He thinks chaos magic offers a better explanation than science. Of course, he’s right |309| by Alex Tsakiris | Mar 22 | Others Please Share Share on Twitter Gordon White’s new book Star.Ships seeks to recalibrate our history in light of the falsification of scientific materialism. photo by: Chris Radcliff While putting together this episode of Skeptiko I kept thinking of this terrific new movie I saw recently called “The Big Short.” It’s a Hollywood-ized version of the events that led to the economic crash of 2008. My favorite character in the movie is the socially awkward surgeon-turned-hedge fund manager, Dr. Michael Burry. He’s a great character in the film, and from the interviews I’ve read, he’s quite a character in real life too. As a hedge fund manager, Burry was one of the few people to see the coming collapse of the real estate market and profit from it by betting hundreds of millions of dollars of his fund’s capital on his analysis of the data. In 2005, the US housing market was booming and few thought it would ever end. But Burry followed the data… to wherever it led. He painstakingly analyzing thousands of the mortgages behind the complex financial instruments being sold on Wall Street. He found many of the mortgages being touted as rock-solid, safe investments were in fact really risky. Then, he made his move. So, here’s a guy who followed the data wherever it leads, and it paid off big. That’s a Skeptiko moment. Here’s another. By 2007 the mortgage market was faltering badly. The number of foreclosures was rising dramatically and worry was everywhere. So, in a scene lost to a lot of moviegoers, Burry decides to cash-in his trade. He bet the market was going to crash. The market is crashing. He’s ready to take his hedge fund profits and go home. So, he calls up his investment partner Goldman Sachs and says, “look, it’s obvious the market is crashing; let’s negotiate a price and settle this transaction.” This is commonplace. Goldman Sachs is making the market for this security, it’s assumed they will complete the transaction. But Goldman Sachs doesn’t call him back. Remember, we’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars here, and they’re not calling they’re refusing talk to him. When he finally reaches them they say, “we’re not really sure how to price your investment.” In other words, we’re not ready to acknowledge the fact that the real estate market is crashing even though everyone on earth can see it’s crashing. It’s a great point in the movie because it shows that not only is the mortgage-backed securities system corrupt, but the entire investment banking system is corrupt at a level no one could have imagined. As the story turns out, Goldman Sachs eventually buys back Burry’s position, but only after lining up protecting their losses by finding a greater fool they can sell their position to. The reason I bring all of this up, and why I think it’s relevant to today’s interview with Gordon White, author of a terrific new book Star.Ships, is that, as you know, it’s not enough to just follow the data wherever it leads, you have to trust your analysis of that data even when everyone around you denies it. And like Michael Burry experienced, that’s not always an easy thing to do. This seems a lot like the situation we face with materialism. It’s a crazy idea from almost any angle. This notion that we’re all a biological robots in a meaningless universe; that we have no real love for anyone; that we have no real experience other than these illusions caused by random chemical reaction in our brain, is idiotic. But if you look at mainstream science there’s very little breaking of ranks. Science isn’t returning our phone calls. And that’s what’s so great about Star.Ships. Gordon White starts with what we already know — materialism has been falsified. From there he dares to reexamine and recalibrate what we might find from analyzing all of this data–that is, the body of scientific evidence we’ve collected. As you can tell it’s quite an undertaking, quite bold. But if that’s where the data takes us, somebody has to do it: Gordon White: You can look at history and realize that the same kind of mystery that we can experience or search for today has probably been the defining quest of mankind. I actually think the question rather than the answer is the answer… I find comfort in being able to look back over essentially 70 thousand years of human history and [realize] they’re dealing with it as well. They’re dealing with grief and spirit contact, and telepathy, and a much bigger richer tasting, exciting universe just as we are–or can be. Also, it’s okay if you don’t have the answer because we’ve been looking for 70 thousand years.