Boy meets girl. One thing leads to another. That’s the way it often is in science. Sometimes, however, by sheer good fortune, it happens that a scientist trying to invent a new glue, finds that his product just won’t stick things together permanently : the Post-It is born ! Or another stumbles on penicillin. But more often than not, scientific advances depend on a logical process of deduction. If x produces y, then we can deduce that y can produce z. It turns out that it does. Hence the genetics-shaking discovery of DNA and its double helix. Thank you, Mr Watson. Thank you, Mr Crick.
This blog recently waited patiently for a reader to produce his promised theological deductions from the premise which he and Aristotle call the First Cause. If we accept – a very big “if” – that there was a Superior Intelligence behind the existence of the Universe, then, he said, he could deduce, in six easy steps, the veracity of current Catholic doctrine (for example, the defined “infallible” dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption). I gave up waiting for Godot and the famous Six Steps when their revelation became the subject of a kind of blackmail, in the form of previously unannounced conditions. It turns out that I have procured the promised precious prize without accepting any conditions or terms of blackmail. Here they are, verbatim :
“Once it is accepted that an intelligence greater-than-human intelligence is involved in creation of the universe and humanity, the sequence of some half dozen ensuing logical D E D U C T I O N S leads to orthodox Catholicism, independent of any shortcomings of its human representatives.
1. There is a greater intelligence than human intelligence involved with the universe.
2. That intelligence has, necessarily, the attributes which orthodox Catholic teaching attributes to God.
3. Jesus briefly took on humanity and claimed to be one with God and has backed up His claim in a multitude of ways.
4. Jesus established a Church, personally assured of His infallible guidance through the ages, to uphold the truth.
5. The Catholic Church is the one and only church that fulfills that promise.
I did say some half a dozen, but that appears superfluous, as 5 seems sufficient.”
Any similarity between these Six become Five Steps and the six I predicted (“The Six Steps”, March 15, 2014) - six of one, half a dozen, or even five, of the other - is (need it be underlined ?) not a feat of fantastic foresight, but the result of my having once shared the credulity which produced them. It is however remarkable that they were the hyper-Holmesian deductions of an engineer-scientist, blinded by his need to believe.
P.S. That this should be posted on April Fool’s Day is, of course, like the Big Bang which occurred against admittedly astronomical odds, a pure fluke . . .