We wholeheartedly agree with the analysis of Jonathan Newman for Ron Paul’s Liberty Report, and would go even further to say that science itself, not just scientism, is at issue. Our analysis may be found in our book Science’s First Mistake … a free .pdf download may be found at www.sciencesfirstmistake.com where we consider many unmentioned absurdities in scientific theory, indeed in all theory.
“The world is observable because it is unobservable.” “The condition of its possibility is its impossibility.” These two apparently nonsensical sentences actually make perfect sense. What Niklas Luhmann is saying in these two statements is that observation is not, cannot be, what we think it is. Observation of a part is only possible because the whole is unobservable. Not that the ‘whole’ in this respect can be defined, for then that ‘whole’ would need to be distinguished from everything but the ‘whole’ itself; that is distinguished from nothingness. Such separation is inherently problematic for reasons that are investigated at length in the book, starting from the impossibility of defining ‘nothing,’ as noted by Luhmann. The ‘whole’ therefore takes on two different meanings in itself (introducing yet another distinction): the ‘whole’ defined by an observation that separates that whole internally into what is being observed, and what is not; and the whole as the external reality that remains unattainable without the operation of observation.
And yes, before anyone mentions it, we are aware that in making these ‘observations’, we are ourselves theorising. Welcome to the limitations of the human condition.
Ian Angell and Dionysios Demetis.