I Ain't Gonna Work on Darwin's Farm No More: The Limits of a Limitless Science (7.16.11)
This is tomorrow's post today.... or today's post tomorrow, depending on how things unfold. It's just that I woke up early, it's nice and quiet, and I have this indeterminate amount of slack to play with, whereas tomorrow I'll be more pressed for timelessness.
First of all, the second part of the title of this post is not original to me, but to the philosopher of science Stanley Jaki, who has a collection of essays by that name. In fact, he also has a book entitled The Savior of Science, on the vital relationship between Christian theology and the development of science:
"Beginning with an overview of failed attempts at a sustained science by the ancient cultures of Greece, China, India, and the early Muslim empire, Jaki shows that belief in Christ -- a belief absent in all these cultures -- secured for science its only viable birth starting in the High Middle Ages. In the second part of the book Jaki argues that Christian monotheism alone provides the intellectual safeguards for a valid cosmological argument, restores the sense of purpose destroyed by theories of evolution, and secures firm ethical guidelines against fearful abuses of scientific know-how." (BTW, just ignore the hostile review by the fellow who didn't quite understand the book. Actually, he has written better books; this summary of his ideas is probably my favorite.)
Are there limits to the scientific method, or is it absolute? Clearly the answers are "yes" and "no," respectively. In fact, as Jaki points out, "one may rightly say that there is nothing so important as to ascertain the limits to which science can rightfully be put to use." For example, Darwinians inform us that human beings are just replicating machines, or the gene's way of making more genes. If they truly believe that, is it permissible to treat a human being as a machine? Why not? Just because we "feel" it would be bad? What if other people such as Peter Singer or Adolf Hitler feel it would be a good idea to murder certain people?
There are very sharp limits to the scientific method, one of which is that it specifically applies to the relative, not the absolute. Another intrinsic limit would be Gödel's theorems. Others include quantifiability: "science ceases to be competent whenever a proposition is such as to have no quantitative bearing" (Jaki). This is why, when the scientist forces his paradigm into areas that intrinsically elude its competence, he always sounds stupid, like the adolescent kos kid or middlebrow Lizards.
For if the scientistic mind were capable of understanding these subtle metaphysical matters, they wouldn't be true. To put it another way, there are times that it just isn't possible to descend to the low intellectual level of the Lizard or bonehead materialist. Rather, they must ascend (or evolve!) with a discontinuous leap upward. This upward leap is called "faith." But it is every bit as justified as putting one's faith in the teacher of a subject one doesn't yet understand. Understanding will come, if only you give up your pride and allow it to. It is hardly blind faith, but backed by the full faith and credit of brilliant transpersonal visionaries who have seen much further, deeper, and higher than you ever will with your tiny lizard brain. That is a guarantee.
Science can only operate within a matrix of a freedom that it is powerless to explain. Rather, it just assumes a freedom that nevertheless "cannot be." But where did this idea of freedom come from? Muslims certainly don't believe in it -- much less value it -- and to the extent that scientists do, they can't account for it. Is it a good thing? Obviously, most people, right up to the present time, don't believe so. Even in America, "land of the free," at least half the population are freedom-hating liberals -- most of whom probably harbor the conceit that they are more "logical" and "scientific" than religious believers!
Spengler points out the irony that Muslims and atheists are much closer in their metaphysical assumptions than are Christians with either, which is why Muslim apostates so often become atheists, for it is much easier for them to understand "no God" than a loving one:
"Islam is much closer in character to atheism than to Christianity or Judaism. Although the 'what' of Muslim and atheistic thinking of course are very different..., the 'how' is very similar. Secular liberalism, the official ideology of almost all the nations of Western Europe, offers hedonism, sexual license, anomie, demoralization and gradual depopulation. Muslims do not want this....
"For Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality.... Ibn Hazm went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that 'nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practice' idolatry.
"What does it mean for God to be 'absolutely transcendent'? .... Allah does not limit himself by ordering the world through natural law, for natural laws would impinge on his absolute freedom of action. There are no intermediate [i.e, horizontal] causes, in the sense of laws of nature. Mars traverses an ellipse around the sun not because God has instituted laws of motion that require Mars to traverse an ellipse, but because Allah at every instant directs the angular velocity of Mars. Today, Allah happens to feel like pushing Mars about in an ellipse; tomorrow he might just as well do figure-eights."
Here is the money quote which demonstrates the moronic convergence of Muslms and the Lizards who despise them: "That notion of a god who accepts no limitation, not even the limit of laws of nature that he created, characterizes mainstream Muslim thought since the 11th century. St Thomas Aquinas wrote of its deficiency, drawing on the critique of the 12th-century Jewish theologian and philosopher Moses Maimonides. Despite its vehement and haughtily carried-forward idea of the unity of God, Islam slides into a monistic paganism.... Allah is no more subject to laws of nature than the nature-spirits of the pagan world who infest every tree, rock and stream, and make magic according to their own whimsy" (emphases mine).
The cognitive problems of Islam are more than self-evident. But note that phrase: a god who accepts no limitation. Functionally speaking, this is no different than the scientistic god who accepts no vertical limitation, and deems itself fit to pronounce on subjects that far transcend it, thereby reducing intrinsically transcendent categories such as virtue, beauty, truth, freedom, dignity, nobility, charity, compassion, etc., to the deceptive and self-flattering survival strategies of genes. Only the sober Darwinist sees through the ruse of these ruthless and entirely self-interested genes.
The brilliant Roger Kimball says something similar, in citing E.O. Wilson's morally and intellectually insane comment that “an organism is only DNA’s way of making more DNA.”
"Now, just sit back and think about that. Think, for example, of your favorite organism -- your spouse, for example: is he or she only DNA’s way of making more DNA? Is E. O. Wilson himself only a mechanism for the production of deoxyribonucleic acid?" (This is what I mean when I say that Darwinism is logically self-refuting.)
Likewise, that renowned metaphysical yahoo, Richard Dawkins, says that we are just a "robot-vehicle blindly programmed to preserves the selfish molecules known as genes." Not only does this idiocy converge with the fatalistic and freedom-hating Muslims, but with the deterministic Marxists and their many modern-day spawn who believe, for example, that poverty, rather than bad values, causes crime. I have no doubt that they will eventually identify the "gene for crime" -- if they haven't already -- which will make the tyrannical marriage between Darwinism and leftism complete. Instead of the radically transcendent religion of Islam, it will be the radically immanent religion of Scientism. But both result in a fascistic repression of our divine-human birthright, i.e., our humanness.
A couple more passages by Spengler before I attempt to tie this all together and wrap up: "the absolute transcendence of Allah in the physical world is the cognate of his despotic character as a spiritual ruler, who demands submission and service from his creatures. The Judeo-Christian God loves his creatures and as an act of love makes them free. Humankind only can be free if nature is rational, that is, if God places self-appointed limits on his own sphere of action. In a world ordered by natural law, humankind through its faculty of reason can learn these laws and act freely. In the alternative case, the absolute freedom of Allah crowds out all human freedom of action, leaving nothing but the tyranny of caprice and fate."
"The empty and arbitrary world of atheism is far closer to the Muslim universe than the Biblical world, in which God orders the world out of love for humankind, so that we may in freedom return the love that our creator bears for us. Atheism is an alternative to Islam closer to Muslim habits of mind than the love-centered world of Judaism and Christianity."
I guess I don't have to tie it all together, because that pretty much did it.
Contrary to the claim that DNA is the secret of life, life remains the secret of DNA.... Microbiology has not found a quantitative answer to the question of free will. Brain research cannot answer the question, "What is that experience, called 'now,'" which is at the very center of consciousness.... Nor is the universe as such an object for science. Scientists cannot go outside the universe in order to observe the whole of it. --Stanley Jaki