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New Scientist = Old Contradiction

Saturday, August 10, 2019



I railed about Tabloid Thinking in the Church and how it is irresponsible for the spiritual development of Christians. I find also the same irresponsibility within Science Journalism and it is truly damaging the way that human beings think. It makes me wonder that there is empirical evidence for humanity becoming markedly less intelligent.

Consider this headline from the New Scientist.

REALITY: THE GREATEST ILLUSION OF THEM ALL

How shamefully meaningless. A headline designed to sensationalise rather than arouse clear thinking.

A simple dictionary definition will suffice.

Illusion: an instance of a wrong or misinterpreted perception of a sensory experience; a false idea or belief.

If everything that we perceive is an illusion, then so is the empirical basis on which we make the claim that everything we perceive is an illusion. Our experiments, apparatus, measurements, all designed to give us an understanding of Reality only ever give us illusions. It means that we must even doubt the hypothesis that everything we perceive is an illusion. 

We find ourselves firmly in the position of Cartesian Skepticism and the Brain in a Vat argument.

If all reality is an illusion then Science cannot possibly hold onto the claim that it is a vehicle for the discernment of Truth. If Materialist Scientists accept the "scientific" finding that all Reality is an illusion, then they have no business of telling any religious adherents that their religious belief is delusory.

To my mind, the results of the experiments that have driven Scientists to this conclusion demonstrate that they have reached a reductio ad absurdum.

Assumption: The Scientific Method is the only method by which we obtain objective truth.

1) The Scientific Method shows that what we perceive is different from objective reality.

2) The  Scientific Method is based on perceptions of objective reality.

3) Therefore, the Scientific Method shows that empirical methods find only what is different from objective reality.

4) The Scientific Method shows that the Scientific Method is false.

This is the liar paradox: the Cretan has said that all Cretans are liars. The only logical conclusion is that the assumption must be false. Thus, either there is no objective reality (so you are clearly not reading this!) or the Scientific Method needs to be reconsidered carefully. The study of Feyerabend's Against Method is probably a good place to start.

Of course, there is another assumption that I have made which would invalidate my argument. I have based everything here on a reading of a New Scientist article. If the New Scientist article is inaccurate then it calls into question its capabilities of reporting the truth. If it is accurate then it is reporting that Science is incapable of discovering the truth and thus renders itself in opposition to Science which goes against its own remit.  Nonetheless, if anything comes of this, the New Scientist seems to have proved itself unreliable and unworthy as a means of education for those who would read it.

I recommend doing some proper science instead.

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