Field Notes

The Right Order of Things

Oct 9
The Right Order of Things
Posted October 9, 2013

I have spent a lifetime in the construction industry building and renovating. A few weeks ago I made a morning hike with a man who has done the same. Denny learned the trade of terrazzo; an ancient craft where marble chards or pebbles are mixed with a cementitious binder, poured and trowelled onto a floor, and then polished into a shiny hard walking surface. It is durable, low maintenance, and can be quite beautiful. You will see this type of flooring in high end retail establishments, schools and churches, and has been in use since the era of Christopher Columbus. Denny described the process used in placing and finishing terrazzo which involves layout, hard work and impeccable timing. Though the tools and ingredients have evolved with technology, the fundamental process remains the same. There are many wrong ways to attempt a terrazzo installation where it will fail and need replacing. However, science, common sense and millions of man hours have revealed what the right process is; the right way and wrong way of doing things.

Last week Steve came to the basecamp. Steve and I spent the day telling one another about our journeys through life, the mistakes made and the lessons learned. Steve has a PhD in experimental psychology and spent a lifetime in the study and development of human factors with the PC-human interface. Human factors is the art and science of optimizing the interaction between human beings and the work-production environment.  It can include studies of how best to construct jet fighters, time motion studies in a light bulb factory, to the color, size, and shape of a Mac and many more. And what has the art, science and craft of human factors taught us? My brother Steve said it best “There is a Right Order to Things”.  Human factors has found that there is a ‘right way’ to do things, a way that integrates the human being into the production process depending on the goal of that process.  The art and science of human factors, has discarded thousands of processes and parts of processes that are irrational and don’t work. Through millions of man hours and accumulated common sense, it has found that there is a “Right Order of Things”.

Whether it is terrazzo, jet fighters, lap tops, or hiking trail construction, there is a right way to do it and, not any old process will cut it. The “Right Order of Things” has been discovered through disciplined hard work using mathematics, science, biology and common sense. As the great inventor Thomas Edison stated “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration”; which of course, is one of the principles of the “Right Order of Things”.

The “Right Order of Things” is part of a larger more comprehensive order of things called Natural Law. Natural Law frightens progressives and people who support the culture of relativism, because acknowledging the existence of natural law leads to the destruction of their world view. Why is that? Because if there is a right order of things that is fundamental to the working of God’s universe, then the progressive regime of mankind creating its own meaning tumbles into oblivion like the Tower of Babel.

If God’s natural law exists, it means that there is a “Right Order of Things” not only for manufacturing processes but also for thinking, believing, behaving and living as a human being. There is a wrong way and a right way. And guess what? Science, millions of man hours of hard work and common sense show just that. Statistics of the social sciences reveal that unfulfilled, broken, violent, addicted human beings are the products of the secular culture and its relativistic belief system. Conversely they show that people who are the products of more traditional and orthodox Christian belief systems have more self-confidence, self-esteem, are more successful, and avoid addictive and life destroying behaviors.    

Ironically secular culture, its supporters, and the secular media, pronounce their belief in science. They blindly believe that science supports their world view. They are tragically mistaken. What they fail to see is that there is a profound rupture in their logic. One cannot profess the belief in science and its efficacy, on one hand, while professing the beliefs of relative truth, on the other. To believe in science means, that we believe that the universe is intelligible; in other words that we can figure it out. The structure for figuring out the universe begins with mathematics and physics. By ‘discovering’ the rules and structure of mathematics, man has been able to apply these rules to phenomenon in the universe and discover the laws of physics and the other sciences.

Our atheistic friends the positivists led by Kurt Wittgenstein, Bertrand Russell and David Hilbert, made a gallant effort to once and for all prove that truth was a relative concept; In fact, that mathematics was merely a mental construct, like some new age language, invented in the mind of evolutionary man. Somewhere in the lower realms of purgatory the Sophists were rooting for them. And then a small, frail logician, by the name of Kurt Gödel drove a stake into the heart of the unholy vampire of relativism. His Incompleteness Theorem  re-asserted the wisdom of the ages. He proved that there is only one metaphysical structure of mathematics, not invented but discovered by man. Gödel’s work has profound implications on how we think about the universe and ourselves. Mathematics is the backbone and the engine that drives all discovery and research from cosmology to sociology. It tells us that the heart and core of the universe is rational and ordered and that this order exists. In other words there is a “Right Order of Things”.

In the coming years, Wilderness Outreach will take on more responsibility for the protection and upkeep of our wilderness areas. On its expeditions it will   re-build trails that have become nearly impassable by years of neglect. They are rough and rocky trails, strewn with fallen trees and eroded into trenches three to four feet deep. Trails used not only by hikers but by local outfitters, for their mules and horses, and livelihoods. We could approach this work by just filling in the trail with a lot of loose rock and dirt, and hope for the best. But that wouldn’t do; it is the wrong way. The trail must be rebuilt so that it sheds water, is navigable by hikers and most importantly, structurally sound so that it can support 1500 pound mules loaded for bear. Large granite rock will be moved into place for steps. These must be anchored into larger rocks on the sides of the trail. Hundreds if not thousands of pounds of smaller rock will be crushed and placed to rebuild the trails. This work can only be done using the natural law, science and the common sense accumulated from millions of man-hours of experience. It is the only right thing to do. It is the “Right Order of Things”

John Bradford is the founder of Wilderness Outreach. To learn more about Wilderness Outreach contact John at  614-679-6761 or,