The Death of Philosophy

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In 2011, vaunted scientist Stephen Hawking announced the death of philosophy.  His premise is that philosophy has not kept up with modern physics.  Hawking, judging from his writings, is probably quite happy about the death of philosophy.

I am in no position to argue with Hawking’s science.  What I am in a position, I believe, to do, is compete with Hawking, and many other current and popular scientists, such as Richard Dawkins, on a philosophical level. It is precisely because of the death of philosophy, that brilliant scientists such as Hawking draw fallacious conclusions.

First, let me admit that philosophy and science are intimately linked, like Siamese twins; two entities sharing common  systems.  It is impossible to speak of science without invoking some philosophical insights.  Many new scientists despise this idea. To them, philosophy involves metaphysics, which is related to that dreadfully unscientific thing called religion.

These scientists want to keep science and religion separated. It enables them to control the message, which is that if a person is religious, he is by definition  anti-science. And since we all know that science is “true”, we must conclude that suppositions of scientists are true, and that those reached by theists are false.   What many modern scientists cannot abide is that religion can be based on science.

But science, in and of itself, tells us little about what conclusions we should draw from scientific revelations. Science does a rather poor job in answering the child’s first question: Why? 

Why is the grass green? Because of chlorophyll, of course. But why? 

Why should I not kill the human next to me, and take his wallet? The Nazis divorced high science from real philosophical or religious thinking. The result was Zyklon-B and gas chambers. They knew, from science, to a sufficient degree, what the poison gas would do to human bodies, but they could not decipher the reasons not to use it in such a way.  Science cannot save humanity, hence the invention of the atom bomb and artillery shells and reality television….

Why is there something instead of nothing? Ask scientists why often enough, and you will get a response similar to the frustrated parent answering a string of whys from a 5 year old: “Shush“.  Like that parent, some scientists don’t want to admit that they don’t know the answers.  I am always amazed by the juvenile understanding that some world class scientists seem to have of the philosophic weaknesses of their arguments. Why do humans like music? Why do humans have language? Science rarely makes itself look so ridiculous as when it exercises itself through “evolutionary psychology” or makes any attempt to explain the exact reasons for a certain trait in a species.

The death of philosophy not only harms science, it harms religion. Christians, in many cases, find it difficult to defend their beliefs, with notable exceptions. Even a tertiary knowledge of philosophy would better arm them.

Indeed philosophy’s demise even results in faulty intelligence analysis and bad military strategy for America. A 50 minute class on deductive reasoning from a teacher who knew what they were talking about, may have saved the United States billions of dollars and thousands of lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If the unexamined life is not worth living, modern America seems a wasteland of meaninglessness. Little Johnny cannot determine why knowing and understanding American history is more important than anything that can be gleaned from Jersey Shore.  We have and will reap the whirlwind because of this.


5 thoughts on “The Death of Philosophy

    ajmacdonaldjr said:
    August 24, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    I agree. Hawking has been (and is) working within a paradigm with fatal anomalies. He’s an “inside the box” thinker, and the box he’s in is full of holes.

    As you point out, Hawking’s premise is that philosophy has not kept up with modern physics, but the fact is modern physics hasn’t kept up with modern physics. He needs to read and agree with Lee Smolin’s: “The Trouble With Physics”, but he never will. Smolin was able to break out of the box, but Hawking never will. Physics, as Smolin points out, hasn’t made any progress in 80 years… and the progress physics made 80 years ago is now being called into question.

    There’s a lot of pseudoscientific assertions be thrown around by popular science writers and buffs, which they bolster using a lot of bluster and bullshit, designed to make religious peoples look stupid. Fortunately, people like you and other philosophical thinkers are able to see through the popular science apologists use distracting smoke and mirror techniques.

    You might be interested in a book I wrote on this subject, which is available in paperback, e-book, and free e-book editions online here:

    Lou said:
    August 24, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Our little town of 25,000 recently made national news with the murder of a young baseball player by three teens who were bored and killed “for the fun of it.” There’s lots of discussion on the why’s and how-could-you’s and, of course, the race thang has been much talked about. But this was not a race issue. This was about a lack of understanding – these teens had no value for life. While we try to pour knowledge of science and math into our kids, value lessons – God, love, philosophy, etc. are left out.

    VXXC said:
    August 24, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    “science and religion separated.”

    No. Science is the High Church of our Ruling Academic Priesthood.

    They simply will have no rival gods. Especially Christianity.

    The Low Church is Diversité, égalité, Merde.

    VXXC said:
    August 25, 2013 at 12:14 am

    Start looking at it from terms of Power and Machiavellian analysis [or Intel analysis] to get a clearer picture of Why, Who, Whom. This is about Power, not Truth.

    Royce said:
    August 25, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    If you carefully read the documents written by scientists regarding origin of the universe, origin of life, and evolution you will find these papers are filled with quallifiying adjectives like, assumed, believed, and estimated. The reality is that modern science is based on faith much like religion.

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