Monday, January 22, 2018

Prologomina to God Argument: Transcendental Signified

Image result for metacrock's blog,rose widow



This is a prelude to unveiling a new God argument I have been working on. The point here is that the God concept is endemic to modern thought.. 
Western thought has always assumed a logos, a first principle that gives meaning to all ambiguity and grounds all knowledge and norms. This concept has been embodied in many different ideas, collectively Jacques Derrida calls them “transcendental signifiers” (TS). These differing notions all point to a single idea, the one thing that is necessary and universal that orders and gives meaning to all signs and signification. That is the thing signified by the words used to mark it, the transcendental signified (TS). Humanity has been unable to find any matching candidate for this post in modern thought primarily because we gave up the idea of a logos. 

Modern science has a sort of truncated logos in the idea that empirical observations will eliminate all hypotheses until just the true one's are left and that will give us the understanding we seek. That will never happen because it cannot; science can't render first principles in areas like ethics and morality and it can't delve into the spiritual, the phenomenological, the existential or anything not immediately verifiable empirically. Postmodern thought has given up on the whole project. They reject the concept of truth itself and seek not to understand anything beyond their self referential language game. Yet in rejecting the concept of truth, and tearing down hierarchies, they create their transcendental signifier differance, (with an a)[1] Only the concept of God fits the parameters for the TS. God offers the best explanation for hierarchical ordering, thus offers the most likely correlate for TS. Or to put it another way, mind is the missing dimension that enables the TS to unite human experience of being with understanding. That in itself should warrant belief in God.

Human thought in general and Western thought in particular has always sought an ἀρχή, a first principle, a logos that will sum up everything and give meaning to reality. The Greek notion of the logos, which was always about finding a way to understand reality through observing the world: “...Heraclitus of Ephesus (540-480BC) succeeded best in giving mythos and logos a philosophical meaning in a new world structure and putting man in a position to find his rightful place in it. The problem...to establish the reality of observable phenomena, to uncover its governing force, and to teach man the proper way of relating himself to both.[2] The notion, in one form or another, was deeply rooted among the Greeks: the stoics, for example, used it to mean the divine animating principle pervading the universe.[3]William James, in The Varieties of Religious Experience, reflections upon Kant's notion of categories, “Ideas of pure reason,” that ground all our ideas and support all concrete knowledge even though they themselves are not given in sense data.[4]
...such ideas and others equally abstract, form the background for all our facts, the fountain-head of all the possibilities we conceive of...everything we know is what it is by sharing in the nature of one of these abstractions.We can never look directly at them for they are bodiless and featureless and footless, but we grasp all other things by their means and in handling the real world we should be stricken with helplessness in just so far forth as we might lose these mental objects, these adjectives, these adverbs and predicates and heads of classification and conception. [5].
James argues that these abstract notions is one of the “cardinal facts” of our human existence. We can't escape them, we can't deal with life without them. He talks about Plato and Emerson as examples of thinkers whose grasp of such abstractions defined the nature of ideas in such a way as to both define thought and infuse ideas with a sense of the divine, “treat the moral structure of the universe as a fact worthy of worship.”[6] Such notions, such links between the concrete and the abstract are replete in human history. Around the turn of the nineteenth into the twentieth century James observes this kind of transcendentalism moving into a scientific venue. “Science in many minds is genuinely taking the place of religion.”[7] He finds schools of thought that saw the Greek gods as reflections of the abstract ideas. While in the current age we find scientists openly talking about science replacing religion or providing a short cut to God.

The rise of Christianity saw a clear interpretation of the logos. In the rise of modern science we saw the Christian thesis discorded but another logos was put in it's place, in the form of the laws of physics.
It may seem bizarre, but in my opinion science offers a surer path to God than religion…People take it for granted that the physical world is both ordered and intelligible. The underlying order in nature-the laws of physics-are simply accepted as given, as brute facts. Nobody asks where they came from; at least they do not do so in polite company. However, even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith that the universe is not absurd, that there is a rational basis to physical existence manifested as law-like order in nature that is at least partly comprehensible to us. So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview.[8]
So modern thought assumes these disembodied laws that are sort of the residue of God without the will or volition. Pierre-Simon Laplace reshaped science in the post Newtonian era, removing all the independent clock winding and repairing Newton had God doing in his system, and when Napoleon asked him why he left out talking about God in his science he supposedly answered “I have no need of that hypothesis.”[9] It was upon that basis that God was taken out of modern science and all the built in theological assumptions with it, based upon the explanatory power of cause and effect. From that point on there has been steady progression of putting aside thinking about ideas and final causes and assuming laws of physics just are. They are out there they make God unnecessary (supposedly) and though we don't know where they came from we don’t need to know.[10] As Alfred North Whitehead once observed: "We are content with superficial orderings form diverse arbitrary starting points. ... science which is employed in their development [modern thought] is based upon a philosophy which asserts that physical causation is supreme, and which disjoints the physical cause from the final end. It is not popular to dwell upon the absolute contradiction here involved..”[11]

The climate of opinion in modern physics, according to physicist Paul Davies, is still similar. Physicists assume the laws of physics “have some independent reality, prior to universe they describe,” not in terms of prescribing what nature has to do but in terms of beingbase of explanatory chain.”[12] Davies argues that fine tuning of the universal constants is an embarrassment to modern physicists. They are embarrassed because it appears that the universe has been “fixed” to produce life. In order to cover the embarrassment modern physicists reduce physical laws to something less binding. “The Cambridge cosmologist Martin Rees, president of The Royal Society, suggests the laws of physics aren't absolute and universal but more akin to local bylaws, varying from place to place on a mega-cosmic scale.”[13] Davies goes on:


The root cause of all the difficulty can be traced to the fact that both religion and science appeal to some agency outside the universe to explain its law like order.....This shared failing is no surprise, because the very notion of physical law has its origins in theology. The idea of absolute, universal, perfect, immutable laws comes straight out of monotheism, which was the dominant influence in Europe at the time science as we know it was being formulated by Isaac Newton and his contemporaries. Just as classical Christianity presents God as upholding the natural order from beyond the universe, so physicists envisage their laws as inhabiting an abstract transcendent realm of perfect mathematical relationships. Furthermore, Christians believe the world depends utterly on God for its existence, while the converse is not the case. Correspondingly, physicists declare that the universe is governed by eternal laws, but the laws remain impervious to events in the universe.[14]
But the model has lost coherence since they can't move away from the word “law” and yet the laws are said to be mere “descriptions.” They seek to avoid a law giver. Then they vacillate between resorting to prescriptive or descriptive laws. This will be discussed in much detail in chapter 4. Modern scientific thought lacks the principle of grounding necessary to complete a correlate between our theoretical picture of the world an understanding what actually is because we have given up on the logos. We have a fragmented set of observations, laws and principles but no higher scheme uniting the fragments under single transcendental signifier:

And most cosmologists agree: we don't need a god-of-the-gaps to make the big bang go bang. It can happen as part of a natural process. A much tougher problem now looms, however. What is the source of those ingenious laws that enable a universe to pop into being from nothing? Traditionally, scientists have supposed that the laws of physics were simply imprinted on the universe at its birth, like a maker's mark. As to their origin, well, that was left unexplained.[15]
They are still assuming a framework at the top without knowing what that framework is. For those who have given up on the project of truth it's even worse.

Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) is perhaps the closest thing to the major voice of postmodernism. If we were to try to sum up in one sentence a single idea emblematic of postmodernism we could not do better than to say postmodernism is the view that three are no meta narratives. Derrida, working in the philosophical heritage of Edmomnd Husseral. “Given this ontological critique, which Derrida claims pervades all of western philosophy, Derrida asserts a sort of post-metaphysical, post-foundational, perspective of reality that is not so much a new philosophy, but rather one that no longer naively accepts the arbitrary metaphysical claims of western thought.[16]  Derrida holds that western thought has always assumed a logos, or a transcendental signified. “For essential reasons the unity of all that allows itself to be attempted today through the most diverse concepts of science and of writing, is in principle, more or less covertly, yet always, determined by an historico-metaphysical epoch of which we merely glimpse the closure.”[17]

Rather than seeking to destroy all truth he seeks to show that the modern metaphysical referents to which the assumptions of logos pertain are inherently problematic.

To explain the meaning of the transcendental signified with reference to the article itself as well as my previous understanding of this concept, I can say that Derrida assumes that the entire history of Western metaphysics from Plato to the present is founded on a classic, fundamental error. This error is searching for a transcendental signified, an “ external point of reference” ( like God, religion, reason, science….) upon which one may build a concept or philosophy. This transcendental signified would provide the ultimate meaning and would be the origin of origins. This transcendental signified is centered in the process of interpretation and whatever else is decentered. To Derrida THIS IS A GREAT ERROR because... 1. There is no ultimate truth or a unifying element in universe, and thus no ultimate reality (including whatever transcendental signified). What is left is only difference. 2. Any text, in the light of this fact, has almost an infinite number of possible interpretations, and there is no assumed one signified meaning.[18]
For Derrida, as with Davies, there is nothing outside of the realm of signifier that we can latch onto and pull ourselves out of the quagmire of signs and signification. There is no touchstone of meaning outside of that realm because all meaning is based upon the shifting sands of signifier and differance.[19] So modern though is between a rock and a hard place. We are either trapped in the world of signification where meaning is arbitrary and always differed to the next signifier which is also arbitrary, or we are stuck in the Cul-de-Sac of scientific reductionism

Jacob Gabriel Hale asserts that Cornelius Van Til (1895-1987) has the answer. Van Til was a Philosopher and Reformed Theologian best known for the transcendental Argument for God (TAG).[20] Hale compares Derrida to Van Til. Both understand modern thought to be trapped in the same dead end seeking a logos but unable to connect with it. While Derridia's answer is to give up on logos and tear down hierarchies and be stuck like a character in a Becket play, Van Til understands God as the true presupposition to logic[21]. Thus Van Til fills in the blank of the logos with the Christian Logos. The Christian intellectual tradition has always regarded God as the basis of logic probably going back to the Greeks and their idea of logos. It's a concept very reminiscent of St. Augustine in his association of God with truth.

Augustine expresses the concept of the super-essential Godhead many times and in many ways. Augustine was a Platonist. In that regard perhaps his greatest innovation was to place the Platonic forms in the mind of God. That is a major innovation because it trumps the Neo-Platonistic following after Plotinus, who conceived of a form of the forms. In Augustinian understanding the equivalent of the “the one” the form that holds all other forms within itself is the mind of God. Augustine never made an argument for the existence of God because for him God was known with certainty and immediacy. God is immediately discerned in the apprehension of truth, thus need not be “proved.” God is the basis of all truth, and therefore, cannot be the object of questioning about truth, since God is he medium through which other truths can be known.[22] Paul Tillich reflects upon Augustine’s concept:

Augustine, after he had experienced all the implications of ancient skepticism, gave a classical answer to the problem of the two absolutes: they coincide in the nature of truth. Veritas is presupposed in ever philosophical argument; and veritas is God. You cannot deny truth as such because you could do it only in the name of truth, thus establishing truth. And if you establish truth you affirm God. “Where I have found the truth there I have found my God, the truth itself,” Augustine says. The question of the two Ultimates is solved in such a way that the religious Ultimate is presupposed in every philosophical question, including the question of God. God is the presupposition of the question of God. This is the ontological solution of the problem of the philosophy of religion. God can never be reached if he is the object of a question and not its basis.
Augustine says God is truth. He doesn’t so much say God is being as he says God is truth. But to say this in this way is actually in line with the general theme we have been discussing, the one I call “super-essential Godhead,” or Tillich’s existential ontology. Augustine puts the emphasis upon God’s name as love, not being. Since he was a neo Platonist he thought of true reality as beyond being and thus he thought of God as “beyond being.” This makes no sense in a modern setting since for us “to be” is reality, and to not be part of being would meaning being unreal. But in the platonic context, true reality was beyond this level of reality and what we think of as “our reality” or “our world” is only a plane reflection of the true reality. We are creatures of a refection in a mud puddle and the thing reflected that is totally removed from our being is the true reality. It was this distinction Tillich tried to preserve by distinguishing between being and existence.[23] 

Augustine looked to the same passage in Exodus that Gilson quotes in connection with Aquinas. Augustine’s conclusions are much the same about that phrase “I am that I am.” This is one of his key reasons for his identification between God and truth. He saw the nature of God’s timeless being as a key also to identifying God with truth. The link between God and truth is the Platonic “one.” Augustine puts the forms in the mind of God, so God becomes the forms really. The basis of this identification is partly God’s eternal nature. From that point on it’s all an easy identification between eternal verities, such as truth, eternal being, beauty, the one, and God. The other half of the equation is God’s revelation of himself as eternal and necessary through the phrase, for very similar reasons to those listed already by Gilson, between I am that I am and being itself (or in Augustine’s case the transcended of being). “He answers, disclosing himself to creature as Creator, as God to man, as Immortal to mortal, eternal to a thing of time he answers ‘I am who I am.’”[24]





Sources


[1] John D. Caputo, The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida, Bloomington, Indiana: University of aindiana Press, 1997 2. Difference is not God but it functioms as aTS

[2] Alexander Sissel Kohanski, The Greek Mode of Thought In Western Philosophy. Rutherford, Madison, Teaneck: Fairleigh, Dickinson University press, London, Toronto :Associated University Presses, 1984, 27.

[3] Cambridge Dkctiomary of Philosophy. London: Cambridge University Press, 2nd Edition, 1999, 45.,

[4] William James,The Verities of Religious Experience, a Study In Human Nature: Being the Gifford Lectures on Natural Religion Delivered at Edinburgh in 1901-1902. London, New York, Bombay: Longmans, Green, and Co, 1905 56

[5]Ibid.
[6] Ibid., 57.
[7]Ibid.

[8]Paul Davies, “Physics and The Mind of God: the Templeton Prize Address,” First Things, August 1995, on line version URL:https://www.firstthings.com/article/1995/08/003-physics-and-the-mind-of-god-the-templeton-prize-address-24 accessed Nov 25, 2016

[9]Taner Edis, The Ghost in the Universe: God in Light of Modern Physics. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books; 2nd Printing edition ,June 1, 2002, 107.
Edis is professor of physics at Truman State University.

[10] Ibid.
[11] Alfred North Whitehead, Science and The Modern World. New York: Free Press, 1925, (1953), 76.
[12] Paul Davies “When Time Began” New Scientist (oct 9 2004) 4.

[13]__________, “Yes The Universe Looks like a fix, But ;that doesn't mean God fixed it,” The Guardian, Monday (25 June 2007) 19.07 ED on line copy, URL:
[14]Ibid.

[15]__________, “Stephan Hawking's Big Bang gaps,” The Guardian. (Saturday 4 September 2010) 03.30 EDT

[16]Jacob Gabriel Hale, “Derrida. Van Til, And the Metaphysics of Postmodernism,” Reformed Perspectives Magazine, Volume 6, number 19 (Junje 30 to July 6, 2004) Third Medellin Ministries, on line Resource URL
[17] Jaques Derrida, The End of the Book and the Beginning of Writing, New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovonovitch, trans. Gayatri Spivak 1967 in Contemporary Critical Theory, ed. Dan Latimer, 1989, p.166

[18]Ayman Elhallaq. “Tramscemdemtal; Signiofioed as the basis of Deconstruction theory,” Literary Theory in Class,

[19] Hale, op cit,
Derrida intentionally spells “difference” with an “a” to remind the reader that the meaning signifier is not based upon an essential correspondence between signifier and signified but is arbitrary and meaning is always referenced by another word that is itself arbitrary. His overall point is that there is no ultimate meaning,

[20] Michael R. Butler.“The Transcendental Argument for God's Existence,” online resourse, URL:http://butler-harris.org/tag/, viewed 7/3/15.
Mike Butler is Professor of Philosophy and Dean of Faculty at Christ College, Lynchburg, Virginia.

[21]Ibid

[22] Donald Keef, Thomism and the Ontological Theology: A Comparison of Systems. Leiden, Netherlands: E.J. Brill, 1971,140.

[23] Paul Tillich, Theology of Culture, New York: Oxford University press,1964 12-13.


[24] Carl Avren Levenson, John Westphal, editors, Reality: Readings in Phlosophy. Indianapolis, Indiana:Hackett Pulbishing company, inc. 1994, 54
“…St. Augustine’s view that God is being itself is based partly upon Platonism (“God is
that which truly is” and partly on the Bible—“I am that I am”). The transcendence of time as a condition of full reality is a central theme…[in Augustine’s work].”

48 comments:

Joe Hinman said...

ok say something already

Mike Gerow said...

TS's are such a hard topic.... & I got the flu too!

Joe Hinman said...

sorry

Mike Gerow said...

Yeh, it's a bit nasty, & they hard to shake, this winters bugs...got lotsa people down on at least three continents.....

7th Stooge said...

What if the TS in any particular case can be thought of as more of a heuristic device, like the concept of "true north" in navigation. It doesn't mean there is such a thing as true north; it's an abstraction. Thought tends to organize itself around abstractions that are normative -- they don't and can probably never actually exist.

Joe Hinman said...

Good point but that version of tings lacks the efficacy to explain what needs explaining, So the best evidence aspect of the TS requires the assumption of mind. See Dr. Reppert's dangerous idea argument which i make use of in the chapter on mind. Well if you still have the MS, or wait for the book.

7th Stooge said...

What needs explaining, imo, is why or how we humans, and other animals, are normative in the first place. But normativity doesn't necessarily require a Platonic overarching "Norm." I agree with you that something like God is the best explanation for mind and order but I'm not sure there's a strong argument that can persuade someone on the fence.

Eric Sotnak said...

"Western thought has always assumed a logos, a first principle that gives meaning to all ambiguity and grounds all knowledge and norms."

I don't see why there has to be a single thing/entity that grounds knowledge. In fact, I'm not even sure what it means to say such a thing.

Suppose I say that truth is a correspondence relation between a representation and reality, and that knowledge is appropriately justified true belief (in some general sense).

Where does the grounding fit in here?

Joe Hinman said...

"Western thought has always assumed a logos, a first principle that gives meaning to all ambiguity and grounds all knowledge and norms."

I don't see why there has to be a single thing/entity that grounds knowledge. In fact, I'm not even sure what it means to say such a thing.

Strange statement for a logician. Historically we have the actual logos of the Greeks, then Reason of the French Revolution the laws of physics, and other ideas floating around

Suppose I say that truth is a correspondence relation between a representation and reality, and that knowledge is appropriately justified true belief (in some general sense).

Where does the grounding fit in here?

I* see no conflict between the correspondence theory and the TS, at lest not some versions. I think you are conflating the concept of truth with first principles, There are billions of truths they don;t have to be first principles to be truths but but they are all tied up with first principles, they can all be summed up in logic or in arrears,

Joe Hinman said...

th Stooge said...
What needs explaining, imo, is why or how we humans, and other animals, are normative in the first place. But normativity doesn't necessarily require a Platonic overarching "Norm." I agree with you that something like God is the best explanation for mind and order but I'm not sure there's a strong argument that can persuade someone on the fence.

yea maybe not, But I have written a book about it anyway. Hey I am not going to let the fact that I maybe wrong stop me from spouting a bunch of opinions.

It maybe brilliant,(you remember that that one) but it's probably a pile of shit, but I'm gonna ask you read it anyway.

Joe Hinman said...

Jim I'm going to start unpacking the hover view of the argument Monday, so rather than lay it out now,I'll just do it then.

Am I saying humans are normative? I don't think I'm to impose humanity on aliens
or anything. We just have to worry about what is normative for us Reason is normative for humans.

Mike Gerow said...


"Western thought has always assumed a logos, a first principle that gives meaning to all ambiguity and grounds all knowledge and norms."

I don't see why there has to be a single thing/entity that grounds knowledge. In fact, I'm not even sure what it means to say such a thing.


Eric, your comments here made me think of this critique of "monotheistic science" by a Brazilian physicist (as described by Mary Jane Rubinstein)...

"While securing such a single theory might seem the ultimate scien- tific liberation from religion, the Brazilian astronomer Marcelo Gleicer has criticized such efforts [ie the search for a Grand Unified Theory in physics] as hopelessly theological. Since the Ionians, he argues, western scientists and philosophers have been in pursuit of Oneness—whether it be the one primordial element, the one God, or the one theory that will unlock every cosmic secret (2010a: xiii). If the discoveries of the twentieth century have taught us anything, Gleiser claims, it is that the universe is in all likelihood not the coherent, intelli- gible whole we so desperately want it to be. And yet, insofar as it looks for a “Theory of Everything,” modern science remains what he calls “monotheistic science,” still “under the mythic spell of the One” "

http://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1115&context=div2facpubs

7th Stooge said...

Where does the grounding fit in here?

You could say that the correspondence relation depends on a norm of truth.

7th Stooge said...

"While securing such a single theory might seem the ultimate scien- tific liberation from religion, the Brazilian astronomer Marcelo Gleicer has criticized such efforts [ie the search for a Grand Unified Theory in physics] as hopelessly theological. Since the Ionians, he argues, western scientists and philosophers have been in pursuit of Oneness—whether it be the one primordial element, the one God, or the one theory that will unlock every cosmic secret (2010a: xiii). If the discoveries of the twentieth century have taught us anything, Gleiser claims, it is that the universe is in all likelihood not the coherent, intelli- gible whole we so desperately want it to be. And yet, insofar as it looks for a “Theory of Everything,” modern science remains what he calls “monotheistic science,” still “under the mythic spell of the One” "

But isn't science itself under the mythic spell of the one, at least as far as its working assumptions?

Joe Hinman said...

7th Stooge said...
Where does the grounding fit in here?

You could say that the correspondence relation depends on a norm of truth.

excellent point

12:25 PM Delete
Blogger 7th Stooge said...
"While securing such a single theory might seem the ultimate scien- tific liberation from religion, the Brazilian astronomer Marcelo Gleicer has criticized such efforts [ie the search for a Grand Unified Theory in physics] as hopelessly theological. Since the Ionians, he argues, western scientists and philosophers have been in pursuit of Oneness—whether it be the one primordial element, the one God, or the one theory that will unlock every cosmic secret (2010a: xiii). If the discoveries of the twentieth century have taught us anything, Gleiser claims, it is that the universe is in all likelihood not the coherent, intelli- gible whole we so desperately want it to be. And yet, insofar as it looks for a “Theory of Everything,” modern science remains what he calls “monotheistic science,” still “under the mythic spell of the One” "


that's great where did you get that quote?

But isn't science itself under the mythic spell of the one, at least as far as its working assumptions?

I agree. I have argued that they are going to have to give u the execration of understanding how things work and that means not do science,

Re ember HRG o CARM? He would always try to argue that a bunch of little principles worked in place of the TS but that's really not the nature of science.

I think a bigger challenge will be getting the atheists to care. I think they are so Leary of God arguments because they never give them the kind of certainty they seek .But they wont hold still for talk about why that's not realistic,


The atheist is in a dilemma,they either have to accept the basic premise that God arguments might be true then have to refute them or if they reject the attempt because they never produce certainty then they have to give up sconce.




12:30 PM Delete

Joe Hinman said...

"Western thought has always assumed a logos, a first principle that gives meaning to all ambiguity and grounds all knowledge and norms."

I don't see why there has to be a single thing/entity that grounds knowledge. In fact, I'm not even sure what it means to say such a thing.

why have they always been looking for it? there could be chaos and just stop talking. Then to tell me about how there's no meta narrative you have to make a meta narrative,

Mike Gerow said...

But isn't science itself under the mythic spell of the one, at least as far as its working assumptions?

Yeah,that's what he saying...altho 20th century scientific trends tend to belie that, according to him, as there's no reason to expect a "coherent, intelligible whole."

Mike Gerow said...

I think some scientists are beginning to take more like "a perspectivist" viewpoint now, where the universe "looks" a certain way when seen from a certain perspective,but there's no necessary or ultimate hierarchy or integration (far as the science can tell) between the various levels of "reality"...

Mike Gerow said...

that's great where did you get that quote?

Mary Jane Rubinstein, a religious scholar who likes to trace (the echoes of) religious themes in contemporary secular/postsecular thinking in her writings. I think that's from a lecture, as linked above, basically about "creation ex nihilo" as a manifestation of "the One".

(She tends to side with the process thinkers there.)

7th Stooge said...

Yeah,that's what he saying...altho 20th century scientific trends tend to belie that, according to him, as there's no reason to expect a "coherent, intelligible whole."

But he said that science insofar as it's looking for a GUTOE is under the mythic spell of oneness. I would say that insofar as it gives up this dream of ntelligibility and oneness, it will be in tension with its underlying assumptions.

Mike Gerow said...

It doesn't mean that nothing is intelligible, only that the universe may not "render down" to a single organizational principle that's comprehensible to humans. Things can still be provisionally intelligible, esp when looked at in some certain, limited ways.

These are some peoples conclusions based (empirically) on chaos, complexity theory, QM uncertainty, & stuff like that.....

Mike Gerow said...

.....oh yeah, & Goedel's formal undecidability

Joe Hinman said...

Mike Gerow said...
It doesn't mean that nothing is intelligible, only that the universe may not "render down" to a single organizational principle that's comprehensible to humans. Things can still be provisionally intelligible, esp when looked at in some certain, limited ways.

These are some peoples conclusions based (empirically) on chaos, complexity theory, QM uncertainty, & stuff like that.....


If that principle is God then it's not comprehensible to humans

2:41 PM
Mike Gerow said...
.....oh yeah, & Goedel's formal undecidability


we need to give up trying to comprehend it but that means giving up the arrogance of science, IU doesn;t mean giving u sickness m just the arrogant part,

Joe Hinman said...

7th Stooge said...
Yeah,that's what he saying...altho 20th century scientific trends tend to belie that, according to him, as there's no reason to expect a "coherent, intelligible whole."

But he said that science insofar as it's looking for a GUTOE is under the mythic spell of oneness. I would say that insofar as it gives up this dream of intelligibility and oneness, it will be in tension with its underlying assumptions.

that would not exactly endear him to atheists.My point is that we have to assume a certain degree of intelligibility to go on with the modern world. But we have to start acknowledging that the major oneness is the transcendent and move into the spiritual realm and mystical answers because we can't go further. There is something more there but is the commanding mind not us.

That I can't render that more for them in logic that's ok, I would not want anyone to claim to do that

Mike Gerow said...

Well, I think his critique is aimed mostly at the mist grandiose, theoretical physics, which has become more and more speculative in its attempts at a GUToE -- at reconciling QM and relativity -- developing string and M-brane theories and such. That's what the majority of theoretical physicists have been doing in recent decades. But that that unlikely project, he claims, keeps physics from making humbler and more promising types of advances.

These kinds of critiques have become more credible now too, since the big collider in Switzerland has NOT produced any evidence of the "SUSY" particles that all string theories predict....

7th Stooge said...

It doesn't mean that nothing is intelligible, only that the universe may not "render down" to a single organizational principle that's comprehensible to humans. Things can still be provisionally intelligible, esp when looked at in some certain, limited ways.

Maybe, but I think the working assumption of western science is that things are intelligible in toto. Not that that goal is ever reachable, maybe even in principle, but i think it's just an assumption that animates the whole enterprise. And if it's jetissoned, my guess is it will still find a way of resurfacing covertly, under different guises. Just like the TSer and metanarratives may be harder to free ourselves of than previously thought, as Joe has alluded to.

Joe Hinman said...

Maybe, but I think the working assumption of western science is that things are intelligible in toto. Not that that goal is ever reachable, maybe even in principle, but i think it's just an assumption that animates the whole enterprise. And if it's jetissoned, my guess is it will still find a way of resurfacing covertly, under different guises. Just like the TSer and metanarratives may be harder to free ourselves of than previously thought, as Joe has alluded to.

I agree completely. That's what we see in my essay where the same idea re-emerge in physics.It's God or the one without mind or personal nature. But in terms of logical consistency,modern thought keeps losing coherence at the point where they keep denying the TS while trying to preserve it. That's really going to come out in chapter four where the contradiction between trying to dump the phraseology of law while hanging on to law like order in the cosmos.

Mike Gerow said...

Do you think "perspectivist" views such as I described could be a result of the demise of the generalized "man of science", of hyper-specialization and the trend that science is so vast now that there really isn't anyone who has an "in toto" grasp of its developments?

Neither "science" nor "religion" would seem such monolithic things as they come off in these debates. There' seems as much philosophical infighting as out fighting in both realms....

Mike Gerow said...

Maybe, but I think the working assumption of western science is that things are intelligible in toto. Not that that goal is ever reachable, maybe even in principle, but i think it's just an assumption that animates the whole enterprise.

An interesting physics article I read -- since my brainy cousin always posts such things on FB -- claimed that the rate of universal expansion can be understood as constant instead of accelerating if you consider that the Big Bang might not have produced an absolutely symmetrical explosion in certain ways. This could greatly simplify you some things, like the need to postulate dark matter and energy, but then physicists would have to give up a certain belief in the overall "elegance" (ie symmetry) of the universe that they've adhered to for a long time, perhaps?

Mike Gerow said...

https://www.thenational.ae/uae/science-at-a-crossroads-as-supersymmetry-theory-falls-flat-1.218622

7th Stooge said...

Do you think "perspectivist" views such as I described could be a result of the demise of the generalized "man of science", of hyper-specialization and the trend that science is so vast now that there really isn't anyone who has an "in toto" grasp of its developments?

Neither "science" nor "religion" would seem such monolithic things as they come off in these debates. There' seems as much philosophical infighting as out fighting in both realms....


Those are really good points. No one can 'hold' "Science" in his or her head; it's too big and amorphous and dynamic of a thing. I agree that we should avoid monolithic assumptions about both science and religion. But that shouldnt keep us from speculating about inherent tendencies. Maybe more so with science than with religion since science is epistemic by nature...And knowledge resists radical perspectivalism, imo! :)

Mike Gerow said...

But -- in spite of the thorny riddles and paradoxes that emerge inevitably from the so-called "deeper" levels when one tries to do so -- could it be "knowledgeable" to resist, or at least try to resist radical absolutism too - esp if evidence and analysis both fail to support such? ;-)

7th Stooge said...

Definitely! Well put!!!

7th Stooge said...

Interesting article, Mike. How much of this bandwagon effect do you think is due to the big institutional big money infrastructure to science? The same corrosive effects that those influences have on religion and, oh, I don't know, just everything?

Mike Gerow said...

Well, could it be the law of diminishing returns as applied to empirical investigations? Is it "the End of Science?"

The article has really foucaldian undertones of how "empirical scientific investigations" can become constricted by social norms and big economic power flows (aka "Big Money") just like, as you said, the case is with every other kind of human endeavour. In this instance, tho, the result would seem to be Big Science (as he calls it) - endeavours requiring the investment of billions and decades of research, and wide conformity to an agenda that results in lack of real diversification, which greatly amplifies the possibity of spectacular failures across pretty wide scientific fields: the failures of decades-long investigations, as some are sketched there. Leading to a loss of public confidence in the whole scientific project, among other things....

These kinds of critiques are getting more and more common tho, even, or perhaps esp, coming from the scientists themselves.

Joe Hinman said...

Mike that is becoming common it's high time, episodically it needs to be discovered by the Church.

7th Stooge said...

One problem is it's hard to imagine a free lance scientist without connections to big institutional power and money. Maybe a physicist working mainly with paper and pencil like Einstein, but has there been someone like that since Einstein? Or a benevolent but largely disinterested billionaire....If that's possible.

Mike Gerow said...

Yeah, it invokes unlikely images of a starving scientist with a day job struggling to "make it", like in the arts.

The social realilties of science and scientists just aren't like that; it's a relatively conservative and normative set of pursuits (and careers) and has been since a long time too....perhaps even since the times of its Euro-bourgeois roots.

But otoh are there humbler possibilities for, say, advancement in physics that don't need (eg) $50 billion accelerators taking decades to construct for validation or rejection?

7th Stooge said...

I dunno. It seems unlikely, given how hyper-specialized and technocratic science is today.

Mike Gerow said...

The fallout from the SUSY particle thing - calling most of the theorectical physics of maybe the last 30 years into question - could be significant, tho, when it comes to funding Big Science. Makes the likes of Trump and the anti-science crowd look smarter for one thing....

But many physicists felt like the theory was "so elegant it had to be true".....

http://scienceblogs.com/developingintelligence/2007/05/14/why-the-simplest-theory-is-alm/

(We talked about this idea, lack of parsimony in many aspects of actual reality, once on the forum, Iirc)

Joe Hinman said...

yes that just drives home again the sorrow of not having those discussions to look at

Mike Gerow said...

Yeah, there were some awfully good ones over the years ... plus funny!

.....maybe there's a lesson in it about "impermanence" ;-(

Joe Hinman said...

and Urbild and McGreet. Try to do some wayback machine on them

Mike Gerow said...

Yah, man!

I learned so much from those guys.....

7th Stooge said...

Aw, c'mon. It makes Trump and the anti-science crowd look smarter? Really? How long have you worked for Fox News? :)

Mike Gerow said...

Hehe! No, I only know Fox News by reputation and on the Internet, I don't know if we can even get it here... Think it mighta been banned. ;-)

7th Stooge said...

Well, send your CV in, You could be their correspondent in Canadia ;)

But seriously folk, we gotta look at the reasons why someone doesn't believe in something. And Trump is seriously stupid. He has the mind of a small child.

7th Stooge said...

Not to insult small children :)