Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Dear Troubled Catholics, a letter by Ralph Martin

(Taken from Ralph Martin's page with permission to pass around)

Ralph Martin | July 31, 2018

Dear Troubled Catholics,

I have never seen so many “ordinary Catholics”—who usually never follow or hear about Church news—as deeply troubled as I have seen them in response to the recent revelations about the retired archbishop of Washington, DC.

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was asked by the pope to resign from his membership in the College of Cardinals and ordered to live in seclusion until a canonical trial can be held to verify the validity of charges of sexual abuse and harassment made against him. After the first brave person came forward (whose accusations were found credible by the Archdiocese of New York Review Board), more and more followed. The climate of fear among many of our clergy—the fear of being punished or marginalized if they report sexual immorality among their fellow clergy or leaders—is starting to break. Cardinal McCarrick is now known as Archbishop McCarrick.

What has been so disturbing to so many people is the fact that there had been numerous warnings to various church officials that he was a homosexual predator, harassing many seminarians, priests, and young boys, for many years, but nothing had ever been done about it, and he was continually promoted. Even after a delegation of priests and lay people went to Rome to warn the Vatican about the situation, he was promoted. Even after a leading Dominican priest wrote a letter to Cardinal O’Malley, nothing was done. Even after lawsuits accusing him of homosexual sexual harassment in two of his previous dioceses had been settled with financial awards, he was still promoted. And not only that, he became a key advisor to Pope Francis and offered advice on whom to appoint as bishops in the United States!

One young Catholic mother with two boys who was open to the priesthood for them said to me that she now has grave concerns about ever having one of her sons enter the seminary, given the corruption that has been revealed.

Another said she could no longer see anyone joining the Catholic Church, due to such bad leadership. She lamented about the difficulty this presents for evangelization.

Another said that seven people from her very small, rural parish had left the parish, because sexual sin is never spoken of and there is almost an exclusive emphasis on political issues. She now fears that even more will leave.

Another said that the only way this is ever going to change is if we simply stop giving to the bishops’ national collections and to our own dioceses and parishes’ collections, unless they are led by bishops who are willing to call a spade a spade and govern accordingly. To this day, there are quite a number of “gay friendly” parishes in even “good dioceses,” where those afflicted with homosexual temptation are not encouraged to live chaste lives or offered effective correction, but instead are confirmed in their sexual activity. It seems many bishops are afraid to tackle the local “homosexual lobbies” and choose to turn a blind eye.This past weekend at Mass, the priest giving the sermon was more upset than I’ve ever seen him about the unfolding scandal. The Gospel was about how the weeds and the wheat grow up together and will only finally be separated at the judgment. It was unclear what the priest was actually saying, but we are certainly not called to “enable the weeds.” And shepherds in particular have the obligation to admonish the sinner and remove from ministry those who refuse to preach the truth and who encourage others in wrong doing. Yes, we will always have sin, but as Jesus said,

“whoever causes one of these little ones who believes in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Mt 18:6).
There have been a veritable deluge of articles that have appeared from highly respected lay Catholics and priests saying that “enough is enough,” and we need to stop the cover-ups and get to the bottom of who is implicated in promoting men like this and covering up for them. We do.

In 2002, when the American bishops approved their “charter” that attempted to respond to the many cases of priest pedophilia that had come to light by that time, they conspicuously exempted themselves from their “zero tolerance” policy. Many priests have told me that they felt “thrown under the bus” by the bishops, who conveniently didn’t adopt policies to deal with their own tolerance of immoral behavior, cover-ups that allowed the pedophilia to go on for many years, or in some cases, their own immoral behavior. Another disturbing thing about the 2002 Charter is that—despite pleas to not ignore the fact that this is primarily a homosexual scandal, since most of the victims were adolescent boys rather than true children—the bishops decided not to tackle “the elephant in the room.” Could it be because they knew some of their brother bishops/cardinals were implicated, and they didn’t want to face the mess of cleaning it up? Now this refusal to acknowledge the “homosexual lobby,” as Pope Benedict termed it, is coming home to roost.

But there’s not just a huge homosexual problem in the Church; unfortunately, heterosexual sin and financial malfeasance are common in many places as well. In some countries, a significant percentage of priests are living with concubines or fathering children by vulnerable women and giving scandal to the faithful, who often know about it. This is the case in Uganda, from which I have recently returned, and in many other countries as well. In these situations, the “protection” of the priests and the frequent disregard for their victims—the women and their children—cries out for justice.
And so, once again because of the pressure of lawsuits and the press, the bishops are talking about “developing new policies” that would apply to bishops. As a colleague at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, Michigan, has said: “Isn’t it clear enough from the Gospel that covering up immoral behavior is itself wicked? Why do we need new policies when the teaching of Jesus and the apostles is so clear?” Can the words of the Old Testament prophets and Jesus Himself against false shepherds be any clearer or more devastating? (See Jeremiah 23:1-6; Matthew 23, etc.)

The Archbishop McCarrick case may prove to be the “straw that broke the camel’s back.” It may make the bureaucratic, carefully worded, evasive statements that have come from our leaders finally address sin and repentance, instead of the mere policies and processes they typically focus on. Could it be—finally—that the revelation of the long-term sexual harassment of seminarians and priests that never stopped Archbishop McCarrick’s rise in the hierarchy will be so totally repugnant that real repentance may actually start to happen? I have never prayed more for the pope and our leaders than I have in the last several years, and we all must continue to do so. More about that later.

Unfortunately, the Archbishop McCarrick case is certainly only the “tip of the iceberg.” The cumulative effect of revelation after revelation of immorality in high places is devastating. First, a number of years ago, a cardinal from Austria was forced to resign over homosexual activity; then, more recently, a cardinal from Scotland resigned over sexual harassment of seminarians and priests; and then the archbishop of Guam underwent a canonical trial in Rome over the sexual abuse of minors; and now cardinals in Chile (one of whom is on the pope’s Council of Cardinals that oversees reform) are under heavy suspicion for covering up homosexual abuse in their country. In fact, the whole bishops’ conference of Chile, acknowledging complicity in not taking seriously reports of a bishop’s cover up of sexual abuse, recently gave their resignations to the pope, and he has so far accepted several of them. The pope himself at first stubbornly backed the appointment of this bishop and dismissed the victims’ pleas as “calumny” and “gossip.” And before we could absorb this news, there was news of an archbishop in Australia getting a prison sentence for covering up abuse on the part of a priest. And just today, as I am writing this, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ordered the release of a grand jury report implicating more than 300 “predator priests” in six of the eight Pennsylvania dioceses involved in the sexual abuse of minors over many years.

Unfortunately, the rot is wide and deep and years of covering up abuse (and the concomitant reluctance to really preach the Gospel and call people to faith and repentance) and its ultimate exposure have injured the faith of millions. How shocking and tragic was it to see tens of thousands of Irish people in the streets of Dublin wildly celebrating that they could now legally kill babies!!!! Just when the Irish bishops needed to speak most strongly on fundamental moral issues, their credibility was destroyed when it was finally exposed that they had covered up abuse for decades. Satan is indeed like that wild boar Scripture talks about that rampages though the vineyard of the Lord because the hedges of protection have been destroyed (Ps 80:12-13). The corruption, ineptitude, and cowardice runs wide and deep, and its effects on the eternal salvation of millions, and the destiny of nations, is devastating.

Most recently, Cardinal Maradiaga of Honduras has seen his auxiliary bishop resign over homosexual and financial impropriety, and forty seminarians in his diocese publish a letter asking him to please root out the homosexual network in his seminary. This cardinal is Pope Francis’ chief advisor, the head of his “Council of Nine” that works closely with the pope in bringing about reform in Rome, and is mentioned as a possible successor to Pope Francis.

But continual reports of ongoing financial and sexual scandals suggest reform doesn’t seem to be happening. Recently, a male prostitute in Italy published the names and photos of sixty priests who frequent his services—with scarcely any comment from the shepherds. And the homosexual orgy in the apartment of a Vatican cardinal, used by his secretary, was met with a “no comment” by the Vatican press office. And then we hear also of a monsignor in the papal nuncio’s office in Washington, D.C., who suddenly leaves the country and is put on trial in the Vatican for trafficking in child pornography and is given a five year prison sentence.

I didn’t plan to discuss this whole situation, but it came up this summer when the thirty priests in my class at the seminary wanted to discuss Pope Francis’ leadership and the McCarrick scandal. We all agreed that Pope Francis has said and done some wonderful things (I teach his Apostolic Exhortation The Joy of the Gospel in one of my classes), but he also has said and done some things that are confusing and seem to have led to a growth of confusion and disunity in the Church. How can German and Polish bishops approach the question of whether divorced and remarried couples can receive Communion without getting an annulment in opposite ways, and the Church still retain an ability to speak to the contemporary culture with one voice? It can’t. And how long can Church officials speak about the “positive values” of “irregular relationships” until the average Catholic comes to believe that we no longer believe the words of Jesus that fornicators, adulterers, and those who actively practice homosexuality will not enter the kingdom of God unless they repent? How many still believe that there is really a hell and that, unless we repent from such serious sins before we die, we will go there? Have we ever heard from leading churchmen, even in Rome, in recent years, that adultery, fornication and homosexual relations are not only “irregular,” but gravely sinful? Has the creeping “universalism” (the belief that virtually everyone will be saved) so undermined the holy fear of God and belief in His clear word, which has been transmitted faithfully all these centuries and is found intact in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, that people have become “understanding” about persisting in grave sin with no fear of God or of hell?

Has false compassion and presumption on God’s mercy replaced true love, which is based on truth, and the only appropriate response to God’s mercy—faith and repentance?

And what are we to make of the fact that so many of those advising the pope have questionable fidelity to the truth? How can we have confidence in Cardinal Maradiaga as the head of his Council of Cardinals when he is accused of financial impropriety (which he denies); he chose an active homosexual as his auxiliary bishop; and he allowed a homosexual network to grow up in his seminary, dismissing attempts to appeal to him to clean up the mess as unsubstantiated gossip? How can we have confidence in the pope’s main theological advisor, a theologian from Argentina who is most known for his book The Art of the Kiss, or the pope’s main Italian theological advisor, who is known for his subtle dissent from the Church’s teaching in the area of sexuality and who tried to insert texts in the synods on the family that pushed the document in a permissive direction? And how can we have confidence in the recently appointed head of the John Paul II Institute on Marriage and the Family—an archbishop who commissioned a mural in his former cathedral in an Italian diocese from a homosexual artist who included homo-erotic themes in the mural, including a portrait of the archbishop in an ambiguous pose?

One godly woman just asked me last night if it was OK for her to be upset with what was happening. I sadly said yes, of course it is.

How can we passively endure such corruption that runs so wide and deep? It is right to make our views known. It is right and necessary. But even more so, it is necessary to pray and offer sacrifices for the Church and her leaders at this time. It is necessary to pray that genuine reform, rooted in real repentance and an embrace of all the truths of the faith, would come out of this awful situation and that the Church, more deeply purified and humbled, may shine forth with the radiance of the face of Christ.

But it is going to be a long way from here to there. Grave damage has been done to the credibility of the Church, and more will leave. Grave damage has been done to many of the flock, and reparation must be made; public repentance is called for. As Pope Benedict XVI wrote when he was a young priest, the Church will have to become smaller and more purified before it can again be a light to the world. The Church is going through a radical purification under the chastising hand of God, but already we can see a remnant of fervent renewal appearing all over the world, which is a sign indeed of hope and the renewal to come.

And so, what can we do as we continue to pray for the pope and our leaders that God may give them the wisdom and courage to deal with the root of the rot and bring about a real renewal of holiness and evangelization in the Church?

    »We need to go about our daily lives, trying to live each day in a way pleasing to God, loving Him and loving our neighbor, including the neighbor in our own families. We need to look to ourselves, lest we fall.

    »We need to remember that even though we have this treasure in earthen vessels (or as some translations put it, “cracked pots”), the treasure is no less the treasure. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater! Baby Jesus is the treasure, and He is still as present as ever and still as ready to receive all who come to Him. And the Mass! Every day, He is willing to come to us in such a special way. Let’s attend daily Mass even more frequently, to offer the sacrifice of Jesus’ death and resurrection to God the Father, in the power of the Holy Spirit, for the salvation of souls and the purification of the Church.

    »We need to remember that the Catholic Church is indeed founded by Christ and, despite all problems, has within it the fullness of the means of salvation. Where else can we go? Nowhere; this is indeed our Mother and Home, and she needs our love, our prayers, and our persevering in the way of holiness more than ever.

    »We need to remember that there are many truly holy and dedicated bishops and priests, and we must pray for them and support them. They need and deserve our support.

    »We need to remember that this isn’t the first time such grave problems have beset the Church. In the fourteenth century, St. Catherine of Siena bemoaned the “stench of sin” coming from the papal court and prophesied that even the demons were disgusted by the homosexual activity he had tempted priests into and the cover up by their superiors! (See chapters 124-125 of Catherine of Siena’s The Dialogue.)

That isn’t to say that we don’t need to take seriously and do all we can in response to the grave scandal we are facing in our time. And yet we need to remember that all this is happening under the providence of God, and He has a plan to bring good out of it. It was even prophesied strongly in Mary’s apparitions in Akita, Japan. Jesus is still Lord and will use the current grave problems to bring about good.

And finally, I’m beginning to see why the Lord has impressed on me so strongly in the past year the urgent need to heed the appeals of Our Lady of Fatima. Indeed, as Mary said,

“Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray for them.”

Let’s continue to pray and offer sacrifices for the conversion of sinners and as reparation for sin, and let’s pray the rosary daily as Mary requested, for peace in the world and true renewal in the Church.

Your brother in Christ,

Friday, July 20, 2018

Well stated, so I am just reposting this...

(from Edward Fesser's blog)
In his essay “Quantum Mechanics and Ontology” in his anthology Philosophy in an Age of Science, Hilary Putnam notes that “mathematically presented quantum-mechanical theories do not wear their ontologies on their sleeve… the mathematics does not transparently tell us what the theory is about.  Not always, anyhow” (p. 161).  Yet as Putnam also observes:

The reaction to [such] remarks of most physicists would, I fear, be somewhat as follows: “Why bother imposing an ‘ontology’ on quantum mechanics at all?... [Q]uantum mechanics has a precise mathematical language of its own.  If there are problems with that language, they are problems for mathematical physicists, not for philosophers.  And in any case, we know how to use that language to make predictions accurate to a great many decimal places.  If that language does not come with a criterion of ‘ontological commitment,’ so much the worse for ‘ontology.’”…
[But] to say “We physicists are just technicians making predictions; don’t bother us with that ‘physically real’ stuff” is effectively to return to the instrumentalism of the 1920s.  But physical theories are not just pieces of prediction technology.  Even those who claim that that is all they are do so only to avoid having to think seriously about the content of their theories; in other contexts they are, I have observed, quite happy to talk about the same theories as descriptions of reality – as, indeed, they aspire to be.  (pp. 153-4)

The problem is not confined to the interpretation of quantum mechanics.  The metaphysical implications of relativity theory, or indeed of any theory in physics, is something the physics itself does not reveal.  Then there are more general philosophical questions about science which science itself does not and cannot answer.  For example, what is the relationship between the abstract mathematical representation of nature afforded by physical theory and the concrete reality that it represents?  Is there more to nature than mathematical representations can capture?  What demarcates science from non-science?  What is a law of nature?  Why is the world law-governed in the first place?  And so on.

The tendency of those beholden to scientism, including professional scientists who are beholden to scientism, is to dismiss such questions on the grounds that the only thing worth talking or thinking about is whether the predictions pan out – which entails positivism, or instrumentalism, or some other form of anti-realism.  And yet, when pressed about this implication, or when presenting the findings of science to the layman, the same people will usually insist on a realist understanding of scientific theories – apparently blithely unaware of the contradiction.  And this is an equal-opportunity form of cognitive dissonance, afflicting everyone from whip-smart Ph.D.’s down to the dumbest combox troll.  

You can’t have things both ways.  If you insist that nothing worthwhile can be said about any matter that is not susceptible of experimental testing, then you have indeed ruled out of bounds philosophical questions like the ones just referred to.  But you have also thereby ruled out a realist interpretation of theoretical entities, because realism is not susceptible of experimental testing.  That’s the whole point of the debate between realism and anti-realism – that the experimental results would come out the same whether or not theoretical entities are real or just useful fictions, so that the dispute has to be settled on other grounds.

Indeed, you can’t have things even one way.  For suppose the physicist or the combox troll beholden to scientism sees the problem and, to be consistent, adopts an across-the-board instrumentalism.  He avoids philosophical issues like the ones mentioned, and he also refrains from endorsing realism.  The problem here, of course, is that even instrumentalism itself is a philosophical thesis and not a scientific one – again, the dispute between realism and anti-realist views like instrumentalism cannot be settled experimentally – so he is not really being consistent after all.  

Scientism is simply not a coherent position.  You cannot avoid having distinctively philosophical and extra-scientific theoretical commitments, because the very attempt to do so entails having distinctively philosophical and extra-scientific theoretical commitments.  And if you think that these commitments are rationally justifiable ones – and of course, anyone beholden to scientism thinks his view is paradigmatically rational – then you are implicitly admitting that there can be such a thing as a rationally justifiable thesis which is not a scientific thesis.  Which is, of course, what scientism denies.  Thus scientism is unavoidably self-defeating.

The fallacy is simple, and blindingly obvious once you see it.  So why is it so common?  Why do so many otherwise genuinely smart people (as well as people who merely like to think they are smart, like combox trolls) fall into it? 

Part of the reason is precisely because it is so common and so simple.  Again, as Putnam complains, even many professional scientists (by no means all, but many) commit the fallacy.  So, when you call someone out on it, there is a strong temptation for him to think: “If my critic is right, then I and lots of other scientists have been committing a pretty obvious fallacy for a very long time.  Surely that can’t be!”  They think that there must be some way to avoid the contradiction, even if they are never able to say what it is, and always end up doing exactly what they claim to be avoiding, viz. making extra-scientific philosophical claims.  Paradoxically, the very obviousness and prevalence of the fallacy keeps them from seeing it.  As Orwell famously said, “to see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle.”

Then there is the element of pride.  You have to be smart to do natural science.  Combox trolls usually are not very smart, but they think of themselves as smart, because they at least have the capacity to pepper their remarks with words like “physics,” “science,” “reason,” etc. as well as to rehearse whatever science trivia they picked up from Wikipedia.  So, suppose you are either a scientist or a combox troll who has gotten your head full of scientism.  You are convinced that philosophers and other non-scientists have nothing of interest to say.  Then one of them points out that you are committing a fallacy so simple that a child can see it.  That can be very hard to swallow.  And if the person pointing out the self-defeating character of scientism happens to be religious, the blow to one’s pride can be absolutely excruciating.  “Some religiousnut is going to catch me out on a blatant fallacy?  No way in hell!  I refuse to believe it!”  One’s pride in one’s presumed superiorrationality locks one into a deeply irrational frame of mind.

A third factor is that, though the fallacy is pretty simple, you have to have at least a rudimentary understanding of certain philosophical concepts – realism, instrumentalism, self-contradiction, etc. – and a basic willingness to think philosophically, in order to be able to see it.  Now, suppose you not only don’t know much about philosophy, but are positively contemptuous of it (as those beholden to scientism often are).  Then you are not going to know very much about it, and you are not likely to be able to think very clearly about even the little bit you do know.  Your prejudices keep getting in the way.  You are bound to be blind even to obvious fallacies like the one in question.

The bottom line is that if you cannot help doing philosophy – for again, the very act of denying that one needs to do it itself involves one in a philosophical commitment – but at the same time also refuse to do it, then you are inevitably both going to do it and do it badly.  

The clueless reactions I have seen to these simple points over the years only reinforce their validity.  For example, many defenders of scientism will, in response to the claim that extra-scientific philosophical commitments are unavoidable, demand that you produce an operational definition for this or that philosophical concept, or experimental evidence for this or that philosophical thesis – thereby adding begging the question to the list of fallacies of which they are guilty.  For of course, such demands presuppose the correctness of scientism, which is exactly what is at issue.

My favorite response is the suggestion that a philosopher who criticizes scientism has gotten too big for his britches.  “How dare you suggest that scientists don’t know everything!  How arrogant!”  Scientism, it seems, kills irony along with basic critical reasoning skills.

In his recent book Enlightenment Now, Steven Pinker summarizes some cognitive science research on bias, and notes that there is a special kind of bias to which those who detect bias in others are prone.  He calls it “bias bias” (p. 361).  The idea is that when you are keen to ferret out biases in others, you are often blind to the biases that influence you as you do so.  As Pinker also points out, people who are well-informed about a subject are also often prone to certain biases, precisely because the interest in the subject that leads them to learn a lot about it also makes it more difficult for them to be objective about it.  As Pinker writes:

[A] paradox of rationality is that expertise, brainpower, and conscious reasoning do not, by themselves, guarantee that thinkers will approach the truth.  On the contrary, they can be weapons for ever-more-ingenious rationalization.  (p. 359)

Pinker also judges, absolutely correctly in my view, that “the major enemy of reason in the public sphere today … is not ignorance, innumeracy, or cognitive biases, but politicization” (p. 371).  When you turn an idea into a political cause to promote, with allies to the cause needing to be recruited and enemies of the cause needing to be defeated, etc., then you are bound to let reason give way to rhetoric, to lose the capacity for dispassionate evaluation, and so forth.

These factors account for why defenders of scientism are often so dogmatic and nasty in their dealings with critics, often prone to ridicule and ad hominem attacks rather than the calm and rational discourse you’d think their purported commitment to reason and science would commend to them.  Scientism has become a political cause, and those beholden to it tend to delude themselves into thinking that their loud condemnations of cognitive bias and rationalization somehow make them immune to these very foibles.  There is no one in greater danger of irrational and unscientific thinking than the fanatic who screams “Reason!” and “Science!” in your face at the top of his lungs.

Scientism is, by the way, self-defeating in more than just the way already identified.  Consider that scientific methodology involves both the construction of mathematical representations of nature, and the experimental testing of those representations.  If you think carefully about either of these components – including even the second one – you will see that it cannot be correct to say that we can have no rationally justifiable belief in what cannot be experimentally tested.  

This is most obvious in the case of mathematics.  Even those beholden to scientism will typically admit that even those parts of mathematics that do not have application within empirical science constitute genuine bodies of knowledge.  And even the parts of mathematics that do have application within science operate in part by distinctively mathematical rules of reasoning rather than being evaluated solely by experimental testing.  

Now, defenders of scientism are often willing to expand their conception of what counts as “science” to include mathematics.  But there are two problems with this.  First, once they do this, then they can no longer consistently criticize philosophical claims for not being susceptible of experimental testing.  For their admission of mathematics into the fold concedes that there are rational forms of discourse that don’t involve empirical testability.  Second, the thesis that empirical science and mathematics exhaust the genuine forms of knowledge is not itself a proposition of either empirical science or mathematics.  Admitting mathematics into the science club simply does not suffice to save scientism from self-refutation.

Turn now to the notion of experimental testing.  Obviously, this presupposes that we have experiences.  Now, the fact that we have experiences, and certain very general features of experience, are themselves known through experience.  However, these particular facts are not susceptible of experimental testing.  The reason is that experimental testing – and in particular, the possibility of falsification – requires that experience can go in one direction or another.  We predict that it will go in direction A rather than B – that we will observe this rather than that – and then try to set up an experiment or observational scenario in which we can see whether this prediction pans out.

But not everything that is true of experience is testable in this way, not even in principle.  To take an example beloved of us Aristotelians, consider the proposition that change occurs.  We know this is true from experience.  But that does not mean that it is empirically testablein the sense of falsifiable.  It is notfalsifiable.  For the very possibility of testability or falsifiability presupposeschange.  You predict that you will have such-and-such an experience and see whether it happens, and that procedure itself involves change.  You go from thinking “Let’s see if this happens” to thinking “Ah, it did happen” or “Oh, it didn’t happen,” and either way a change will have occurred.  The thesis that change occurs is, accordingly, not falsifiable or empirically testable.  And yet we know it from experience, and the very possibility of empirical testing presupposes it.  Any appeal to empirical testability thus presupposes that we know at least some things that are not empirically testable (such as the reality of change).  Which is precisely what scientism denies.  Hence, once again, scientism is self-refuting.

Those beholden to scientism don’t see this because they conflate empirical with experimentally testable.  And these are not the same thing.  Again, the proposition that change occurs is empirical in the sense that we know it via experience, but it is not experimentally testable or falsifiable.  Aristotelian philosophers like Andrew van Melsen and Henry Koren characterize propositions like this as grounded in “pre-scientific experience.”  They are grounded in experience in the sense that we know them empirically rather than a priori.  They are pre-scientificin the sense that science involves empirical testability or falsifiability, and these propositions concern facts about experience that are deeper than, and presupposed by, anything testable or falsifiable.  

Hume’s Fork famously holds that all knowable propositions concern either matters of fact or relations of ideas.  The logical positivists drew a similar dichotomy between analytic and synthetic propositions, and contemporary naturalists often claim that all significant propositions concern either empirical science or conceptual analysis.  These are all variations on the same basic idea, and scientism typically appeals to one or another of them.  But as I have argued elsewhere, they are all self-refuting.  Hume’s Fork is not itself true either by virtue of relations of ideas or by virtue of matters of fact.  The positivist’s principle of verifiability is not itself either analytic or synthetic.  The naturalist’s dichotomy of empirical science and conceptual analysis is not itself knowable either by way of empirical science or conceptual analysis.  Like the adherent of scientism caught in his self-refutation, none of the adherents of these related views has much more to offer in response than a shit-eating grin.

Anyway, propositions of mathematics, propositions grounded in “pre-scientific experience,” and philosophical propositions (such as the thesis of scientism itself, which is philosophical rather than scientific) fall into a third (and indeed, perhaps a fourth, a fifth, etc.) category beyond the two that these self-defeating views are willing to recognize.

Metaphysics, as Gilson said, always buries its undertakers.   Or it would do so if those untertakers weren’t so busy burying themselves.