Thursday, August 07, 2014

Myth, Science, Scientific Myth, and Myths of Science

Myth can be thought of as a medium of the imagination; for Don Colacho, it is "not a premature science of the universe, but a specific dimension of language." It "intuits the transcendent in the sensory," so it is analogous to how we perceive beauty in the material world. Just as beauty is of Beauty, truths are of Truth, irrespective of the medium of transmission.

Science, in contrast to myth, consists of a heterogeneous list of propositions that cannot be falsified -- today. Thus, progress in science -- in particular, major leaps or paradigm shifts -- "usually comes from the care with which we study the trivial exception to the rule."

As it pertains to climate science, for example, anyone who approaches it with an open mind is struck by the many exceptions that refute its central claim. So many black swans! It will not progress until those black swans can be reconciled with the white, and yet, proponents try to pretend the former don't even exist.

In this regard, climate science is more like neurosis than science, since it operates via repression, rationalization, compartmentalization, wishful thinking, projection, etc.

It's no different with the sciences of human intelligence, of race, of homosexuality, or of sexual differences. Liberals don't even bother disagreeing with the science, but deny its existence altogether -- which is more of a psychotic than neurotic defense mechanism. It seems to be working so far, but there's going to be hell to pay once reality rears its beautiful head.

As Kevin Williamson writes (National Review, July 7, 2014), the great majority of citizens are not intellectually equipped "to understand even modestly sophisticated scientific problems."

All humans, however, "are able to understand prestige, and the uses to which prestige may be put." When at a gathering of liberal relatives -- well, first of all, I never bring up politics. But they inevitably do. And I suppose what is most troubling is that they do not bow before my great prestige. Rather, they seem to think there are others more prestigious than I!

Oh well. A prophet among his own, and all that.

I read somewhere that Cat Stevens managed to convert his entire extended family to Islam. One suspects this has more to do with the material than spiritual rewards of being a Friend of Cat. No such material rewards attach to my prestige.

The thought just occurred to me that I once held Ken Wilber in high regard. But his prestige was deflated the moment Bill Clinton began citing him and Al Gore was seen with one of his books. For "he who sees that his ideas propagate must suspect that they betray him." Or worse, that the ideas were a betrayal to begin with -- thus the appeal to the base, the treacherous, the lowdown.

Truly, it should be the other way around: if you are praised by the likes of a Bill Clinton or Al Gore, this should be an occasion for the deepest soul-searching. For it is written: "Enraging the typically modern man is the sure sign of being right" (DC).

Metaphysical ideas are not susceptible to scientific falsification. But they are subject to constant true-ification in light of who despises them -- by trollification. Thus sayeth the Master: the world will hate you for My sake.

What we merely know can never exhaust what Really Is. This is because Being is inexhaustible, and knowledge flows therefrom. Indeed, as we have mentioned before, ignorance by definition grows with the accumulation of factual and empirical knowledge because of the expansion of the surface area of our illuminated sphere.

Even so, man has a cosmic right to know (roughly) what the hell is going on in and beyond this sphere, no matter how large or small its dimensions, hence the purpose of revelation, of myth, of higher imagination, which embody truths that will remain true no matter how fervently an Al Gore or Bill Clinton believes them. They can be spoiled by no man's prestige, from Popes to professors to politicians.

Meanwhile, the "settled science" will be the prejudice existing at the moment man becomes extinct (paraphrasing Don Colacho).


Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

"Settled science" - please return your imagination, it is no longer required.

8/07/2014 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Good point: settled science = dead imagination.

8/07/2014 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Ha - yes.

Rather, they seem to think there are others more prestigious than I!


8/07/2014 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Related, today over at Just Thomism:

"To be sure, we’ve moved past the idea that the chaos of things was water, but this is certainly a minor and uninteresting point compared to the more general cosmological claim. Someday we’ll move beyond our own cosmological versions of “the waters”: entropy, copying errors in gene replication, radioactive decay, panda’s thumbs, wavefunction collapse, junk DNA, turbulence, etc. but it’s doubtful that cosmology will ever drive out things that are essentially unpredicable, chaotic, surprising, merely probable, falling away from an ideal, unlucky, undetermined, wildly excessive…"

8/07/2014 09:52:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

And for those who like to snicker as those silly ancients who,(heh-heh) thought that all things were made of (heh-heh-heh) Earth, Water, Air and Fire, I'd like to direct your attention (for your imagination is probably unavailable) to what Modern Science has long held to be the four states of matter:

solid, liquid, gas, and plasma


Go figure.

8/07/2014 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...


Good point, Van.

In other news, assuming this is real, only the most accurate information passes muster at CNN.


8/07/2014 10:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Ever feel torn between joining a church that would have Nancy Pelosi as a member and one that even she can't destroy?

8/07/2014 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...


Yep - every day. Not to mention all the scandals that are still coming out.

And even so...

8/07/2014 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

The true church would have Nancy Pelosi as a member but she may be too busy with other pursuits to have noticed.

8/07/2014 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...


I suppose the real issue isn't so much that she's a member, as that she likes to speak as though she represents what the church actually stands for, even as she so often acts in direct opposition. And in the minds of many, she represents the "true" version of American Catholicism.

8/07/2014 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Dupree is right, though - she can't destroy it, nor can bad bishops in Minneapolis, nor even Muslim terrorists in the Middle East.

8/07/2014 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

Julie, I didn't mean it as a rebuke toward cousin dupree's post, but rather as a sad commentary on Ms Pelosi. And yes, as a high ranking official who wears her Catholicism on her smart sleeve when it suits her, she probably does lead people astray - the blind leading the blind.

8/07/2014 01:30:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

As much as it is now overused, settled science is zombie science. All it cares about is eatin' brains.

8/07/2014 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

No worries, EbonyRaptor - I didn't assume you meant it as a rebuke to Dupree, just thought it worth belowviating. I'm still talking from the church's peanut gallery, myself, so consider it worthwhile to listen to anyone with a better perspective than mine.

Anyway, Dupree can take care of himself.

8/07/2014 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Also in Wilbers' defense, Bill Clinton used to tote around a big Bible between blowjobs. And Gore was such a good Christian, he had backing from Phil Driscoll. Not that I'm calling either one of those guys a hypocrite, but hypocrites aren't always too particular about what they hypocritize.

8/07/2014 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

Yeah, I just thought I would be sure my post wasn't taken the wrong way since I'm not known as a regular poster and I didn't want to be thought of as a jerk.

8/07/2014 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Jerky is as jerky does :)

Anyway, you may not post often but you've been around a while, and I don't remember ever thinking you were a troll.

8/07/2014 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

Thanks, always nice to feel accepted, especially in a fine establishment ... although I'm reminded of the Groucho Marx line :)

8/07/2014 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"As Kevin Williamson writes (National Review, July 7, 2014), the great majority of citizens are not intellectually equipped "to understand even modestly sophisticated scientific problems.""

I'll say. Same is true about politics as well and not even at the modestly sophisticated level, as the last election proves.

8/07/2014 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

And those conservatives and libertarians who didn't vote in 2012 sure showed us!

8/07/2014 04:24:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I thought Wilber went New Agey.

8/07/2014 04:25:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Every time I hear Obama speaking I get earbola.
Only to a leftist can an idiot like Obama be considered a genius.

8/07/2014 07:48:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

(I think our aninnymouse must have overdosed on Tramadol)

8/08/2014 05:48:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

I'll second Julie on that EbonyRaptor, and in keeping with Groucho, we Racoons are the association of those which no other clubs would have as members.

That, and Beer O'Clock, is hard to top!

8/08/2014 05:52:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

I'll drink to that!

8/08/2014 05:53:00 AM  

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