Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Troubles with Scientism and Antiscientism

Oh, for the good old days that never were...

Have I ranted here before about the silly slogan "gravity is just a theory"? To sum-up (too much to explain), it revolves around (hee!) a confusion of "theory", "hypothesis", and "observation".

Today in my book of faces arises a photo impression of a "science" "quiz" titled "Dinosaurs: Genesis and the Gospel"; the keeper of the books of faces have tried to make it difficult to circulate this thing, and the circulator (not circulants) is doing her darndest to get around (are we talking in circles, yet? It's not intentional) such frustrations.

The trouble with the Scientist is that, while fighting the antiscientist, she thinks she is fighting something to do with "religion". But religio ("I bind together", man to God, men to men) has very little to do with the D:G&G "science" "quiz"; it is rather a work of superstition (on which the OED says that its etymology is confused, but may have something to do with a soldier pointlessly standing over a defeated enemy).

The particular superstition of the Book-Literal antiscientist is that God's Creation ought to fit in a book; there is a similar kind of scientistic superstition as well that the Universe ought to fit within Creation, but... why, under Heaven, anyone would take the name of Christ and insist that God made Creation a small thing, a humanly brief and fleeting thing... as though He wouldn't be large enough anymore if the Past and Future didn't fit within human history... For instance, it is abundantly clear that the people we hear about who breathe the air and speak and sing to the Lord a new song do not flee, as it were a shadow, neither is alles Fleisch es ist wie Gras, und alle Herlichkeit des Menschen wie des Græses Blumen — das Gras ist verdorret, und die Blume abgefallen. We are (in a litteral sense) rather more long-enduring than grass and flowers, if not more permanent in body. But that's not the point of the Book!

How often have I lamented (in other words) that the difficulty in talking with the world is that the world has forgotten how to talk? And there's something about that in The Last Battle...

Anyways, this is, I suppose, one of those letters-to-nobody... I wonder who will open it?

a Christopher


me said...

Happy Ascension Thursday (for a couple of hours yet)!
St. Thomas Aquinas took a lot of flack for saying that philosophically speaking there is nothing from preventing the world being eternal, though he confessed that we know it's not because God told us so. He defended the plausibility of God creating the world while being primary in causality and not in time. We know by revelation that that is not the case. Aristotle did not have revelation available to him, so he was perfectly within his intellectual rights when he posited an eternal world.
It's been a long debate, reconciling science and religion, and recognizing God's omnipotence and our position in relation to Him, or even with the rest of creation.
Funny thing, that medieval peasants could figure these things out. We modern, educated skeptics have a hard time with it.

Belfry Bat said...

It's Ascension Day for a few more hours here, too! It is finally warmer here now than Rome was during my two weeks there (goodness, I was then about half my present age).

I suppose I must now charitably defend the modern scientist or skeptic with the (admittedly thin) excuse that the modern world can be rather more distracting than the medieval world was, and the newer distractions all claim "science!" to be behind them, whether the use of them is empirically indicated or not.

Happy Ascension to thee as well! Good time to start a novena, as I recall...

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