Ethics, Logic, Metaphysics

Does Science Understand Transcendence?

In 2016 I published an essay “Darwin Agrees with God About Man’s Thirst for Liberty” and then in 2019 modified it and published it here at Unwashed Philosophy. Now, with a broader theme to deal with, I want to suggest that Man’s own ego may get in the way of understanding even the most rudimentary elements of the survival of his very culture and the institutions and philosophies upon which his Sciences have been built for centuries. Not unlike other vices that have blighted Man’s path throughout his history, Science, because of its philosophical roots took note of these shortcomings (call it a little devil sitting on its left shoulder) and arrived at a process that placed a little angel on its right shoulder. It devised a Method of Inquiry that would cull those demons from the both the process and its conclusions. One major note: Key to The Scientific Method is peer revue by other scientists, which, in several disciplines, has changed over the last several decades into something more self-serving. In short, the little devil on the left shoulder is having its way.

The worst thing that could happen to Science was to allow soft sciences such as Psychology, Sociology, and Anthropology to be treated as co-equal to hard sciences such as Mathematics, Physics, Medicine and Engineering, where 2 + 2 always equals 4, no if’s, and’s or but’s, and a square peg will still not fit into a round hole.

Even history, which for 3000 years had been under the exclusive proprietorship of kings and lords, the nobility, simply because they were the only ones who could pay for a scribe, and were vain enough to pay to tell the world of their exploits, and even invent events if there were nothing special to report. In fact, historians may be the world’s oldest profession. Consider; all those carved scriptures on the tombs of ancient pharaohs were carved by historians, and it would be that way all the way into modern times, before a certain class of historian, mostly in America and England in the beginning, would begin to look into the history of Man from the point of view of the other 90% who could not afford to hire a scribe to speak for them. And no, Karl Marx did not pioneer this turn in History.

But when Archeology was recognized as a Science in the 19th Century, History crept in on its shoulders.

Interestingly, the history if Science shows its was built on Logic and Ethics, and even strong sense of God, or at least an Invisible Hand. I’ve mentioned the Franciscan monk, Ramon Llull, a noted logician and mathematician of the Middle Ages, who used those skills instead of Bible scripture to preach to people of North Africa and Spain, still under the control of the Muslims. It was a kind of apologetics, and Llull was was so good causing his listeners to think more deeply they stoned him to death. At age 83. The shoulders Science was built on was a moralistic, not political, view of Man and History. Blaise Pascal, was another mathematician and Christian apologist in the 1600s, who died very young. There are several, but the list in the 20th Century is much smaller, and into the 21st…well?

The institutional culture of Science has changed, but more dangerously, so has its philosophical underpinnings. It has become clubsy, as in university-lounge- clique down-the-nose clubsy, driven by peer pressures that tend to outrank the peer review system of The Method. Or maybe redefine it. As university instructors, they can not only pass out grades, but decide who can get into grad school. And where. And in the end, who will be published.

And system is not driven by prestige and country-club membership, it is now driven by money, unlike any other time in history, and almost all of it in the manner of federal or international grants.

We know this from the rise of Climate Science, beginning when America unwittingly declared Earth Day, April 22, 1970 to be same day as Lenin’s 100th Birthday celebration in the USSR, launching a trillion dollar business model, using tax dollars from not only America’s Treasury but the United Nations…not in finding new facts or truths but in billions of dollars for never-ending grants for research that rendered no more products other than more research. A few people in Russia may still pause for a moment of silence on April 22, but I say that only because I know that Vladimir Putin is still alive. But yes, someone(s) in America also knew, only most of Americans never made the connection, in part because no one told them. But proof in point, I once contacted a pair of scientists who had been given a UN grant to find ways to help people of the African Sahel to develop a better stove culture, to reduce deforestation of shrubs that held that arid landscape stable. I had a client who had developed a fuel that could be made from slag coal heaps at mining sites. Millions of tonnes, easy to access and pick up, virtually free, and he was looking for a stove that might use it efficiently. But having developed a stove that worked, they were unable by contract to sell it. By contract, the UN owned all their work product, and if they violated that contract, they could lose their university positions and their professional reputations, one sheepishly admitted. Their compensation would be that they would be published and maybe even acclaimed, hence more grants. (This was in the 1990s.)

In short, far too many scientific disciplines are now driven by politics and money, having nothing to do with pushing the frontiers of Man’s knowledge or even making life better on Planet Earth.

First Causes

I suggest you read these few words about First Cause because it is an easy-to-understand primary function of Logic, and explains why Logic was rigorously taught in the time of Charles Darwin, mid-19th Century, Victorian England, and perhaps also, as we will discuss here, why First Cause is rarely taught, and perhaps even banished in 20th Century education, especially in Science.

It is also why none of the prominent religion-bashing atheists today will debate articulate Creationists because all their arguments fail when the First Cause issue is raised. Aristotle first mentioned it in the 4th Century BC, and it was part of the educations of the great minds of the Enlightenment. Even Albert Einstein spoke in terms of a First Cause and an Invisible Hand, “Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.” ,

It is in the realm of oral history that modern Science is showing its true colors, for it cannot abide the notion that a god-based creation which was passed on orally, generation-to-generation can be true, yet Science cannot offer any alternate argument that factually setting the records straight, i.e.m How man got from point A to Point B.

In fact, Science’s counter-arguments are often much more iffy.

For the record, just so you’ll know, not just Science, but theologians know and the editors of modern Bibles tells us that much of the Old Testament was not written as things occurred, but had been passed down as oral legend for as much as a millennia before it was collected and reduced to writing. This is not new. People who went churches made out of logs knew this. In my town that was what the Wednesday night Bible-study was about, not the Sunday sermon. Even the New Testament, which was recorded first hand by witnesses to the life of Christ, plus the early missionaries, as they preached in all sorts of places around Palestine, though written contemporaneously, their original writings are not known to exist; only copies. No one has ever seen an original writing of Matthew, so it cannot be compared to later copies. And the New Testament was not collected and put into a single “book” for over 300 years, about 40 years after the Church was formally created in Nicea in 325 A.D.

Of course of all the Biblical works, the Book of Genesis stands alone, as it covers the Creation, the First events from the First Cause, covering thousands, even millions of years and has, as you can well imagine, stirred a great deal of controversy once the rise of the earth sciences began morphing into “scientism”, the 20th Century religion of Science.

It is the general belief by ordinary people of faith that “the Bible is the revealed truth of God”, and this would become a major battle front between modern Scientism (the religion of Science) and the Christian and Jewish religions. And it would, as we now know, a major line of demarcation between intellectual classes; people who are smart and people who are not. Or so they say.  But in the early days of Darwin, the 1870s, Christianity was so dominant in European cultures, it was Science that had to watch it tongue.

Once upon a time, when common sense was still abroad in the land, this difference did not have to be explained. I’ve asked men my age, mostly Protestants, what they thought about the earth being created in “seven days”, and most reply something to the effect “I don’t really give it much thought,” as if to suggest that farmers and small businessmen really don’t think its necessary to challenge all the Good that their religion brings to their family and community because of a few incomprehensible statements about the creation of the world. Even kids in my day, and probably generations earlier, would wonder out loud “If God created only Adam and Eve, and they only had three sons, then where did they find wives?” This became a kind of game in my day, sort of like “doing the dozens”, we’d try to outdo one another, joking that at least God had remembered to put wives on the Ark with Noah’s sons, so that when they departed, they could repopulate properly….without wondering our loud whether the Flood actually did wipe out all if mankind? Catholic kids would just ask their priest or the nun in school, and they would simply reply, “It’s a mystery, my child.”

It was likely Charles Darwin who caused Science to be turned into a religion, or at least the first steps toward an anti-religion. Only I don’t blame Darwin personally, nor his book Origin of Species, 1859, which I tried to read in college. Unintelligible. But since I’d read his “Voyage of the Beagle” (1839) and enjoyed it, I knew it was him, not me, who had changed. But Origin lit a fuse for English skeptics who’d had their own beef with the Church of England  for years. And it was a period in History where skepticism was fully abroad in the land.

At about the same period in history a man named Karl Marx had an even more strident beef with religion, and a particularly ugly dislike for the whole notion of God. He wasn’t nice about it at all. (But this psychopathy of Marx’s hatred was never examined as Sigmund Freud had not yet been born.) Marx co-published Communist Manifesto in 1848 with Fredrich Engels, ten years before Darwin published Origin, then, after a failed continent-wide insurrection against the royal system by the intellectual class of Europe, Marx moved (escaped) to London, which became the center of modern “Scientism”, as he tried to redefine “science”. Anti-Church was definitely on the upswing in intelligentsia circles, and a good fit for the rising literary intelligentsia, as the perfect antidote to religion, which Marx argued was the “opiate to the people”. Marx sincerely wanted to destroy religion, much like we see today among young people, with a foot-stomping, spoiled arrogance, a hatred which today is based in great fear. But we have no Freud to look at him, and I doubt today, if any would dare. But I think it is because Marx understood that religion contained that element of transcendence, that caused certain truths, once learned in a new generation, to be “born again”, as if it were like new. By understanding “American Theology” in this context you can see why this would be a necessary element that must be destroyed to a man like Karl Marx. He hated the Good because it was Good, (Ayn Rand).

I don’t think early Darwinists started out rejecting God, however i.e., men like Thomas Huxley. But “Darwinism” did and had for over a hundred years, only it wasn’t paranoid and hate-filled. The English Fabians, while they didn’t like Marx’s brand of communism had only a personal grudge with the Church of England. Thomas Huxley, the zoologist, who influenced both Darwin and H G Wells, then followed by George Bernard Shaw. Their Fabian Society had a special bone to pick with the arrogance of the Church of England, in particular the arrogance of Bishop Ussher in the 1600s, who, after years of calculation, placed the date of Creation  “the entrance of the night preceding the 23rd day of October…the year before Christ 4004; that is, around 6 pm on 22 October 4004 BC, per the Julian calendar.” The High Church was pretty good about rubbing it in people’s noses.

Imagine the literary blue-noses centerfolds like Wells and Shaw, when Darwin drew Man’s existence back thousands of years, and the earth’s, millions. It was a literary form of a street thrashing of an old bully finally getting his.

 

Darwin had offered a scientific theory of life on planet earth that dated back millions of years, including Man himself, and of an evolution of life that began with one-cell amoeba in the water, which worked its way onto dry land, then to four-legged animals, birds, and finally man, as the risen ape, scorching an arrogant  Church totally out of touch with reality.

True, Darwin’s theory seems to work fine within a species. Man evolves all the time; ears getting smaller from noise, butts getting bigger from sitting.  We can prove this, only they didn’t know that in 1900. But the theory is still very problematic between species, such as dinosaurs becoming birds and apes becoming Man. Darwin’s Theory is still just a theory. It has not yet been proved, only scientists in universities who do know this still must do so in whispers, to protect their jobs, just as politicians must refer to Dr Rachel Levine, the transgendered assistant health secretary, as “she” in order to keep their own jobs. (No media I can find will even list this man’s former male name.) The “Emperor is wearing no Clothes” view of modern in America today, just as Joe Biden is mentally competent, makes a sad statement about Science since 1970.

Charles Darwin was schooled in Anglican theology, but later in life he would call himself an agnostic, for he would not openly reject the existence of God. But as his reputation grew, and his theories grew into Darwinism, which would outlive him, he did begin to infer that in the Natural world God was probably not in charge of any of it, forgetting that original classical logic, going all the way back to Aristotle, who had never even heard of the Book of Genesis, that everything in Nature had to have a First Cause. Logic requires it.  And since  Logic was taught in English schools in the 19th Century, for Darwin to believe in a “god” but not believe in any particular thing that is exceptional about Him or “It”, is, well, very illogical.

It’s been my experience that one of the things that stands out about modern Science is that it is either ignorant or intentionally dismissive of any part of human understanding or human experience that cannot be explained “scientifically”, on the queerest premise  that Science is more logical than the myths of ignorant men, while, at the same time it appears to consider the entire notion of First Cause irrelevant.

And it all comes back to original First Cause logic, which also stands at the heart of the transcendent nature of religion. The Scientific Method of old would have had the medical examiner, when he testified about cause-of-death, a .38 cal bullet wound, would declare this with an obligatory “within a medical certainty”. I don’t know if they still do that any more, but it was originally a statement of humility that “even as a scientist, there are things I cannot know”; a hat-tip to the possible existence of an invisible hand.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2.

But with the great expansion of scientific inquiry in the past century, and money and status, there arose just that, vanity and pride. For every great philosophy that was built on the existence of a god, there are now a dozens of disciplines that go the other way, trying to find a man-made form of virtue arising out of Man instead of that Invisible Hand. It’s as if Modern Science wanted to take every knowledge Man had acquired since the beginning of Time, and reprove it without an accompanying belief system.

In short, Man becomes the religion….which stands at the nub of this inquiry, for here is the rub…as with Karl Marx, all the way back to that pharaoh who hired the first historian, this religion is based on the most corrupted of minds.

It really is near impossible to study the bad things about vanity and arrogance scientifically while denying that there is anything inherently destructive about vanity and arrogance in Nature, and which every mother’s son since Tutankhamun has known that excessive arrogance and vanity is both self-destructive and destructive of others.

Still, many in modern Science have come to the place where they feel they can easily reject facts that do not fit a pre-determined narrative. This is a psychopathy.

So, Just when did Jesus go from Fact to Fiction? 

As you know the Scientific Method requires a step-by-step process to prove, refine, or disprove a hypothesis. Archeology is considered a Science, although it is very inexact. The ancient city of Troy, which the Greek poet Homer made famous with the Trojan War, has been subject to the rigors of The Method for over 150 years, yet Science has never been completely able to prove (to itself) that either ever existed. Still, they’ve been able to turn digging up a chunk of western Anatolia into a billion dollar enterprise, while neither confirming or denying (to themselves) that the actual city Troy ever existed, or the man who supposedly wrote the fable about it.

Troy-the-ruins was discovered in the 1860s in Asia Minor by Heinrich Schliemann, a wealthy amateur who had spent years and much money trying to find it. Many great discoveries are by amateurs, by the way, which rankles scientists of every stripe quite a lot. And Schliemann searched for it because Homer wrote a poem about it, which he read and studied. Turns out there are nine (IX) Troy’s  (so far) more or less built on top of one another, as even Manhattan is, by the way, having been built atop New Amsterdam, which was first laid in 1624. The current Manhattan would be probably be New Amsterdam IV-or-V, and in less than 400 years. Those Nine (IX) Troy’s were there from around 3500 BC to around the period of Caesar Augustus, who visited there about 20 years before the birth of Jesus. Archeologists confirm this much. (Newer cities, still 2000 years old, that were recorded historically, are called other names. So archeology isn’t that much interested. And little money spent.)

No one is sure which of the Troy’s was Homer’s Troy; the Troy of Helen, Achilles and Ajax. No soldier left a “Kilroy-was-here” mark on a brick, so the debate continues. The Illiad and Odyssey are still read by regular people and studied, but Science uses its own criteria to debate not only the date the age of the bricks they found laying around (were they kiln dried or sun dried?), but the various languages the peoples who occupied them spoke, or wrote, and the gods they believed in. You see, we may know the Greek of Aristotle, but not the original Greek of Homer, or the Mycenaean Greeks of the Trojan War. None of those pictures are complete.

But they still claim the authority have to snidely look down upon people who believe that a blind poet created a long tale almost 3000 years ago, about a “mythical event” that occurred as much as 2500 years earlier, and that tale had a role in shaping if not Man’s, at least Greek history. Science doesn’t like to connect a myth to real events, in part because it lends validity to the myth, and the myth-tellers. Modern Science won’t even agree as to who it was that actually wrote it “Iliad”. Did Homer composed it all by himself ?(There are those who believe Shakespeare couldn’t have written all those plays by himself on the simple non-scientific notion that one man just can’t do all that creative writing in a single lifetime.) Modern Science even has a hard time wrapping its heads around the possibility that Homer didn’t write the fable at all, but rather recited it, from memory, and it was written down much later. But it has been proven in even modern times by scholars less vain about the abilities of some minds, that ancient tribal bards were known for their ability to recite long, long, long fables from memory. Every tribe had them. The collections of Irish and Norse bard tales, which could be recited for hours, from memory…meant tribal people would find at least one teller-of-tales to recite the history of The People at various occasions, as well as compose new tales as they occurred. Such a role and function, unlike the paid historian, was a key position in the tribal hierarchy. It was not a sinecure, a survival-enhancing slot, the keeper of the tribe’s collective memory.

North American scholars found this to be true among our Indians, when they could study them; the Jesuits in the 17th and 18th centuries among the tribes of Canada, and the Plains tribes by American scholars after the Indian wars. As noted, the Irish were noted for their bards who could recite hours-long poems from memory. There are still chaikanas (tea houses) in Turkey where men can go and listen to hour-long orations, such as the exploits of Saladin against the French Crusaders in the 1200s, when he recaptured back most of the land the earlier Crusaders had “stolen” from them. 19th Century scholars in England found much to be said for the Eddas, the telling of Norse folklore, which had been put down into writing in the 13th Century, from oral legends that had existed for millennia. Thomas Carlyle, the philosopher did a series of lectures on “Heroes and Hero Worship” where he singled out the Norse pantheon of gods (Odin, Thor, et al) suggesting they were likely real humans who myth turned into larger-than-life gods because of their heroic and noble feats. (That was his theory.) Still, they were pagans, only Carlyle saw much virtue different from what the English of his day envisioned “barbarians” to be. So did JRR Tolkien, a prominent scholar of Norse mythology a century later, who turned those same Norse  myths into an entirely new mythical world, from Creation thru a time and place he called Middle Earth, when the land was shaped differently than it is now, and people existed that no longer exist. He also found moral and cultural parallels in the Norse mythologies, especially having to do with an eternal battle between Good and Evil.

What is interesting about those sagas from the North American Indians was in their telling of how all the great forces of nature were discovered, the domestication of dogs or cattle, or seed for corn, or how they knew that a berry was safe to eat, or how to find plants that produced oils or salve that could heal wounds. They said they didn’t find these things out by years of trial and error, but were taught. By the gods.

Note: The primitive tribes had no metallurgy. They would swap many beaver pelts for woven blankets or steel-tipped arrow points. They still used animal skins and flint and stone for arrowheads when the white man first met them. But in the Old World, the peoples who were first able to create bronze, a mixture of copper and tin, 88% and12% respectively, were the ancient Egyptians, the Sumerians and the Mycenaean Greeks (who fought the Trojan War) and on that built great empires on them, especially because of their superiority in weaponry. No one has yet been able to come up with a verifiable theory, from finding copper imbedded in other stones, then knowing how to extract it, then smelt it and shape it, and then know to add that little bit of tin, in just the right amounts to form a hard edged blade. How many thousands of years would that take just to an accidental noticing of a rock-within-a-rock into a purposeful tool? Some argue it can’t be done without an outside agency.

Even more argue this about the domestication of seed, or how many people would have to die in the trial-and-error of tasting every flower in the forest before learning which would make you sick and which would make a curative salve.

Everybody knows how to do these things  today because there are handbooks. But how long, measured in thousands of years of trial and error did it take.

This seems this is the case with virtually every major mark of leading Man out of the Stone Age. But when asked, every tribal elder had an easy response: “The gods gave us this gift.”

Like Homer and the Trojan War, modern Science since the late 1800’s has had no problem telling us about the origins of things when there is a written record, but will tell us we are daft when we say we believe a thing occurred and they can only say we can’t prove it, then become speechless when asked about any alternative theory.

It’s a mystery, but there is enough to myth, the Myth of Jesus probably the most significant event in the past 2000 years, and for proof, just witness this mad, and I mean mad, dash to finish His memory off right now.

Anti-God Darwinism had replaced agnostic Darwinists as a starting point for Modern Science, for it salved the soul of Man who has a predisposition to worship himself in the first place. Long before Karl Marx developed a theory of labor and government, he had already built a foundation on his belief that all of man’s failings had been built on its belief in a Higher Being. And he “knew” these things without benefit of any serious inquiry that his theories may be poorly founded, which has become a trademark for Modern Science.

Modern Science talks about “proof” and “fact” but you can see the paucity of it as modern History-as-Science attempts to portray it. Still, it can’t deny the evidence is there that somebody did something in Egypt even though the exact how and who is unknown, things like the laws of mechanics, or even blueprints when all they had were rocks and chisels. We know there is a direct link between language and civilization, which is why the Germans produced engineers and the French produced chefs. The Pyramids are real, staring us in the face. Ancient Peru and the Incas had paved roads yet they did not have the wheel. And those people with the wheel built a majestic aerie called Machu Picchu high in the Andes. Some blind guy composed stories about Troy’s war as late as 500 years after the fact, so Troy we know Troy is real…and  that Flavius Josephus mentioned Jesus 60 years after His “alleged” Crucifixion, proving that a noted historian at least had heard the legend that a Man called Jesus has been executed by Pilate, or that a movement called Christians had become so large that Nero would blame them for causing the fire that destroyed Rome, or that books written on parchment and wet stone by men who had followed this Man or his Teachings, would become religious best sellers to such a degree as to cause a Roman Emperor, Constantine, to call a giant council of all the many churches of this Man to meet in a place called Nicea in 323 AD, and then by the 390s, at Hippo, to cobble together 27 books of the New Testament, and thousands of men and women were executed in the Coliseum in Rome simply because they would not recant such a fraud, and did so willingly that the events’ promoters canceled the public executions as people would no longer pay to see people just come out and die. Where’s the fun in that?

And all these “historic, recorded” events happened because of a myth that a single Man in a nothing-burger town in a desolate province had been executed then arose from the dead, in waves of 30 (Nero) to 150 (Marcus Aurelius) years later?

And Modern Science says there is no proof?

There was a time when Science was a part of the community and still sat on the jury, alongside the rest of the citizenry, from all the other walks of life. Now Modern Science has tried to set itself up as the judge, who determines what evidence is admissible and worthy of being presented to the jury, and what is not.

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *