The relation between the real and the abstract ought to be interesting for rational thinking, since it sets the limit for rational thinking (ie, decides whether rational thinking can reach a single truth, like a “tree of life” and a physical “standard model”, or not).
So, what is the relation between them? Well, paradoxically contradictory, I would say. The paradox is that there is no clear-cut (unambiguous) boundary between them, but that they still are not the same. The relation between them IS the boundary between them itself. It means that if we consider them as different, we have to be ambiguous, and if we consider them the same, we have to be paradoxically contradictory. The rational idea of “a single truth” is thus hidden beyond this double lock.
This double lock may be comprehended as only an abstract semantic problem (ie, a consequence of our specific conceptualization), but the fact that time is relative to speed in space proves that it is also real. It actually exists as a reality.
So, what does this fact mean? Well, it means that all change in this world is doomed to rotate around an empty middle forever; both our rational thinking’s search for a single truth about reality and reality’s own search for a steady state. Nothing can ever stop, because there is no stop.
So, how do we best handle this situation? Well, we do the best we can to to make sense of our situation and create a meaning in our short lives. The situation does, however, mean that this meaning ought not be a search for a rational truth (like a “tree of life” or a “standard model”, but instead ought to acknowledge that reality is incomprehensible. An exception is mathematics. It can understand reality without us understanding how it does.
Science talks about itself in terms of updating conclusions within a paradigm or updating the paradigm. In a modern context, however, these two processes are nothing but updating versions or kinds, like 2.1 to 2.2 or 2 to 3. The idea is that it will sooner or later arrive to a final version. So, will it? I argue that it can’t, but what do you think (or understand).
Rational thinking (ie, science) can only make models of reality and manipulate it, not explain it. The obstacle is that rational thinking just have two possible entrances into explaining reality, one that ends in ambiguity and one that ends in paradoxical contradiction (ie, accepting ambiguity or believing in it). There simply isn’t any possibility offered to explain reality.
Cladistics and particle physics have, however, found two ways to deny this fundamental problem. Cladistics simply believes that this obstacle does not exist, whereas particle physics instead say that it “thinks that it has got” the ambiguty/paradox (calling it “Higgs particle”). Both of them are, thus, wrong. This ambiguity/paradox can we not get rid of neither by denying it nor by finding it. It is simply the end of the road in our quest for understanding.
The savior for rational thinking (science) is that it can conjure using mathematics and quantum mechanics. It can thereby create manipulations of reality that is unexplicable. By this, it can overcome the old need for an explanation of what we’re dealing with. It can handle reality without understanding it. This puts cladistics and particle physics offside.
The problem with rationality (ie, science) as a belief is thus not logical reasoning in itself, but that classification (ie, conceptualization) is ultimately paradoxically contradictory (as Bertrand Russell demonstrated).
The problem with this problem for belief in rationality (ie, science) is that one entrance to logical reasoning (ie, assuming that kinds aren’t real) leads to ambiguity, whereas the orthogonal entrance to logical reasoning (ie, assuming that kinds are real) leads to paradoxical contradiction (which thus is inconsistent per definition by being contradictory), and thus that consistent rational thinking leads to ambiguity, because it means that belief in rationality (ie, science) in practice is belief in ambiguity. Rational thinking (ie, science) can in practice not come closer to reality than comprehending it as an ambiguity, that is, accepting that reality can be equally truthfully described by several contradictory models.
So, the problem for rational thinking (ie, science) as a belief is that it requires belief in contradictory models of reality. Better is to understand that rational thinking (ie, science) is just a tool to handle reality. It can actually accomplish things that appears like magic (in quantum mechanics), but it can never serve as a belief (contrary to what cladists and particle phycisists claim). My recommendation to rationalists is thus to explore the possibilities for rationalism (ie, science) and avoid all discussions about belief. Rationalism (ie, science) can’t prove nor falsify the statement that there is a God, but the mere existence of rational thinking (ie, science) means that there isn’t. This fact is thus not a conclusion, but a consistent assumption.
The difference between science and belief is that science tells what isn’t, whereas belief tells what is. This difference means that science can’t tell what is, because if it could, then this difference wouldn’t be.
The fundamental problem is whether we shall try to verify or falsify statements on what is, and the only consistent solution is that we shall try to falsify them. However, the fact that this problem exists means that science can’t be a belief (ie, can’t tell what is), because if it could, then this problem hadn’t been.
It means that we can’t believe in science, because science can’t produce anything to believe in (on the contrary to what cladists and particle physicists claim). Instead, science is limited to producing methods to manipulate reality. This fact may be hard to digest for some (rational believers and believing rationalists), but this difference does not have any gray zone (or third route). There is no intermediate between belief and rationality. Instead, this problem offers only two alternatives: belief or science.
The difference between science and belief thus means that we have to choose science or belief. I choose science. What do you choose?
Science (ie, rational thinking) mustn’t be confused with belief, because it can’t tell what something is or was. It can just model reality and manipulate it. The reason is that it can’t tell what is true, but just what isn’t true (ie, falsify). It can thereby falsify belief, but not replace it.
Science’s hope is that it ultimately will be able to tell what something is and was by peeling off everything that isn’t and wasn’t, but this is a contradictory hope, since if it could, then it would actually be able to tell what is true, which it thus isn’t. Instead, consistency tells us that this “peeling off” lies is endless. Never will science be able to tell what is and was (and thus be able to replace belief).
So, our choice between science and belief is thus not a choice about what we shall believe in, but rather about whether we shall believe or not. The scientific alternative is thus neither another belief, nor belief in disbelief (eg, atheism), but non-belief. Consistent science (rationalism) simply denies all forms of belief.
But, since science is a method, not a belief, a scientist may well believe in something as long as he doesn’t confuse this belief with his method, because as soon as he does, he’s not a scientist. A scientist is thus a scientist as long as he doesn’t confuse his belief with his method. It may be problematical to entertain a belief at the same time as falsifying beliefs, but it is not contradictory as long as one doesn’t confuse them, just ambiguous. The problem is contradictions, not ambiguities. We can’t avoid both of them.
The idea “a true tree of life” in terms of “species” is inconsistent, actually paradoxically contradictory, by resting of the fundamental assumption that kinds are real (as Russell’s paradox demonstrates).
It means that “a true tree of life” actually is a paradox, ie, a paradoxical contradiction, like whether the barber in the barber’s paradox shaves himself or not – if he does, then he doesn’t, and if he doesn’t, then he does. The idea tilt between two contradictory states.
“A true tree of life” is thus not something that can be found, but just a mental construct, like “God(s)” and “Higgs particle”. None of them can exist in this world, because nothing can both be and not be at the same time. If something could, then this thing would transgress the boundary between reality and dream, and thus also the boundary between is and was, meaning that it would wipe out the difference that the distinction of itself rests on, and thus also itself. It would thus eradicate itself in the moment it comes into existence.
This is the world of contradictions like “a true tree of life”, “God(s)” and “Higgs particle” – an impossibility. They are interesting ideas, but impossible. If rational people do not agree on this, then rationality itself is endangered.
This does not mean that the idea of the biological diversity having originated by evolution is inconsistent, but just that describing this process with “a true tree of life” is. The problem for rationalists is thus to find a rational (consistent) model for this process. The fundamental problem for this search is, however, that it, itself, is exposed to the process of evolution.