Despite the repeated claims of rhetoricians like yourself, there seems no evidence that world of things cares about your arguments or your metaphors.
If this claim is one I've repeated endlessly, as you say, I daresay you should have no problem at all citing a single instance in which I've actually said it, eh?
I quite agree with you that the world has no preferences in the matter of the descriptions humans deploy to cope with it -- this is why I repudiate naive correspondence views of truth as vestiges of religious superstition.
You will find plenty of examples of arguments on this theme that I've written and posted here on Amor Mundi anthologized under the heading Pluralist Reasons Against Authoritarian Reason.
I mention all this because your polemical hyperbole on this point threatens to paint you (or possibly more straightforwardly reveal you) to be a rather careless reader and possibly not at all bright.
You'll forgive me if I propose the rather contrary suspicion that this is an instance of pretty common or garden variety projection on your part, that in fact it is you who thinks the world cares about your pious parochial version of science, your pet computer-science projects, the imaginary futurological outcomes that you believe have delivered to you and a marginal handful of ill-treated ill-understood Elect the Keys to History itself, that you're on the world's side as well as on the side of history as everybody will see some day, you'll see!
What likely offends you is that you mistake my own pragmatism in matters of instrumental belief and my critical approach and rhetorical sensitivity in matters of moral, aesthetic, and political belief as stances positioning me as some sort of antagonist in some sectarian squabble for God's Ear, or at any rate the Ear of Nature's God as the Deists would put the point. As witness, the following, as you soldier on:
The world is made of stuff, stuff which follows certain rules, rules of which we know some, but not all. Within the frame of those rules, within the bounds humanity has already learned to manipulate, horrible and wonderful things are possible. Plagues and People, Nukes and Stars are all permitted by nature, and your arguments don't change any of that, nor even address it.
Blah blah blah. You sound like a Randroidal simpleton. Look I hate to break it to you, soopergenius, but nobody really disputes any of this on this sort of facile level. How annoying you priestly types are, forever fancying yourself cosmic representatives just because you've grasped a few elementary insights about the stability of middle-scale furniture in the world that nobody but literal loons -- and not all of them -- dispute.
It's true, I wouldn't affirm the rather personalizing metaphors -- yes, pet, it's metaphors doing the heavy lifting in your account, even though you fancy yourself a he-man with no truck with frilly figures -- framing the susceptibility of the world to useful and edifying description as "rule-following" or things being "permitted." In such utterances I tend to hear the vestigial echo of the Sky Daddy whose good boy you mean to be by being a good scientician, hoping for a nice pat on the head, and a nice immortal angelic (or, presumably, robotic) body in the fullness of time, no doubt, or some comparable infantilism.
But in broad brush strokes, if you are declaring the usual tedious insipidities about what a relativist I am or how I think the world is a figment of imagination or some bland spread of goo awaiting linguistic determination, I'm sorry to say all this hysteria derives from the fact that you don't know how to read very well, or because you are simply a bit of a dullard in the usual manner of cocksure fundamentalists. If you think anything I've said calls any of these preschool vacuities about the useful describability and predictability of the world into question you need to get back to your books, lamb, and quick.
Rhetoric is a tool for convincing people, sometimes of truth, sometimes of falsehood. But it is not a tool for uncovering truth.
I'm not going to get into a pissing contest with you over who best understands what rhetoric is -- a subject I teach Berkeley undergraduates with reasonable success, you may remember.
If you really want to convince me your cock is the most impressivest in the land by all means send me a pic -- I like big dicks. I also rather like James's pragmatic definition of truth as "the good in the way of belief," where a plurality of goods yields a plurality of modes of warranted assertion and rationality is a matter not only of properly applying the criteria of warranted assertibility to determine the best candidates for belief among those presently on offer but also of having the sense to determine which family of criteria of warrant apply to the mode that best fits the circumstances at hand.
You sound to me a bit like a blusterer whose confidence stems in no small part from a reductionist insensitivity to the plurality of modes of reasonable belief in play in human life, with the consequence that you tend to misconstrue quite a lot of what you feel surest of.
You seem to carry an anti-science agenda with you,
Nothing could be further from the truth. It might be an instructive exercise for you to devote some sustained attention to those moments in which you find yourself thinking science "threatened" by some utterance or other of mine, and asking yourself what work your personal vision of "science" is doing for you that you would respond in this way.
which I guess is understandable in some circles.
Yes, yes, yes, we all know that I'm an effete elite aesthete, a muzzy headed emotionalist clinging to my poetry and my relativist postmodernist theory word salads, and I shouldn't worry my pretty little head about the hard science stuff sooperbrained hard science guys like you are working on in the really for real world.
How lucky for science that a circle-jerk of computer geeks who expect a superintelligent Robot God with nanobots at its command will soon deliver them immortal comic book superhero bodies and treasure caves is there to protect science's integrity from the likes of secular pragmatic humanists like me!
I would be flabbergasted by the spectacle of claims so arrogant spouted by a person so clueless if I weren't so accustomed to hearing this sort of thing from Robot Cultists by now. Why is it always the self-declared smartest boys in the room -- who turn everything they touch to shit?
But it doesn't make you even a little bit right.
Bored now. It was amusing while it lasted, though. Thanks.