58 Theses in Three Parts

I. The Pre-Socratic Era Refuted Once and for All Time that the Universe can be Understood and Knowledge Can be Gained Through Sensation.

The Pre-Socratic Failure to Construct a Corporeal Reality

By Drake Shelton

I. Corporeal Monism

The Pre-Socratic period is understood to begin with Thales 585 B.C. until the time of Socrates 400 B.C. Before the time of Thales Greek philosophy was dominated by the drunken Homeric religion of Zeus, Hades, Apollo and the pantheon of vice stricken gods and goddesses of the ancient world. Accompanying this pantheon were the mystery cults involving strange blood rituals, trances, self-flagellation, and the eating of raw flesh. Wars were said to be determined by esoteric omens such as a serpent devouring a sparrow (Iliad II, 308). This religion promised no eternal reward for virtue after death, nor eternal consequences for evil. There was only Hades to look forward to, a hopeless dreary fate of nothingness.

This age of mysticism was to end with the philosophers. Reason was to dominate the minds of men and not superstition. The beginning of this task was the school of the Milesians and Thales. They posited five major principles:

1. All things have their source in a single substance.

2. This substance is eternal; it never began and will never end.

3. This substance cannot be exhausted and continues infinitely into space.

4. Our world was preceded by others and will be proceeded after it dissolves.

5. Motion and change is spontaneous. This substance is alive and the tendency to change is essential to it; change is not simply the result of an external force.

This construction was defended with arguments that emphasized the organic relationship of all things. When we eat bread the nutrition of the bread becomes our fingernails, therefore, bread is fingernails; water falls from the clouds and becomes trees and trees become fire so water is fire, etc. These men were the first to explain natural phenomenon by mechanistic laws. Instead of attributing rain to the direct act of Zeus, they attributed it to the clouds. Anaximenes attributed the emergence of qualities to condensation and rarefaction due to his belief that air was the original substance. Thales, through observation of the sun and the movement of the planets, posited a law and predicted an eclipse in 585 B.C. Philosophy and Scientific law was the groundwork for rejecting the Homeric religion of the Milesians’ ancestors. Two problems arise: 1. the problem with this construction is that qualitative differences cannot be explained if everything is the same thing; 2. how can a corporeal reality produce an incorporeal law (?).

Then comes Heraclitus (527- 475 B.C.) and his famous flux. He posited the idea that “all thing flow” and are constantly changing. However, there is a law of change that does not change. This, Heraclitus called the Logos. However, this is difficult to say when one believes only in one corporeal reality. Again, the corporeal monists are confronted with this question: how can a corporeal reality produce an incorporeal law?

Then comes Parmenides (475 B.C.). He, not as religious as other philosophers who had rejected the polytheism of the Homeric religion to posit one god, merely posited the One. Parmenides was the downfall of corporeal monism due to his commitment to rational thought. He found assertions like “water is fire” to be absurd. Parmenides proved that being is eternal and immutable. Dr Clark in an exposition of Parmenides says,

“Being cannot have originated or come into being. It cannot have come from non-being, for non-being never has existed for anything to come from it. Nor can Being have come from Being, for Being is Being without any coming. Therefore origination is impossible and Being is eternal, immutable, and changeless.” (Ancient Philosophy, 269)

Parmenides demonstrated that the earlier construction was contradictory in that it posited unity and motion; but if Being is changeless, there can be no motion. Parmenides’ objection to the monist construction was based on the fact that he emphasized reason over sensation. The original construction was posited as a rational theory, and thus, the end of corporeal monism.

II. Corporeal Pluralism

To retain the supremacy of sensation the pluralists rejected monism to posit a corporeal pluralism. This was done in three different ways:

1. Empedocles (490-430 B.C.) posited four substances: earth, air, fire and water. The qualitative difference between each substance is eternal. Empedocles avoided the problem of origination. Empedocles was still however, trapped by Parmenides’ One. Even by positing a plurality of substances, each substance would still need to be eternal and unchangeable to be corporeal. In this case, motion cannot be described as spontaneous if it can be described at all. In this case, external forces are required for motion. These forces Empedocles called Love and Hate; one to organize and one to disorganize. This is the primitive form of Ectropy and Entropy.

2. Anaxagoras’ (500-428 B.C.) substitution for the principles of Love and Hate was a mind separate from matter that directed the cosmos. Socrates later showed Anaxagoras’ failure to develop this position and transcend the mechanist theory. What Anaxagoras did do is demonstrate Empedocles’ mistake. Parmenides had shown that origination is irrational. Empedocles posited four qualitative differences to explain a pluralist cosmos. Therefore, every quality must be original and eternal. Therefore, instead of four substances there are an infinite number: hair, vertebrate, fingernails etc. To posit a construction that never ends is to have no construction at all though Democritus tried it.

3. Democritus (460-370 B.C.) posited the classic theory of atomism. This is the theory that the cosmos is composed of an infinite number of atoms, each impenetrable, indivisible, qualitiless and subject to mechanistic laws. Presumed sensations are not to be understood as inherent in the atom but in ourselves. Democritus did not find it necessary to explain motion in itself and posited it as an axiom. He explained motion generally as a result of a previous atom striking it. In order to speak of motion Democritus invented the concept of empty space; something for the atoms to move through.

III. Criticism

Zeno of Elea (490-430 B.C.) brought the Pre Socratic era to a close with his devastating arguments against sensation, space and motion. First, was his famous paradox (See Philosophy of Science by Drake Shelton). In a further complaint against the concept of space, Zeno argued that if atoms and motion required space there must also be superspace for space to exist in and another superspace for that, ad infinitum. Second, was his rejection of sensation. In an exposition of Zeno Dr. Clark says,

“When an ocean wave ‘thunders’ against the rocks, no atom produces an audible sensation; but the wave is nothing but atoms; therefore, it produces no sound.” (Ancient Philosophy, 272)

This failure to construct a material/corporeal reality was the formal cause of the atheistic Sophist movement that immediately followed. Protagoras’ man measure theory was the new fad and the idea of truth was buried as impossibility.

IV. Conclusion

The atheists and those theists who worship science have forgotten that Democritus’ view was taken by modern science, as it were, in a vacuum, ignored the context they got it from and simply asserted it as the framework of their system. Most people today in atheist America love their science but what they need to read first is philosophy; Pre Socratic philosophy. They will find there as complete a refutation that knowledge can come through sensory observations of a material world as has been constructed until the time of Gordon Clark. When Enrico Fermi performed the first controlled atomic fission reaction the Democritian model was ipso facto refuted. Though the real issues are greatly avoided in Science classrooms in the American Statist Universities, and in the Christian Universities as well, science now refers to reality as a complicated system of energy and the atomistic construction though remaining in the minds of many, is losing popularity. Reader, why then trust science with anything you believe? Why base anything you believe on a material world? Has the great rise of secularism and atheism undermined faith in God? Reader, the Greeks went through an atheist phase and they got over it. Western society wants to through an atheist tantrum for a couple centuries and it will be forgotten. Secularism is failing.  Our society is fragmented into so many thousands of pieces there is no culture or civilization left to be recognized. The corporate culture has failed and the last few years should be evidence enough to turn away from the idea that society’s principle of unity should be money and material prosperity.  Reader, the source of truth and knowledge is not to be found in some imagined material world but in the mind of God. How then are we to know the mind of God? In the Bible’s Gospel of John 1:18 says that the Logos is the one who explains the mind of God to men. He became man and was named Jesus Christ.  He is The Teacher of men and his method is not empiricism but revelation. If you would seek knowledge my friend open the pages of Holy Scripture and be taught by that one who has first lit the candle of your soul.

II. Thirty-Eight Theses Against Empiricism

1.) What about phantom pain that results from an amputated limb? Is this pain not at least similar to solipsism? If not,  from where is the sensation extracted from?

2.) Can perception be demonstrated with empirical means as a chemical reaction much like other cognitive phenomena are?

3.) Some refer to fire as hot and light.  Yet the fire which at one distance produces the sensation warmth at another distance produces the sensation of pain.  Is the quality pain in the fire then? It would appear not.

4.) Why does anything move? Not how but why and what makes it move?

5.) How do odors, taste and touch produce images? I can re-simulate remaining sounds and things that I have seen at will, but not odors, tastes or feelings. How then can these produce abstraction?

6.) Do all people have images? It is an assumption not a fact. Is this assumption not a conviction of your solipsism?

7.) Is a magnetic field material or sensible?  Does magnetism occupy space? Is magnetism a collection of atoms?

8.) When an empiricist sees rabbits jumping from a hat or a man climbing a rope that hangs from nothing he knows it is not so.  When reason and sensation are at odds sensation must submit to its master.

9.) Parmenides mentions difficulties with predication: the act of affirming one thing of another.  Ex: Thales is an Ionian. How can this logically be?  Are they not said to be the same thing. The “is” affirms identify. An example would be: Drake is tired. Is Drake’s essence tiredness?  I think most would say no, but then is it reason that leads us to this conclusion or is it sensation? I would think reason.

10.) Do you ever not have a sensation? How do you know that? Is a lack of sensation itself a sensation? Then, do you sense that you are not having a sensation? Remember your own scholars have denied the possibility of you having a memory. You cannot rely on memories or on their effects to answer this.

11.) Do you always sense everything around you? If not, how do you know that you are not sensing everything around you if you are not sensing what you are sensing? Remember your own scholars have denied the possibility of you having a memory. You cannot rely on memories or on their effects to answer this.

12.) “Since my sensation is never yours, how can you ever know what the sensation is to which I attach a sound or ink mark?”Language and Theology by Gordon Clark (The Trinity Foundation, 1980, pg 142)

13.) Things are not always what they seem.  Colors look different depending on the environment in which they appear.  Take for instance the studies in perception psychology.  Factors such as proximity, grouping, depth perception, lighting, continuity and similarity, prejudice objects as perceived by our senses.  If you take your left and right pointer-fingers and bring them but two or three inches from your eyes and look beyond them to something on the wall you will find that an optical illusion will appear between your two fingers.  You will see a flesh orb hovering between your fingers.

14.) Do you believe that mathematics is a discipline that relates abstract patterns and deduces theorems from the abstract axioms? If so how do you deduce this discipline from empiricism? Einstein said: “as far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.” If you believe Einstein why aren’t you an operationalist like me?

15.) Ames Room: These people are the same size yet their environment distorts your perceptions as environments always do. The sensation gives no knowledge here.

16.) Do you believe that matter is eternal and there was no creation of matter (I think some atheists may say it was created by an alien life form)?  Do you believe that there is a goal to evolution? If the universe is eternal then there cannot be a goal to evolution or else it would have been met by now. Therefore, the American atheist must set down his altruistic endeavors and begin where the Russians and the Khmer Rouge left off.

17.) “Were we lobsters, or bees, it might be that our organization would have led to our using quite different modes from these of apprehending our experiences. It MIGHT be too (we cannot dogmatically deny this) that such categories, unimaginable by us to-day, would have proved on the whole as serviceable for handling our experiences mentally as those which we actually use.” William James (Pragmatism in Focus, Page 88) Those who have such faith that they “see” the external material world, I ask: How do you know that your method of vision is correct and other animals who have different vision than you, are incorrect? Clark says, “Possibly the world has no color and the dogs see it correctly; we human beings have color hallucinations.” [Gordon H. Clark, Religion, A Christian View of Men And Things (Unicoi, Tennesse.: The Trinity Foundation, 1952, 1980, Fourth edition 2005), 202] What about bat vision? A bat “vocalizes and hears” to “see” with his Echolocation. Trichromatic insects in some respect have superior vision than we do. On an empirical model I am wondering why you don’t believe these insects are the most enlightened beings on this planet. Trichromatic insects can see frequencies of light that are invisible to human beings. The empirical world leans so hard on lighting. How do you not know that these insects “see” a level of reality you are totally ignorant of and would send your precious science prophets back to the drawing board?

18.) How do human beings acquire a “linguistic capacity”? If you say empiricism, are thewords, courage, uncle, for, as, cousin, cause, space, time, or should part of human linguistic capacity?  The problem is, no one has ever seen or heard courage etc.

19.) The context of this next quote is an exposition of the Greek Skeptic Pyrrho. “Purple shows different tints in sunlight, moonlight, and lamplight. A rock that takes two men to lift in air is easily moved when submerged in water, ‘either because, being in reality heavy, it is lifted by the water, or being light, it is made heavy by the air. Of its own inherent property we know nothing’ (IX, 85)…everything is sensed in relation to other things.” (Dr. Clark, Three Types of Religious Philosophy, 72)

20.) What about the animals that can perceive the magnetic field of the earth such as birds and use it to navigate around the world? Is this sense #6?

21.) Have you ever eaten in your dreams, or come across anything in the dream state that you come across in the “real world?” Define the difference in essence of sensation.

22.) Sensation cannot be defined: Define sensation; Show how sensation produces perception; Then show how perception produces abstract ideas.

23.) Your problem is you cannot define sensation. How many senses are there again? So when people take mushrooms, LSD or enter into trances this is an “experience” on your model and therefore requires the label “sense.” How many is that now?

24.) Give me a definition of sensation that distinguishes between the dream sensations and “real” sensations. Then give me a definition of sensation that distinguishes between the previous two kinds of sensations and sensations in hallucinations. Then give me a definition that distinguishes between sensation caused by psychological hallucinations and hallucinations caused by drug use.

25.) Zeno’s Paradox

To be brief, Zeno’s major argument is that in order for Achilles to move from point A to point B he must come at least half the space.  If so then he has to come at least a tenth; a hundredth etc.  He must pass through an infinite number of points in a finite segment. Motion is impossible and space is indefinable.

A          1/10,000      1/5,000     1/100       1/10     ½                                                                                B

In answer to an objection to Zeno Dr. Clark says,

“One of the superficial replies simply calculates how far Achilles runs in ten minutes (easily a mile) and how far the tortoise crawls in the same time (hardly a hundred feet). This elementary arithmetic shows that, if the tortoise originally had a lead of two or three hundred feet, Achilles is far ahead of the tortoise. This is superficial, and Zeno does not admit it. Of course, if Achilles could run for ten minutes, he would undoubtedly out-distance our slow but patient friend; but the brilliance of the tortoise in setting the original conditions by which he won the race depends on the fact that Zeno is not prepared to admit that Achilles can run for ten minutes. He is not prepared to admit that Achilles can run at all…Consider a marble rolling across a desk, or, to be very scientific, consider an atom moving from one point to another in space. Before the moving body can reach the terminal point, it must obviously have traversed half of the distance. Surely, the body cannot reach the end before it passes the mid-point. But before it can reach the mid-point, it must have come to the quarter mark. And before this, it must have moved one-eighth of the distance. And one-sixteenth, and so on. The ‘so on, ‘ however, is an infinite series, with the result that the moving body must exhaust an infinite series before it begins to move at all…motion is impossible.”[Gordon H. Clark, The Philosophy of Science and Belief in God (Jefferson, Maryland.: The Trinity Foundation, 1964, Second  edition 1987), 3-4]

To another attempted objection Dr. Clark says,

“Another superficial attempt to solve the problem depends on balancing off the infinite divisibility of the space against the infinite divisibility of the time…The difficulty of infinite divisibility will prevent the time from starting as effectively as it prevented the motion from starting. To avoid both of these difficulties-they are, as you see, exactly the same difficulty applied twice-Aristotle(Physics, VIII, 8) argued that the moving body does not actually pass through an infinite series of points. Zeno, says Aristotle, treats one point, the mid-point, as two. He takes it as both the end and the beginning of a motion. But this can be so only if the moving body stops at this point and then begins again. If the body is in continuous motion, none of these mid-points is “actualized. The points and the divisions are only potential and do not actually exist. Therefore, although it is impossible to pass through or exhaust an infinite number of actual points, there is no difficulty in passing through an infinite number of potential points.”[Ibid. 4-5]

A gentleman that I debated on this issue demanded that we prove the impossibility of exhausting an infinite series.
Ans.)  Argumentum Ad Ignorantiam. “This fallacy consists in the argument that a proposition is true because it hasn’t been proven false. To put it differently, it is the argument that a proposition is true because the opposing proposition hasn’t been proven true[David Kelley, The Art of Reasoning (New York, N.Y: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc, 1998), 151]…As a rule, it is the positive claim that puts the ball in play, and the positive claim that carries the initial burden of proof.”[Ibid., 152]  The gentleman actually made the argument that the statement, “It is impossible to exhaust an infinite series of points”, is a positive statement. Wow.

Another objection:

“One may protest that since an infinite series does not have a last term, Zeno cannot require the moving body to reach the last term before it starts to move. He cannot erect as a barrier to motion a factor that admittedly does not exist. And yet, did Zeno say that it was necessary to reach the last term? Will not his paradox remain if he simply asserts that motion cannot begin so long as there are more terms in the series? This is long enough.”[Gordon H. Clark, The Philosophy of Science and Belief in God (Jefferson, Maryland.: The Trinity Foundation, 1964, Second  edition 1987), 5]

26.) The Heraclitean flux: It has been shown by modern science that atoms are, as it were, mini solar systems with the parts orbiting the nucleus, which, as it were, is a field of energy with a bit of ebb and flow. Heraclitus gives the example of a man stepping into a river and never stepping into the same river again (Due to the constant motion and change). Even the man has changed. Plato gives a similar example in the Timaeus concerning a gold statue of Zeus that was only the sculptor’s Zeus but for a moment and then was never to appear again. Clark says, “if everything is changing, nothing exists. Universal change implies universal non-existence. And this implies that the changing is unreal and reality is unchanging.” Clark also adds that for a word to have a meaning in empiricism, the object that the word tags must remain unchanged for some time for it to have meaning. Empiricism fails yet again.

27.) Aristotle objects that “all motion, therefore requires a subject that remains unchanged during the motion.”[Ibid., 10] We answer with the continuous creation theory. How do you know that reality is not like a cartoon film, where motion is an illusion of many still images being presented and taken away very quickly? “Motion no doubt, presupposes an unchanged substratum, but how do we know there is such a substratum and how do we know there is motion?”[Ibid.] No wonder Democritus said that motion was an indemonstrable axiom. (Democritus did teach that particular motion could be explained but not motion per se).

28.) Motion cannot be defined.

29.) What about extrasensory perceptions? William James investigated the life of a woman who claimed such perception.  Her name was Mrs. Piper.  Under James, investigations concerning her abilities were conducted for about thirty years. No empirical materialistic explanations came from the investigations that could explain away her abilities.

30.) What about clairvoyance (Perceiving external things without sensing them)?  As an empiricist, you have to take a person’s testimony of experience. I understand that in a strict sense empirical science requires a re-demonstration of a phenomenon for it to be considered scientifically proven. However, empiricism does in some sense have to take a person’s word for it in their claimed experience.

31.) “Do you hear words and music from the radio? If so, then are radio waves words and music? Ah, but you might say that these are the “effects” of the radio waves. But then, you are only sensing the effects and not the cause. If so, how do you know the cause? If you infer from the effects to the cause, then how do you know that the inference is valid; By sensation again? What do you sense that would confirm this?”[Vincent Cheung, BIBLICAL RATIONALISM vs. PSYCHO ASSERTIONISM, Vincent Cheung’s Site available at:www.vincentcheung.com/files/html/sansone-cheung.htm; Internet; Accessed July 2009]

32.) When you mean see, is this one sensation or thousands? Does each rod and cone in the retina have the sensation?

33.) Sensations can never be experienced again, yet propositions may be re-thought over and over again. Not only so, the proposition in my mind is the same in yours. Even on your own model of plausibility, isn’t our view simpler and clearer than yours?

34.) In the empirical world everything is in motion and is therefore changing. When a man “sees” a statue and then a few days later recalls the “memory image” (If he has images) to his mind, he is not the same man as when he “saw” the statue and neither is the statue. Therefore, the present experience is not the past experience. Therefore memory gives no knowledge.

35.) Basing knowledge on sensory memory depends on the assumption that the future will be like the past.  Previous sensations of the smell of milk followed by nourishment do not prove that future sensations of the smell of milk will be followed by nourishment. The future milk could be out of date and be followed by vomiting.

36.) “All empirical philosophers, an exception would be hard to find , claim, like Aristotle, that abstract ideas are produced, somehow, by means of images. Thomas Aquinas, David Hume, and Bertrand Russell assume that all men have memory images.”[Gordon H. Clark, Clark Speaks From The Grave (Jefferson, Maryland.: The Trinity Foundation, 1986), 23] British scientist Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911), rejected the idea that all men have imagery.† Did we prove the solipsism conviction again?

37.) In empirical mathematics when one uses a numeral such as 1 or 2 do these units relate to reality?  Can these be units of anything? “Two pints of water and three pints of sulfuric acid do not make five pints.”[Gordon H. Clark, Thales to Dewey (Unicoi, Tennesse.: The Trinity Foundation, 1957,  Fourth edition 2000), 299] Mathematics cannot be said to be a law of reality or nature.

38.) If indeed thinking is imagery, how can blind people, and even in the case of Helen Keller who was deaf and blind think and in some cases think very well? It is contradictory.

III. Eighteen Theses Against Behaviorism

Based on  Behaviorism and Christianity by Gordon Clark (Jefferson, Maryland.: The Trinity Foundation, 1982)

1.) John B. Watson, Behaviorism

“Behaviorism claims that ‘consciousness’ is neither a definable nor a useable concept; that it is merely another word for the ‘soul’ of more ancient times…(pg3)  No one has ever touched a soul or has seen one in a test tube.”

Here he admits that sensation is the axiom.  In refutation a reader may refer to the section on empiricism.  Initially, I would request the Behaviorist to define sensation; Show how sensation produces perception; Show how perception produces abstract ideas.  This is enough to refute the whole theory from the start.

2.) When atheists are confronted with the obvious problems deducing a philosophy of language from empiricism, they will say that they simply use words as they are generally accepted and determined by the English Language.  This supposed answer has one major flaw: It isn’t true.  Behaviorists use words like mindperceptionobservefearragelove and thought etc.  They are not using these words like the average English speaker uses them. What he means by these words is chemistry.  Therefore, his deceit is exposed.

3.) Saint Augustine

Mechanistic theories of morality fail. Augustine gives the example of his youth when he stole pears from a neighbor. The interesting point comes when we hear that the pears were of such poor quality that the boys threw them to the pigs. The original intent was never to eat the pears. The intent was the love of doing evil with the gang.  The intent was the pure love of evil for its own sake. I could provide multiple examples from my childhood as the rest of us can as well to prove this point. What is the chemical formula for this motive?  They can’t say.

4.) My opponents will assert that genetics and environmental history are the causes of unlearned behavior.  Dr Clark says, “Hydrochloric acid also exhibits unlearned behavior, as do all chemicals.”[1]  This assertion is ambiguous and is usually never defined in detail. My opponents use an appeal to emotion when I mention the difficulties.

5.) What exactly is the chemical reaction that occurs when a man finds out that his wife is cheating on him?  What is the specific formula for jealousy anyway?  Can this formula be consistently re-demonstrated in the lab?

6.) “The behaviorist never uses the term ‘memory.’  He believes that it has no place in an objective psychology” (Behaviorism by John B. Watson pg. 177) Yet my opponents use this term frequently when I ask them if they have ever not had a sensation. They will rely on memories of past experiences and their effects.

7.) “In the unlearned sounds made by the infant we have all the units of responses which when later brought together (By conditioning) are the words of our dictionaries” (Behaviorism,Watson,  pg.185) “But if all this is merely ‘manual,’ why cannot animals enter this field?  Many of them have bodily parts almost as complicated as ours, and their chemistry is equally good.”[2]

8.) Behaviorism’s idea of purpose:

Singer defines purpose as “a result that occurs twice, or more, with two or more bodies.”[3]and “The average common result of a number of processes”[4] Not to forget Voltaire’s objection that this logic leads us to the conclusion that a nose’s purpose is to hold spectacles, it also follows that two rocks falling into a lake proves that the purpose of a rock is to fall into a lake and create a splash. The consequence is absurd.

9.) Behaviorism and ethics:

Gilbert Ryle, while having difficulty defining ordinary language and its application to the words “voluntary” and “involuntary”, makes an unusual statement on page 69 of The Concept of Mind(New York: Barnes and Noble, 1949): “We discuss whether someone’s action was voluntary or not only when the action seems to have been his fault…In this ordinary use, then, it is absurd to discuss whether satisfactory, correct, or admirable performances are voluntary or involuntary.” This seems to undercut any possibility for behaviorism to create a coherent philosophy of ethics.  Dr Clark gives the example of one of his students voluntarily scoring lower on a test so that the class curve would allow a friend who is not doing well in the class to pass.

10.) Behaviorism can claim to explain the creation of sounds through physiology but in no case can vindicate a sound’s meaning.  Different sounds may have the same meaning i.e. general synonyms, and the same sound have different meanings, i.e. “plain.”  One sense has a geographical use and the other has a general adjectival use relaying the idea of a lack of qualities or ornamental attributes.  This is a great difficulty for Behaviorism and is admitted by Ryle. Later, Ryle (The Concept of Mind, New York: Barnes and Noble, 1949, pg. 172) admits even more problems with it in reference to the feigned behavior of hypocrites and charlatans.  What is the chemical formula for hypocrisy again?  If my opponents use an appeal to emotion here I will answer:  On your worldview, a good electrician can identify a circuit that causes a certain light bulb to behave a certain way; Why can’t you do the same?  If the electrician cannot do this we call him unqualified; So are you.

11.) Ryle, later (The Concept of Mind, New York: Barnes and Noble, 1949, pg. 220) espouses an objective standard to sensation by stating that a sensation when sensed in a proper condition will be the same to all.  Even on an empirical worldview this is unfounded. This is why authentic ethnic restaurants are usually filled with the distinct people from the certain ethnic group. I am persuaded that some people receive a pleasant “sensation” when they eat monkey brains but the very thought of it gives me a “sensation” similar to the kind I get when I  have the flu and a bucket to vomit in next to my bed. If my opponents say that one is proper and another improper, I ask: How do you determine that one chemical reaction is proper and another is improper?  The same chemical laws produce both.

12.) Dr. Clark cites an example from an experiment cited in Scientific American, (The Split Brain in Man, Aug., 1967) by Dr. Gazzaniga.  A review of this work (Springer-Verlag 1975, EditorialReview of the Split Brain, State University of New York, Department of Psychology, Stony Brook, New York 11794, Received January 14, 1975) is cited in the Journal of Neurology (Thursday, December 2, 2004) which implies the information is still valid.

The “discovery” was made by Ronald E. Meyers and R.W. Sperry.  The left and right hemispheres of the brain are separated but communicate with each other through bundles of axons known as commissures.  The Corpus Callosum is the largest of these commissures.  The experiment involved cutting this Corpus Calosum.  The fascinating discovery was that each hemisphere functioned independently as if each hemisphere was a complete brain. The experiment was to be a “cure” for epilepsy.  In reference to the effects of this procedure Gazzaniga says, “What was happening was that the right hemisphere saw the red light and heard the left hemisphere say ‘green.’  Knowing that the answer was wrong, the right hemisphere precipitated a frown and a shake of the head, which in turn cued in the left hemisphere to the fact that the answer was wrong and that it had better correct itself!”

Strange consequences can be deduced from such “empirical data.”  Dr. Clark says, “if thinking is just chemistry, how can the motions of one side of the brain be ‘true’ and the motions of the other side be ‘false’?”[5]  The data produced by the same chemical laws here disagrees.

13.) If Behaviorism is correct then the assertions of behaviorist scientists themselves ipso factoare conditioned by his chemistry as well and cannot be true.  The assertion, that their point of view is objectively true, convicts them all the more of their solipsism.

14.)  My opponents repeatedly use the argument that human behavior is controlled by our genetics and the history of our environment.  Why then do behaviorists like B.F. Skinner on the last page of his book assert than in light of Behaviorism man can now control his own destiny (About Behaviorism, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1974)?

15.) Western Behaviorists will assert that we should not hurt others because we need to preserve our own species. However, if we kill the weak of our species we assure the survival of the advanced of our species which insures not only survival but advancement of our species. This consequence has been held by other atheist intellectuals.  This is the consistent consequence of this philosophy and Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche in his book Twilight of the Idols hammers the final nail in this inconsistent, Western and atheist coffin.

These men boast of their abilities to show how the human race survives and advances but they can never boast why it ought to survive.  The history of the human race from a naturalistic point of view is an absolute disaster.  Why shouldn’t we all commit suicide? They can’t say.  To these people, crying is nothing more than functioning tear glands. My opponents will accuse Christianity of in-humane doctrines.  They will also assert that the consequences of scripturalism lead us out to the desert prophets of the ancient world.  I would rather hang out with the prophets in the desert than the Khmer Rouge in the killing fields.

16.) My opponents object to the use of an axiom by arguing: “In the real world, real people’s empirical models “begin” as infants, long before they have any linguistic capacity, and therefore by definition cannot “begin” with axioms. And between gaining the ability to manipulate language and engaging in philosophical reflection — the kind in which foundational doubts can even arise in the first place — the human mammal displays a simply extraordinary capacity to tie its shoelaces and keep itself fed.”

Ans.)  1.) How do you know these empirical models begin with infants? Have you tested all infants in all times and places? 2.) “But if all this is merely ‘manual,’ why cannot animals enter this field?  Many of them have bodily parts almost as complicated as ours, and their chemistry is equally good.”[6]
17.) With spiritual rationalism-Clarkianism, things are their definition.  I am my qualities not a physical substance.  Though I have a body, it is in a sense, my mind’s tool.  Moses held a conversation centuries after his brain decomposed in the soil (Mat 17:3) and so will I.

18.) “If thought is simply the product of the brain, no doubt it cannot contradict nature; but then on this basis no thought can contradict nature, and insanity is as natural as any other state of mind. If all thought is thus natural, there is no logical reason to believe that some thoughts, ideas of dialectical materialism rather than of absolute idealism, are more natural, more true, or more valuable, than others.”[7]

                [1] Gordon H. Clark, Behaviorism and Christianity (Jefferson, Maryland.: The Trinity Foundation, 1982), 10

                [2] Ibid., 15

                [3] Ibid., 23

                [4] Ibid., 24

                [5] Ibid., 49

                [6] Ibid., 15

                [7] Gordon H. Clark, Thales to Dewey (Unicoi, Tennesse.: The Trinity Foundation, 1957,  Fourth edition 2000),   376

IV. Mathematics Does Not Reflect Physical Reality

After studying through Dr. Clark’s Philosophy texts numerous times, his bookThe Philosophy of Science and Belief in God, and debating dozens of atheist educators about its contents, I found that I had a fundamental hole in my refutation of science: Mathematics. Gordon Clark, inhis letter to Mr. M., admitted,

“Most unfortunately I did not end Chapter One properly. I should have pointed out that modern Calculus can no more explain how motion begins than ancient Zeno could.”

No need to despair. Morris Kline’sMathematics: The Loss of Certainty (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980), satisfies this deficiency in full. This is a very difficult book in some sections but in all Kline gets his points across quite clearly. I recently finished reading through it. My readers will forgive my recent absence but this book took me about 35 hours to get through. It is not for the light of heart but very thorough.

Morris Kline (1908– 1992) was a Professor of Mathematics at New York University (NYU). Kline studied mathematics at New York University, earning his bachelor’s degree in 1930, his master’s degree in 1932, and his doctorate in 1936. From 1936-1942 he continued at NYU as an instructor. After WW2, Kline resumed his mathematical teaching at NYU, and became a full professor in 1952. He taught at NYU until 1975. All in all, the man had about 30 years of professional work in the field of mathematics and its application to Science.

This work is a summary of the nature and history of mathematics with its various failures, revisions and successes. All in all, the work is a complete refutation of the idea that mathematics is a demonstrable body of truths. As Kline mentions many times, mathematics is the essence of science (Kline says, “As we shall see, the most well developed physical theories are entirely mathematical.” [pg. 7]; “Descartes was explicit in his Principles that the essence of science was mathematics.” [pg. 43] ;) . Given this premise, science falls completely out of the category of demonstration and is therefore impotent in its criticisms of religion. As Hermann Weyl said of The Principia Mathematica by Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell which based mathematics,

“not on logic alone, but on a sort of logician’s paradise, a universe endowed with an ‘ultimate furniture’ of rather complex structure…Would any realistically minded man dare say he believes in this transcendental world? …This complex structure taxes the strength of our faith hardly less than the doctrines of the early Fathers of the Church or of the Scholastic Philosophers of the Middle Ages.” (pg. 226)

Bertrand Russell said in Portraits from Memory, 1956,

“I wanted certainty in the kind of way in which people want religious faith. I thought that certainty is more likely to be found in mathematics than elsewhere. But I discovered that many mathematical demonstrations, which my teachers wanted me to accept, were full of fallacies … I was continually reminded of the fable about the elephant and the tortoise. Having constructed an elephant upon which the mathematical world could rest, I found the elephant tottering, and proceeded to construct a tortoise to keep the elephant from falling. But the tortoise was no more secure than the elephant, and after some twenty years of arduous toil, I came to the conclusion that there was nothing more that I could do in the way of making mathematical knowledge indubitable.” (pg. 229-230)

Kline begins his introduction by pointing out that there is no one theory of mathematics or geometry. There have been and are many different theories that men use to function in our physical world. This has been the difficulty for many serious mathematicians to take science seriously. Kline says,

“The loss of truth, the constantly increasing complexity of mathematics and science, and the uncertainty about which approach to mathematics is secure have caused most mathematicians to abandon science…The crises and conflicts over what sound mathematics is have also discouraged the application of mathematical methodology to many areas of our culture such as philosophy, political science, ethics, and aesthetics. The hope of finding objective, infallible laws and standards has faded. The Age of Reason is gone.” (pg. 7)

Kline summarizes the genesis of mathematics giving emphasis to the Greeks. The Pythagoreans’ metaphysics explained all reality through numbers. However, the materialism (atomism) of Democritus and its re-establishment through Galileo and Descartes replaced this idea. Yet, Kline reminds us that an objective materialism was refuted by David Hume. Kline says,

“Hume was equally dubious about matter. Who guarantees that there is a permanently existing world of solid objects? All we know are our own sensations of such a world. Repeated sensations of a chair do not prove that a chair actually exists. Space and time are but a manner and order in which ideas occur to us. Similarly, causality is but a customary connection of ideas…Man himself is but an isolated collection of perceptions, that is, sensations and ideas…Hence there can be no scientific laws concerning a permanent objective physical world; such laws signify merely convenient summaries of sensations…we have no way of knowing that sequences perceived in the past will recur in the future. Thus Hume stripped away the inevitability of the laws of nature, their eternality and their inviolability…Hume then, answered the fundamental question of how man obtains truths by denying their existence; man cannot arrive at truths. Hume’s work not only deflated the efforts and results of science and mathematics, but challenged the value of reason itself.” (pg. 74-75)

Immanuel Kant tried to answer this difficulty with his apriori forms. Kline summarizes Kant’s philosophy,

“He granted that we receive sensations from a presumed external world. However, these sensations or perceptions do not provide significant knowledge. All perception involves an interaction between the perceiver and the perceived. The mind organizes the perceptions and these organizations are intuitions of space and time. Space and time do not exist objectively but are the contributions of the mind. The mind applies its understanding of space and time to experiences which merely awaken the mind. Knowledge may begin with experience but does not really come from experience. It comes from the mind.” (pg. 231)

Kline then summarizes Kant’s attempt to answer Hume,

“Indifference to and even dismissal of God as the law-maker of the universe, as well as the Kantian view that the laws were inherent in the structure of the human mind, brought forth a reaction from the Divine Architect.” (pg. 78)

Kline then waxes prophetic stating, “God decided that He would punish the Kantians and especially those egotistic, proud, and overconfident mathematicians. And he proceeded to encourage non-Euclidean geometry, a creation that devastated the achievements of man’s presumably self-sufficient, all-powerful reason…It was precisely Euclidean geometry that ‘God’ attacked.” (pg. 78)

The problem that the Euclidean system faced was the parallel axiom or, as it is often referred to, Euclid’s fifth postulate. This postulate assumed upon the reality of infinite lines. Kline remarks, “Certainly experience did not vouch for the behavior of infinite straight lines, whereas axioms were supposed to be self-evident truths about the physical world.” (pg. 78) Thus this problem gave rise to non-Euclidean geometry: Hyperbolic and Elliptic. Kline admits, “the most significant fact about non-Euclidean geometry is that it can be used to describe the properties of physical space as accurately as Euclidean geometry does. Euclidean geometry is not the necessary geometry of physical space; its physical truth cannot be guaranteed on any a priori grounds.” (pg. 84)

Kline mentions that Einstein used a non-Euclidean geometry to create his theory of relativity. (pg. 344) Next Kline exposes the problems concerning the nature of numbers,

“Helmhotz made many pertinent observations. The very concept of number is derived from experiences. Some kinds of experience suggest the usual types of number, whole numbers, fractions, and irrational numbers, and their properties. To these experiences, the familiar numbers are applicable. We recognize that virtually equivalent objects exist and so we recognize that we may speak, for example, of two cows. However, these objects must not disappear or merge or divide. One raindrop added to another does not make two raindrops…Many examples may be adduced to show that the naive application of arithmetic would lead to nonsense. Thus if one mixes two equal volumes of water, one at 40 degrees Fahrenheit and the other at 50 degrees, one does not get two volumes at 90 degrees…We learn in chemistry that when one mixes hydrogen and oxygen he obtains water. But if someone takes two volumes of hydrogen and one volume of oxygen, he obtains, not three, but two volumes of water vapor. Likewise, one volume of nitrogen and three volumes yield two volumes of ammonia. We happen to know the physical explanation of these surprising arithmetic facts…Ordinary arithmetic also fails to describe the combination of some liquids by volume. If a quart of gin is mixed with a quart of vermouth one does not get two quarts of the mixture but a quantity slightly less. One quart of alcohol and one quart of water yield about 1.8 quarts of vodka.” (pg. 92-93)

Because of these difficulties and others Kline must admit, “Thus one cannot speak of arithmetic as a body of truths that necessarily apply to physical phenomena. Of course, since algebra and analysis are extensions of arithmetic, these branches, too, are not bodies of truth….It seemed as though God had sought to confound them with several geometries and several algebras just as he had confounded the people of Babel with different languages…Nature’s laws are man’s creation. We, not God, are the lawgivers of the universe. A law of nature is man’s description and not God’s prescription.” (pg. 95-98)

In passing, I find it curious that Kline mentioned that Euclid defined a point as “that which as no parts”. (pg. 101) If that is true, then things cannot be infinitely divisible. There must be a replacement of atomism for science to speak of points or coordinates. If monism is the response we are right back into the Pre-Socratic Era.

The next topic of interest that Kline presents is the calculus. Kline says, “calculus utilizes the concept of function, which, loosely put, is a relationship between variables.” (pg. 127) Yet Kline admits, “all of the logic that was missing in the treatment of number was also missing in the work with functions.” (pg. 128) Kline mentions that the difficulties with calculus concerned the nature of the derivative (Which deals with velocity. The problem is deriving a conclusion when the time is at 0) and the definite integral (Which involves deriving the area of figures bounded by curves. No matter how many intervals the area is divided up into, the sum is never reached). Many atheists appeal to Newton as the solution to Zeno’s paradox of the infinite. This is curious because Kline admits that Newton,

“abandoned the infinitely small quantity (ultimate indivisibles [Which I am assuming refers to atomism-DS])…then proceeded to give a new explanation of what he meant by a fluxion.’Fluxions are, as near as we please, as the increments of fluents [variables] generated in times, equal and as small as possible, and to speak accurately, they are in the prime ratio of nascent increments…’ Of Course such vague phraseology didn’t help much. As to his method of calculating a fluxion, Newton’s third paper is as crude as the first one…Undoubtedly he realized that his explanation of a fluxion was not satisfactory and so, perhaps in desperation, he resorted to physical meaning…Since the results of his mathematical work were physically true, Newton spent very little time on the logical foundation of the calculus…Newton had faith in Euclidean geometry but no factual evidence that it could support the calculus.” (pg. 135-136)

Next, Kline deals with Leibniz’s attempts to answer his critics regarding his calculus. Kline says, “In an article in the Acta of 1689, he said that infinitesimals are not real but fictitious numbers.” (pg. 137) Kline says, “Until the end of his life in 1716 Leibniz continued to make explanations of what his infinitely small quantities (infinitesimals, differentials) and his infinitely large quantities were. These explanations were no better than what we have seen above. He had no clear concepts or logical justifications of his calculus.” (pg. 139) Yet, as science does, it points the critics to the results and science pushes on with the subsequent generations believing that they have inherited knowledge when in fact they have not. Bishop Berkley criticized these men and especially Newton’s derivatives as the ratio of the evanescent quantities, “They are neither finite quantities, nor quantities infinitely small, not yet nothing. May we not call them the ghosts of departed quantities?” (pg. 146)

Next Berkley strikes the heart of the scientific excuse: “Berkley asked rhetorically ‘whether the mathematicians of the present age act like men of science in taking so much more pains to apply their principles then to understand them.’ ‘In every other science.’ he said, ‘men prove their conclusions by their principles, and not their principles by their conclusions.” (pg. 147) Kline adds,

“Even the one solace mathematicians derived from their work, namely, its remarkable effective applicability to science, can no longer be a comfort because most mathematicians have abandoned applications.” (pg. 307)

Kline provides a fascinating historical event on pages 149-151. The Mathematics section of the Berlin Academy of Sciences held a contest in 1784 for the contestants to provide a solution to the problem of the infinite in mathematics. In all, 23 papers were submitted and all were found completely incompetent. To further complicate calculus “Emile Picard said in 1905, ‘If Newton and Leibniz had known that continuous functions need not necessarily have a derivative, the differential calculus would never have been created.” (pg. 177)

Kline reviews Mathematics from the late 19th century to the 20th century,

“While logicism was in the making, a radically different and diametrically opposite approach to mathematics was undertaken by a group of mathematicians called intuitionists. It is a most interesting paradox of the history of mathematics that while the logicists were relying more and more on refined logic to secure a foundation for mathematic, other were turning away from and even abandoning logic. In one respect, both sought the same goal. Mathematics in the late 19th century had lost its claim to truth in the sense of expressing laws inherent in the design of the physical universe. The early logicists, notably Frege and Russell, believed that logic was a body of truths, and so mathematics proper if founded on logic would also be a body of truths, though ultimately they had to retreat from this position to logical principles that had only pragmatic sanction. The intuitionists also sought to establish the truth of mathematics proper by calling upon the sanction granted by human minds. Derivations from logical principles were less trustworthy than what can be intuited directly. The discovery of the paradoxes not only confirmed this distrust but accelerated the formulation of the definitive doctrines of intuitionism.” (pg. 230)

Intuitionism was an attempt to provide the basis for mathematics with a Kantian like philosophy of apriori forms. Kline says, “Some of intuitionism’s opponents agree that mathematics is a human creation, but believe that correctness or incorrectness can be objectively determined, whereas the intuitionists depend on self-evidency to fallible human minds…Another criticism of intuitionism is that it is not concerned with the application of mathematics to nature. Intuitionism does not relate mathematics to perception.” (pg. 242)

Kline criticizes the Kantian approach,

“this Kantian explanation that we see in nature what our minds predetermine for us to see does not fully answer the question of why mathematics works. Developments since Kant’s time such as electromagnetic theory can hardly be endowments of the human mind or the mind’s organization of sensations. Radio and Television do not exist because the mind organized some sensations in accordance with some internal structure which then enabled us to experience radio and television as consequences of the mind’s conception of how nature must behave.” (pg. 342)

This problem of how mathematical law relates to the physical world is a constant thorn in the flesh of science. Kline says, “The questions of how new ideas could enter mathematics and how mathematics can possibly apply to the physical world if its contents are derivable entirely from logic are not readily answered and were not answered by Russell and Whitehead.” (pg. 228)

There is no, one mathematics. Kline says, “In short, no school has the right to claim that it represents mathematics…since 1930 the spirit of friendly cooperation has been replaced by a spirit of implacable contention (pg. 276)…Thus mathematicians reached the stage where men held conflicting views of what may properly be designated mathematics-logicism, intuitionism, formalism, and set theory (pg. 309)…The formalists believe that logic alone does not suffice and axioms of mathematics must be added to axioms of logic in order to found mathematics. The set-theorists are rather casual about logical principles and some do not specify them. The intuitionists in principle dispense with logic…Mathematics grows through a series of great intuitive advances, which are later established not in one step but a series of corrections of oversights and errors until the proof reaches the level of accepted proof for that time. No proof is final (pg. 313)”

I will conclude this book review with a quotation by Albert Einstein,

“as far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.” (Geometry and Experience, Address to the Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin on January 27th, 1921)

In my The End of Christianity, ed. Loftus Reply to Chapter 11 I asked “How did science recover from the second refutation of atomism (Zeno produced the first) in the 1930s, namely the splitting of the atom?” I asked this question to a friend of mine, Dr. James Wanliss who is the resident space physicist at Presbyterian College in South Carolina; from his site, “In 1995 he received an M.S degree in geophysics from the University of the Witwatersrand. In 2000 he received the Ph.D in physics from the University of Alberta, in Canada. He is the recipient of several awards and honors, notably an NSF CAREER award. His research work has been almost entirely supported by U.S. government agencies: NASA, and NSF.” Dr. Wanliss is the man who really turned me on strong to Dr. Gordon Clark. Wanliss is a Presbyterian and a member of the Church that I used to be a member of in South Carolina. I asked him once what he thought about Dr. Clark’s book on the Philosophy of Science. He said, “it is irrefutable”. Recently I asked him my question about science post-atomism and he told me that Monism replaced it as Science’s theory of metaphysics. Corporeal Monism was the first phase of the Pre-Socratic era and I dealt with it in my above linked article.