You Can't Have Your Crick and Eat it Too
About 20 years ago Francis Crick -- whom we mentioned in yesterday's post -- published a book called The Astonishing Hypothesis, to much acclaim by his benaughted coreligionists. The banal hypothesis goes like this:
"A person's mental activities are entirely due to the behavior of nerve cells, glial cells, and the atoms, ions, and molecules that make them up and influence them."
Two things. First, could I buy some pot from you? Second, a scientific hypothesis isn't just anything, but analogous to a legal argument, in which you state the conclusion and proceed to demonstrate why it is true.
But how could one ever demonstrate the truth of such a comically Astigmatic Hypothesis? (See #2.) It reminds me of that crack by Haldane:
"For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true." And if the mind can arrive at truth, then there is no reason to believe the mind is reducible to atoms, molecules, and nerve cells.
Besides, there's nothing astonishing about a human being dressing up his conclusions as arguments, his prejudices as principles. A little irony, please. Human beings engage in this fallacy all the time. BFD. We've all been to college. We know the secular drill.
On second thought, I think Crick needs some stronger pot. Or at least something to get him out of his pneumacognitive rut. Fifty years is a long time between ideas. But if the rut is genetically determined, there is no way out. Man is then reduced to a broken record, condemned to repeat the same foolish things over and over, with no contact with reality and a Nobel Prize to prove it.
I know. Astonishing. Like this aphorism by Don Colacho: "Nearly every idea is an overdrawn check that circulates until it is presented for payment." I dare you to try to convert Crick's rubber check into real money. The teller at the First Bank of Perennial Truth will just laugh at you.
I have an even more astonishing hypothesis. It actually consists of a dense network of hypotheses, each supporting the others. Furthermore, if the hypothesis is untrue, then it "unexplains" so much about the world, that reality becomes completely absurd and unintelligible. Symbolically, it reduces to O or Ø.
In plain English, the hypothesis goes like this: man is created in the image of the Absolute. This being the case, it explains how and why we, of all people -- middling relativities that we are -- nevertheless have access to a transcendent and unchanging realm of love, truth, beauty, virtue, and much more -- to everything, in fact. For to paraphrase Aristotle, "the soul is all it knows," and nothing exists that cannot be potentially known.
It reminds me of a remark by Arthur Koestler, that "The evolution of the brain not only overshot the needs of prehistoric man, it is the only example of evolution providing a species with an organ which it does not know how to use."
Crick and other victims of scientism especially prove the latter half of Koestler's hypothesis, for "The world is explicable from man, but man is not explicable from the world" (DC). In short, as it pertains to truth, you can't have your Crick and eat it too.
Here is an even more astonishing hypothesis, which follows from the first: ultimate reality isn't just personal, but a person (for there is no other way to have the former unless it is via the latter).
Well, there is one other way: scientistic magic. For one can only explain the higher from the lower via magic, or voodoo metaphysics. Conversely, every time the higher makes an ingression into the lower, it is a miracle, not magic.
In other words, pretty much everything is a miracle -- i.e., an instance of vertical causation -- although there are, of course, degrees of miraculousness, and with them, degrees of astonishment.
All of this leads to yet another hypothesis, this one articulated by Don Colacho: "That which is not a person is not finally anything." Do you see why?
Examining our web of hypotheses, we find another: "Love is the act that transforms its object from a thing into a person." And coming full circle (I'm paraphrasing DC here), "to love a person is to discover the reason God created him."
Put -- or pull, rather -- it all together, and what do we have? Ultimate reality is a cosmic area rug of "loving personhood." Can we prove that? Yes we can. At least to the extent that such things can be "proved." Demonstrated or lived is more like it, for this pertains to the realm of being per se, with the knowledge flowing from that.
Hmm. I never got to my main topic, which is Alexander's truly astonishing hypothesis about the personal nature of reality, and how we may tune into its frequency. Now, he's probably got some good pot. But we'll have to wait until tomorrow's post to inhale.
We'll end with a little rejoycing:
--Ore you astoneaged, jute you?
--Oye am thonthorstruck, thing mud.
(Stoop) if you are abcedminded, to this claybook, what curios of signs in this allaphbed!