Your Call: TransCosmic Plenitude or Infrahuman Nihilism
This reflects the philosophically untutored perspective of a naive and pre-critical scientism that doesn't trouble itself with looking beneath the phenomena, or thinking about thinking, or considering the sorts of assumptions that are built into science (and without which science cannot function).
For to say that science "deals precisely with objective experience" is to affirm something that cannot possibly be true. In order to say it, one must have no idea what the words "objective" and "experience" mean.
Science, by its very nature, deals with things that are relative and therefore contingent. In other words, it deals with the way things are, but it doesn't pretend that the way things are is the only way they could be.
There is nothing studied by science that couldn't be otherwise. Indeed, change one little variable in one of those helpful equations governing the big bang, and neither we nor the cosmos as we know it would be here.
Likewise, to paraphrase Stephen Gould, if one little inconvenient mudslide had occurred back in the days of the Burgess Shale bio-explosion, the wholly contingent evolutionary line leading to us might have been broken.
Indeed, we can all be traced to a common mother, Ms. Mitochondrial Eve, and according to Nicholas Wade, it is possible that we are related to as few as 5,000 people who were wandering around in North Africa 50,000 years ago. If they hadn't been extra-careful about wearing their sweaters in the cold or not running around with scissors, who knows?
The point is, from the perspective of science, the emergence of man is a freakishly unlikely accident. Remember, Darwin purloined and redefined the word "evolution" -- which had an entirely different meaning prior to that -- and applied this theretofore respectable term to the meaningless and contingent process he thought he had discerned in nature.
Even leaving that aside, it is naive in the extreme to suggest that man may penetrate to the objective realm on the plane of phenomena. How could this ever be?
As we have discussed in the past, man is always limited by what Schuon calls four "infirmities." To summarize, we are "creature, not Creator," which is to say, "manifestation and not Principle or Being." Or, just say we are contingent and not necessary or absolute.
Second, we are men, and all this implies, situated somewhere between absolute and relative, God and animal -- somewhat like a terrestrial angel or a celestial ape.
Third, we are all different, which is to say, individual, and there can be no science of the utterly unique and unrepeatable.
This is a critical point, because as far as science is concerned, our essential differences must be entirely contingent, just a result of nature tossing the genetic dice. Suffice it to say that this is not a sufficient reason to account for the miracle of individuality. Well, individual jerks, maybe. But not anyone you'd want to know.
Lastly, there are human differences that are indeed contingent and not essential or providential. These include negative things such as mind parasites that result from the exigencies of childhood, but also the accidental aspects of culture, language, and history. In order to exist at all, we must surely exist in a particular time and a particular place.
Elsewhere Schuon summarizes the accidents of existence as world, life, body, and soul; or more abstractly, "space, time, matter, desire."
The purpose of metaphysics is to get beneath these accidents, precisely, and hence to a realm of true objectivity and therefore perennial truth (even though, at the same time, we must insist that existence, life, and intelligence especially represent a continuous reminder, or breakthrough, of the miraculous).
Now, what do we mean by objectivity? It must be a stance uncontaminated by contingency, passion, or perspective, for starters. There is contingent science -- or the science of contingency -- and there is the "science of the Absolute," which is none other than metaphysics.
Thus, objectivity begins with the soph-evident existence of the Absolute, which is what confers value and meaning upon human existence, which is to say, intelligence (for humans are a kind of incarnation of the logos, which is what it means to be "in the image of the Absolute").
You might say that humans are "subjectivized intelligence," in that there is surely evidence of objective intelligence in the cosmos prior to our arrival, e.g., DNA or the laws of physics. One needn't say "intelligent design." Rather, just intelligence will do the trick, so long as we know what intelligence is.
As Schuon points out, "Our intelligence is made for the Absolute, or it is nothing." What he means by this is that man's own intelligence demands a sufficient reason, and this reason is the Absolute. Remove the Absolute, and nothing makes sense, or can make sense, except in a wholly contingent and therefore senseless manner. This is why we insist: God or Nothing, TransCosmic Plenitude or Infrahuman Nihilism.
This same human intelligence "testifies irrecusably to a purely spiritual First Cause, to a Unity infinitely central but containing all things, to an Essence at once immanent and transcendent." Around these parts we simply call this O, AKA Unity Central.
Another helpful wise crack by Schuon: "To claim that knowledge as such can only be relative amounts to saying that human ignorance is absolute."
And if that crack provokes a guffah-ha! experience in you, you're well on the way to being cured of your existential infirmities.
To be continued....