I am asking precisely the same questions which are asked in the actual A-T literature. For example, see the article “Where is the Evidence for Thomistic Metaphysics?” by Klubertanz, which was published way back in 1958. The title is asking literally the same question I asked. I don’t think it’s antagonistic for me to ask these questions. I’m just repeating exactly the same questions which have been current in A-T literature for decades, and which are still discussed in the literature because they are still relevant. The fact that these questions still haven’t been addressed is one of the reasons for division within those who hold the A-T view in some way.
But I’m happy to modify my language to something more acceptable. Would it be antagonistic to say things like this?
“This, I have to say, is gobbledygook”
“I’m afraid this won’t do”
“On an Aristotelian-Thomistic account, this makes absolutely no sense at all”
Is this language totally ok and non-confrontational? Thanks.
Before the modern scientific era, A-T was science, and was billed as science. During the early modern scientific era, A-T was still regarded as science, and still billed as science. In the later modern scientific era, when it became clear A-T was falsified science, there were several responses. These are four of the most common, from what I can see.
- Deny that A-T science have been falsified, and argue that it is modern science which is wrong. This view is still promoted by some A-T proponents.
- Accept that some parts of A-T science have been falsified, but claim that other parts have not, and argue that modern science is incomplete without A-T science. This is a more common view.
- Accept that A-T science have been falsified, but claim that A-T metaphysics is still valid. This is quite a common view.
- Deny that A-T was ever about science, claim it was always only about metaphysics and never made statements about the natural world, and claim the metaphysics is still valid. From what I can see, this view is totally on the fringe.
When people make the claim that X has changed into Y, but there is absolutely no physical evidence that X has changed into Y, so they claim the substance has changed but the accidents have remained the same, that’s pseudoscience (never mind the fact that Thomas contradicted Aristotle on this point). The very claim that objects consist of changeable accidents perceived by the senses and unchangeable substance perceived only by the mind, and that these are independent of each other, is pseudoscience.
The title of the original thread was " A Thomistic Approach to Chemistry", not “Thomistic metaphysics orthogonal to chemistry”, or “How Thomistic metaphysics is relevant to chemistry”. The thread started with the fact that the Thomistic view of chemistry involves a specific approach to the natural world, which differs significantly from the approach taken by modern science. The original thread started with a post which made scientific claims, and which used A-T statements about nature in order to address matters of scientific investigation.
“hydrogen and oxygen only exist virtually in H2O, which is its own thing, with different properties than either hydrogen and oxygen”
“only macro-level objects with thermodynamic properties exist. Elementary particles/fields and even atoms for the most part exist only virtually as part of a greater object”
“thermodynamics cannot be reduced to a collection of discrete, individual particles”
These are not metaphysical statements about “the philosophy of chemistry”, these are specific empirical claims about the physical properties of objects in the natural world.
You may nor may not know that A-T is still being used by certain A-T proponents to try and resist the conclusions of modern science. For example, it is used to deny evolution, and modern science as “materialist” and “reductionist”.
My hope is that the ID movement can move toward an Aristotelian and Thomist critique of Darwinism. It is the most effective way — I think the only really effective way — to kick out the foundation of Nominalism and Mechanical Philosophy on which Darwin and his children built their fiction.
In fact when people raise objections to modern science on the basis of its alleged “modernism”, “materialism”, “Epicureanism”, and “reductionism”, A-T is not far behind, and is often cited in support of the argument (we’ve seen that happen repeatedly on this forum). The primary motive of people who raise A-T in discussions of modern science, is virtually always religious. Entire swathes of Catholic doctrine depend on A-T epistemology. That’s why arguments like this result.
Since A-T’s claims on matters such as natural law are used to inform theology and morality, it has a direct impact on many other aspects of life. Historically it has not only crippled scientific progress, but upheld misogyny, imperialism, colonialism, and a host of other evils. Even today it remains immensely influential on social and religious policies on issues such as reproductive rights and gender rights, which has a massive negative impact on the daily life of millions of people. In my view A-T is not only pre-modern science, but incredibly bad theology and extremely poor morality.