The Three Types of Order
On his blog Pressing the Antithesis, Christian presuppositionalist Paul Manata asked me :
Franscois says, "all that exist is material."Since concepts are networks of neurons, their spaciotemporal dimensions are dependent on those of neurons. It doesn't take a neuroscientist to figure that out.
Paul concludes, "suffering is material."
How much does it weigh, Franc? Does the "concept exist?" Well then it's material. Is the concept of suffering 3 cenimeters long, Franc? Franc, does the concept of suffering weigh more than the concept of pleasure? Where is it in the brain? Have you seen it?
(ultimately, the only conceptual existants are psychological, but I didn't want to complicate this even more for the sake of Manata's overtaxed reasoning abilities)
The fact is that Christians are utterly unable to understand materialism or scientific laws. I have observed this again and again and again when discussing or debating Christians, even theologians, who ask such inane questions as "did it come by design or chance ?" (as if there was such a causal agent as chance). I think the direct problem is that their mind cannot assimilate as many levels of order.
The first level of order is collectivism - the primitive idea of one powerful transcendent being or system at the top, which imposes order from on high (outside-in). Christian thought relies almost exclusively on collectivism. Some examples :
* Creationism (God imposing orders of existence, life and adaptation from the outside)
* Divine Command Theory (God imposing morality, pseudo-values and anti-values from the outside)
* Political authority (Government imposing social and economic order from the outside)
* Interventionism and imperialism (Government imposing order on other countries as a destructive Other)
* The concept of God in general, which the presuppositionalist sees as the transcendent source of all that is material. God is the ultimate collectivist.
The second level is chaos - the belief that there is no "inherent meaning", all is undifferentiated existence, and that within this chaos the individual must find his own meaning, imposing order by himself and for himself only (inside-in). This is the mentality of the Existentialist, the subjectivist and the anarchist. They will especially deny that objective values and knowledge exist, even though they routinely use both. It is also the logical consequence of presuppositionalism, in that the assumption that God is necessary entails that all material facts are subjective to God's will.
The third and last level is emergentism - the scientific and rational conclusion that order arises and evolves from the free causal interaction of parts, imposing order by emergence (from the inside-out). In counterpart to the above points, we get :
* Evolution (units of heredity interact with their environment and each other, bringing about adaptation and diversity of life)
* Moral principles (individuals grasping the laws of causality and how they apply to their own lives, bringing about moral principles)
* Libertarianism and capitalism (individuals interacting peacefully with each other to fulfill their self-interest and bring about social and economic progress)
* Free trade (individuals within various countries trading peacefully with each other, raising the global standard of life)
* Material entities and natural laws acting on each other, and the human mind that perceives them (always within the materialist context), bringing about material and cognitive facts. This is what we find through science and reason.
One answer that may appear obvious is that we could express scientific facts in a first-level metaphorical language - such as we do when we say things like "DNA seeks to survive and reproduce". But then the Christian would simply ask "where did that intentionality comes from ?". All this would do is push the incomprehension further.