I'm Not Arrogantly Arguing, I'm Humbly Insisting
What's a good -- or at least bad -- analogy? It is like being a king, only the more power this king has, the smaller his kingdom, to the point that the kingdom vanishes entirely with his absolute power over it.
Likewise, when man possesses limitless science, he causes himself to disappear. He ends with a total explanation of nothing, certainly as it pertains to man. Which of course brings to mind an Aphorism or two:
"Nothing makes clearer the limits of science than the scientist's opinions about any topic that is not strictly related to his profession."
"What ceases to be thought qualitatively so as to be thought quantitatively ceases to be thought significantly."
A world reduced to quantity is Hell. And science deals only with quantity. Not to knock science, because quantity surely exists. It's just that we mustn't allow the tool to become the master.
BTW, I mentioned in a comment that for the last week or so I've been commenting at Instapundit, mostly just one liners and other assorted insultainment.
To back up a bit, that is how I started this blog, by commenting elsewhere, and people then following me here. I thought that perhaps I might reach out to members of the scattered tribe who don't know the tribe has reassembled over here, just a click away. You know -- "be ye fishers of Raccoons," and all that.
Anyway, every once in awhile I toss in a more metaphysical zinger such as the above -- "when man possesses limitless science, he causes himself to disappear" -- but it either clanks or generates an argument.
Now, a zinger like that -- like one of Don Colacho's aphorisms -- is not meant to start an argument. Rather, it's meant to provoke a guffaw-HA experience, a sudden flash of insight, like "how stupid of me not to have thought of that!" At any rate, if my site meter can be trusted, not a single soul has wandered over here from there.
Which is fine. I don't do this for the attention, only the uncritical adulation. But another thing I've noticed is that my ideas are equally offensive to materialist and religionist alike. I'm trying to put myself in their shoes and figure out why.
I would guess that both see my humble self as arrogant, the former as arrogant-stupid, the latter as arrogant-grandiose. Both accuse me of pretending to know things that cannot be known, while the scientism types accuse me not knowing things that everyone knows. Bill Maher to the left of me, Rick Warren or Joel Osteen to the right.
Dávila: "One could object to science that it easily falls into the hands of imbeciles, if religion's case were not just as serious."
Here is an example of an Aphorism that is not an argument. Rather it is just the Truth. One can either recognize or not; one can either assimilate the principle or fall short of it:
"There are arguments of increasing validity, but, in short, no argument in any field spares us the final leap."
I was trying to patiently explain this in my own bobnoxious way to a commenter at Instapundit, but he kept insisting that it was possible to ground thought in pure logic. I was only trying to help -- not argue -- but not a single point got through.
Frankly, I don't think we need Gödel to tell us that any logical system contains assumptions that cannot be proved by the system.
Furthermore, this truism is not confining -- it's liberating! It means that man is always free, no matter how much you try to cram him into your secondary ideological reality. Gödel's theorems are simply a more abstract and operational way of saying that man is always conformed -- or condemned, depending on your politics -- to transcendence.
Because man is free and open to transcendence -- which amount to the same thing -- reducing him to any system erodes both his freedom and the vector of his freedom, AKA God. God must be the ground and destiny of our freedom, or else it is as if freedom dangles from the sky, unattached to anything.
So many outstanding Aphorisms on this subject, for example, "If determinism is real, if only that can happen which must happen, error does not exist." Think about that one: we may not know truth, but surely we know error. But we can't know error unless truth exists, so there!
For the same reason, we can only know of necessity because of freedom. Absent freedom, we wouldn't even have the word. And think of the irony -- that a person who is totally cynical of transcendence -- say, a Bill Maher -- is the one they call a "free thinker." But "free" is precisely what he cannot be, if freedom means anything. And only someone as modest as your humble servant could be so sure of the truth.