Thursday, April 21, 2005

Materialist Reductionism: A consideration of the basic objection of the Moral Relativist

For purposes of discussion, empiricism states that nothing is known or knowable, and therefore, unfit for consideration in any realm of speculation, unless the construct in question can in some way be measured with our human senses.

In various tussles that I have experienced both directly and vicariously with elements of the Tyranny of Relativism, some common themes begin to play themselves out.

MRTs (Morally relativisitic tyrants):
  1. Exhibit a very strong attachment to scientific proofs and theories (this is the one we will get back to shortly). St. Thomas the Apostle (before he actually saw Jesus's wounds) would have been welcomed with open arms by the MRTs.
  2. Profess a love for tolerance, yet curiously are functionally intolerant of religious affiliation
  3. Are blessed with a complete lack of false humility (they wear their sanctimonious arrogance on their sleeves quite proudly)
  4. Are convinced that anyone with a religious affiliation is essentially a "thoughtless automaton"; one who has forsaken intellectual and critical faculties in favor of being led "by the nose" and allowing the Church (small "c" or large "C", doesn't matter) to tell the follower how to do EVERYTHING. In this, they epitomize the aphorism of Fulton Sheen who once said words to the effect of: "You will not find 100 people who truly hate Catholicism. But there are millions who hate what they think is Catholicism".
  5. In the realm of cyberspace, strawman arguments from MRTs are de rigeur.
  6. Only RTs wrestle with the "meaty questions" of life. (This could be categorized as both 3a and 4a). What these questions are is somewhat nebulous, but rest assured that only the atheist MRT may even consider the questions.
I might get back to 2-6 at a later date. For now, let us focus on #1.

From the Stanford.edu website:

"The Empiricism Thesis: We have no source of knowledge in S or for the concepts we use in S other than sense experience." (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/rationalism-empiricism; Section 1.2)

"S" in this sense is an open-ended variable, but we can easily use "science", "daily experience," "law" or other concepts. In short, "truth", for empiricists, has tobe measured.

Some MRTs love to bait with challenges of concrete proof of faith; ONe may provide a proof that can be sensed.. (The Incorruptibles and Eucharistic Miracles by Joan Carroll Cruz). The MRT then asks if the proofs offered in these books are offered in the Index Medicus. (Google queries will lead you to the NIH website). In short, are Cruz's contentions found in "legitimate scientific journals?"

Let us recall that such journals are by their very nature also empiricist; they are as hostile to the faith-based discoveries of Cruz as are the less-educated, self-anointed empiricists jamming cyberspace. The MRT establishes a neat conundrum. It would be as if Thomas told Peter, "Show me His wounds. But before you do, make sure that he has been examined by an accredited pathologist first. And that pathologist must be atheist." The rejection of the proof is of course automatic because either a) the source is not grounded in "science" ("They aren't in the ICD-9-M, therefore they are inadmissible, Your Honor"), b) it just might make sense, but because this forces a re-examination of all he has deluded himself into, it must be wrong [there is a c): If the RT is a lapsed Catholic, and the source is a Catholic, there is no way the RT will accept it (automatic grounds for dismissal. According to one notable MRT, Aquinas was a fraud and St. Paul was an a**hole)].

In their supposed never-ending quest for the perfect world sans religion, the MRT seeks refuge in empirical science and pats himself on the back that he is being eminently rational, avoiding all the irrational faith stuff. He also claims that the laws that he lives by are empirically obtained, and that in his battle with the "meaty questions" he is a modern Aristotle or Plato, redefining philosophy.

One question: How does one "detect" law with one's senses? Is history alone, (through our senses of sight and sometimes hearing) allowing us to determine the empirical truths by which we must live?

One then might ask of the empiricist exactly where these laws emanate from in the first place? That's a pretty meaty question right there, isn't it? And how does the empiricist measure that?

How does the MRT, in his slavish devotion to empiricism, obtain the sensorial truths that allow a society to function? How does one measure committment? Honesty? Fidelity? Charity? (These are all constructs championed by the MRTs, and ones they claim that they have more effective access to than us poor, deluded Christians). But how is that possible, in their empirical world?
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