Sunday, February 07, 2010

Speed-Blogging at the Edge of the Subjective Horizon: We Are All Christians Now

An experiment in speed-blogging: 30 minutes of blogging in 30 minutes....

As Jaki points out, science can only be successful and self-sustaining if it steers a middle course between empiricism and idealism. If it hews too closely to the former, one ultimately ends up with mere sensationalism, with no way to collate the sensations. For if the world is empirical, one of the things it excludes is thought, which is not only not empirical, but cannot be explained with recourse to any purely empirical approach -- as if brain and mind are the same thing.

As we've discussed on a number of occasions, Christianity bridges empiricism and idealism in a most audacious manner, by positing the God-man who is Word-made-flesh; but one could just as easily say idea-made-empirical, universal-made-particular, or center-made-periphery.

This is our first principle, and we all know -- thank Godel -- that first principles cannot be proved within their own system, so to say that God became man should be no more outrageous a metaphysical presupposition than anyone else's first principle -- the difference, of course, being that ours works.

For example, what is the first principle of ideological Darwinism? And let's be completely fair here. What is the unprovable principle upon which their whole pseudo-intellectual edifice is built? It is that all of the biological diversity we see, all of it, both external/objective and interior/subjective -- the latter of which reduces to the former -- is a strictly random process based on genetic copying errors. Could it be true? I suppose it could be, but we could never know it, because it would mean that epistemology -- what we can know -- reduces to zoology -- what kind of animal we are.

For this reason, I don't think ideological Darwinism even qualifies as true science as outlined above -- that is, steering a middle course between empiricism and idealism. And ironically, the problem is not that it errs on the side of empiricism, for there is very little empirical support for Darwinism -- e.g., millions of transitional species in the fossil record, or any evidence whatsoever of one species transforming into another. There just isn't.

The problem is that it is too idealistic a theory, too deductive. It does not end, but begins with the idea of natural selection, and on that basis becomes unfalsifiable because it is their first principle. It can't be proved any more than you can empirically prove that man is in the image of the Creator.

However, you can determine whether Darwinism "works," which it does, to a certain extent, especially in terms of micro-evolution, which is beyond doubt. And I don't see any reason to doubt that it provides a piece of the evolutionary puzzle, but to insist that it is the only piece? Madness. And literally so, for to insist that man is an animal like any other is to insist that there are no human norms, which is madness defined.

Let's suppose that Darwin really did have a brilliant new insight that solved the enigma of man once and for all. But as Jaki points out, "there is no such thing as a logical method of having a new thought." In other words, if we honor Darwin, there is no reason to do so, since humans are just logic machines, and if it hadn't been Darwin, it would have been some other machine who cracked the case.

For just as in evolution itself, there are no "leaps" in logic. Rather, it's all very linear and orderly. There is no ontological gap between an ape and a man, but a radical continuity. So for an intellectually consistent Darwinist, the discovery of natural selection can be of no more value than the ape's discovery that if you wash the dirt off yams in the ocean, they taste better. There is not, and cannot be, any "higher" or "lower." We can have our preferences, but that's all they are.

As Jaki points out, "discovery is the soul of science." But can a merely rational man truly make a discovery? One thing you have to constantly remind patients -- especially the educated ones -- is that "buddy, that's not thinking, that's just logic." Anyone who convinces themselves that thinking may be reduced to logic is -- well, for one thing, they'd be extremely tedious to be around. But it also creates a kind of radical leveling, as if there is no difference between an Einstein and a typical worker bee scientist.

It seems that Darwinists and other crude materialists never stop to ask themselves the question, "What must the cosmos be like in order for me to know anything?" For Jaki emphasizes the point that all science is ultimately cosmology.

In other words, to make any scientific statement is to make a statement about the cosmos in its totality. For the vast majority of scientists, they never bother to explicate their cosmology, so it's all unarticulated and in the background. But if they were to articulate it, they'd soon discover that it is unworkable and self-refuting at every turn.

However, I again insist that there is nothing self-refuting or unworkable in the principle that, thanks to the Christ-principle, or Word-made-flesh, human beings are potentially the link between the One and the many, Spirit and matter, God and cosmos, universal and particular.

Just because science cannot account for a truth hardly means that the truth is not true. But I say that scientists, without being aware of it, actually do unconsciously hold all of the Christian principles alluded to above. The problem is that, in their hubris, they imagine that a cosmic exception has been made for them, and that they alone can have a godlike understanding that transcends their own limiting paradigm.

Thus, Darwin did not believe that his ability to know truth was limited by natural selection, any more than Freud thought that his ability to understand unconscious motivation was was limited by his own unconscious motivation. So we end up with Darwin and his spiritually and metaphysically retarded heirs, who devote (an interesting word) their lives to the purpose of proving that the world is purposeless, freely insisting that free will is an illusion, and absurdly affirming that only their opinion has the unique privilege of transcending their own paradigm and therefore being true.

And no apologies for the word "retarded." Look it up. It is meant literally, not as an insult.

27 Comments:

Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

"For Jaki emphasizes the point that all science is ultimately cosmology. In other words, to make any scientific statement is to make a statement about the cosmos in its totality."

It is how know that mathmatics, physics, will work anywhere in the universe at any and all times.

2/07/2010 08:35:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

In other words, their "realms" "jurisdiction", will never change, if anything they will be seen as only a part of a larger realm.

2/07/2010 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

BTW, I watched Ben Stein’s “Expelled” yesterday. It makes a number of important points quite well. I recommend it. There is an incredible animation in the middle of it to illustrate one point about how Darwin’s so incredibly simplistic idea of the “first cell” compared to what we know is going on in there these days. It is mind blowing. Stein asks Berlinski how he would describe the change in how he looks at the individual cell and he very instantly and pithily says the cell today is “a galaxy” compared to how Darwin looked at it.

Another scientist who is also a believer makes the amazing point that it’s taken us this long and all this technology we have now to see this “galaxy”, the incalculable, ordered in only one way-ness of it all, and we are supposed to think these cells sort of fell into this on their own?

Plus, Dorkins really looks like one in the end. I actually can’t believe Berlinski says he’s a really smart guy. I mean, if you can’t get the foundation right…

2/07/2010 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

if you can’t get the foundation right…

Ah, well - he had to work with the tools available. When everything looks like fuzzy blobs it's hard to tell that all those cell organelles are doing just as much for them as our larger organs do for us. The Dorkinsess comes when people think that just because that's all that can be seen, that's all there is.

Walt sent me a great quote yesterday, which seems apropos here, by Dr. Ray Peak speaking about William Blake:

"When you believe that you have adequate, expert knowledge, a passive, logical, deductive form of mental activity seems appropriate. Deduction always goes from a higher level of generality to a lower level of generality. Mental passivity therefore is likely to be associated with the belief that we have the decisive knowledge already stored in memory.

"If we believe that we create higher degrees of generality, as appropriate solutions to novel problems, then we are committed to an active mental life. Perception, combined with the discovery and invention of new patterns in the world, will be actively oriented toward the future, while the deductive, merely analytical, manner of thought will be tied to the past."

2/07/2010 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Actually it's Ray Peat, FWIW.

2/07/2010 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Oops - that's what I get for skimming!
Thanks, Sensei :)

2/07/2010 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Great post again. Right up my alley (and Ricky's too, I'll bet).

We really do live in an age when the vast majority of "intellectuals" are profoundly stupid. If they had an ounce of curiosity AND a dash of humility they too could come to see how unworkable their unstated assumptions actually are.

2/07/2010 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I was every bit as stupid and arrogant as, say, the writers at Slate.com for a long time. Only via the Grace of God have I changed at all. No other means of change this deep is even conceivable to me.

2/07/2010 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Grant Maher said...

I am having trouble grasping your objections to Darwinist evolution theory.

You come to the conclusion that mind and the higher inquiries of same cannot be be a manifestation of material evolution (i.e the brain).
But what if mind (brain?) produced enough bio/electro/mechanical synaptic snapping of the cortex to create all of the phenomenon of mind, including thoughts about the cosmos and any and all psychospiritual experiences that people have, including the quest to know the universe, including the writing of your book?

I don't see exactly why it could not; complexity being what it is.

You also state the lack of a reason to have these kinds of thoughts and inquiries (such as Darwinist thought) makes them unlikely in and of itself. I don't see how that works either. To every question of why, the alternate, why not, is equally valid.

Nobody knows the reason for this cosmos for sure; both Darwinists and religionists are reduced to speculation. So to have a bias seems like a shaky proposition.

2/07/2010 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger Gerard said...

You gotta block that mind control. Never apologize for a word. And especially never no-apologize for a word.

2/07/2010 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Bob only objects to it's claim to be sufficient to explain man properly understood; everything that makes man as such.

2/07/2010 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Yes it is, NB.
Did you see Expelled?

2/07/2010 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Mr. Grant,
You may find “Expelled” helpful. I think it somewhat goes off track or gets into things it really doesn’t need too. All of them valid. But it does a good job covering Darwin’s inadequate theory from many angles.
One it doesn’t get into, but there are some very good Berlinski (sp?) youtube videos that do, is how Darwin’s theory must remain a theory because it falls very short on what it must do to become a science or fact: 1) there is not enough evidence (fossils) to show a specie (whatever that is) changing from one to another, 2) it is not repeatable in a laboratory. I believe evolution is, as he understood it, to be true. But it falls short in at least those two very important aspects of science. Unfortunate, but the way it is.

2/07/2010 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

But to our point here, and that movie, “The Origin of The Species” conveniently or inadvertently or ignorantly, what have you, skips over that huge gap of how you get from mud to life. Darwin's book, as I've been told, picks up the subject where life already exists in the first cell and evolves forward. That’s a mighty big gap. Somehow, Darwinians don’t see this gap or think it’s sufficiently explained, if at all covered, in Darwin’s theory.
The Book of Genesis, however has no problem covering both sides of the sigularity.

2/07/2010 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Here's one of the Berlinski videos.

2/07/2010 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger Warren said...

>> But what if mind (brain?) produced enough bio/electro/mechanical synaptic snapping of the cortex to create all of the phenomenon of mind, including thoughts about the cosmos

If that's all our thinking amounts to, then obviously all of our thoughts - including the thoughts you just expressed - are completely worthless and invalid. The theory refutes itself before it can even get up and running.

2/07/2010 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Rick:

Not only did I see Expelled, but I discussed it with some seminarians over dinner one night when I was in Rome in December. As promised, I mailed them a DVD copy when I got back here. Plenty of potential Raccoons at the Vatican ;-)

Ben Stein is a true mensch.

2/07/2010 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Grant:

I don't think your questions are unreasonable since I thought pretty much the same way for years, and thought myself very well informed.

If you are interested and patient you can come to understand why mind cannot have arisen from matter in principle, but it will take time and careful consideration of this blog and the resources in the raccoon reading room.

Frankly Darwinian evolution (as understood by "metaphysical Darwinists") was difficult for me to let go of if for no other reason than it has unreflectively been hammered into our heads for decades. As Bob makes abundantly clear, he is not attacking the underlying science where it is sound (as with micro-evolution) but rather he is attacking things which cannot possibly be true (i.e., that Darwinism explains man in toto).

2/07/2010 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger Matteo said...

"Thus, Darwin did not believe that his ability to know truth was limited by natural selection, any more than Freud thought that his ability to understand unconscious motivation was was limited by his own unconscious motivation. So we end up with Darwin and his spiritually and metaphysically retarded heirs, who devote (an interesting word) their lives to the purpose of proving that the world is purposeless, freely insisting that free will is an illusion, and absurdly affirming that only their opinion has the unique privilege of transcending their own paradigm and therefore being true."

This also impinges on another thing I've noticed about militant Darwinists. Apparently, they would have us regard themselves as having intellects that are quite superior to the common run of humanity. Yet at the same time, an objection to their theory, no matter how well and intelligently argued (by Behe, Meyer, Dembski, et al), renders one a moron and an idiot, which, by implication, means that to agree with and understand the Darwinist point of view, one need only be a step or two above moron or idiot.

So at one and the same time, our militant Darwinist is supposedly a super genius and just a simple step or two above moron.

Which is it?

I've got my own suspicions regarding the correct answer...

2/07/2010 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Off topic, but The Who?!
Oy.
The instrumentals are fantastic, but these guys are way too old to be singing about a teenage wasteland. Or much else...

2/07/2010 05:14:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Indeed. I'd rather hang it up twenty years too soon than a second too late.

2/07/2010 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

There are many ways to justify drinking and carousing. Darwinism is just the latest.

2/07/2010 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Also, great snow around here! Would love to see a little global warming to-morrow, though.

2/07/2010 05:56:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

28 inches here, RC! I loved this post, Bob, and can't wait to review the previous posts on this subject. Your reasoning on this matter is superb.

2/07/2010 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger todd said...

This topic somewhat reminds me of Max Delbruk's "Mind from Matter" -but I like Bob better. :)

It may also interest some that the chronology in Genesis that we are so generally accepting of, is a bit amiss in English.

The phrase, "..and the earth was without form and void.." in the KJV is also in Jeremiah, (the same original phrase that is) -but there it is translated, "..and the earth became a waste and a desolation.."

There is no preference or weight for either translation in English of the identical phrase in the original.

But it leads one to understand that God may have created things in the beginning, and there was a large amount of time between then, and the creaation of Adam. (Yes, the original says, "Adam" and not "man" / generic.)

So, a little more fuel for the fire that warms a Racoon's heart?

Also, I think it is important to note, that Chuck Darwin ripped off the work that is typically attributed to him.

See:

"A Delicate Arrangement: The Strange Case of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace"

~ Arnold C Brackman


Beaky had some chicken tonight, along with some crust from a pizza last night, and is quite the satisfied parrot this evening. Looks like a storm is blowing in.

-Todd & Sitka Zoo.

2/07/2010 08:17:00 PM  
Blogger David R. Graham said...

Godel's point is as you point out in re ideological Darwinism (why the adjective, BTW, it isn't necessary?). The same point applies to all the "proofs of God" or "proofs of the existence of God" that have existed or will exist. It is that whatever "knowledge" is taken to be true, that taking depends on an a priori assumption that it is true. The final conclusion is contained in the starting assumption or premise, which is usually unseen and so unrecognized, but always decisively present. Every proof is therefore tautological and not a proof.

Theology starts with the assumption that knowledge is tautological because God is not two, has no "outside" to be taken, understood, studied, etc. from.

Only theology does not regard knowledge meaningless or unverifiable on account of its tautological nature. On the contrary, theology points out that what isn't tautological isn't knowledge, lacks power and merely conjures the devil.

Another way to put this is, trust yourself and your experience. If you don't, you'll make a huge noise and eventually be discarded. If you do, you'll get thee to a nunnery.

2/07/2010 10:30:00 PM  
Blogger Brazentide said...

Who?

Tried listening to them once..

Won't get fooled again.



I just can't sync up with them at all. I guess its a generational thing. (They were before my time)

2/09/2010 04:40:00 AM  

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