What is the Theory of Mind & why did this innate human feature lead to the notion that matter has motivations? Why did Newton's discoveries dispel this notion - creating a dichotomy between life and matter? Why did the adherents of Science extend the automatic, rule governed feature of matter to plants, animals, and even humans? Why is this an Indeterminate Inference? How did this give rise to Scientism – a religion derived from Science? What relation is there between Scientism and the current methodology employed to study human behavior? Why does this lead to an antipathy between Scientism and Information Dynamics?
The Theory of Mind (widely accepted in the scientific community according to Dr. John Medina’s Brain Rules) states that humans tend to perceive and organize the world in terms of motivations.
This ability presumably arose – evolved or emerged – due to our need to organize as complex groups with specialized talents to further our survival as a species. In short it takes an organized tribe to protect the vulnerable female and child during the inordinately long gestation and maturation period of the human offspring. Thus “predicting and manipulating other people within a group setting” became an essential and unique feature of our species. The empathetic thinking inherent to the Theory of Mind – the ability to assess underlying motivations of spouse, children and community – was the way to accomplish this task. Tending to subliminal cues – body language and verbal nuance and inflection – allowed us to assess the motivations of our fellow tribe members as well as hostile communities or species. “They look friendly to me.” – “Then why are they carrying their weapons behind their back?” This was such a successful tool that humans have survived and gone on to dominate the planet’s ecosystem. Indeed it is thought that the success of leaders in maintaining power and defeating enemies was due to their possession of this talent to a higher degree than the rest.
However this innate trait that is uniquely human was also applied indiscriminately and inadvertently to the surrounding world – ascribing human motivations to animals and even inanimate objects – still do. This is what it is to be human.
This tendency and ability could have even played a part in the origination of deities, spirits and the rituals to appease them. “Hmmm? Why are we having a drought? The Sky God must be mad and is withdrawing his nourishing water to punish us – just as I do as a father when my children disobey. Must perform a sacrifice to show proper respect. That will surely make him happy. It would certainly make me happy.”
This empathetic thinking is certainly behind omenology and divination. Humans have long surmised the supposed will of the Universe from fragmentary natural and seemingly random occurrences – such as celestial events and chance encounters. The notion that Heaven reveals its Will through the random is at the heart of the Chinese I Ching and European Tarot card readings. It is well documented that rulers, generals, priests and the commoners in all the major cultural centers – China, Rome and India, have all employed these techniques to divine the future or assess if the reigning deity approves or disapproves. (Note that this logical analysis does not disprove the thesis of divine intervention – just provides an analysis for the mechanism.)
However this tendency to impute human motivations to inanimate objects - spirits of rocks, lakes, mountains, sky and earth – was damaged – although not destroyed - by the regularity and predictability of the celestial orbs, culminating in Ptolemy. These discoveries broke the previously undifferentiated Universe into two parts – Orderly Heaven and Chaotic Earth.
Human curiosity concerning what really were the underlying motivations of matter led to Newton’s impersonal laws of motion. However these obliterated the notion that Matter had any independent motivation, as it moved automatically according to natural law – with no need to ascribe motivations of any kind. This divided Chaotic Earth into Orderly Matter and Chaotic Life.
Further Newton’s Formula for Gravity linked the motion of Earthly matter with the motion of the planets – thereby turning Heaven’s material component into a subset of Matter.
As such these scientific discoveries divided the Universe into Orderly Matter and Chaotic Life.
Although many still impute human motivations to inanimate objects, such as cars and computers, the modern way of thinking is to resist this innate tendency. This is due to the power of science to predict the behavior of matter absolutely and impersonally without the need to take into account any inner motivation on the part of the rock, planet or rocket ship. Indeed those that impute human motivations to the material world are deemed superstitious.
Unfortunately, but naturally, from this logical premise – that matter had no motivations – bleeding occurred. The seemingly logical inference was made that if absolutely immutable laws actually rule the apparently chaotic world of mater – maybe some, as yet undiscovered, immutable laws also rule the chaotic world of life as well. This logical chain is the heart of scientific determinism – one of the implicit beliefs of scientism’s fundamentalists – God as impersonal clockmaker or mathematician.
However the less extreme followers of scientism only applied the derogatory label of superstitious or ignorant to anyone who ascribed human motivations to anything besides humans.
However this is a leap of faith, as no logic bridges the chasm. Despite a concerted effort over centuries by the brightest minds scientists have discovered none of these immutable laws that absolutely govern life’s unpredictable processes – not one. All discoveries are framed in statistical probabilities – the normal curve, correlations, standard deviations and such.
Yet the tendency to assign human motivations to plants and animals has a pejorative connotation to the educated elite. The implicit assumption is that the bearer of the outdated attitude is ignorant or outdated – hasn’t understood the message of the Age of Enlightenment. This sense of superiority is a feature of Scientism, the ideology that is an offshoot of Science. It is a form of scientific superstition, as the logic behind applying our capacity for empathetic thinking to animate processes is indeterminate for Science has neither proved nor disproved the proposition.
Of course the corollary of the above attribution of superstition – another belief of ideology of Scientism which masquerades as Science – is the notion that humans, who believe that the Divine Will reveals its underlying motivations through random events, are also superstitious.
Indeed the unnecessary antipathy between Religion and Science is in part due to this feeling of intellectual superiority on the part of the inadvertent followers of the Religion of Scientism. Although these supposed members of the intellectual elite pretend to be rational, none of their conclusions are based in Science – but are instead based upon an indeterminate correspondence with Science – just a metaphor – nothing else.
Although this is but one feature of the Religion of Scientism, which infects our way of thinking and behavior, the above historical process initiated this ideology of science. Our innate evolutionary ability to ascribe underlying human motivations to our tribe was applied indiscriminately to the universal flux. Science’s discovery that immutable laws ruled the behavior of matter dispelled the notion that matter had motivations. The inference followed that in a similar fashion impersonal natural law might also govern seemingly chaotic Life. Despite no empirical support the inadvertent followers of scientism have developed a complex ideology, which unfortunately organizes their thinking and informs their behavior, based around the faulty extension of Matter Science’s implicit philosophy (the meta-principles of their techniques) to Life.
As we shall see in The Religion of Scientism the entire belief structure of the ideology of Scientism is founded on the correspondence between Life and Matter.
However correspondences are inherently indeterminate and Science must verify them empirically to assign them any level of truth. Although the Formulas of Matter rule the Matter that is one of Life’s component, albeit small, Science has discovered no absolute formulas which rule human behavior except in an extremely limited way. (See Multiple Orthogonal Universes & Emergent Imprecision.) Hence this correspondence remains indeterminate.
On the contrary a fundamental belief of Processism – the ideology derived from Information Dynamics – is that Life does not correspond to Matter.
This fundamental difference – a significant point of departure– will lead to antipathy between the two approaches. Due to a faulty mindset the followers of scientism will inadvertently block the Science of BD. To eradicate this infection these words attempt expose the disease.
This historical approach exposed the failure of Matter Science to adequately describe and predict Life’s Processes. Alternately the Science of BD, founded in the mathematics of fractal decay, an essential process of the animate, is ideally set up to deal with Life. This dichotomy between the Sciences of Matter and Life – the former based in things and the latter based in Process – is going to be a continuing theme that is developed and emphasized in these many modules of thought. We hope to eventually establish that that the techniques of BD are a viable, even more appropriate, alternate to the techniques of Matter Science for solving the problems of an animate process-based nature. In essence BD maintains that the Tao (the method) of Matter is distinctly different from the Tao of Life, while Scientism maintains the opposite.
In summary the original unity of life and matter with their mystical correspondences and common characteristics (which is epitomized by astrology) was split apart by Newtonian dynamics. Due to the productive and functional efficacy of the model scientism, the cult of science, emerged and reconnected these two disparate worlds – reversing the original paradigm by theorizing that the physical universe with its innate forces and immutable principles ultimately ruled the animate. In essence they were reconnecting the worlds of life and matter that had been torn asunder by Newtonian dynamics – saying that the animate had inanimate characteristics. Although there are holdouts the generally accepted view in the current scientific community is that the two worlds are relatively separate - epitomized by the notion of hard and soft sciences.
If interested in the implicit beliefs of Scientism read The Religion of Scientism. If interested in an example of how Scientists tried and failed to turn humans into an impersonal blank slate akin to matter read The Failure of the Blank Slate. For a discussion of some essential differences between Matter and Life check out object vs. process analysis in "Logical Foundations" and content vs. context based equations in "BD's Equations".