A Rational Cosmology
The Implications of Rational Cosmology
G. Stolyarov II
A Journal for Western Man-- Issue XLI-- September 16, 2005
Note: This essay is the thirteenth chapter of Mr. Stolyarov's new comprehensive filosofical treatise, A Rational Cosmology, explicating such terms as the universe, matter, space, time, sound, light, life, consciousness, and volition, which can be ordered in electronic format for only $2.50 at http://www.lulu.com/content/140855. Free previews, descriptions, and information on A Rational Cosmology can be found at http://rationalargumentator.com/rc.html.
My aim here has not been to reject the entirety of modern science or its applications; I am asking, not for a complete discarding of every idea and every tool devised using twentieth-century post-Classical fysics, but for a fundamental shift in the theories and concepts governing contemporary specific-observational sciences. I do not contest that certain systems derived from post-Classical fysics work; I do, however, assert that they work imperfectly, and the reason for this flaw is a pervasive conceptual error. Modern science can continue on from its present state in keeping those aspects of it that truly function, while progressively weeding out fallacious notions and replacing them with true ones, thereby gradually refining an imperfect system. Empirical science ought to be a self-correcting process, scientists like to claim; I agree. But it is not a process that exists in a vacuum, detached from the rest of human knowledge, especially knowledge so fundamental as filosofy. The only way science can be truly self-correcting is if it applies the proper methodology to the proper existents. Where it is indeed warranted, science should rely on empirical observation contingent on future particular experiments. In other crucial categories, however, only abstract, deductive reasoning supported by ubiquitous, non-contingent observation will suffice. What I seek to illustrate here is the type of world we have had—and can still have—when filosofy and the specific-observational sciences worked side by side in a mutually reinforcing, self-correcting process, and the type of world we have gotten by rejecting the very premise of such knowledge integration.
I have, in this treatise, explicated a worldview elements of which have been implicit in the Western culture that, over centuries of development and refinement, has given birth to the profoundest values and highest quality of life man has ever attained. While by no means complete or free of errors which were later exploited for their vulnerabilities, Western thought had reached its climax during the 18th century Enlightenment, with its emfasis on the faculty of Reason, and the ability of Reason to fathom every aspect of existence. Correspondingly, the Enlightenment thinkers, and their allies, the Newtonian fysicists, viewed reality as having a nature that Reason could fathom. The absolutism of existence, a this-worldly, definite, orderly, material existence, composed of finely delimited entities with particular natures, was a near-universally accepted proposition among the Enlightenment thinkers. From this stemmed the rest: the objectivity of the human mind and its rational faculty, the necessity of individual liberty to preserve the ability of Reason to fathom all aspects of existence, the increasing recognition of the necessity of technical, esthetic, intellectual, and political progress as the vehicle for expanding man´s control over the absolute reality. What followed in the subsequent 19th century, animated by the 18th, was the most massive surge ever experienced in standards of living, public and private morals, the arts and sciences, commerce, and peaceful human cooperation on a worldwide scale.
Today, the Enlightenment mindset is under attack from all sides, and on all sides the fundamental culprit is the rejection of the objective, fathomable nature of reality. Technology, the lifeblood and essential mechanism of civilization, is being stifled by regulators and environmentalists who tremble in fear of disrupting something that man does not know, and, according to them, can never fully know. Individual rights are being smashed and trampled by the purveyors of collectivism and government regulation, whose principal assertion is that individuals, without the sage guidance of authority, can never know what truly exists in the world, what is best for them, and how to attain it. From academia, the messages of relativism, multiculturalism, and egalitarianism are all unequivocal rejections of the rational faculty. There is no clear answer to anything, and all answers are equally good, these doctrines state. Furthermore, all people are equally good, and any person—or any cultural legacy such as that of the Western Enlightenment—that tries to use Reason to become better and stand above the rest deserves to be brutally suppressed as either "imperialist" or "culturally insensitive." To expect clear, unambiguous answers in both theory and practice, many individuals, disillusioned with the sorry state of contemporary humanities, try to flock to the hard sciences to find the guidance of Reason that every man needs to survive and prosper in this world. What they find instead is another morass of dogma, obstruction, superstition, and a vehement denial of the objectivity of the senses and reality.
Modern "science," in large part, has ceased to be guided by the principles of the Enlightenment, and instead has assumed the doctrines of one, Auguste Comte, an early 19th-century socialist and admitted totalitarian, and the father of positivism, who also sought to fragment and compartmentalize all knowledge and to reject the necessity of filosofy in defining the contours of any discipline. To Comte, the era of the "metafysical" has been rendered obsolete by the hard sciences, and the only way forward was for the sciences to reject the foundations of knowledge explicated during the Enlightenment and for each of them to develop their own highly particularized principles independent of each other. That is, Comte´s doctrines ushered in the contemporary era of ultra-specialization in which the biologist is oblivious to the work of the fysicist, the mathematician knows nothing about what happens in the field of chemistry, the engineer cares little about the abstract theory on which his work is founded, and many scientists are politically, culturally, and filosofically illiterate. The old Western ideal of the Renaissance Man, with a thorough foundation in every major discipline, has been replaced by the paragon of the idiot-savant, highly skilled in one narrow field and a complete dunce in all others. Gone are the Leonardos, Galileos, Newtons, Franklins, Goethes, and Borodins of this world, but not because our knowledge has grown too vast for one man to have a basic grounding in all of it, as the proponents of Comte´s empiricist-positivist view would assert. Quite the contrary, with today's capacity for computers and automated mechanisms to perform almost all of man's rote fysical and intellectual busy work, never before have the possibilities for man's sheer erudition and creative application of his learning been greater. The reason why the Renaissance Men no longer exist is because today's cultural and intellectual state, at its core, rules them out as not only impossible but also undesirable. It is because contemporary society, at all levels including the scientific, rejects either the possibility or the necessity of objective, rational filosofy setting the terms on which further inquiry and progress are to take place. And today´s anti-filosofical, anti-moral savages, with all their compartmentalized erudition, are what have made and still make possible massive travesties of justice on all levels. They are the men who, while brilliant in their narrow fields, have made no attempt to realize that forging atomic weapons for totalitarian states, or to allow those states to exist in the first place, might not have been such a splendid idea.
More particularly, today's scientific orthodoxy has become akin to a Medieval priesthood, highly exclusive and treating all "lesser men" with a ludicrous snobbery, as if anyone not versed in its arcane doctrines is not qualified to speak on any subject whatsoever using reason and common sense, as if that person needs to be shut down and automatically discredited for refusing to accept the modern "experts´" authority uncritically and on faith. Just because most do not understand the nuances of quantum mechanics, the modern purveyors of orthodoxy state, they do not understand anything, and are thus excluded from ever knowing truth. The truth, of course, is that, even as Max Planck himself had admitted, nobody truly understands quantum mechanics, because there is little of truth to be understood in that doctrine. A man of reason can see that, whatever their useful practical applications, the conceptual core of relativity, quantum mechanics, modern "cosmology" (i.e., the same apocalyptic dogma about the "end of the universe" rehashed in modern, scientific-sounding terms), and "string theory," is riddled with contradictions, inconsistencies, and sheer impossibilities that strive to blatantly violate the reality which man observes with his senses during every moment of his life.
What the orthodox modern scientists refuse to understand is, simply because some theory has produced useful practical results, does not mean that the theory is correct. Consider that the healing properties of certain herbs, for example, were known for millennia among certain extremely backward tribes of the Amazon. Let us presume that a hypothetical Western visitor to one of those tribes were to be met by the local shaman and told of a powerful theory that has never failed to heal a certain type of wound. The theory is called "Spirit Dance." Whenever somebody is injured, the shaman takes his magic pouch (filled with the herb) and places the afflicted person in a special ceremonial circle made of an exotic stone that had to be pounded into the ground exactly twelve times to get its remarkable properties from the Great Spirit. Then, the shaman must wear the hide of a beast slaughtered exactly thirteen days prior to the injury, and hop around the circle for six hours on one foot, chanting praises to the Great Spirit. Subsequently, he sprinkles his magic herbal powder onto the victim's wound, and punches the victim in the stomach three times to infuse the Great Spirit's strength into him. Behold the great miracle: the victim's wound will become healed! The shaman will object with indignation to the visitor's claim that all of his services are in fact unnecessary, that a moment's application of the herb powder by any individual would itself suffice to cure the wound, by a theory that rules out the superfluous, mystical, illogical, and simply absurd. It is true that his theory works within the given context, but it works far poorer than a theory which is grounded solely in the nature of reality and the existents involved in the process. While the six-hour delay might not severely harm a patient with a minor cut, it will kill somebody injured more severely and capable of bleeding to death during that time. Aspects of the false theory can also be harmful: punching most people in the stomach will not result in injury, but it could kill a pregnant woman, for example. The Great Spirit could also be used as a justification for other, less benevolent acts, including human sacrifice and the establishment of an authoritarian social hierarchy whereby the shaman uses his exclusive "bond" with the Spirit to render the populace dependent on him and believing that he has divine authority to govern their lives and stifle dissent.
Similarly, the contemporary empirist-positivist scientists, and their all too eager collectivist allies in the humanities, seek the same sort of impregnable dominance over others in the creation of arcane "refutations" of reason and common sense. Relativity and quantum mechanics, because of their certain useful practical results, are often invoked to disqualify the absolute views of space and time, i.e., views which are implicit and self-evident in our daily lives. If there is no way to interpret existence by the intelligent layman using reason and common sense, then it must follow that said layman must refer to the orthodoxy for assistance. But, instead of receiving assistance, he will enter a state of dependence on and subordination to "expert authority." While the Enlightenment thinkers have urged man to become autonomously educated about the world around him by keeping his senses alert and his Reason functional, the message from the modern orthodoxy is: do not think, do not question, do not investigate; you are too shallow, uneducated, inexperienced, or simply possessed of the wrong hyper-specialization to know anything by yourself in the first place. Trust us, give us money, or, better yet, power over your mind, and we will give you the answers. And these answers will define the nature, meaning, and purpose of the most fundamental aspects of your existence. The answers, of course, change from one day to the next, since there are no immutable fundamentals and truths certain beyond possibility of refutation, and every next highly particular observation will produce a "paradigm shift," as if the discovery of a new subatomic particle can ever alter the fact that A=A. This, of course, guarantees that the answers everybody received from the orthodoxy yesterday are today obsolete, and the layman needs to perpetually come back for more.
Rational cosmology is a tool of individual liberation. Properly applied, it will shatter the layman's dependence on empiricist-positivist orthodoxy for the answers, and will allow each man to renew both his confidence in and his understanding of the correctness of his sensory perception of the existence in which he operates. We perceive space as three-dimensional, because it is. We perceive time as uniform, absolute, and analog, because it is. We perceive motion as continuous and analog, because it is. Our sensory responses to sound and light, our necessary conceptions of mass and volume, of the origin of forces in interactions between two entities, of the impossibility of simultaneous infinities and non-local effects, are what they are because they reflect the absolute, objective nature of reality. Whenever a given proposition seems absurd or counter-intuitive, it is because it either blatantly or subtly disregards the data of the senses or the integrity of logic. There is no higher truth in contradiction and inconsistency; there is only the attempt to obscure truth. Rational cosmology empowers man by affirming that he is equipped from birth with both the sensory capacity and the conscious mind to seek out and find out everything he needs to live and to prosper.
The three-dimensional nature of space implies that there is no "hidden dimension" that we cannot examine, and whose secrets will forever remain hidden from us. The one-dimensional, absolute, uniform nature of time implies that we can always be certain that a second today will equal a second tomorrow, that the fundamental rules governing change, motion, and, indeed, life itself, will always remain true and at our disposal. The ubiquitous qualities of entities imply that there are definite elements to all existents that we can always rely on; we can always fathom mass, volume, length, width, height, and time, and these qualities will give us reliable indicators as to what entities are, how they can be found, and how to begin investigating their particulars in greater depth. The elucidation on what the term "universe" means will allow us to soundly lay aside the ridiculous notion that existence itself had to somehow be created (a logical absurdity) and is doomed to be destroyed.
Apocalyptic dogma has existed since the beginning of human civilization, trying, in sheer envy and malice, to condemn aspiration and progress as futile because everything is someday doomed to come to an end. Rational cosmology affirms the truth about reality: entities come to be and pass away because of their particular natures, not because this is some universally dictated inevitability. Nothing has to end except as governed by the behavior of its constituent qualities. If one changes an entity's qualities, one changes its fate. Not only is the universe not doomed, neither is man. The fysicalist view of life, consciousness, and volition implies that man has the full potential, ability, and freedom to expand the abilities of his own organism through both organic and mechanical enhancements. These abilities include the broadening of his capacity to resist the forces of death and decay which afflict his body and mind. Over the ages, this fenomenon has indeed occurred, as rational science has increased man's average life expectancy about fivefold, from the late teens in the Paleolithic to the late seventies and early eighties today. There is no reason to presume that there is a "cap" on this ability to win temporal territory from the abyss of non-existence. Quite the contrary, the foundations of existence all suggest that indefinite longevity is there for the taking, if only man were to renounce all inferiority complexes and realize that no pursuit in self-improvement, however ambitious, is futile or beyond his grasp. He has all the tools, and the ability to build new ones, needed to discover the answers to the greatest questions, to construct the most life-enhancing machines, to alter the nature of his environment so as to please him and enrich his existence.
But, as the great Sir Francis Bacon noted, "Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed." To learn how to manipulate the elements, one must first know how they function. To get to the stage of manipulating particular elements, one must know fundamental, logical, irrefutable, and ubiquitous truths about existence itself. This is where filosofy in general, and cosmology in particular, come in. Without the guidance of general, abstract principles for understanding where he is, who he is, why he is, and what he ought to do, man, even when armed with the most complex technology and the best particular observations of his day, is helpless. For the technology and the particular observations must serve his filosofically ordained and volitionally chosen purpose, not the other way around. And only when armed with the certainty provided by a filosofical understanding of the fundamentals of existence can man become impervious to the allure of authority, the soothing promises of experts who seek to liberate the individual from the responsibility of thinking for himself, and thereby to make a willing slave of him. The filosofically enlightened man can "specialize" and succeed in anything, and the greatest minds of history knew this. Leonardo´s art, Newton´s fysics, Goethe´s drama and poetry, all towered above the common denominator because these men knew the value of filosofy in every human endeavor; they knew that only abstract, rational principles can bring about unerring consistency in whatever line of work one seeks to pursue, and they applied those principles with honesty and precision. Man is born tabula rasa, says rational filosofy. There is nothing that prevents him from being the next Leonardo or Newton, save the lack of willpower and confidence to do it. And it is this confidence in himself and in the immutability of the principles governing his world that man needs to develop. May rational cosmology assist him in such a worthy task.
G. Stolyarov II is a science fiction novelist, independent filosofical essayist, poet, amateur mathematician and composer, contributor to organizations such as Le Quebecois Libre, Enter Stage Right, the Autonomist, and The Liberal Institute. Mr. Stolyarov is the Editor-in-Chief of The Rational Argumentator. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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