The Baconian Phrase: A Just Relationship between the Mind and Things
In a discussion paper read to the Science and Religion Forum 9 April, 1976 biologist and academic Geoffrey Dobbs noted that Science shares a dimension with Religion beyond the cerebro-verbal plane of academic philosophy, and that is: “namely that of the external world, in that its thoughts and symbols must be ‘bound back’, in detail, to an external, non-cerebral, non-verbal, reality.”
It is of the essence of the scientific method that theory must constantly be checked by observation and experiment.
It is of the essence of religion that the professed faith must be put to the test of practice, both on the individual scale, and on the more visible, general, social scale.
It is of the essence of words and of symbols of all sorts, that their connection with the referent is indirect – entirely through the human mind, and hence easily confused or diverted or even inverted.
And he saw it as natural enough that a scientist should view with some skepticism and distrust any lengthy or complex verbal process which is not constantly tied back to some observable reality, and to demand of it: “What does this mean in practice?” …
He felt he couldn’t stress this point too strongly. Unless it is realised that every conception of the universe and of man’s place therein must issue in its resultant policy, it is not possible even to begin to consider, or discuss, or compare, the validity of different conceptions, or to study the vital process of religation (binding back) in any detail or with any understanding.
Expression in Practical Affairs – Binding Back
He believed that if the word ‘religion’ was restricted, as it usually is, to the organised Religions, or to a belief in God, or in the supernatural, those who reject these conceptions and adhere to atheistic, humanist, or materialist beliefs are never challenged to formulate their ideas and to relate them to policy.
He saw the policies which most of these people openly pursue are based upon assumptions about the universe and about man’s place in it which are every whit as much based upon faith as are the more precise statements formulated in the (Christian) Creeds, and called for the nature of this faith to be revealed or exposed.
He insisted: the world cannot even start to escape from the present confusion, or begin to develop, in the Baconian phrase: “a just familiarity between the mind and things”.
As for those who were calling for Science subjects to replace Religious subjects in the schools, he noted: “Science, does not deal with ‘values’, as does Religion, it deals with observable facts.
The two ‘religions’: Trinitarian Christianity and various forms of Materialism tending towards Anthropotheism, religate (bind back) in widely different ways.
Policies implicit in these various concepts of the universe should be understood, and their religation, or expression in practical affairs, should be studied in detail, and, moreover, studied with integrity and by acute intellects, since the situation is far from simple.
Dogma and Doctrine
Now that ‘dogma’ and ‘doctrine’ have become ‘dirty words’, there are so many vague ideas passing under the name of Christianity that their relegation has become desperately confused; while on the other hand, most of the materialists and evolutionists have never verbally formulated their beliefs at all, so that in practice the only way of arriving at them is to work back from the real policies which they generate.
A further complication arises from the fact that many people suffer from a sort of religious schizophrenia, professing a Christian philosophy which they attempt to religate (bind back) in their ‘private’ lives, while supporting in public affairs an anti-Christian policy, derived, very often, from dialectical materialism which they have absorbed unconsciously through environmental pressure from their colleagues and from the mass media. The individual case, therefore, if not fully analysed, can be very misleading; but, even so, certain broad outlines in the relation between belief and policy can at least be discerned.
Dr. Dobbs full paper can be studied here…http://alor.org/Library/Dobbs%20G%20-%20Religation.pdf
As the new federal parliament gets under way, one does wonder how many members of that parliament will 'humbly rely on the blessing of Almighty God’ and how many Australians will study in more detail the relation between the beliefs and policies of their Representatives in the House of Representatives and the Senators in the Senate, the House of Review.... And most importantly, how many Australians will correspond with their local politician on important issues. How can they know how to represent your views/interests if you don't let him know?