Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Goose Stepping Toward Despotism

The author of the article below claims he was contacted by a whistleblower at DHS about an internal memo reportedly issued yesterday by head of TSA Janet Napolitano (which I copy here in case it disappears).  The article's author transcribes the memo to avoid prosecution for publishing a classified document, and I offer these bits:
..."any person, group or domestic alternative media source" that actively objects to, causes others to object to, supports and/or elicits support for anyone who engages in such travel "disruptions" at U.S. airports (as defined above) in response to the enhanced security procedures, the [applicable DHS administrative branch] is instructed to identify and collect information about the persons or entities, and submit such information in the manner outlined [within this directive]...
You must pay attention to the phrases "objects to" and "causes others to object to" and think about what that could mean in almost any context, not just airport security.  I believe the author is telling us that these are the exact words in the memo. 
...individuals who engaged in such activity at screening points, it instructs TSA operations to obtain the identities of those individuals and other applicable information and submit the same electronically to the Homeland Environment Threat Analysis Division, the Extremism and Radicalization branch of the Office of Intelligence & Analysis (IA) division of the Department of Homeland Security.

...As I have written before, it has nothing to do with security and everything to do with control.
Indeed. Fundamentally, it isn't about security, it's about conditioning us (in the words of that arch-statist, B.F. Skinner) to accept the idea that we have no rights the State may not abridge at their whim.

We will have to take notice of what they do with their information.  Call me a reactionary, but I think that a society that comes to routinely accept daily violations of their Constitutional rights under the First and Fourth Amendments--at the least--is a society headed full-speed into complete despotism. And our leaders know it.


Department of Homeland Security is not only prepared to enforce the enhanced security procedures at airports, but is involved in gathering intelligence about those who don't

DHS & TSA: Making a list, checking it twice
By Doug Hagmann
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Following the publication of my article titled “Gate Rape of America,” I was contacted by a source within the DHS who is troubled by the terminology and content of an internal memo reportedly issued yesterday at the hand of DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. Indeed, both the terminology and content contained in the document are troubling. The dissemination of the document itself is restricted by virtue of its classification, which prohibits any manner of public release. While the document cannot be posted or published, the more salient points are revealed here.

The memo, which actually takes the form of an administrative directive, appears to be the product of undated but recent high level meetings between Napolitano, John Pistole, head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA),and one or more of Obama’s national security advisors. This document officially addresses those who are opposed to, or engaged in the disruption of the implementation of the enhanced airport screening procedures as “domestic extremists.”

The introductory paragraph of the multi-page document states that it is issued “in response to the growing public backlash against enhanced TSA security screening procedures and the agents conducting the screening process.” Implicit within the same section is that the recently enhanced security screening procedures implemented at U.S. airports, and the measures to be taken in response to the negative public backlash as detailed [in this directive], have the full support of the President. In other words, Obama not only endorses the enhanced security screening, but the measures outlined in this directive to be taken in response to public objections.

The terminology contained within the reported memo is indeed troubling. It labels any person who “interferes” with TSA airport security screening procedure protocol and operations by actively objecting to the established screening process, “including but not limited to the anticipated national opt-out day” as a “domestic extremist.” The label is then broadened to include “any person, group or alternative media source” that actively objects to, causes others to object to, supports and/or elicits support for anyone who engages in such travel disruptions at U.S. airports in response to the enhanced security procedures.

For individuals who engaged in such activity at screening points, it instructs TSA operations to obtain the identities of those individuals and other applicable information and submit the same electronically to the Homeland Environment Threat Analysis Division, the Extremism and Radicalization branch of the Office of Intelligence & Analysis (IA) division of the Department of Homeland Security.

For “any person, group or domestic alternative media source” that actively objects to, causes others to object to, supports and/or elicits support for anyone who engages in such travel “disruptions” at U.S. airports (as defined above) in response to the enhanced security procedures, the [applicable DHS administrative branch] is instructed to identify and collect information about the persons or entities, and submit such information in the manner outlined [within this directive].

It would appear that the Department of Homeland Security is not only prepared to enforce the enhanced security procedures at airports, but is involved in gathering intelligence about those who don’t. They’re making a list and most certainly will be checking it twice. Meanwhile, legitimate threats to our air travel security (and they DO exist) seem to be taking a back seat to the larger threat of the multitude of non-criminal American citizens who object to having their Constitutional rights violated.

As I have written before, it has nothing to do with security and everything to do with control.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Earth to TSA, you have a Message

Reading this story, I saw
''We're fed up and we're not going to take it any more,'' said Brandon Macsata, executive director of the Association for Airline Passenger Rights. ''We can remain safe as a society without having to be subjected to intrusive screenings that violate our privacy rights.''
Hell, not just our "privacy" rights -- how about the entire goddamned Constitution.
''We've got to see some action,'' Senator Hutchison said. ''The outcry is huge.''
...Supporters are planning opt-outs at 11 US airports, including New York's JFK, Dallas, Denver and Phoenix, which are among the nation's 10 busiest airports.
Thirty groups, including the Consumer Federation of America and the Consumer Travel Alliance, signed a letter earlier this year calling for the TSA to stop using the body scanners, and the Electronic Privacy Information Centre is suing in the Federal Court to block their use.
Unions representing 14,800 pilots at AMR Corp's American Airlines and US Airways Group Inc have urged members to avoid the scanners, while the Air Line Pilots Association and the Association of Flight Attendants, which together represent 103,000 workers, have pressed officials for a separate screening...
Let's re-visit our decaying, imperialist past, shall we, and look once more at the Fourth Amendment:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
I thought once again of one of my favorite movie speeches of all time, and how completely relevant it is at this juncture in time and history:

After publishing this, my wife thought I ought to post the full speech...

Update: A reader sent me this, too:

And this...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Voulez vous coucher avec moi, TSA?

Really, you can't make this merde up. Pardon my French -- sometimes English doesn't capture the essence well enough.

"Forget John Tyner’s “don’t touch my junk” experience at the hands of TSA goons in San Diego recently, another victim of Big Sis was told by TSA officials that it was now policy to go even further when dealing with people wearing loose pants or shorts.

"Going through airport security this past weekend, radio host Owen JJ Stone, known as “OhDoctah,” related how he was told that the rules had been changed and was offered a private screening. When he asked what the procedure entailed, the TSA agent responded, “I have to go in your waistband, I have to put my hand down your pants,” after which he did precisely that."
When I was 5 years old, I was in the backseat of the car as my parents were driving somewhere. As little kids are wont to do, I was looking for attention from Mom and Dad, and because I was playing with some bugs in the back, I made a little rhyme:
Uncles and Ants,
     Ants and Uncles,
            The Ants go down your Uncle's pants.
My parents thought that was hilarious for some reason. But now it's the scrofulous hemiptera -- or perhaps, arachnids -- of the TSA that are going down our pants.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Stripping the Strippers of their Searches

Reading this story and others...
"Pilots and passengers rail at new airport patdowns"   

I got to thinking how the problem might be solved and have a proposal to put forward.  
I don't think anyone would disagree you simply must have some kind of security screening, or else air travel would have to shut down.  (If you have a counter opinion, I'd like to hear it.) The two questions are:  A) what is the legal justification, and B) how you do it?

A legal justification is tricky in itself, but along the lines of going into any private office building or government building -- they have a right to screen you anyway they want if you want to go in.  And you should be able to decline, though it's clear to me they *don't* have the authority to detain you without cause, handcuff you to a chair, rip up your ticket, and abuse you in any way in the absence of any evidence you've committed a crime, like they did with that female reporter yesterday.  And I would argue the airlines (or whoever owns the airport terminal) have a right to say what the security procedures will be, and to reject them, on their property.

That's not what we have, of course. In my opinion, the TSA as administered is in gross violation of the Constitutional guarantees of due process and presumption of innocence, among others, and they operate like Nazi thugs--literally.

There's a host of related legal problems because of the mixed economy we live in (to use Ayn Rand's term for a mixture of freedom and controls). No government agency should be operating airports, for instance, like City of Denver where I live.  But that's a side point I'm not trying to address.  As Ayn Rand said in "The New Left" in regard to student protesters taking over administration buildings of colleges, the college administrators of public schools had a right to call in the police to evict them.

It's complicated even more when you're in a state of war.  A true state of war is an extraordinary circumstance in which the government *is* entitled to do extraordinary things to protect the nation.  Normally that's a transient inconvenience, but we are in a bastard situation where there is no declared state of war, and yet we are at war with no really determined effort to end it as it needs to be ended -- destroying the states overseas that sponsor, promote, fund and train terrorists. 

So what's happening in our airports is like a mild state of undeclared martial law extending into perpetuity, and the government has de facto seized extra-Constitutional dictatorial powers.  That it hasn't been extended as much outside the airports is only an issue of time;  they've usurped the authority.

(Well, they *have* extended that authority outside of airports--every form of electronic communication in this country is now under their monitering and control, and they also have authority for warrantless bugging and
tracking of your every move via your cellphone, or tracking devices installed secretly on your car, though some of that is being contested in the courts right now.)

Given that context, and the fact that ending the terrorist threat is a much longer term solution (ie, persuading people of the necessity to wage real war against the states that sponsor terrorism), what can we do to either end the violations of our rights, or minimize them in the near-term?

Let's remember a few facts:

  • Terrorists are almost exclusively muslim.
  • Terrorists are mostly of descent from the Middle East, Iran, or Pakistan.
  • They are usually men, though women have been used.
  • They are usually between ages of 16 and 50, and most are in their twenties, but even young children have been used.
  • Terrorists usually associate with other terrorists.
  • Bombs have been hidden in shoes, underwear, phony brassieres, stomachs, rectums and breast implants.
  • Bombs, knives and guns have been inserted into luggage, baby carriages and pockets of unsuspecting travelers.
  • Bombs, knives and guns can be concealed in walking canes, laptop computers, PDAs, cellphones, hats, belt buckles, books, soda cans, bottled water, and any other article you can imagine.
  • Bombs can be assembled on board an aircraft from innocent parts carried aboard by different people, even from different flights.
  • A very small amount of plastic explosives can destroy an airliner--say, one cubic inch of C4.
  • Airliners are and remain the target of first choice for terrorists to achieve maximum dramatic effect.
  • Terrorists are usually very nervous and suspicious and study people around them for threats.
  • They get even more nervous when you ask them basic questions about their background and place of origin.
  • They aren't likely to do well when asked questions about a phony background.
Given all that, you would have some idea who to target for a closer look and talk to--rather than screening every single person with a body cavity search, including crippled old war veterans from Phoenix or housewives from Houston or 2 year old babys from Boise.
Given that airline terrorism is a fact, whether muslim inspired (99%) or other (hijackers like D.B. Cooper, for instance), in the context of that threat, and the fact that at this moment in time we *need* security, what can we do to bring some sanity to how it's administered?

My proposal is this:  the new Republican House should sponsor a law to reign in the extra-Constitutional actions of the TSA, while providing authorization to bypass existing legal proscriptions against "discrimination" (ie, "to observe a difference") so they can implement a screening system more like the Israelis, who profile to single out "travelers of interest". The law should also give airlines veto power over excessive screening procedures, and place legal bounds on TSA authority, including penalties for TSA employees who go beyond that authority.

This proposal wouldn't eliminate the fact that some people would get asked aside for questioning based on their background and associates, or their country of origin or religion.  But it would prohibit TSA from
coercing, restraining, intimidating and confiscating property in the absence of any evidence of a crime.

The standard should be the same as any private office building:  if you want to come in, we have to ask you to submit to X;  if you decline, you must leave.

Since the TSA are a police agency, they still possess the legal authority to observe evidence of a crime and make arrests if evidence is discovered.  That is valid under any objective system of government.

What's better about my proposal over the existing system? 

1.)  It asserts the legal bounds of the authority of the TSA to detain people, and punishes TSA personnel who violate those bounds.
2.)  It provides airline and airport authorities the power to reject overly intrusive screening measures such as "naked body scanners".
3.)  It provides legal authority to override irrational court decisions and legal statutes that prevent police agencies from using legitimate and logical techniques of profiling to identify potential criminals or terrorists based on information at their disposal.
4.)  It greatly reduces the inconvenience to 99% of the population while staying within (arguably) Constitutional limits of authority.
5.)  It would actually improve security.
It's not a perfect solution--that would require eliminating the governments overseas that sponsor, promote, fund and train terrorists--but it would be a big step away from the police state we are now racing towards, and it would restore some Constitutional standards, some decency, and a more objective rule of law.

Friday, November 5, 2010

How to Rig an Election

This sort of thing is why I was drinking beer and taking aspirin on election night. In the story below, you've got to think hard about what's really going on here...
  1. On the day of the election, there was a SHORTAGE of official ballots.
  2. People went to polls and couldn't vote.
  3. The call went out for emergency PHOTOCOPIES of ballots so people could vote.
  4. The Democrats requested that voting hours be EXTENDED for more voting.
  5. Many people voted with the photocopied ballots, and no name on the ballot.
  6. The Democratic candidate is down 8000 votes.
  7. "Bags" of ballots get suddenly found.
  8. Democrats call to have people deputized to count the ballots.
  9. Guaranteed, it will be found that many (all?) of those ballots were photocopied.
You see how they gamed it? They made sure there was a shortage of ballots before the election, and everything else fell into place for manufacturing ballots after the election. If you think I'm being paranoid and conspiratorial, you are living in a fantasy world. The low-level hacks who work for the political parties spend considerable time scheming to concoct methods of vote fraud that appear innocent or are unprovable.

Similar things are done in other states. They did a variation on this in Minnesota to give Al Franken the election there two years ago--whenever the votes were shy, they just manufactured and "found" a few more ballots. Just enough to put Franken over the top.

Of course, what Harry Reid did in Nevada was way over the top. He manufactured an unbelievable number of votes out of thin air. I'm guessing on the order of 100,000. He reversed his polls by 9 points in one day. In my opinion, he did it so egregiously to make a point -- don't mess with him, he's got to the power to do whatever he wants. (This told me he is much more, incredibly more corrupt and dishonest than I suspected. Downright evil, I'd have to classify him. The kind of guy who would be a lawyer to Al Capone.)

When I voted, by the way, there was a guy who was trying to vote twice at the (almost deserted) polling place -- he claimed he'd gotten a mail-in ballot he hadn't sent in. To their credit, the people at the polling place handled him pretty well. There was also a woman who was trying to vote in two counties. This is another shortcoming of not requiring ID and not requiring every voter to have ONE physical address. In past elections, by the way, I've also found, when I got to the polling place, that my registration had magically disappeared, so I couldn't vote.

If the Republican's had any brains at all, they'd recognize that in any race to stuff the ballot box, they are on the losing end. At the top of their agenda should be election reform -- to nationally mandate identification for voting with some kind of uniform system. Had this been done, they wouldn't have lost more than a few seats in this election, including the Senate seat in Colorado.

(Why don't they do it? For sure, they are guilty, too, and my theory is they are afraid of how the chips may fall against them by making the system more honest -- net gain or loss? But I think they are already losing big. They've got nothing to lose.)

One idea I've had is to make ballot receipts mandatory, so a recount can match a ballot with what a voter actually voted -- and require the matching be done in a recount. It could be online. A second idea is to give every voter *two* ballots (say, carbon copy) and have him send them to two separate locations for counting (by mail or other). Both have to match for a vote to count, and if only one gets counted, the election office has to contact the voter to get it straightened out. So what if it takes a week or a month to count ballots, as long as it's done right? By this system, you could do a lot more mail-in ballots and early voting, and let voters check their ballots online.

One thing that should definitely be disposed of, though, is all those electronic voting machines. They're designed like a crooked slot machine. The only way electronic voting should be allowed is with some kind of verification system right back to the voter. You've simply got to have a way for a voter to verify that the vote he cast is the one that was counted.

But in any system, you've got to get the human element out of the counting as much as possible. (I can think of much better systems, by the way, using mathematical methods of error correction and cryptography, but too hard to push through.)

More could be done, but it doesn't require a lot of effort to eliminate 90% of the fraud. The disenfranchisement by fraud that goes on this country right now is becoming staggering, and we're descending to the level of a banana republic.


Bag of Uncounted Ballots Found in Bridgeport

BY Bob Connors
In what has become one of the stranger twists in an already bizarre Governor's race, a bag of uncounted ballots was found in Bridgeport Thursday night.
Republican officials were approached by Democratic operatives and told about the surprise ballot bag, according to Bridgeport GOP Chairman Marc Delmonico.

“It adds to the inconsistencies from the Democratic Party in Bridgeport. It just keeps adding to it,” said Delmonico. “There’s nothing odd about it; there’s certainly nothing missing about it,” said Ed Maley, a representative for the Democratic Party.

Delmonico said Democrats asked to have several people deputized to count the uncounted ballots, but Republicans objected, claiming that wasn't proper procedure in the vote-counting process.

“These ballots are getting extraordinarily heightened scrutiny. They’re being dealt with in a public fashion, an open public process so that everyone can witness it,” said Mark Anastasi, the city attorney for Bridgeport.

Instead the GOP asked police to take custody of the bag of ballots until the matter could be sorted out.

The votes could be pivotal in the race for Governor, in which neither candidate has conceded defeat.

Wednesday, Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz declared Democrat Dan Malloy the "unofficial" winner, but numbers released by her office show Republican Tom Foley still leading Malloy by more than 8,000 votes. Those totals do not include any of the vote totals from the City of Bridgeport.

Bridgeport has become the focal point of what has turned into a circus of an election.

A ballot shortage led to long lines on Election Day, and a judge issuing an order to keep polls open until 10 p.m. Tuesday, two hours longer than every other town in the state.

Because of the shortage, many of the votes cast Tuesday were done so on photocopied ballots.

Election officials began counting those ballots just after 5 p.m. Thursday when the new bag of uncounted ballots was discovered.

Bysiewicz said she didn't expect the vote totals from Bridgeport to be submitted to her until Friday at the earliest.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ephemeral Comments on the Inscrutable Nature of Whatever

This isn't for a general audience, but I can't resist posting since, A) I haven't posted anything of substance in awhile, B) I love my own prose too damned much, and C) I find the question of the problem of induction ("how do you know what you know") fascinating, having thought about it for, oh, about 2.5 decades.

My comment started as a response to a message concerning the history of science propounded in the book "The Logical Leap", by David Harriman. For the non-Objectivist audience, this book was done closely in association with Leonard Peikoff. For the non-specialist, I won't expound on the nuances of these parties, just noting that McC is a historian, DH is physicist (not a PhD, though), and LP is a noted philosopher.

Most of those who read this blog (our readership is small, but distinguished) know that there's a controversy between these parties concerning the book, and I was writing to express my agreement with the assessment that there appears to be some kind of personal animus on both sides related to a mildly critical review McCaskey placed on Amazon which led to an angry response from LP. To messenger's credit, when most people were dwelling on the titillatory aspects of the personality conflict, she dug up some real facts of the scientific history in question. (After initially posting the message, I've redacted it, after being reminded by my wife that permission to forward freely is not quite the same as permission to post publicly.  It's not essential to the discussion here anyway.)

My own interest rests primarily with the thesis of the book--a claim to have solved the age-old "Problem of Induction", which I've addressed previously. The history is interesting, but whether Galileo did or did not actually drop balls from the Tower of Pisa has little real effect on Newton's own work in developing a theory of gravitation (which is ground zero for the conflict between McC, DH and LP). I've long had issues with what Harriman has been propounding about how we know we have a valid induction, going back to his first lectures, circa early 1990's.

I heard him talk a couple years ago and he had changed some of his more egregious scientific views relating to denying certain experimental facts about quantum mechanics (which he acknowledged, to his credit--his perspective had been more of a defense of mechanistic determinism), but I found I still had a major issue with the proffered solution for the problem of induction, and I asked him a direct question about it in the Q&A which he didn't answer to my satisfaction.

I recently read his book to see if it could shed any more light, and my problem with the solution put forward is simply this: it demands omniscience. There is no question about this. The formula emulates Ayn Rand's outline for concept formation, but the thesis (to my reading -- it's poorly summarized and scattered all over the book in bits and pieces) is that you must induce from every possible relevant and necessary fact.

It asserts: if the particulars from which you induce are grounded in perceptions, and if you rigorously define the scope of application for your induction, it is valid. (By "particulars" I simply mean perceptions, facts, thoughts, observations, measurements, etc. -- everything that goes into your head to make an induction.)

There's a bit more to their theory than that (the evidence must be non-contradictory, self-consistent and, for a scientific induction, identify an efficient cause), but I would characterize their solution as essentially a deductive formulation: it prescribes a set of rules to get all your factual and evidentiary ducks lined up in a row, at which point you look with your mind's eye, form your induction by an innate mental capacity, and say: it's valid.

This is simply impossible for any but the most trivial induction. Maybe not even for those. There is no way to hold in your head every possible relevant fact to form any kind of even modestly complex theory. No way to even know a priori all of what is relevant and necessary, or what isn't. (As I'm using it, the phrase "relevant and necessary" is my own summary of their presentation--you may criticize my interpretation.) You'd be long waiting on some bottom rung of hell for the Big Freeze before you could collect every relevant fact, organize them all, and then to try to get them all jammed into your skull for the epiphanal moment when you form your induction and say "Aha!" to a world that might not be so ready to take your word that you've done all that correctly.

I've use an example that I've tried before with others, to little avail, but I'll avail myself of it again to underscore the point: I'm an electrical circuit designer. My entire job (30 years) is creating inductions for electronic circuits that do things. Circuits from a few to thousands to even millions of transistors. I have among the most abstract engineering jobs there is.

Being an engineer, the nature of the inductions I do is a little different than a scientific theory, because I create inductions rather than discover them, based on objectives (a human purpose) rather than experimental facts (about nature), but the principle isn't so different. In designing a circuit to moniter and process electrical signals, I have to hold an enormous amount of facts, principles and experience in mind.

Even for a circuit with only a few transistors, it is extremely difficult to make sure I anticipate every possible fact that may prevent my circuit from doing exactly what I want it to do. Let me say: impossible. The crow epistemology and a deadline get in the way. (The deadline isn't fundamental in this context.)

But I have to get a job done. I make a first stab at the problem: I conceive a proto-induction, then I test it with signals to see that it does what I want. From this I find any problems that prevent my design from working--there are always problems--and then I refine the design. Over and over and over again. I finally arrive at a finite series of tests, representative of an infinite number of signals which could exercise my circuit. Done properly, these tests are complete and general enough to guarantee the circuit works for all the things I want it to do -- and no more. (This is like the "scope" of an induction that Peikoff/Harriman talk about in their book.)

Now, what I do is a hell of a lot easier than inducing a scientific theory. I will state categorically, as a practical matter and a matter of principle: anyone forming a new scientific theory must conceive of it from some incomplete subset of the facts, and then go back to validate it by some means or other to determine if their theory corresponds to reality. There is just no way they can be careful and meticulous enough to make sure their theory is correct, right off the bat. To my thinking, this points to where the solution of the problem of induction must lie: some method of validation. Not positivist claptrap, but objective validation.

Practically, theories up to this epoch in time get validated by little more than the sheer weight of evidence showing they predict X, Y and Z and don't contradict other known facts. That doesn't mean empirical evidence is the solution to the problem of induction; it just means that this is what's been happening in science for a very long time in the absence of anything better. It doesn't answer the central question of the problem of induction-- it just is what people do in the absence of a solution to the problem of induction.

Why Peikoff/Harriman formulated their own solution in terms of an omniscient method (according to my assessment) is a subject in itself. Many reasons possible that I won't enumerate here, and I'm not questioning anyone's honesty.

I have my own notions of what the real solution is, which I won't go into beyond saying (in crudely simple terms): I think you have to generalize the particulars from which you form any induction. That is, you have to define a finite number of particulars so that they are representative of general classes of things that are infinite in number, and then your induction will be general. (Now don't badger me about the validity of the concept "infinite"...) That may be too sketchy to convey what I mean, but it relates directly to that example of electrical design that I just gave.

Doesn't matter for this debate. In my judgment, the Peikoff/Harriman theory as presented is wrong because it demands omniscience. Period.

Consider that it didn't even address the most important application for a solution to the problem of induction: the theory of quantum mechanics. I mean, there has never been a theory more contentiously debated in the history of science. (Rightly so.) If there was one single application that had to be addressed in the book it was the quantum theory. If there was one theory people would like to see proved or disproved by a solution to the problem of induction, it is the quantum theory. To leave that out of a book purporting to solve the problem of scientific induction is like leaving out the verdict in a murder trial, while discussing every other form of minutae.

(The reasoning for the quantum theory is not so difficult to sum up, by the way, but I'll leave that for another discussion.)

Not that Harriman's book doesn't have value in presenting the method of induction in the context of the history of science, but it simply goes too far in asserting a solution to the problem of induction. If the historians have their debate and correct any errors in the history, and if the thesis was removed that the problem of induction was solved, the book would be fine for any class on induction for scientists.

I have no axe to grind with Peikoff or Harriman beyond my disagreement with their thesis. My issue is only with the objective truth of things. That's what I think all Objectivists should stay focused on -- let the objective facts (ie, those out there in reality) be their primary focus -- ie, the science, philosophy and history -- rather than the personality disputes, and let reason be the arbiter of the factual disputes.