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I have come out of a long blog writing hibernation, at least temporarily, to write this post. Since publishing The Eternal Law 12 years ago, I have not responded to any negative reviews. After all, I received significant endorsements from multiple global visionaries, such as Nobel Prize Winning Mathematical Physicist, Sir Roger Penrose, so why bother responding to a negative Amazon review written by someone who misrepresented (or didn’t understand) my book? But recently I thought it might be worthwhile writing a brief response to some of my critics, and perhaps this response may be beneficial to some of my readers as well.

The first point to make is that negative or critical comments are not necessarily bad at all. In fact, they can be the most helpful comments you can receive, and I always ask for critical feedback from those I work with. If they initially can’t find something wrong or something to disagree with, then they need to imagine they hate everything I have said and try their best to argue against it. This is one of the key ways to improve, like a company hiring benevolent hackers to identify the weak spots in the company code. Of course everyone likes to hear positive things about their work, their creations, their inventions, and so forth, but if you want to continually improve, then negative feedback, the feedback that identifies errors or weakness or simply areas you could improve, is absolutely vital.

While I was still a relatively new graduate student in Liverpool, I gave an invited presentation in the Department of Physics. Until that time, my only supervisor was Stephen R L Clark in the Department of Philosophy (a highly esteemed and renown philosopher). After my presentation, a somewhat intimidating member of the audience said that it was a great presentation and he really enjoyed it. However, he then added that one thing I said was completely wrong, and, basically, I shouldn’t say such a stupid thing again! He was referring to a quote I had read from some respected academic philosopher speaking about Newton. It turned out that the audience member who let me know my error was Peter Rowlands, a visionary physicist who is an expert on Newton and on the foundations of physics. His negative comment was completely right, and I felt immediately that he was sincerely sharing his expertise with me for my benefit. He believed I was in the right direction with my unique research and he wanted to help keep me from making any errors. Peter soon became my second doctoral supervisor.

Unfortunately, however, social media is usually not the best place to find the type of benevolent criticism I received from Peter. Of course there are many great aspects to social media, and sometimes you can find wonderful people making beautiful contributions. But too often mainstream social media discourse is dominated either by inanity and distraction, or may be fuelled by negative comments between opposing participants with the sole intention of attacking the other. How often do we see a serious presentation of facts and rational arguments, and how often, instead, do we find ridicule, lies, misrepresentations, and sometimes even (thinly veiled) threats? How often are negative comments used, not for the benefit of the other person or finding truth together, but only to destroy the other person, their perceived enemy? I don’t have any interest in this sort of thing.

There is also another class of negative comments that may be said to be somewhat in the middle. The person making the negative comment may honestly believe they are saying something helpful, but whether or not that is the case is another matter. And, of course, this gets much deeper, far too deep for my purposes in this short blog post. As a brief example, however, consider that the person writing a negative comment, or even a seemingly positive comment, may have a good intention or a bad intention. While one’s conscious intention is not necessarily correlated with how the comment is interpreted by the reader, the issue becomes even more challenging to understand when we realize that the commenter may also likely have various unconscious intentions, the type hidden in the shadow part of their psyche, hidden from their conscious awareness. And every reader brings their own unconsciousness intentions, assumptions, and so forth, when reading another’s comment. But I don’t want to go any further into this very important issue, as my goal here is simply to consider in a general sort of way some negative comments about The Eternal Law.

The first issue concerns the amount of detail given in some part of the book. For example, I can understand why a reader may feel I have given too much detail about some particular point. However, I can equally understand why another reader may feel I have not given enough detail about that same particular point. You see, if you are already deeply familiar with a certain topic in the book, then you probably wouldn’t need to see so much detail. But if you are not at all familiar with this same topic in the book, then you may need even more detail. That’s quite a challenging dilemma for an author, isn’t it, where one reader wants more detail while another reader wants less detail. Fortunately, I think the majority of my readers can see that we must aim for a reasonable balance, especially with such an interdisciplinary book discussing some of the most fundamental issues at the foundation of science, philosophy, and spirituality. Every reader is coming from a different knowledge background, and my aim was to make the content as accessible as possible to the seriously motivated reader. So, if there is a bit too much detail for you in some case, then skip to the next part, or skim quickly for a brief review (and maybe you might still find something new?). If you find there is not quite enough detail for you, then you can always do some further reading on the topic. For example, see all the books listed in the Works Cited section at the end of the book, or simply do an online search.

I have also wondered how to respond, if an author is to respond at all, to a reviewer who is actually a competitor. I mean, if another author who writes about a similar topic also criticizes my book and then says people should read their book because it is so much better than my book, isn’t that kind of, I don’t know, a conflict of interest. How about if a reviewer criticizes my book but then we find out that this reviewer is simply peddling another form of antirealism, the view that denies any sort of genuine, objective truth (and, so, of course they would hate my book). In the first case, it would be like an executive from Pepsi writing a negative review about Coca Cola. In the latter case, it would be like an executive from the oil industry writing a negative review about a book written by an environmentalist. Well, it’s an author-eat-author world out there, ain’t it?

One reviewer thought I had argued against antirealism too much, and I could understand why one may feel that way since it can seem kind of pointless to engage in philosophical argument with an antirealist who denies that there is any objective truth or objective reality. After all, if there is no objective truth or reality, then it is really just a matter of clashing opinions, and that does seem rather pointless. Worse still is the fact that if the antirealist were somehow correct that truth is just one’s opinion, and if my opinion is that antirealism is false, then, according to the antirealist, my opinion would be true, which would make antirealism false. Indeed, antirealism is obviously and absurdly a self-defeating position. We can fruitfully argue about what the truth actually is, but to deny that there is any objective truth is to deny one’s own denial of truth, and that does seem pointless.

The problem, here, however, is that even though it may be logically pointless to argue with someone who denies any objective truth or reality, the issue is actually wider than logic. It is psychological, it is social, it is moral, and it is spiritual. The mental and energetic poison of antirealist has filled the minds of a significant percentage of people, and you can see its effects throughout society. How this has happened and why people still cling to convoluted and harmful belief systems are key questions, but, again, they are too big to address here. We can note, however, that some part of the reason may be similar to why heroin addicts still shoot up even though, when sober, they know that continuing to use heroin is destroying their lives. Therefore, contrary to the reviewer who thought I had argued against antirealism too much, maybe antirealism can never be argued against sufficiently for those who have been indoctrinated into its delusion.

One reviewer seemed to be quite unhappy with the book, which would be fine if the reviewer had at least accurately represented my views before attacking them. The reviewer also accused me of writing on the topic of quantum physics because it was trendy, implying that I don’t really know what I am talking about, and I guess that means I was just trying to sound smart or cool or something. Unfortunately, the reviewer appears not to have read my bio, for if the reviewer had read my bio then the reviewer would have known that I did my PhD on this very topic, that I had supervisors and examiners in both philosophy and physics, and that my book was endorsed by prominent scientists, including physicists. Surprisingly, I suppose, after doing a brief online search about the reviewer, I discovered that the reviewer had no formal background in either physics or philosophy, but seemed to have picked up the trendy quantum stuff elsewhere.

One may also appreciate the logical rigour and the incredible amount of research required to piece together all the relevant parts of the book, but that same person may also personally despise the end conclusion that follows from all this research and logical argumentation. Well, what is that end conclusion that such a person may despise? It is that the spiritual or mystical aspect of reality is more fundamental than the physical. That conclusion follows logically from the most rigorous and non-arbitrary analysis of the philosophical and historical foundations of modern science. On the other hand, someone told me that they were relieved to finally get to the more explicitly spiritual stuff near the end of the book, as they didn’t care so much for all the scholarship and independent logical argument that led to that spiritual conclusion.

A friend also thought it was important to tell me, somewhat forcefully I may add, that my arguments for Platonic realism were “too forceful”. Apparently a philosopher should never come to any conclusions about anything at all, and so how could I be so confident about my conclusions? Well, that approach to philosophy, where we pretend that we can’t conclude anything, seems generally to lead only to a sort of false humility. It is also logically self-defeating, because such an approach to philosophy ironically concludes that philosophy should not come to any conclusions. That’s an interesting bit of sophistry, isn’t it? This becomes even more interesting when we find out that Sir Roger Penrose liked my book especially because I was ‘willing to speak out forcefully in favour of Platonic ideals lying at the roots of modern science.’

Well, none of this is surprising, as different readers have different expectations, desires, assumptions, and so forth. Therefore, we should expect people to have different views about such things, and that should not be construed as something negative, but, rather, as something inevitable for such an interdisciplinary book that challenges many commonly held assumptions.

I should, however, offer my gratitude and appreciation to those who wrote anything negative about The Eternal Law, including those who didn’t really understand it or who misrepresented it. After all, they took the time not only to read the book but also to go through the trouble of writing something about it – and that is quite the compliment to an author. I also wish to thank the many reviewers who offered very positive and highly astute reviews, which I hope may help potential future readers who are considering to read the book. But, I wonder, why is it that we tend to give more attention to the negative than to the positive? Perhaps it is a sort of trap, one that I seem to have fallen into and from which I will now free myself….