Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A Day to Remember

Today, history has been made. I am not speaking only about the confirmation of Justice Samuel Alito as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Rather it is the chain of events that have been put into motion by this appointment. So, not only has President Bush triumphed in getting a solid Strict Constructionist Judge on the High Court but he has effected a social change in this country that we will soon see in our daily lives.

Now, with a majority of conservatives on the Bench it is certain that the recent tyranny of the Judicial Branch will soon end and we will see interpretation and not legislation emanate from our Third Branch of government. Scenarios such as the Kelo v. New London case and others of recent memory demonstrate well that the recent presidential appointments are timely. If conservative ideals prosper we will see a return of rights to the people while at the same time a limit on spurious interpretation of imaginary constutional rights.

However, something has happened today that would put dread in the hearts of the Founding Fathers and many Americans throughout the passage of time. Today the majority of the Supreme Court is comprised of Catholics. Could anyone in the history of the world have seen that coming. Albert Pike is rolling his grave. This new surge of Catholics in public service is not only a good thing but it demonstrates. particularly in the judiciary, that Catholics are capable of influencing society in an honest way for the good of the nation. In time it will be seen if American secularism is ready for the objective morals of Catholic culture.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Quid Veritas

These words of Pilate I think sum up the errors of today. In that time Pilate looked upon Jesus the Christ and in the presence of Truth Incarnate asked for truth's definition. Because no punctuation was used in the original texts of scripture we are left to wonder it his statements were made in spite or if they were a true searching curiosity. Either way we all know the result - the Cross. However, the measure of the questions of Pilate are indeed the measure of the modern man in searching for truth and it is the measure of the modern man is his inability to understand or find belief in an absolute.

The enlightenment has done much damage to human civilization. While it is true that as a direct result we have such advances had never been seen before in the empirical sciences. As the grandchildren of the enlightenment we see the fruits which are present in all the things that we do every day. From brushing our teeth to hosting and posting on a blog we find the culture of the enlightenment. We live longer and we live better. The advancement of medicine and technology has been amazing and is a credit to the human spirit and the ability of man to reach for the stars. Yet at the same time there is something lost in the empirical emphasis that was given humanity in the enlightenment.

With all the good that has come from the enlightenment the one problem has been that we have lost a sense of truth. Truth has become something that is defined by the empirical sciences. If the touchstone of truth is empiricism then we have a serious problem. Now, many feel that those who begin with this line of speech are anti-science, however, the Mennonite approach is not a method that I can approve. Yet it must be said that since the the primacy of inductive reasoning was established over the traditional primacy of deductive reasoning we have made little human advancements and in many ways the human condition has remained flat.

Inductive reasoning is roughly what we call the scientific method. It is a method of having a proposition and systematically trying to disprove that proposition. Because of this - as it rests on a logical fallacy - it can only prove probability. Deductive reasoning is the process of moving from premise to premise to achieve a conclusion that proves ones original premise. Through this method one can prove absolutes. While this is all an over simplification we can say the reasons why these work the way they do is because inductive reason begins with a particular and trys to move to a universal and deductive reasoning begins with universals and moves to the particular. In essence this is the great divide of our time.

If one focuses all of their thinking in a way that does not transcend empiricism then one cannot enter into a knowledge of truth. We come again to this same problem that I have elsewhere discussed. Because of this we find a divorce of faith and reason. The empiricist cannot prove the existence of God therefore it must be a pure act of faith. However, the realist can both know and believe because his belief is founded in reason and he can be comfortable in his belief because there is no greater feeling than knowing that ones faith matches truth with absolute certitude.

The problem that I find is that to bridge the gap between those who can only believe in probability and those who believe in truth is nearly insurmountable. When I speak on this issue I am usually met with blank stares. This is not because it takes some esoteric system or language to understand deduction rather it is that most people today have not been given the tools to think in absolutes. The education of today espouses that what is good for you might not be good for me. So, when I say that what is good is good for all I am threatened with a white jacket and a rubber room. Yet it is an endeavor that is worth the time for it is only in establishing, once again, the primacy of deductive reasoning that we will find true advancement in the human condition and not just the conditions of humans.