My Thoughts

There is a short story—are these written anymore—by Edgar Allan Poe in 1848, The Purloined Letter.[1] One of the characters, C. Auguste Dupin, in the brief narrative lays claim that the suspected purloiner of a letter which contained damaging and sensitive information which was being used as blackmail was both poet and mathematician and that as such he would reason well; “as mere mathematician, he could not have reasoned at all, …” The narrator of the tale, thus responds, “You surprise me by these opinions, which have been contradicted by the voice of the world. You do not mean to set at naught the well-digested idea of centuries. The mathematical reason has long been regarded as the reason par excellence.”

The mathematicians, I grant you, have done their best to promulgate the popular error to which you allude, and which is none the less an error for its promulgation as truth. With an art worthy a better cause, for example, they have insinuated the term ‘analysis’ into application to algebra. The French are the originators of this particular deception; but if a term is of any importance –if words derive any value from applicability –then ‘analysis’ conveys ‘algebra’ about as much as, in Latin, ‘ambitus’ implies ‘ambition,’ ‘religio’ religion or ‘homines honesti,’ a set of honorable men.

This is important. What C. Augusted Dupin observes as “none the less an error for its promulgation as truth” is very much in vogue today; in fact, it is the most egregious error for which we have been unknowingly immunized. Think about it.

“Abusive,” along with “dangerous” and “harmful,” is a word that has been weaponized by censors, because it can be stretched to cover virtually any expression they may wish to discredit. In the early days of tech, it referred to indisputable “abuses” of communication systems, like phishing, spam, and malware. Now it encompasses a huge variety of flexible terms that allow tech companies to censor at will—among them “fake news,” “misinformation,” “hate speech.” What do these words mean? Where did the words come from and who decides what is “fake”? Is there an agreed definition? More important, which definition is Google or Facebook or Twitter using?[2]

In a lengthy dialogue between the narrator and C. Auguste Dupin, Poe has Dupin expound upon his uncompromising view of the abuse of reason and in a sidewise skewer of much of the “scientific” community—he limits himself to mathematicians and argues that reason is useful only for the abstractly logical, that “mathematical reasoning is merely logic applied to observation upon form and quantity.”

I dispute the availability, and thus the value, of that reason which is cultivated in any especial form other than the abstractly logical. I dispute, in particular, the reason educed by mathematical study. The mathematics are the science of form and quantity; mathematical reasoning is merely logic applied to observation upon form and quantity. The great error lies in supposing that even the truths of what is called pure algebra, are abstract or general truths. And this error is so egregious that I am confounded at the universality with which it has been received. Mathematical axioms are not axioms of general truth. What is true of relation –of form and quantity –is often grossly false in regard to morals, for example. In this latter science it is very usually untrue that the aggregated parts are equal to the whole. In chemistry also the axiom falls. In the consideration of motive it falls; for two motives, each of a given value, have not, necessarily, a value when united, equal to the sum of their values apart. There are numerous other mathematical truths which are only truths within the limits of relation. But the mathematician argues, from his finite truths, through habit, as if they were of an absolutely general applicability –as the world indeed imagines them to be. Bryant, in his very learned ‘Mythology,’ mentions an analogous source of error, when he says that ‘although the Pagan fables are not believed, yet we forget ourselves continually, and make inferences from them as existing realities.’ With the algebraists, however, who are Pagans themselves, the ‘Pagan fables’ are believed, and the inferences are made, not so much through lapse of memory, as through an unaccountable addling of the brains. In short, I never yet encountered the mere mathematician who could be trusted out of equal roots, or one who did not clandestinely hold it as a point of his faith that x squared + px was absolutely and unconditionally equal to q. Say to one of these gentlemen, by way of experiment, if you please, that you believe occasions may occur where x squared + px is not altogether equal to q, and, having made him understand what you mean, get out of his reach as speedily as convenient, for, beyond doubt, he will endeavor to knock you down.

I make mention of this passage solely because so much is made these days of “the science” without so much of “science” and “scientists.” Should one be willing or forced to listen to the “experts” and the politicians and their propagandists, “the science” is to be believed because a majority of opinions surveyed believe it to be true. Epidemiologists, virologists, microbiologists, and other actual “scientists” must be silenced if their scientific findings fall outside the narrative espoused by “public health” officials who are not actually scientists but bureaucrats and wannabes. Tedros Adnahmo Ghebreyesus, the current director-general of the World Health Organization, is neither medical doctor nor scientist. Dr. Anthony Fauci, has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984 (36 years should anyone wish to count,) although a physician, is an immunologist, a bureaucrat, an administrator, and decidedly not a scientist of any significance. Dr. Deborah Birx is an American physician and “diplomat” who has served as the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator since 2014.      

There is a marked and honest difference between “the science” and “science”, one that we all should become aware. Anyone who speaks of “the science” is talking of what they know nothing about, it is a euphemism used to convince you they know something of which they know nothing or more than likely what little they know is undoubtedly, unscientifically wrong; those who use “the science” to bolster their argument are politicians and bureaucrats with something to sell and it “ain’t what’s good for ya.” Whenever a competent, qualified scientist speaks of “science” and the scientific data obtained through either experience or experiment, listen to them.  Wake up America.

Just my thoughts for a Tuesday, for what it is worth.


[1] Edgar Allan Poe, The Purloined Letter, 1848,
http://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper/POE/purloine.html.

[2] Allum Bokhari, #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trupm Movement and Steal the Election (New York, NY: Center Street Hachette Book Group, 2020). 17-18.

Deacon Chuck

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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