Project 2, Post 9- Quantum Theory, Subatomic Particles & Sub-humans: Lessons from the 2016 Presidential Election
“FIXING OUR EYES ON JESUS, THE PIONEER AND PERFECTOR OF FAITH. FOR THE JOY SET BEFORE HIM HE ENDURED THE CROSS, SCORNING ITS SHAME, AND SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE THRONE OF GOD.”
~ HEBREWS 12:2
Continuing with Project 2, I decided to break from my original plan (just briefly). I found a beautiful blue and decided to try a little experiment… I added water to the blue paint; enough to make it very thin, but not so thin that it would be transparent. I filled one of my husband’s shot glasses about half-way full. I stood, shot glass of blue paint in hand, peering down upon my canvas lying on my kitchen floor. After a deep breath and a split-second of hesitation I did it… I turned the glass over. I poured/dumped the blue paint right onto my painting below. I watched as the paint pooled into a large puddle. I loved it! I repeated this process a few more times, varying the amount of paint in the glass in order to ensure that each blue puddle or spatter was not uniform in size, etc.
Standing back, I began to see my blue spots as clusters of subatomic particles…
Teeny, tiny subatomic particles do not adhere to the laws of physics and gravity. Instead, subatomic particles (also called theoretical entities) – like electrons – break the “laws” of physics, lacking definite positions and momentums. “A single particle isn’t really a ‘particle’ as we understand the term, but instead can act like a wave (while not being a wave either). ‘Particles’ are smeared, ghostly entities unlike anything we can visualize or even imagine” (Stokes, 2016).
Every splash of blue on my canvas is different; shape, size, location, etc. The only similarity appears to be the blue hue of each peculiar puddle. This started me thinking about the intellectual, geographic, moral, etc. variances among American voters. Americans tend to see each other as either blue (a Democrat) or red (A Republican).
There are two dominant theories in Theoretical Physics. “Quantum theory tells us about the domain of the extremely small world of subatomic particles, while general relativity tells us about everything else, particularly about the very large and very fast – about reality on a cosmic scale” (Stoke, 2016). Both theories actually need each other, because neither theory alone can account for reality. The two theories are like spouses, each complementing one another through a division of labor (aka areas of study and application). However, Quantum theory and General Relativity have also been known to prove each other wrong, mathematically speaking: for this reason theoretical physicists only use general relativity in its respective domain, and likewise only use Quantum theory in its respective domain. As physicist Brian Green Writes, “When the equations of general relativity commingle with those of quantum mechanics, the result is disastrous. The equations break down entirely.” Michio Kaku has stated, “the great mystery of the past five decades… has been the total incompatibility of these two theories.”
Doesn’t that remind you a bit of Democrats and Republicans?
Typically, we Americans assume that all Democrats agree on every issue, and likewise for Republicans. However, many people do not adhere to party politics by settling into mass consensus on policies or issues… The results of the recent presidential election is an interesting illustration of blues, reds, purples, women, men, Latinos/as, blacks, whites, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc… defying our superficial stereotypes of each group of voters by ultimately voting for and electing Donald Trump to be America’s next president.
As such, we now know that the pre-election polls were wrong – way wrong – showing a far fewer number of Donald Trump voters than there actually ended up being. The majority of Americans, regardless of their vote, were equally surprised at just how many people actually voted for the now President-Elect Trump.
The news media & their pundits, along with those who are often referred to as “elites” were especially stunned by and have appeared generally unprepared to cope with the election results. If this were physics, we might say that this could be an example of what is called the “Problem of Unconceived Alternatives.” In Social Psychology, however, we would call this the “False Consensus Effect” – a common occurrence for people or groups who have a high degree of “egocentric bias” (Mullen, 1983) (Greenberg, 1983).
Within the faulty pre-election polls and political insider predictions also lies another underlying issue regarding the election that is worthy of discussion; the prevalence and effects of name-calling and ad hominem attacks.
To spite each of the presidential candidate’s flaws, one group of Americans became thrust into the election as if they too were one of the presidential candidates. Instead of candidate attacking candidate in normal, predictable campaign fashion, the American citizens actually found themselves targets of widespread slander and defamation for political purposes. It took almost no time at all for citizen-shaming to replace policy discussions. In this process something extremely critical occurred: no longer seen as an intelligent, informed individual making voting decisions on policy, the American voter is now seen as an extension of – a synonymous being of – his/her chosen candidate. Therefore, any American voter siding with the “wrong” candidate is worthy and deserving of humiliation, violence, and ultimate take-down. It isn’t only guilt by association, but eternal, social damnation by association.
“IN THEIR OWN EYES THEY FLATTER THEMSELVES TOO MUCH TO DETECT OR HATE THEIR SIN.”
~ PSALM 36:2
As multiple members of the press have now publicly acknowledged, their coverage of Donald Trump and of Americans who might vote for Donald Trump was extremely negative and nothing less than an attempt at total polarization of the American populous. Therefore, looking back at the polls, it is certainly reasonable to imagine that some of the Americans who were polled – out of fear of reprisal – may not have truthfully answered, “Who will you be voting for?”
The real damage done to the American public hasn’t been flawed polls… Personally attacking American citizens – American voters – has, perhaps irreversibly, shut down any hopes of open, honest and constructive discussion and deliberation of important issues and policies effecting our country.
“HATRED STIRRS UP CONFLICT BUT LOVE COVERS ALL WRONGS.”
~ PROVERBS 10:12
For example: Over the past two or three years I have been called a bigot, a racist, a flat-Earther, a hater, uneducated, and more. Exclusively due to my Christian faith, numerous people have, on multiple occasions, spoken or written horribly cruel words to me that go something like, “I can’t wait until all of you people go extinct.” Or, “Pretty soon all of you will be dead and extinct.” Or, “Please, just give the world a break and go ahead and die!” Or, “I hate your kind.”
“…BUT WE ALSO GLORY IN OUR SUFFERINGS, BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT SUFFERING PRODUCES PERSEVERANCE;”
~ ROMANS 5:3
Most notable, however, is that my attackers’ maliciously-motivated, vicious acts of name-calling against me have been uttered in seemingly random and nonsensical ways having little to no relation to an issue being discussed…
For example: Amidst a conversation with of friends, both of us mutually expressing the tragedy of and discussing the heroin epidemic effecting so many people around the country, a topic that has been nationally reported by a variety of national news agencies (such as the Washington Post for example), I shared information that I had read about heroin – specifically regarding the geographic sources funneling heroin into the US and Canada – from the official White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy website. (Heroin entering Canada is mostly produced and smuggled into Canada from Afghanistan. Heroin entering the United States is mostly produced in both Mexico and in a few South American Countries – such as Columbia – and, then, that heroin is subsequently smuggled into the United States through Mexico.) Suddenly and without warning, I was screamed at and told that I was both a racist and an anti-immigrant bigot.
I was under the impression (apparently a false impression) that we were openly discussing a bipartisan, human issue: I assumed that any facts about the drug at the center of the issue (heroin) was relevant to the discussion, and that the free exchange of information regarding this drug was both welcomed and appreciated. I was wrong! In my friend’s eyes (in her view), my informative act of sharing statistical information from the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy website in an innocent attempt to contribute to the conversation, I had – unbeknownst to me – completely changed a bipartisan issue about heroin and the heroin epidemic in the US and Canada into a very partisan issue; a bigoted, racist, all-out war upon all non-whites and upon immigrants.
In spite of the fact that my friend and I had never discussed anything having to do with immigration, border control, NOR the fact that immigrants, race, immigration, etc. had NEVER even been discussed during our “heroin talk,” her political bias weaponry system went into automatic hyper-drive.
The entire situation makes absolutely no sense! I’m still left grappling with a combination of emotions: hurt, confusion, bewilderment, frustration, powerlessness, etc.
“WITH THEIR MOUTHS THE GODLESS DESTROY THEIR NEIGHBORS, BUT THROUGH KNOWLEDGE THE RIGHTEOUS ESCAPE.”
~ PROVERBS 11:9
In Rules for Radicals, Saul Alinsky stated “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no question that this “ridicule rule” has been utilized repeatedly over the past few years. Yet, that very same rule is also one of the main reasons Americans now find ourselves in our current state of complete communication breakdown, as well as a breakdown of societal civility.
*It is also worth asking: Just how many Americans (democrats and other typically unlikely to be Trump voters) were actually driven into voting for Donald Trump after innocently stumbling into a situation in which they found themselves under attack, such as my own experience that I discussed above?
Paul Graham’s Hierarchy of Disagreements is a good tool for examining the issue of insults and ad hominem attacks (see the image below).
Here’s how it works: The lower that an argument falls on the pyramid, the less productive it is. In critique of the typical “liberal” argument, we can place those arguments into the bottom two categories: “name-calling” and “ad hominem.” (Sometimes, though, liberal politicians will also utilize “contradiction” arguments for personal and party gain.) As social creatures, humans seek acceptance. Thus, name-calling and ad hominem attacks are successful in shutting down discussions, as well as in peer-pressured coercion. Silencing decent and pressuring peers into conformity may initially further the goals of a specific interest group or a specific cause, in the short-term. In the long-term, however, these types of attacks harm both greater society and any other societal/cultural groups who may end up being ostracized or persecuted by the constant attacks from the domineering group.
Name-calling and ad hominem attacks spread fallacious stereotypes and prejudices, and also skew our sense of social reality. It is impossible to understand members of a society – their lives, hopes, needs, etc. – when large portions within that society have become silenced, relegated to second-class citizens. It also becomes difficult for government leaders to address the needs of a diverse populous when one group has forced another group into mute submission. It order for our representative democracy to flourish, we must to move beyond dehumanizing those we disagree with. We must extend respect to every single American citizen, affording all people basic human decency.
“WHOEVER CONCEALS HATRED WITH LYING LIPS AND SPREADS SLANDER IS A FOOL.”
~ PROVERBS 10:18
“SHOW PROPER RESPECT TO EVERYONE, LOVE THE FAMILY OF BELIEVERS, FEAR GOD, HONOR THE EMPEROR.”
~ 1 PETER 2:17
We can all be passionate about issues that are near and dear to our hearts. However, we can’t continue to hurt and to shame and to demonize and to punish and to silence those whose views aren’t in cultish-unison with our own. We don’t have to find agreement… What we must find is the ability live alongside one another as unique cultural communities. Is someone else’s opinion truly a threat to your own ego?
“MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO LIVE IN PEACE WITH EVERYONE AND TO BE HOLY; WIITHOUT HOLINESS NO ONE WILL SEE THE LORD.”
~ HEBREWS 12:14
A true test of a person’s strength is the ability to listen and to actually consider the ideas and beliefs of others, without name-calling and ad hominem attacks, and to ultimately allow others the human decency to hold and to live by views contrary to your own.
Quantum theory and general relativity are both valuable theories in the physics realm. Thus, isn’t it possible that Americans, though different, may each posses valuable insights to solving America’s issues?
“IN EVERYTHING SET THEM AN EXAMPLE BY DOING WHAT IS GOOD. IN YOUR TEACHING SHOW YOUR INTEGRITY, SERIOUSNESS.”
~ TITUS 2:7
Greenberg, Jerald. Overcoming Egocentric Bias in Perceived Fairness Through Self-Awareness. American Psychological Association. Social Psychology Quarterly, Vol. 46, No. 2 (June 1983), pp. 152-156
Mullen, Brian (1983-10-01). “Egocentric bias in estimates of consensus”. Journal of Social Psychology 121 (1): 31-38
“How to be an Atheist: Why Many Skeptics Aren’t Skeptical Enough” http://www.mitchstokes.com/about.html