Friday, 18 February 2011

The Sock Goblin Cometh

I was a self-identifying sceptic, a cold-hearted reductionist materialist set on dehumanising nature and pushing science as more than merely a profession of what scientists do. The a priori rejection of the immaterial, I thought, was vindicated by its empirical success. After all, we have cars and computers and cats in all different shapes and sizes. I don't care much for cats for they haven't been selected to be tasty, but that's another issue[1].

I haven't abandoned science, even if it's demonstratively little more than applied collective belief[2]. Because despite Thomas Kuhn showing that shifts in paradigms were nothing short of religious conversions[3], and Stephen Hawking admitting that no theory is better than another[4], it's hard to deny that there's something to the methodology. The moon landing may have been a hoax, but to stage the hoax would have required sufficient technology. So either way science is vindicated[5]. But the a priori dismissal of the non-material is an untenable position.

I speak of course of a phenomena we've all experienced: missing socks.

In my cold-hearted nature-denying materialist dogma I would have come up with any number of explanations to explain those missing socks. Maybe they'd fallen down the side of the washing machine, or gotten into any number of small cracks. or perhaps it's a question of memory, that I wasn't good at keeping track of socks that got thrown away over long periods of time. Or perhaps a tumour was growing in my brain that made me think I had more socks than I really did. I'd come up with any number of these materialistic accounts, yet none of them seem sufficient to explain the phenomenon.

But I can't run from the undeniable truth any longer. The epistemology and pointed out a flaw in the ontology[6], and thus the only tenable position is a rejection of my a priori commitments on empirical grounds. Missing socks are the proof of the supernatural agents that haunt our world. These supernatural agents are the sock goblins - scourge of socked civilisations.

I'm sure you materialist dogmatists out there are wondering why supernatural? Surely if there are agents acting in our world then they're as natural as us. But natural beings that would be large enough to carry the socks wouldn't be able to get into the building. A dog using a lock-pick? That's crazy talk. Next you're going to say the Intelligent Designer that made us in their image was an alien! Quite clearly it has to be supernatural because the materialist framework has physical limits that would have to be violated. Thus supernatural.

And why an agent? Because an agent explains the fine-tuning of the missing garments. It's not underwear or shirts that go missing too. Explanations like disintegration or wormholes opening should give an indiscriminate pattern. But the pattern fits the socks so precisely that any materialist explanation needs to account for that. An agent is the only plausible explanation for the phenomenon of missing socks.

This opens up a metaphysical research problem, one that shows the limited boxed nature of the reductionist agenda, and can embrace the holism that fits the sense of narrative much better. For example, the sock goblin could answer the question of why there is something rather than nothing. The universe exists for us... to make socks. After all, the laws of physics are exactly the way they are to allow for the existence of socks[7]. This should also give us a purpose in life, that we are on this planet in order to make socks.

Morality can best be explained this way too. Clearly we need to be good so that we live in a society where socks can be freely manufactured and bought. And what is more good than providing tender warmth than giving socks on Christmas? Our survival as a shoe-wearing society is intricately tied to the very reason for the universe in this view.

Even outside of the sciences we find validation, namely in the eyewitness reports of people throughout history. In England, these were reported as "little people", categorised as fairies and gnomes. In Finland, reports of elves and their magical powers are prevalent. Is it any surprise that these beliefs existed in countries where socks were worn? Such stories don't exist in African and Australian tribal societies where there was a barefoot culture. Why these descriptions don't specifically mention socks could best be attributed as the sock goblins hiding their intentions, after all it's no good in revealing the desire for socks in a time when resources are scarce.

In short, the discovery of the sock goblin should radically transform our world-view[8]. If anyone isn't close-minded in their dogmatic atheism they will accept that the sock goblin offers an answer to the most confounding and profound questions, of which must be lacking. From such a humble observation as missing socks, we have stumbled on a greater truth that gives our existence meaning and purpose.

And if you are one of those close-minded reductionist materialists, prove there are no sock goblins. If you're so confident in your Faith, then surely you can prove the non-existence of Sock Goblins. But you can't, and you won't, because you know in your heart that Sock Goblins are real, and you're just rebelling in your sandel-wearing denial of the Truth. Let's face it, to be a materialist is just another faith position - something you would know if you would only look in your sock drawer.

[1] - And what is it with dogs? What panadaptationist breeder thought it a good idea to select for butt-sniffing?
[2] - If science was about measuring nature, why is it most things scientists learn from textbooks, and graded on that knowledge? Checkmate!
[3] - Geocentrism is just one revolution away from being back in favour.
[4] - Philosophy is dead! Long live model-dependant realism.
[5] - Unless an evil demon is tricking me into thinking that there's such thing as the moon.
[6] - And let's not even begin on the problem of induction.
[7] - If the weak nuclear force weren't as it is now, then stars couldn't form and there would be no such things as socks.
[8] - This is so significant that it must be ranked as one of the greatest achievements in the history of science.

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