Isaac Asmiov and the Insanity of Materialism

Part of an ongoing conversation.  Sandy Peterson writes:

“I don’t see a problem with Mr. Andreasson’s theory about something derailing our minds. Even if we are not simply Turing machines, our brains are physical, and when deranged it has a definite effect on us….Thank God we are not completely rational beings ourselves though.”

My comment: Mr Peterson, Please reflect.

Suppose, as some here have said, that the human being, body and soul, is merely a physical system and nothing more. It has no properties that cannot be defined, described and reduced to the physical properties.

But if that were so, there would be no such thing as insanity, or sanity.

Sanity and insanity are difficult to define, but all definitions broadly agree that when your thoughts and memories, perceptions and words line up with and represent and reflect the things, including physical things, that they alledgely reflect or represent, then you are sane, and the more tenuous the relation, or the more skewed, the more insane.

If you see things that are not there, remember things that did not happen, or you think you are a glass of water when you are a Massachusetts landowner, and so on, then this is insanity.

We also call it insanity when a subjective non-physical thing, like a thought or emotion or conception, does not line up with another (more objective) non-physical thing, like a rule, which it allegedly reflects or represents.

Again, objective and subjective are hard to define, but in this case we can call objective those things no man can change by an effort of will and do not depend on our point of view (we cannot make twice two equal five, nor make beauty ugly, make property theft, nor, despite our best efforts, make vice virtue) Subjective are those things which depend on our point of view and for which we are responsible, whether we lack the current strength of will to change them or not: whether or no we assent to the truth, what we seek or seek to avoid, the impulse to deliberate actions.  The truly self consistent materialist would, of course, define this as a null set. To them, all things are objective, nothing subjective.

A man unable to see the moral order we call a sociopath. A man unable to respect that pure abstraction we call law against theft, and abstraction that protect a non-physical property of objects we call ownership, we call a kleptomaniac. A man unable to align his fear of open spaces with his reason (and both fear and reason are non-physical) was call agoraphobic. And so on.

Judging a man insane or sane is not like taking his temperature. We are using a non-physical faculty, our reason, to assess the nature and condition BUT NOT TO MEASURE ANY PHYSICAL PROPERTY OF his non-physical faculty, his reason.

We can measure his blood alcohol level, and we can detect other neurological disorders: but we cannot put a needle in a man’s brain and tell whether or not the sight of the stars would drive him mad, nor measure how many foot-pounds or inches or ergs or seconds of insanity the sight would bring. Insanity is not measured in foot-pounds.

Sanity and madness are judgments we make in our minds concerning how well or ill the minds of another man lines up with real things, both moral rules, and mathematical and philosophical ideas, and physical things.

If it were so human being, body and soul, is merely a physical system and nothing more, then there would be no such thing as madness nor sanity nor any other non-physical judgment of the non-physical state of the relation between mind and reality.

So, not to belabor the point, the Isaac Asimov story is not about the planet Lagash passing through the tail of a comet and having whole continents breath in a vapor that turns out to have an hallucinatory affect on their nervous systems.

It is about men making and awe inspiring scientific discovery about the nature of the universe and their place in it, and reacting, not with the sense of wonder at the intricacy and beauty of creation that normal scientists feel, but with civilization-destroying fear and panic.

The reason why Lovecraft, and other philosophical materialists, have such a low opinion of the human race is because materialism pictures man as an irrational animal, the helpless by product of the environment, or as a meat robot.

Their low opinion is, of course, false to facts, because their metaphysical theory is self contradictory and, if you will forgive the expression, insane.

They also have a low opinion of reason and the power of reason, even those who, like Asimov, pay lip service to it.

I assume someone with a very low opinion of reason taught you to bless God for making man unreasonable, or that you are using the word in some ironic or sarcastic way, to mean that men should do those things which the small-souled skeptics regard as irrational, such as be virtue, or to commit acts of self sacrifice out of love.

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