A casual conversation with Larry Horstman
Question to Larry: Why is science so resistant to the study of consciousness broadly considered, not to mention transcendental consciousness, aka God? Larry, on page 35 of The Lotka Hypothesis you say, “…the science of today supplies no explanation for or guidance concerning the things that matter most to us—our passions, hopes, dreams, desires, ideals, or criteria for daily decisions.” Should not science be curious about metaphysical things? Mathematics is purely a priori and yet it is an essential tool in science. Is it an element of irrationality in rational science to ignore the things that matter most to us?
Off-the-cuff, email, reply: The usual popular meaning of “irrational”, as in “irrational exuberance” (Greenspan), means not guided by reason. But my studies have led me to the conviction that underlying all behavior and attitudes are logical systems, in a special sense subdivided below.
Axioms and Logical Systems
Now, the usual meaning of a “logical system” has as its archetype classical Euclidean geometry, consisting at root of a set of axioms from which are deduced all sorts of theorems. They are indubitably true, given the axioms. Of course, we now know that if you alter the axioms, you get a different logical system, e.g., if you alter the parallel axiom of Euclid (that parallel lines never meet) you get new and different logical systems.
Further investigation in many areas has led me to the conviction that not only all of the classical western philosophies are also logical systems, but so are religions. In other words, all religions are philosophies in the sense that they are predicated on a few axioms (God is this or that …) from which follow the entire structure resting upon them.
However, religions are not traditionally viewed as “logical systems”– on the contrary, they are scoffed at for being extremely illogical. Scientists, for example, scoff at religions for that reason. But that is only because scientists have a different set of axioms. They do not see religions as having any sort of logic, because the logic of a religious system is rarely rendered explicitly (with the exception of a few religious scholars of yore). Their logic is “fuzzy”.
The gulf between science and religion is not reason vs. unreason, or logic vs. illogic, or rationality vs. irrationality, but is simply the collision of two logical spheres. Like non-interacting atoms, they cannot inter-penetrate each other. You cannot look out from within one logical sphere and see any logic within another.
Human Culture as a Logical System
The next step is human culture. You don’t have to study too many cultures in comparison to come to the realization that they, too, are logical systems, mutually incompatible for the same reason.
The next step is to realize that individual human personalities are also logical systems — and implicitly so, not explicitly, meaning it is very difficult to explicitly lay out the inner logic of a particular person. The logic of a particular personality overlaps somewhat with that of the culture of which he is a member, e.g., the shared religion, respect for laws and customs.
So, circling back to the original theme—why are scientists so irrational about things like consciousness? The answer is simple—they live inside of a logical sphere which happens to be explicitly logical, and so they can easily defend it on the verbal plane. Their logic rested upon, and still rests upon (despite quantum mechanics) the assumptions of the classical Newtonian clockwork universe.
They can prove to you, for example, that “free will” is impossible.
The Psychogenic Theory
The only way to bring about a rapprochement is to shatter their logical sphere, like popping a soap-bubble, by kicking out some of the axioms on which it rests. And that is what I am trying to do with The Lotka Hypothesis and Evolution Fact and Fantasy: The Psychogenic Theory.
To sum up by a popular song, “there are no good guys, there are no bad guys …” they are just limited. They talk about logic, but fail to grasp that logical systems other than their own exist, which are equally good or better.