The logical case for science giving up its illogical insistence that matter is real begins with this: it judges all that sensory perception detects to be measurable and therefore real. Plato held that what is Real is not the object but the idea or thought of it. He thereby took the locus of determination outside of matter, where it did not belong, and placed it within Mind where it did belong. He did so not on the basis of “verifiable” scientific experimentation but on the basis of Logic. He was a “rationalist,” a philosopher who trusted Reason to guide him to Reality and Truth.
Yet he believed in the reality of the material cosmos – the inspiration of what he perceived to be an expression of the Divine. Had he reconciled this belief with his doubt that the uninspiring human body and its material trappings could also be real he might have followed sensory perception into the study of matter. He might even have done so with some of the passion he devoted to Mind.
Aristotle’s paradigm shift away from Plato’s rationalism toward science, the belief that the study of matter, the stuff of sensory perception, can lead to Reality and Truth, was not, as science would have us believe, a categorical renunciation of Plato’s Logic nor of its theories. It was simply an acknowledgement that they couldn’t be proven. While sensory perception, with its access to plants and animals and the like, does offer a kind of “proof” for the theories of science.
While neither Plato nor Aristotle could go anywhere with the belief that the reality of an object lay in the thought of it, or with Plato’s hesitation over its unreality, both were in agreement that Mind is nevertheless Real. Both were therefore in agreement that an object did not depend for its reality on its being perceived by the body’s senses. Why? Because Mind does not depend for its Reality on being perceived by the body’s senses. Science that would have us believe that only that which can be thus perceived is provably real contradicts the reality of Mind. Contradicts the source of all of science’s contributions to the “quest for knowledge”: Mind. Contradicts itself, the minds of scientists who engage in self-referential thinking, the absurd notion that bodies that belong to the same material environment, subject to identical “laws” of science, can objectively judge its reality.
Hawking’s “quest for knowledge” belongs in quotes because, with circular reasoning, we must acknowledge that even with sensory perception to guide science we can never truly “know” anything. We can perceive it, but perception is perception. It is, in fact, not even the body’s senses that make perception but the psychological act of projection. We are a long way from objects telling us anything about themselves but their appearances, and appearances are deceiving. In fact, this may well be their main purpose: to deceive, and science that puts its faith in appearances may be its willing victim.
To approach Knowledge of our Self and the environment that is our true Home – our origin and our destination – is to fall back on the Intuition, the reflections and thoughts, of the rationalist Plato for guidance. To fall back on Logic, because the body and its ally science, that conveniently ignores the immateriality of Mind, is leading us in circles. To the behavior of matter – quantum mechanics – that calculates to perfection but doesn’t add up.
What happened to the celebrity of Einstein and the promise of physics: the theory of everything? This was to be the crowning achievement of Aristotle’s instinct. It disappeared and along with it the fanfare of physics. We continue on with the labors of science, breaking new ground in other fields, still refusing to accept the Logic of Mind that Reality need not and does not depend on the sensate body. Science that lionizes the truth refuses to face fact. Science that prides itself on the intellectual rigor of its theories and their predictions, on impeccable Logic, accepts blatant contradiction. Science that purges itself of religious and political bias indulges in its own institutional bias worthy of the Church.
In science we aren’t dealing with an expression of Plato’s or Aristotle’s ideals. We’re dealing with a perversion of a rationalist’s ideal of the highest and best use of Mind: to seek Reality and Truth by whatever means that meet the test of Logic.
It is time, over a century since Bohr and the Copenhagen Interpretation acknowledged it, for science and philosophy both to turn to Logic. To acknowledge that the simultaneous reality of two opposing states – Mind not-matter and matter not-mind – does not meet the test of Logic. To acknowledge that between Mind and matter, the opposite matter can’t be real. To assume otherwise is to contradict Plato and Aristotle and declare that Mind is not Real.
There will always be much to learn from the study of matter, but finding Reality and the Truth behind appearances isn’t it. The “quest for knowledge” must turn back in earnest to Plato and his unfinished philosophy. To Logic.
Does all this make me a doubter of science, a denier? My prayers at weekly prayer meetings in my youth invariably concluded with appeals to God for special consideration, not on my behalf but on behalf of scientists. And for this I was teased. My concern about their performance is motivated by admiration, not animosity. I do not wish to weaken their intellectual, cultural, or political support but to strengthen it. To make their heroic work less vulnerable to attack from their unthinking doubters, not more so. If my views appear to put me in the company of the opposition, I am the loyal opposition. I want science and its “quest for knowledge” to succeed, not to fail.
So, No, I am not a denier, nor am I an enemy of Democracy. I am a fan of both who understands that Free Choice cannot endure without the Free Spirit of Inquiry. We just have to get it right.