Tuesday 4 October 2022

Authority and/or method does Not guard-against subjective self-deception, but the opposite - in the realm of spirit, as much as in science

Since the advent of 'modernity; people have been - quite reasonably - concerned about the possibilities of subjective self-deception

But this has typically been dealt with by the false idea of 'seeking external evaluation'; without any recognition that all external systems, models, sources and methods of external evaluation are prone to exactly the same problem of self-deception - but hidden by layers of incomprehensibility and complexity; and therefore ignorable. 

I first confronted this in science; which has been widely regarded (in The West) for the past several centuries as the best and most reliable source of knowledge - exactly because it claims to have an objective method and external systems of evaluation.

Yet, when we look at 'science' as it has become over the past several decades (most evident since early 2020) - we ought to be able to perceive that this is nonsense; because 'science' is neither valid (ie true) nor even reliable (ie stable) - but instead fails to satisfy even common-sense efficacy, and spins like a weathervane to track socio-political imperatives. 

This is evident from the inside of science, where I dwelt for much of my professional life; and where we can perceive the endemic and near-total prevalence of dishonesty. And that this corruption of science stems not from defective 'methods' (which have indeed been 'improved'... at least according to the lights of mainstream science methodologists) but from defective motivation

When one has observed the indifference of scientists to truth - and especially among the most famous, successful, powerful and prestigious scientists; one can infer that the successful era of real science was never about method; but instead was about motivation.  

It was the motivation to seek and speak truth that drove science, and made its validity and reliability.

Once that motivation was subtracted, then science became corrupt - and the expansion of 'methodology', the systems of 'external validation' (such as the evil nonsense of 'peer review') merely concealed- and distracted-from this corruption. 

The same applies in the realm of the spirit. 

It turns-out (as we can see from a glance at the gross dereliction of All the major Christian churches, most evident in 2020) - the vast apparatus of authorities, scriptural scholarship, and methods; has been utterly ineffectual in preventing wholesale corruption and co-opting of the churches to the agendas of globalist totalitarian evil.

It turns-out that external validation only reinforces error; and thereby prevents repentance. 

If not, then what? If not external and group-orientated validation, then what? 

Well, the answer is internal and personal validation: individual discernment. 

But what prevents personal discernment from becoming merely an exercise in wish fulfilment, incompetence, delusion or self-deception? 

The answer is - for Christianity just as for real-science - motivation

If one is motivated to seek and speak truth about God, creation and Jesus Christ; then over the long term, one will naturally repent and discard error - whenever and in whatever form error emerges.  

There is no method but motivation, no authority but motivation. 

Someone who is not genuinely motivated to know God, will not know God - and will find a million ways of covering and denying his errors.  

But someone who is motivated to know God has a million ways of discovering when he has erred; and of discovering true authorities (if any), true scripture, true methods - and truth in a million other places. 

And when he makes a discovery of his own error, there is nothing to stop him repenting; because he will not wait upon the say-so of external authorities/ scripture/ methods etc. 

When science was real, errors made little difference, because in a community of the honest - errors of truth were naturally detected and willingly discarded. But now that we have a system and method of fake-science, and science is defined as membership of this community - truth is of zero concern; and errors are adopted and maintained whenever, and for as long as, they are expedient. 

The analogy of science with Christianity and the churches is exact. 

The answer in both science and Christianity is for truth-motivated individuals to seek for themselves; confident that in a reality created by God our loving Father; he will always, in the end, be able to discover as much truth as he needs for the purposes of this mortal life. 


Sean Goes said...

I was mulling this very topic over this morning as I noticed some part of me still occasionally grasping for outside assurances. But the only sure mooring I have ever found is in my heart.

I needed to read this at this precise moment.

Avro G said...

This is very helpful. Science – and everything else, e.g., politics, medicine, banking – is only as good as the hearts of the people who do it. Without that most Christian of habits, repentance, the discarding of what is worthless and toxic in favor of what is solid and wholesome, there can be no truth or trust in anyone or any institution.

SanSaba1 said...

At first I was going to say that if this concept (particularly the concept that the external sources of validation can be corrupted) could be understood by the majority, then we would have an opportunity to leave this state of mind that plagues us behind. However, I sense that on some level this actually already is understood by the majority, there's an intrinsic understanding that the consensus option can be wrong but the desire to be part of the "in group" overwhelms any desire for truth. The locus of personal identity is so inextricably intertwined with the need for these external sources to be correct, valid, authoritative etc., that to cast doubt on these sources of authority is unimaginable for many. One might even call it "heretical". And those who do cast doubt are the heretics of our age.

Ron Tomlinson said...

>There is no method but motivation, no authority but motivation.

Current popular ideas about how to learn include things like the 10,000 hour rule and spaced repetition. But it's really about motivation, isn't it.

Who is going to practice for ten thousand hours? One who is strongly motivated to practice. Who is going to do well in exams at school? One who is motivated to please his parents. And so on.

However, when it comes to a consensus framework within which to formulate and evaluate new ideas, isn't there an intermediate case?

I'm thinking of peer review or somesuch but the handful of authors and bloggers whose work you consistently read and re-read. Not because of their prestige or popularity but because it's exciting and they seem to speak to you personally. You can't help but go back to their ideas regularly with no effort or planning required.

They are surely a valuable asset. For instance, without them I'm not sure in my case whether I would have avoided the peck.

Bruce Charlton said...

@RM - You might be interested by the various discussions of inner ('endogenous') motivation in my Genius Famine book (with Edward Dutton): https://geniusfamine.blogspot.com/

Alexeyprofi said...

I think that a lot of what you call an endogenous personality is actually a characteristic of introversion. I have found Italian psychotherapists who have researched the subject of introversion, and they say that introverts typically have a preference for adults over peers, a concentration on the inner world of ideas, and an increased need for individuation, which, together with a lesser need for external stimuli, causes them to be independent from the outside world. http://www.nilalienum.it/Sezioni/Aggiornamenti/Psicopatologia%20dinamica/Introversione/Vademecum.php

Lady Mermaid said...

Well said. The phrase "science corrects itself" is extremely foolish and arrogant. It assumes that science is a perfect system that will expunge errors regardless of the people involved. The truth is that scientists, like priests and pastors, are ultimately men. They will err. However, repentance is the key to resolving the corruption. The problem is that people today do not want to repent. For example, Denmark has quietly stopped giving out peck shots. The government refuses to acknowledge any health problems that may have resulted. Nope, just sweep it under the rug and hope the people forget about it.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Ap - You are assuming that introversion is primary and dominant over other traits, about which I am unsure. I agree that the Eysenck conceptualization of Introversion is one of the traits of genius - but the term is misused a lot nowadays to mean unsociability. And there is a non-normal distribution of Eysenckian introversion - in that extraverts are much commoner, and women are more extravert than men; which modern personality theorists don't like, and distort the questionnaires to minimize!

Bruce Charlton said...

@LM - Indeed. Without clear and explicit repentance (We Did Wrong, and a resolution to change this) organizations will continue doing whatever they did.

Failure to repent thus is a clear sign of corruption - and how we can know that the mainstream Western Christian churches are all now corrupt.

Ron Tomlinson said...

>You might be interested by the various discussions of inner ('endogenous') motivation in my Genius Famine book

I liked this book, thank you, and the following thought occurred to me.

In your discussion at the end of Chapter 8 you subdivide the Endogeneous Personality into two types: the creative type and the contemplative type.

I wonder if the contemplative personality is one that recognises his fallen nature and the profound need for inner work (repentance and so on). Therefore he is committed to that.

If so, and given that we are all fallen, it seems to imply that the creative genius is at an earlier stage of spiritual development, still caught up in materialistic concerns. Yet however naive he may be he has this spiritual path to follow. The path lies in creating things in this world, and it might explain the extraordinarily high level of commitment to his work.

Bruce Charlton said...

I suspect that in the past Men were always - to some degree - spontaneously aligned with the divine creation at an unconscious level. Therefore they would not need to realize that they were fallen, did not need to be Christian etc.