More on the battle of science against experts

For another example of what looks like a gathering counterattack against technocracy by actual scientists, see Understanding the Derrida virus by the physicist, mathematician, and architectural theorist Nikos Salingaros. (I’m in the acknowledgements, which rightly suggests that I have a great deal of sympathy for what Professor Salingaros has to say.)

3 thoughts on “More on the battle of science against experts”

  1. My own view of postmodernism
    My own view of postmodernism is that it is inevitable once rationalism proceeds far enough. The Catholic conception of mystery pervades everything, not just a few religious concepts. For example, we observe the transition of time from one moment to the next as a constant part of our experience. It is something both very concretely known and deeply mysterious at the same time; as indeed literally everything that we know is also at the same time deeply mysterious (that is, gives rise to more unanswered and perhaps unanswerable questions). Postmodernism is what happens when an unrepentant rationalism encounters the ontological reality of mystery. The rationalist impulse to comprehensively grasp everything encounters reality and comes away frustrated; if it cannot have Everything, well, then the alternative must be Nothing.

    Professor Salingaros is right that postmodernism is parasitic; but rationalism is just as parasitic in mirror image, resting upon mysteries that it claims to comprehend but does not. So I would be careful about embracing E.O. Wilson’s atheistic naturalistic concept of consilience uncritically (not that Professor Salingros has suggested that we should). It has been quite some time since I read his book, but I remember coming away with the vivid impression that Wilson was vainly attempting to construct a self-sufficiency of knowledge akin to philosophical Darwinism in an attempt to deny God.

  2. I agree that if you try to
    I agree that if you try to replace a simple-minded attempt to rationalize the whole of being with a more complex and subtle attempt to do the same thing you’ll still run into impossible problems. What Salingaros seems to take from Wilson though is not an attempt to find an explanation for everything but the notion that if something is true it will make sense in connection with other things that are true, and that truths mutually illuminate each other. I think that’s good Catholic doctrine (grace perfects nature) as well as good common sense.

  3. The Derrida Virus is a most
    The Derrida Virus is a most unpleasant writing, if the excerpt exemplifies the whole. I doubt God would create a neat world where all truths, to the extent they can be defined, are consistent with one another. God insists on faith. Someone that celebrates his own ideas because they are similar to a virus cannot be trusted. Viruses are deadly without exception, as far as my limited knowledge goes.


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