Saturday, December 30, 2017

What he has already done is call into question all the ways we commonly desire and perceive reality

"The Gospel is radical"   Noam Chomsky

In coming to the conclusion that the secular, atheist, materialist left is among the primary, perhaps the primary reason that American liberals have consistently failed to convince a majority of Americans that their political and economic programs, their vision of equal justice is what they want, I've had to look very hard at what secular, atheist, materialistic and scientistic leftism assumes about reality.  Since that ideology in its ancient as well as modern form is based on our experience of the predictability of physical phenomena and that those are predictable on the basis of the action of physical forces, there is something inevitably static and predictable about the sense of reality they produce.  And where there are no reliable predictions about reality, no reliable ability to discern predictable and even definable aspects of a phenomenon, the faith of such scientitic materialist, and, so atheist reality has to create those whether in evolutionary psychological or other Darwinistic Just so stories or through the generally self-serving narratives that are created out of self-selected, self-serving sociological data (in which everything, including, at times, up to 50% of the analyzed data which does not comport with the desired narrative) which are thrown out or ignored.  That's the way that we define segments of the voting population as being the elect or the damned*.  Separating out neither goats nor sheep.

I think one of the worst consequences of that kind of thinking is that it presents everything as an either this OR that, either a or b proposition, forgetting that it's not either a or b, it's often either a or b or c or d,... or other inconveniently complex complexes of reality.  And that's only one likely overly simplistic way of talking yourself into believing you've done something which is sciency and, therefore, bound to be accurate when it's just a narrative created, not to look at what's really there, but to fit some of that into a safe feeling and, generally, self serving conclusion.  The giftedness of those doing science about complex things to come up with that kind of story telling has created all of the social-sciences and much of biological science, especially when there isn't the actual, physical organism or thing to actually study.  Huge swaths of evolutionary science, of course, does not have the thing it claims to study in front of it because the fossil record is a vanishingly tiny fraction of past life and even with the most modern means of scientific psychometry only a little about the actual organisms whose remains are available to study.  Yet biology bases huge and often conflicting scenarios about the lives  on only the often one or half a dozen members of a species but their success at leaving offspring as compared to other members of their species which have not left fossils to be studied and the lives and deaths of their species in environments about which nothing or virtually nothing is actually known.

The extent to which science is about making up stories and selling them on the mere reputability of science to do that under ideal conditions about very simple things isn't often enough considered.   When it comes to very complex phenomena its accuracy tends to fade, fast.

And when our expectations aren't met, we react with the typical range of disappointed humans, denial, anger, frustration, etc.  Often using the persuasive power of calling something "science" to keep selling what has already failed.  That's not much different from some end-of-the-world profit-making prophet who, the world having not ended, finds tweaks and nuances in their numerological calculations to explain why it didn't, though generally not as successfully as they do in psychology and sociology and opinion polling.

Continuing on with the passage from The Bible Makes Sense I last posted from on Christmas Eve.

The words must be read both as concerning individual persons in their various disabilities, as well as concerning the transforming of institutions.  Thus the good news to the poor is the change of those institutions which have denied them.  But it also means a caring gesture   The life-bringing activity of Jesus never let one choose between public transformation and personal compassion  We are called to do both.  And when we do, we bring life  Only in the context of the promises of God are we granted the immense vocation of bringing life into a world where death seems the common venture

And since then the church has known about the future and has known that God's coming actions would be of the same kind as those he has already done.   What he has already done is call into question all the ways we commonly desire and perceive reality.  And what he has yet to do will call into question all our allegiances to keep the world the way it is.  There is more to come, and it will be as radially shattering and radically healing as the "mighty works" of God we remember. 

Based on what I prefaced this short passage with, some of those who most often troll me will base snark about it on the hallelujah peddlers who are in the business of predicting the end of the world or the kinds of predictions of calamities you'll find in consulting the Tarot (it would seem that the people who like doing that enjoy being scared and depressed because that's what it sells) but that's not the kind of predictable future that is dealt with in this passage.  It is a prediction that the kinds of human behavior which is life which is not based on human compassion, the kinds of untransformed public behavior and collective institutions that don't bring life are based in the common venture of death and that's what they'll produce.  The Bible is, largely, a collection of observations about human life and human history in the world and an analysis of the consequences when human life and history follow life denying, life destroying tendencies and how, when we follow the calling to follow life bringing ways - often by denying what's easier or more pleasant for us and our loved ones.  It's not the same kind of prediction about the natural world that science attempts, often going seriously wrong when it bites off more than its methods can process when complexities mount - look at the boneyard of discontinued social science and even biology, much of it coming with all too real human remains in tow- Biblical predictions and observations and recommendations don't have knowledge or advances of consumer technology as their goal, but of better life though moral behavior and the wise pursuit of a collective better future. 

* Thus we get the widespread belief "White Women voted for Trump," when the surveys show that 52% surveyed as voting for Trump (probably well within the margin of error of the surveys) ignoring the only slightly more complex reality that even by that claim, 48% of White Women didn't vote for Trump.  Or that this or that religious group voted for Trump or this or that ethnicity or economic group voted for Trump and that persuading even three percent of those who did to vote for Hillary Clinton would have created a far different result.

The creation of such sets of data and their analysis is highly suspect in so far as a desired outcome can be created by choosing questions to ask or aspects of identity chosen to create the groupings to characterize.  And if those are possible in the creation of such alleged science, it is even easier to characterize what the numbers claim in ways desired.  What group gets blamed for Trump or whatever politician, political party or issue desired.  Even if you believed in the reality of such stuff - and I'm deeply skeptical of that - the use made of it, especially by the allegedly sophisticated left fails to be useful at all.

I think the very credence that people put in such stuff is based on the same kind of phenomenon of expecting that science can discern such definitions of huge numbers of people and to come up with explanations concerning large groups of people and their motivations when scientific methods have proven unable to be reliably consistent at doing that for individual people.

Politically, and this is, after all, a political blog, that record of less than stellar success certainly hasn't talked large numbers of college educated leftys and liberals into concentrating on successful strategies of appealing to a winning margin of voters which includes enough White Women or White Men to throw such elections to Democrats instead of even some of the worst Republicans.   Surely there are White Women and White Men who are persuaded, in large numbers, to vote for Democrats now, it's not a question of persuading ALL  of any real or merely constructed group in a survey, it's a question of persuading ENOUGH OF THEM.   But you can't do that if you insist on either-or, binary definitions about populations of the kind that surveying and other fungal would-be sciences specialize in.

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