In this week’s spotlight I wish to discuss white crows. William James famously stated, “If an axiom states that all crows are black, we need find only one white crow to disprove it.” The relevance of this statement could not have more meaning than in the area of human experience, particularly the realm of so-called supernatural.
We live at a time when many hold science as a new sort of religion, one that has been unaffectionately referred to as scientism. According to these folks, the world of shoes and ships and sealing wax is reducible to evolutionary mechanics—we are but meat machines fooling ourselves into believing that there is such a thing as life after death, let alone a Creator with a capital C. Everything is simply as it is because it is that way—no designer, no after life, no such thing as supernatural, no miracles, and so forth. Further, this thinking also contends that we live in a Reductionistic materialistic world. Reductionism is the attempt to explain complex phenomena in terms of simple laws or principles and materialism is the theory that every complex phenomenon can be explained by analyzing the simplest, most basic physical mechanisms that are in operation during the phenomenon. This philosophy is a form of philosophical monism which holds that matter is the fundamental substance in nature, and that all phenomena, including mental phenomena and consciousness, are results of material interactions. Bottom line, this sort of thinking absolutely refutes any and all metaphysical claims.
Now as an aside, and necessarily so, scientism offers us cultural relativity as our moral compass. Now according to this view, whatever is approved in a culture is right according to that culture, and therefore the appropriate guidance for personal behavior. As such, if a culture finds it perfectly fine to marry off 12-year-old girls, with or without their consent, then that’s just how it is. If a culture finds honor killing appropriate, why not? After all, it’s their culture. So if we are to accept the principles of scientism, there is only right and wrong in so far as a culture decides.
Now I find it noteworthy to point something out here. While many portend to hold the view of cultural relativism, let some culture decide to do away with a segment of their population such as we’ve seen with some of the genocidal activity in the past 20 years, and watch these very same folks cry foul. So do they really believe this relativistic hogwash?
I think that any view that narrowly defines the human experience to Reductionistic mechanistic models is obviously an attempt to insist that all crows are black. Accordingly, and again, we need but one white crow to demonstrate the ignorance of such a claim—and there are many! Nearly every person I have ever spoken with has either experienced a miracle or knows someone who did. Indeed, my book, What Does That Mean?, is all about how everyday miracles literally guide us in our life’s journey. Not only do they prepare us to accept a metaphysical reality but additionally, they often guide us on our path. That said, perhaps that old saying, “You’ll see it when you believe it,” has some bearing here. For when you are certain there is no such thing as miracles, no such thing as a possible interface of other-worldly with this world—well then maybe it is your conviction that will block your awareness.
My thoughts anyway.
As always, thanks for the read and I appreciate your feedback.
NY Time Bestselling Author of Choices and Illusions