Friday, April 10, 2009

Reason & Religion

I love Ayn Rand. As a witness to communism and a defender of Democracy and Capitalism, there is no greater voice. Christians may not understand her objectivism, and her foundation tries to argue religion vs reason with Reason winning, and religion being an evil. I don't really argue with that either, since I'm not a very religious person. Consider this, a writing about Objectivity.

Objectivity is both a metaphysical and an epistemological concept. It pertains to the relationship of consciousness to existence. Metaphysically, it is the recognition of the fact that reality exists independent of any perceiver’s consciousness. Epistemologically, it is the recognition of the fact that a perceiver’s (man’s) consciousness must acquire knowledge of reality by certain means (reason) in accordance with certain rules (logic).

This class of theories holds that the truth or the falsity of a representation is determined solely by how it relates to a reality; that is, by whether it accurately describes that reality. As Aristotle claims in his Metaphysics:
"To say that [either] that which is is not or that which is not is, is a falsehood; and to say that that which is is and that which is not is not, is true"

I still don't disagree with that, and wish that secular scientists would remind themselves of it a little more often. I often tell my grandchildren that what they believe doesn't matter, there is a truth that is true whether you believe it or not. Belief in something doesn't make truth more true, nor can it make a falsehood the truth.

To me, reason was how I determined what was true, faith is my belief in what is true, and religion is how I choose to live out my faith. (again, I'm not a very religious I don't live out as close to my faith as I would like, but that's not to be confused with double-mindedness.) To do less would be living a lie. (yes, yes, I'm often guilty of that, too, but it in no way is a reflection of what I believe.)

That brings me, however to the objectivist. A reasonable case for atheism in that the ONLY basis to determine TRUTH is observation and reason.
This means that although reality is immutable and, in any given context, only one answer is true, the truth is not automatically available to a human consciousness and can be obtained only by a certain mental process which is required of every man who seeks knowledge—that there is no substitute for this process, no escape from the responsibility for it, no shortcuts, no special revelations to privileged observers—and that there can be no such thing as a final “authority” in matters pertaining to human knowledge. Metaphysically, the only authority is reality; epistemologically—one’s own mind. The first is the ultimate arbiter of the second.
By their own admission there are shortcomings to this. By definition they build a box of rules that won't allow for "special revelation" and they claim that the only authority is "reality", but what they mean is man's perception of reality, because let's face it if you don't have all the facts, then it's logical to think that you may not stumble upon the truth, let alone the whole truth. By their own definition of reality, they limit truth to their perception of reality.

I find it almost amusing and in direct conflict with Aristotle's simple statement. If you want to be bound by the limitations of the human condition and put yourself in a dark box, it would be easy to see why they'll never be illuminated. Their reality will remain dark and box like. I don't choose to limit my understanding of things to the human condition.

Truth is truth whether you believe it or not, on that we can agree.

1 comment:

Anthony said...

Yeah, I could never buy into objectivism. A is A ... ok, fine. Check your premise. It's all fine too.

But then Rand steps back and questions the three-pound-fallen-brain of the witness. How does that get us anywhere?

I am glad for Rand's contribution to reason and her clever writing approach. But I've moved on.