Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Eternal Egg of Dogma

We reactionaries have generally shed ourselves of the Enlightened progressive outlooks on politics, philosophy, and history.  A progressive swims in the flow of progress.  In shifting his views leftwards he swims downstream; in shifting his views rightwards he swims upstream; in changing how he forms views he jumps out of the water and learns to walk on land.  Learning to walk on land is challenging for a fish but also rewarding.

Ironically, only we fish out of water know that progressivism is not a set of views or a set of values, but a way of thinking that sends the waters of progress downstream.

And we have renounced this way of thinking.

Why have we committed such glorious treason?

Last month Mencius provided a characteristically insightful post on the path to dark enlightenment.  I’d like to extend a metaphor he employed to show that there is no dark enlightenment – only dark revelation.  He states:
For there is one brief moment in which the chick can conceive the concept of an egg.  The moment before, egg is universe.  The moment after - egg is eggshell. 
Our difficulty is that we do not understand eggs and have no memory of escaping from an egg - only from an eggshell.
It is strangely curious that the egg appears to exist only when being turned to eggshell.  When inside it, egg is everything.  Once one understands it’s an egg, one instantly smashes it and emerges from it.  It can perhaps be said that the egg never existed as an egg in relation to the being that smashed it at all.

What is this moment of egg-smashing?

All humans believe dogmas.  Dogmas are symptoms of man’s eternal quest for understanding, byproducts of productive human culture, and regulators of social order.  As fundamentally social creatures, dogmas inform our relationships with other people and shape our roles in families, neighborhoods, businesses, nations, and all other webs of human relationships.

Just as the chicken lays her egg not out of will but out of necessity due to her nature, man believes dogma not out of will but out of necessity due to his nature.  Likewise, the egg shields the chick from what’s outside of it just as the dogma shields the man from what’s beyond it.

If an egg is a dogma, then the beak is surely inductive reasoning.  The eternal quest for Truth beyond dogma is the urge to break out of one’s egg.

Upon breaking one dogma man acquires another.  This is where the analogy breaks down – or does it?  Upon emerging from the egg, the chick finds that there is something beyond it – something that constrains her still, which no beak can penetrate.

Even the most determined man is doomed to fail in his furious attempt to comprehend Truth.  He may smash egg after egg for his whole life but he will always live within one.  This illustrates, in fact, that though man cannot acquire Truth it can be said that he does experience its painfully elusive effects most acutely when most passionately smashing the eternal egg of dogma, like emerging from a reverse Matryoshka doll of infinite figures.

In seeking Truth we learn, modify, believe, and teach dogmas - our own truths perhaps.  In seeking nothing with inductive reasoning man lives faith – the recognition that Truth is beyond our domain of understanding.

Could there be a man of perfect faith he would not believe there is no egg.  He would realize it.

For man there is only the eternal egg of dogma.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Crown of Cause

Habitable Worlds has created a nifty chart, visualizing the reacto-sphere.  In his most recent piece he asserts:
The Cathedral does not preach evolution; the Cathedral doesn’t believe in evolution, except as a tool for shaming fundamentalists and beating them into submission about other issues.
The change in inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive generations is both observable and how wiki defines evolution.  The Cathedral does preach evolution; these days, the shaming is the preaching.

The term evolution, having been cloaked in the false garb of science, is now subject to belief.  Daniel Dennett explains how this happened:
The Darwinian Revolution is both a scientific and a philosophical revolution, and neither revolution could have occurred without the other.  As we shall see, it was the philosophical prejudices of the scientists, more than their lack of scientific evidence, that prevented them from seeing how the theory could actually work, but those philosophical prejudices that had to be overthrown were too deeply entrenched to be dislodged by mere philosophical brilliance.  It took an irresistible parade of hard-won scientific facts to force thinkers to take seriously the weird new outlook that Darwin proposed.
Philosophical prejudices! Wondering aloud how discriminating these philosophers could have been given that mere facts cured them of their prejudices would probably be mean.  But do note, tender reader, that scientific facts are supported by science!

Perhaps Francis Bacon can shed light upon the birth of this science:
Human knowledge and human power meet in one; for where the cause is not known the effect cannot be produced.  Nature to be commanded must be obeyed; and that which in contemplation is as the cause is in operation as the rule.
If only ignorance of cause shielded us from the effects of the wretched ideas Francis produced!

Throw a ball in the air and it will drop to the ground.  Man observes the law of gravity, but he proves no law by observation or any action whatsoever.

In boasting that the throwing of the ball in the air and the watching of the ball fall to the ground somehow proved gravity, Enlightenment thinkers claimed for man the power to bestow the crown of cause by his mere knowledge. Scientists are the priests of this religion, which explains why a fact is hopelessly inferior to a scientific one.

All man observes is effect.  All the natural world is an endless interplay of effects across space and time.  Every material force is a cause only insofar as it is already an effect.  Bestowing the crown of cause on anything attributable to man’s material observation is a false frame.

The progressive thinker, in calling his religion anything but, implies that reason, not faith, is the basis of his beliefs.  And yet, it’s almost as if belief in science is demonstrated to the Cathedral by ascribing to scientists the divine ability to uncover causes of material forces within the material world.  But I digress.

Shall we cut to the chase?

Evolution causes nothing.  Evolution refers to a set of observed phenomena in the material world.  The processes by which evolution occurs – mutuation, natural selection, and genetic drift – cause nothing.  The processes by which it occurs refer to sets of material observations.  Our knowledge of these material phenomena does not alter theirs effects.

Furthermore, the so-called evidence of evolution can be no such thing.  Evolution can be tested by no controlled experiment.  In fact, evolution is a self-fulfilling prophecy that cannot be falsified.

Habitable Worlds continues:
The great divide between, say, John Derbyshire and Dalrock is that the former is a reactionary because he realizes society is ordered against natural reality; the latter is a reactionary because he realizes society is ordered against an old-school understanding of God—a God who doesn’t care all that much about earthly equality, who told the Israelites not to race-mix, who said the poor are always with us, who proclaimed the husband head of the wife, who ordained Original Sin, who doesn’t want mankind trying to bring Heaven to Earth.
So, must you accept evolution to be a neoreactionary? Yes. Whether you call evolution “evolution” or “God’s ordained existence” is really a philosophical argument that, I hope, will not divide the Derbyshires and the Dalrocks.
But there is nothing to accept!  Accepting that one can accept evolution continues to grant the frame to the Left.  Why should we play by their rules?

Let us relearn the philosophical prejudices Dennett mocked and call belief in evolution the lie that it is.

Belief in evolution is neither science nor true faith; it is deranged thought symptomatic of the demonic progressive religion that has ruled the Western world by sowing disunity with deceit for centuries.

By uniting Derbyshires and Dalrocks in recognizing evolution for what it is – a set of observed material phenomena - we see that there is no divide to be bridged.

When it comes to bestowing crowns of cause, reason is a bridge to nowhere; revelation is the bridge to everywhere.

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Finger Acting Alone

Few are more instructive of the dark arts than Mencius Moldbug.  Very few.  But I do have a quibble with something he noted recently:
It's certainly true that historical Christianity contains many superstitious and/or miraculous conceits, but it does not depend on them either for its practical efficacy as a social institution, or even for its logical coherence.  Every scientific period is a small bubble of the known in an infinite unknown space.  It is always possible to plausibly postulate an undisprovable entity.  When mankind was young and knew little, we could postulate a God who was a giant snake that lived in the river and made it rain.  Now, we can postulate a God who is an alien system administrator who runs the servers that make quantum mechanics work.  We can easily disprove the giant snake, but not the four-headed IT jock.  Ergo, we are left with the choice of two fundamentally aesthetic arguments - Occam's razor versus Paley's watchmaker.
Close to the mark, but I’m afraid our Creator did not grant us such freedom of choice.

Material forces cause effects by moving across space over time.  In other words, matter is only a cause insofar as it’s an effect.  Enlightenment thinkers believe they can use science to identify causes in the mortal domain, but nothing man can observe has the capacity to cause without having been caused.  The unmoved mover, Paley’s designer, rendering effect without cause, is beyond the material world, since all material forces have themselves material causes.

Therefore, all man’s observations must necessarily be effects and not causes.  For instance, gravity is not a cause of the ball dropping.  Gravity is a term we use to describe a phenomenon that we observe.

Men (even Enlightenment philosophers using science) cannot discover causes of material phenomena; men uncover facts about material phenomena.  If it were otherwise, there would be no problem of induction but only the solution of induction.

In this way, every chain of effects in the material world is like a line of dominoes collapsing.  Man may be able to observe the dominoes, but he cannot observe the flick of the finger setting the collapse in motion.  A domino is to the creature's mind controlling that finger as you, tender reader, are to the Creator of everything you can be aware of.

If Occam’s razor is applicable to the mortal domain, then Paley’s watchmaker is revealing of what is beyond it.   Occam’s razor provides a useful perspective that guides man in employing reason to understand material phenomena.  Paley’s watchmaker reminds that, since design implies designer, inductive reasoning is insufficient to understand the cause of any material phenomenon, since doing so would require a material unmovable mover.

A material unmovable mover!  And a finger acting alone, with no palm, arm, or shoulder attached to it and no mind to control it, flicks a line of dominoes into motion!

We now see why it is that anyone who sees a choice between Occam’s razor and Paley’s watchmaker will choose the former, but those who understand what Paley’s watchmaker reveals know that there is no choice at all.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Without Remorse

Prosecution presumes guilt.  Deductive reasoning appears to have quite a bit to presume these days.  While this blog may not be worthwhile, it's certainly unnecessary.  Please believe me when I say I do this without remorse.

Let us begin.

Inductive reasoning isn't.