Skip to content →

Logical Inconsistencies

In a recent New York Review of Books, Freeman Dyson, one of the men who, almost sixty years ago, help prove that quantum electrodynamic was renormalizable, reviews a recent book by Daniel Dennett called “Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon.” If I understand him correctly, Dyson is unsympathetic to the view that science is the only way to understand the world.

This reminds me of a pet peeve of mine. I dislike the idea that, since humans are made of matter and matter obeys scientific laws, you can use (current) theories of matter to explain everything about human beings. Every theory of matter is based upon the more primitive and often unconscious notion that you can come to an independent conclusion about truth, at least of the scientific kind.

Anyone who tries to persuade you that you satisfy totally deterministic laws is then moving their mouth and vibrating the air in a predetermined way that, if they are correct in their argument, means you have no obligation to hear out the words they believe they cannot avoid uttering.

Published in blog