Evidence in Jury and Com Boxes

Both testimony and evidence for a jury point to a past material event, which cannot be experimentally repeated. The evidence must have a material component as well as an intelligible component. It is essentially the intelligible component of the evidence which points back to the intelligible component of the past material event.

Although material evidence may be inherently intelligible, the extent to which it is usefully intelligible depends upon the state of scientific knowledge and engineering art. Consider a blood sample at a crime scene, which both the defense and the prosecution stipulate is from the perpetrator of the crime. Sixty years ago the sample could not have been analyzed for its DNA profile, even though the sample inherently contained that intelligibility. Suppose the sample was the same blood type as that of the defendant, who was convicted on this and other testimony and evidence. Suppose DNA analysis would have demonstrated that the blood sample from the crime scene was not that of the defendant. The defendant would have been exonerated by stipulation, except for the state of scientific knowledge and engineering art at that time.

Notice that the evidence consisted not only of the blood sample from the crime scene, but also a biological sample from the defendant. The intelligence was inherent in the material evidence, but it required human intellectual acuity to recognize the intelligence. It was the intelligible component of the biological sample of the defendant which did or failed to point back to the intelligible component of the blood sample.

It is generally agreed that the DNA complement of the nucleus of a biological cell is the entire biological code of the individual of the species. This is the basis of cloning. As a code, the DNA is intelligible, but it is a determinate code. The code is determinate biologically and can be deciphered experimentally, e.g. as the three base code of messenger RNA (mRNA) for amino acid incorporation into a polypeptide. There is no arbitrariness in the code because it is material. The lack of arbitrariness in the code makes it eminently amenable to deciphering it by experimentation.

It is the determinate intelligence in material reality that makes experimental science possible. In contrast, human intelligence is a grade above the intelligibility of material things. The codes employed by human intelligence are not determinate but are arbitrary. House, maison and casa are arbitrary codes for the same concept as are dog, chien and perro for another concept.

It was the universality of human concepts, including those which apply to material things, in contrast to the particularity of material things, which led Aristotle and eventually the entirety of western civilization to recognize (1) that material things are composed of a principle of intelligibility and a principle of particularity, (2) that in humans the principle of intelligibility is immaterial (Whereas intellectual concepts such as dog are universal, sense knowledge is limited to individual material dogs) and (3) that humans have the power to perceive the intelligible natures of material things because of the immaterial nature of each human’s principle of animation. This is in contrast to the principle of animation of animals, which only have sense knowledge of the particular.

This is not only in accord with, but explains the very meaning of evidence both in the jury box and in the laboratory. In the laboratory, it is not simply data that are accumulated. What is achieved is the intellectual recognition of the mathematical relationships discoverable in data. These logical relationships are inherent in the intelligible principles which are constitutive components of material things. In contrast, humans have an immaterial principle of animation, which renders them intellectual agents. This immaterial principle of animation enables humans to comprehend the universal, which includes the mathematical relationships determined through the experimental measurement of the properties of material things. It is the immateriality of the principle of animation of humans which is the basis of human knowledge and communication. It is also the principle which enables the possibility of argument.

A full argument is a series of individual arguments. A premise of any individual argument may be an immaterial fact completely independent of material reality. This is possible even though all humanly known facts are traceable in origin to human knowledge of the immaterial intelligent component of a material thing. This ultimate dependence of human intellectual knowledge upon material reality is an extrinsic dependence. Every explanation of the material must itself be immaterial to be an explanation. This immateriality, this intrinsic independence of material reality, which characterizes the premises evoked during the course of argumentation, is quite evident in mathematics, but it is also apparent in other areas such as science and philosophy.

In contrast to the character of jury box evidence, some website com box authors adopt the prejudice that evidence is material which points as material to some other, which is also simply material. They do not admit that the universality of human knowledge requires an agent of intelligence, which is immaterial. They do not admit that the existence of material things, which are indifferent by nature to existence, require for the explanation of their existence an immaterial being, which explains its own existence. They see no distinction between the intelligible, determinate character of the particular material thing and the universality of its human conceptualization. They freely admit the existence of particular, determinate intelligible codes in material things, such as the codes of DNA and mRNA, but they deny that the arbitrary codes of human invention require an intelligent, immaterial agent. They skipped Western Thought 101, with its confluence of Greek Aristotelian philosophy and the Judeo-Christian revelation (http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2006/september/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20060912_university-regensburg_en.html). It was the recognition of the Logos, both in Greek philosophy and the Judeo-Christian revelation, which identified material reality as fundamentally intelligible. This led to modern science, which is fully integrated with that philosophy, which is fully integrated with that revelation.

It was Aristotle who first recognized by analysis of our everyday experience of reality that material things had to be composites of a principle of intelligibility and a principle of particularity. He also noted (1) that humans were not simply materially sensitive agents, but intellectual agents, which required that their principle of animation had to be immaterial and (2) that there had to be a transcendent being, who was pure act, in order to explain the existence of the things of our daily experience, which are indifferent to existence. Temporally parallel to these developments in Greek thought was the gradual revelation to the Jews. This was notable in the concepts of individual intelligence and free will, but most of all in the existence of pure act. Revelation expressed the concept of pure act more clearly and eloquently than did Aristotle. Pure Act declared, “I am who am.”, Ex 3:14, culminating in “Before Abraham came to be, I am.” Jn 8:58.

Today, without the recognition of the immaterial components of human animation and human knowledge and without the recognition of the intelligible component of evidence, there could be no basis for argument in the com boxes. Com box disputation of that to which evidence points would be simply the clash of material entities, if indeed it could even be recognized as that. It would be meaningless.

I challenge anyone, who views human knowledge as purely material, such as electronic activity in the brain, to explain the functioning (and the purpose) of argumentation as well as to explain the character of evidence.


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