Monday, December 07, 2009

Scientistic Simpletons and the Church of the Immaculate Deduction

Just a brief speedpost, as I'm pressed for time....

So, if Bolton is correct, then extremes meet in the monistic Darwinians and Deepakians, who are monistrous reflections of one another, being that both exclude the Creator and replace him with the idol of human consciousness.

This fundamental nihilism also leads directly to a leftist political orientation, which abstracts intelligence from reality in the naive belief that it can be controlled and mastered by said "intelligence," i.e., the cult of expertise and specialization. Their mutual "denial of both God and personality and their worship of intelligence in one form or another are of the essence of the modern mentality, and keep it in being" (Bolton).

Perhaps this idea of the "worship of intelligence" is new to you, but it is the blue thread that runs through the modern left extending over the past century or so. Although it is primarily a narcissistic exercise in self-flattery, those who are not members of the cult are not just considered wrong, but dismissed as morons. But one of the bases of wisdom -- which transcends the mere intellectualism of the tenured -- is to know the limits of intelligence. And the left repeatedly fails in this regard, again, because of the replacement of God with human (small r) reason.

Nearly every leftist policy failure falls into this trap, and yet, the prescription is always more of the same. As intelligent as these people believe themselves to be, they never actually question the assumptions of their worldview, much less set out to determine whether their policies are actually effective (much less frankly destructive).

For example, the so-called "war on poverty" that was begun in earnest in the 1960s has not only been a failure -- which one could live with -- but profoundly destructive of the very people it presumed to help (cf. Losing Ground or most any book by Theodore Dalrymple, such as Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass).

Likewise, even despite the revelations of weathergate, these pinheads persist in their insane project of destroying the world's economy -- its wealth-producing mechanism -- to "solve" a problem that doesn't exist. Millions will die as a result -- just as millions have died of malaria in Africa due to the "success" of radical environmentalists in banning DDT. For these radicals, the death of one child due to malaria is a tragedy, but the death of 50 million is a smashing success.

It seems that much of the left's overvaluation of intelligence has to do with the failure to appreciate the irreducible complexity of non-linear systems such as the economy, the climate, and culture. They seem to think they can tinker with one aspect of these systems without affecting the entire system in a fundamentally unpredictable manner. This applies to every complex system, including, say, marriage. For example, every psychotherapist knows that if one spouse becomes healthier, this poses a threat to the marriage itself. You can't just mess with one part of the family without disrupting the whole system.

This appreciation of unintended and unpredictable consequences is the basis of the adage that more tears are shed as a result of answered prayers than unanswered ones. Perhaps God, in his infinite wisdom, is aware of the incredibly complex and delicate web that makes anything function at all. Nonlinearity is the rule, not the exception in the cosmos.

Which is why, of course, science mostly deals with systems that are special cases, not the rule. This was one of the central insights of the brilliant Robert Rosen in his Life Itself: A Comprehensive Inquiry into the Nature, Origin, and Fabrication of Life. To imagine that biologists and Darwinists "understand life" is almost insane in its grandiosity. In reality, the Darwinist replaces reality with a crude abstraction, reifies the abstraction, converts it to an idol, and then brands as heretics those who do not worship at his ego altar. The same goes for the warm-mongers, as their emails have demonstrated.

You will note that one of the characteristics of this kind of bad science is that it is entirely or overly deductive, to the exclusion of inductive observation. This is again because it converts reality into an abstraction, and then deduces from it. Thus, the facts don't matter because the theory is "true" -- observations that fail to fit into the deductive theory are either not seen, or else attacked if they are noticed by someone else.

This is why both Darwinism and "climate change" are unfalsifiable, thus failing even to meet one of the requirements of a true scientific theory (i.e., how is it possible to falsify "climate change" when change is precisely what climates do? Or, name any human trait, and I will provide you with a sociobiological fairy tale that "explains" how it came about).

This is exactly how skeptics are treated by religious fundamentalists. But there is supposed to be a difference between religion and science, one of the main ones being that religion does indeed deal with the world of invariant metaphysical principles, so that it is generally acceptable to deduce facts from them, whereas science is supposed to proceed from facts to principles.

To cite one obvious example, it is a principle of Christianity that man is in the image of the Creator. From this, one may deduce all kinds of useful "vertical" analogies that illuminate both God and man.

Conversely, it is not helpful -- for it leads to no wisdom, to say the least -- to insist on the a priori principle that man is just an accidental conglomeration of selfish genes, and then deduce everything about man from that. For among other inanities, one of the first deductions must be that the truth of man is forever unknowable to us, thus undercutting the entire basis of their omniscient logico-deductive fantasies.

144. In what deserves to be called “science,” you save the drama for your mama. People debating science, getting angry and testy about the skepticism from others, are advancing and defending what would more properly be called “religion.” --Morgan, via Vanderleun

27 Comments:

Blogger Anonymous said...

“Likewise, even despite the revelations of weathergate, these pinheads persist in their insane project of destroying the world's economy -- its wealth-producing mechanism -- to "solve" a problem that doesn't exist…It seems that much of the left's overvaluation of intelligence has to do with the failure to appreciate the irreducible complexity of non-linear systems such as the economy, the climate, and culture.”

...was just saying to Joan this morning,

“RE temperature averages, it occurred to me recently that no one “lives in” averages. They have little use, especially with regard to climate. The temperature on my neck of the world ranges some plus or minus 20 degrees over 24 hours. The tide in Maine about 12 feet or more in some areas over as little as 6 hours …and the locals have somehow managed to deal with this; they thrive, in fact. To suggest we can't adapt to half a degree change in temperature over a decade is absurd. Most can move the entire contents of their home in a weekend. Change is good, we were also told.”

RR

12/07/2009 09:50:00 AM  
Anonymous the quiet nodding man said...

Well done, Bob, well done.

12/07/2009 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger robinstarfish said...

Perhaps God, in his infinite wisdom, is aware of the incredibly complex and delicate web that makes anything function at all.

Yes. For example, it is snowing out right now, big flakes gliding diagonally through trees to land on outstretched bare branches. Utter and mesmerizing beauty.

'Simple' principles are involved - temperature, air pressure, resistance, crystallization, gravity - all creating a unique manifestation far exceeding the sum of their parts. Tinker with any single element and there's no Christmas.

12/07/2009 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

...untinker and there're no climate scientists..

RR :-)

12/07/2009 10:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Alan said...

Here is a an example - a quote from an acton institute blog... blog...<
The church helped to bring about the welfare state in two ways. First, the Church embodied the idea of loving self-sacrifice in service of others. “The Word which the Church proclaims demands charity and justice for the poor. As this Word has permeated at least the Western world, an alerted public conscience has demanded public welfare,” write DeKoster and Berghoef. “The Church is the parent of the welfare community.”

But this “welfare community” became secularized when the Church “did not, and perhaps in some respects could not, measure up to her own ideals. Not all the starving were fed, not all of the homeless given shelter, not all of the oppressed and exploited relieved. The cries of the needy ascended to heaven. The Lord answered with the welfare state. The government undertakes to do what the Church demands and then fails to achieve by herself.”

12/07/2009 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Re the "worship of intelligence" -

Here's an opinion from a master potter, Soetsu Yanagi, regarding Beauty (and I suspect it applies to Truth and Goodness as well):
"One should refrain from becoming a student of aesthetics just because one has a good brain; to know a lot about beauty is no qualification. In understanding beauty, intuition is more of the essence than intellectual perception. To "see" is to go direct to the core; to know the facts about an object of beauty is to go around the periphery."

But our "self-anointed" overlords continue to design a brave new world for us, since they know what sort of "beauty" we'll be needing.

And speaking of "aesthetics," an article I read yesterday which summarized all the various points about Climategate concluded with, "Ultimately, there are billions of dollars to be made off of global warming." And that's the essence of "green."

12/07/2009 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

...more tears are shed as a result of answered prayers than unanswered ones.

I've never heard that adage before. How true.

Re. the warmmongers, the number of news articles in the past couple weeks admonishing people to do more to save the earth seems to have grown by leaps and bounds, and the urgency of the situation grows with each article. They're so deeply invested in their beliefs, they're resorting to a metaphorical jihad against the weather infidels, doing their utmost to destroy the evidence and general knowledge of their essential wrongness. The sacred cow must not be melted down, lest the world come to a scorching end. Or their funding be cut off...

12/07/2009 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

Fritz Wagner over at Voegelin View has an insightful observation on Climategate.

12/07/2009 12:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Gradus said...

as a term, "warmmongers" is golden coinage

12/07/2009 03:03:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Report from a Coon Abroad:

My hotel is a few hundred yards from the Sistine Chapel. Wed. will go to St. Peter's Bascilica to attend Pope's mass (if he's in town) and to see La Pieta which quite seriously makes my knees go weak -- it is overwhelming.

Rome is great in December as long as you don't mind a bit of cooler weather. Hung out at Piazza Novana today and met a friend who lives here. He took us for "real" Italian food in some back-street place that only locals know about yadda yadda. It was really, really great pizza though.

12/07/2009 03:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

Northern Bandit: I'm jealous - you bring back fond memories of my trip there two years ago.

Enjoy! Wandering away from the piazza's is the best way to find real local food (and much cheaper!)

12/07/2009 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Catching up on a few posts...

Yesterday's observation about how Westerners and Asians have different modes of thinking certainly makes sense to me. Tokyo or Beijing are radically different from where I am now -- the foundation of Western Civilization. Superficially Rome is a city like Tokyo, but dig a bit deeper and it could be different "species" we're seeing (as always, this has zero to do with "race").

Rome simply overflows with a sense of "the Person" -- far more so than any North American city. Much probably has to do with it being several thousand years old and the center of the Christian world, but Israel also has that "as above, so below" sense too.

I know one Buddhist very well. I can say that there is much of value in that tradition, but unlike, say, Judsaism (or possibly even Hinduism) I can't imagine Buddhism as an alternative to Christianity for me. Also I've noticed he gets quite tetchy when the notion of a Personal Being is even mentioned. Odd, but Bob's post helped to clarify this.

12/07/2009 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

As for Copenhagen and the confederacy of dunces currently stinking up that dreary city -- I pledge to stop being so lazy and start taking more carbon-spewing international trips than ever. 2010 I'll try to fly as much as possible, and I'll install more 150W incandescent light bulbs too.

12/07/2009 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Then you, sir, are a Holocaust denier. And if you oppose socialized medicine, you are pro-slavery to boot.

12/07/2009 04:24:00 PM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

“For example, every psychotherapist knows that if one spouse becomes healthier, this poses a threat to the marriage itself.”

Bob, is it me, or are you just looking for a fight? I mean, the one getting well is the trouble-maker?

WV: People just like to say palsa.

RR

12/07/2009 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Well, that's why they say "in sickness and in health," the latter being the trickier of the two.

12/07/2009 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger Dougman said...

“For example, every psychotherapist knows that if one spouse becomes healthier, this poses a threat to the marriage itself.”

So True. In my case anyway. If'n I had the smarts, I could write a book.
The family climate changes in unpredictable ways.
Both people must be willing to accept thiers and the others' shortcomings, blame, etc.

12/07/2009 06:52:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

I was just thinking over all this "the science is settled" nonsense just this morning--not just re: climate-quiddick but also about other so called "science" aimed at propping up policy goals (like, say, secondhand smoke "studies"--based on phone surveys...).

No real scientist worth his salt would dare utter that phrase. True realists acknowledge that they can't even begin to know what they don't know--even while doggedly pursuing it.

12/07/2009 07:29:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

As a corollary, the same can often be said of "for richer and for poorer." Being richer can be far more challenging, since it opens up whole new vistas of possibility for bad behavior that generally aren't available otherwise.

12/07/2009 07:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Tiger said...

Such as?

12/07/2009 07:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Science is Settled" is a phrase only deployed by right-wing denialists such as yourselves. See here. Science is never absolutely settled,

The depth of the original authors ignorance and distortion about science in general is pretty astounding. Just to warn your readers: if you pay attention to this man, you will end up stupider than when you started. If you want to learn about science, listen to scientists, not resentful raving loons.

12/07/2009 08:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Elin said...

Fore!!

12/07/2009 08:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Tiger said...

No, only three!

12/07/2009 08:58:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Perhaps this idea of the "worship of intelligence" is new to you, but it is the blue thread that runs through the modern left extending over the past century or so. Although it is primarily a narcissistic exercise in self-flattery, those who are not members of the cult are not just considered wrong, but dismissed as morons. But one of the bases of wisdom -- which transcends the mere intellectualism of the tenured -- is to know the limits of intelligence. And the left repeatedly fails in this regard, again, because of the replacement of God with human (small r) reason. "

That reminds me of this quote, which gave me the giggles this weekend, by Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay, reviewing one of the granddaddy's of the left, Mill's (J.S. Mills dad) 'On Government',

"...We think that the theory of Mr. Mill rests altogether on false principles, and that even on those false principles he does not reason logically. Nevertheless, we do not think it strange that his speculations should have filled the Utilitarians with admiration. We have been for some time past inclined to suspect that these people, whom some regard as the lights of the world and others as incarnate demons, are in general ordinary men, with narrow understandings and little information. The contempt which they express for elegant literature is evidently the contempt of ignorance. We apprehend that many of them are persons who, having read little or nothing, are delighted to be rescued from the sense of their own inferiority by some teacher who assures them that the studies which they have neglected are of no value, puts five or six phrases into their mouths, lends them an odd number of the Westminster Review, and in a month transforms them into philosophers. Mingled with these smatterers, whose attainments just suffice to elevate them from the insignificance of dunces to the dignity of bores, and to spread dismay among their pious aunts and grandmothers, there are, we well know, many well-meaning men who have really read and thought much; but whose reading and meditation have been almost exclusively confined to one class of subjects; and who, consequently, though they possess much valuable knowledge respecting those subjects, are by no means so well qualified to judge of a great system as if they had taken a more enlarged view of literature and society.

Nothing is more amusing or instructive than to observe the manner in which people who think themselves wiser than all the rest of the world fall into snares which the simple good sense of their neighbours detects and avoids. It is one of the principal tenets of the Utilitarians that sentiment and eloquence serve only to impede the pursuit of truth. They therefore affect a quakerly plainness, or rather a cynical negligence and impurity, of style. The strongest arguments, when clothed in brilliant language, seem to them so much wordy nonsense. In the mean time they surrender their understandings, with a facility found in no other party, to the meanest and most abject sophisms, provided those sophisms come before them disguised with the externals of demonstration. They do not seem to know that logic has its illusions as well as rhetoric,—that a fallacy may lurk in a syllogism as well as in a metaphor.
..."

Ah, the more things change, the more they remain the same.

12/07/2009 09:57:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Likewise, even despite the revelations of weathergate, these pinheads persist in their insane project of destroying the world's economy -- its wealth-producing mechanism -- to "solve" a problem that doesn't exist. Millions will die as a result -- just as millions have died of malaria in Africa due to the "success" of radical environmentalists in banning DDT. For these radicals, the death of one child due to malaria is a tragedy, but the death of 50 million is a smashing success."

The awful people's awful arithmetic. Wouldn't it be nice if they could be clued in to the one actual peril to the world, the worlds poor, and their children - radical leftist do-gooders.

As if.

12/07/2009 10:03:00 PM  
Blogger xlbrl said...

It is, I will risk saying, invariably true, that the leftist's first thought in evaluating a man or his opinions is the intelligence of the man. Of which he has no idea.

But the reason is simple. Intellegence is the only thing the leftist owns except his arrogance.

When I go to hear a violinist play a concerto with orchestra, I do not ask myself how talented he is, how many hours he has practiced, who he has studied with, or what instrument he is playing on. That is entirely his reponsibility. I will know soon if I wish to stay or go. That is mine.

Those on the left will not go to that trouble, because they don't know and are afraid to learn. And they are intelligent enough to keep up the game and dodge the consequences, which leads to ever more bizzare results.

12/08/2009 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Actually, I heard "the science is settled" uttered on the Diane Rehm show this past summer--by Ms. Rehm, who is hardly a right-winger. She said this quite condescendingly to a skeptic who was questioning the data sources for the most recent U.S. study.

12/08/2009 07:43:00 PM  

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