.  And unlike the living world, demise of the entity only rarely occurs. 

Thus the naturally controlling forces which bring both dynamism and environment-driven adaptation are absent in these entities we call government.  If they are not contained by some outside force they will have the strong tendency to accept and even propagate poor management and decision-making while also being guaranteed to grow until catastrophic failure. 

This is not driven by the people employed.  It is not driven by those in control.  It is simply the nature of these organizations.   They are artificial in a way of no other organization.  There is no moral aspect to this; it is not good or bad it simply is.

A 2000 report from The Tax Foundation notes, “Government expenditures as a percentage of GDP have growth exponentially since the beginning of the century. In 1900 total government expenditures equaled 5.5 percent of GDP. By 1992 this figure had increased more than six fold to 33.1 percent. This year government expenditures will have dipped to 28.9 percent of GDP.”  In 2018 it is estimated to be up to 35.6%.

Although government does not have death or the marketplace to confine it and drive it to improvement, it does learn and expand.  For the first 141 years of this country’s existence, until 1917, the federal government raised most of its money from customs duties and excise taxes.  With the creation of the federal income tax this all changed.

“Adjusting for inflation, in the 81 years between the enactment of the income tax in 1913 to 1994, government spending increased 13,592%!”  And that march hasn’t slowed, regardless of which political party is power. 

Also from this same 2000 report “The composition of government expenditures has also changed dramatically over time. At the turn of the century most government spending was used to pay for education and training, national defense, and interest payments. Today much government activity involves transferring income from one group to another. This year transfer programs are expected to account for 41.6 percent of government expenditures, a figure that was just 3 percent in 1900.”  In 2014 transfer payments made up 70% of all government spending! 

This too shows the entity of government learning for ways to survive and prosper.  Placing the entity as both the enforcer and middleman of these transfers guarantees itself even more permanence and power; as does effectively capturing a major political party.

So we are left with a reality of these entities constantly striving to expand, and showing significant success over the past hundred years; while at the same time lacking an effective outside source that will contain and carve them towards constant improvement and excellence.

This isn’t a moral or even political issue; it is a physical reality and one which we ignore at our own peril.   

John Conlin is an expert in organizational design and change.  He also holds a BS in Earth Sciences and an MBA and is the founder and President of E.I.C. Enterprises, www.eicenterprises.org, a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to spreading the truth here and around the world, primarily through K-12 education.  E.I.C. Enterprise’s GoFundMe page can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/so-you-believe-in-science-eh

If you believe in science you must be for small, limited government and individual freedom.

So you believe in science, eh?  Excellent!  So do I.  One aspect of this scientific thinking is a laissez-faire attitude towards results.  A person who truly follows science shouldn’t care one way or the other about a certain experiment; they simply attempt to map reality and by definition must follow the facts wherever they lead.  True followers of science should be impervious to allowing personal biases from infecting their professional thinking. 

With that said, I have a scientific challenge.  My hypothesis is if you accept the fact that we, humans, evolved on this planet then you must also accept as FACT the superior design and performance of limited, small government and individual freedom.  There is no other choice.

As for evolution, there has possibly never been a theory so supported by the facts.  It is overwhelming.  Plus of course there is that pesky fact that we had to come from somewhere.  Let’s call this the Prime Fact.  And all thinking about humans and our societies must mesh with this reality.  If an idea or some supposed human ability can’t be explained in an evolutionarily-constrained world, then it most likely isn’t true.

So why does the reality of life evolution force one to accept small, limited government and individual freedom?  Primarily the realities of swarm intelligence and the laws of statistics.  We can consider these Foundational Facts.  They too, like The Prime Fact are absolute; much like gravity they are everywhere, impact everything, and cannot be discarded based on anyone’s whim.

Swarm intelligence has driven human achievement since long before we were human.  It is the collective behavior of decentralized, self-organized systems.  Most of the time people think of swarm intelligence when referring to hives of bees, schools of fish, or herds of animals but human “schools” have existed since we have.  In fact all of humanity across all time could and should be considered a school.

A key ingredient in swarm intelligence is that no one is in charge. There is no “management” at all; just countless interactions between individual members with each following simple rules of thumb, each on acting on local information.

No member sees the big picture. No member tells any other what to do.  No fearless leader is required or desired.  In fact if a boss were to attempt to take charge of this process, the entire system would cease to function to the detriment of all members.

These types of systems are self-organizing.  Life itself is self-organizing.  Top-down, hierarchical systems are the antithesis of this Foundational Fact and they exist nowhere in the natural world.  

The beauty of swarm intelligence and self-organizing systems is that even for complex systems like human life and survival, behavior may be coordinated by relatively simple interactions.  And here’s the key; in a self-organizing system there literally is no cause and effect, it just is.  That might be tough to wrap your mind around but that’s the way it is.

Which leads to the second Foundational Fact, good ol’ statistics.  To emphasize the power of statistics think of a trivia contest where a single player takes on a team of 10 and that all players are correct 50% of the time.  The team will win 99.9% of the time.  Take that to a team of 50 and the team wins 99.99999999999% of the time; in effect the team will never lose.  Thus it is a scientific fact; the many will always outperform the few.

The non-profit corporations we call government violate both Foundational Facts.  Those things that make for smart group behavior like decentralized control, response to local feedback, and simple rules of thumb are the exact opposite of what governmental organizations attempt to do. 

Self-organizing systems are an incredible strategy to deal with complexity, government is not.  Worse yet, top-down, command-and-control systems will sooner or later create catastrophic failures, not so with self-organizing systems.

Swarm intelligence has the effect of being a tremendous intelligence multiplier; top-down, command-and-control systems have just the opposite effect.  These things are not true because anyone desires it; they are true because they are provable, scientific facts.

Combine the scientific facts of swarm intelligence and statistics with easily observed real-world results and the conclusion is clear; small, limited government and individual freedom is the only viable long-term design for human societies. 

And even when it is collectively determined government action is required, its actions should be shaped and directed by the Foundational Facts.  Government will provide far superior results if they throw away their top-down, “we know best” designs and build their programs around the realities of swarm intelligence and statistics.

So you believe in science, eh?  So do I and the science is clear.  Large governmental organizations are a provable threat to us all.  This isn’t based on political philosophy or some ephemeral idea.  It is based on hard science.  If we hope to be a long-lived species we must pull back from the brink and once again allow self-organizing systems to do their magic.  The science is clear.

John Conlin is an expert in organizational design and change.  He is also founder and President of E.I.C. Enterprises, www.eicenterprises.org, a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to spreading the truth here and around the world, primarily through K-12 education.  E.I.C. Enterprise’s GoFundMe page can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/so-you-believe-in-science-eh