You might be unfamiliar with falsifiability. You might also, upon realizing you were unfamiliar with it, have gone to the most holy website to find this pleasant description:
Falsifiability or refutability is the logical possibility that an assertion can be shown false by an observation or a physical experiment.
Now, while most religions are guilty of doing this (and they have to; now that we know what causes lightning, the falsifiable Zeus was demolished. The only God that can remain in a world like ours is one who hides "outside the realm of logic"... or, more bluntly, is unfalsifiable), there's one group in particular that has both irritated and amused me: the "Law of Absolute Right" people who spam their pseudo-intellectual crap inside scholarly magazines like Discover and the Smithsonian.
You'll probably recognize it. That full-page essay with the yellow background that always starts off with lots of references to "science" and "logic"...
So, I'm going to rip this essay apart, bit by bit, because I've had to endure their drivel for months. Stop polluting intellectual magazines, you stupid Wetherill-worshipping zombies!
Scientists have made significant contributions to the safety and well-being of the human race. They have identified laws of nature that explain the functioning of the universe, Earth's flora and fauna, and especially of the physical activities of Homo sapiens. But "why" planet Earth and its occupants exist is still an admitted mystery to them. What follows explains an important part of that mystery.
Yeah, scientists have no idea why planet Earth and its occupants exist. Oh wait... you're making a vague allusion to the colossally stupid idea that science answers "how" questions and theology answers the "why" ones.
For millennia great developmental progress has taken mankind from a simple desire to survive to our present complex systems of social laws and inherited customs. Most readers would agree that despite those man-made systems, human affairs are still in a state of confusion with problems and trouble growing daily.
I'll agree, we've definitely still got a lot of work to do. But please, go on.
We have races pitted against one another, political groups pitted against one another, as well as individuals who pit themselves against one another in their careers, marriages, and sports to name a few obvious areas.
It's called capitalism and natural selection. It's the reason why Coke and Pepsi taste leagues better than all the other cola drinks. It's the reason why McDonald's is so much better than other fast food places. It's why we have such a rich diversity of types of soda, types of food, and fields of expertise. If you blindly think competition is a bad thing... well, you'll make it a lot harder on yourself to earn my respect.
But please, continue.
An appropriate question is, Why? Our answer follows: From the beginning people have been living by their own laws of behavior and inherited customs, but those man-made systems contradict a natural law, causing people to get wrong, troublesome results.
I agree, "Why?" certainly is an appropriate question. I imagine, however, that fields like Psychology, Sociology, and Political Science are more appropriate answers than, "I'll just pull something out of my ass, pay lots of money to run it as a full-page ad in a scholarly magazine, and hope the pseudo-intellectual facade I create in doing so makes people take my moronic idea more seriously."
But you're not even going to bother telling us how the hell you know of this natural law, are you?
The natural law was identified by Richard W. Wetherill almost a century ago and was presented in his book, Tower of Babel, published January 2, 1952. It is a law of behavior that Wetherill called the law of absolute right, indicating that rightness in all human activities is required for successful outcomes.
What do you mean by "rightness"? What determines this "rightness"? What a shallow and naive "law"! "Do good, and good stuff happens. Do bad, and bad stuff happens"?
It is clever, though, you have to admit. We could apply the same principle to weight-loss programs and make a fortune: "Think happy thoughts, and lose weight. Think unhappy thoughts, and you don't lose weight. Now pay me lots of money." How beautiful is that? Now, if your customers say, "You're a fraud and your program doesn't work" you can just respond, "lol ur not doing it right lol."
Unlike the law of gravity, this "law" isn't falsifiable, and is therefore abhorrently nonscientific. Show me a levitating cow that's not being affected by gravity -- just levitating there with no force actively countering the pull of gravity -- and I'll severely doubt gravity as being an omnipresent law of nature. What is there that could possibly demonstrate the "law" of absolute right false?
As a result of Wetherill's identification of the law, he developed a program called humanetics to explain the wrongness of people's attitudes and behavior and how to correct them. Wrongness has not only been destroying people's lives but also increasingly is damaging the environment that supports the life of the planet.
Ooooooh, doesn't "humanetics" sound so official? Plus, you've failed to demonstrate that Wetherill didn't just pull this unfalsifiable "law" out of his ass. Quit feeding me the "oh no, not adhering to my law (and paying me lots of money) is causing all the evils of the world" stuff and actually make your case!
Maybe your plan of advertising this in a scholarly magazine is backfiring, hmm? Yes, we intellectuals will actually read your whole ad (unlike the subscribers to People Magazine, who probably can't read a whole paragraph without getting a searing headache)... but we'll also actually read your whole ad, and see it for the pretentious, non-intellectual posturing it is.
When scientists identify natural laws, they apply their principles to better human existence and well-being -- that is, usually until the nuclear age developed. Scientists could now investigate nature's behavioral law and help to inform people of its principles. Wetherill used words to describe right behavior such as rational, honest, logical, and moral but cautioned that words are just symbols. The law is the final arbiter: Right begets right results; wrong begets wrong results.
I'm not sure I understand the "nuclear age" bit. Are they referring to the nuclear bomb, and how it was used to do the exact opposite of "[bettering] human existence and well-being"? Or, by the following sentence reading "scientists could now..." are they implying that, because Wetherill's naive "law" came about in the nuclear age --
Oh, I see. Normally, scientists identify a law and bend it to serve humanity (i.e. airplanes), but now, in the nuclear age, they "discovered" a "law" which we humans must be bent to. See? They're making an artful, if convoluted, turn of phrase. And here I was all ready to link to nuclear power and the gatling gun to show that good things came from, and destructive weapons weren't exclusive to, the nuclear age.
What are society's results? Are people rational and honest? Or do they act on their own motives to do, be, have, get, and become whatever they desire?
This is why I wanted to write this entry. Acting on your own motives to do, be, have, get, and become whatever you desire IS honest and rational! It's being profoundly honest with yourself, and perhaps the most rational thing you can do is to pursue your goals and desires! God damn your anti-human "law"!
People know they must obey nature's laws of gravity, friction, and all the other laws of physics, but for nearly a century scientists, religionists, educators, and the public have resisted acknowledging creation's law of rightness. Is that sane?
People don't have a choice when it comes to obeying nature's laws. We find patterns and consistencies in nature and call them "laws" (which I argue is a bit of a misnomer), as though we choose to adhere to them to avoid punishment, or something.
Also, this is one of the few times I'll admit religionists are sane. Keep up the resisting, guys! Not that, you know, this stupid "law" is all that hard to resist, anyway.
Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. For millennia people have reasoned from man-made laws and inherited customs over and over again, expecting a different result. Instead, over and over again, humanity has been getting incalculable wrong results. Is that sane?
So... civil liberties are an incalculable wrong result? Are you blind to how much beautiful progress has been made over the course of history, or are you going to cling to your shallow understanding of the world? You're trashing world history as being an insane series of failed repetitions IN THE SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE! Do you read the magazine you're advertising in?!
This essay/ad provides a brief description of the behavior that natural law requires of us. Are we going to comply and get out of the muddled mess of human affairs being caused by acting on man-made laws?
I think we're going to work towards an actual solution to this "muddled mess of human affairs" instead of adhering to some frightfully shallow and naive "law," which I highly doubt could stand up against real ethics.