Oh, and one thing the Raccoon insists upon is an explanation thank you very much. Say what you want about man's cosmic insignificance, but I insist we are entitled to a damn explanation.
Furthermore -- and this is key, so put your ear close to the screen -- all men, by virtue of being men, are so entitled, which means that there can be nothing special about the scientistic explanation.
To put it another way, if modern science provided the Ultimate Explanation, it would mean that all men prior to Einstein, Darwin, and Freud were denied this explanation, and that just wouldn't be sporting.
No, all earthlings are entitled to this earthright, even if -- and this is a another key -- they prefer to reject it. But no one can say that God didn't put forth the effort, even if the message can get a bit garbled along the human frontier (the one between the terrestrial and celestial spheres). For the truly motivated, it is always possible to clear this up, thanks to the grace of that Mysterious Third. As Petey says, God is a grace to the bottom.
This principle has some additional consequences. For example, it means that no scientific explanation can ever be ultimate. I mean, this is obvious now thanks to Gödel, but it shouldn't take a paranoid logician to bring home such an obvious truth -- that any merely human explanation is going to be soph-tautologous. Rather, unless something from outside the system can get in, then there can be no ultimate explanation, period.
Not to be cute, but that would constitute an exceedingly odd situation, for it would mean that relativity is absurdly absolute and that man's ignorance is therefore total. But wouldn't total ignorance and absolute relativity be a kind of ultimate explanation? Certainly it would touch on an absoluteness that is a priori forbidden by relativism.
In other words, even Obama cannot be totally ignorant, for totality is one of the names of God. The problem is, he lacks insight, for we can only have relative ignorance because it is relative to the absolute -- in this case, absolute truth. Again, absolute relativity = total ignorance, and therefore no possibility of an Explanation. That's what I mean by the either/or nature of this question.
For any phenomenon there is a hierarchy of explanations extending back and up. In the absence of an ultimate explanation, this will be an endless regression, such that causation isn't explained at all.
In other words, you're not truly explaining anything, just kicking it further back in time. But even on that basis, physicists claim that time only "started" with the big bang. Therefore, what happens to causation when there is no time?
That whole line of thought makes no sense anyway. Remember what we said yesterday about wave and particle? It's the same with cosmogony: the so-called singularity simply marks the end of what physicists can say about reality. It is an elementary error to conflate this with the end (or beginning) of reality. Reality goes on forever, whereas what physics can say about it has definite limits. In short, physics -- like any other logical system -- is a tautology.
I am not criticizing it. Indeed, it's a fruitful tautology, or I wouldn't be tap-tapping away at this keyboard. Or alive even. But it seems to me that the best any scientific discipline can do is expand its particular tauto-logos. Thus, the quantum-relativistic world is "bigger" than the Newtonian, but it still has its limits.
The other day a friend asked me about the snoopshots of Pluto. I guess it was a big story in the MSM, but I am not plugged into that grid. In any event, I told him that the vastness of the cosmos holds no particular interest to me. I know that many people look up at the infinite spaces of the starry skies and get a chill at the imponderability of it all.
Meh. As I told him, the size of the cosmos is simply an artifact of how long it has been here. In other words, since it's been expanding for 13.7 years, it had better be pretty damn big.
If you flip to p. 27, I've already cautioned mankind about this error: "Do not be impressed or daunted by the unimaginable vastness of the cosmos, for its size is simply a function of the time it has been expanding: as a matter of fact, we human observers have arrived on the scene just as quickly as this or any other universe will allow."
So don't complain about the long wait, for "from the standpoint of eternity, we have appeared in an instant overnight, like mushrooms out of a lawn or offers for discreet online pharmacies in your email."
Truly I say to you, we need to extricate ourselves from the whole scientistic thingy and reframe the existential data. Who says this isn't just what a mature cosmos looks like up close?
Unlike science, Petey and I do not ask readers to accept anything on faith. Rather, we rely on the strictest logic, although this only gets one so far, i.e., to the threshold of the divine. But that's still pretty far, at least compared to bonehead atheism.
Put it this way: if man is situated between two attractors, O and Ø, we believe we are not bragging if we claim to be able to help push you to the mid-point. But after that it is a matter of grace and effort, or (↑) and (↓), where it would be blasphemous or foolish or grandiose to pretend to usurp authority and influence. We are irreverent, but not irreverent enough to mess with the destiny of another! Let the Deepaks, Dalais, and Da Free Johns take the heat for that.
Gosh! that was a long riff on a single sentence in Who Designed the Designer? Not even a whole sentence, just the part that refers to an ultimate answer, an answer worthy of standing on its own two legs with no need of further explanation. One that finally extinguishes the otherwise infinite regression of Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?
How about an infinite progression? I like the sound of that, because it implies that we are making progress rather than just dissolving into darkness and absurdity. Yes, that's the term we're looking for: an explanation that constitutes in an infinite progression, or an orthoparadoxical progress toward the Infinite and Eternal.
A "tip-off," writes Augros, "that a truth is universal and necessary is that you can't deny it without somehow affirming it."
A classic case would be "there is no such thing as truth." Another is the denial of free will, for no one denies free will without exempting himself. Leftism is full of similarly self-refuting principles, e.g., homosexuality is genetic while sexuality is a social construct, or women and men are identical so women need special protection by the state, or a female has a right to choose unless she is inconvenient to the mother, etc.
Augros describes some of the characteristics of the Ultimate Explanation we're talking about: such explanations "convict us of their truth independently of any particular cases that help us to conceive them. Once we conceive them, that's enough; our conviction is complete and does not increase when we see more examples of such statements." In short, these are not inductive generalizations but local crystallizations of a nonlocal Truth, either deductive or direct (i.e., intellection or poetic).
Augros says that "many trails lead to the first cause," but in actuality all trails must lead there. Scientism is like a pathological inversion of this, for all scientistic trails lead back and down to matter, energy, and chemistry. Again, the latter is an "ultimate" explanation until you ask, say, what energy actually is. If your interlocutor is intellectually honest, he will respond "who the hell knows?"
Which brings us back to paragraph one above, i.e., no explanation at all.
I really want to get a cosmic area rug for the slackatoreum. Maybe a fractal one. Then I can shake the surly bonds of the conspiracy by just staring down and gliding into eternity on wings of slack: