Nevertheless, "it remains a timeless temptation to claim that the unknown has been reduced to nothing, or at least almost to nothing." But logic dictates that "the magnitude of the unknown is, well... unknown!" (Verschueren).
So, when my mind taunted me with the idea that we know nothing, it's just a way of taking seriously the notion that we have no idea how much we don't know compared to what little we do.
I remember in grad school, I had a particularly brilliant professor who would weave these spellbinding lectures off the top of his head, as if he were in a trance and just channeling truth from some other dimension. During one, I remember him coming to a temporary stop, wistfully shaking his head from side to side, and saying, "but we know so little..."
What? This guy seemed to know everything! And now he's telling me he knows so little? What does that make me? It made me feel as if I would never know even a little, let alone a lot, to say nothing of everything. Which was my secret goal.
But as we've discussed before, there seems to be a geometrical reason for why the more we learn, the less we know. If the totality of what we know is represented by a kind of circular spotlight, then the more it illuminates, the larger the circumference. Obviously you can't increase the area inside the circle without expanding the circumference in kind. Thus, knowledge only deepens the Mystery, unless you are completely devoid of irony.
For example, the discovery of the genome is an impressive feat of knowledge. But it only increases the mystery of how such infinitely complex information could arise from non-information. If DNA were simple, then maybe it wouldn't be such a leap from inanimate to animate.
Which is why one needs to begin with metaphysical assumptions that render the transition from non-information to information conceivable, and certainly not impossible. This is very different from "intelligent design," which is an ad hoc theory to fill in the gaps between randomness and order -- in which God intervenes directly to transform the former into the latter.
But in our metaphysic, existence is intelligence as such. God doesn't need to intervene directly, because his creation is a priori suffused with the divine intelligence. Without it there is neither intelligence nor the intelligibility implicit in every existent thing.
Indeed, in this metaphysic, to exist is to be intelligible to intelligence. "Unintelligible existence" is a non sequitur. Everything that exists has an essence (or form) that makes it what it is, and therefore knowable. "True" and "exist" are synonymous terms.
"Without a Creator God, scientists would lose their reason for trusting their own scientific reasoning. The mere fact that reason exists -- including its order, its contents, its principles, its rules, and its power -- calls for an explanation" (ibid.).
These are not self-explanatory, but are rooted in a higher and deeper principle. Thus, "leaving God out of the cosmos would reduce reason to a mere neural experience that leaves us only with the sensation of reason," not the real thing.
There are many ironies in Christianity, but this is one of the most consequential: that the possession of reason makes us so darn godlike, while at the same time guaranteeing the impossibility of becoming gods. The same phenomenon exalts our greatness and seals our littleness.
Any "thing" -- i.e., existent -- abides in the space between two intelligences, God's and ours. Thus, as Josef Pieper puts it, there is a "double concept of the 'truth of things.' The first denotes the creative fashioning of things by God; the second their intrinsic knowability for the human mind."
The irony is that the very same principle that renders things knowable by man is precisely that which renders them unknowable by man. In other words, we can know anything that exists; but we can never completely know so much as a grain of sand. There is a horizon of mystery in all knowledge, from the simplest to most complete. That latter is reserved for God.
But in any event, don't be an idiot. "Do not think that it is possible to do both, to argue away the idea that things have been creatively thought by God and then go on to understand how things can be known by the human mind!" (ibid.).
For if there is no God, there is no truth at all, and no reason whatsoever to trust the mental agitations of a randomly evolved primate. If natural selection is a sufficient explanation, then our knowledge -- like everything else -- will continue to change, but one thing it will never be is true.
If knowledge isn't the effect of truth, then we are reduced to opinions. And if that is the case then the left has it right: weaponized opinion is all, and may the more powerful and violent lie win -- as in Berkeley the other night, and most "elite" universities every day.