Monday, April 16, 2007

The Neo-Philosophers: Decline and Fall of Science


Science has regressed to the Grecian age of ratiocination, circa 500 B.C., when the meaning of existence was paramount or thinkers.

The regression isn’t a bad one, since the Greeks had a grasp of the fundamental questions plaguing mankind.

But it also means that science, even Einstein, the quantumists, singularity mavens, and now string theorists, have progressed not a whit, despite all the regurgitation of Greek thought, repackaged and regifted to those still hoping for answers to why we are here, and what can we do about it.

Richard Dawkins takes Thales one step further, but only a step. And Bohr, Planck, Heisenberg, Dirac, Penrose, Susskind, Smolin, even Hawking, have dealt with and extrapolated, minutely, what Diophantes, Apollonius, Hipparchus, Aristarchus, and Euclid (among other Greek greats) has cogitated about over 200 years ago.

Philosophy, like music, art, and literature, reached an acme in the 1800s, having evolved through Descartes, Locke, Hume, Kant, Hegel, the great Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Comte, Wittgenstein, Russell, and Sartre to a point where physicists took it upon themselves to replace the old thinking with new thinking, which was, for all intents and purposes, a resurgence of recycled arguments for reality and God, but couched in mathematical terms that laymen (the whole of mankind) hasn’t been able to decipher, thus allowing the patina of new, unique thought to be the mantle of physics – a falsity that reigns to this day.

String theory, rightfully excoriated by Lee Smolin, is merely a reworking of the Atomists: Parmenides, Heraclitus, Leucippus, and Democritus.

(The Atomists contended that atoms were unchanging, but constantly rearranging into different shapes Richard Osborne relates in Philosophy, Page 10. Isn’t that what string theory proposes, replacing atoms with unchanging, constantly rearranging strings?)

But it isn’t the assumption of ideas from the Greeks (and the reworking of them) by 21st Century physicists that is the issue. It’s that philosophy has been co-opted by mathematical brigands who don’t give a fig about ultimate realities, preferring to masticate equations and hypotheses which take mankind and civilization nowhere; nowhere transcendental, nowhere practical, and nowhere edifying even in the realm of thought.

How did this happen? Lee Smolin touches on it in his book, The Trouble with Physics, but that only besmirches the obsession with string theory (as we’ve noted earlier here).

Smolin blames academe for the decimation of physics theories other than those regarding “strings.”

Yet it’s the whole scientific community that is excommunicate. Science – that is, mathematics – flush with concocted equations – has removed clarifying logical thought with esoteric logical thought, and thus taken profundity away from thinkers and replaced it with a Freemasonry kind of code and secrecy, not unlike that of the alchemists, who established their brotherhood as to appear more enlightened than those who wanted simple, clear answers about, not arcane nostrum and experiments which produce nothing but charlatanry and hokum.

It’s seem time that philosophers, the non-mathematical kind, reassume the high road of thought, taking it away from the whiz-kids of geometry and arithmetic so that the human race can come to grips with the existential reality confronting it, and has always confronted it, well before the raft of “scientists” pillaged rational thinking.


John Armstrong said...

Mathematics ... has removed clarifying logical thought with esoteric logical thought, and thus taken profundity away from thinkers and replaced it with a Freemasonry kind of code and secrecy

I agree very much with your thoughts on string theory and thaat a new direction in science in general may be needed, but you simply cannot lay this at the feet of the mathematicians.

You claim that we form some sort of exclusive priesthood, but the truth is that most of us wish that there were a similar general appreciation of mathematics as there is of literature. Just because people decide that mathematics is too difficult for them doesn't mean that we are trying to make it so.

RRRGroup said...


We shouldn't have left the impression that we're indicting all mathematicians.

We merely meant to chastise those who use mathematics to establsih an arcane privacy that excludes almost everyone.

Math, for us, may be the doorway to the ultimate reality (but that for another time).

What physicists (some) have done is to cloak their science in an arcanum similar to that of the alchemists, and we all know where that leads: nowhere.

So excuse our unintended generalization, which we hope to repair as we go along.

Rich said...

Math, for us, may be the doorway to the ultimate reality (but that for another time).

I couldn't wait for another time...had to comment on this here!

Are ours/animals feelings nothing but calculations of "things" working together to create them? NOTHING MORE...NO OTHER TRUE MEANING IN THEM? It seems to me that as "smart" as the universe is it does not recognize FEELINGS because these feelings/WE are treated all basically as "a bunch of equations" running for WHAT?????? Are we "living" some kind of super duper stuporcomputer?