Orthodoxy Versus Alternatives: The Layman’s Quandary
By Wade Frazier
June 2007, revised December 2007
A Note to My Readers
The Virtues and Limitations of Orthodoxy
The Virtues and Limitations of Alternatives
What Can a Layman Do?
A Note to My Readers: This is an introductory essay that links to parts of my website that contain the detailed support for my contentions. If anything in this essay seems unfounded or superficial, I suggest taking the related link to the more detailed discussion. This is one of several “doorway” essays to my 1,200-page site, and is not intended to be a stand-alone essay, at least stand-alone enough to convince readers new to the ideas presented in this essay. I also am limited by my American language and heritage.
My introduction to the contrast between orthodoxy and practical alternatives occurred nearly forty years ago, when my father reversed the hardening of his arteries by adopting a live food diet, something that orthodox medicine still maintains is impossible. The booklet that saved his life was banned in the United States a generation ago.
When I was fourteen, my first professional mentor invented what a major federal study hailed as the world’s best engine for powering an automobile. His invention came to him in an instant, fully realized.
When I was sixteen, I had my mystical awakening after forty hours of meditation training. While my mystical awakening was a vivid and valid experience, that meditation class’ teacher committed many abuses of his position of trust, including hypnotizing female clients and then seducing them. I eventually learned that what came to my professional mentor in a flash was an instance of mystical insight. Nearly all of physics’ giants were mystics, and similar instants of insight gave birth to relativity and parts of quantum mechanics, which are the two pillars of today’s physics. Science’s giants did not subscribe to the rationalist-materialist paradigm that dominates the scientific establishment today. For practitioners of today’s orthodox science, that fact is often deeply uncomfortable. The “skeptics,” whose motivation seems to be defending the tenets of the rationalist-materialist paradigm, often attack scientists with a mystical orientation.
At age seventeen, I was introduced to Paul Bragg’s work and have tried following his prescription for health, to one degree or another, ever since. I recently discovered that Bragg betrayed his readers by lying about his age and events critical to his public image. His teachings’ validity is open to question.
Those events highlight the promise and pitfalls of orthodoxy and the pursuit of alternatives.
A decade after those seminal events, I became involved with the most sustained effort yet made to bring alternative energy to the American marketplace, and I learned the hard way how the world really works. I am a semi-retired activist and seek the quiet life. However, humanity is on the brink of committing species suicide over the energy issue, so I am not as retired as I would prefer to be.
I discovered long ago that personal integrity is the world’s scarcest commodity, yet it is the key to averting global catastrophe. For the layman, distinguishing the bogus from the genuine, be it regarding either orthodox practice and theories or those emanating from alternative practitioners, can be a daunting task. What follows is what I have learned on my journey regarding orthodoxy versus alternatives, in many disciplines.
The term orthodox is often associated with religion, but can relate to other disciplines such as science, medicine, economics, history, news and politics. Various synonyms for orthodox are mainstream, conventional, approved, traditional, conservative, accepted and established. In its positive sense, orthodoxy means the tried and true. In its negative sense, it means blind allegiance to dogma and authority, or the herd logic of, “Everybody else is doing it, so it must be right.”
No discipline has been developed in an ideal environment, but all disciplines have stated ideals. Science has the scientific method, history has objectivity, politics has freedom and justice (with democracy as its ideal implementation), the press strives for objectivity through its freedom, modern economic theory has the ideal of free markets. Those are not universally held ideals, however. Howard Zinn has openly questioned whether history should be objective, as have others. The free market is a cornerstone of capitalist theory, not communist theory. In totalitarian societies, the ideal of politics is control. Is there an objective reality that science can truly explore with its method? History’s greatest physicists doubted it. Also, those ideals have never been seen in the real world. There has never been a free market, a free press, an objective history or a democracy. There may not be one instance of the scientific method fully prevailing over the influence of vested interests, scientific dogma, the human ego and other limitations. Pure science does not exist.
Orthodoxy’s primary virtue should be that it is tried, tested, and validated - in short, proven to work. Our modern industrialized world runs on the basis of orthodox physics, and we sent men to the moon using it. Great benefits have derived from the practice of orthodox science, as well as the means to destroy humanity. However, Albert Einstein openly acknowledged that humanity knew virtually nothing about how the universe operated; his peers acknowledged that science’s tools may be unsuitable for fully investigating it, and physics is considered the hardest and purest science. The life sciences and applied science are even less hard and pure. The Wright brothers flew for five years before the scientific establishment even acknowledged that man-powered flight was possible. Thomas Edison lit up Menlo Park with his light bulb while scientists in his neighborhood and around the world derided his invention as impossible and “idiotic,” and could not be bothered to go see it for themselves, and Edison was the world’s most famous scientist at the time. The man who discovered the virtues of antiseptic medicine died from the beatings he received in the insane asylum where he was involuntarily committed. His demise was partly due to the vicious attacks that he received from his peers. Antiseptic medicine was not adopted in the West until after his death. Similar ignoring/attacking of the evidence and its discoverers is happening today, in many areas of science.
How many orthodox practices come close to achieving their ideals? The American mainstream news’ distortions of reality, particularly the television news, are easy to see. Only those living in the “reality bubble” provided by TV news believe that it depicts reality. The print news is nearly as biased, particularly in these post-Orwellian days. The history I was taught in school was a series of lies, with pernicious mythmaking concocted about fake heroes such as Christopher Columbus, Junípero Serra and George Washington. Few would argue that any orthodox religion has a monopoly on the truth. The more orthodox any religion is, the more likely its practitioners will be intolerant of other religions, seeing their path as the only one to enlightenment and salvation. Love is arguably the primary message of all spiritual masters, but it can be a rare sentiment among religion’s practitioners.
Western medicine can be highly effective for treating trauma. Many lives have been saved in emergency rooms. But Western medicine is usually worse than worthless for treating chronic degenerative diseases, which kills two-thirds of Americans today. The immensely expensive, agonizing and worthless treatments for degenerative disease are the only legal ones, as with heart disease and cancer, while the harmless, effective and inexpensive treatments for heart disease and cancer are outlawed. Vaccines may also be worse than worthless. Antibiotics are a mixed bag, with the antibiotic age nearing its end. Compulsory fluoridation was a ploy by fluorine polluters to dispose of their industrial waste, and one of earth’s deadlier substances has been foisted on an unsuspecting public as medicine. At least three-quarters of what is spent in Western medicine is probably a complete waste of money, if improving people’s health was the goal. But that is the problem: improving health is a low priority. Western medicine is one of earth’s most lucrative industries, with medical doctors being earth’s highest-paid professionals. Western medicine is a gold rush. About the only tools in a Western doctor’s medical kit are knives and drugs. When the only available tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. Improvements in sanitation, nutrition and hygiene are almost solely responsible for humanity’s increasing life expectancy over the past two centuries, not the interventions of Western medicine.
Capitalistic theory is based on assumptions of greed and fear. When those are a discipline’s root assumptions, the resultant theories and real world outcomes will be of dubious worth. Global capitalism is a racket, increasingly admitted by insiders, and bloody European colonialism was its parent. As I write this, the primary outcome of the U.S./British attacks/invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, other than millions of deaths and a world on the brink of Armageddon, is the Western energy companies gaining control over the world’s energy supplies, stealing it from the nations that sat on those energy deposits. Energy runs the world economy and always has. The world is also running out of oil, which is the black gold of the industrialized economies.
The American republic may well be in its last days, and is being infamously compared to the Roman republic as it became an empire (the other pertinent comparison is to late Weimar or early Nazi Germany, with America’s invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq similar to Germany’s invasion of its neighbors at the beginning of World War II).
As R. Buckminster Fuller stated long ago, all politicians are stooges of the economic interests, and until scarcity is resolved on a global basis, there will always be wars. Fuller also observed that political systems competition will not resolve the scarcity issue, because all current political systems are based on who receives the benefit of the scarce economic production. It is time to rescue Fuller’s vital work from its neglect.
The scarcity concept underlies all of today’s orthodox ideologies, be they in economics, politics, religion or science. Under an abundance paradigm, all such ideologies will be rendered obsolete.
While the tried-and-true aspect of orthodoxy is its ideal, all too often orthodoxy prevails not because it is tried-and-true, but because vested political-economic interests profit from the situation.
Conflict of interest is probably orthodoxy’s greatest corrupting influence, and below are some examples.
Scientists working for fluoride polluters, often secretly, performed the makeover of fluoride from a deadly industrial waste to a tooth’s best friend, and the actions of Harold Hodge and friends comprise an instance of the wolves looking after the sheep’s interests. When Phyllis Mullenix published data demonstrating that fluoride caused brain damage, her career was quickly terminated. She is one of many who had their careers destroyed for challenging pro-fluoridation dogma.
The conflict-of-interest dynamic seen in fluoridation can be seen in orthodox cancer treatment and many other areas of Western medicine, such as Louis Pasteur’s career and the paradigm that his work erected in the life sciences and medicine.
MIT, which is a major recipient of hot fusion research funding, presented fraudulently manipulated data in order to dismiss cold fusion, and Arthur C. Clark stated that cold fusion’s dismissal might be one of the greatest scandals in science’s history.
The “skeptics” attack scientific fact and theory that challenges orthodoxy, particularly that which threatens to invalidate the rationalist-materialist paradigm that mainstream science operates within and the economic empires built on that foundation. The “skeptic” that has attacked me has dishonesty as his work’s primary characteristic. Is he being paid to purvey his disinformation, as a corporate hit man who we encountered certainly was?
The conflicts of interest in the American media are deep and pervasive.
The Catholic Church’s Albigensian Crusade is an example of wiping out the religious competition in the name of saving souls. Today, the Bush administration is attempting to reunite the church and state.
It is difficult to find a more obvious conflict of interest in today’s politics than that exemplified by the Bush administration, which may well be U.S. history’s most corrupt. The Bush administration is filled with oil executives, with Dick Cheney’s Halliburton given lucrative no-bid contracts in the wake of the U.S. invasion of the world’s most oil-rich region, while the Bush administration hands over the spoils of war to American oil companies. The privatization of Iraq’s oil deposits is well underway.
Orthodoxy, by its very definition, is not where new ideas or directions originate. However, not every departure from orthodoxy is necessarily a valid direction (in fact, relatively few are), and that is the root of the layman’s quandary. Part of the problem is that few pursue alternatives, so less effort is expended in those directions, as well as few funding possibilities.
While the perils of orthodoxy are many, the alternatives also have their pitfalls.
The Virtues and Limitations of Alternatives
For all of the orthodox practices described above, there are alternative theories and practices. The validity of any alternatives or orthodoxies is a matter of debate. Rarely is an alternative considered to be of equal validity to orthodoxy. They are often compared and contested. Eclectic practices can take the best of both, but such approaches are rarely seen in our winner-take-all world.
A primary virtue of alternatives is that they often take practice and theory in new directions, often by challenging orthodoxy’s root assumptions. Challenging the root assumptions is how paradigms change and how the great, revolutionary transformations in human thought and practice have arrived. In science, alternative theory and data is often called “fringe” science, and most of science and technology’s radical breakthroughs have come from the fringes, with the Wright brothers’ airplane and Einstein’s relativity being classic examples.
In the sciences, probably less than 10% (and arguably less than 1%) of the challenges to orthodoxy are valid. In addition, less than 1% of the scientifically trained are capable of thinking past their textbooks and challenging the assumptions that they were indoctrinated with, as Max Planck observed, so they are incapable of assessing the merits of those alternatives. Also, conflict of interest plagues orthodox science. Even if scientists were capable of considering scientific alternatives, conflicts of interest often prevent them from honestly trying. Through the confluence of those dynamics, valid challenges to orthodoxy almost never receive a fair hearing. Alternatives often find themselves in a classic Catch-22 situation: they are never subjected to a competent and impartial investigation, and then are condemned because they are “unproven.” That dynamic is blatantly obvious regarding alternative cancer treatment.
Because practitioners in the physical and life sciences rarely honestly investigate alternatives, in one sense, alternatives get a free ride. If nobody really attempts to validate the alternatives, then it invites untested claims being made and, with justification, the claimant can state that orthodoxy will not investigate it (or worse, suppress it without honestly investigating it). One outcome of that situation is that to the layman, on the surface, an invalid alternative claim looks just like a valid alternative claim. Consequently, charlatans and the deluded are easily found in alternative practices, such as Paul Bragg lying about his age in order to amass “life extension” credentials, or my first mystical teacher abusing his position. There is plenty of chaff among the free energy field’s wheat. That is a critical aspect of the layman’s quandary.
The limitations and failures of orthodoxy often provide impetus for the pursuit of alternatives.
The practical applications of those disciplines impact our daily lives, at times quite profoundly. The “black ops” world is privy to technologies which demonstrate that orthodox physics textbooks are woefully inadequate. I have seen some of those technologies with my own eyes. The implications of existing technologies that demonstrate the validity of free energy, anti-gravity and probably time travel, reduce today’s physics textbooks to a primitive era’s quaint notions of reality, something that today’s professors uneasily realize. Making those “deep black” technologies publicly available can bring about an unprecedented transition from a world based on scarcity to one based on abundance.
What Can a Layman Do?
Although alternatives at the margins are where radical “progress” usually originates, how can the layman distinguish which alternatives are genuine and which orthodox methods are not? Personal experience is usually the best indicator, but it takes time, diligence and intelligence to compare orthodoxy to the alternatives. Most people do not have the time or inclination to successfully weigh the evidence and make informed decisions, particularly those of a technical nature, much less pursuing the alternative practice. That is largely why orthodoxy prevails – it is the path of least resistance. Unfortunately, the price of making the wrong choice regarding medical treatment can be one’s life. As Noam Chomsky once said, if people want to learn something new, they have to do the work. Nobody is going to open up people’s heads and pour in knowledge. If somebody says they can, they will almost certainly deliver its opposite: mind-controlling dogma.
If people do not have the time, talent and energy to investigate and pursue alternatives, to whom can they delegate such responsibility? That is part of the layman’s quandary. Orthodoxy, in all the important disciplines, is increasingly corrupt and irrelevant, but the ranks of alternative practitioners are also riddled with charlatans, the deluded and the incompetent.
While orthodoxy supposedly has a large body of experience to support its positions, its assertions are often baseless, particularly when they are used to persecute the alternatives. As an example, almost all alternative cancer treatments abandon the attack-the-tumor paradigm and pursue other paths, such as rehabilitating the immune system. There is not one instance of the orthodox medical establishment subjecting an alternative cancer treatment to a fair test. When one cancer researcher developed a treatment that helped rehabilitate the immune system, at his trial, where the prosecution openly attempted to gain a life imprisonment conviction, a witness introduced flawed evidence to demonstrate that the alternative treatment failed to kill cancer cells, as evidence of its worthlessness! Is such blindness intentional, or is it an example of such rigid adherence to dogma that the witness could not imagine any tool other than a hammer?
The public usually acquiesces to the population management that orthodoxy performs. Orthodoxy is designed to suppress dissent, keep the cash registers ringing and maintain its control. Machiavelli made an astute observation on the hazards of pursuing alternatives, which is as relevant today as it was five hundred years ago.
There are criminals in both the orthodox and alternative camps. However, Paul Bragg’s charlatanry probably hurt few people and his work may have helped many, while Harold Hodge and Morris Fishbein harmed millions with their interest-conflicted efforts. Since orthodoxy is the establishment by definition, only alternative practitioners find themselves prosecuted, while orthodox criminals can have immensely successful and lucrative careers. Orthodoxy deserves the greatest wariness directed toward it, not the alternatives. To understand why cheap and harmless cancer treatments are outlawed while the lucrative, violent and deadly treatments are the only legal ones, reading George Orwell’s work might be helpful. Protecting the public is the greatest protection racket of all.
In summary, the rut of orthodox practice is taking humanity to the brink of self-annihilation. If there ever was a time for pursuing alternatives, it is now. However, the alternative pursuits are filled with pitfalls, dead-ends and unproductive paths, something I learned firsthand during my alternative energy days. Experience may be the only teacher, and effort must be expended to pursue alternatives. What people derive from the effort is usually directly proportional to what they invest, although some issues, such as energy, can be critical leverage points, where the reward to humanity and the planet can far exceed the investment.