- We believe in the scientific method.
- We believe the scientific method cannot produce every idea the mind can think, including – notably – many of the conjectures that are the basis for scientific experiments.
- We believe that claims the mind cannot evaluate using the scientific method should be called metaphysical claims.
- We believe a good example of a metaphysical idea is the imaginary number i (the square root of negative one). We are aware that modern science cannot function without the number i (along with many other metaphysical constructs). We take this as evidence that there is an interaction between scientific and metaphysical ideas. They are not, as some would have it, non-interacting (though bad ones often are). Claims that metaphysical ideas – for example, that God exists – are beyond the reach of science are therefore invalid.
- We believe that given the above – given that metaphysical claims are not beyond the reach of science, but that the scientific method cannot be used to evaluate them – some other method must be used to evaluate the scientific validity of metaphysical claims.
- We believe the proper method is compatibility. Metaphysical claims can be more or less compatible with the findings of modern science – they can depend upon science for their content, and they can accomodate future scientific findings. In particular, if we conceptualize science as being a hierarchically organized dataset, with higher levels implicitly accounting for the contents of lower ones, then the higher the level of science accounted for by a metaphysical claim, the more compatible it is with the whole of modern science. Thus a metaphysical system that explains the existence of aardvarks (but no more than the existence of aardvarks) is not as compatible with science as one that explains the standard model of physics. Further, a metaphysical system that cannot, even in principle, accommodate the existence of the Higgs boson, is just as compatible with science as one that can prior to the development of empirical proof for the Higgs boson, but is less compatible with science following the development of this proof. Finally, a metaphysical system that produces a conjecture that, when tested using the scientific method, advance scientific knowledge is more compatible with science than a metaphysical system that did not produce the conjecture.
- Because we are human beings first, and scientists second, we are interested in the totality of the thoughts the human mind can think, and not merely that fraction that are produced through the use of the scientific method. For this reason our interests are not confined to the boundaries of science. Rather, we aspire to discover a metaphysical system that is compatible with science.
- We believe that in constructing such a system, nothing is lost if it makes extra-scientific claims. That is, if two metaphysical systems explain all of modern science, but one explains no more than modern science while the other is deductively elaborated to produce additional, non-scientific, claims, neither is more or less compatible with science; they are both equally compatible with science. For example, if the imaginary number i is useful
- We believe the extra-scientific claims of a metaphysical system may provide (empirically testable!) benefits to those who entertain them. For example, a metaphysical system might contain as a potential, or elaborate as an option, an extra-scientific model of morality, or justice, or beauty.
- We believe that a metaphysical system that is elaborated to spell out various moral and aesthetic implications, but that is fully compatible with modern science, will have implications for many religious systems and may represent a novel, satisfying metaphysical framework for finding meaning in life.
- We believe that entropy, being a scientifically and morally dense concept that plays a key role in explaining physical, biological, moral, and informational phenomena, is the type of concept destined to play a key role a mature, non-religious understanding of our place in the universe. For this reason, and also somewhat whimsically, we will refer to that community of thinkers seeking the empirical metaphysics described above as The Church of the Second Law.
- We don’t believe in conducting our services in Latin. We believe that while details will be lost in translation (for example, the translation from mathematics into English), the essence can be extracted from even complex scientific concepts, and then the essence of the essence extracted, to produce ever more accessible if abstract descriptions of the principles and findings of science. We believe that levels of complexity can be created, allowing members to advance in their understanding from general principles to specific facts at their own pace. We believe in democratic science and democratic metaphysics.
- Consistent with the Second Law, as well as common sense, these articles of faith are open to perpetual revision.
Articles of Faith for a Church of the Second Law
October 2, 2012
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