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The untenability of scientific materialism (pure reductionism)



In this note I will mention a number of points that will be of interest to those who want to understand which are the weaknesses of the reductionist materialistic philosophy. My point is not that reductionism is an invalid method in science, but that it has many inherent weaknesses and shortcomings. What science should adopt is the notion of multi-term systems, including domains of fact, value and harmony.

That would lead to a very quick integration of fields (academic disciplines) and bridge the schizophrenic gap between science and spirituality.
It may also interest those who want to understand the implications of this discussion on Darwinist theories which are based on the reductionist paradigm.

There are a number of fundamental problems that reductionists cannot explain, except by saying "we do not know yet", coming up with ad-hoc explanations or hypotheses or closing their eyes and minds for these difficulties all together. I'll mention some of the most important of these problems:

  1. The question of the life-force (shows one of the shortcomings of Neo/Darwinism)

  2. Continuity of the sense of self (psychology; argument in favor of Self or Spirit). Think about this deeply!!

  3. The irreducibility of value to fact. See Bennett's “Dramatic Universe”

  4. Identical twins have from birth a markedly different character
    How do you account for that??

  5. Memories of past lives (psychology, neurobiology, neuro-psychology; reincarnation)

  6. Miracle children like Mozart (that pleads for reincarnation)

  7. The intelligence factor; spiritual experiences, such as Out-of-Body-experiences and Near-Death-Experience (shows the shortcomings of reductionist psychology and related fields)

  8. Purposive evolution: goal and purpose of the evolutionary process.
    Pure emergence is impossible: what is needed is involution and evolution as complementary processes. Pure emergence is a Baron von Muenchhausen solution. So, adherents of “emergence” theories suffer of this Muenchhausen syndrome!

  9. The riddle of long term memory (neurobiology, neuropsychology)
    Brain can't hold the trillions of images seen during life.

  10. Self-renewal and maintenance of cells and body. Sheer impossible to have been arisen by evolution. Calculations show total improbability.

  11. Self-organization and hierarchical structure of body

  12. Kirlian photography; Psychometric research; Clairvoyance, telepathy. Premonition. Precognition. Apparitions.

  13. Will-force and matter; movement of the body; Yoga practices of control of body

  14. Binding problem. Well known in brain-science & philosophy.

 I'm sure you can think of additional points and arguments. My goal is not to provide an exhaustive list of arguments contra reductionism as a method (or scientism as a belief system), but to provide some concrete points for discussion and further study. Nor am I aiming for endless definitions and descriptions of terms and concepts. For these things I refer you to Vitvan's writings.

Some remarks are targeted more against reductionist psychology rather than reductionist biology, but in the whole all arguments can be used against reductionism as it is used as a philosophy/methodology within the academic world, in many disciplines . What is needed is holism as a methodology to act as a counterbalance to grotesque reductionism.

I will discuss the first two points of my list briefly, leaving the other ones for later consideration in so far as they haven't been addressed implicitly.

1.The life-force.

 There has been a lot of research on the existence of "spirits" by many famous men.
I'll mention two Nobel-prize winners: Prof. Crookes (A famous chemist in the late 19th century and beginning 20th century) and Professor Charles Richet, Professor of Physiology at the Sorbonne in Paris, member of the prestigious Institute de France. Professors Crookes and Richet have established beyond any doubt that there is a spirit-world and that spirits can manifest themselves in our gross physical world. I'll give you some links here:

www.xs4all.nl/~wichm/paraps.html

www.xs4all.nl/~wichm/presence.html

Professor Charles Richet coined the word for the substance emanating from spirits/medium called "ectoplasm", meaning literally 'exteriorized substance'.

In Isis Unveiled by H.P. Blavatsky , p. 140, vol. I, you can find a discussion on the life-force and will-power. See TUP Online

My point is that these researches, and there is more of this research than I mention here, prove that life can exist without gross physical substance. A subtle matter named ectoplasm has been observed by countless people, including myself, and this proves beyond any doubt that there is more under the sun than our scientists dare to admit. To them I say: "Show a little courage, fellows! Broaden your vision and research these things. It may even win you a Nobel prize!"

Indeed, the life-force is one of the most characteristic phenomena, observable by everyone. This force accounts for the difference between a dead corpse and a living being! How on earth could such an obvious factor have been left out of consideration will puzzle future generations. Yes, I know about Lamarck's vitalism and that his theory contains some errors. But that has nothing to do with such plainly observable forces such as the life-force. Only people that are totally blind to life's facts will deny this force as a principle working through and in gross matter. Scientists should not call themselves scientists when they deny or ignore facts like those observed by Crookes and Richet. That leaves us with uni-dimensional dogmatists, no serious scientists, I'm afraid! Remember , a genuine scientist MUST take ALL facts into consideration and leave room for other, yet unknown factors, etc.

Conclusion: reductionists, including Darwinists, fail to acknowledge subtle factors at work in the human race and in this world. Their method has so many obvious shortcomings that I wonder why it hasn't be abandoned at all. Yes, I know that reductionist theories are supposed to simplify real-life events, structures and functions, but when such theories leave out the life-force nothing more than dead shells are left. More holistic approaches are needed, where the insane and artificial split between the subjective and the objective is healed. Indeed, the work of Vitvan shows us that our so-called "objective world" doesn't exist at all save as images-in-the-mind taken for substantial reality. The real world, however, is a dynamic energy-world. Study myVitvan Highlights series and you will see how the entire Western civilization has made a fatal error in perception of life-facts!

This means that all reductionist based academic disciplines have an inbuilt limitation of descriptive and explanatory power. One word on Darwinism: there are some correct points in this theory according to esoteric teachers (like the principle of natural selection), but the transformation of forms as Darwinist theory preaches is not a fact in nature according to my sources (see TUP Online, Man in evolution, by Gottfried de Purucker). Demand from your teacher an explanation why FACTS are being ignored or ridiculed in the so-called “evolution-theory” of Darwin and consorts (in reality it is a theory of transformism).

 

2. Continuity of the sense of self

Did you ever reflect on the fact that your sense of ego or self-identity is being preserved throughout life? Your body changes, the neural pathways change, but yet it is "you" that has memories of the past, your childhood, adulthood, family and beloved ones. No reductionist can adequately explain this continuity, which is also being preserved after deep sleep. Esotericists will tell you that you are more than your body and that you have a soul and spirit (as religions tell us too). There are enough wonderful stories from great seers and sages and from "ordinary" men and women for that matter, that tell us about communion with spirits from 'beyond', angels, even devils, deceased ones, etc.
The point is, there is more than meets the eye. The sense of self lies deep within each of us. See my Theosophy Basics series and article on the afterlife