Friday, October 30, 2015

Farewell to Reality

[Originally published one year ago. The Bear shows his prescience, but has to admit it's not much of a trick these days.]

Denyse O'Leary writes here about a book, Farewell to Reality, a critique of modern science. Her article addresses the waste of time known as String Theory and its bastard child The Multiverse. Those theories may be flops as science, but they are superstars for atheism. Everybody recognizes that our Goldilocks "just right" universe has astronomical odds against it. However, if you spread those chances around an infinity of 'verses in The Multiverse, you no longer have to have nightmares about a Creator who may care what kind of existence you lead.

We're constantly assured that we would believe in the Multiverse, too, if we could "only understand the math." The trouble is, real scientists who can understand the math are saying it's a crock and science should get back to figuring out real stuff instead of chasing imaginary philosophical rabbits.

It occurs to the Bear that Farewell to Realty might just as well be said about the rest of the world. What actually is, is less important than what people say it is.

For example, there is no amount of murder that could be committed by Muslims in the name of Islam that would cause the "Islam is a religion of peace" refrain to falter. To use a less bloody example, no amount of dialogue will ever be enough to accomplish whatever it is dialogue is supposed to be accomplishing. (The Bear believes the goal is actually dialogue.)

In our own Church, we are seeing that the battle is no longer over dogma. Dogma is in dusty old copies of Denzinger that nobody reads anymore. What is, isn't important. Now it's all about impressions, the buzz. Create enough extra-dogmatical buzz, and anything's possible.

It's really a very neat trick.

I prefer the buzz of bees.
The buzz factor is the reason why it matters what Pope Francis says, and why it matters what we say. Take the Synod. Certainly, the Farewell to Reality side didn't win outright. But they marched out as far as they were able and hammered in their stakes, marking the boundaries of the new consensus that will be growing in the coming year.

To the extent there remains any reality aside from the brute laws of nature, consensus is the only thing that matters. And consensus follows buzz. This is why the Bear feels obligated to contribute to the counter-buzz. If the woodlands are a bit darker these days than they were in the past, that is unfortunate, but not all days are sunny. Perhaps it is easy to forget the moments of humor and fun (at least fun for the Bear) we still enjoy here in Zoar.

The Bear truly hates to disappoint or alienate his readership. Heck someone with the on-line Catholic clout of Michael Voris can't keep his audience happy, so what chance does a poor old bear? Things were easier when all he had to do was ride a bicycle around the ring or drink a bottle of Coca-Cola. Times change.

Physicists playing cat's cradle with String Theory, politicians praising the peacefulness of Islam, and prelates contradicting Christ about marriage. The Bear doesn't see much difference. They all demonstrate how the West, at least, is saying Farewell to Reality. Perhaps one day soon, we will meet a reality that is more insistent than these.

The Bear wonders what we will do then.


  1. Bear you just don't get it: Perception is reality. Change perception, change reality. This is what politicians do. This is what marketers do. This is what the Pope is doing. And it works. Why? Because folks are only shown the good side of the issue, product, religion, whatever. And they really don't want to know what's on the other side or are afraid to ask. We should expect some adults in the room to help us out with this but unfortunately most of them have sold out for things God would not approve of. This includes our dear Pope Francis. He should be ashamed of himself.

    1. Michael, you might want to re-read the little article. The Bear thought that's exactly what he said. Reality is being replaced by buzz. The Church is beginning to be run by marketing campaign. To give a famous example, "Who am I to judge?" Now we have "Mercy." The insidious thing is that these are true, in their place. But they are being used in a "Farewell to Reality" short of way. The same thing happens when scientists make up String Theory, or discover the latest "earth-like planet." They're frauds in an age of frauds.

  2. Michael, after thinking about it, I think we're on the same wavelength. Both you and I agree there is a distortion in reality. I'm extrapolating from the death of science and replacement with theories that explicitly denied a creator. You are saying perception is reality, i.e. what people believe might as well be true.. I think we both would enjoy a world where reality was reality.

  3. You can add Darwinism [“descent with modification”] a.k.a. the theory of evolution that doesn't pass the smell test of a science but is actually a pseudoreligion.

  4. The key problem is the first world is just too prosperous.

    When a society no longer have to worry about eating and have to worry about overeating, when a society no longer has to worry about working itself to death and instead has to worry that it is getting enough exercise, when society no longer worries about finding some time out of the endless day's toil to take an hour to read and instead has to worry about how to manage endless distractions, when you don't have to worry about the darkness outside or the dangers of nature and instead have to take time to get far from the city to avoid light pollution and experience the joys of nature, then society has become seriously disconnected from reality.

    If you're a farmer, you don't think about there being an infinite number of cows in alternate dimension, you just think about that one cow in front of you that's crying out to be milked. Reality forces itself on you and you have no time for this ivory tower navel gazing. One complaint about scholasticism is that it's concerns were was disconnected with anything important in the faith (e.g. the number of angels on the head of a pin). But scholasticism was never as disconnected as modern theology and even the most disconnected scholastic knew that the theology could only be done on one's knees. A theologian who didn't pray and believe the faith was as disconnected from reality as someone who was disinterested in all food being a master chef. Yet this is the world we (in the first world) live. Thank goodness, not all the world is as prosperous, since they are our only (worldly) hope to return to sanity.

    1. Yes, that is an advantage to our little farm here at Zoar. "Reality" won't wait. When the kid is ready to be born, he doesn't make a appointment! I think that is part of what my post "Amused to Death" was about.


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