Free will has been disputed by philosophers since the beginning of civilization. Find out how Ken Wheeler claims to have resolved this timeless puzzle, and why the best choice is to ignore his bizarre arguments.
As Nobel Prize winning author Isaac Bashevis Singer half-jokingly wrote, “We must believe in free will. We have no choice.” His ironic comment gets to the heart of philosophy’s free will paradox.
We all feel a tension between two impressions of the world around us and our place in it. On the one hand, everything we observe seems to be based on an endless sequence of cause and effect.
On the other hand, we also appear to go through life making choices and taking actions that seem up to us to decide. We feel we can choose, or not choose, or choose not to choose, and that our minds make all those decisions.
Does Something Cause Us to Make Our Choices?
It seems that, if everything results from cause and effect, something must cause us to make our choices. Philosophers call this idea about causation determinism.
So, are we free to choose or are our choices determined by prior causes, like genetics or conditioning? Is free will an illusion? The question is older than philosophy itself.
Philosophy is about wisdom, and most of us would agree that a wise person responds appropriately to situations that arise. If that’s wisdom, philosophy without free will would be meaningless.
Free Will Versus Determinism Unresolved
Even so, in every period in human history, free will sceptics have challenged the idea that we have agency in life. Philosophers have never fully resolved the logical contradiction between free will and determinism, because the nature and value of moral responsibility is always controversial.
None of this scholarly debate deters Ken Wheeler from claiming to have resolved this age-old riddle that’s puzzled history’s greatest thinkers for thousands of years. His explanation is that free will is “potential, but not actual.”
As usual, the Angry Photographer resorts to an analogy to make his point. In this case, he compares free will to the relationship between the acorn and the oak tree.
Ken Wheeler’s Analogy Involves Acorn and Oak Tree
Although an acorn and the tree from which it fell are genetically identical, they’re not the same thing. As a seed, the acorn has the potential to become an oak tree but only after years of growth under the right conditions.
The Theoria Apophasis host claims to be an expert on Plato. Apparently, he’s unaware of Plato’s warning to his students that, “Arguments that make their point by means of similarities are impostors and, unless you are on your guard against them, will quite readily deceive you.”
In the case of this acorn and oak similarity, Ken Wheeler completely misses the point of the free will controversy. Some acorns grow into mature trees and some never germinate, but not because some have acquired free will and others haven’t.
Neither a Seed Nor a Tree Has Free Will
Seeds have no awareness of the conditions that cause them to sprout and if they did, they couldn’t choose those conditions. Neither a seed nor a tree has free will so, as usual, the Angry Photographer’s analogy is a disanalogy.
Beyond that, if we all have the potential for free will, but only some of us attain it, what causes the difference? Do most people choose not to develop their potential?
Isn’t not choosing to do so also a kind of choice? Could they make such a choice without first developing their potential for free will?
Wouldn’t Deciding to Cultivate One’s Free Will Be a Choice?
What causes others to develop free will? Wouldn’t deciding to cultivate one’s free will be a choice?
How could they make such a decision before their potential free will develops? Could it be that something else caused them to nurture that ability to choose? Wouldn’t that prove determinism?
The notion of some sort of “potential” free will adds nothing to the free will conversation. It’s another one of Kentucky Ken’s logical fallacies.
Views All Governments as Inherently Evil
The YouTuber behind Theoria Apophasis approaches his claims about free will from a position of paranoia. As a conspiracy theorist, he views all governments as inherently evil.
Kentucky Ken believes that governments invariably lie to the people they govern. As a result, in his view, the vast majority of ordinary people, even in America, have forfeited their free will potential to obey sinister masters.
Those who respect authority and participate in civil discourse and the political process are deluded sheep with no capacity to make rational choices. On the other hand, “rebels without a clue” like Ken Wheeler have fully developed their potential for free will through their vastly superior wisdom.
None of the Conspiracy Theories Ken Believes Are True
The trouble here is that none of the conspiracy theories the Angry Photographer believes in are true. Whether it’s his belief that COVID-19 is a hoax, that mask mandates are tactics to force the masses to conform, that vaccines are lethal and worthless, or that there’s a hidden, sinister cabal of 300 obscure people plotting to oppress us all, they’re nonsense.
Conspiracy theories arise from many sources, from random misfits trying to make sense of a world that’s rejected them to unethical propagandists taking advantage of alienated people. Whatever their origin, whenever the Theoria Apophasis host becomes convinced of a conspiracy theory, he’s abandoning his own free and letting fear and nonsense govern his life.
Ken’s Abandoning His Own Free Will to Follow Nonsense
Throughout his videos, Ken Wheeler displays a need to feel superior to others. He makes grandiose claims, either of being an unrecognized genius, or of having made various earthshaking discoveries, or both.
His claim to have resolved the age-old free will dilemma is part of that delusional view. Assuming we do have free will, we should choose to ignore his unfounded claims.
Egypt has a long and fascinating history. Find out how Ken Wheeler exploits public interest in the ancient kingdom to promote his own misguided, metaphysical notions.
There’s been an advanced civilization in the Nile Valley of northeast Africa for at least 5,000 years. Historians divide the history of Ancient Egypt into three major eras, the Old Kingdom (2700 – 2200 BCE), the Middle Kingdom (2000 – 1800 BCE) and the New Kingdom (1600 to 1100 BCE).
Ancient Egypt was one of the most stable dynasties in history, staying more-or-less intact for over 3,000 years. The Nile river’s fertile flood plain inspired a very cohesive, agricultural society which became one of the foundations of the ancient world.
Ancient Egypt’s most enduring accomplishments were in the fields of art, literature and especially architecture. They developed the most advanced quarrying, surveying and construction techniques in the ancient world.
Ken Has Never Been to Egypt and Has No Qualifications
Ken Wheeler has never been to Egypt and has no qualifications or experience in the fields of archeology or Egyptology. Naturally, this lack of credentials doesn’t discourage him from declaring himself an expert on the topics.
The Angry Photographer’s Egyptian notions centre around two subjects – the ancient language of hieroglyphs and the origins and meaning of Egypt’s pyramids. We’ll address each of these topics in turn.
Hieroglyphs were a mystery to historians for centuries. Although they influenced both the Latin and Greek alphabets, they fell into disuse by about the 4th century CE.
Egyptians Started Writing with Hieroglyphs Around 3400 BC
The ancient Egyptians started writing with hieroglyphs around 3400 BCE, even before the Old Kingdom era. Hieroglyphs consist of pictures of plants, animals and features of Egypt’s environment.
There are three kinds of hieroglyphic characters or glyphs. Some represent sounds like the letters of our English alphabet. Others use pictures to represent full words somewhat like East Asian languages, while a third group of glyphs interpret the glyphs beside them, a bit like punctuation.
The Theoria Apophasis host claims to be an expert translator of hieroglyphs, although there are no translations from this dead language among the books and articles he’s posted online. Without evidence, he shares his own, self-taught explanation of what hieroglyphs mean.
Ken Insists Hieroglyphs Are a Mystical, Symbolic Language
According to Ken Wheeler, hieroglyphs were never the everyday language of ordinary Egyptians. Instead, he insists they’re a mystical, symbolic language used only by the priestly class as talismans.
In a very trivial sense, he’s right about that. Most everyday Egyptians couldn’t read at all, so it follows that they couldn’t read hieroglyphs or any other ancient writings.
Beyond that obvious point, as we’ll see, literate Egyptians used hieroglyphs for everyday interactions. They weren’t reserved for priests of the temple, nor do they contain any sort of mystical messages.
Picked Up Occult Notion from Medieval Neoplatonist Writers
The Angry Photographer seems to have picked up this occult notion from medieval, neoplatonist writers. In the Dark Ages, all understanding of hieroglyphs had been lost, leading to fanciful interpretations based on esoteric, allegorical and mystical assumptions.
Francois Champollion stood all this baseless speculation on its head in 1822. He’d been studying an artifact called the Rosetta Stone that Napoleon’s troops found in 1799.
The Rosetta Stone is a monument with a routine inscription declaring the authority of King Ptolemy V. It enabled Champollion to decipher hieroglyphs because its engravers wrote the same inscription in three languages.
Champollion Proved Hieroglyphs Were Everyday Language
Since the decree appears in Greek, Demotic and in hieroglyphs, the ancient Egyptian language returned to life, at least for Champollion, for the first time in 1400 years.
The use of hieroglyphs on an ordinary monument with a routine public inscription proves that everyday, literate Egyptians used that language for daily business. Since then, archaeologists have found several similar monuments with the same inscription, confirming this finding.
So, as always, Kentucky Ken is mistaken. Egyptian hieroglyphs weren’t talismans or magical symbols but an ordinary writing system used for routine public communication.
Egypt’s Monumental Ruins Attract Fake Experts
Speaking of fake experts, nothing has attracted more of them than Egypt’s countless, monumental ruins. Ken Wheeler claims to own every book ever written about Ancient Egypt, and to have watched every television documentary on the topic.
Of course, the most famous of these ruins are the pyramids. Over the course of their long dynasty, the ancient Egyptians built at least 118 pyramids, almost always on the west bank of the Nile, which they associated with the Land of the Dead.
The Angry Photographer seems to have stumbled upon pictures of a relic called the Pyramidion of Ramose. A pyramidion is a four-sided capstone that slips over the very peak of a pyramid.
Ken Stumbled Onto Pyramidion of Ramose
Ramose was a fairly affluent professional scribe during the reign of Ramses II, but not a particularly important historical figure. He built himself three modest tomb structures in the village of Deir el-Medina.
Archeologists have recovered the limestone pyramidion from one of those buildings, and it’s in remarkably good condition. It’s an excellent example of the mainstream symbolism a typical middle-class Egyptian would use in that period.
The official religion at the time of Ramose was sun worship. Appropriately, each of the four faces of Ramose’s pyramidion depict aspects of the cult of Horus, the sun god.
Each Face Engraved With Images and Hieroglyphs
Each face of the pyramidion is engraved with images and hieroglyphs. The north face depicts Horus, seated and crowned with the sun and Uraeus the cobra, holding an ankh symbol in his hand like a sceptre.
Readers may have watched movies or seen a sarcophagus depicting ancient Egypt’s pharaohs. If so, they’ve seen similar gold crowns with the cobra Uraeus’s raised head in front.
The south face depicts Horus in his alternative form as a falcon with the same solar/cobra crown.
The east and west faces depict a sun worshipper raising their hands in praise of Horus at sunrise and then at sunset.
Overlapping Imagery Along Borders of Each Face
An interesting feature is the overlapping imagery along the right hand borders of each face above. Overlap is a standard technique in graphic design to create a sense of depth, movement and realism.
The creators of the pyramidion overlapped Horus’s ankh sceptre on the north face and his cobra crown on the south face to make him seem more lifelike. Similarly, they overlapped each sun worshipper’s shoulder and hair on the east and west faces.
Despite his complete lack of training in Egyptology, the Theoria Apophasis host has taken it upon himself to reinterpret these images. He claims, without evidence, that these overlaps tell “one coherent, harmonic, perfection of metaphysical story.”
Misinterprets Four Insignificant Overalapping Details
Ken Wheeler misinterprets the four overlapping sideline details as “contact points.” They’re not. Visual artists in the ancient world placed the most important subjects in the centre of compositions, not at the edges.
Leaving that misinterpretation aside, the Angry Photographer goes on to claim that these contact points represent a path depicting the cycle of birth and death.
The shoulders of the two sun worshippers supposedly represent old age. Except, they don’t. Shoulders in ancient Egyptian imagery represent the energy of movement. That’s why the artists overlapped them, to suggest active motion.
Symbolism Claims Add Nothing to Understanding of Egypt
Kentucky Ken goes on to say that the Ankh symbol represents death. It doesn’t. Throughout the ancient world, the ankh is always a symbol for life, not death.
According to the Theoria Apophasis host, the cobra on Horus’s crown, Ureaus, represents life or rebirth. That’s also wrong. Ureaus is the symbol of sovereignty, which is why it appears on all Egyptian crowns, not just that of Horus.
So, to sum up, rather than reinterpreting the Pyramidion of Ramose’s imagery, Ken Wheeler has simply misinterpreted it. Perhaps more importantly, his claims about the imagery’s symbolism add nothing whatsoever to our current understanding of Egyptian history.
Iconic Pyramids at Giza, Near Cairo
Of course, the most iconic Egyptian pyramids are at Giza, near Cairo. The largest of these, the Pyramid of Khufu, or the Great Pyramid, is the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that’s still intact, and it’s also the oldest of those wonders.
Just like with hieroglyphs, humanity lost track of precisely how Old Kingdom, bronze-age Egyptians could have built such imposing and grandiose structures. However, modern archaeology has managed to piece together a fairly accurate impression of how they got it done.
In 2013, archaeologists Pierre Tallet and Gregory Marouard made what scholars are calling the greatest Egyptology discovery of the 21st century. They uncovered the Diary of Merer, which is the journal (written in hieroglyphs, incidentally) of a construction inspector during the reign of the pharaoh Khufu. (Yes, that Khufu!)
Merer’s Journal Describes Stone Blocks for Pyramids
In it, Merer tracks several months of work involving the transportation of stone from quarries in Tora to Giza. His crews produced and delivered these massive stones for Egypt’s most legendary pyramid, which Merer calls Akhet Khufu, or “Khufu’s Horizon.”
The journal entries detail how Merer’s crews ferried shipments of about 30, 3-ton blocks by boat every ten days, delivering roughly 200 blocks per month to the site at Giza. Merer’s crew included about forty boatmen.
Scientists still don’t fully understand how the builders lifted those enormous blocks into place. We do have some relatively old source documents describing the process, but these aren’t contemporary accounts.
Tiers, Wooden Levers and Earthen Ramps
For instance, in the 5th century BCE, Herodotus wrote, “This pyramid was made like stairs, which some call steps and others, tiers. When this, its first form, was completed, the workmen used short wooden logs as levers to raise the rest of the stones; they heaved up the blocks from the ground onto the first tier of steps; when the stone had been raised, it was set on another lever that stood on the first tier, and the lever again used to lift it from this tier to the next.”
Writing in the 1st century BCE, Diodorus Siculus tells us that, “The edifices were raised by means of earthen ramps, since machines for lifting had not yet been invented in those days; and most surprising it is, that although such large structures were raised in an area surrounded by sand, no trace remains of either ramps or the dressing of the stones, so that it seems not the result of the patient labor of men, but rather as if the whole complex were set down entire upon the surrounding sand by some god…
“The same multitude of workmen who raised the mounds returned the entire mass again to its original place; for they say that three hundred and sixty thousand men were constantly employed in the prosecution of their work, yet the entire edifice was hardly finished at the end of twenty years.”
Archeologists Unearthed Ramp from Reign of Khufu
In 2018, a team of archaeologists unearthed a ramp similar to those Diodorus described, dating from the reign of Khufu, at a quarry in Hatnub, Egypt. Professor Yannis Gourdon, one of the mission’s co-directors, told Scientific American, “Using a sled which carried a stone block and was attached with ropes to these wooden posts, ancient Egyptians were able to pull up the alabaster blocks out of the quarry on very steep slopes of 20 percent or more.”
So, the best explanation that covers all the facts is that the stones came from quarries and were hauled to the site in boats. Then, massive crews of workers lifted the stones into place using a combination of ramps and levers over decades of backbreaking work.
None of this sits well with Ken Wheeler. He calls these explanations “completely ludicrous.” To counter the facts and evidence provided above, he draws on the work of several fake experts.
Robert Bauval Falsely Claims Pyramids Align with Orion
The first questionable source is a writer from Belgium named Robert Bauval. The Angry Photographer refers to a book by him called The Sirius Mystery. There’s no such title, so presumably he means Bauval’s best-known book, The Orion Mystery.
Bauval claims the Giza pyramids form a pattern corresponding to the belt in the constellation Orion. They don’t. He also says there are shafts inside the pyramids that align with Orion’s belt. There aren’t.
Kentucky Ken then goes on to make an even more dubious claim. He insists that the pyramids were built using what he calls “geopolymers.”
Joseph Davidovits’s ‘Geopolymers’ Debunked
Geopolymers is a word made up by a French fake expert named Joseph Davidovits. Back in 1974, he claimed the ancient Egyptians molded the pyramid blocks on-site using some sort of artificial concrete-like substance.
In 2007, Dr. Dipayan Jana, a licensed professional geologist and an expert on construction materials, refuted this claim in a study he presented at the 29th Conference on Cement Microscopy. He showed that the stones in the pyramids had none of the textural characteristics of reconstituted limestone.
Dr. Jana’s study concluded that “We are far from accepting, even as a remote possibility, a ‘man-made’ origin of pyramid stones.” That’s the polite, scientific way of saying the geopolymer notion is nonsense.
Houdin’s Internal “Ramp is Not There. I Think We’ve Lost.”
Another fake expert named Jean-Pierre Houdin has also attracted Ken Wheeler’s attention. Houdin’s claim to fame is a theory that the ramps the ancient Egyptians used to build the Great Pyramid were arranged in a spiral inside the structure.
In 2015, the Scan Pyramids Mission proved there were no internal ramps in Khufu’s Pyramid. Archaeologist Bob Brier, who once supported Houdin’s work, said “these data suggest that the ramp is not there. I think we’ve lost.”
Summing up, the Giza pyramids aren’t aligned with the constellation Orion. They’re not made of some sort of anachronistic, bronze age-concrete, and they have no internal ramps.
Perennialists Look to Egypt for Supposed Ancient Wisdom
Ken Wheeler’s fascination with Ancient Egypt arises from his obsession with a belief system called perennialism. Perennialists claim that all religions and philosophies stem from a common, ancient root.
Because Egyptian civilization arose so early, perennialists often look to it as the source of their supposed ancient wisdom. However, perennialism isn’t as popular as it used to be.
Back in 1978, philosopher Herman T. Katz published a devastating paper refuting the idea that all religions have one common, metaphysical root. Outlining the benefits of rejecting perennialism, Katz wrote, “One is in a position to respect the richness of the experiential and conceptual data involved in this area of concern: ‘God’ can be ‘God’, ‘Brahman’ can be ‘Brahman’ and ‘Nirvana’ can be ‘Nirvana,’ without any reductionist attempt to equate ‘God’ with Brahman’, or ‘Brahman’ with ‘Nirvana.”’
Ken’s Self-Declared Egyptology Expertise Is Delusional
As with so many other topics, Ken Wheeler’s self-declared Egyptology expertise is delusional. Relying on discredited sources, he’s consistently arrived at monumentally wrong conclusions through antiquated reasoning.
Fortunately, the Angry Photographer’s pyramid scheme won’t stand the test of time. It also takes far less work to debunk than it took to build the awe-inspiring tombs of Giza.
Extragalactic jets are a phenomenon on the frontier of science that astronomers can’t fully explain yet. Find out how Ken Wheeler tries to exploit this mystery to propagate his demonstrably false notions of the ether, the dielectric, light and matter.
One of the frontiers of today’s astronomy is the phenomenon of astrophysical jets. They’re unimaginably massive linear streams of high energy particles that seem to flow out of stars, black holes and even galaxies.
Physicists call the ones galaxies emit “extragalactic jets,” and they’re the largest known structures in the universe. In fact, these immense jets can be more than 100 times bigger than our entire galaxy.
Because it would take an inconceivable amount of energy to cause them, scientists have difficulty explaining the source of these jets. They’ve come up with two preliminary theories about how they might form.
Preliminary Theories About How Extragalactic Jets Form
One possible explanation has to do with the disks of gas and debris that surround black holes, neutron stars and pulsars. They’re called accretion disks, and the spin of these massive celestial objects may twist the disks’ magnetic fields in ways that somehow launch the charged particles into jets.
Another theory is based on the idea of “frame-dragging.” According to Einstein’s theory of general relativity, the presence of matter warps the fabric of space.
Astrophysicists theorize that massive, spinning objects like black holes, neutron stars and pulsars can alter (drag) observers’ frames of reference within time and space. This process may extract particle energy and momentum, unleashing the extraordinary jets.
Explanations Not Satisfactory -Yet
Readers may not be fully satisfied with these explanations. If so, they may find comfort in the fact that neither are scientists – yet.
Ken Wheeler has pounced on this exotic field of science to try to gain credence for his discredited ideas about field theory, magnets and science generally. He tells viewers he realized the jets’ true nature through an “incredibly uplifting, profound revelation” he’s had while in a magical, altered state that he calls “theurgy and synthesis,” during which he claims to access the “library of the cosmos.” We discuss the logical issues with his notions of theurgy in more detail under Retroduction – Why Ken’s Wrong.
Since scientists don’t fully understand extragalactic jets yet, the Angry Photographer tries to discredit them by setting impossible expectations of proof for their theories. Meanwhile, he seizes the opportunity to promote his unfounded notions as “better” explanations.
Seizes Opportunity to Promote Unfounded Notions
There are a couple of other reasons why the YouTuber behind Theoria Apophasis has targeted these phenomena. For one thing, he intensely resents Albert Einstein and his theories of relativity.
Some extragalactic jets contain relativistic particles travelling very close to the speed of light. Studying them reaffirms Enstein’s special relativity, one of the most successful theories in the history of science.
Extragalatic jets don’t just validate relativity, they also confirm the theory of quantum mechanics. Ken Wheeler vehemently denies the validity of this equally successful scientific theory, dismissing it with a conspiracy theory he calls “the cult of bumping particles.”
Needs to Find Ways to Discredit Scientific Explanations
So, Kentucky Ken needs to head those he calls “so-called scientists” off at the pass. It’s vitally important to him to find ways to discredit the emerging scientific explanations for extragalactic jets before genuine scientists can finalize them.
The Angry Photographer decrees without evidence that the jets “must necessitatively be ab-extra spontaneous generation of the hydrogen.” Of course, this is a logical fallacy.
Readers will remember the basic principle of the conservation of energy from high school. We can convert energy into matter and vice versa, but there’s no way for a black hole or anything else to magically generate brand new, or “ab-extra” matter.
Unfounded Notion of “Conjugate Geometry of the Universe”
Ken Wheeler tries to claim that all energy fields in the universe derive from an unfounded notion of the “conjugate geometry of the universe” he lifted from fake expert and electric universe crank, Eric Dollard. The Angry Photographer imagines this geometry as a combination of two shapes, the hyperboloid (hourglass) and the torus (donut). His diagram may help.
The hourglass shape represents his non-existent, imaginary energy field, the “dielectric.” As the magnetic field scientist and YouTuber AB science explains in detail here, there’s no such thing as a dielectric field.
According to the Theoria Apophasis host, at the narrowest point in his fanciful hourglass shape, there’s something he calls a “point of inertia.” He offers no evidence or explanation of why or how this is true, what it means, or how it works.
Imagines Extragalactic Jets Emerge from “Plane of Inertia”
Then, Ken Wheeler insists, an invisible flat surface emerges from that point called the “plane of inertia.” He imagines that extragalactic jets emerge from this plane of inertia at the centre of a galaxy or black hole.
Without explaining the process, he argues that extragalactic jets result from “the ether and the field geometry.” As we explain in more detail under Field Theory – Why Ken’s Wrong, back in 1887, Michelson and Morley proved conclusively that the ether doesn’t exist. Charles Proteus Steinmetz, who Kentucky Ken calls one of the “gods” of field theory called the ether hyposthesis a “mistake. Subsequent, formal experiments have confirmed this more than 30 times.
According to the Angry Photographer, his supposed “ab-extra matter” takes the form of hydrogen atoms. The best evidence scientists have at the moment shows that extragalactic jets don’t consist of atoms at all.
Consist of Electrons and Positrons He Claims Don’t Exist
Observations suggest that these enormous jets consist of electrons and their corresponding anti-particle, positrons. That’s a big problem for the YouTuber behind Theoria Apophasis because he maintains that electrons, positrons and all other elementary particles don’t exist.
Raising his logical fallacies to the next level of absurdity, Ken Wheeler tells his viewers that his imagined “hydrogen” in extragalactic jets is actually “ultra-high energy light.” In fact, he contends that all hydrogen atoms are high energy light and that the other chemical elements in the periodic table are compounded hydrogen.
This notion has multiple flaws. For something to qualify as matter, it has to have mass and occupy space, and light has neither of those properties.
Matter Consists of Atoms, Light Consists of Photons
Besides, light and matter consist of completely different particles. The building blocks of matter are atoms, while light’s elementary particles are photons.
Speaking of atoms, the rest of the elements aren’t compounded hydrogen. Elements aren’t compounds of anything else by definition.
In terms of chemistry, matter consists of elements, and elements combine into compounds. Elements aren’t compounds, and compounds aren’t elements, again by definition.
Fundamentally Flawed and Demonstrably False
Although the Angry Photographer calls his magical revelation “divine,” it’s fundamentally flawed and demonstrably false in myriad ways. There’s no such thing as the ether or the dielectric.
There’s no physical evidence or logical basis for his unsubstantiated hyperbolic geometry or his non-existent dielectric field. Extragalactic jets don’t emit hydrogen atoms, they emit the very subatomic particles the Theoria Apophasis host claims don’t exist.
Hydrogen isn’t ultra-high energy light, since light and matter aren’t the same thing. It’s impossible for anything in the universe to produce ab-extra matter out of nothing and nowhere.
Motivated Reasoning and Confirmation Bias
Ken Wheeler’s supposedly divine revelation is merely motivated reasoning and confirmation bias. He doesn’t want the theories of relativity or quantum mechnics to be true, so he cherry picks evidence he thinks will validate his bizarre notions about the ether instead.
Fortunately, the nonsense he spouts lacks the energy and magnitude of extragalactic jets. That makes it completely effortless to both explain and contain.
Matter consists of protons, neutrons and electrons. Find out why this proven scientific fact distresses Ken Wheeler, leading him to concoct demonstrably false claims about fundamental science.
Scientists define matter as any substance that has mass and volume. Matter has three familiar states – solid, liquid and gas.
Although we don’t run across them in everyday life, matter also has other states, including plasma. Plasma is the state of matter inside stars, making it the most common matter state in the universe, despite our lack of contact with it here on Earth.
Atoms Contain Three Subatomic Particles
Matter consists of atoms. As most of us learned in high school, atoms contain three subatomic particles – protons, neutrons and electrons.
Remarkably, Ken Wheeler views these established scientific facts as part of a vast conspiracy to hide the truth. While demanding an impossible standard of proof from science, he claims without evidence that electrons don’t exist, neutrons are a category of proton and protons are synonymous with atoms, which are indivisible.
These notions are all demonstrably false. J.J.Thompson proved the existence of electrons in 1897.
J.J. Thompson Proved the Existence of Electrons in 1897
Thompson was experimenting with cathode rays when he realized that they weren’t electromagnetic waves like light beams. Instead, he found that cathode rays consist of tiny coprpuscles emitted from within the cathode.
Interpreting these findings, Thompson concluded that these corpuscles came from the atoms making up the cathode’s metal. This was the groundbreaking evidence that, despite their name, atoms are divisible.
The scientific community eventually settled on the term electron for Thompson’s corpuscles. Thompson received the Nobel Prize in 1906 for discovering the electron.
Video Footage of Electron Motion Captured in 2008
Skipping ahead to 2008, the journal Physical Review Letters published video footage of electron motion captured by the Lund University Faculty of Engineering in Sweden.
The researchers captured the video using short pulses of intense laser light. Here’s a frame from that video, which is conclusive proof that electrons exist.
Returning to the early 20th century, Ernest Rutherford, Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden discovered the nucleus of the atom in 1913. They were trying to understand what held Thompson’s negatively-charged electrons in place.
Rutherford Called Particles at the Atom’s Centre Protons
The researchers bombarded metal foils with the postively-charged, alpha particles from radioactive elements. Because many of the alpha particles were deflected by more than 90˚, Rutherford realized that the atom’s positive charge had to be highly concentrated in particles at the atom’s centre, which he called protons.
James Chadwick disovered the neutron in 1932. Building on earlier experiments with the element beryllium, he found that the radiation it emitted consisted of particles with neutral charges.
Chadwick named these particles neutrons. They explained why atoms of the same element can have different atomic weights. The weight of an atom includes its protons but also its neutrally-charged neutrons, which vary in number within the same element, explaining why elements have isotopes.
Proven Fact that Protons, Neutrons and Electrons Exist
So, it’s a proven scientific fact that protons, neutrons and electrons exist. They’re the building blocks of the atoms that make up matter.
Based on claims by fake experts like Eric Dollard, the Angry Photographer insists that electrons don’t exist. Instead, he claims that the negatively charged wavelike properties of electrons are “ether perturbation modalities.”
As we explain in more detail under Field Theory – Why Ken’s Wrong, Michelson and Morley found that the ether doesn’t exist in 1887. Charles Proteus Steinmetz, whom Kentucky Ken calls one of the “gods” of field theory called the ether hypothesis a “mistake.” The YouTuber Planarwalk also covers this in more detail here.
Tries to Explain Away Electrons Using the Ether
Since something that doesn’t exist can’t have perturbations or modalities, the Theoria Apophasis host commits a logical fallacy when he tries to explain away electrons using the ether. There’s no question that electrons are elementary particles with wavelike properties.
Within the nucleus, Ken Wheeler also maintains that neutrons are merely a category of protons. He bases this notion on the claim that free neutrons quickly decay into protons.
The Angry Photographer neglects to mention two things about this free neutron decay. First of all, he conceals the fact that when free neutrons decay into protons, they release electrons – the existence of which he denies.
Free Neutrons Emit Electrons, Which He Says Don’t Exist
Secondly, neutrons inside the nucleus are highly stable and they’re distinct from protons in two key ways. They’re neutrally charged and they have greater mass than protons.
So, neutrons and protons are two distinct particle types. A neutron is absolutely not merely a category of proton as the Theoria Apophasis creator tries to argue.
To borrow a word of which Ken Wheeler is intensely fond, the internal structure of the atom is “undeniable.” Atoms are divisible, they have a nucleus of protons and neutrons surrounded by a cloud of electrons, and these are all distinct types of subatomic particles.
Calls Matter High-Energy Light – False by Definition
Another claim the Angry Photographer puts forward about matter is that it’s simply high-energy light. Although he gives him no credit, he has lifted this discredited notion from self-taught artist Walter Russell.
In his book The Universal One, Russell wrote, “Matter is light gravitationally assembled into the appearance of form, and radially disassembled into the disappearance of form.” Returning to our original definition of matter, this can’t be true.
Unlike matter, light occupies no space and has no mass. This is because, unlike subatomic particles, the photons that make up light are massless.
Light Doesn’t Qualify as Matter – It’s Form of Energy
We can understand this intuitively from our own experience. When we enter a room and switch on the light, the light doesn’t use up any space within the room.
Further, if we were to weigh the room, it would have exactly the same mass, whether the light was turned on or off. So, light doesn’t meet the volume and mass criteria to be matter. Instead, it’s a form of energy.
As evidence for his peculiar notion, the YouTuber behind Theoria Apophasis cherry-picks some findings from an experiment in which scientists released subatomic particles using laser beams.
Laser Beams Collide Producing Electrons and Positrons
Professor J. Adam and his team conducted the experiment to which Kentucky Ken refers at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in 2021. Again, he omits an important detail when citing this research.
In Professor Adam’s experiment, very energetic photons in laser beams collide, emitting electrons and their anti-matter equivalent, positrons.
This results from the Breit-Wheeler Process predicted by Gregory Breit and John A. Wheeler (absolutely no relation to Ken). Yet, Ken Wheeler cites this experiment while denying the existence of any of the photons and electrons on which the researchers based their findings.
Experiment Verifies Einstein’s Formula Which Ken Rejects
Even more ironically, the experiment proves Einstein’s famous equation E=Mc2. Ken Wheeler dismisses Einsten as a “wooly-haired crackpot” and rejects all of his theories as “nonsense.”
So, contrary to the Angry Photographer’s claims, scientists haven’t created hydrogen atoms out of high-energy light. The experiment caused colliding photons to emit electrons, disproving Kentucky Ken’s baseless hypothesis.
Light consists of photons, so it’s not a kind of matter. Matter consists of atoms, so it’s not a form of light, high-energy or otherwise.
Talks Around Contradiction With ‘Spherical Harmonic’
Ken Wheeler tries to talk his way around this by co-opting the mathematical term spherical harmonic. A spherical harmonic is a mathematical technique.
It’s a way mathematicians can apply formulas intended for a flat plane to the curved surface of a sphere. Although the calculations are analogous to the relationship between harmony and frequency in acoustics, spherical harmonics are unrelated to electromagnetic frequencies.
Despite this, the Angry Photographer claims that when the frequencies in the ether reach a certain threshold, they generate spherical harmonics, creating particles of matter.
Self-Published Invalid Mathematical Formula
In support of this notion, the YouTuber behind Theoria Apophasis has self-published a mathematical formula without any peer review from legitimate scientists. He claims to have received it while in a “deep, deep place,” a magical mental state induced by incantations, charms, rituals and idols that he calls “theurgy.” The formula goes like this:
P = fC3
Where P = proton, f = frequency and C = capacitance. On its surface, it bears a striking, perhaps deliberate, resemblance to Einstein’s E = Mc2. Any resemblance is purely coincidental in terms of its validity.
This equation has several flaws. Ken Wheeler further defines “proton” as “hydrogen, or zero hysteresis EMR” (electromagnetic radiation).
No Empirical Proof of This Definition
He offers no empirical proof of this definition, and, as we’ve seen, neither light nor any other form of electromagnetic radiation is hydrogen or any other element of matter, and a proton on its own is not a complete hydrogen atom.
According to the Angry Photographer, frequency is the “magnetic force vector with temporal propagation below C3.” Everyone else in the world defines frequency as the number of recurrences of a repetitive event, such as a wave, over a time period.
Scientists normally understand capacitance to mean an object’s ability to store an electric charge. The Theoria Apophasis host claims that capacitance is “the ether induction rate.”
None of the Terms in this Equation Make Any Sense
As we’ve seen, the ether doesn’t exist. Apparently, Ken Wheeler believes that raising his imaginary capacitance to the power of three somehow provides light with matter’s three dimensions.
None of the terms in this equation make any sense. Additionally, to borrow one of the Angry Photographer’s favourite words, these terms are “incommensurable.”
By that I mean that they don’t share a common unit of measure. We measure protons in grams, frequencies in hertz and capacitance in units called farads. Trying to multiply them together is nonsense, no matter what theurgical magical mystery tour the YouTuber behind Theoria Apophasis took to dream up all this.
Experiment Based on Einstein’s Special Relativity
The more practical problem with Ken Wheeler’s spherical harmonics explanation is that the researchers in Professor Adams’ experiment used the Relativistic Heavy Iron Collider (RHIC). It measures the distribution of particles after they collide based on Einstein’s special relativity.
If there were no electrons, as Kentucky Ken insists, the particle collider couldn’t have detected them. If Einstein’s theories of relativity were nonsense, as he also maintains, the scientists couldn’t have measured their distribution with a relativistic collider.
Getting back to hydrogen, the Theoria Apophasis host makes another extraodinary and demonstrably false claim. He insists that all chemical elements are compounded hydrogen.
Incorrectly Insists All Elements are Compounded Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the very simplest of all the elements. It consists of a single proton and a single electron.
All the other elements are more complex, containing larger numbers of protons and electrons. The lighter elements formed during the Big Bang when, as the Barenaked Ladies tell us, “Our whole universe was in a hot, dense state.”
Those high temperatures enabled lighter elements like helium, lithium and beryllium to form through nuclear fusion. This is an issue for Ken Wheeler.
Denies Big Bang Ever Took Place
The Angry Photographer denies that the Big Bang ever took place. His reason for this is that it contradicts the teachings of Plato that the universe has always existed and always will.
Many of the heavier elements like carbon, oxygen, silicon and iron formed later through nuclear fusion in massive stars. The heaviest elements of all came from supernova explosions.
These massive blasts cause neutron capture reactions. These are the processes that produce the elements that are even heavier than iron.
Elements Don’t Form By Compounding Hydrogen
The key point in all of this is that elements don’t form by compounding hydrogen. All elements form either through nuclear fusion of the protons in the atoms’ nuclei or by neutron capture.
Elements can’t be compounded by definition. Conversely, compounds must consist of multiple elements.
It’s a contradiction in terms to claim that all elements are compounds of hydrogen or of any other element. Elements are elements and compounds are compounds.
Denies Scientific Concepts Because of Spiritual Beliefs
Why does Ken Wheeler attempt to deny these proven scientific concepts? Oddly, it has to do with his spiritual beliefs.
The Angry Photographer identifies as a platonist and Plato taught that we have an immortal soul. Surviving bodily death seems to be the Theoria Apophasis creator’s most cherished personal desire.
In Ancient Greece, Plato and most of his students tended to believe in the ether. They were also inclined to accept the idea of the afterlife, usually through reincarnation.
Plato and His Students Believed in Ether and Reincarnation
On the other hand, some of Plato’s rivals, like Democritus and Epicurus, believed matter consisted of atoms. Conincidentally, they also tended to argue that death was the end of human consciousness.
What does any of this have to do with our modern, scientific understanding of the nature of matter? Nothing whatsoever.
Yet, on this basis, Kentucky Ken has convinced himself that atomism = materialism = atheism = nihilism = evil. That’s why he struggles against the proven scientific facts about the composition of atoms tooth and nail.
Ken’s Believers Will Have To Relearn Basic Science
If Ken Wheeler didn’t have a substantial subscriber base, his motivated reasoning wouldn’t be an issue. Regrettably, anyone who takes his odd notions about matter to heart will have to unlearn and relearn the fundamentals of basic science because of his disinformation.
If it weren’t for that issue, Kentucky Ken’s odd notions on these matters would hardly matter at all. After all, none of them contain a particle of truth.
Virtual photons are a regular target of scorn from Ken Wheeler. Find out why experiments demonstrate their existence and why the Angry Photographer feels forced to deny it.
Photons underlie all aspects of light and electromagnetic energy. That includes the charges that hold protons and electrons together inside atoms.
A wide range of scientific experiments have shown the existence of what scientists call “virtual photons.” Probably the two best known examples among numerous others are the Stahlhoffen-Nimtz quantum tunnelling experiment and the Lamb-Retherford experiment.
Willis Lamb won the Nobel prize in physics for the latter experiment. The effect of virtual photons on the spectrum of hydrogen atoms is called the Lamb Shift in his honour.
Willis Lamb Won Nobel Prize for Virtual Photon Experiment
The terms “virtual photons” and “virtual particles” can be misleading. They make these particles sound like something artificial or imaginary, like virtual reality. However, as Professor Gordon Kane of the University of Michigan explains, “Virtual particles are indeed real and have observable effects that physicists have devised ways of measuring.”
Despite these facts, Ken Wheeler denies and ridicules the idea of virtual photons in just about every video he makes. Demanding an impossible standard of evidence, he repeatedly claims that “virtual photons are not the inputs or outputs of any experiment ever performed on this earth.”
As we’ve seen, virtual photons are the output of many experiments. In fact, they’re the product of a groundbreaking, Nobel Prize winning physics experiment, among numerous others.
Experiments Prove Photons Have Fascinating Property
These experiments prove that photons have a fascinating property. They can divide into an electron and its opposite particle, the positron.
That pair of matched particles recombine in the blink of an eye and become a photon again. The short-lived electron and positron combination is what physicists mean by a virtual photon.
Scientists observe virtual photons in several scenarios. One is the Lamb Shift mentioned above. When Lamb and Retherford studied the light spectra from hydrogen atoms, they measured unexpected differences between two energy levels. These were caused by what scientists have come to call virtual photons.
Stahlhoffen-Nimtz Quantum Tunnelling Experiment
In the Stahlhoffen-Nimtz experiment, the scientists aimed a symmetrical light beam at a pair of right triangle prisms with a gap in between them. This split the beam into a reflected signal and a signal that transmitted across the gap.
The two signals arrived at their detectors at the same time. Physicists call this effect quantum tunnelling and it’s due to the virtual behaviour of photons.
Another example is the way electrons transition from one state to another inside atoms. When scientists excite atoms, it raises their electrons’ energy state.
Electron Transition Between States Inside Atoms
Intuitively, we’d expect the electron to stay in that higher energy state because energy states are permanent. However, physicists observe these electrons returning to lower energy states because of interactions with virtual photons.
In another example, physicists observe photons bouncing off one another. Since photons have no charge, there’s no reason for them to attract one another.
However, when a photon divides into an electron and a positron, these charged particles may interact with other photons. Experiments reveal that those interactions can sometimes cause photon collisions. This is why Ken Wheeler goes out of his way to make fun of “the cult of bumping particles.”
Virtual Photons Cause Magnetic Fields Poles
Quantum electrodynamic (QED) experiments prove with a margin of error of 10−12 that virtual photons cause magnetic fields. These results make QED one of the most accurate physical theories in history.
The Casimir experiment offers even more empirical evidence for virtual photons. Scientists place two parallel mirrors facing each other in a vacuum. If they set them up at a distance smaller than the wavelength of the light they use, the mirrors will move toward one another.
This happens because once the distance between the mirrors is shorter than the wavelength, virtual photons no longer fit between them. That reduces the energy between the two mirrors, drawing them together.
Wrong When He Denies Virtual Photon Experiments
So, the Angry Photographer is dead wrong when he says that virtual photons aren’t the input or output of any experiment. Their existence is a proven scientific fact.
The Theoria Apophasis host persists in devoting enormous energy to ridiculing virtual photons for two reasons. First, he can’t explain the results of these experiments any other way.
Second, the existence of virtual photons, and other virtual particles, proves the scientific model of subatomic particles, which Kentucky Ken views as a vast conspiracy. Strange as it may seem, he vehemently denies proven scientific facts most of us learned in high school about electrons, photons and neutrons.
Subscribes to Pseudoscience by Discredited Theorists
Ken Wheeler subscribes to pseudoscience propagated by fake experts like Eric Dollard and Nikola Tesla. They deny the existence of subatomic particles. They’re also wrong.
Their notions fly in the face of more than a century of scientific progress. For example, this is a photograph of an electron.
And this is a colour-enhanced photograph of photons displaying wave-like and particle-like characteristics at the same time.
Views Discussions of Subatomic Particles as Moral Disputes
Oddly, the Angry Photographer views discussions of subatomic particles and their behaviour as moral issues. This is because he conflates modern particle physics with ancient Greek metaphysics.
The creator of Theoria Apophasis says he’s a staunch follower of Plato, although he frequently cherry picks quotes from Plato’s writings, quoting them out of context. Just as he mistakenly believed the Sun went around the Earth, Plato also believed in a substance called the ether. We now know there’s no such thing.
We debunk Ken Wheeler’s notion of the ether in more detail under Field Theory – Why Ken’s Wrong. Also, the YouTuber Planarwalk provides a more detailed refutation of the Angry Photographer’s notions about the ether here.
Ken Wheeler is Firmly on Team Plato
Democritus and Epicurus were rivals of Plato. They believed that matter consists of tiny particles they called atoms. As a result, they were sometimes called atomists.
Coincidentally, Plato believed in the afterlife while atomists generally didn’t. Since Ken Wheeler is firmly on Team Plato, he concludes that all atomists are evil.
What do ancient Greek philosophers have to do with today’s experimental observations? Nothing. What does particle physics have to do with morality or with the afterlife? Again, nothing.
In His Mind, If Photons Exist, He’s Going to Die Someday
The underlying issue behind Ken Wheeler’s ridicule of virtual photons is that, in his mind, if they exist, it means he’s going to die someday. This is something with which he’s been unable to come to terms.
When asked about what happens when we die, the Angry Photographer inevitably replies with, “what makes you think you’re that which dies?” He finds the idea of death without an afterlife oddly threatening.
Leo Tolstoy famously wrote that, “A person who is afraid of death is one who has not lived his life properly and has broken the law of life.” Throughout this website, we can see examples of the Theoria Apophasis host representing the work of others as his own, lying to his audience and defaming other content creators.
Rejects Any School of Thought Teaching No Afterlife
His resulting fear of death colours Ken Wheeler’s judgment when it comes to anything connected to science or philosophy. He rejects any school of thought that hints that he may have no afterlife as irredeemably evil.
The Angry Photographer is entitled to believe anything he likes about life after death. None of us could claim to have all the answers on such an esoteric topic. In his defense, most of us fear death in one way or another.
Rejects Scientific Facts that Challenge His Spiritual Beliefs
Even so, he goes out of bounds when he rejects proven scientific facts that, in his mind, challenge his spiritual beliefs. Facts are facts and we should all let them lead us toward the truth.
Michael Crichton wrote that, “We all live in virtual environments, defined by our ideas.” Sadly, in Ken Wheeler’s case, his ideas construct an illusory environment bearing virtually no resemblence to metaphysical or scientific truth.
Education triggers a lot of painful emotions for Ken Wheeler. Find out how his own regrettable academic career leads him to the wrong conclusions about public education and home schooling in the United States.
For most of human history, societies viewed formal education as a privilege rather than a right. If your father was the king’s personal physician, like Aristotle, you could go to the Academy and have Plato as your professor.
If you were an everyday pleb, like 99% of the populace, you’d pick up as much as you could from your parents and older siblings and hope for the best. That’s why so many people in the ancient world ended up with the same job as their parents, whether it suited them or not.
Home schooling as the norm back then could be okay with the right parents, but not usually. A good example is a letter one of my own pioneer ancestors sent back to relatives in her native Scotland. She writes, “there is no school here for the children, so we have to learn them ourselves.”
Cultures that Valued Universal Education Early On Excelled
Cultures that valued universal education early on excelled. For example, Scots and Jews were overrepresented among the wealthy, scholarly and successful because even people of modest means received a basic education within their societies.
Universal, compulsory education finally emerged in the United States in the early 20th century. Governments viewed it as essential for two main reasons. America needed an educated electorate for democracy to function, and it needed a skilled workforce to compete with its rivals in international trade.
Public education ensured that teachers were certified and accountable for what they taught. It also established standard curricula that elected school boards could at least try to match to local socioeconomic needs.
Public Education Provides Equality of Opportunity
As we’ve seen, public education also provided equality of opportunity. When everyone gained the same standard body of knowledge in school, priviledged kids like Aristotle no longer had any advantage over others.
Ken Wheeler didn’t get along in school. He tells his viewers that “of all the horrible things that have happened to me in life, public school was easily the worst.”
With characteristic intellectual humility, he explains his unhappy academic career this way. “I had the gift of wisdom and insight to know these teachers were all fools. I didn’t listen to them, I didn’t obey them. I knew I was smarter than them, and still am, of course”
The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th edition (DSM-5) identifies an interesting childhood condition. It’s called Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). They define it as, “a pattern of angry/irritable mood, argumentative/defiant behavior, or vindictiveness.” Readers can decide for themselves to whom this description might apply.
The Angry Photographer goes on to explain, “You know, I didn’t disrupt the class or anything. There were a few times when I told the teacher ‘you’re a fool, this is just not true.'” The DSM-5 explains that ODD is different from other behavioural issues in that, while children with the disorder are argumentative and insolent, they’re rarely physically aggressive or inclined to lie or steal.
Demanding an impossible standard of proof for the value of public education, the Angry Photographer declares that schools teach “filth and nonsense to their kids.” He explains that he has “no love for teachers because most of them can’t teach, they don’t know anything, they don’t care about their job.”
Would Like to See America Return to Home Schooling
The YouTuber behind Theoria Apophasis would like to see America return to the days where home schooling was the norm. The logical fallacy with this argument is that home schooling in the 21st century has all the same shortcomings it had in the 19th.
There’s more to being an educator than reading textbooks to your kids or having them watch videos. Teachers use their experience to offer professional guidance to ensure children master the skills they need through tailored homework, lessons, testing and projects.
Most children perform better academically in school than at home because their peers influence them. Social stimulus from other kids boosts their IQ, and a bit of healthy competition motivates them to perform better in a formal classroom than in a family setting.
Classroom Environment More Stimulating for Most Kids
Children find home schooling tedious and being cooped up at home all day makes them restless. Spending all their time inside the home often leads to depression and obesity. A classroom environment is much more stimulating for most kids.
Home schooling involves more screen time than classroom education. In addition to the mental issues this entails, it’s very bad for a child’s eyesight.
Home schooled children don’t interact with peers outside their family. This leads to poor social skills and a less well-rounded personality.
Home Schooled Children Are More Likely to Be Bullied
Home schooled children are more likely to be bullied. They have fewer opportunities to socialize and don’t have school friends to support them. Neighbourhood children outside their own families view them as outsiders.
The main concern though, is that very few parents are equipped to be teachers. They don’t have the training, the time or the resources to take on the role of a professional educator. As a result of all these shortcomings, most home schooled kids aren’t well prepared for college or for the workplace.
Very Few Parents Are Equipped to Be Teachers
Parents who home school often make grave mistakes that harm their children’s development. Academic performance suffers as a result. There’s a very good reason why only about 3% of American families home school their children even though it’s perfectly legal.
Cherry-picking based on anecdotal evidence, Kentucky Ken insists that he’s never heard of a problem child who was home schooled. The truth is that a growing number of home schooled children have grown up to become violent criminals and even mass murderers.
They include Adam Lanza, the school shooter who killed twenty children and six adults at Sandy Hook. Chevie Kehoe and his brother Cheyne, two of America’s most infamous white supremacists, were also home schooled. So was Alaska’s notorious serial killer Israel Keyes who confessed to eight murders and whom police suspect was guilty of several more.
Sandy Hook Shooter, Alaska Serial Killer: Home Schooled
None of this proves that home schooling is a breeding ground for criminals. However, it does strongly refute Kentucky Ken’s claim that home schooled kids never grow up to be problem adults.
Money is one of Ken Wheeler’s perennial preoccupations. In terms of education, he declares “I pay property taxes. I think I pay too much in property taxes and most of my property tax bill goes to these rotten, little, evil, hell-holes that we call the public school system.”
The Angry Photographer has no children, so his perception of the education system comes from pronouncements from fake education experts. However, if he did have kids, and he chose to home school them, he’d be shelling out thousands of dollars more in personal expenses over and above what he pays in school tax.
Penny Wise and Pound Foolish about Education Tax
These costs include textbooks, materials, field trips and extracurricular activities. As always, the Theoria Apophasis host is being penny wise and pound foolish.
Ken Wheeler also had a regrettable college experience. He describes it as a “total waste.” He claims to have spent “years in college.” The truth, as confirmed by the University of Kentucky’s registrar, is that he spent just two years studying Russian at that college in his Lexington hometown and didn’t graduate.
He tells his audience that the university’s only worthwhile resource was the library. He reports spending most of his college days in it, rather than doing his assignments or socializing with any of his peers.
“I Spent Enormous Amounts of Time” in the Library
“I spent enormous amounts of time there,” he says, “Quickly finding the really, really good stuff and being self-taught in a superior education.” As part of this process, the Angry Photographer dabbled in the philosophy of Plato.
It’s beyond ironic that someone who identifies as a platonist would also boast about being self-taught. Plato was strongly against learning independently from books.
He believed that books had their place as a pastime for scholars or to leave a legacy as teachers’ lives drew to a close. However, he thought they were no substitute for lectures because, as he put it in his Protagorus dialogue, books “can neither answer nor ask.”
Plato: “Writings Are but a Reminiscence of What We Know”
In his dialogue the Phaedrus, Plato went further, saying “that even the best of writings are but a reminiscence of what we know, and that only in principle of justice and goodness and nobility taught and communicated for the sake of instruction and graven in the soul, which is the true way of writing, is there clearness and perfection and seriousness.”
Plato established the first academic insitution, The Academy, because of his passionate commitment to classroom instruction over self-directed book-learning. There’s an old saying that “every self-taught man had a fool for a teacher.”
The Angry Photographer accuses formally educated people of being part of a vast conspiracy in almost every video. It seems to derive from the social dysfunction he endured during his own school years.
Many of Us Lived Through Similar Diffriculties
Many of us lived through similar difficulties, especially if we went to school before teachers learned to identify and address learning challenges like ODD and take bullying seriously. The Theoria Apophasis host is entitled to our compassion for his crushing experiences.
Even so, he’s not entitled to resent those who had meaningful and rewarding academic and professional careers merely because he didn’t benefit from the same experience.
Climate science is another theme on which Ken Wheeler weighs in from time to time. Find out why his baseless climate denial is something about which we no longer have time to argue.
Climate change is the term scientists use to describe long-term shifts in weather patterns and atmospheric temperatures. Historically, most of these shifts were natural, usually because of changes in the sun’s natural cycles.
That started to change in the early 19th century. With the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, humanity started burning coal.
Before long, we discovered Earth’s vast petroleum reserves and also found ways to use them to fuel our vehicles. Natural gas soon followed as an economical way to generate electricity and heat our buildings.
We Call These Energy Sources Fossil Fuels
We’ve started calling these energy sources fossil fuels. This is partly because they’re the remains of ancient life forms, and partly because humanity needs to move away from them for ecological and economic reasons.
When we burn fossil fuels, we emit gases that trap heat in Earth’s atmosphere, especially carbon dioxide and methane. This raises the average surface temperature across the globe.
This is already causing severe droughts, water shortages, wildfires, rising sea levels, catastrophic floods, melting polar ice caps, disastrous storms and mass extinction. If it continues unabated, the climate crisis will cause massive human health risks, forced displacements, widespread famines and even more severe pandemics.
Scientists Agree Climate Crisis is Caused by Humans
Practically all reputable climate scientists agree with these conclusions. For decades the expert consensus has been that climate change is a crisis caused by human activity.
Ken Wheeler denies all these established scientific facts as part of a global conspiracy. While demanding impossible standards of proof from climate scientists, he offers his own demonstrably false notions about rising C02 levels and climate change.
The Angry Photographer assures his audience that “Mother Nature loves C02.” Hearkening back to his Grade 6 science lessons, he reminds us that plants absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis.
Plants Need Temperature, Moisture More than C02
As any gardener or farmer will tell you, C02 is the least of their worries in getting plants to grow. Light, temperature and moisture are vastly more important to keeping plants healthy than how much carbon dioxide there is in the air.
Rising C02 levels push temperatures above optimal levels in which plants can thrive. Plants adapted to temperate zones can’t survive rapidly rising heat levels in their habitats, which is exactly what carbon emissions cause.
Droughts and fires wipe out massive ranges of plant life. Floods cause widespread erosion, which uproots and devastates plant life in a wide range of ecosystems.
Droughts and Fires Wipe Out Plant Life
The idea that higher C02 levels are good for plants comes from cherry-picking studies conducted in artificial greenhouses. When scientists look at natural environments using free-air C02 enrichment studies, the benefits of rising C02 evaporate.
Another problem with the Theoria Apophasis host’s notion that nature loves C02 is that there’s more than one kind of carbon. Different kinds of plants respond differently to different carbon isotopes.
Some plants may benefit from industrial C02 emissions, but others definitely won’t. Nobody, least of all Kentucky Ken, knows how uncontrolled fossil fuel emissions affect plant life in various habitats worldwide. We do know that excessive heat and droughts devastate plant life on a global scale.
Excessive Heat and Droughts Devastate Plant Life
Ken Wheeler also raises the point that Earth’s C02 levels were “astronomically higher” during the Jurassic period than they are today. He’s basing this claim on obsolete data.
Today’s C02 levels are just over 400 ppm. It’s hard to estimate C02 levels 200 million years ago, but scientists’ best educated guess is that they were about 600 ppm.
That’s not “astronomically higher.” Beyond that, the Angry Photographer commits a logical fallacy when he goes on to say that temperatures rose along with the elevated C02 levels during the Jurassic.
Correlation Between C02 Levels and Global Warming
These two Jurassic climate conditions demonstrate the tight correlation between C02 levels and global warming. In fact, science tells us that climate and C02 levels have always varied together as if in lockstep. They’re both lower during ice ages and they’re both higher during warm periods.
The YouTuber behind Theoria Apophasis also tells us that “the entire planet was lush and super, super green” in prehistoric periods of high atmospheric C02. He doesn’t realize that this was because greenhouse gases in those periods were in balance with carbon levels in the ocean and absorption through the weathering of rocks.
This balance came from extremely gradual adjustment periods that took place over millions of years. On the other hand, when greenhouse gas levels have risen suddenly, they’ve always caused mass extinctions.
Last Decade Was the Hottest on Record
We’ve increased our artificial C02 emissions at an unprecedented rate. As a result, the last decade was the hottest on record. These rapid changes correlate with rising temperatures, rising sea levels and ocean acidification, just as they always have when C02 levels have spiked in the remote past.
Among the more tangible effects of global warming are the increasingly violent tropical storms in the Caribbean. Warmer air and sea temperatures cause more intense tropical cyclones to develop, resulting in more destructive hurricanes throughout the region.
Ironically, this climactic change has now affected Ken Wheeler personally. Hurricane Ian caused extensive damage to his vacation home in Fort Myers, Florida.
Global Warming Has Now Destroyed His Own House
Just as the Angry Photographer has contracted COVID twice due to his science denial around the pandemic, global warming has now destroyed one of his own houses. Yet, he persists in denying that the climate crisis is real and caused by human activity.
As in so many other areas on which Ken Wheeler expresses contrarian views, he has no formal training, credentials or experience related to climate science, and it shows. The consensus among climate scientists that climate change is real, caused by humans and a crisis is now effectively unanimous.
It’s hard to be certain why Ken Wheeler feels the need to deny this universal scientific consensus. He constantly complains about the price of everything, especially gasoline, so carbon pricing may have something to do with it.
Resentment Towards Anyone with a Formal Education
The Angry Photographer also displays a hostile resentment towards anyone with a formal education, especially scientists with PhDs. He’s also intensely antagonistic toward peer reviewed scientific literature, viewing modern science as a vast conspiracy.
Kentucky Ken’s profound gullibility toward fake experts may also be a factor. Mitch McConnell represents his state in the US Senate. A key coal mining jurisdiction, Kentucky is one of only four US states where most residents don’t believe human activity causes climate change. He may simply be a product of his environment.
We No Longer Have Time for this Nonsense
Whatever his reasons, humanity is well beyond the point where climate denial is credible or worth debating. We no longer have time for this nonsense.
So, it’s important that we disregard Ken Wheeler’s climate denial. Mother Nature’s health and future, not to mention our own, depend on it.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot topic as our gadgets do more and more of our thinking for us. Find out why Ken Wheeler’s take on AI is preposterous speculation that proves nothing but his own lack of computing expertise.
Artificial intelligence (AI) means intelligence demonstrated by machines. It’s the opposite of natural intelligence which is intelligence displayed by humans and other animals to varying degrees.
It’s important to understand that artificial intelligence doesn’t mean machines that can reproduce things the human mind can do, like learning or solving problems.
Instead, it means the study and design of intelligent agents. That includes any kind of system that can perceive the environment around it and respond in ways that deliver an intended result.
Lots of Everyday Technology Uses Artificial Intelligence
So, lots of everyday technology uses artificial intelligence. This includes chess programs, search engines like Google, the algorithms that recommend things to us on social media, voice activated assistants like Siri and Alexa and the radar-enabled cruise control in our cars.
Artificial intelligence isn’t science fiction. It has nothing to do with conscious, self-aware supercomputers like HAL-9000 that might someday run amok and take over the world.
Ken Wheeler has his own idiosyncratic ideas about artificial intelligence. He admits that he has no background in computer science, software development or programming. In fact, he declares that “I would rather do anything in my life other than computer programming.”
“I Don’t Pretend to Be a Computer Programmer”
He goes on to say, “I don’t pretend to be a computer programmer.” Naturally, that doesn’t stop him from declaring himself a fake expert on the topic.
He claims that sentience and artificial intelligence are impossible using computers. He dismisses supercomputers as “binary machines,” and “nothing other than an ultra-complex calculator moving ones and zeros around.”
For these reasons, he declares that “we’re never going to see artificial intelligence.” He then proceeds to conflate intelligence with consciousness.
Intelligence, Sentience and Consciousness – Separate Ideas
Intelligence, sentience and consciousness are three separate ideas. As he often does with technical terms from fields in which he’s self-taught, the Angry Photographer uses these unrelated words interchangeably and incorrectly.
Intelligence in the AI field, as defined by Merriam Webster, means “the ability to perform computer functions.” Sentience is “feeling or sensation as distinguished from perception or thought.” Consciousness is “the quality or state of being aware especially of something within oneself.”
So it’s obvious that computers can perform the functions for which they’ve been programmed. On the other hand, while computers connected to cameras or microphones have a very limited kind of perception, they’re not sentient.
A Computer is Not Aware of Itself or What It’s Doing
Although a computer’s ability to process information is a rudimentary kind of thought, a computer is not aware of itself or what it’s doing. It has no consciousness.
So, while computers have intelligence, they lack sentience or consciousness. To paraphrase philosopher Thomas Nagel, there’s nothing that it’s like to be a computer, but that doesn’t mean there’s no such thing as artificial intelligence.
The Theoria Apophasis host goes on to insist that consciousness is “the consubstantiality of two things – matter and spirit.” He declares this to be “scientifically undeniable.”
Scientists Deny His “Scientifically Undeniable” Claim
Ken Wheeler doesn’t bother to mention that scientists like Richard Dawkins deny this quite vehemently. Other scientists disagree with Dawkins but it’s preposterous to try to claim that this idea can’t be denied scientifically. Many scientists deny it on a daily basis.
Here once again, he’s conflating two separate ideas. Spirit and consciousness aren’t synonyms any more than sentience and intelligence mean the same thing.
The Angry Photographer then commits one of his trademark logical fallacies. He declares that the only way a “human construct” could replicate consciousness would be by using water.
Logical Fallacies Underlie His Fascination with Water
We explain the many logical fallacies that underlie the Theoria Apophasis host’s fascination with good old H2O under Water – Why Ken’s Wrong. Here, we’ll stick to the main points for the sake of brevity.
Some, but by no means all, antennas are v-shaped. Water molecules are also v-shaped.
Based on that, Ken Wheeler has mysteriously concluded that water is an antenna. The fact that distilled water can’t conduct electromagnetic signals doesn’t seem to curb his enthusiasm for this idea.
Jumps to Conclusion that Water Acts as Spiritual Antenna
The Angry Photographer has jumped to the conclusion that water acts as an antenna connecting our spirits to our physical bodies. Since all life on Earth is water-based, this, in his mind, proves that all living things are animated by spirit via the water molecule. This supposedly works the way a radio is animated by a signal through its antenna.
The YouTuber behind Theoria Apophasis goes on to argue that an inventor could produce artificial consciousness by mixing water and table salt – what doctors call a saline solution. He mentions that there are two other chemicals that would also do the trick although he says he can’t remember what they are.
Presumably Ken Wheeler is cherry-picking ideas about the various compounds that dissolve into ions that scientists call electrolytes. These include alkalis, chlorides, sulphides and carbonate compounds. There are far more than three of them, but that’s a separate discussion.
Glass Jar Around the Size of a Human Head With Saltwater
The Angry Photographer describes his proposed device as a glass jar around the size of a human head filled with saltwater, with input and output terminals. A “holographic processor matrix” suspended in the salty water would spontaneously generate “holographic information.”
The reason for this manifestation of consciousness supposedly has to do with the v-shape of water molecules. Kentucky Ken explains that this happens due to “the actual holography of perfect incommensurability that exists in the geometry of the molecule itself.”
That’s quite a mouthful of word salad. Translating it into English, Ken Wheeler is arguing that because a water molecule is the same shape as the rabbit ears on an old-school television set, it’s a kind of spiritual aerial through which consciousness would emerge spontaneously.
Says Our Brains Are a Water-Based “Holographic Matrix”
The Angry Photographer explains that our brains are a water-based “holographic matrix.” Somehow his bucket of salty water, or perhaps electrolyte-rich Gatorade (my sarcastic suggestion, not his!), will be able to replicate the hitherto inexplicable phenomenon of the human brain, which scientists have called the most complex object in the known universe.
Demanding an impossible standard of proof, the Theoria Apophasis host tells his audience that, “I don’t know of anybody on Earth that is attempting to submerge a processor matrix into a saline water solution.” There’s a reason for that. The entire notion is preposterous.
How is Ken Wheeler wrong about all this? Let me count the ways.
Consciousness and Intelligence Are Two Separate Things
Consciousness and intelligence are two separate things. Artificial intelligence is under no obligation to replicate human consciousness in order to accomplish useful things.
Scientists don’t agree that consciousness emerges from a metaphysical entity called spirit. The Angry Photography offers no evidence supporting the notion that consciousness is equivalent to spirit or vice versa.
The mere fact that a water molecule is shaped like a “v” doesn’t prove that it functions as an antenna. The shape of an antenna is a function of the wavelength of the signal its designers want to capture, and most antennas aren’t v-shaped.
If Device Could Work, Scientists Would Have Build It
If a device as simple as the one the Theoria Apophasis host proposes could work, scientists would have built it decades ago. They haven’t, because it couldn’t. That’s also why Kentucky Ken hasn’t built one himself.
Ken Wheeler tells his followers, “I spend time thinking about a lot of different stuff. Stuff that a lot of people don’t think about.” As we can see, some additional intelligence, whether natural or artificial, would probably help him with these thought processes.
Ken Should Discuss AI with Legitimate Experts
Better yet, instead of trying to teach himself artificial intelligence, the Angry Photographer would be better advised to discuss the topic with legitimate experts in the field. Unfortunately, that’s unlikely to happen.
Kentucky Ken would have to concede that someone knew more about a subject than he does. Besides, he views modern science as a vast conspiracy to deny the truth. The irony of this belief seems lost on him.
“Justine Castro” is Ken Wheeler’s new nickname for Canada’s prime minister. Find out why this nickname comes from rumours that are inaccurate as well as logistically and biologically impossible.
Pierre Elliot Trudeau was probably the most charismatic prime minister that Canada ever had. Mind you, he hasn’t had much competition.
Canadians of a certain age vividly remember how he captured the country’s imagination in 1968 – a phenomenon called Trudeaumania. One of the most captivating events of those years was the 52-year-old bachelor’s marriage to 23-year-old Vancouver socialite, Margaret Sinclair.
The couple married secretly on March 4, 1971. They took a one-week honeymoon at the Whistler ski resort and then headed to Ottawa on March 8.
Justin Trudeau Was Born on December 25, 1971
Margaret moved into the official Prime Minister’s Residence at 24 Sussex Drive immediately after the honeymoon. Their first son, Justin Trudeau was born on December 25, 1971 – Christmas Day. This was a major media event across Canada that charmed the whole country.
This means that the couple conceived Justin sometime between March 16 and April 22, 1971. Why this matters will become clear in a moment.
Relying on reports from fake experts on Canadian politics, Ken Wheeler has been commenting in support of the anti-vaccine protests in Canada recently. During those videos, he has taken to referring to Canada’s prime minister as “Justine Castro.”
Childish Feminization of Prime Minister’s First Name
Presumably, Kentucky Ken intends this childish feminization of the Prime Minister’s first name to imply that he’s not manly enough. He may have come across a bizarre conspiracy theory on the dark web that Justin Trudeau is transgendered.
As we’ve seen, Justin Trudeau’s birth was a nationwide news event. It would have been impossible for his parents to hide his gender in those circumstances.
Having been born while his father was in office and being the couple’s first child, Justin Trudeau grew up in the media spotlight. He has clearly identified as male from birth.
Clearly Identified as Male From the Day of His Birth
Throughout his adult life, Justin Trudeau has been recognized as a tall, handsome man. He inherited his fine features and luxuriant dark, wavy hair, but not his gender, from his glamorous mother.
The Angry Photographer may have other reasons for his childish “Justine” moniker. If so, apparently he’s unaware that Justin Trudeau is an expert amateur boxer and has a black belt in judo.
Canada’s head of government is also an avid outdoorsman. He’s an experienced canoeist, rock climber, and snowboarder.
Devoted Family Man Who Has Fathered Three Children
Justin Trudeau is also a devoted family man who has fathered three children. That’s not biologically possible for a trans man. He’s been happily married to Sophie Gregoire for seventeen years.
So, one really has to wonder where Ken Wheeler gets the idea that Justin Trudeau is effeminate, warranting the Justine Castro moniker. Certainly, nothing in his personal life suggests that.
Now, let’s talk about the “Castro” part. This appears to be an allusion to other bizarre rumours that Justin Trudeau is the biological son of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. The main reason this urban legend is preposterous is that Justin Trudeau was born in 1971, while his mother met Fidel Castro for the first time in 1976.
Born in 1971, Mother Met Castro for the First Time in 1976
One might think this timeline alone would put this urban legend to rest. Beyond that, the 1976 encounter was an official visit between her husband and the Cuban leader. She merely accompanied the Canadian prime minister, and there’s no evidence of any personal friendship between Margaret Trudeau and Castro.
However, rumours are stubborn things. Cherry-picking dates from fifty-year-old travel itineraries, conspiracists now maintain that Castro impregnated Margaret Trudeau during the Trudeaus’ Caribbean tour in April 1971.
The couple visited Barbados, Tobago, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad. They didn’t visit Cuba, which is where Castro remained throughout this period.
Impossible for Justin Trudeau to be Child of Fidel Castro
So, despite the label Justine Castro, it’s a logical fallacy and logistical impossibility that Justin Trudeau could conceivably (pun intended) be the illegitimate child of Fidel Castro. Grasping at straws, and demanding an impossible standard of proof, conspiracists have pointed out that Justin Trudeau doesn’t look much like Pierre Trudeau.
The problem with that argument is that, as mentioned above, Justin Trudeau is the spitting image of his attrractive mother. He doesn’t look much like Fidel Castro either.
So, as always, Ken Wheeler is completely misinformed on this point. He may realize that the rumours are baseless, which could be why he only alludes to them by using the puerile Justine Castro nickname.
Epic Gullibility – Demonstrably False Notion
It’s equally possible that the Theoria Apophasis host’s epic gullibility has made him fall for two more demonstrably false notions. In either case, as always, he doesn’t have the first clue what he’s talking about.
One also has to ask how these rumours would be relevant to current events, even if they were true. They’re not.
Ken Wheeler tells us that focusing our attention on icons and talismans magically attracts evil spirits. Find out why science debunks this notion and why it would take a lot more than magic to make it stick.
In his classic work, Man and His Symbols, Carl Jung writes, “Man uses the spoken or written word to express the meaning of what he wants to convey. His language is full of symbols, but also often employs signs or images that are not strictly descriptive.”
Jung defines a symbol as a familiar word, name, or picture that also “possesses specific connotations in addition to its conventional or obvious meaning.” There’s something hidden, vague or unexplained about our symbols.
There are countless abstract concepts that come to our minds, and we use symbols to express them. Symbols are also a convenient shorthand (the fancy word is hermeneutic) that allow us to express an elaborate idea with just a phrase or a picture.
Symbols Are Central to Human Culture
Symbols are central to human culture. They play a crucial role in our progress as a species, and without them we’d probably still be living in the Stone Age.
None of this sits well with Ken Wheeler. He looks upon symbols as “talismans” and “icons,” and views them as part of “the genuine magic of true metaphysics.” He seems to have arrived at this conclusion by stumbling on the magical thinking embraced by the philosopher Iamblicus as part of his superstitious medieval practice called theurgy. We cover this in more detail under Retroduction – Why Ken’s Wrong.
The Angry Photographer clings to an odd double standard. He rejects and ridicules what he calls “woo-woo and whackadoodle nonsense” like crystals, Bigfoot, and unicorns, while promoting his beliefs in theurgy, ghosts, the ether, dowsing, and other paranormal phenomena as “undeniably true.”
Calls Icon and Talisman Effect “Magic by Any Definition”
According to the YouTuber behind Theoria Apophasis, icons and talismans can “bend the will of millions of people.” He argues that this supposed effect is “magic by any definition.”
For example, Ken Wheeler believes in Ouija boards. He’s quick to clarify that he doesn’t believe the board or the planchette (pointing device) possess intrinsic magical powers.
Instead, the Angry Photographer argues that the Ouija board is a type of talisman. By providing us with a point of focus, it can evoke evil spirits and wreak havoc.
Says Ouija Boards Invoke Evil Spirits and Wreak Havoc
As evidence, the Theoria Apophasis host tells a story about a house in Missouri in which, according to him, a boy with a Ouija board created a “portal to disembodied beings.” The Angry Photographer says that the house, which he claims inspired the movie The Exorcist, was inundated with evil spirits and remains haunted to this very day.
As always, Ken Wheeler doesn’t have his facts straight. The urban legend to which he’s referring supposedly took place in Cottage City, Maryland, near Washington, D.C., and not in Missouri.
Although the troubled boy spent some time in St. Louis, Missouri, mainly for treatment at St. Louis University, nobody claims anything supernatural took place in the house where he stayed in that city. All the relevant incidents took place in Maryland or at the university.
‘Exorcist’ Homeowners Had No Supernatural Encounters
As for that Maryland house, a couple purchased it recently for a bargain price due to its reputation among gullible people. Speaking to The Washingtonian, they report absolutely no “encounters with the supernatural,” and they view the story behind their home with humour. It’s not “haunted to this day” as Ken Wheeler insists.
So much for Ouija boards. The Angry Photographer also leads us all the way back to ancient Egypt to try to make his point about iconography.
According to the Theoria Apophasis creator, Egyptian hieroglyphs represent the “metaphysical iconography of the priest class” in that culture. He insists that everyday Egyptians didn’t use the hieroglyphic language.
Insists Everyday Egyptians Didn’t Use Hieroglyphs
As we explain in detail under Egypt – Why Ken’s Wrong, Egyptian hieroglyphs were the first de facto written language of business in early Ancient Egypt. They weren’t some esoteric mystery language depicting talismanic symbols for worship by religious priests and clerics.
The Theoria Apophasis host also points to Nazi iconography as evidence for his notion of metaphysical magic. In particular, he mentions that the swastika is a “Buddhist standard for the solar absolute.”
There’s nothing specifically Buddhist about a swastika. The symbol is more than 7,000 years old, and has turned up in the ruins of Troy and in prehistoric Germany.
Nothing Specifically Buddhist About a Swastika
The same symbol can mean completely different things in different cultural contexts. The swastika is now the ultimate symbol of evil in the modern western world, while Asians still consider it a symbol of good luck. They proudly display it at Diwali, their Festival of Light, for example.
The word “swastika” comes from the Sanskrit “svastika,” which means “well-being.” Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and Odinists all use this symbol throughout Eurasia. One wonders why Ken Wheeler wants to pin a swastika on the Buddhists, although he bitterly disagrees with them about Buddhist souls.
The YouTuber behind Theoria Apophasis claims that the swastika is another form of talisman. He believes that the swastika became a “point of focus” for Germans in the 1930s, causing the Second World War and the Holocaust. All because people thought a bent cross looked intriguing?
Leap of Logic that ‘All Wars are Spiritual Wars’
Ken Wheeler takes this simplistic explanation for World War II even further. He makes the death-defying leap of logic that “all wars are spiritual wars.”
Social scientists tell us that wars take place because every nation has a basic need for security, and there is no global institution to ensure it for them. This need for national security manifests itself in many ways.
Manifestations can include territorial and economic gain, sectarianism, nationalism, revenge, revolution, and pre-emptive war, among others. None of these causes of war have anything to do with spirits, symbols, icons, or talismans. They stem from conflicting national security interests.
Believes in Water Witching or Dowsing
Drawing on theurgy’s emphasis on charms and divination, Ken Wheeler also believes in water witching or dowsing. That’s the practice of using a forked stick or a pair of L-shaped wires to decide where to dig a well.
In most places where agriculture is practical, there are aquifers underneath virtually any piece of ground you choose. Scientific studies show that dowsers fare no better than random chance at finding these groundwater sources.
The Angry Photographer maintains that, although dowsing rods themselves contain no magic, they’re yet another kind of talisman. Water witchers use them as a point of focus, magically enabling them to sense subsurface water deposits.
No Magic Involved in Dowsing, Just Blind Luck
This “magic” offers no advantage over simply guessing. So, the simplest explanation that covers all the facts is there’s no magic involved in the dowsing process, just blind luck.
The Theoria Apophasis host even goes so far as to claim that Christian iconography is subject to the same magical effect. He cites 2 Corinthians 4:4, and Colossians 1:15 as proof.
As always, Ken Wheeler is misinterpreting scripture. These two passages simply refer to Jesus as the image of God. Paul and other early Christians shunned magicians and followed the Second Commandment’s prohibition against creating graven images, such as talismans or idols.
Claims Corporate Trademarks Attract Evil Spirits
Yet, there’s something even more peculiar about the Angry Photographer’s aversion to talismans. He goes on to single out corporate trademarks as examples of icons, suggesting that they too attract evil spirits.
He asserts, incorrectly, that sewing machine manufacturer the Singer Company went bankrupt at some point and that a Chinese company spent a fortune to buy their iconic brand. The truth is that the Singer Company Limited remains an American-owned, going concern based just outside Nashville in La Vergne, Tennessee.
Kentucky Ken’s aversion to corporate trademarks is odd given that he has a Nikon logo tattoo. Has this iconic trademark overpowered him, causing his hostile and irrational reviews of photography gear?
Calls Corporate Trademarks Evil, Has Nikon Tattoo
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition, (DSM-5) provides a more likely explanation. DSM-5 defines “magical thinking” as “The erroneous belief that one’s thoughts, words, or actions will cause or prevent a specific outcome in some way that defies commonly understood laws of cause and effect.”
Psychiatrists tell us that magical thinking is a common feature of delusions, including those resulting from “Delusional Disorder, Grandiose Type.” As noted under Who’s Ken Wheeler?, this diagnosis “applies when the central theme of the delusion is the conviction of having some great (but unrecognized) talent or insight or having made some important discovery.”
Believing that one has gifted insight into how icons and talismans connect us with the spirit world seems consistent with this guideline. The fact that delusions of grandeur often have a form of religious content seems like a clincher.
DSM-5 Diagnoses Magical Thinking as Delusional
There’s nothing magical or diabolical about our use of symbols. They’re simply the way we express meaning to one another.
Focusing on a symbol doesn’t attract evil spirits or lead us down the wrong path. Without our symbols, our civilization would collapse.
It’s going to take a lot more than magic for Ken Wheeler to make any of these unsubstantiated claims stick.