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An Interview with Graham Powell on Immanuel Kant, the Logic of the Nonexistent, and Major Milestones and Developments (Part Eight)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 21.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Seventeen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: November 8, 2019

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2020

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 5,915

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

His Lordship of Roscelines, Graham Powell,earned the “best mark ever given for acting during his” B.A. (Hons.) degree in “Drama and Theatre Studies at Middlesex University in 1990” and the “Best Dissertation Prize” for an M.A. in Human Resource Management from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England in 1994. Powell is an Honorary Member of STHIQ Society, Former President of sPIqr Society, Vice President of Atlantiq Society, and a member ofBritish MensaIHIQSIngeniumMysteriumHigh Potentials SocietyElateneosMilenijaLogiq, and Epida. He is the Full-Time Co-Editor of WIN ONE (WIN-ON-line Edition) since 2010 or nearly a decade. He represents World Intelligence Network Italia. He is the Public Relations Co-Supervisor, Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, and a Member of the European Council for High AbilityHe discusses: patterns in the issues; additions to the formats and changes to the structure of the leadership; Kant and the highest good; meeting like-minded people; more on Kant’s highest good; corporations, British Mensa; the logic and philosophy of the nonexistent; and puzzles.

Keywords:  AtlantIQ Society, British Mensa, editor, Graham Powell, Kant, puzzles, WIN ONE, World Intelligence Network.

An Interview with Graham Powell on Immanuel Kant, the Logic of the Nonexistent, and Major Milestones and Developments: Editor, WIN ONE & Vice President, AtlantIQ Society (Part Eight)[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: (Apology for the thick text in advance.) Issue IX was published on 12/12/12, as some may see the patterns – if they looked into the publication dates on the cover pages – of the materials with the publishing dates: 10/10/10, 4/4/11, 11/11/11/, 6/6/12, and 12/12/12, and so on. Why these patterns? A fine touch to the ideas of problem solving with numeric sequences within the dates of the publication too. So, in another tone of not only the fact of the patterns themselves, why these patterns, too?

Graham Powell: When I agreed to take over the role of WIN ONE editor, Evangelos Katsioulis mentioned that the date of publication could have some numerical sequence. Since that conversation, I have gained a certain amount of joy continuing the tradition, the first one having the obvious value of being all 10s. The second series is more subtle, 4 divided by 4 and then divided by 11 coming out with the series 0.09090909 (recurring). Some later dates, which you have not quoted, were Fibonacci sequences; others were prime number sequences; one was International Pi Day – which is also Einstein’s birthday. Therefore, it’s mainly just a quirky feature of the magazine. We’ve tended to produce the magazine every six months, so finding a sequence within a particular period of the year is a challenge. It is, in fact, what dictates the publication date. The next publication date will be 3-11-19, these being prime numbers.

2. Jacobsen: This issue works within the framework of “philosophical notions” challenging to “ardent intellectual brains” with an emphasis on the “thought-provoking” and “amusing” nature of the works. This issue continues to represent a stabilization in issue size and the complement to the eighth issue with the inclusion of the post-reportage on the 12th Asia Pacific Conference on Giftedness and announcements from WIN, including the appointment of Dr. Manahel Thabet as the Vice-President of the World Intelligence Network or WIN and the continuation of efforts by Dr. Katsioulis (the President) on work for WIN. How did these additions improve the format, the content, and the generality of the presentation to the WIN membership? How does the inclusion of a Vice-President help with the organization?

Graham Powell: Manahel Thabet has been a stalwart of the WIN for many years and she finances many aspects to it, which is very generous of her. She advises on how to run the WIN more efficiently and, though it is primarily a charitable, online entity, she makes it run in a more economically sound manner. This is mainly regarding the maintenance of the website – which inevitably had costs covered by the WIN administration, that is, before she intervened. I volunteered to help her organise the conference in Dubai and that developed into a series of workshops, which for me was a chance to put out into the world some thoughts, especially ones I had been developing during a sabbatical from work. I also wanted to include photographs from the conference and the cover shows the waterfall by the entrance to Dubai Mall, a place where Evangelos and I had dinner. It was a special few days during which we enjoyed each other’s company. From our discussions, a few more ideas became projects, the appointment of Manahel, for example, stemming from one such talk. I think overall, the WIN website is much better now than it was, the earlier versions being cumbersome and overly complex to navigate around easily. People just didn’t bother much – or took the easy route by asking me to advise them. Access to the magazine is also easier as a consequence of all that I’ve mentioned about the site.

3. Jacobsen: “The Importance of Kant’s Concept of the Highest Good (Pt. 1)” by Paul Edgeworth contained sections 8 through 11. He begins the issue with a philosophical mind wallop, with Kant’s conceptualization of virtue, happiness, and the highest good with fancy terminology including supremumconsummatumoriginariumperfectissimum, phenomenal, noumenal, and so on, where focus is on the modern commentators’ neglect of “his conception of the highest good.” Within the context of the nature of the think-piece, one idea comes from the idea of existence, personality, and rational being with the existence of a rational personality. Another comes from the Stoic idea of virtue and the Epicurean concept of happiness as an interplay and a hybrid between Stoicism and Epicureanism to come to the “highest good,” which appears to take on the Aristotelian maxim of moderation between virtue and happiness. Even so, Edgeworth places virtue as “cause” and happiness as “effect.” For the true attainment of the highest good, Kant requires the existence, through reason, of the soul and God. Without the eternality of the soul and the absolute existence of God, the cause of virtue and the effect of happiness cannot lead to the highest possible good. It begins to sound like lay notions of a Christian heaven. The rational being, through the eternality of the soul, must continue endlessly for the existence of the highest good. The complete subsuming of the will to the moral law for achievement of moral perfection becomes impossible in one’s own lifetime (thanks, Kant). However, one can strive towards the highest good through pure reason, as “the pursuit of the highest good.” As Edgeworth quotes in a statement, “Thus Kant declares, ‘We ought to strive to promote the highest good (which must therefore be possible).’”[3] This highest good is permitted in the light, as aforementioned, of an ultimate cause of “supreme being.” This may hold bearing on some of the previous articles on atheism. I like the explanation of the co-incident nature of nature and human rational beings as enacted virtue in line with moral law to produce happiness closer to the highest good with the explanatory framework around which nature’s larger manifestation – in a manifestor, i.e., God.  Humans co-incide in the Good with God.

Edgeworth brings forth the work of Terry Godlove, Jr.[4] An argument for the non-coherence of moral acts by non-theists, not a-theists interestingly, without the supreme being, God, because the ultimate cause for a penultimate end of good acts in a highest good requires an omnipotent unifier of moral virtue, for moral law, where non-theist moral acts, even if moral, become disjunct from one another and in some sense foundational sense dis-unified and, therefore, worthless in an eternal view. This, to Edgeworth and Kant, paves the road to the “Kingdom of God” in which “nature and morals come into a harmony through a holy author who makes the derived highest good possible.” Intriguingly, Edgeworth describes the Christian ethic as heteronomous, or non-theological (counter-intuitively), and autonomous pure practical reason with devotion duly placed in duty. Happiness does not become the goal, but the result of a partial achievement in attainment of a targeted objective, the highest good: some worthy of happiness; others not worthy of happiness in proportion to their attainment of the good oriented towards the highest possible good bound to the eternality of the soul and the absolute existence of God and, in the end, leading to the necessity in some practical  philosophic sense to the need for proper religion for proper moral virtue and real happiness of which one becomes worthy.

What was the reaction of the community to this article? What changed the orientation to a philosophically heavy one in this issue as an executive editorial decision? What seems right in Kant’s thinking about the highest good? What seems incomplete, if at all? What about a non-theist religion? Would this – a non-theist religion – by definition become impossible to attain in some manner?

Powell: Firstly, Scott, I must congratulate you on what is, without doubt, the longest introduction terminating with questions that I have ever had put to me. I will try to break it all down a little, and, indeed, this was the main factor in presenting this essay in the magazine. The notion of “an author who makes the highest good possible” summarises neatly the article, though the reaction of the community to the article was, as usual, not specific. Only Evangelos Katsioulis expressed appreciation of the content and tipped his intellectual hat towards the contributors, particularly Paul Edgeworth. Paul is a good friend – as are, still, the majority of people who contributed to edition IX. I think this steered the content towards the philosophical, it being part of the friendship I share to this day. As to what is ‘right’ in Kant, well, in retrospect, my girlfriend believes in the kind of predetermination that Kant and Paul describe, Lena being convinced that we are destined to emerge with our good intentions made reality, primarily by God’s will. This approach has fortified my altruistic mental framework, if I can express it that way for now. I sense that many people prefer to act on behalf of an extraneous force, or being, which, when genuine and demonstrable by action, is implicitly of ‘a higher good’. I think the current Pope, Francis, is of a similar line of thinking, the majority of great religious figures too. To have a sense that you are primarily doing things and creating thoughts for the benefit of the universe outside yourself, in whatever way that manifests itself (and towards whichever essence) is the highest good. I don’t necessarily believe that a god is necessary to attain that supreme level of goodness, to the point where I think such thinking is restrictive and ultimately, risks divisiveness. “Divine, divisive, divide” to summarise in three words. In short, I think a non-theist interpretation of the highest good is possible. Buddhism is a non-theist “religion”, though (and hence) the word “religion” is not usually ascribed to it by those who practice Buddhist thought. Taoism is also, by definition, “of the way”, to give another example. I don’t usually discuss religion in everyday life because, in my mind, I have a caveat that I call “Powell’s Law”, put simply, that discussing religion inevitably leads to division. I try to live peacefully and have no problem, per se, that people believe differently from each other, believe differently from me. I consider that the highest good. 

4. Jacobsen: “Meeting of Minds” images presented interesting displays from the 12th Asia Pacific Conference on Giftedness. Christina AngelidouDr. Evangelos KatsioulisJonathan WaiMarco Ripà, and yourself can be seen in some. I like the one with the gargantuan Burj Khalifa behind Wai and Katsioulis. What was meeting everyone in person like for you?

Powell: I have no doubt in placing the experience of meeting all the people you mention, plus colleagues from the European Council for High Ability, right at the pinnacle of my joyous existence. It was just wonderful! Everyone was so enthusiastic and ready to make a difference in the world. Meeting Christina Angelidou, then going around the arena at the centre of the conference, was delightful, and we discussed my first workshop too, which was intellectually rewarding. Christina is the founder member of Mensa Cyprus and she was introduced to me via my contacts in America: I was interested in getting Mensa members to the event, Mensa International being based in the USA. British Mensa, which I joined in January 1987, directed me to liaise with the Americans about attendance at the conference. Christina and I are still in regular contact. Dr Jonathan Wai was also a joy to meet, so calm and mild mannered, yet with a subtle, incisive sense of humour. We got on very well. I was also very pleased to meet Marco Ripà in person, something Evangelos arranged. I helped Marco with his presentation, which he was nervous about, quite naturally, because English is his second language and he doesn’t get a great number of opportunities to speak it. I was happy to reassure him about his ability to communicate, which he did very well in the end. It was also an opportunity for me to speak Italian, which was useful for me. Quintessentially, it was astonishing to reflect on the fact that I was often standing in front of four people, knowing that the SD 15 IQ points of those four people added up to well over 650. That is truly tremendous brain power! 

5. Jacobsen: “The Importance of Kant’s Concept of the Highest Good (Pt. 2)” continued with sections 9 through 16 of the essay. Edgeworth starts with some commentary of the highest good made apparent, as a transcendent object, to the rational being through pure practical reason. This gives grounds to actualize the highest good here-and-now, to bring the Kingdom of God, according to Kant, into the present and the future. He – Kant – makes immanent the highest good. I like this point in the argument for extension from the theoretical into the practical with a Kantian ethic meaning someone must act in such a way as to do that which they have not ever done if it leads them into a state of approximation of the highest possible good further than before. A sub-argument for individual growth as axiomatic, or at least derivatively unavoidable. In describing the base of transcendent moral law, Kant eked out some normatives. In a sense, every individual rational being becomes, or can become, a locus of the highest good in the real world on the condition of promoting it “with all his capabilities.” The idea implied before through the endlessness of the soul becomes explicit with mention of an afterlife. Edgeworth notes a limitation or blindspot in the thought process of Kant with “the highest good” implying “the reincarnation or rephenomenalization of the moral self.” Only infinite existence, hence the soul, permits the arena in which the endless striving for moral perfection or towards the moral law exists. Edgeworth provides a tip of the hat to an accurate description of a physicalistic, naturalistic, and secular interpretation to ethics-in-action with morals as something achieved in the here-and-now by human beings, where Kant’s first two, earlier, works began as more theological and latter, and third, work began to lean more secular in orientation in the morality. In short, a secular interpretation of the targeted objective of Kant becomes social ethics. Also, the, apparent, in-between comes in the form of an ethical commonwealth, which reminds one of The Commons from Anglo-American law in which everyone contributes and all benefit. This ethical commonwealth as a means by which to attain a status of a “rational church,” back to religion as a foundation for a unified ethic with God and an eternal soul. As Edgeworth states, “We can therefore state without fear of contradiction that Kant’s formulation of the highest good makes it abundantly clear that it is fundamentally about a common and shared human destiny,” whether secular or religious and, in this sense, more humanistic but atemporal too. What was the final takeaway from this extensively researched and well-written academic essay for you? Of those in the community who read some or all of it, what was their commentary on it? By chance, any commentary by scholars of Immanuel Kant?

Powell: With these points that you make, Scott, I am now of the mind that a review and a prompting of discussion would be beneficial, a kind of ‘afterword’, as I would call it. The production of the WIN book was intended to put these notions out into the general public and to stimulate discussion and some reassessment of the current milieu. The most apparent result of publishing such well-researched  pieces was, I think, the generation of enthusiasm to read further and to attempt to produce work of a high standard to publish on the internet, whether for the WIN ONE, or on other sites, in other blogs. I still wish to produce books that will have more of an impact on broader society, but the acceptance of that is still being negotiated. As mentioned earlier, from my part, ‘peacefulness’ as immanent in the highest good was what I carried away from the essay, though I remain sceptical about any eternality of self regarding that. 

6. Jacobsen: “The Corporate Strategy Column” by Elisabetta di Cagno gives a punchy set of thou shalts and thou shalt nots about corporate culture – take from it what you may, I suppose. “Differentiating features of gifted children and dealing with high IQ societies” by Marco Ripà examined giftedness, identification, and, sometimes, problems, even “big PROBLEMS” encountered by the gifted young with some connection to hyperactivity. The orientation of the academic article comes in the form of a human rights perspective and a compassionate one, too, in which myths abound about the gifted and their needs in life. Does di Cagno miss anything about corporate culture and output? Does the article on giftedness sufficiently differentiate the identifications of the different levels of the gifted? How does British Mensa, of which you remain a member, help the gifted and talented and distinguish the needs of the levels of gifted, of cognitive rarity and exceptional mentation?

Powell: Elisabetta’s piece is fictional, yet with overtones from reality, as the best fiction does – it’s part of what makes prose ‘literature’. Having read it again, I see it primarily as a statement about preparing for an interview and how that asks people to transcend, even betray, their inherent instincts in the name of ‘Business’. As a postgraduate student of Human Resource Management, I was most interested in Organisational Culture as part of the course. Dr Jackson liked my contributions and essays. Even Hugh Scullion, Senior Lecturer in Human Resource Management, admitted to the class that the best way to earn a promotion and ‘getting on’ in an organisation was via getting involved in events outside of work hours. Elisabetta’s piece hints at that, plus an inordinate display of knowledge and expression about share pricing (which she calls ‘stock’) and basically kow-towing to those in a position of power. If I may enlarge the discussion for a moment, this pays homage to what we talked about earlier on in this series of interviews, when we talked about Hollingworth and the difficulties of communicating and relating across broad spans of intelligence. In the context here, the more recent writing of Michael Ferguson and his popular essay about The Inappropriately Excluded has many ‘hits’ on his blog, so I recommend people to read it, plus the discussion pieces that surround it. 

Marco’s article was originally his presentation at the 12th Asia-Pacific Conference on Giftedness, a presentation I helped him with just prior to him delivering it. It helped forge our friendship. In no way is it an attempt to cover all aspects of giftedness in youth and the associated problems; it was more an attempt to open people’s minds to some of the almost universal aspects of giftedness, especially prejudices and the lack of understanding and identification of hypersensitivities. British Mensa does contribute to the aspects you mention, especially via its promotion of national entities which are dedicated to provision for the gifted. I contacted British Mensa with a view to it sending people to Dubai for the aforementioned conference, but I got deferred to Mensa International in order to get contributors. Amongst my numerous friends in the high IQ community, the most ardent people who are transforming matters for fellow high IQ folk are not members of Mensa anymore, if, indeed, they ever were.  

7. Jacobsen: Dr. Manahel Thabet wrote “Organizing the 12th Asia-Pacific Conference on Giftedness.” A significant event, as stated, “6,000 participants, all of them experts, teachers, researchers, decision makers, parents and educators. 325 papers were presented, from 42 countries.” Dr. Chris FischerChristina AngelidouDr. Evangelos KatsioulisJonathan WaiDr. Lianne HoogeveenMarco Ripà, and yourself took part in the event as well. “Artistic License,” “Between You and You,” “Seventy Shades of Gray,” Safe Between the Fluffy Covers,” “The Sleeping, Roving Genius Among Us” in “Poems” by Dr. Greg A. Grove provided some reflection on, in many cases, stark contrasts without direct opposites. What did “Poems” evoke for you? How important was the post-event reportage of Dr. Thabet for wrapping up the event? Any further developments since that time?

Powell: I asked Doctor Thabet to write something, which I could have done myself, having been heavily involved in the organisation and supply of people for it, but I was already contributing much to the IX edition, so I wished for someone else to write an article. As it was, she was busy, so I outlined for her what I considered should be written, then added the summary at the end anyhow. I had hoped that the filming of the event would produce extensive courses and presentations for posterity, but that never happened. Several of the WIN members put their presentations on Youtube, but that was it. I was really looking forward to seeing my presentations, especially the second one: it went down really well and Manahel’s assistant came running up to me afterwards saying what fantastic feedback I had received. It’s all part of the low-key work I have done in the eyes of the majority these last ten years. As for Greg’s work, they were extracts from a book he produced and it is still available in Kindle format. They form part of a total assessment and expression of psychological states and attitudes. I enjoyed the read and have the entire kindle book “Leopards in the Sky” on my computer. I recommend people look for it and make what they want of it. It’s subtitle is “For the Preconscious Mind”.

8. Jacobsen: Then we come to “On the Epistemic Standing of Claims of the Nonexistent” by Phil Elauria. Another interesting twist on the content of old, often boring and sterile, debates found only in philosophy classes and theology seminars. The first two points remain salient with principles of non-contradiction as a point of thought contact for existence as a property and the knowledge of the non-existent, as in the statement of “formal (deductive) logic and mathematics are, when applicable, the highest form of certainty.” Paraconsistent logic in Dialetheism is an interesting notion. However, Elauria finds this dishonest approach dishonest. He runs through the logic of non-contradiction with the famous problem of evil, often seen as the most difficult problem to theologians within Abrahamic traditions in search of an omnibenevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent self-existent (with property aseity) being. Elauria asserts, “Indeed, the fact that there is apologetics concedes my point. For, if reason weren’t important in the defense of theistic claims, then apologetics would be a waste of time at least, and an elaborate red herring constructed to mislead people from the fact that reason actually plays no role in coming to the conclusion about the existence of God,” as Elauria identifies as an atheist (one can assume an absolute atheist). Does this problem of evil in the midst of the Law of Non-Contradiction seem like a serious problem to the hypothesis of a God? He makes other examples with 2-dimensional objects and the statements of a single object having the complete set of properties of two 2-dimensional objects at the same time: a square and a circle, which amounts to a contradiction, e.g., a square circle or a circle square. His next methodological placeholder ideas become plausibility and likelihood. Is a God plausible? Is a God likely? He presents science and fallibilism as the next premises.[5] These through contacts of plausibility, likelihood, science, and fallibilism form the basis for the argument called the Weak Knowledge of Non-Existents. Much of modern science seems premised on the opposite secondary part of the title with tentative of weak knowledge, ever-improving and searching and refining, of the existent. This becomes the basis for the doubt inherent in the position of atheism for Elauria. Does this argument convince you? The argument for the non-existence of God. Also, in personal experience with 2-sigma and higher high IQ community, what tendencies in religious and non-religious beliefs exist among them? Does a tendency exist more towards theism, whether mono-theism or poly-theism, or a-theism, or an agnosticism amongst members? Does Elauria’s professed atheism seem as if atheistic as an assertion in a philosophical sense and then agnosticism in an empirical – plausibility, likelihood, science, and fallibilism – sense?

Powell: In a literary context, the notion of evil was an initial criticism of John Milton’s Paradise Lost, his stated aim of ‘justifying the ways of God to man’ faltering because many thought the depiction of the Devil more engaging than that of God. People empathised with the fallen angel, who reacted to the vicissitudes of God and was punished eternally for it. The Epicurean Paradox, which Phil Elauria alludes to, has often fascinated me and I have talked to Phil about choices and how they make for life’s experience, because in life, we have choices, right up until our death – and even then, perhaps, there are more choices to take. We can not be certain about that, as we cannot be certain of the existence of God. I favour an approach which (to paraphrase Pascal) does not concern itself so much as to whether or not there is a god, but rather, focuses on the notion that we should behave as if there is one. 

As for the ‘Weak Knowledge’ and the your interpretation that science proceeds via searching with the ever improvement and refinement of knowledge of the extant, again, this is a linear progression as stated, but knowledge does not proceed like that, according to Popper and Kuhn – for example. Phil Elauria chooses, as a corollary of his arguments, to be atheistic, though I prefer the agnostic stance whereby there is still a possibility of an alternative existence, even if it must remain within the realm of post-death. I actually think the confrontation with what is regarded as an inevitable in life (death) is the reason why mankind has confronted existence with the idea that there is something after death, preferably something good.  

As for the high IQ community, discussions on belief and the existence of God always divide vehemently, the arguments for and against often becoming so intense that even the highly intelligent start resorting to ad hominem after ad hominem. I am loathed to try and define trends in the high IQ community regarding this topic, but most of the people I respect express strong arguments in their particular paradigm (as I wish to express it here) and that is intrinsically what retains my respect for them. My experience notes that those who believe in a god believe that there is only one, so they have monotheistic beliefs, and, moreover, this places them within a deistic stance. Those who counter the argument for the existence of God take a similar line of argument as Phil Elauria, so are atheistic. That’s my experience, Scott, especially online. 

To summarise, your notion about atheism having a philosophical sense, agnosticism an empirical one, has credence, based, again, on my experience.

9. Jacobsen: Finally, we come to the “3D Lego Griddler ‘Chasing Nessie’” of Alan Wing-lun. Are puzzles an important inclusion for each issue? How do you vary the puzzles in order to maintain interest in these sections of the issues?

Powell: I like to have puzzles in the magazine, yes, the magazine genre demanding them to a certain extent. Most of the magazines pitched towards the high IQ sector have puzzles and quizzes and I produce most of them myself, which I also enjoy. Akin to the concept of having a series of numbers in the publication date (which began this interview) I like the inherent creativity involved in creating diverse and interesting puzzles. Alan certainly veers into the esoteric, which is very much his personality too. I was very pleased to meet him in London and we had a lively discussion about many things. I hope more people will contribute puzzles in the near future to maintain a diversity of interest and an enhanced expression of puzzle creativity. Most puzzles are derived from others. I read quite widely and, if I like a puzzle, I try to adapt it into something not seen before. I especially like puzzles which also tell a story.

10. Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Graham.

Powell: You are welcome, Scott. It has been a very enjoyable interview.

References

Di Cagno, E. (2012, December 12). The Corporate Strategy Column. Retrieved from http://winone.iqsociety.org/issues/WIN_ONE_09.pdf.

Edgeworth, P. (2012a, December 12). The Importance of Kant’s Concept of the Highest Good (Pt. 1). Retrieved from http://winone.iqsociety.org/issues/WIN_ONE_09.pdf.

Edgeworth, P. (2012b, December 12). The Importance of Kant’s Concept of the Highest Good (Pt. 2). Retrieved from http://winone.iqsociety.org/issues/WIN_ONE_09.pdf.

Elauria, P. (2012, December 12). On the Epistemic Standing of Claims of the Nonexistent. Retrieved from http://winone.iqsociety.org/issues/WIN_ONE_09.pdf.

Grove, G.A. (2012, December 12). Poems. Retrieved from http://winone.iqsociety.org/issues/WIN_ONE_09.pdf.

Thabet, M. (2012, December 12). Organizing the 12th Asia-Pacific Conference on Giftedness. Retrieved from http://winone.iqsociety.org/issues/WIN_ONE_09.pdf.

Powell, G. (2012a, December 12). Introduction. Retrieved from http://winone.iqsociety.org/issues/WIN_ONE_09.pdf.

Powell, G. (2012b, December 12). A Meeting of Minds: pictures from Dubai.. Retrieved from http://winone.iqsociety.org/issues/WIN_ONE_09.pdf.

Ripà, M. (2012, December 12). Differentiating features of gifted children and dealing with high IQ societies. Retrieved from http://winone.iqsociety.org/issues/WIN_ONE_09.pdf.

Wing-lun, A. (2012, December 12). 3D Lego Griddler “Chasing Nessie”. Retrieved from http://winone.iqsociety.org/issues/WIN_ONE_09.pdf.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Editor, WIN ONE; Text Editor, Leonardo (AtlantIQ Society); Joint Public Relations Officer, World Intelligence Network; Vice President, AtlantIQ Society.

[2] Individual Publication Date: November 8, 2019: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/powell-eight; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2020: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

[3] Edgeworth in “The Importance of Kant’s Concept of the Highest Good” states:

Accordingly, the highest good in the world is possible only insofar as a supreme cause of nature having a causality in keeping with the moral disposition is assumed. Which is to say that the supreme cause of nature, if it is to be presupposed for the highest good, must be a being that is the cause of nature by understanding and will, that is to say, God.

Edgeworth, P. (2012, December 12). The Importance of Kant’s Concept of the Highest Good. Retrieved from http://winone.iqsociety.org/issues/WIN_ONE_09.pdf.

[4] “The Importance of Kant’s Concept of the Highest Good,” in full, states:

This question has both been raised and answered by Terry Godlove, Jr. In his response, he notes that while both the theist and non-theist may share an immediate action, only the former may undertake the moral life, for only he can truly intend to further the highest good. Thus without the hope of success in his moral life (since only an omnipotent moral law-giver could bring about such a state of nature), the non-theist cannot in actuality describe himself as working toward a unified moral end, the highest good, for he cannot intend to do what he knows to be impossible. Nor can he regard his conduct as furthering anything more than immediate ends, since he cannot aim at the final end of moral conduct. Consequently, the non-theist cannot set out to lead a moral life, where by “moral life” we signify “more than a brute concatenation of otherwise independent moral actions.”

Edgeworth, P. (2012, December 12). The Importance of Kant’s Concept of the Highest Good. Retrieved from http://winone.iqsociety.org/issues/WIN_ONE_09.pdf.

[5] “On the Epistemic Standing of Claims of the Nonexistent,” in full, states:

We can reject any claim involving the existence of some object or being to the extent that we can justifiably maintain confidence in a given scientific thesis that contradicts or refutes some necessary property of the object or being in question, which is to say, a property that the object or being must possess in order for us to continue to identify it as such…

…We can say that no object or being exists, with confidence, to the extent that we are epistemically justified in accepting a given scientific thesis that refutes or contradicts properties that are said to be necessary to identify some claimed object or being as such.

Elauria, P. (2012, December 12). On the Epistemic Standing of Claims of the Nonexistent. Retrieved from http://winone.iqsociety.org/issues/WIN_ONE_09.pdf.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Dr. Aubrey de Grey on Longevity and Biomedical Gerontology Research Now [Online].November 2019; 21(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/powell-eight.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2019, November 8). An Interview with Graham Powell on Immanuel Kant, the Logic of the Nonexistent, and Major Milestones and Developments (Part Eight). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/powell-eight.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Graham Powell on Immanuel Kant, the Logic of the Nonexistent, and Major Milestones and Developments (Part Eight). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 21.A, November. 2019. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/powell-eight>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2019. “An Interview with Graham Powell on Immanuel Kant, the Logic of the Nonexistent, and Major Milestones and Developments (Part Eight).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 21.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/powell-eight.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Graham Powell on Immanuel Kant, the Logic of the Nonexistent, and Major Milestones and Developments (Part Eight).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 21.A (November 2019). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/powell-eight.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Graham Powell on Immanuel Kant, the Logic of the Nonexistent, and Major Milestones and Developments (Part Eight)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 21.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/powell-eight>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Graham Powell on Immanuel Kant, the Logic of the Nonexistent, and Major Milestones and Developments (Part Eight)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 21.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/powell-eight.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Graham Powell on Immanuel Kant, the Logic of the Nonexistent, and Major Milestones and Developments (Part Eight).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 21.A (2019):November. 2019. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/powell-eight>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Graham Powell on Immanuel Kant, the Logic of the Nonexistent, and Major Milestones and Developments (Part Eight) [Internet]. (2019, November 21(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/powell-eight.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Does God exist and what can science say about it?

Interviewer: Dr. Mir Faizal and Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 21.B, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Seventeen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: November 1, 2019

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2020

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,796

ISSN 2369-6885

Keywords: atheism, God, Mir Faizal, science, theism.

Does God exist and what can science say about it?[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: When people talk about atheism or theism, it is important to know what is being asked. So, I would like to start the discussion with you by directly asking you if you think God exists.

Dr. Mir Faizal: To answer this question, we need to first define what we mean by God. The problem with this question is that the word ”God” has been used for so many different concepts, that it is hard to understand what one is talking about. This also causes problems in the discussion. It is known in physics that you cannot derive consistent results from a system, with unphysical gauge degrees freedom in it. So, to derive consistent results in such a system, we need to follow a procedure called gauge fixing to fix these unphysical degrees of freedom. Now in this question, we actually have unphysical degrees of freedom. This question actually contains two different questions. The first is about the meaning of the word “God,” and the second is about the existence of God. Usually, people try answering the second one without answering the first one, and this causes confusion. So, let us discuss the first question, then we will be more precise about better understand what we are discussing.

2. Jacobsen: So, you want to start by defining what you mean by the word “God.” Ok, then tell us, how would you define God? 

Faizal: I would define God as the most fundamental aspect of reality from which all other aspects of reality are derived, and it is not derived from anything more fundamental. If it can be derived from something more fundamental, then it is not God, according to my definition, but that something from which it is derived is God. In other words, God by definition cannot “not” exist and everything that exists, exists because of God, and God does not exist because of anything more fundamental. Now this definition is pure tautology, and it does not provide any new information. It only fixes the unphysical degrees of freedom, and so we are now only left with one well defined question. Now we have assumed by definition that God is the most fundamental aspect of existence, it is meaningless to ask if God exists, as by definition it is equivalent to asking if existence exists. Now we are left with the unambiguous question about the nature of the most fundamental aspect of existence. This question is much more well defined than an ambiguous question about the existence of God, when we have not even fixed a definition of God.

3. Jacobsen: So, what is the most fundamental aspect of existence? May be start from telling us, what is the most fundamental aspect of physical reality?

Faizal: Well to understand that we need to understand an important concept in physics called as the effective field theories. If you are seeing any object around you, say a ball, it is actually a complex system of interacting atoms. But you do not need to know about atomic physics to know how the ball will move at your scale. All only need to know is Newton’s laws at that scale, as Newton’s laws are a good approximation to atomic physics. Going deeper, it is known that atoms are also made of fundamental particles. However, atomic physics is a good approximation to that system of fundamental particles. Now if you keep going deeper and deeper, you will come to a Length scale called the Planck scale. The physics here would be described by quantum gravity. Even though we do not have a full theory of quantum gravity, we have various approaches to it. String theory and loop quantum gravity are two famous approaches to quantum gravity, but there are several other approaches too. A universal prediction of quantum gravity is that space-time should break down at Planck scale. So, if you really look deep enough, you will discover that space-time and all objects in it are approximations to something more fundamental, and this fundamental aspect of existence is information. In other words, information is more fundamental than substance. In technical terms it is described as “it (substance) from bit (information), not bit from it.” So, the laws governing nature are more fundamental than nature itself. Instead of relativity existing because of space-time, space-time exists because of relativity. Physically the most fundamental aspect of reality is information, which is a mathematical structure. This structure is more fundamental than any physical structure like space-time, and hence cannot be possible derived from it. Even the multiverse exists as the level of it, and comes from some bit.

4. Jacobsen: So, would you say this is God? 

Faizal: Well there is even a problem with that. A mathematical structure is an axiomatic structure. So, we start from some axioms, and derive consequences from those axioms. The problem now comes from Gödel’s incompleteness theorems. The first theorem states that any axiomatic structure is incomplete, or in simple words there are things which cannot be proved within an axiomatic structure. The second theorem states that the consistency of an axiomatic structure is one of those things. In other words, the consistency of a mathematical structure cannot be proved within that structure. Penrose has argued that even though formal proof cannot be provided for Gödel’s unprovable statements because of Gödel’s incompleteness theorems, human mathematicians can still prove them. In other words, we need consciousness to do mathematics, but reality is mathematics, and so I would say we also will need consciousness there to overcome this problem. However, it should be known that human consciousness occurs at low energies due to neurons in our brain, and now we are talking about a scale at which even space-time does not exist. So, rather the statement should be that a better linguistic approximation for the most fundamental aspect of reality is it has consciousness rather than the lack of it. However, this is still an approximation, and the actual nature of what produces this mathematics structure cannot be accurately expressed in language, which has evolved to express simple human actions.

5. Jacobsen: Can you give a simpler explanation about existence of God? 

Faizal: We again start from the definition that God as the most fundamental aspect of existence. Then we can look at our universe and try to infer the nature of God from it. Now in popular discourse, theism is the assertion that the fundamental aspect of reality is infinitely intelligent, and atheism is the assertion that the fundamental aspect of reality has zero intelligence. It is difficult to deal with zero or infinity, and in physics usually a finite number is assumed during calculations, and this finite number is set to zero or infinity at the end of calculation. So, let us also do it here, and make the argument more precise. Let us assume that our universe is a simulation, and now what can we say about aliens who have simulated it. Well if they can simulate an complex living system, they would be intelligent. If they can simulate evolution on a planet, by which complex living system will evolve, they will be very intelligent. Finally, if they can write an mathematical structure, which produce correct physics, and which will cause the big bang and the right evolution of galaxies, and finally cause complex life to evolve from evolution, they have to be hyper-intelligent. If those aliens would be stupid, the universe would be full of inconsistencies, and would require corrections. As our universe is free from such inconsistencies, we can infer that the reality behind this universe is very intelligent. However, we cannot still prove if it is not a simulation, but that does not change the argument. As if this is a simulation, then the arguments just shift to the universe, where aliens have simulated us. Even if this is an infinite sequence, the argument will still hold using limits. After all infinite is just another number, and we can consistently deal with it using limits. Furthermore, the multiverse will just add another layer to it, as to simulate physics which will generate a multiverse is more difficult than to simulate physics which will generate a single universe. The problem with naive creationist argument is that they get stuck on biological evolution, and try to assume a God who breaks natural laws to spontaneously create complex life. The whole nature is exists because of God, and in this there is no need to assume that God will perform some miracle and spontaneously create complex life.

6. Jacobsen: How does this idea of God relate to the common religious ideas of God? 

Faizal: There are again two aspects to it. Now in almost all religions there is a concept of the most fundamental aspect of existence, from which other existence proceeds, and it does not proceed from anything more fundamental. Interestingly it is also assumed that it conscious and it is not an object in space-time. So, Yahweh/God in Judaism, the Heavenly Father in Christianity, God/Allah in Islam, Ahura Mazda in Zoroastrianism, Brahnam in Hinduism, Tian in Confucianism all represent this idea. It may be noted that as in Christianity both Word and Spirit have a non-temporal causal origin from the Heavenly Father, who in turn does not have a causal origin from anything more fundamental, Heavenly Father in Christianity is linguistically equivalent to other terms in this list. Also it may be noted Tian in Confucianism has a will, and so again has consciousness and thus linguistically equivalent to other terms in the list. But then there is another aspect of these religions, in which earth or even humans are made the centre of existence. We humans are an insignificant species, living on an insignificant planet in an insignificant solar system in an insignificant galaxy, in possibly an insignificant universe. It is one thing to get inspiration from Moses or Jesus or Muhammad or Zoroaster or Confucius or Ram or Krishna or Buddha, and it is another thing to say that one of them is the most important being in the whole multiverse. There will be countless alien species, billions of times more intelligent than us. This anthropocentric view seems to be the result of our own imagination. Furthermore, the idea that a human is the most fundamental aspect of reality is totally meaningless. It is like saying a human being is gravity, or human being is evolution, which if taken literally is totally meaningless. It is not even wrong; it is simply meaningless.

7. Jacobsen: In this definition of God, how do you address the problem of evil, or the paradox relating to God’s ability to create a stone which God cannot lift? 

Faizal: We have to differentiate between the most fundamental aspect of existence being conscious, and the linguistic approximation of this most fundamental aspect of reality in theology as God. The problem is that our language only evolved with us to express objects at our scale, and when we are dealing with such a fundamental reality, it breaks down. So, it is important to understand that any description of God, in any language is only a linguistic approximation of reality. So, as any approximation, this approximation will also break creating apparent paradoxes. Now these paradoxes occur due to breaking of linguistic structure rather than the concept that is being described. It is well known that deterministic mathematical structure cannot consistently explain nature. If we try to answer the question regarding the exact position and momentum of a quantum particle, we will not get consistent answers. It is not that we cannot obtain such information, but such information does not exist in the system. If we extract information about position, we are not left with any information about momentum. Now we cannot even ask this question. Similarly, we can adopt a non-deterministic language to solve such paradoxes. For example, God is good and God is powerful, but you cannot linguistically ask both questions at the same time. It is just like asking about momentum and position of a particle at the same time. Similarly, can God create any stone, and can God lift any stone, are two questions which cannot be asked at the same time. I think it would be nice to try to see how for such a non-deterministic language can be developed to rule out such paradoxes. But in any case, it is important to distinguish between fundamental reality and its linguistic approximation.

8. Jacobsen: How do you see miracles that break physical laws, which some religious people talk about? 

Faizal: Another aspect that seems to be strange is to assume that certain miracles break natural laws. In our definition, God is the most fundamental aspect of reality. Now we also expected that space-time to break down at Planck scale, so this fundamental aspect of reality cannot be constrained by time. In other words, God’s nature would not change with time. As God’s action do not change with time, similar causes lead to similar effects, and this is why science works. However, it is possible that improbable events can occur (without breaking natural laws), and they can be interpreted as miracles. It may be noted that both the idea of God interfering only at specific points of time to do miracles, and God only interfering at the beginning of universe, as if that point is special, does not fit with this description of God. This is because in this description of God, as God is defined as the most fundamental aspect of existence, so linguistically we can say that God does everything. However, God does everything consistently, and there are no inconsistencies in the universe. So, even though we do not still have a consistent physical understanding of the physics at the point of big bang, big bang has to be explained physically. In simple words, God is not the God of gaps, with big bang being a big gap, but a God whose intelligence is so perfect that no gaps are left.

9. Jacobsen: Thank you!

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Adjunct Professor, Physics and Astronomy, University of Lethbridge; Visiting Professor, Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences, University of British Columbia – Okanagan.

[2] Individual Publication Date: November 1, 2019: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/faizal-jacobsen; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2020: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Faizal M, Jacobsen S. Does God exist and what can science say about it? [Online].November 2019; 21(B). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/faizal-jacobsen.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Faizal, M. & Jacobsen, S.D. (2019, November 1). Does God exist and what can science say about it?Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/faizal-jacobsen.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): FAIZAL M.; JACOBSEN, S. Does God exist and what can science say about it?. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 21.B, November. 2019. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/faizal-jacobsen>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Faizal, Mir, and Jacobsen, Scott. 2019. “Does God exist and what can science say about it?.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 21.B. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/faizal-jacobsen.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Faizal, Mir, and Jacobsen, Scott. “Does God exist and what can science say about it?.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 21.B (November 2019). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/faizal-jacobsen.

Harvard: Faizal, M. and Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘Does God exist and what can science say about it?In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 21.B. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/faizal-jacobsen>.

Harvard, Australian: Faizal, M and Jacobsen, S 2019, ‘Does God exist and what can science say about it?In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 21.B., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/faizal-jacobsen.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Faizal, Mir and Scott D. Jacobsen. “Does God exist and what can science say about it?.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 21.B (2019):November. 2019. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/faizal-jacobsen>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Faizal M, Jacobsen S. Does God exist and what can science say about it? [Internet]. (2019, November 21(B). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/faizal-jacobsen.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Mir Faizal, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

An Interview with Dr. Aubrey de Grey on Longevity and Biomedical Gerontology Research Now

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 21.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Seventeen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: October 22, 2019

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2020

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 3,701

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

Dr. Aubrey de Grey is a biomedical gerontologist based in Cambridge, UK and Mountain View, California, USA, and is the Chief Science Officer of SENS Research Foundation, a California-based 501(c) (3) charity dedicated to combating the aging process. He is also Editor-in-Chief of Rejuvenation Research, the world’s highest-impact peer-reviewed journal focused on intervention in aging. He received his BA and Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in 1985 and 2000 respectively. His research interests encompass the characterisation of all the accumulating and eventually pathogenic molecular and cellular side-effects of metabolism (“damage”) that constitute mammalian aging and the design of interventions to repair and/or obviate that damage. Dr. de Grey is a Fellow of both the Gerontological Society of America and the American Aging Association, and sits on the editorial and scientific advisory boards of numerous journals and organisations. He discusses: new research on longevity and longevity escape velocity; promising anti-aging research; research all over the place; advancing research into the Hadwiger-Nelson problem; organizations to look into; books to look into; and final feelings and thoughts on the conversation.

Keywords: Aubrey de Grey, longevity, Rejuvenation Research, SENS Research Foundation.

An Interview with Dr. Aubrey de Grey on Longevity and Biomedical Gerontology Research Now: Chief Science Officer & Co-Founder, SENS Research Foundation; Editor-In-Chief, Rejuvenation Research[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What is new about longevity escape velocity and research into it?

Dr. Aubrey de Grey: I could spend a half-hour just talking about that question. It has been a while. Remind me, how long ago was our last interview?

Jacobsen: 2014.

de Grey: All right, things are unrecognizable now. There is a private industry in this. In 2014/2015, it was the time when we created our first spinout. We took out a project philanthropically at SENS Research Foundation. An investor found us.

Jacobsen: Is this Peter Thiel?

de Grey: No, no, another person who had been one of our donors. A guy who was our second biggest donor back then. A guy named Jason Hope. He decided that one of our projects that we had been supporting at Rice University in Texas was ready to be commercialized.

Of course, it was early in terms of becoming a project. He felt that it was far enough along to invest as a project with his own money rather than as a donation. He created a biotech company of his own. He hired our people. He gave us a percent of the company and went off and tried to do it.

He did not have the faintest clue to run a biotech company.

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

de Grey: It changed our attitude to the whole thing. Since then, our business model has been to pursue this kind of thing. It is to pursue projects that are too early to be investible. It is to be in parallel with conversations with potential investors and to identify the right point, where the thing has achieved enough proof of concept.

So, it can be spun out into a company and can receive considerable amounts of support, more than can be provided philanthropically. We have done this half a dozen times. We have been able to do this due to increasing investments at an increasing rate, including deep pocketed ones.

Something that happened 3 years ago with an investor named Jim Mellon who had made his money in a variety of other completely unrelated fields decided that he wanted to get into this. It was the next important thing to him.

He approached me. We started talking. We became very good friends, very quickly. The long of the short is he is the chair of a company called Juvenescence. Its model is basically to invest in other companies.

So, they have already put quite a bit of money into quite several start-ups. Some are spinouts of SENS. Others are closely aligned with what we do. It is transforming everything. It is fantastic. Around the same time, a guy came to us from Germany. A guy named Michael Greve who made his fortune in the early days of the German internet.

He made some of the most successful German websites. He has wanted to do this for a while. He has been investing in a variety of start-ups. The good news is most of these new investors, especially Michael Greve, have been also donating to the foundation as well as investing in companies.

That is very, very important, of course. For the near future, there will be projects that are not far enough along to really join the dots to make a profit. They will need to be funded philanthropically. We try to make the case to investors, even if they are inherently more in an investor mindset than a donor.

We try to make the case. Even if they donate a smaller amount than they are investing, they have as much of my time as they want. They will have the opportunity to have the information, so they will be the founding investor of the next startup.

For me, it is extraordinarily gratifying. I am at the nexus of all of this. Everyone comes to me, whether the investors or the founders of companies who want to find investments. I spend a ridiculous amount of my time just making introductions.

What had not changed, we are still woefully low on the money throughout the foundation. Even though, I have been able, as I say, to put some money in; and we have some money from elsewhere. Nevertheless, it is far less than we need.

I am constantly spending my time on the road and camera trying to change that. That is the biggest thing that has changed. The next thing that we are changing is the huge spike in the value of cryptocurrencies. We benefitted quite a lot from that. Several of our investors who used to be relatively penniless and had not funded us financially suddenly became rather wealthy.

They ended up with a lot of money. We had four 7-digit donations adding up to a total of 6.5 million dollars. So, obviously, this was a windfall. That we are making us of now. Only one of the donors is likely to be a repeat donor because the others decided to give away most of their fortune.

That guy created Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin. He, basically, read my book when he was 14. He is now 26.

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

de Grey: He is one of these true children of the revolution who never had to change their mind about anything. They always grew up knowing it was a sad thing and tried to fix it. So, that is cool. My life is largely the same in broad strokes, but, in the specifics, in terms of the ways in which I can bring the right money to the right people; it has improved a lot.

2. Jacobsen: As aging is numerous processes, what programs of anti-aging, given individual processes of aging, seem the most promising within your remit?

de Grey: When I talk about what is more promising and less promising, I am always looking at the research. I am looking at how SENS is moving forward. Of course, there is a big spectrum to how far along things are.

On the easy end of the spectrum, we have hardly done anything throughout our 10-year existence on stem cell research, even though it is a key area of damage repair. It is a place for others too. Almost every area of stem cell research is important for cell damage and aging, which is being done by others and not us.

While at the other end of the spectrum, things like making backup copies of Mitochondrial DNA, hardly anyone else is working on it. That is a big spectrum. But if I look at the rate of progress, it is not the same at all.

One gratifying thing is making great advances in some difficult areas over the last few years. For mitochondrial DNA, we published a paper about 2 and a half years ago that sounded like only a modest step forward.

Basically, out of the 13 protein coding genes that we need to work in the nucleus, we were able to make two of them work at the same time, in the same cell. It sounds modest, but it is a huge progression from before. With the result now, we have a paper in review, which is a huge step forward from there.

We have these genes working now. We are understanding how we are getting them working. It is not so much trial-and-error now. More of the same thing is crosslinking. So, as you know, the extracellular matrix, this lattice of proteins that gives our tissue their elasticity. It gets less elastic over time because of chemical reaction with circulating sugar.

So, in 2015, the group that we were funding in that area, at Yale University, were able to publish a paper – our first paper in Science magazine – on the huge advance in that area. The advance sounded tangential at first hearing with the structure, which is one of the structures responsible for the loss of this elasticity. We want to break it, therefore.

The advance made that was published was ways to create it, to synthesize it, from simple agents. As it turns out, there is an enabling step. It allows us to perform experiments that would be impossible with the very trace amounts of this material that would have been previously available, just making antibody tissue or finding bacterial enzymes that break it down.

That work is proceeding very much faster now, as well. That is one of the companies that we are in the process of spinning out.

3. Jacobsen: If you look at the projections of research that looked very promising, what ones were very disappointing? What ones came out of nowhere and were promising?

de Grey: Of course, they are all over the place. Some of the most important ones were the ones no one cares about. One is pluripotent stem cells created 13 years ago, and CRISPR, which was very much more recent, like 6 years ago.

We have been exploiting those advances. Same with the entire medical profession. But there are also isolated things that have been unexpected. Let us go back to mitochondrial mutations, one thing that we were kicking ourselves over. It will be talked about in the upcoming paper.

It is codon optimization. It is well-known. Mitochondrial DNA has a separate DNA. Codons code different things, different amino acids, compared to the nucleus (in the mitochondria by comparison). One thing is true, which we thought was relevant.

Out of the range of the codons that code for a given single amino acid, let us say the 4 that encode for lysine, there may be one of them used more often than others. This will affect the speed of translation of the messenger RNA among other things.

Nobody had bothered to try to optimize that for expression of these genes in the nucleus. It turns out that if you do then things go far, far better. It was a serendipitous discovery. Science, itself, is full of serendipitous discoveries.

4. Jacobsen: Also, you solved a math problem, recently. What was it?

de Grey: [Laughing] right, that was about 18 months ago. It is a problem called the Hadwiger-Nelson problem named after some mathematicians from 1950s. The question is normally stated, “How many colors do you need to color all of the points on the plane in order that no pair of points that is one inch apart is the same color?”

The answer was immediately shown back in 1950 to be somewhere between 4 and 7 inclusive. I was able to exclude the 4 case. Many, many, many mathematicians have worked on this in the interim. So, it was quite surprising that I was able to do this, as I am a recreational mathematician. I got lucky, basically.

I would describe this as a game. What you do is, you have a two-player game. The playing surface is an initial blank sheet of paper. Player 1 has a black pen. Player 2 has a bunch of colored pens. The players alternate. When player 1 makes a move. The point is to make a new dot wherever player 1 likes.

Player 2 must color the dot. He must take one of his pens and put a ring around the new dot. The only thing that player 2 is not allowed to do is to use the same color as he used for a previous dot that is exactly one inch away from the new dot.

Of course, there may be more than one dot. Player 1 wins the game if he can arrange things so that the new dot cannot be covered. All the player 2’s pens have been used for other dots that are exactly an inch away from the new dot, right?

The question is, “How many pens does player 2 need to have in order so that player 1 cannot win?”

Jacobsen: Right.

de Grey: So, if player 2 only has one pen, obviously, player 1 can win with just two dots. He puts a dot down. Player 2 uses the red pen. Player 1 puts down a second dot exactly an inch away. Player 2 cannot move. If player 2 has two pens, then player 1 can win with three dots by just placing a dot; player 2 can uses the red pen, places another dot an inch away.

Player 2 uses the blue pen. Player 1 uses third dot in the triangle with the two, so an inch away from both oft hem, then player 2 cannot move. So, then, it turns out. If player 2 has 3 pens, player 1 can also win. It is a little more complicated.

Player 1 needs seven dots. But again, it is not very complicated. It was already worked out back in 1950 as soon as humans started thinking about this kind of question. The natural question would be the number of dots go up in some exponential way, but player 1 can always win.

It turns out that that is not true. It turns out if player 2 has seven pens. Then player 1 can never win, no matter how many dots that he puts down. But what I was able to show, if player 2 has 4 pens, then player 1 can win, but with a lot of dots.

The solution that I found took more than 1,500 dots. It has been reduced by other people since then, but it is still over 500 is the record.

5. Jacobsen: [Laughing] if we are looking at the modern landscape, especially with the increase in funding, what organizations should individuals look to  – other than your own as well?

de Grey: Things are looking good. There is a huge proliferation of investment opportunities as well, in this area. They are certainly raising money, as they are investing in more start-ups. In the non-profit world, there are plenty of organizations as well.

I should probably mention the Methuselah Foundation, which is the organization from which SENS Research Foundation arose. They are funding a bunch of research as well as doing prizes. They are choosing well and the right things to fund.

Then there is the buck institute, which is a much more traditional organization on the surface. In other words, it is mostly funded by the NIH and by relatively conservative funding sources. But! They understand the scientific situation. It has become much more acceptable to do work that is overtly translational, even if you are getting money from these types of sources.

We work closely with them. We have two ongoing projects there. We send summer interns there. We have been able to work with them on funding, in terms of bringing in new sources of funding. That is something hat I would include.

In terms of the world, one important organization is called LEAF or Life Extension Advocacy Foundation. One in the UK. One in the US. One in Russia. They focus on advocacy and outreach. They are extraordinarily good and play a key role in elevating the level of debate in this whole area.

In Europe, the Healthy Life Extension Foundation was founded by two people from Belgium. They run a nice conference every year, every couple of years anyway. They have a vibrant mailing list and spread useful information about this area. They could use some more money. The list goes on now.

There are increased organizations, now, not just in this space but really know what they are doing. They know what the priorities ought to be. One thing I have always known since the beginning. No matter how good I get at outreach and advocacy. I could never do this all myself, not just for lack of time, but because different people resonate with different audiences.

So, there are people who will overall inspire. Others will not like people with beards.

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

de Grey: People may not like my act. So, there are people around now who are very capably complementing the kind of style that I have in communicating the value of this work. That is also extraordinarily important.

6. Jacobsen: Any new books that can provide a good introductory foundation into this kind of research? Also, what about advanced texts as well?

de Grey: On the introductory side, there is one guy named Jim Mellon. So, Jim, this businessperson, has a very interesting of going about his job. He preferentially gets into very emerging new sectors. What he does is, he creates his own competition.

He, essentially, writes newsletters and blogs and books about this new area whose intended audience is other investors. That is what I mean by making his own competition. The reason he does this is, basically, that when a sector is just beginning. That the faster it grows, then the better.

Essentially, it is floating all boats by increasing the buzz around something. He wrote a book based on conversations with me over the previous year or so. It is called Juvenescence, which is the same as the name as his company. It is targeted to other investors.

It is very good. I was able to help with this a fair bit with the technical part. But it is written in a style that is very, very appealing, which is not a way that I would be able to write. He has a second edition upcoming. This is one that I would highlight.

In terms of advanced texts, I would not move to texts right now. Things are moving so fast. One simply needs to read the primary literature. One needs to identify that, which is not necessarily an easy thing to do. I would point to our community’s effort.

Probably, the most important one is to fight aging in the blog done by Reason. Even though he has become one of the CEOs of our start-up companies, he is running the blog. He is extremely good at highlighting the important points of the research.

7. Jacobsen: Any final feelings or thoughts in conclusion based on the conversation today?

de Grey: I would say, “Thank you for having me on your show again,” and for the opportunity to give an update to your audience. I think, really, the conclusion that I would give is that it is extremely exciting that things are moving much faster than before. But we must not be complacent.

There is still a long way to go. My estimation for how long we must go has gone down, but it has not nearly gone down enough. We still need to be putting in every effort that we possibly can in whatever way.

8. Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Dr. de Grey.

de Grey: My pleasure, Scott, thank you!

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Chief Science Officer & Co-Founder, SENS Research Foundation; Editor-In-Chief, Rejuvenation Research.

[2] Individual Publication Date: October 22, 2019: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/grey; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2020: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Dr. Aubrey de Grey on Longevity and Biomedical Gerontology Research Now [Online].October 2019; 21(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/grey.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2019, October 22). An Interview with Dr. Aubrey de Grey on Longevity and Biomedical Gerontology Research NowRetrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/grey.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Dr. Aubrey de Grey on Longevity and Biomedical Gerontology Research Now. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 21.A, October. 2019. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/grey>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2019. “An Interview with Dr. Aubrey de Grey on Longevity and Biomedical Gerontology Research Now.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 21.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/grey.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Dr. Aubrey de Grey on Longevity and Biomedical Gerontology Research Now.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 21.A (October 2019). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/grey.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Dr. Aubrey de Grey on Longevity and Biomedical Gerontology Research NowIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 21.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/grey>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Dr. Aubrey de Grey on Longevity and Biomedical Gerontology Research NowIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 21.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/grey.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Dr. Aubrey de Grey on Longevity and Biomedical Gerontology Research Now.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 21.A (2019):October. 2019. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/grey>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Dr. Aubrey de Grey on Longevity and Biomedical Gerontology Research Now [Internet]. (2019, October 21(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/grey.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

An Interview with John Collins and Jennifer Hamilton on the Women in “The Message,” Casting Pearls Project, Abuse, and William Marrion Branham (Part Four)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 21.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Seventeen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: October 15, 2019

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2020

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,068

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

John Collins is an Author, and the Webmaster of William Branham Historical Research. Jennifer Hamilton runs Casting Pearls Project. They discuss: the overview of the abuse, the sexual abuse, of those who were or are followers of “The Message”; common sentiments among ex-followers; standard reaction to victims and individuals making claims of sexual abuse within “The Message” community; the activity of law enforcement; the consequences of the sexual assaulters, the rapists, and the sexual sadists abusing men and women, boys and girls, within “The Message” community; and facing justice.

Keywords: abuse, Christianity, John Collins, justice, Seek The Truth, sexual abuse, The Message, webmaster, William Marrion Branham, women.

An Interview with John Collins and Jennifer Hamilton on the Women in “The Message,” Casting Pearls Project, Abuse, and William Marrion Branham: Webmaster, William Branham Historical Research; Lead, Casting Pearls Project (Part Four)[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Do many ‘Message’ followers of WMB raise issues or concerns about the sexual abuse in the community?  What is the overview in terms of the abuse?

John Collins: For this portion of the interview, I’ve asked my friend and colleague Jennifer Hamilton for input.  Jennifer has experience working with former members of William Branham’s “Message” cult, specifically with females who suffered many forms of abuse while they were part of the cult group.  Jennifer runs the Casting Pearls Project, which is a safe place for women who suffered abuse in the “Message”.

According to Jennifer, victims are pressured into keeping silent about abuse.  As a result, many members of the group are unaware that sexual abuse exists.  Worse, some people that are aware of the abuse have become accustomed to it and view the abuse is “normal”.  Some message followers rarely speak up against sexual abuse within the church because they are conditioned to keep silent.  In many cases, there seems to be an unspoken rule that “if you speak about the problem, then you are the problem”.

When a religious cult becomes destructive, members of the group willingly submit supreme authority to a central figure (or figures) and do so without applying critical thought or raising questions when situations arise worth questioning.  This often leads to sexual, physical, verbal, and emotional abuse by those with unquestioned power or control over their members.

2. Jacobsen: What is the common sentiment among ex-followers?

John: In my experience working with former members of the “Message” and other religious cult groups, it takes time before former members recognize the existence of abuse.  With the conditioning for acceptance of certain types of abuse, some former members are unaware their environment was abusive until adjusting to a non-abusive environment.  This is especially true of second and third-generation cult members who were raised under abuse.  Those raised under parents practicing verbal or physical abuse as means of “correction” have limited or no understanding of positive reinforcement and continue the tradition with their own children.  As awful as it sounds, some former members describe the transition from thinking sexual abuse was “normal” to realizing they were abused.  Years of sexual molestation had become their “normal” life.

Jennifer Hamilton: Because abuse is so normalized within the church, it takes some time of de-programing to understand how toxic their church environment really was.  For other former members, surfacing stories of sexual abuse may come as a shock because of the required silence of victims and families involved.

3. Jacobsen: What is the standard reaction to victims, or individuals making claims to being victims at least, of sexual abuse within the “Message’ community?

Collins: I personally know abuse victims whose “Message” cult pastor became informed of the situation during private consultation and was asked to intervene.  One case in particular, the father was abusive to the mother and children.  The pastor further victimized the mother and children by shaming them further into submission.  In many cases, victims are shamed into silence, no matter how they badly were abused.

Hamilton: Typically, one of three scenarios happen when sexual abuse occurs.  Unfortunately, more often than not, the victim of rape or sexual assault is afraid to speak up and the abuse is never mentioned to anyone in church authority.  The second scenario is that the victim does speak to their pastor or church leader, but the pastor ‘handles’ the situation by either admonishing the abuser privately or dismissing the situation all together.  The third scenario is the less common of the three, but the pastor might bring the offender before the congregation to reprimand them openly. In both instances of speaking out, the victim is almost always shamed and found at some fault.  For sexual abuse towards girls and women, teachings of WMB place blame on the female body for being seductive and therefore a temptation.

Because of victim shaming and lack of appropriate response, there is a psychological sense of no escape for victims.  If they did speak up at one time, they eventually feel trapped into silence.  This creates the vicious cycle of abuse in some cases to continue on for years.

4. Jacobsen: Has law enforcement been active or not?

Collins: I know only of a few situations where law enforcement was involved, and only at the request of victims.  “Message” cult churches are not properly trained in how to properly respond to abuse, and in many cases, make attempts to conceal abuse rather than report it.  In most cases the statute of limitations has expired long before the victim escapes the cult, and correction is outside of the boundaries of the law.

Hamilton: Leaders and members distrust the secular legal and social services system. Very rarely is law enforcement involved.  Therefore, when sexually abused members do speak out, the leader dictates complete control of the situation without reporting it to the local authorities. 1 Corinth 6:1-2 is most often used to justify this: “Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest laws courts?” Message pastors have no theological or counseling education and erroneously fail to understand that this passage is about settling civil cases, not criminal ones. In a criminal case, such as physical or sexual abuse, the state opposes the perpetrator in court, not the victim.

5. Jacobsen: What have been the consequences of the sexual assaulters, the rapists, and the sexual sadists abusing men and women, boys and girls, within the “Message” community?

Collins: There have been a handful of convictions in cases involving sexual abuse, usually in cases where the pastor or an elder in the church victimized others.  Because of the shaming and silencing of victims by pastors, most cases reported by former members result in little more than a slap on the wrist.  In one case, a pastor’s daughter was abusing male children in the church and was allowed to keep her position.  In other cases, the fathers were not properly reported to authorities, and continued to abuse their daughters.  Unfortunately, most of the situations described to me by former members were past the statute of limitations for the State they lived at the time.

Hamilton: Consequences for rapists and sexual assaulters is rarely appropriate for their actions.  Most are never confronted, and if they are approached by church leadership, they are usually verbally admonished in private. In the cases of the abuser being the pastor or in leadership, the victims are likely labeled liars and disregarded.  Abusers in the Message are more protected than their victims through the forced silence. The Message teaches that if the rapist or assaulter confesses, their sin is “placed under the blood of Jesus”, making them as “blameless” as if the crime literally had never happened. Therefore, anyone who speaks about it is shamed for bringing that sin “back out from under the blood”.  In some very rare instances, law enforcement may be involved with or without the pastor’s consent.

6. Jacobsen: For those who have not faced justice, how can they face it?

Hamilton: Time unfortunately impedes most abusers from facing the justice they deserve.  Victims that are now speaking out about the abuse are sometimes unfortunately past their state’s statute of limitations.  After leaving the cult, there is a processing period for de-programming and realizing that the abuse had been normalized and that justice was not served.  No matter the length of time, victims can contact their local police station or Salvation Army for resources and advocates.

Collins: The only way justice can be served is through education and accountability.  Members of any church – cult or not – must hold elders of the church to an acceptable standard of accountability.  Leaders of church bodies must be trained in how to respond to abuse, when to report abuse, and how to properly warn members of their church when another member has abusive tendencies.  As the proverbial “shepherd of the flock”, they must be held accountable to provide protection for their congregation.

At the same time, members of the church must be educated to recognize signs of abuse and recognize abuse of power.  This becomes problematic for leaders, however, in the case of a destructive cult.  In all cases where members are trained to recognize abuse of power, those same members become former members.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, John and Jennifer.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Author; Webmaster, William Branham Historical Research; Lead, Casting Pearls Project.

[2] Individual Publication Date: October 15, 2019: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-four; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2020: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with John Collins and Jennifer Hamilton on the Women in “The Message,” Casting Pearls Project, Abuse, and William Marrion Branham (Part Four) [Online].October 2019; 21(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-four.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2019, October 15). An Interview with John Collins and Jennifer Hamilton on the Women in “The Message,” Casting Pearls Project, Abuse, and William Marrion Branham (Part Four)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-four.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with John Collins and Jennifer Hamilton on the Women in “The Message,” Casting Pearls Project, Abuse, and William Marrion Branham (Part Four). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 21.A, October. 2019. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-four>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2019. “An Interview with John Collins and Jennifer Hamilton on the Women in “The Message,” Casting Pearls Project, Abuse, and William Marrion Branham (Part Four).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 21.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-four.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with John Collins and Jennifer Hamilton on the Women in “The Message,” Casting Pearls Project, Abuse, and William Marrion Branham (Part Four).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 21.A (October 2019). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-four.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with John Collins and Jennifer Hamilton on the Women in “The Message,” Casting Pearls Project, Abuse, and William Marrion Branham (Part Four)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 21.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-four>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with John Collins and Jennifer Hamilton on the Women in “The Message,” Casting Pearls Project, Abuse, and William Marrion Branham (Part Four)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 21.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-four.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with John Collins and Jennifer Hamilton on the Women in “The Message,” Casting Pearls Project, Abuse, and William Marrion Branham (Part Four).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 21.A (2019):October. 2019. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-four>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with John Collins and Jennifer Hamilton on the Women in “The Message,” Casting Pearls Project, Abuse, and William Marrion Branham (Part Four) [Internet]. (2019, October 21(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-four.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

An Interview with Distinguished University Professor Gordon Guyatt, OC, FRSC on EBM and Too Much Medicine (Part Three)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 21.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Seventeen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: October 8, 2019

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2020

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,859

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

Dr. Gordon Guyatt, OC, FRSC is a Distinguished University Professor is the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact at McMaster University. He discusses: Cochrane Collaboration and EBM; Too Much Medicine; and the start of the Too Much Medicine movement.

Keywords: Canada, evidence-based medicine, Gordon Guyatt, medicine.

An Interview with Distinguished University Professor Gordon Guyatt, OC, FRSC on EBM and Too Much Medicine: Distinguished Professor, Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact, McMaster University; Co-Founder, Evidence-Based Medicine (Part Three)[1],[2],[3],[4]

*Footnotes in & after the interview, & citation style listing after the interview.*

*This interview has been edited for clarity and readability.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Before the last calls over the last several months; we have talked about how to do effective speeches, for instance. We have talked about some of the talks that you have given on EBM. Some of the other things we could probably talk about would be the areas in which the Canadian public is known not to have a savvy attitude about science, as close to as desired as possible.

It hasn’t been talked about before, but it is something that they need to know. So, strongly, a bit of apart from this conversation on supplements and Chinese medicine compared to the methodology of EBM, in terms of getting some good information out.

Distinguished Professor Gordan Guyatt: So, in fact, I do not have much to say. That is not an area of my particular investigation now. There is attention being given to getting the information to the doctors and the other health professionals. There is work going on; they’re getting it out to patients,

Is there is much less being done and being studied in terms of how to get an opt out to patients? People are hoping that if you get it out to the health providers; the health providers will effectively communicate it to the patients.

Now, that may or may not be the case.

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Guyatt: That is the hope. So, what do I do about this? The Cochrane Collaboration, which puts together systematic reviews, as plain language summaries for patients up to date, this electronic textbook now has hired somebody to try and get the material in a way that it can be communicated well to patients. So, you have a few initiatives like this, but nobody is doing an up to date for patients exclusively. Nobody is, I do not think that nobody is taking it seriously.

Having them helping patients to dealing with the incredible profusion of sometimes valuable, sometimes misleading, information on the internet, for instance. So long way, long way to go, in terms of there as well, so, one of my colleagues now has a focus on this. You said earlier on the skeptics about science.

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Guyatt: So, the skeptics about science: their problem may be that they do not understand that there are ways of getting accurate, reliable, trustworthy inferences, in ways that aren’t useful. Their skepticism may be from not being able to make that distinction, or thinking it is impossible to make that distinction.

So, this colleague of mine by the name of Andy Oxman, he is about my age. So, he is in the latter part of his career. For the last few years, he has been focusing on getting – his goal is people – getting people to be able to assess health claims, to have the wherewithal. He has decided, looking at the world, that the only way to do this is to get them while they’re in school. When they’re out, subsequent to that, it is pretty difficult. Maybe not hopeless, but pretty difficult.

Although his research states, so I’ll show you. I’ll tell you about one of those results that suggests it is not complete.

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Guyatt: He remarkably asked: where if you wanted to do this, where would you start?

He said, “Let’s start in grade schools in Uganda.” So, he goes; he teaches grade school kids in Uganda on how to assess health claims. He creates material that is appropriate for assessing health claims. Among again, school children.

And the he did a big randomized trial, where they went to their regular schools. They went to the schools where the teachers were provided with the materials to teach children how to assess health claims: big effects, big positive effects on children being assessed and able to assess health claims. Where the other interesting finding, the kids got to take their material home to the parents, show their parents the material, then there was some little extra material that they could give to the parents. Against all odds, the parents’ ability to assess health claims improved as well, having been taught by their children.

Jacobsen: Statistically, scientifically.

Guyatt: Interesting. So, he is now saying, “Now that we have done the easy part with Uganda, let’s take it to the Western world.” Now, we have done the easy part with the great school kids, let’s take it to the kids in high school. That is where he is doing ongoing work at the moment.

Jacobsen: That is interesting.

Guyatt: Yes.

2. Jacobsen: That is interesting. I recall some research, it was around that type of math, and then the age of the person in terms of their future interest in sciences, the STEM fields. So, if someone – it was Algebra, and it was age 12, I think, one is starting to learn some of these slightly more advanced math concepts relative to their age.

If they learn that, and they get the principles down, it is something about early, abstract manipulation of variables. That becomes a strong predictor for interest in Science. So, I’d be curious to know what the end result of all this research is, in terms of knowing; maybe, there is a general curve of possibility and then the decline.

Because you are noting after school, you are getting older, then more established cognitively. So, they’re more fixed in terms of their, unfortunately, sometimes non-critical thinking about what we were talking before alternative epistemologies.

Guyatt: Non-predictable, or sets of rules, they’re very critical but misguided.

Jacobsen: That is a good way to put it. What are some extra topics? We could cover the pressure research out all these new aspects, especially NMAs and, and then alternative medicine, big data, “Chinese medicine for 6,000 years,” outreach in Uganda.

Guyatt: Something else occurs to me. So, there is now a movement called Too Much Medicine.

Jacobsen: You are kidding.

Guyatt: No, no, no, a big movement, Too Much Medicine.

3. Jacobsen: Where did it start?

Guyatt: It started in the Clin-Epi (Clinical Epidemiology) in the EBM Clin-Epi world, or I would say this is the source of it. There is a campaign called Choosing Wisely. That is a related thing. Then it comes from an awareness that we are doing too many tests where are the benefits are questionable and we are giving up treatments where the benefits are questionable.

So, there is now a whole movement to say, “Wait a minute, we have gone too far. We need to scale back.” So, I’ll tell you about three of our relevant BMJ rapid recommendations. So, it used to be that when you hurt your knee, torn meniscus, as they say, the cartilage.

So, before the surgeons would operate, they had to be sure. It was hard to be sure, because the X rays can only show the bones; they cannot show the soft tissues. If you had an operation, it was a big deal. It took weeks to recover from your surgery. So, two things happened there. One was, we had MRI that could show the soft tissue. So, you can say, “Aha, that cartilage looks torn.”

We can fix that, arthroscopic surgery. We do not have to open anymore. We can stick the little thing. We can operate arthroscopically. A gigantic expansion in the surgeries, hundreds of thousands of them all the time, taking tens of millions of dollars. The patients go to the surgeon and they said, “Oh, thank you, doctor, I am better.”

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Guyatt: They get going, and so a randomized trial. People are doing randomized trials of mock surgery, or placebo surgery.

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Guyatt: What they do is they, for instance, whether you are getting real surgery or not, they will put up a screen between you and your knee.

Either they will do the real thing, or they will splash around some water to simulate this though, they will give you a little plat. Now, you need a little anesthesia to do this thing. Move your knee around, in the end, the patient does not know whether they got the surgery or not. As it turns out, the first one of these trials shows no benefit from the surgery. Surgeons do not want to hear this. They have all sorts of reasons.

All sorts of reasons not believe it. But then, there is a second trial, showing no difference. The third and the fourth and the fifth, and the surgeons won’t still believe it. So, now, we have about 10 trials.

Jacobsen: Wow.

Guyatt: By 10 of them, we can do a meta-analysis. So, now, we are able to pick up small effects. There is a small transient benefit. So, three months, people with the surgery do a little better, the effect seems to disappear by six months, but it is trivial. Our guideline panel, our rapid recommendations guideline panel, thought so clearly trivial that they were making a strong recommendation against this search.

Worldwide, there are probably, literally, millions of these surgeries happening every year that they are doing and having marginal, trivial benefit. So, this is an example of too much medicine. Then another one, when you break your bone, this putting a particular type of ultrasound is supposed to help heal and, maybe, radiologically it does. We did the biggest trial so far of this ultrasound machine. We failed to show any difference on radiologic healing, but clearly absolutely no difference in terms of function.

We did the meta-analysis and randomized trials, no difference in function, again, millions of dollars being spent on this stuff that isn’t doing anybody any good. I made a strong recommendation against this. Our latest one is shoulder. So, it is the same story as the knee. It used to be that you had to operate the shoulder, big deal. Surgeons were quite hesitant to do this.

We didn’t have the radiologic tools to investigate it. Then we got the MRI to show exactly what’s going on with shoulder. We can now do arthroscopic. So, so this takes off., bunch of randomized trials show a small benefit, then people do two of these blinded placebo surgery trials – no benefit.

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Guyatt: So, and what we are finding out is surgery has substantial placebo effects. Right? Yes, people do feel better. But it isn’t the surgery. It isn’t. It isn’t that somebody with something biological happened. It is that surgery has big placebo effect. So, anyway, all these shoulders, so the latest it is not out yet being not quite out yet, it will be soon.

But our latest BMJ rapid recommendation is a strong recommendation against doing this surgery. So, our rapid recommendations have three examples, so far, of too much medicine.

4. Jacobsen: When did this movement start with Too much Medicine?

Guyatt: Five years ago.

Jacobsen: Who was the founder?

Guyatt: Oh, there is no one individual. If there is, I do not think there is one individually. There are a lot of people who contributed. I was at this too much medicine conference. So, there is now a regular too much medicine conference. People come together. They share stories of too much medicine. So, here is another, here is a good one that I heard of. So, a drug company starts to think that, “Well, first, there are these stories of how the companies, the first thing they do is they do a campaign to create a disease that was not there before.”

This disease that was not there before, is dry, itchy, uncomfortable eyes. Then they say, “There is an epidemic of this dry, itchy, uncomfortable eyes.” Then they have a drug, “This is what you need for your dry, itchy, uncomfortable eyes.” Again, randomized trials are in our margins, no benefits. But nevertheless, they have been able to create a big industry. Now, the funny part of this, so they were telling the story and it is probably problematic.

So, again, millions of people using this, huge amounts of money spent on this stuff. It is a drug that you use for chemotherapy that they’re putting in people’s eyes, believe it or not. Then thousands of people are doing that. Now, the funniest part is as we are talking about this, my eyes start to feel quite uncomfortable.

Anyway, I was talking to one of my various seniors. He said the same thing. I started on the power of suggestion, “Isn’t it?” So you have these advertising campaigns? “Oh, I feel my eyes like this. It is a little uncomfortable.” It is funny. I mean, I do not know.

Every time I talk about it, I get the same sensation in my eyes, not when I am not talking about what I am talking about it.  So, here is another example, here is another example of too much medicine. So there are lots of these, there are real problems with too much medicine.

Jacobsen: Fair enough. When we talk of the grade, the NMA, the EBM, of either acronyms or initialisms coming into the medical fields, now, when a lot of this almost a medical yawn effect. So, maybe if someone’s reading this, they can come up with a YAWN acronym for this effect of someone yawning, it is contagious. Contagious, but not innocuous.

Guyatt: Good point. It is contagious the way the audience is contagious.

Jacobsen: That is stunning.

Guyatt: There was one, this conference and one story after another of these things.

Jacobsen: That I would like to explore next, if possible.

Guyatt: All right.

5. Jacobsen: Excellent. Thank you much for your time. Appreciate that.

Guyatt: Pleasure. Take care. Bye for now.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Distinguished Professor, Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact, McMaster University; Co-Founder, Evidence-Based Medicine

[2] Individual Publication Date: October 8, 2019, at http://www.in-sightjournal.com/guyatt-three; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2020, at https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

[3] B.Sc., University of Toronto; M.D., General Internist, McMaster University Medical School; M.Sc., Design, Management, and Evaluation, McMaster University.

[4] Credit: McMaster University.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Distinguished University Professor Gordon Guyatt, OC, FRSC on EBM and Too Much Medicine (Part Three) [Online].October 2019; 21(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/guyatt-three.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2019, October 8). An Interview with Distinguished University Professor Gordon Guyatt, OC, FRSC on EBM and Too Much Medicine (Part Three)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/guyatt-three.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Distinguished University Professor Gordon Guyatt, OC, FRSC on EBM and Too Much Medicine (Part Three). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 21.A, October. 2019. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/guyatt-three>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2019. “An Interview with Distinguished University Professor Gordon Guyatt, OC, FRSC on EBM and Too Much Medicine (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 21.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/guyatt-three.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Distinguished University Professor Gordon Guyatt, OC, FRSC on EBM and Too Much Medicine (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 21.A (October 2019). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/guyatt-three.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Distinguished University Professor Gordon Guyatt, OC, FRSC on EBM and Too Much Medicine (Part Three)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 21.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/guyatt-three>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Distinguished University Professor Gordon Guyatt, OC, FRSC on EBM and Too Much Medicine (Part Three)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 21.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/guyatt-three.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Distinguished University Professor Gordon Guyatt, OC, FRSC on EBM and Too Much Medicine (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 21.A (2019):October. 2019. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/guyatt-three>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Distinguished University Professor Gordon Guyatt, OC, FRSC on EBM and Too Much Medicine (Part Three) [Internet]. (2019, October 21(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/guyatt-three.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

An Interview with Distinguished University Professor Gordon Guyatt, OC, FRSC on Chinese Traditional Medicine and Evidence-Based Medicine (Part Two)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 21.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Seventeen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: October 1, 2019

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2020

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,439

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

Dr. Gordon Guyatt, OC, FRSC is a Distinguished University Professor is the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact at McMaster University. He discusses: chinese medicine and evidence-based medicine; modern science and modern medicine; prognostic models; and PJ Devereaux.

Keywords: Canada, Chinese, Chinese medicine, evidence-based medicine, Gordon Guyatt, medicine.

An Interview with Distinguished University Professor Gordon Guyatt, OC, FRSC on Chinese Traditional Medicine and Evidence-Based Medicine: Distinguished Professor, Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact, McMaster University; Co-Founder, Evidence-Based Medicine (Part Two)[1],[2],[3],[4]

*Footnotes in & after the interview, & citation style listing after the interview.*

*This interview has been edited for clarity and readability.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Now with regards to other methodologies, as you are methodologist, as others are statisticians. I remember taking a directed studies course in the epistemology of psychology, the foundations of psychology.

It was one-on-one with a professor of psychology, he was the chair of the department.  He said, “We sneak in epistemology classes into psychology. We call them statistics and methodology.”

So, in a way, both the statisticians and methodologists in medicine, it makes you a medical technologist. In that sense, what other more speculative epistemologies in medicine are coming down the pipeline for evidence-based medicine, if any.

Distinguished Professor Gordon Guyatt: When I talk epistemology to people, it is all the threats to evidence-based medicine by alternative epistemologies.

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

It the most interesting in that regard, which is a big way the world is changing. It is the prominence of China.

I joke to people that in my research outfit here. There is a Chinese invasion going on. I know, it would take me a minute to try and figure out how many Chinese and Korean students and faculty members, and postdoctoral fellows.

One of the things is, some of them come from traditional Chinese medicine backgrounds. So, there is now this split within Chinese medicine. Even so, there is Western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine, and they have different epistemologies. Even within the traditional Chinese medicine, there are some people gravitating toward the EBM epistemology, and epistemology the way I understand it,

It is the science of how we know things. How do we know that something’s true? How do we know that is not true? So, evidence-based medicine has a particular epistemology, so traditional Western sides had an epistemology that was focused on basic science and biological action now.

EBM has an epistemology that is much more focused on experiments of human beings looking at patient important outcomes, randomized trials, and observational studies. So, that’s ok, little physiology is fine, but that only gets you so far.

How do you know things? You need to test them out in human beings in the real world. So, that is the EBM epistemology for when you go to traditional Chinese medicine. They know it, because it is being done for 6,000 years. 6,000 years of experience cannot be wrong. So, that is a different way of knowing.

Some of my Chinese colleagues are trying to rationalize these two ways of knowing. I may be wrong. I may be pessimistic, but I am telling them, “You’ve got two different epistemologies here, which will never come together. They represent different ways, different ideas of how things in the world work.”

So, that is my most dramatic epistemological issue that is around at the moment.

2. Jacobsen: Historically, we can look at the Western tradition going through its developments and even regression. There was a long period of regression. Where now someone’s frothing at the mouth on the ground, we go, “That person is having an epileptic seizure.”

Go back sufficient number of centuries, and people hadn’t known the answer in their own epistemology, the answers they came to were, “They’re possessed by the devil, or a demon.”

So I mean, that is a massive regression. But things have changed, become more concrete and EBM-based. So, outside of NMAs (Network Meta-Analyses), and the alternatives coming from of East Asia and general, China in particular, are there any others?

Guyatt: So, there is something called, there is a push toward, real world data and big data. You have these huge databases. You can then use machine learning. People think that you can figure out what treatments work out in the real world by looking at this real world data.

We do not think so. So, we point to the problems with this real data. Patients may do better if exposed to one treatment versus the other. But it may not have anything to do with the treatment.

It may be because the people who took the particular treatment, you are destined to do better, they took, and the one example that I… so I’ll give you two. I’ll give you one primitive example, then one that people thought, something works or didn’t. So, the primitive example is, let’s look at hospitalization as an intervention? Does hospitalization make people better?

Well, as it turns out, people die an awful lot in the hospital much more than they die out in the community. Therefore, clearly, hospitals are harmful. So, that is a vivid illustration that because people do badly in this environment, and not so badly in this environment, it may have nothing to do with the environment.

It might be the nature of the people who got into that environment. So, obviously, we know, “No, people do not die in hospitals because hospitals kill you. It is because the people who go to hospitals are sick.”

So, that when everybody sees that it is a mistake to think that hospitals kill people. It is not too difficult. But there was another one, dramatic one of antioxidant vitamins. Vitamin C, antioxidant vitamins, have what we call observational studies, you look at a big population who take antioxidant vitamins.

A big population does not take antioxidant vitamins. You look at what happens. These antioxidant vitamins, if you looked at the report, were supposed to do good things for you. It turned out that when they did the observational studies.

People with the antioxidant vitamins had less cancer and less cardiovascular disease than people who didn’t take antioxidant vitamins. Message, we should all take antioxidant vitamins. It will reduce cancer and cardiovascular disease. Fortunately, they decided to do the randomized trials.

The randomized trials showed no difference between people who took and did not take the antioxidant vitamins in, either cancer and cardiovascular disease, and in some instances, a possible suggestion of harm.

So, it was true that people in the real world who took antioxidant vitamins had less cancer and cardiovascular disease than people who did not. It had nothing to do with the antioxidant vitamins.

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Guyatt: What it has to do with is the nature of the people who took antioxidant vitamins were different than the people who didn’t take antioxidant vitamins, we needed randomized trials to store data. Now, there is a push with this big data of real world data, which will tell us about treatments.

People do not seem to have learned the lesson of the antioxidant vitamins example. Yes, they may do better when they’re exposed or not exposed or more primitively to lessen the hospitalization.

They’re ready to attribute it to the treatment, but it may not be the treatment at all. Sometimes, it is. Sometimes, it isn’t. We would argue that you need randomized trials to be definitive to know whether it is or it isn’t. If we believe those observational studies, we would all be taking antioxidant vitamins, too, and no one would be benefiting.

So that is an interesting epistemological debate now. Can this big data that tell us what’s true? Or we need randomized trials?

3. Jacobsen: What were some of the more overblown claims?

Guyatt: That they can tell you what works and what does not work? That is the fundamental overblown.

Jacobsen: What are some secondary ones?

Guyatt: The other things that it is useful for is, for instance, development of prognostic models. So, it is often important to say, “Is this person at high risk or low risk of something?” The big data potentially can, by having huge amounts of data, they can come up with great prognostic blocks.

So, that is something. The only problematic part is the claim that it can tell us what works and what does not work.

4. Jacobsen: Are there any other areas in professional life that you want to explore?

Guyatt: I can do something more. As I say, I am methodologist, but I work with people who do, fortunately, frontline research. That is practical. I can tell you about one of my colleagues by the name of PJ Devereaux.

10 or 15 years, probably 15 years ago, now, maybe more, PJ, started to focus on non-cardiac surgery. So, people go into surgery. They’re not going for their heart. They’re going for all sorts of other regions.

So, the first big discovery that PJ made was lots of people are having heart attacks. Nobody is noticing. The reason they do not notice is you come out of undergoing this non-cardiac surgery, which has the metaphor of running a marathon.

Most of the people who go to non-cardiac surgery have not been training for six months to run a marathon.

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Guyatt: A matter fact, they may not have been getting out there. Getting out of their seats in front of the television set much, so, now, you put them to a marathon and – lo and behold, perhaps no big surprise – a fair number are having heart attacks that nobody was noticing. Why not?

Because they come out of the operating room, they’re sedated. They’re out of it. If they were awake, they’d be saying, “Doc, I am having this terrible chest pain,” but they can tell you they do not know. They’re asleep or sedated.

What PJ said, “Hey, wait a minute, let’s take everybody or at least these high risk people coming, and let’s do electrocardiograms. Let’s do enzymes, which tells us what’s going on too hard.” He found out that 80% of the people having heart attacks were missed.

If you did the regular clinical day, you were missing 80% of people that had heart attacks. So, that was interesting; that was important. But the issue still remained, we know what to do with you. If you come into the emergency department with a heart attack, we have a hundred thousand people studied in randomized trials.

We know what to do with that. Should we be doing the same thing with people who are having these heart attacks coming out of surgery?

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Guyatt: Maybe, but maybe they’re different. So, now we have to find out. We have to find out what we should do about that. Now, he is done the first big important study showing that if you give these people anticoagulants, blood thinners sometimes we called them, they do better.

The implications of that, I do not think we need to stay informed that the most important things we do for people coming to the emergency room with heart attacks, is give them aspirin and drugs to lower their lipids, the fats in the blood those things. We should be doing those things.

It is clear from the results of PJ’s works that we should be doing that to these people who have these otherwise unrecognized heart attacks after they’re not a cardiac surgeon, so PJ with his work is revolutionizing the perioperative medicine.

Of all the people I work with in terms of doing the biggest impact work with immediate impact in terms of medical care and improving outcomes, PJ’s doing the best stuff.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Distinguished Professor, Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact, McMaster University; Co-Founder, Evidence-Based Medicine

[2] Individual Publication Date: October 1, 2019, at http://www.in-sightjournal.com/guyatt-one; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2020, at https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

[3] B.Sc., University of Toronto; M.D., General Internist, McMaster University Medical School; M.Sc., Design, Management, and Evaluation, McMaster University.

[4] Credit: McMaster University.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Distinguished University Professor Gordon Guyatt, OC, FRSC on Chinese Traditional Medicine and Evidence-Based Medicine (Part Two) [Online].October 2019; 21(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/guyatt-two.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2019, October 1). An Interview with Distinguished University Professor Gordon Guyatt, OC, FRSC on Chinese Traditional Medicine and Evidence-Based Medicine (Part Two)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/guyatt-two.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Distinguished University Professor Gordon Guyatt, OC, FRSC on Chinese Traditional Medicine and Evidence-Based Medicine (Part Two). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 21.A, October. 2019. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/guyatt-two>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2019. “An Interview with Distinguished University Professor Gordon Guyatt, OC, FRSC on Chinese Traditional Medicine and Evidence-Based Medicine (Part Two).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 21.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/guyatt-two.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Distinguished University Professor Gordon Guyatt, OC, FRSC on Chinese Traditional Medicine and Evidence-Based Medicine (Part Two).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 21.A (October 2019). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/guyatt-two.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Distinguished University Professor Gordon Guyatt, OC, FRSC on Chinese Traditional Medicine and Evidence-Based Medicine (Part Two)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 21.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/guyatt-two>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Distinguished University Professor Gordon Guyatt, OC, FRSC on Chinese Traditional Medicine and Evidence-Based Medicine (Part Two)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 21.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/guyatt-two.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Distinguished University Professor Gordon Guyatt, OC, FRSC on Chinese Traditional Medicine and Evidence-Based Medicine (Part Two).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 21.A (2019):October. 2019. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/guyatt-two>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Distinguished University Professor Gordon Guyatt, OC, FRSC on Chinese Traditional Medicine and Evidence-Based Medicine (Part Two) [Internet]. (2019, October 21(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/guyatt-two.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

 

An Interview with Dr. Sarah Lubik on Qualifying and Disqualifying Business Ideas, Advice to Students, and Concluding Thoughts (Part Six)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 21.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Seventeen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: September 22, 2019

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2020

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,844

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

Dr. Sarah Lubik is the Director of Entrepreneurship, SFU Co-Champion, Technology Entrepreneurships Lecturer, Entrepreneurship & Innovation Concentration Coordinator, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She discusses: qualifying or disqualifying a business idea; advice to impart to students; and final feelings and thoughts.

Keywords: Canada, Hariri, Industry, Kurzweil, Sarah Lubik, technology.

An Interview with Dr. Sarah Lubik on Qualifying and Disqualifying Business Ideas, Advice to Students, and Concluding Thoughts: Director of Entrepreneurship, SFU Co-Champion, Technology Entrepreneurships Lecturer, Entrepreneurship & InnovationConcentration Coordinator, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Part Six)[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: These are more or less obscure to someone that doesn’t have their ear to the ground as you do with your position. I want to also go back to the undergraduate students.

When you’re working with them, they come with an idea. What’s the process that you’re running through your mind to qualify or disqualify a particular idea, whether it be a product or a business idea?

They’re pitching to you either for a course project or for some extracurricular thing that they’re trying out. They want to run it by you.

Lubik: I try to keep an open mind about every idea because one of the things that you learn when you spend that time around entrepreneurs is that you haven’t heard of everything yet. So, because it doesn’t make sense to me in my frame of reference doesn’t mean that it’s not a good idea. That’s how I teach and how we teach here.

So, what I’m looking for, have they done their homework? Have they gone out to talk to experts? Have they asked all of the questions that I’ll ask them? So, rather than me making a decision, my job is to help them reach a decision whether they should stop and pivot, stop entirely, go full force, or go but there is a good chance that you can hit a wall.

So, my job is less of a stage gate and more of a guide to that process. The things I would ask is, “Who have you talked to?”, “Why do this?”, “Have you thought of this?”, “What about other markets?”, “What about other people?”, “If you changed something in the health field, have you tried to make life better for doctors? Did you make life harder for nurses?”, “Have you spoken to people who are experts?”

So, I spent a lot of time saying, “Why do you think that?” Withy expertise is in advanced materials and advanced technologies; I can tell you how those work. I can give you an opinion based on my experience that I think ‘that’ will work’, ‘I haven’t seen that work’, and ‘this is why this is setting off a yellow or red light for me.’”

But if it’s a case of ‘I want to find a way to use food that might otherwise be thrown away to keep it out of the landfill and also to do some good with it, whether it’s how to feed other people or whether it’s turn it into a certain product.’

My answer is going to be: “Talk through the logic with me, then I will point you at someone who is in that industry.” Because it’s important for us; not as entrepreneurs, but as coaches, to realize where the limitations of our knowledge are and rather than be the be-all and end-all of entrepreneurship to say, “Why?”

I can guide you through the process, to tackle the challenges and gather all of this information. I will put you in touch with everyone that I know who can validate your assumptions. That can help you validate whether you are on the right path.

But I can still be surprised.  I watched some students presenting and gave them some feedback

I thought, “I probably wouldn’t be going with that target market. They said, “We’re not in the class yet we sold 12.” I was like, “Fair enough, yes, I was wrong. I’m not the target market for this.”

That means my next job is to put them in touch with someone who might know more about that industry.

2. Jacobsen: So, we touched briefly now on what will be considered a reference frame for considering business ideas from students and not taking into account necessarily qualifying or disqualifying something based on the current reference frame, but taking into account would this potentially sell and keeping in mind that I might be wrong. 

What advice, in general, do you try to impart to students either through an example of yourself or through simply telling them a narrative, “This was a successful business. They did X, Y, and Z,” or saying, “This principal will get you pretty far in the innovation and entrepreneurship fields?”

Lubik: It’s a good question. So, in the classes that I teach, part of delivering the content is all about being like a business coach and saying, “Here’s a different framework that you can employ and here’s how it works.”

But one of the things that I try to do, and this comes back to always questioning whether you’re right or not, is I immediately say, “Here’s the place that I found that this doesn’t necessarily work and here’s how I’ve modified the models for myself.” What I’m hoping will happen when I do that, they realize that absolutely nothing should be taken as gospel and never questioned, even the models that we use to explore these things.

For example, there’s the business model canvas, which is like a map of the different parts of your business. It’s taken as a standard tool no matter where you go and where you’re doing entrepreneurship, where the business model canvas is incomplete in my opinion is that it doesn’t asks for your vision for your company.

I ask my students to immediately draw another box, which is, “Tell me, rather than I’m going to make a thing because it’s cool, what problem are you trying to solve? What does the world gain if you’re successful? What is the vision that’s going to drive you?”

So, that’s probably one of the most important things I can impart. Figure out why you’re doing what you’re doing, what drives you and figure out that you can question pretty much everything, and that you should because nothing is perfect and no one is infallible.

3. Jacobsen: Last question. Based on what we’ve discussed today, do you have any thoughts or feelings in conclusion?

Lubik: Yes, one of the most important places that we can invest in is to create a more competitive society as well as a more compassionate society. We should look at the big picture, to create more people with those entrepreneurial skills that have tolerance for ambiguity and a desire to use them to make things better.

Most of the world is made up of people who don’t think like you, problems are only getting more complex, and we need to have the humility to understand that most of those big problems take time to sort out and take A wide range of expertise working together.

I think that’s one of the reasons why as the world changes we need an education that can let us keep up- be it a university education or any type of education –

That to understand how to question yourself, to keep an open mind, to search out people who don’t think like you, to understand what we’ve done in the past, understand how ideas fit together, to understand how you might use cutting-edge knowledge and cutting-edge technology, and also if you can use the resources of the university – whether it’s their networks or their internal resources – to help you to make a difference in the world, whether it’s as an organization or an entrepreneur or social innovator.

The reason entrepreneurship is all about teamwork and impact at SFU is that we all need this mindset and we all need each other if we are going to tackle future opportunities and take on serious challenges.

4. Jacobsen: Thank you for your time, Dr. Lubik.

Lubik: Thank you for the enjoyable conversation.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Director of Entrepreneurship, SFU Co-Champion, Technology Entrepreneurships Lecturer, Entrepreneurship & Innovation Concentration Coordinator, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University.

[2] Individual Publication Date: September 22, 2019: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/lubik-six; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2020: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Dr. Sarah Lubik on Qualifying and Disqualifying Business Ideas, Advice to Students, and Concluding Thoughts (Part Six) [Online].September 2019; 21(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/lubik-six.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2019, September 22). An Interview with Dr. Sarah Lubik on Qualifying and Disqualifying Business Ideas, Advice to Students, and Concluding Thoughts (Part Six)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/lubik-six.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Dr. Sarah Lubik on Qualifying and Disqualifying Business Ideas, Advice to Students, and Concluding Thoughts (Part Six). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 21.A, September. 2019. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/lubik-six>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2019. “An Interview with Dr. Sarah Lubik on Qualifying and Disqualifying Business Ideas, Advice to Students, and Concluding Thoughts (Part Six).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 21.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/lubik-six.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Dr. Sarah Lubik on Qualifying and Disqualifying Business Ideas, Advice to Students, and Concluding Thoughts (Part Six).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 21.A (September 2019). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/lubik-six.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Dr. Sarah Lubik on Qualifying and Disqualifying Business Ideas, Advice to Students, and Concluding Thoughts (Part Six)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 21.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/lubik-six>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Dr. Sarah Lubik on Qualifying and Disqualifying Business Ideas, Advice to Students, and Concluding Thoughts (Part Six)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 21.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/lubik-six.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Dr. Sarah Lubik on Qualifying and Disqualifying Business Ideas, Advice to Students, and Concluding Thoughts (Part Six).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 21.A (2019):September. 2019. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/lubik-six>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Dr. Sarah Lubik on Qualifying and Disqualifying Business Ideas, Advice to Students, and Concluding Thoughts (Part Six) [Internet]. (2019, September 21(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/lubik-six.

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In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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