Science is dependent on the relational process, but relationship is not dependent on the scientific process.
I’m busy with a series of 4 blogs as to why this is true and what the implications are on the worldviews of science and faith.
Here’s number one:
Epistemology has had two answers since Descartes. The Rationalists, like Descartes have suggested that it is only mathematical constants that can be known. Gotlob Frege “There is nothing more objective than the laws of arithmetic.”
The Existentialists came up with the only real answer which is that the only thing you can know for certain is the existence of the self.
There has yet to be a decent rational answer to the existentialist antithesis, yet we know that there is something wrong with the existential (phenomenological) answer. Call it morals or whatever, we are certain that it cannot be the case that all we can know is our existence. And it is even more diabolical than that: the existentialists are not suggesting that each person can know equally that they exist, they are saying that if an individual is truly thinking, all that individual can possibly know, for certain, is that he exists at that point. All other individuals may quite possibly be a mere figment.
Surely we can know more than that? Well the rationalists have yet to come up with a convincing answer except to say that mathematical constants are the same in each mind, therefore each mind must exist. Which is not even close to being rigorous enough to serve as philosophical evidence.
So we get into a lot of very complex solutions: perhaps there is a single mind, trying to experience itself by manufacturing other minds like a hard drive partition, etc. etc. None of them very convincing.
I think there is a synthesis resolving the conflict between both arguments. And it is found in our measurable relationally.
Any scientist who proves a theory to be true himself also accepts a few thousand theories that he did not prove himself. And he accepts them based on a relationship of trust between himself and those who did prove the other theories or write the mathematics down. Even thought many of those people may be already dead, we trust them. And the only evidence we have is, again, other people who assure us that they did actually exist and that they did actually prove those theories to be true.
Even the peer-review process it at its very best a relational process long before it is a scientific one.
So before we accept the mathematical constants we must, by necessity, have already accepted the relationships that showed them to us. It’s true that the more a mathematician looks at the mathematical laws the more reason he has to believe them, but he had to start somewhere, and that somewhere was in a relationship of trust. How much more so for the rest of us, the vast majority of mankind, who will never be able to show to our existential selves the truth of Plank’s constant or the uncertainty principle. We have no choice but (and we also have every reason) to accept the mathematics based on the relationship of trust.
And it is a fickle thing, because humans have already proved themselves untrustworthy, and believing one theory does not necessitate believing another.
The existentialists are answered by the same answer. The closer you get to another person, the more convinced you are of their existence, not just your own. And the conviction is in direct proportion to the exclusiveness of the relationship. In fact the most intimate way to experience another person is to become entirely engrossed in thinking about them while you are experiencing them. You cannot do that with yourself, the more you are thinking about yourself the less you are experiencing yourself.
This is a phenomenon only of relationship between persons.
We know that you can observe and think about an object at the same time, indeed science maintains that to observe is the same as to think about, but you can’t observe one thing about an object without affecting another. But you still experience the object while you observe it.
It is not so with the self, you cannot observe yourself while you experience yourself. You have to rely on others’ observation of yourself while you are experiencing yourself, or you have to rely on others’ experience of yourself while you are observing yourself.
It becomes more and more true when you are experiencing and observing another person, and the phenomenon is heightened exponentially when you are observing and experiencing another person while they are also observing and experiencing yourself.
We call this mutual experience love, and it is the same experience that a scientist has when accepting another’s theory.
You can know, therefore if another person loves yourself. Therefore you can be sure of both their and your existence, it is true to say that you will know that another person loves you before you are convinced or even aware of their existence. And by that process we have what we call science as well as what we call babies.
So I have two main conclusions:
1. Faith therefore is existential but it is not irrational.
2. I have not moved Faith at all in this theory from the position it has always had.
As a disclaimer I would also add that this theory does not excuse religion, but it does explain why prostitutes can be much better lovers than monks in the true sense of the word love, and why marriage is still the best expression of love known to mankind outside of metaphysical experience.
The theory also reveals the gaps that the religious have tried to fill with God for what they really are: irrelevant. As it gives us a reason for the observable universe in it’s existence and it’s form, and it gives a reason for the existence of sexual reproduction.