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.