The Fancy Foundations in the Beyond

I do not want to leave anyone in the dark about my own position. Allow me to present it whilst from a different perspective exposing the ontological fallacy already laid bare in the foregoing. On close inspection Russell’s defect in empirical astronomy, mentioned in the beginning of this essay, is even more glaringly overlooked in post-Copernican hypotheses than consciously realized in its pre-Copernican theoretical superstructure. However, from Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) until Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) the Earth’s central position was in our western civilization openly or tacitly acknowledged as in the last resort metaphysically founded. Mother Gea’s absolute rest in the middle of the material Universe was affirmed by natural philosophy, either as self-evident in relation to the Empyrean or else as clearly assumed by the Bible, the trustworthy Message from the Great Beyond of highest Heaven.

Galileo’s and Bacon’s “New Science”, still proclaimed from the rooftops, began – and at last now practically has completed – the wearying process of brushing away the lingering cobwebs of such superstitions. The modern view, as Laplace already assured Napoleon, does not need the hypothesis of an unprovable Creative Intelligence. Yet, unprovable is, logically appraised, not the same as disprovable, or disproven, and to overlook that is an act of unforgivably shallow self-deceit. Laplace, the “New Scientist”, and their manifold epigones are “looking at” the Universe in the manner in which they here below, comfortably seated in their studies, can look at man-made celestial globes. Yet about the station and formation of those they are, by the very nature of the case, competent to make only worthless, petty pronouncements. In their prideful imagination they ascend to supermundane platforms, which they instinctively “know” to be at rest as surely as they themselves are at rest relative to their desks. However, these extra-cosmical viewpoints they can neither actually point out to us, nor in any way prove to exist. We just have to believe them when they assure us that observed from those chimerical lookouts the Earth is no more than a speck of dust among countless others, all and everyone resulting from a Big Bang set off by nobody in nothingness. In other words: they expect us to hail them as newly evolved gods, now effectively replacing, they have convinced themselves, that imaginary Ancient of Days in Whom their ancestors put their trust with regard to our position in His creation, before Galileo enlightened them.

However, comparing the credentials of these latter-day self-made gods of flesh with those of an Eternal Creator, Who after all may have revealed Himself and might on a coming Dies Irae do this again? We shall, as Pascal’s wager puts it, lose nothing if we reject the pontificating puny idols with whom modern science has cornered the sublunar astronomical marketplace. Dust to dust, ash to ashes! On the other hand – not so small a chance, I reflect, when studying the all sciences and engineering encompassing wisdom displayed in the precisely adaptive structures of the Solar System and every living thing… on the other hand: what if there is an Omnipotent Being above all temporal being? A God of great promises, Whose Suffering Son has told us about those promises and the coming Kingdom? A God -to formulate it in a way a benevolent outsider would allow – Who during the present age of our world for His own omniscient good reasons seems to confine Himself to only showing His handiwork upheld and trustworthily regulated by His laws for the Universe that He has created? A God, Who is working out a plan here below, and Who for its completion in a, for that purpose, amoral setting wants us to show our mettle in choosing between good and evil, radiating faith, hope, and love even in adversities and sorrows, instead of only looking after Number One? A God, Who created all the lights, great and small, in the firrnament, to divide the day from the night and to be for signs and seasons in behalf of mankind, to which He has allotted an Earth that cannot be moved, whatever those ephemeral tin-pot deities like a Gould, a Sagan, a Jastrow, “reveal” to the contrary? And maintain Anno Domini 1988 with a weird assortment of ad hocs, which logically evaluated are not truly testable and hence worthless?

I find the choice not difficult to make between a “sure” – we are assured! – nothing and a not impossible something. It is easier for me – and that not only for promptings of self-interest – to believe in a world sub specie aeternitatis than in the monstrous, meaningless space-time Universe depicted and preached by the self-levitated and self-supernaturalized mortal protagonists of modern astrophysics. And those who on this certainly momentous issue label my words as wishful thinking I answer with a tu quoque: scientism’s demi-gods of man’s devising are nowadays in the same boat with regards to the incontestable truth of their prophetic utterances. For the modern philosophers of science have at long last again become aware of a certainty that wise men have always known: theories “saving the appearances” are at best no more than logical possibilities without any trustworthy claim on the truth. As one of them, Lewis Thomas, has succinctly expressed it: “Science is founded on uncertainty… We are always, as it turns out, fundamentally wrong”.(13) Because of wishfully hoping to escape from a teleological Universe, I add!

I crave the reader’s indulgence for this seemingly ill-fitting digression. However, I do not apologize for it. In fact it fits and was necessary. Astronomy is the oldest of the sciences, and revolutions in its realm precipitate upheavals in all human thinking. For the first most simple pre-scientific question we can ask is at the same time the last most profound ontological one that we can ask about all things visible. Is what we see and feel the true state of affairs or a deplorable illusion? Do the Heavens revolve or does the Earth rotate? Scientism, its prophets thinking everything except themselves away(14) and believing they can sit in the Temple of God showing themselves to be God, proclaims the second alternative. I proclaim the first. The difference – allow me to repeat it – between us with regards to the matter here at hand is that those prophets are not aware of their self-made metaphysical starting point, or else prefer not to mention it when they are hammering home their monistic meaninglessness of all that is. On the contrary I freely and openly profess Holy Writ to be my lodestar when I defend here a geocentric, astronomically pre-scientific, view.