On Victor Reppert's Dangerous Idea blog we have a good example of two of the reductionist techniques for losing the phenomena. Losing the phenomena is the major strategy of reductionist in reducing alternative view points to meaningless proportions. In this sense is peak of the kind of philosophical reductionist that under girds scientism, Losing the phenomena works like this. To show that religious experience can't be a real experience of God's presence reduce feeling to brain chemistry and brain chemistry to a totally naturalistic process, then hypercritically evaluate every aspect of the phenomenon until it appears to be totally reduced to component parts that explain it away. It's not God's presence it's misfiring of certain segments of the brain and of brain chemistry..One of the chief methods used is re-labeling another is reduction to physical aspects.
These tactics were employed by Stardusty Psyche (aka "Dusty") who has posted in comments on this blog, It began with me discussing some of the philosophy of science I learned in graduate school that is somewhat critical of science, to blunt the initiative of Dusty's assertions that science is all that matters and religion is crap. In order to make the point that science discovers 'truth" about the universe and religion doesn't. He asserted that physical laws such as Boyle's law are totally actuate statements about the way the universe works. Other Christians took up the challenge one in particular argued that science can't tell us about the truth of the beatitudes, it can't tell us if the poor are blessed or or if the pure in heart will see God.
One of the Christians named "Prokop" argued: "Art, history, literature, music, love, sin, beauty, purpose, meaning, patriotism, treachery, altruism, greed, prayer, contemplation, intellectual dishonesty, integrity, religion, poetry, inspiration, perseverance, repentance, redemption, faith, grief, humility, pride, saintliness, joy... I could go on, but you get the point." I am not so sure he did. Dusty says: "Indeed, I do get the point. All of those things are subject to scientific investigation and explanation through the scientific method. Why wouldn't they be? But go ahead, pick one or two you think are particularly immune to science."
Of course all of them are so immune unless you want to reduce them to their physical components. We can't prove the poor are not blessed but you make up a psychological scheme that would account for that idea. You can't subject the beatitudes to scientific analysis because you can't study the state of blessedness you can reduce it to the brain chemistry that it takes to feel blessed then assert that this proves that;s all there is to it. Blessed doesn't just mean an advantage or being happy it;s a state of grace it signifies approval by the higher power so the poor are blessed not because they are happy but because they have God's favor, they have God's aid. Now one might quibble with that statement one might apply Marxist analysis or some other form of analysis and dispute the truth context of that claim or even say it's propagandist, but that is not science. Science cannot collect data on states of Grace and it can't tell us not to believe in them. It can't make judgement on values. That is what the reductionist tries to do to reduce these aspects to physical complements of brain chemistry that allow such feelings and then because it can only approach it through this avenue assert that this is all there is,
This is a good example of "Losing the phenomena."
Or take some of the other aspects of human spirituality that Prokop discussed above such as art,You can't analyze art qua art scientifically. To subject artistic creation to scientific analysis is to reduce to to a level where it's artistic meaning is no longer regarded; the thing that makes it art is no longer part of the equation. Science is all pretense of objectivity and art is the enhancement of the subjective so they contradict a priori. we could examine the physical and psychological complements of an art work, that would not allow for an artistic understanding, Then the reductionist would say "see it's just this motivation with this kind of pigment" or whatever that would be assumed to sum up the components but it would only mean that the meaning of it as art is reduced to a point where it's not considered as part of the melange.
One could use science to assist the creative process but only at the expense of real science. Imagine a work where one transposes gnome data points to musical notes then plays the the human genome like a symphony. You can appreciate the music at the expense of the science or you could appreciate both in different ways but you can't make the two work together as themselves, you would either only be referring to art to analyze the physical aspects or appreciating science in a way that is not really scientific,
Dusty says "understanding the reduceability of our human experiences to the submicroscopic level only adds to the exhilaration of experiencing life and living it to the fullest." But He has not demonstrated that aspects such as art or morality are reducible to subatomic level.He has only demonstrated that one can reduce such that the value aspects are not being considered and then one is only reducing to the physical process that makes examination of value possible having exuded the value from consideration. ,Of course they make the assertion that if there is a physical process than that's all there is. They have merely lost the phenomena.
Here another poster Legion of logic says:
How so, out of curiosity? For example, I have two young kids. To think of them as "my son and daughter" is one thing. To think of them as "colonies of multiple collections of specialized cells" doesn't quite inspire the same fuzzy feelings. To think of them as "mostly empty space in between carbon molecules" is about as devoid of charm as one could desire. It seems to me that the more one reduces things to the subatomic level, the less emotionally relatable it becomes. But the reductionist, the scientismist just thinks "the fuzzy feelings are unscientific, we want the hard cold dead emotionless data." That is part of the pretense of objectivity, it pretends to be science but it;s really just re=valuing the vittles with a selfishness that hides behind objectivity,It's changing one value for another and labeling it science,So, unless you meant something else than how I took it, I must disagree that viewing life through the prism of subatomic reality does anything to enhance it on an experiential level,
I agree. Dusty is just regurgitating the atheist echo chamber. He's really saying there's one way to look at things, the only way is to see things in science terms and no other, When someone tries to show another way you compare it to science and then critique it for it;s scientific shortcomings,
Heavens declaring he glory of God might as well indicate the sense we get from the night sky of our own finite being juxtaposed to the infinite which is suggested the stars (whatever their retaliative distance) evokes the sense of the numinous and we sense the presence of God. Then the reductionist has to eliminate that regardless of it;s truth so they have to assert that it is some trick of the mind and take it apart and lose the phenomena.
see the discussion