Oligarchy and Science, Philosophy, Politics

According to this talk, the Venetian nobility were responsible for a great shift in philosophy, with regards to the Catholic church, the noble societies and well-regarded scientists in Britain, France, and Italy, as well as the resulting wars between Britain and France, culminating in the French Revolution.  They were responsible for Newton’s rise to permanent prominence in Western science and scientific history and they were responsible for the Enlightenment in France.  The perceived purpose, was to create animosity between Britain and France, and, I assume, topple the French monarchy, for defying the will of the Venetian nobility during the reign of Louis XIV.

I find this interesting, only with regards to many of the grenades lobbed by the author.  In short, factions are formed, with scholastic philosophers (?–Do your own research as I did some cursory checking myself to try to put some context around this) on one side, like Leibnitz, and reductionist materialists on the other side, like Isaac Newton.  Hypotheses and a different approach to the scientific method, as well as a reliance on “formalism and authoritative professional opinion.”

“Since the days of Aristotle, they have attempted to suffocate scientific discovery by using formalism and the fetishism of authoritative professional opinion.  The Venetian Party has also created over the centuries a series of scientific frauds and hoaxes, which have been elevated to the status of incontrovertible and unchallengeable authorities.  These have been used to usurp the rightful honor due to real scientists, whom the Venetians have done everything possible to destroy.”

Of additional note is the metaphysics of the primacy of existence vs.  the primacy of consciousness paradigms.  If I am reading correctly, these men promoted the primacy of existence, by supporting a change in methodology.  Instead of reasoning from first principles, and creating hypotheses from existing relationships, they promoted a devotion to the results of experimentation (empiricism) and reasoning from what could be demonstrated and observed objectively.  Being born several hundred years later, of course I am not surprised or in any way bothered by the latter approach.  However, I do not take issue with the former approach, either.  This is where it gets fairly complicated, at least in my view.  In short, I believe Plato’s approach relied on the primacy of consciousness.  Aristotle’s was the primacy of existence.  Aristotle was more of a materialist and believed in objective observation.  Plato started in the mind, in the ‘forms.’ Plato’s overall intention was likely comprehensive, while at least the Venetian/Newtonian camp was individual.  So a ‘descendant of Plato’ might take an idea or a relationship found in one scientific field, and then hypothesize about that relationship in a different field or application.  Then use that hypothesis as the beginning of his exploration.  The ‘descenandt of Aristotle,’ the Newton/Galileo/Descartes …  it is unclear to me the exact approach they would take.  Perhaps they would simply test every permutation and combination of two (or more) variables, looking for reproducible observations, that held consistently.  If so, they would only hypothesize (perhaps) after they began to experiment and record data.

The Venetians were responsible for the rise of Rene Descartes in France, Newton in England, and Galileo in Italy.  Galileo’s views steered scientists overall, away from Kepler’s, and Newton’s away from Liebnitz’s.  Descartes were not covered in the source.  I am inclined to assume similar meddling in the affairs of the scientific community occured in France, to bring Descartes to prominence there.  Newton was described as a charlatan, and a cultist kook, who plagarized the work of Leibnitz.  Galileo was also criticized as having plagarized Kepler’s work.  All in all, while the politics is interesting, I find the science more interesting, and if I am to summarize with little information, it appears the Venetians manipulated the scientific community, for its access to other groups, particularly the nobility and their impact on public support for various causes, and with this manipulation, succeeded in attaining their political objectives.

Personally I am more interested in the scientific implications.  Another writer adds to Tarpley’s work, labels the Venetians as satanists, and points out the ‘principle of poverty’ and the suppression of scientific achievement by the infiltration and subsequent takeover of the scientific establishment.  I am inclined to believe that this is what has occured…as I have observed a deliberate suppression of innovation and human activity that would have eradicated poverty a hundred years ago or more.  What value was lost in the trajectory of scientific inquiry turning away from Kepler and Leibnitz? I have heard of a similar turning away occuring in the history of the Germ Theory vs the Terrain Theory.  Pasteur supposedly plagarized the work of Beauchamp and promoted the germ theory over the terrain theory.  However, in my analysis, and I would say this across all of these controversies, it is unclear what value was lost by turning away from the theory the leaders in each field left behind.  If you ask me, terrain theory makes sense some of the time, it overlaps with germ theory, and sometimes each one comes to the same conclusions.  We know that reductionist Newtonian physicists also often come to the same conclusions as non-reductionists, in some cases.  A brief reading of Newton and a comparison of some of his work to Kepler’s shows that his calculations were derived from Kepler’s.  The quote below addresses some overlap between both Newton and Kepler and Galileo’s work.  With regards to reductionism, the impact is positive (source).

“Theory reduction is the process by which one theory absorbs another.  For example, both Kepler’s laws of the motion of the planets and Galileo’s theories of motion worked out for terrestrial objects are reducible to Newtonian theories of mechanics, because all the explanatory power of the former are contained within the latter.  Furthermore, the reduction is considered to be beneficial because Newtonian mechanics is a more general theory—that is, it explains more events than Galileo’s or Kepler’s.  Theoretical reduction, therefore, is the reduction of one explanation or theory to another—that is, it is the absorption of one of our ideas about a particular thing into another idea.”

Science is ultimately about productivity.  It is about making human energy more efficient.  The only places I see reductionism as counterproductive are when it is applied to human agency and intuition…the notion that we are all just automatons deep down, runs counter to civilizations and human values.  Reducing individual people to complicated computer programs only serves to distract us from improving civilization.  The better our values and relationships with one another, makes us that much more successful, i.e., more peaceful, prosperous, and beneficial to the rest of mankind and our physical environment.  The other place is with respect to religion.  If you believe there is a soul, have at it.  I do not believe theorizing about a soul is necessarily the province of science.  I cannot say for sure whether it is the province of rational philosophy.  The problem there is the scope of rationality.  How can one observe and reflect on something which they are incapable of observing? This is why I do not see the value in philosophizing about the existence of an immortal soul.  I may be echoing the views, interestingly, of a reductionist.  From that I wonder whether there is a non-reductionist perspective on this.  Perhaps that speaks to some of what was lost by these manipulated revolutions in the scientific community.  Overall, if we gain productivity when applying reductionist science, then it may be useful to apply it, assuming all our courses of action are otherwise equivalent in morality and ethics.