Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Cancer Models, Complexity … and Beauty

“An Taiseirl (The Resurrection)”, Noirin Ni Riain and The Monks Of Glenstal Abbey, from the album “Vox de Nube”, (1996)

In a series of previous posts, I remarked on the effective use of models and the nature of models and the difference between hard models and soft models and the real world results deriving from the different types of models.

For the interested, that series is here, and here, and here, and here. So if models are of interest read the whole series, or not, your call, your mileage may vary. This post is about a couple of models which occupy opposite ends of reality, from the macro to the micro.

As previously noted and discussed “reality” was once a popular topic, and over the centuries, even the millennia, humanity has developed a rich, varied and often contradictory plethora of “Philosophical Traditions”, a detailed taxonomy of thought, trying to make sense of our experienced reality.

But what it all boils down to in the end is only four basic macro “Models”. Those models are worldviews at their most basic level. The Four Models, the four major global worldviews are Material Naturalism, Secular Humanism, Pantheism and Monotheism, represented by Judeo-Christianity. I happen to believe and act according to the Judeo-Christian world view, or model.

Is Metaphysics useful?

Today’s thought is about the naturalist and humanist view that everything in “reality” including “self” is “simply” biochemical or physical process, random chance, and evolution, along the lines of the old saw about a bunch of monkeys randomly typing away and “randomly” producing “The Bible”, or a “Palestrina Mass”. Is “complexity” a clue to the nature of reality, or is reality personal, just another pot of muddy soup simmering on the stove top of self interest?

And opposite this simple metaphysic for simpletons I try to contrast the extraordinary complexity of cell respiration in the context of developing cancer. What I am attempting here is to show that the extraordinary complexity of cell respiration alone is ample evidence for something beyond and above the simplistic views of the materialists and the humanists without ever venturing into the massively complex inter-relation of all the universal constants and environmental and physical variables which must be precisely what they are for cells, (ie. us) to even exist.

I am everything

I find myself unable to accept a simplistic answer that all this beauty is just “biochemical processes, random chance, and evolution”.  Now, these days my model is not very popular, in fact those who adhere to the Judeo-Christian model tend to be regarded as “superstitious primitives”.

The majority of folks these days, the new”enlightened”, when they think about it at all, hold to the models of Material Naturalism and/or Secular Humanism or a kind of non-thinking spouting of bits and pieces from both depending on the circumstances of the moment and whoever they are trying to belittle and Bulverise amongst those neolithics who do not agree with the prevalent popular version of “reality”.

Of course, it’s a given that anyone who doesn’t agree with the “nice” “polite” social club we call “modern” enlightened society, anyone who doesn’t agree with The Progressive Faction, is an idiot. As I have posted before, I believe that the rise of Bulverism in any group is a sure sign of the decay, the rot, within said group.

Oh! You just say that because you are a man!

I have referenced Bulverism in a couple of previous posts but Bulverism is indeed THE sure sign of a weak and immoral argument and a failed entity, whichever and wherever they are found. Progressives, Communists, Nazis, Liberals, Democrats, Clerical Socialists, Liberation Theologians, all cut from the same cloth, dyed black or red or denim, whatever, and all serving the same master, shoveling coal for Satan.

I suspect that most of those who practice Bulverism are not even aware that that is what they are doing, since Bulverism is the stock in trade of the entire “philosophy of emotion” crowd and they have no idea that there is any other method of “discussing” ideas.  The method of Bulverism is to “assume that your opponent is wrong, and explain his error”.

So too the Liberal wing of the Catholic Church, and virtually every other left leaning group and individual, political or economic or social, on the planet  … their opponents are “obviously” wrong and “out of touch with the times”. The Bulverist assumes a speaker’s argument is invalid or false, “all right minded people know this to be true”,  and then explains why the speaker came to make that mistake, attacking the speaker or the speaker’s motive.

How do you make a phone?

The term “Bulverism” was coined by C. S. Lewis[1] to poke fun at a very serious error in thinking that, he alleges, recurs often in a variety of religious, political, and philosophical debates. Similar to Antony Flew‘s “Subject/Motive Shift”, Bulverism is a fallacy of irrelevance.

One accuses an argument of being wrong on the basis of the arguer’s identity or motive, but these are strictly speaking irrelevant to the argument’s validity or truth. But it is also a fallacy of circular reasoning, since it assumes, rather than argues, that one’s opponent is wrong.

So back to my subject of interest, the macro model known as Material Naturalism, and the beliefs arising from it, which inform the understanding of the micro model known as cell theory. In this post I am comparing what seem to be conclusions derived from the macro model Material Naturalism and applied to the micro model of cell theory.

How do you make a Pork Chop?

Material Naturalism is the “idea or belief that only natural (as opposed to supernatural or spiritual) laws and forces operate in the world.” Adherents of naturalism (i.e., naturalists) assert that natural laws are the rules that govern the structure and behavior of the natural universe, that the changing universe at every stage is a product of these laws.

In this view, it comes down to the belief that a cell phone and a porkchop have their origins in exactly the same random processes, and to further confuse these believers both items come shrink wrapped in clear plastic, so it must be true, right?

Remember when science was science, and “scientific” carried credibility? For example, cell theory In biology, is the historic scientific theory, now universally accepted, that living organisms are made up of cells, that they are the basic structural/organizational unit of all organisms, and that all cells come from pre-existing cells.

Cells are the basic unit of structure in all organisms and also the basic unit of reproduction. With continual improvements made to microscopes over time, magnification technology advanced enough to discover cells in the 17th century. This discovery is largely attributed to Robert Hooke, and began the scientific study of cells, also known as cell biology.

So somewhere in the 19th or 20th century we entered the age of Scientific Material Naturalism.  Everything which we think of as “reality”  is simply a process and everything that takes place, is thought about, or felt in our emotions, is nothing more than a biochemical reaction, evolving randomly towards chaos. What is left of “Beauty”, “Quality”, “Love” in a reality which is no longer real but rather just some random accident? You can’t touch them, or measure them, so they can’t be real, right?

Curiously, “Does it spark joy?” proves again to be a useful tool.

So, that’s part one … more to follow as I try to make clear this simple emotional muddle that dangerously contaminates our thinking about virtually everything we encounter on a daily basis.



How do you make a million dollars?

In the age of Material Naturalism, does the question “What is Science?” even mean anything anymore? When Facebook opinions carry more weight than Nobel Prizes and “Scientific American” has more cred than “Science” we seem very close to “Burn The Witch!