Logic Requires FaithSubmitted by Menschken on Sat, 09/14/2013 - 01:14
I'm about to say some crazy things. I don't expect any of you to like it. Some of you will fall asleep. Off to sleep!
"We've come to destroy all Truth, in the name of Reason."
The universe exists. At its most basic, the universe means the material matter and energy and the laws of physics, or the observed constants we call laws.
One of the things we observe, which is a property of our consciousness at least if not of the universe, is cause and effect within time, the perception of sequence in time. Whether or not the speed of that sequence is subjective to the beholder, the sequence itself and the following of effect from cause is an inherent part of the construct of the universe as perceived through the human mind or our mental instrument.
If we accept cause and effect in time, as a given, it implies that something - existence (matter, energy and the laws that govern their behavior) - came about, emerged, out of a previous nothing.
This is, of course, impossible to human logic, if not to the actual universe.
So we are confronted with a logical contradiction inherent in the nature of our minds and our perception of reality. I may not be using the words in their strictest philosophical or scientific sense, and I may be mixing concepts. But to express my meaning in a single sentence: A logical impossibility is required by logic. The emergence of something from nothing is logically necessary at the same time as it is logically impossible.
Note I am not saying it is not understood, but that it is logically impossible. That is not to say it did not happen, in fact it must have. Logic demands that it did. Logic demands something happened which logic insists could not have happened.
This is a bit of a problem.
The problem is that we have no basis in empirical observation or scientific knowledge for assuming our logical construct of reality actually corresponds to anything real. We can rely on the predictive power of cause and effect within observed time only so far as the limited space and time of our observation and the limited scope of our own perception, and no further. That is not very far, as the unperceived is potentially infinite.
We have strong logical grounds for doubting the efficacy of logic, as silly as that sounds. Since logic demands something happened that is logically impossible, we have a clue or hint, a residuum or artifact - a vestigial bit of evidence that logic, the frame, the hardware or software of the mind, which we use to perceive reality, is not actually giving us an accurate image, and runs into a 'bug' when we try to reason back to first principles.
The bug is the contradiction we hit like a brick wall when we ask how something could come from nothing, answer that it could not, and that it must have.
The theory of evolution also tells us that we have no right or basis to expect that the adaptive principle would inevitably or even probably lead to a mental apparatus or instrument (a nervous system with a brain and senses) that shows the whole reality, or even an accurate mirror of a part of reality. No more for Man than for Amoebae.
Our dependence on technical instruments to perceive ranges of sight or sound beyond the direct scope of our senses was the first hint that something was amiss.
The possibility that there are things outside our senses altogether, not just outside the range of our senses but other possible senses altogether. A steep descent! The feeling of falling!
Senses we did not develop and don't have because we did not need, as evolution would have it.
The discomfort increases.
The world becomes a massive swirl of possible light to which we are blind. A real darkness, of which we perceive a tiny portion through the suspect lens our senses. Senses which developed haphazardly and with great economy. senses that lie, that merely eek out a dishonest living for us in an inhospitable, disreputable corner of the infinite. Oh science, what have you done! What gave you the right!?
Then the awful possibility, then likelihood, that what we call logic is a mere makeshift, a tool, a chip of flint, shaped by chance to fit a limited and temporary environment, and means nothing more than tautology means in language. What is true is true for us, because it is the very definition and measuring rod of truth. It is true because it feels true. But it has no necessary relation to reality outside of us.
Something from nothing.
That is the ultimate conclusion of logic, when you start from the beginning, and follow the random walk to the end of the materialist story. You start with something from nothing, and come out with... there is no truth.
There is no truth.
There can be no truth.
The only backdoor out of this idea is to posit the possibility that time itself is not a real thing. How else to get around that something had to come from nothing? This apparent escape is also a false door. A little thought on the subject of time and you will see that taking away time does not take away the problem, but merely puts it into a more striking contrast.
There are a couple ways I know of to get rid of time.
The total absence of motion, down to the most subatomic level (assuming the world is in fact made of material, which we have no reason to assume, other than our lying our senses, after filtering infinite possible inputs) -- nothing moves, nothing changes. What would time actually mean in a frozen universe? Nothing moves, nothing lives to perceive time or the present. Nothing changes its state or moves at all. Whats the difference between frozen motion and frozen time in a universe entirely material?
From another angle, time disappears if we eliminate the perceiver of time.
If no one is watching time go by at a certain pace, and experiencing a present moment, what would time be?
Every event along the time spectrum could be compressed to a point, or extended infinitely, by a difference of perception. Like rewinding or fast-forwarding a film. Without an observer, it is all one instant as much as it is a period of duration. Or an endless circle, which is just a ring without experience of duration.
Without a perceiver, the sequence of events called time could be a single object without past or future, just like the whole film is contained on a single film strip, an object with space but not time. The medium holds the entire sequence of information that is the film, in a physical object. The object is outside of and not subject to the time the film takes to run from beginning to end. The speed is entirely subjective, and the entirety is held outside of that time.
So we don't even know if time is real, although we depend entirely on it for cause and effect to be an inherent part of reality. The mind requires time, yet we have to give it up too, to appease the demands of empirical observation and inscrutable logic.
This does not save us, however, but only digs us deeper. Even in the absence of time, the whole compressed point of all existence, matter, and the laws of physics is still a thing. It may not have followed from nothing in a linear sequence in time, but it still exists, and the logical structure of the human mind demands that its properties have an origin.
That is not to say it must have an origin, only that our logic demands it.
All these roads lead to the same conclusion, that the logic we are equipped with is not in fact an objective picture of the reality.
It contains contradictions and can only be presumed to be an instrument, like that of the hummingbird or a dragonfly, adapted to perceiving a limited environment and surviving within it. Beyond that efficacy, nothing is either guaranteed or even assumed about our mental equipment according to the dominant theory of its development, organic evolution by the adaptive accumulation of randomly generated genetic traits, in succession of generations going back to the first emergence of life, Once, by accident.
I am not trying to cast doubt per se on the theory or even on materialism itself. Only to point out that the whole logical enterprise, including science, and even including math and logical tautologies, does depend foremost, and first, on faith. On faith in their reality. An improbable faith, a faith contradicted by the evidence and by the object of the faith itself. The belief that the logic of our minds is true in fact rather than merely true to us -- that is faith.
We all recognize that faith in our senses is in fact faith. It is less recognized that faith in logic is faith. That logic itself breaks on the rocks of logic when followed back to the first things it posits - the origin of existence and physical laws, of time and the perception of material reality in time, and the emergence of anything in time out of nothing. Logic breaks on its own wheel. In coming full circle, its back snaps.
To believe, contrary to the evidence, that logic is a true grasp on the real structure of the universe, is faith.
It is a faith that would make more sense if there was God, a creator motivated to create a being that could see the truth he sees and the truth he created. A "good and loving God," creating beings in his image. This is almost demanded by the faith in logic.
Who could guess the motive of such a thing, which by definition is unknown. The definition of God is - Unknown, and nothing more. Only to be guessed and speculated at with the tool of human logic, and other tools some claim and others disparage and deny exist. Spiritual tools.
How else assume the mind of man would be true to reality? I am not saying there is such a God, only that faith in logic would presume such a thing as a likely premise, or else presume an accident. Of course, the failure of logic to explain, or even allow for possible explanation, of the beginning - of existence - would argue against both the loving god and the happy accident. But neither against one more than the other.
There is no basis or reason to assume, either logically or empirically, that logic itself would be a sound tool or accurate reflection of the real world it perceives. Neither the theory of the emergence and development of life according to natural laws, nor the bedrock a priori reason of the mind, indicates any reason for logic to be correct. Both argue against it, persuasively.
To still believe in logic, despite all this, requires faith, and therefore Faith is prior to Logic. Logic cannot even get off the ground without a leap of faith. It cannot even disparage faith until it gets off the ground.
The faith in logic creeps back to God, even while denying him.
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