Editor’s note: Old David, a.k.a. David Marwick from Australia, is familiar from the comment pages, and I thought it would be fun if he were on the receiving end of criticisms. He graciously agreed. His article is also interesting for embracing common errors.
A wise old professor of philosophy defined philosophy for me as “The search for knowledge and understanding of reality using a scientific instrument called logic”.
Of course, that definition is entirely repugnant to “scientists” and “philosophers” of today even though it is the only definition I’ve ever heard that is inherently consistent and coherent.
To illustrate my assertion let’s compare and contrast speculation and assessment, ideological fancies and methodical examination, rationalism and the principles of logic.
The principles of logic are based on the “law of non-contradiction”; essentially, a proposition and its contradiction cannot both be “true”. Any logical assessment must be based on a certainly known premise, and a contradiction of that premise renders the “argument” invalid and absurd. A certainly known or “self evident” premise is one where the only alternative to a proposition is its contrary and which contrary is self-contradictory and thus absurd. A couple of primordial examples will do to illustrate: “I exist” and “a thing that does not exist cannot cause itself to exist”.
All science is composed of sub-disciplines under the great umbrella of philosophy; the great desire for knowledge and understanding of reality. A physicist can gain a PhD… which means “Doctor of Philosophy”. Philo-sophy etymologically means “the love of wisdom”; that is, the desire for, and to spend oneself to get, the right answer. Of course, the law of non-contradiction always applies. The “answer” cannot be “right” if it is self-contradictory or contradictory of certainly known premises.
The application of this logical procedure leads directly to what’s known as a “scientific method” which starts with an observation, proceeds to possible explanations (hypotheses) to be tested with logical congruity to certainly known facts, observation and experiment. Any real contradiction to any of which renders the hypothesis a “dud” or failure. This is the requirement for testability or falsifiability; a proposition that can’t be tested is not an hypothesis, it is a mere speculation with no claim to being any kind of science. As Karl Popper so elegantly put it “It’s not only not right; it’s not even wrong”.
Rationalism, on the other hand, starts with the assumption of an ideal then proceeds to try to find plausible justifications and excuses for the assumptions. The only judgement of the “rightness” or “wrongness” of the excuses proffered is whether or not they suit the ideology assumed. Logic or facts have nothing to do with it, they are irrelevant to the purpose. The “truth” is entirely determined by marketability and convenience. Magic! Quite the opposite of a “scientific method”.
(Mathemagics is an invaluable asset to this process). (Aside: years ago I tried to wade through pages of obscure formulas and symbols from the clever idiot in the talking wheelchair purporting to “mathematically prove” that time goes back and fourth like a pendulum. It doesn’t seem to have taken off as you don’t see the Sagan, Dawkins, Attenbrough, etc. salesmen flogging it these days).
Now, let’s focus all this on fashionable fancies purporting to be “science” and “philosophy”.
Just about all the “scientistic” dogmas of ideological Materialism don’t come anywhere near the the most basic requirements of science or a scientific method. They can only qualify as fantastic superstitions rationalised by speculative interpretations of carefully selected and censored observations.
It is almost universally assumed that practically everything that exists is spontaneously produced from a lesser antecedent. A lovely speculation that might be an hypothesis, that might become a theory if there was even one real observation or experiment that suggested that it was a possibility; not even requiring an example of it ever having happened.
I refer particularly to the almost universal supposition of “Evolution”; the most perverse and harmful superstition ever to destroy mind and culture. It is demonstrably and certainly an impossible speculation. There is not the slightest chance of it being in any way possible unless all the relevant, well known, easily demonstrable Natural Laws and logic do not apply. Scientifically (philosophically (logically), physically, chemically, biologically, and mathematically (probability)) it is certainly completely impossible.
Logically (philosophically) it is impossible because a thing (like a system) that does not exist cannot cause itself to exist, and an effect cannot be greater than its cause. (Logic is a metaphysical science even if it does not comply with the Briggs Commandment against reification).
Physical (empirical) science also prohibits “Evolution” because it is directly contrary to the well known, easily demonstrable Natural Law we call entropy. The best (most succinct and precise) definition (description) of entropy is as it occurs in the “Second Law of Thermodynamics”; “All ordered systems, left to themselves, tend toward maximum randomness and lowest energy (potential or differential)”. That means that order naturally tends to degenerate into randomness (disorder) and energy potential tends to dissipate into a uniformity without potential.
Mathematically, the probability that even one simple protein could form by random accident is practically zero. Even the simplest live thing is composed of a concert of very complex and specialised proteins never, ever could happen by random accident or series of accidents even if entropy wasn’t a factor.
I am contending that all “science” and sophistry that even tacitly assumes the fraudulent dogma of “Evolution” will inevitably lead to all the errors of Modernism, both secular and “theological”, and thus all the mental, spiritual and cultural decay so much in evidence.
Briggs replies below
I’ll take on only the matter of evolution. The second law of thermodynamics is “violated” continuously; for instance, as I type this. If the law operated everywhere and continuously the universe would long be dead. The second law only makes a statement about “closed systems” and “on average”, so there is nothing wrong or inconsistent with the occasional increasing order.
It is common to mistake the reality of evolution with the theory that is said to drive it (a sort of reverse Deadly Sin of Reification!). Evolution is obvious; what caused it up for debate. Neo-Darwinian theory to explain man is certainly false (and if you think not, explain in strict neo-Darwinian terms abortion, adoption, LGBTianism, contraception, abstinence, etc.), and it is almost surely false to account for the rise of most (all?) species. Small, gradual, almost imperceptible changes accreting to organisms causing all those species? Part of the problem lies in misunderstandings of “chance” and “randomness”, which both proponents and critics of neo-Darwinianism get wrong.
There is no such thing as chance or randomness; therefore, they are not causative; therefore, they could not cause mutations; therefore, they could not cause speciation; etc. Something more akin to punctuated equilibrium makes more sense than wee changes. Let me put it this way in the short space available: things can only go where they can. Thus that a brand new species (a multitude of genetic changes) suddenly pops up from the detritus of an old one is not impossible.
Yes, that implies design, but so does everything. Two proteins meeting each other can only react in the ways according to their design; their essence. And if you say, “Well, what’s important is how their electrons etc. interact”, then you have merely pushed the design one level deeper, for then two or more electrons can only interact according to their design. The same with quarks or strings or mathematical equations or whatever. Design is inherent!
The universe (at its basest, most fundamental level) has to be this way for some reason. That reason cannot be “chance” or “randomness.” It must be because of something actual. For more on that, this series. Anyway, evolution is in no way inconsistent with Christianity. Of course, some theories of evolution are inconsistent with reality. But then that is true of so many theories these days.
Many are desperate not to admit to error in neo-Darwinianism because they believe that that theory disproves the existence of God. Thus why one worm has three and not two rings on its clittellum is not their real matter of interest. Becoming an “intellectually fulfilled atheist” is. (Don’t forget that humans are partly spiritual, which are bits not subject to physical forces, bits which therefore can’t be “evolved” by physical mechanism, which is why any purely physical or chemical theory of the evolution of man must be wrong.)
Before (as in before and not after, which even though I insist upon it I know it’s a condition which will be violated by many) readers go off on “intelligent design” and “creationism” without understanding what those terms mean, listen to or read This and this and this and this, which summarize views I share.