A MIND FOREVER VOYAGING THROUGH STRANGE SEAS OF THOUGHT, ALONE


This is my second blog.

My first blog chronicled my experiences over three years caring for my dad as he lived through and finally died from Alzheimer's. That is the book that is for sale.

This second blog kind of chronicles of life, what it is like to start your life over in your late 50's. After caretaking, you are damaged, file bankruptcy, and the world doesn't care what you did. After 8 months of unemployment, you wake each day knowing the world doesn't want you. Finally you do find a job, 5 weeks before homelessness, but doing what you did 30 years ago and getting paid what you did 30 years ago. So this is starting over.



The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

SCIENCE, MAGIC, THOUGHT AND EXISTENCE

Okay, this is going to be a long one, I hope it is a good one.

One of the great books of the 20th century was Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  It's one of the only philosophy books I read that was worth the time to write, let alone the time to read.   All the books on or by Kant, Hume, Nietzsche and others were mind numbing masturbation, in my humble opinion.  But ZAMM, it made me think.  It made me see the world differently and it made me question and learn to ask questions, much to the dismay of many of my college professors.

One of the conversations in the book, involved ghosts and the authors son asking him if he believed in ghosts:


Mind has no matter or energy but they can't escape its predominance over everything they do. Logic exists in the mind, numbers exist only in the mind. I don't get upset when scientists say that ghosts only exist in the mind, it's that "only" that gets me. Science is only in your mind too, that doesn't make it bad or ghosts either.   Laws of nature are human inventions, like ghosts. Law of logic, of mathematics, are also human inventions, like ghosts."



That thought, really blew my mind, as we liked to say back in those days.  I am not sure I agree that the Laws of Nature or Logic are simply inventions in our heads; our naming convention for them is in our head, but the attractions, movements, non-contradictions, etc existed whether we understood them or not.  Math is an invention of the human brain.  Math is so factual, that we come to believe that anything 'proven' mathematically must be true.  But math is just an invention of the mind, it is like a simulation, a virtual reality, not reality.

So as I've travelled through the world, I always stop and ask questions whenever a theologian or scientist says something, which is one reason I am shaking my head at dark matter, it's only a mathematical concept to explain why spiral galaxies don't spin the way our model said they would; it was made up to protect the model.  And billions are being spent to find this made up dark matter, obviously, so far, with no success.

Herein lies a problem, though.  It is trying to argue against science.  I like the scientific method, I loved designing DOE's and doing the statistical analysis.  We've cured diseases, built cars, flew planes, and landed on the moon.  How do you argue against that?  I like mankind moved from every little thing that happens as "God willed it" to understanding atoms, bacteria, gravity, etc.  But somewhere we moved from scientists, like Newton, trying to figure out how God designed the universe to generations of scientists who say, there is no God.

You need to separate the act of science and the philosophy of science, or scientism.  Which is one reason I am falling in love with the writings of C.S. Lewis.

Most people know Lewis as the author of the Narnia books, which I've never read.  Many evangelicals want to cross themselves at the mention of Lewis because he has some doctrinal issues with fundamentalist evangelical dogma, though I've discovered not as many as they think.  For example, those who believe Lewis supported evolution are grossly mistaken.

Besides his most popular Christian books, Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters, there are dozens of books and papers on all sorts of topics, including several science fiction books.  Unlike Tolkien, Lewis loved allegory: That Hideous Strength is a fiction book but parallels The Abolition of Man.  Many of his papers and letters are combined in the book God in the Dock.  And recently I picked up a copy of The Magicians Twin, where multiple theologians discuss Lewis's work on science and evolution.

Start with the premise that scientism and magic are very similar.  Science and theology are twins; magic and scientism are twins.  It may seem contrarian, but think of this: scientific inquiry seeks to discover the why of what we observe.  Theology seeks the why  of why we are here.  They both seek the WHY.

Scientism and magic, on the other hand, seek power; how to change, control the world.  How to be God.  IN HIS CLASSIC BOOK THE ABOLITION OF MAN (1944), C. S. LEWIS wrote that “the serious magical endeavour and the serious scientific endeavour are twins.”1
(2012-09-01). The Magician's Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society (p. 19). Discovery Institute Press. Kindle Edition.


In our modern arguments on evolution, one area where many focus on is 'information'.  In the evolutionary model, life starts at zero and continually adds information.  Yet, this is not a provable concept, it is not fact, it is required for evolution to be a fact, therefore it must be a fact too.  Most of evolutions 'facts' are simply 'facts' because they have to be true for evolution to be true so be default they must be true too.  Yet no one can explain how information is added via the DNA or RNA.  The Biblical explanation of life is the opposite, speaking only on humans here to keep it simple, but Adam and Eve started with ALL the information and over time bits of data disappear over time, hence two Japanese young people won't produce a white or black child or a blond child because those genes have long disappeared along their historical lineage.

Mix in a Swede, and now you are combining the information to the new child from the Japanese line and the Swedish line; but it's not NEW.

Information disappearing from DNA is provable; combining information is provable; spontaneous creation of new information is unseen, unproven, non replicated.

But Lewis goes further in this thinking, on our thinking.  If you believe that you are simply the result of a gazillion (scientific made up number) random unplanned variations of multiple life forms over billions of years, are you complete?  Or do you think there is further 'improvement' ahead over another gazillion years in the capabilities of the human mind?  If so:

Lewis pointed out the fundamental difficulty with this claim: “If my own mind is a product of the irrational—if what seem my clearest reasonings are only the way in which a creature conditioned as I am is bound to feel—how shall I trust my mind when it tells me about Evolution?” He added that “[t]he fact that some people of scientific education cannot by any effort be taught to see the difficulty, confirms one’s suspicion that we here touch a radical disease in their whole style of thought.”42
 (2012-09-01). The Magician's Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society (p. 27). Discovery Institute Press. Kindle Edition.

 In other words, you can't logically trust your thinking, your conclusions, as being 'right', but just the results of chemical reactions with no concept of planned, correctness, or accuracy.

Secondly, why would you expect order in the world, in the universe, in a random unplanned world?  How many of you believe the big bang was a great explosion, and over a gazillion years matter slammed into each other forming ever bigger and bigger rocks until it formed planets yet can you provide a single example where you can blow up matter and it organize itself in the effect?

Science in the past believed in God and were pursuing understanding the universe God created.  Go search for Newton and 'the end times'.  He spent years on the topic, and by the way, came up with 2060 as the year.  Lewis writes:


in his book Miracles he argued that the birth of modern science and its belief in the regularity of nature depended on the Judeo-Christian view of God as Creator: “Men became scientific because they expected Law in Nature, and they expected Law in Nature because they believed in a Legislator.”10
 (2012-09-01). The Magician's Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society (p. 21). Discovery Institute Press. Kindle Edition.

But what has happened in the world today, another reason scientism and magic are twins, is that our modern society have made scientists the modern day equivalent of the ancient witch doctor, wizard, or magician.  Look at several things happening today, let's start with man made global warming, and science says we have it, and if you disagree with it, you are being unscientific.  Doesn't matter if you crunch the numbers and see that for 15 years it's actually been cooling, doesn't matter if you show the temps have been rising on the other planets at the same time they were rising here, doesn't matter if you show solar outputs increasing during the times the temps were going up, our government, business, and scientists are saying we are causing the entire solar system to warm up by driving gas powered cars and burning firewood.  Think of those poor residents on Titan suffering global warming because some guy on Earth bought a pickup truck.

Yet as Lewis well knew, scientific thinking no less than magical thinking can spawn a kind of credulity that accepts every kind of explanation no matter how poorly grounded in the facts. In the age of magic, the claims of the witch-doctor were accepted without contradiction. In the age of science, almost anything can be taken seriously if only it is defended in the name of science.
(2012-09-01). The Magician's Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society (p. 24). Discovery Institute Press. Kindle Edition.


When government, whom we all know are not the brightest bulbs on the tree, accept scientific advice from the very people who's income derives from government funding, we create a circular logic of the dumb following the dumb; of money influencing science and bad science influencing politics.  Scientists can tell you how to abort a child, but are ill equipped to tell you why you should not.  And Lewis saw this problem early in the 20th century, the rise of nation states of leaders who thought they were God, used science to justify their actions, and the continual decline of humanity. 

THE THIRD AND MOST SIGNIFICANT way science is similar to magic according to Lewis is its quest for power. Magic wasn’t just about understanding the world; it was about controlling it. The great wizard or sorcerer sought power over nature. Similarly, science from the beginning was not just the effort to understand nature, but the effort to control it. “For magic and applied science alike the problem is how to subdue reality to the wishes of men,” wrote Lewis. In pursuit of that objective, both magicians and scientists “are ready to do things hitherto regarded as disgusting and impious—such as digging up and mutilating the dead.”51

 (2012-09-01). The Magician's Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society (p. 30). Discovery Institute Press. Kindle Edition.  

 And where has this thinking of science led us?  For 40 years, we've been aborting millions of children a year, because we could.  Now we are beginning to euthanize the elderly for financial reasons.  And what is the thinking? 

“Transhumanism” and “reprogenetics” may still sound like science fiction to many people, but eugenic abortions targeting children with genetic defects are already well under way. In 2012, physician Nancy Synderman, chief medical editor for NBC News, publicly defended eugenic abortions on national television squarely on the basis of science: “I am pro-science, so I believe that this is a great way to prevent diseases.”78 

Of course, if it is “pro-science” to support eradicating babies with genetic flaws, it must be “anti-science” to oppose it.
 (2012-09-01). The Magician's Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society (p. 36). Discovery Institute Press. Kindle Edition.  

And it will be pro science to start euthanizing the elderly, the disabled, the non productive members of our society.  So now we rush forward to history.  In spite of the examples of the 20th century of humans beings viewed as nothing more than freaks of evolution thus available for experimentation, organ farming, and pawns, we rush forward still, destined to repeat the same mistakes, on a much grander scale, because we don't teach history along with classical philosophy either.

One problem is our education system, which a science major will be required to take absolutely no classes in philosophy, but if they did, they'd take Hume, Kant, and Nietzsche which probably wouldn't be of much help.  But the study of The Bible, the study of ancient Greek philosophy, of ethics and morality are gone; replaced by the brainwashing of evolution, relativism, and scientism.

Lewis knew that science was one of the great products of the human mind, but he insisted that it was a subset of reason and not simply equivalent to it. Scientific reason, if accurate, was valid, but it was not the only valid kind of reasoning: Noncontradiction, validity, truth, value, meaning, purpose, and obligation were necessary presuppositions of the scientific method but not themselves scientific phenomena. 8
  (2012-09-01). The Magician's Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society (p. 48). Discovery Institute Press. Kindle Edition.


It's not just 'can' we do something, the real question of life is 'should' we do it.  I suspect this subject will be continued later this week.