A lot of Aristasians object to the use of the word “science” pure and simple (which means simply “knowledge”) to describe a purely material discipline which was formerly known more accurately by such names as physical science” or “natural philosophy”.

Aristasians oppose the rationalistic doctrine which states that our only sources of knowledge are the five senses and the action of the brain on the data provided by them. Some ill-educated people believe that this doctrine is “scientific” or even that it is the basis of “science”. It is not. It is a creed or dogma professed by people known as rationalists or positivists. The only thing it as in common with material science is that that discipline (or group of disciplines) restricts itself to the sense-data and the workings of the reason upon them. No serious philosopher of science would claim that this in any way proves that the sense-data tell us all that exists, any more than an anatomist would claim that there is nothing outside the human body.

Unfortunately, a large number of semi-educated people – including some unphilosophical scientists – believe that “science” proves that there is nothing beyond the material: which is rather like believing that plane geometry proves that there is no third dimension.

Aristasia has no quarrel whatever with the claims of “science” within its own domain (always remembering that, according to the empirical philosophy on which this “science” is founded such claims can only ever be provisional and based on varying degrees of probability). We do deny all claims of “science” to pronounce on matters beyond its domain – as would any serious philosopher of “science”.

We may also analyse “scientific” questions from the standpoint of traditional philosophy and metaphysics, asking how they fit into the larger picture of the universe, physical and non-physical. And we do ultimately assert the primacy of metaphysics over science – the former being based on First Principles and the latter being only a series of provisional hypotheses based on our very limited human senses.

In the last analysis, if “science” contradicts metaphysics, then “science” must clearly be wrong. But in fact much of the time it is right, as one would expect from a precise observation of the workings of the material world. When it is wrong, the errors often spring from confusing genuine perception and analysis with the doctrinal statements of rationalism and the emotional and mythologising needs of a rationalistic society. The theory of evolution is a case in point here. The story-picture provided by “evolution” is crucial to the modern world-myth, which is why the theory has resisted the radical overhauls that took place in other scientific spheres during the 20th century, adhering rigidly to a 19th-century model despite the overwhelming evidence against it. But here we are in the realm of pseudo-theology rather than “science”.