Its been awhile since my last note, but I decided to write this one in lieu of a conversation my brother, Jared, and I had, one that many will, no doubt, find disagreeable. However, it is one of my largest issues with the academic world today.
I am speaking of the modern 'religion' of 'science.' I put it that way not because I am opposed to scientific study, but rather because the people who dominate the field and the rest of the academic world have subscribed to scientific study as the answer for everything. This is a form of naturalism, where everything that is and ever was and ever will be is a physical realm that can be rationally studied. So usually spiritual and philosophical arguments, and by that I mean real philosophy, not the ivory tower of denying reality, are actually ignored because they dont fit the rules of naturalism, or in this case, scientism.
While I have been aware of this, and spoke about it before, the conversation I had with my brother made me think a lot more about it. In one of his classes, the students had a discussion about whether metaphysics and epistemology should be replaced with physics and psychology. If you dont already know, metaphysics, for lack of a better explanation, is more or less the study of reality that transcends scientific study. Epistemology is the study of the mind or soul. Now, due to the fact that a discussion had to happen, it would follow that many people dont believe such things exist.
The first conclusion I would like to draw for everyone, to narrow things down, is that spirituality is then nonsense as are all supernatural occurrences. So this is a worldview battle between naturalists and the rest of the world.
It is easiest to address the psychology dilemma. Jared pointed out that if we had no mind, we were just controlled by our brains, that our brain chemistry would process stimuli and make the appropriate reaction. So, given the stimuli, we could predict what a person or group of people would do in any situation. Sadly, there are times where this is almost true. An example would be the diffusion of responsibility principle where if there are a lot of people around, people wont stop to help a wounded dude because the responsibility is not theirs specifically. While I would say diffusion of responsibility is only an illusion created by our minds, and very telling of people in our world, the responsibility is each witness' fully. Psychologists would argue that no such responsibility exists on an individual level. Is that true? Modern psychology is more interested with trying to prove that humans are mechanisms of evolution than anything else. Things like Mazlow's hierarchy of needs is one of those great lies that have perpetrated our academic world. Is the most important thing in life survival?
The fact is, while humans react to stimuli predictably a lot of times, the prediction is not perfect and, more importantly, some people have the will to do otherwise. I say some because most people have a mind, but dont use it as much as they could. Like in a diffusion of responsibility situation. Because people actually buy into this stuff! We live in a culture that subscribes to science as having all the answers and the scientists are telling us the most important priority of our lives is to survive! After we fill our hierarchy of needs, thats it. There is nothing else beyond survival and then self-satisfaction. There are many who have broken free from that cycle primarily because there are other things in life science cannot explain.
The man who gives everything he owns to those who are in need, the soldier who will dive on a grenade to save his fellow soldiers, a father who is willing to give his own heart, and die, to save his son's life, missionaries to China who stand up to the government for what they believe, a firefighter who rushes into a burning building to save a child, or even a child who is willing to sneak bread through the wire fences of a concentration camp at the risk of being shot. While psychologists would evaluate them as having some previous death wish or being mentally disturbed, I evaluate it as heroism. How would you evaluate it?