Wednesday, October 03, 2007

"Jewish" and "Bourgeois" Science

Authoritative Catholic philosophy and common sense both define truth as "the equality of intellect and reality." And traditionally, and in its broadest sense, science is the virtue of conforming the intellect to reality. So science attempts to discover the truth.

The traditional definition of truth leaves open the possibility that we can be wrong in our opinions of the truth. We can debate the truth and we can change our minds about what actually constitutes the truth. Good science makes valid truth claims about reality; bad science does the opposite and does not explain reality truly. And of course, there are vast gray areas where scientific theories only partially explain reality: but the existence of 'gray' presupposes that both 'black' and 'white' also exist.

A natural skepticism due to mistrust is like the Missourian of lore who responds to wild claims with the statement "Show me." This is to be contrasted with philosophical skepticism, which variously states:
  • There is no truth;
  • If there is truth, we would not know it as the truth; and
  • If we know the truth, we cannot communicate it as the truth.
The fashionable philosophy of Postmodernism gravitates around the last item here, but it is merely a development of the school of skepticism that defined and shaped the so-called Enlightenment and our contemporary world. Ancient skeptics recognized all three of these, so this is nothing new.

In reality, there are very few people who are self-proclaimed skeptics, and these tend to be highly principled. Many may not be complete skeptics, but will instead insist that truth is very hard to find. Far more common are those who follow philosophies that indirectly imply skepticism: subjectivism and relativism both imply a certain denial of objective truth, sometimes in a way far more extreme than even explicit skeptics.

We find this kind of rejection of the truth in some recent and current political systems, the systems which are the poisonous fruit of the Enlightenment. The Communist and Nazi systems, although highly antagonistic, remarkably had quite a few similarities, including a lack of universality, the rejection of the Church, and extreme government control over the sciences. Both systems, ironically, had great support among the liberal, progressive, atheistic intelligentsia, and were upheld as positive models of the future. Both systems were based not on cooperation, but on conflict between races or classes, which is a relativistic viewpoint.

We judge science based on its truth, while the Nazis judged science on race. The fields of physics, mathematics, biochemistry, and psychoanalysis were rejected by the Nazis as "Jewish Science", not because they weren't true, but because of the ethnic identity of their practitioners. However, we must not suppose that the Nazi regime was anti-science; while considering pure science "Jewish", they expended vast sums on applied technology. The Nazis supported weapons research and large public health programs, and had great support among scientists and physicians.

The Communists, in the same way, denounced "Bourgeois Science", not because it wasn't true, but because of the socioeconomic class of its proponents. Disciplines of science rejected by the Communists as bourgeois included genetics, biochemistry, comparative linguistics, and cybernetics (an early form of computer science). Marxists even reject the very foundations of truth, by denying formal logic and the law of noncontradiction.

Contemporary Western society still wrongly judges science, not caring whether it is true or not, but rather on relativistic ideas. Enlightened, liberal, progressive, secular, multicultural science education is famous for its rejection of the DWEM: dead, white, European males. Unlike the crude Nazis only concerned with race, 'Postmodern' educators reject science based on time, race, geography, and sex, and this is all done within a Marxist framework of class conflict.

The rejection of one or another fields of science seems to be a distinguishing characteristic of modern (and postmodern) culture. That being said, I am tired of hearing about how the Catholic Church persecuted Galileo. While fashionable political theories reject the work of countless scientists, the Church is condemned for having criticized the work of exactly one scientist.

Only one.

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