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tv   Going Underground  RT  December 25, 2021 11:00pm-11:30pm EST

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me yet after indian the inasmuch mrs gums and son join me every thursday on the alex salmon show and i'll be speaking to guess in the world, the politics sport. business. i'm show business. i'll see you then. me. ah, the us code response hits you. roadblock says test, think about that. he runs out with a daily infection surgeon, 7 fold across some sites. we have a surgeon and we do need more testing centers. i mean, look at these lines. that is a horrible, honestly, you know, most of my friends have to wait on line for hours and hours to get tested. i've had to wait, i'm blind for hours to get tested. russian is foreign ministry says holding nato's expansion will be the top priority at upcoming talks. would be lots. i like united states, a russian any joint gas problem. i've been,
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i'd accusations from countries including ukraine, that it's deliberately pushing up natural gas prices in europe. byte restricting supplied. soon for going on the ground coming. you'll buy interest. if you want to time, you can get the latest episode of sputnik and you'll hobby will be here to take the whole seat in the studio and guide you through the morning global news headline in just about an hour time joined us again with i'm african return senior watching a special christmas day edition of going underground the team and i will be back
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for a brand new season on wednesday, the 12th of january. but until then we'll be showing some of your favorite shows from this season merry christmas over the past week. so called mainstream media has been waking up to the potential extinction of humanity. after landmark, i pcc report issued a warning of hell on earth because of climate change. will this while the new cold war it's up to chances of extinction. but another man made existential threat nuclear annihilation. so is humanities, intelligence, and collective knowledge also the route of its own destruction of the only beneficiaries, the 1000000000 is looking to escape the planet in private rockets. joining me now is renowned for lots for ac grayling whose new book the frontiers of knowledge, explodes, the progress barriers and future of humanity when it comes to enlightenment. thank you so much, professor railing for coming back on. if anyone thinks that they don't need to read this book or you imply that they have the only themselves to be to blame for being blown to bits by append as a nation drone. why, why is this not as it's eric?
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well, because i'm here, i can quote, the unforced always used in his novels, you know, only connect that if you're able to connect things together a bit, make better sense of your much more likely to make good decisions about what to do . you know, there's a wonderful anecdotal about the great physicist the steven weinberg nobel prize winning physicist who when ronald reagan was contemplating putting, and t ballistic missiles up in space. you may remember the kind of defense that was installed on satellites. weinberg said, it doesn't bother me. the president reagan doesn't know any science, but it does bother me that he doesn't know any philosophy and history. of course, the point was precisely that if you don't have context, then put scientific developments into context or that see how science is changing history. if you didn't do that to way joining up, then you're going to get into trouble. well,
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little known fact and i was cradled on the enforced is ne, that's how old i am. pretty we're. but i, i don't know whether the quote from using which you don't use in the book. when he said, i maybe to bulk or full, that all he saw himself was finding a smooth pebble or a prettier shell. the great ocean of truth before him. central to this book is what the more we know the less we know. yes, i mean it's really, it's a striking fact about the history of knowledge, if you like that until the beginning of modern times that he's in the 16th the 17th century, people thought that an increase of knowledge meant a diminishment of ignorance. the morning you the less who wait are involved and pap, satellite, and one day we would know everything. we would understand everything. we have a complete picture of the universe and we would have a grip on the truth. and of course, this is inspired by the model of knowledge, truth and certainty, which is provided by the great religions because the great religion say that they
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have the final closed story about everything. and what's happened since the scientific revolution, many of the 17th century and everything as follows from that is at the more we discover, the more we find out, the more knowledge we accumulate, the more questions or problems it. and it's been like occupy an island which is growing in the ocean and then the big and the i didn't get the longer the shoreline of ignorance becomes. and we realize more and more and more how little we know give you one very striking example of that. if you think of the enormous explosion of scientific knowledge, particle physics, quantum theory at one end of the scale, cosmetology at the other end of the scale, our understanding of the universe just in the last 100 years, huge explosion of knowledge about that. and what is it taught us? it's taught us that we have access to less than 5 percent of the mass density of the universe. less than 5 percent to physical reality is accessible to i think
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investigation more than 95 percent of that. it got matter doc. energy, well, no idea what it is. we can see some of its effects, but we don't know what it is. and so this is a beautiful example of how the more we know the more we realize the last minute. but of course, those who are religious around the world and you've had spectacular debates with maybe maybe actual clergymen, i will say, you know, ever since the counselor nicely or whatever, they always said the bible or the koran later in later century. these are not the true the, the, they open up questions and then there's a huge amount of ecumenical debate. is it really that new, the 5 percent versus the 95 percent dog matters in that comparable to the divinity of christ and whether he's 3 people and so on. well, and you know, the easiest thing in the world is to get mad in the theological controversy here, but you do have to remember that even at the bay, dawn of the age 1617th century,
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the church, the catholic church says enter it quite literally pushing people to death for life excepting the literal truth of scripture, you may remember that gala was put on trial for saying that the move so flies around the sun, and he had to deny it in order to save his life. so i mean, to that extent and raised the old idea that the truth about things that the complete picture was available to us in our traditions. that was the thing that was revolutionized really by the rise of science and philosophy. and in the early modern period, we didn't well now, which is the inheritor of that very healthy kind of skepticism inquiry asking questions, probing not carrying a desire to believe, to the world and looking for ways of justifying them, but taking out curiosity to the world. and finding out what tells us about it
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itself. but of course, some would say that those are catholic elite that we're prosecuting galileo catholic elite that we're sending the message now. nowadays, people say that science funding, obviously, and you do broach, the topic elite is being skewed towards elite game. is there that much of a change that we have? it's changing the way science is invested in. and of course, over time we've had, i know, class managers in this book as well. i should say. i think there is a huge difference between the people who take eating roles in scientific work and discovery. and people who occupy hierarchies and religious traditions. and the big difference is that in the science hierarchy, if there is such a thing, the idea of critical skepticism, that idea of challenging people's results of demanding that they be replicated. company of different labs, for example,
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checking on the results of all the lapse of the great competition there is to get the answer right and you know, to get the facts settled. that is very healthy aspect of the way that just science develops. it to benefit to this tremendous dialectic, if you like, of, of criticism, investigation of scrutiny of results. and that is something which very difficult to do if you, in a tradition where you have a center received truths. and virtue is to believe them, accept them and live by them. so a very, very different kind of mindset. i mean, i know everyone relies on quantum mechanics for mobile phones in the positioning and einstein's theories. but i mean, is it really replication no one at school? if they get the experiment, they come up with a different value for the percentage of oxygen or something in some way experiment is going to go. we've disproved a huge amount and with the higgs both on its own. isn't it?
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if they hadn't found it, they would have just said, well, we'll keep looking for it. it's not that it doesn't exist. isn't there something on to logical about that? you know, i can tell you an interesting little anecdote about the space on, in connection with us. you just said that a good friend of mine is one of the lead time just sits on the lot of children. and i know he was on the contact me on someone right experiment. that's one of the true experiments of is looking for the he's itself. and when, when they announced that they were satisfied, they'd spotted it. this is in 2012 after a number of years of going over and over and over the results and being absolutely sure that they really got it right. i said to him, it must have been a wonderful occasion. you must have felt so exhilarated and indeed the consequences are for him personally y gracie was knighted and you know, 100 tremendous metal and so forth. but he said to me, said oh yes, yes, yes, it was great on that day. but you know, what? if we hadn't found it,
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it would have been so exciting because it would have meant that there's a whole lot of different physics out there that we needed to look for. now, is that attitude is that receptive? is that one that, that 1st, that hunger for finding out more on for digging into difficult mysteries of nature and the universe or of the past for that matter or human nature. which is a distinctive of the very best of our enquiries. not just in natural science, but i think historians who look at antiquity and try to make sense of how things work for people then, or people to look at the brain and how it functions and into human psychology. these are exhilarating, exhilarating inquiries. and you know, it's like opening christmas presents a 2nd a parcel because you don't know what's inside. but you do know that whatever is inside is going to be part, at least of an answer to a question that you've got. and i should just say the range in this book in physics
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archaeology neuroscience is it's all this summarizes summarizing the field actually before we return to the maybe the class elements and the what it means today. i mean, just give you talk about ogre it in syria. i would say normally series in the news because we have a british in united states backing against the government by give islamist and so on. and meanwhile, on the ground in syria, in recent years, we've discovered amazing things about the history of civilization. just tell me a little bit about that. yes, you know, it's a very striking thought for me about my grandfather and sell some elderly father said my father was born my grandfathers. i go and i was born in my father this quote. so i'm able to say that my grandfather was at school in the 1817 and 18 eighty's seem sort of astonishing. and he would have known nothing of what we now know about the past. because all the discoveries made about syria and iraq,
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about the presence of mesopotamia, the great civilizations that flourished the invention of writing the origin of the teacher. and so many technological advances, all that was actually on until the 2nd half of the 19th century. we had to rochester, we had the books of the hebrew bible, the old testament christians call it back all wrapped up in legend at home. but that is regarding the semi legendary is as well. so before about the 8th and 9th century b, the past as if there was any sense of that at all was just really wrapped in the midst of knowing. but just saw your g of the middle east from around about mid of the 19th century has revealed to us quite literally, thousands of years of civilizational development in mr. batavia also in a rep and i'm civilization in this valley. the of the civilization of china
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learning much, much more about egypt and now civilization taking us back. we are 4000 years before rogers and the old testament. and that's pretty remarkable because i only got a ball rolling and the ball rolling was a discovery in the whole near the sheet period. so, you know, they knew stone age and the development and sacraments unsettled agriculture. and then of course, the discovery of human ancestry taking us back tens of thousands of years, hundreds of thousands, even indeed. now was the discovery of generations. 6000000 years ago when the very, very earliest ancestors of the human 9 died. but the other eggs, chimpanzees, and says in this a startling, in the way, in which time and the past has opened up so dramatically and show tremendously just very, very recently transforming our view of ourselves and now, well, i mean, we're really in, in a way, i personally, you can see i'm, i find it so fascinating,
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a rating and feel that if people had a sense of it, they understood it would make them sense their own place in the universe for all the different things. i mean, i'm not sure what they wore plain pilots were thinking when they were bombing these areas. recently it has to be said as real stuff. you know, more in the front years of knowledge after this, your break in orland, gas, manufacturing, electricity, telecom transportation, all of them now have higher t type of infrastructure connected to the internet. so clearly realizing that it's disruptive potential so that those countries can't ignore it because it threatens national security issues. but if we take the nato and you countries,
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virtually all of them subscribed to certain doctrines and maintains cyber task forces. they are a cyber army on behalf of a country that's their job. so what we've got to do is identify the threats that we have. it's crazy confrontation, let it be an arms race is on offense. very dramatic development, only personally and getting to resist. i don't see how that strategy will be successful, very critical time time to sit down and talk with welcome back. i'm still here with philosopher in public intellectual professor. ac grayling discussing his new work. the front years of knowledge. there will be some view as maybe we're in the american south right now watching this,
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and they're not taking their vaccinations against groan of ours and so on. who will be subjected to a different version of history financed by particular interests. would you do? do? mentioned the book, what are the dangers of this as this amazing revolution and thought has been uncovered and discovered and invented? re enter the human mind. and human society is like, dear logical strasser, less of geological structure. and they primitive, very and, and act to take quick, easy answers and superstitious views of the world down in the more or primitive, less of our understanding. and then increasingly psyche more questioning, slightly more open or skeptical and more rational i think. and the concept of rationality is very important here, because as i say in the book, if you look at the word rational, you see the 1st part of it is ratio,
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which means proportion. and so a rational belief is one which is proportional to the evidence you have for it, or the strength of the reasons that you can offer for it. and so that tends to be at a rather level of the general structure. people and society is in groups. so then societies find themselves at different levels of this geological lab, which is why we, you know, have rocket figures in the moon now. and people are still with estrogen forecasts here in 2021. so can, it's not surprising in a way that there is this kind of mixture and it's a mixture because history is always on the move, the past is always dying and the new is always being born. if i remember correctly . and fact, when i was, i'm thinking a bit about this interview today. i remember that you chose is never graphed your dream of the day novels. i think you are that you chose to remark from
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graham she, i seem to recall. and we, she talks about how the old is died and the new is not good for. and i mean that middle period that think you called in a kind of interregnum that there is complexity and difficulty this, this, you know, it's problematic. the present is always problematic. in that way is recess, this admixture of the old and the new so entire chris might want. it's not because the van, no, they are traditional belief, might use very, very modern means to carry out some act based on that traditional belief. and that is the mixture that we're in at the moment, and it can sometimes be of a dangerous mixture. i mean, i, we don't to go through breaks it again. there were complex breaks, a tear argument and complex remain, or argument famously. but how is it that if, as you say, things become more and more a spectral, in terms of our understanding and they are questioning of the world and the universe has political,
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some elements of political theory appeared to get more certain certainly amongst maybe it's just the read the revocation of it, but certainly say russia isn't bad, china's bad as was biden, would say, change of it's the trump thing expert said. what, why is this questioning in intellectual circles accompanied more certainty? i arguably amidst petitions. you know, there is a very, very direct relationship between increasing complexity and increasing simplicity or the propensity to reach for simple quick on since the more complex things are, the more a lot of people are driven to look for something simple, black and white. this is a you know, an example of how it is that good. it's just one dimension isn't like, you know, christian fundamentalism in the southern states in the u. s. funding mechanism. anyone can persist. it's because you can tell and anybody the
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fundamental team, it's doctrines and funds on any of the major religions in less than half an hour. but it takes a bit longer than that to understand physics. and this is a really good example of how if understanding of the world is increasingly complex, there's a lot to know a lot to understand when people will reach for the simple ounces. human beings like a clear story, appear in the beginning, middle, and then and modern explanation to what makes sense. they want to have something and they belong to. and the simple answer is the one that you reach for when you start feeling it, you're getting lost in the complex, in palm shapes that happens as well. so, you know, if you think of a system like the one in the u. k, which like canada and united states, america and india, or have the 1st 13 system. this is a terrible, terrible energy system because car from the may on democratic is going to provide
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for minority based government. it also means that you kind of get to political conscience and you never get her eyes ation. you get a, you know, 10 kind of opposition to use that results in slogans. and in simplistic arguments. you don't get didn't get people trying to compromise or cheryl work together, but you get division b, c s that is most dramatic in the united states or where the divide between the republican party, the democratic party is so bitter and so deep as to be frightening and we've seen it say worse than the trump. yes. that. so in the case of something like branch, it's now going to be perfectly neutral about it and tell you that i think it's the most disastrous idea. british politics of a 1000 years have been in the case of a phenomenon, which is turns back on the idea that if people are worried about all sorts of things in their lives,
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you can find one simple wouldn't be fugitive explanation for blame it on the on the u. s. take back sovereignty and we saw these problems out of the way one, if you can do that. and if you can use these incredible new techniques of communication, because i think social media, the internet, whatsapp and google and facebook and so on, have been very, very malign influences on politics. they great from the things by the way, that great for the sort of democratic anger of conversation, people sharing news and views and putting people in touch with one another. yes. but they're also really bad aspects of them because you can micro target people with false messages that other people can see and call out. sure they direct them for the elections. i'll give you for that. but then it, forrest johnson or donald trump, maybe in 2024. i mean, maybe if you read that, they read the book, then they would come out with the alarming idea that they're on the right path. because this questioning of knowledge of companies seeking for simplicity. so you'd
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be, they're going obviously, i don't agree with it, but johnson get more union. jack's get flags around, you have more simple messages. people are looking for answers, and this is a good political, machiavellian strategy. it is that it's a rich evidence. he has worked in recent years. yes. but i switched around what you've just said. it's a i'm telling you young center wrote up more flags. i've been telling everybody else to watch that back when johnson start turning out more flags have to go see trying to do them. so you know that, that i suppose is the message. but what we want to be, what we want to be doing, and that this is a point that i wrote the book for parking important point is we should make ourselves in the church, across the fields and then fired, and in particular. so then we can make ourselves better at thinking theory
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critically and evaluating what people claim people tend to know. because we can make some connections we can see across the landscape of understanding of our world . doesn't mean that we will have to become part of the system. what would become ancient historian, so anything but will then each of us needs, of course, on specialism we need to kind of the skill in life that may be in our careers. we should also have this general literacy, and i think our education or the from the verification of systems like it lets us down in the u. k. we start to specialize after the age of 16 after g. c. s e. we do few subjects at a level and you might be one subject to university and this is not great. and the old model, the one which is kind of been chipped away as a lot in the us, is that you provider, general education. and then people specialize on the basis of that interests and talents afterwards. but if you, if you specialize to early people,
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new sites of the context of the wider and landscape of things into which what they do fits and nash i think is in pounds. it's any part of a complicated story of this day. i know you talk, you talk to the bus or this, this size culture debate from seabreeze, though, is alive and well. it hasn't changed. yeah. i mean, i was talking about history. you, you talk about christopher hill who's and i'll give you a marginalized figure of the grade book. sister is story of it. ok, i mean, i was told, there was a civil war here. he talked about an english revolution. is that an example of the kind of way history is skewed? it's a very, very good example of the difference between revisionism of a background in history where like holocaust and i was that say. and i'm thinking about the past in much more exact and creative ways to
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try to make sense of looking at it in from the point of view of different frames. and what christopher hill did, i think it really is significant, is that he noticed that if you put the english civil war, what happened, charles and 1st and parliament and the rest into this longer context of european history. you see, it is the 1st one of the great revolutions. so we think of the french revolution, american revolution, we think that they both mentioned bolshevik revolutions. and indeed the revolution some folks as well that the enlightened represent. and you see this as part of very, very significant and instructive process. so he was able to push it into and you know, context which makes a c, h, a fresh and interesting the fresh, using this perspective that a map just interpretation of history office. that's very valuable,
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i cited in the book as a, as a way of showing how revisionism in history that ish revising our understanding. if something is different from historical denial and can be used to inform us much, much more sensitively about things. another example i use, of course, is the australian setting, when the cyclists came with, you know, after captain. in the end of the 18th century, they were guarded australia as well, sometimes called a terran, earliest an empty land. you just take a stand for them, for the taking, and it's only very recently that some historians and australia are said i on, you know, it was a hand with many, many different kinds of people living in it. and in fact, it was an invasion. it wasn't a settlement and it was of a violent one because there was a long drawn out war between the sexes and the aborigines, which only very recently ended. now that is a way of revising our view of history,
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understanding things differently and trying to do something better now and in future on the basis of that better understand. and in this dichotomy between revisionism and denial is i'm is morris johnson. on the denial list side, well, i don't know what course johnson's views about history. i have a very, very 90 sinking feeling about his views of the present to say, i feel, well, he does, he does. but i think i may be frank and rude at the same time about it. i think it's because he would like to model himself on judgment some way. and so he's, he's a kind of, well the shadow official version of churchill where it's ironic, deeper view of trying to show who had many, you know, characteristics which we entered. my, for example is covered in this, during the 2nd law. but prior to it for decade after decade, he was regarded quite rightly by most of his contemporaries and absolutely you know,
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boss, do it. and so some people say because he was so unreliable, politically st. sites and etc. so maybe bars something has something similar to him in that perspective for as a great, thank you. thank you very much. that's it for one of your favorite shows of the last season. we'll be back on wednesday, the 12th of january, but until then stay safe. and you can watch all our interviews by subscribing to our youtube channel and falling us on all our social media. ah ah .

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