30 Chapter 2
THE NATURE OF REALITY
Thus, ironically, continuing to 'believe' in free will amounts to the
admission that whoever has the most power will dictate what we
'believe,' or at least, what we will accept. If Ben has the 'belief' that he
has the 'right' to use charm, hypnosis, advertising, the school system,
social pressures, or any other force to convince the rest of us that we
will, or even, that we should, be 'Ben'd,' then there is nothing except
our own charm, etc. -- our own power -- to prevent that. We have no
more 'right' to our 'belief' that we should not be 'Ben'd' than Ben does
to his 'belief' that we should. It all comes down to, who is more
"persuasive" -- which means, exactly, who has more power. If our
"consent" can be "manufactured"
rather than directly forced, then so
much the better.
We are, exactly, back to being Ones in motion, 'free' to occupy any
'place' in the space -- and thus with no 'right' to any particular 'place,'
either. There is nothing at all 'academic' about the basic assumption
under discussion in this chapter.
1. Herman ES, Chomsky N (1988).
Manufacturing consent: the political economy of
the mass media. New York: Pantheon Books.
It should be made clear to scientists that, by this formal model, also
not ruled out is the 'belief' that science and reason ought to be
abandoned, or even actively destroyed -- since they lead us inevitably
toward what is false, rather than toward what is true. If rational and
scientific inquiry will increasingly lead us toward what is false, then
perhaps they really should be abandoned. But, as has just been shown,
in this set-up, all matters of 'belief' are reducible to matters of power --
and who has it. Science, and rationality itself, then, are in no way
'protected,' once 'belief' can be used to 'justify' something that our best
efforts to be rational tell us can not possibly be true.
IF TRUE, THEN FALSE
Reason and Science Free Will
IF TRUE, THEN FALSE
Free Will Reason and Science
SO, save one, abandon the other:
Reason and Science
It also needs to be made clear that the choice for belief, in spite of
reason is formally identical to the choice for reason, in spite of belief.
Belief, in spite of reason: a rationally inquiring scientist who continues
to 'believe' in the existence of free will (except when he personally is
being a scientist) is expressing exactly the same 'logic' as Reason, in
spite of belief: a believer who continues to accept the conclusions of
rational inquiry and science (except when something 'scientific'
contradicts his personal 'beliefs').
Reason - - - (personal exceptions to sheer
Reason) - - - - > 'Belief'
Belief - - - (personal exceptions to sheer
Belief) - - - - -> 'Reason'
Furthermore, just as scientists need to remember that the particular
'solution' to the conundrum, one proposed not only by scientists like
Mr. Pinker, but also, in its opposite but formally identical form, by
religious fundamentalism, is no way to guarantee that scientific or
otherwise rational inquiry will even continue to exist, believers need to
remember that this is also no way of rescuing belief. In this model,
rationality, science, free will, Catholicism, and psychic crystal
pyramids -- all of them -- continue to exist only because someone who
has enough power says that they may. All of them are reasonable, or
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.