Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Secular Humanism

I have a friend who claims to be a secular humanist. He subscribes to a weekly journal that expounds upon this topic. He has, upon his living room wall, a framed document that reads across the top: The Affirmations of Humanism: A Statement of Principles.

I have somewhere within my soul compelling arguments in opposition to some of these affirmations. Such as the contradiction between the first two points:
A. We are commited to the application of reason and science to the understanding of the world... and B. We deplore efforts ... to explain the world in supernatural terms...

Along the looping way of my life I picked up the knowledge that knowledge is contingent. Knowledge cannot happen in a worldview vacuum. Nor can science. Science requires supernatural terms to even begin to be a useful tool. Why?
Because of the assumptions science makes about the world. These assumptions are very different that the assumptions of a strict materialist ; which is what you call anyone who "deplores efforts to explain in supernatural terms". Materialism assumes that the world is what it is, and there was no cause except material, and there is nothing but material - matter in motion.
Whereas Science, oh you great glittering snake, you require something very interesting to be your stealthly self. You require Order. It is a slippery concept, so one must watch it carefully as it slithers through the mind; if something is explainable, constructed in such a way as to be possible for one to understand, then this something has an order to it.
Okay, I really need to go do laundry. But lets get this expressed.

One would not seek to understand or explain a world where every thing happened by chance. In a world of matter in motion only, there are no laws, just the appearance of laws. One cannot investigate that which has no rhyme or reason. This is precisely why we dont prosecute Insane people for murder. They didnt do it for any reason. We dont try to figure out motive.
If the world is Insane, matter from matter, flinging around, accidentally creating strong creatures, that is clumps of matter that exist in close proximity and create the appearance of a singular being, that beat out other weak creatures; in this world there is no reason to investigate. There is no beginning or end to understanding. You cannot figure out why such and such happened; there was no reason why - it just did. It was an accident.

Science is exploration. Science assumes that if one tests something once, it should work the same next time. Science assumes the knowability of the world. This is a supernatural concept. Nature on its own does not create knowability.

I'm trying to articulate. Pardon my repetition.

1 comment:

Ryan said...

Hey, I was thinking about this stuff around the same time too. I made a post at Doug's site about it:
Humanist Manifesto.

When you're down, I'd love to discuss it more.