Ordained and Tenured Apes of God and Science
Dr. 'Abd Al-Baset Sayyid: The centrality [of Mecca] has been proven scientifically. How? When they traveled to outer space and took pictures of the earth, they saw that it is a dark, hanging sphere. The man said, "Earth is a dark hanging sphere -- who hung it?"
Interviewer: Who said that?
Dr. 'Abd Al-Baset Sayyid: [Neil] Armstrong. Armstrong was basically trying to say: Allah is the one who hung it. They discovered that Earth emits radiation, and they wrote about this on the web. They left the item there for 21 days, and then they made it disappear.
Interviewer: Why did they make it disappear?
Dr. 'Abd Al-Baset Sayyid: There was intent there…
Just read the whole thing and come back. (What follows contains some old and new reflections.)
Although the Islamic world can ape science, it could never have developed it indigenously, since it cannot tolerate the structural prerequisites of science. They can only steal and imitate science, just as they can only imitate and ape democracy, liberty and equality. For science developed only in one time and place on earth, because a precondition of science was the Judeo-Christian ideal of liberty -- something like 99.98 percent of all scientific inventions and discoveries have occurred in Western Christendom.
Science is the exact opposite of a topdown enterprise: all of the hundreds and thousands of little discoveries that made space flight possible could only have been made by hundreds and thousands of scientists freely investigating reality -- pure and unfettered curiosity about the way the world works. People argue that science emerged in the Islamic world, but that is my whole point. It emerged once upon a time, but was then snuffed out by the religious authorities. In the meantime, they have gone from A to C, but will not tolerate the kind of society that allows B -- truly free scientific research -- to take place. They merely steal third base from us, but think they have hit a triple.
If human beings are not free to discover truth, then neither freedom nor truth can exist. These two categories are fundamentally intertwined, and any diminution of one leads to a diminution of the other. Therefore, it should be no surprise that a philosophy such as leftism, which does not value liberty, should be permeated with so many lies. And it is not just as if these lies represent bad or faulty information. Rather, these are vital lies which one is compelled to believe. In other words, one is not free to believe otherwise.
Imagine funding a philosophy department with the mission that they must elaborate and defend this or that position, instead of freely exploring wherever truth leads. It sounds absurd, but this attitude already prevails in our illiberal leftist universities, where, for example, "diversity" must be achieved. This represents death to thought because it is death to the freedom without which thought cannot function.
Any time thought is in the service of something other than Truth, then it is no longer thought. I don't think we have a word for what it is, but it certainly should not be associated with the beautiful word "liberalism," because it is essentially servile. The typical leftist wackademic is hardly a proponent of the "liberal arts." Rather, no matter how "intelligent," he is a drone practicing the servile arts, since his conclusions are preordained. He might as well be flipping burgers, except that at least no child is harmed in the process of burger flipping.
Don't believe me? Here's a typical example from my own field, published in the July 2007 Clinical Psychiatry News:
Suicide bombers are completely normal: "There is no real psychopathology for these people. They are not mentally sick.... They are a heterogeneous population that can be from any race or nationality" "Although many Americans associate suicide bombers with Islamic fundamentalism [ya' think?], suicide bombers come from virtually every religious group." Indeed, "for some, it is a practical choice; they see no alternative that will correct injustice... these people are rational; terrorist groups would reject as unreliable anyone who appears mentally ill [!]." [This is bad news -- it means that mainstream Muslims are even crazier than the terrorists, since the terrorists carefully screen for mental health.]
Nor are religious beliefs a "driving force." These are not "irrational fanatics," but simply regular folks who "have concluded that suicide bombing is the best way to coerce the occupier [Jew, I mean, who, might that be?] to leave their nation [what nation?]." "Except for the level of violence [?!] suicide bombers are not very different from their more moderate neighbors..."
Right. Reminds me of Charlie Manson. Overlook the psychotic bloodlust, and he's pretty much the same as everyone else.
This piece was not published in politically oppressed Saudi Arabia but in politically correct America -- which leads to the oppression of thought. Murderers are normal, suicide is rational, terrorist groups are careful about screening out crazy fanatics, terrorists are not motivated by religion, and all religions have suicide bombers -- Mormons, Lutherans, Scientologists.... then again, Tom Cruise seems to be committing career suicide with a few of his recent bombs....
As Schuon writes, a proper human being is one who “knows how to think." Conversely, "whoever does not know how to think, whatever his gifts may be, is not authentically a man; that is, he is not a man in the ideal sense of the term. Too many men display intelligence as long as their thought runs in the grooves of their desires, interests and prejudices; but the moment the truth is contrary to what pleases them, their faculty of thought becomes blurred or vanishes; which is at once inhuman and 'all too human.'”
One of the reasons Islam is so irrational is that it denies the horizontal. A while back at American Thinker there were a pair of excellent articles about this, one entitled What is Islamic Philosophy, the other Islam and the Problem of Rationality. I don’t have a lot of time this morning, but if you read these articles, you will see that the fundamental problem with Islamic thinking is that it is wholly vertical and devalues or completely disregards the horizontal.
Poole cites their belief in "volunteerism,” which maintains “that rather than created objects having inherent existence, Allah [vertically] constantly recreates each atom anew at every moment according to his arbitrary will. This, of course, undermines the basis for what Westerners understand as natural laws.” Furthermore, there is the belief in “occasionalism,” a doctrine maintaining that “in the natural world, what is perceived as [horizontal] cause and effect between objects is mere appearance, not reality. Instead, only Allah truly acts with real effect; all seemingly natural observances of causation are merely manifestations of Allah's habits, for Allah simultaneously creates both the cause and the effect according to his arbitrary will.”
Carson notes what amounts to the same thing, that “[horizontal] causes and effects are inadmissible... because causes limit the absolute [vertical] freedom of Allah to bring about whatever events he wills. Effects are brought about, not by causes, but by the direct will of Allah.” Obviously, “Without a notion of cause and effect, science is impossible, and “If the true cause of events is the will of Allah, and if the will of Allah is inscrutable, then the causes of events are inscrutable and science a vain pursuit. The issue is ultimately whether the universe and its creator are in any way intelligible. The West, with its traditions of natural law and natural theology, agrees for the most part that the universe is astonishingly intelligible and God somewhat so. Islam, at least at its most rigorous, denies any intelligibility whatsoever to either.”
Now, bear in mind those last three sentences. What they clearly highlight is that the development of science in the West was characterized by a unique appreciation of both the horizontal and the vertical, which intersect in natural theology and in natural law -- in a greater (capital R) Reason. One could also say that they intersect in the whole Judeo-Christian worldview, which regards the world as intelligible to intelligence precisely because both are a reflection of the same divine logos that infuses all of reality, both vertical and horizontal, which together constitute Being. In Islam, Allah is so radically transcendent that he cannot be known, while in the West, one may know God in a multitude of ways both horizontal and vertical, for example, by mapping the human genome, by enunciating relativity theory, or by simply becoming more virtuous -- since humans, in their vertically ascended state, are a mirror and image of the divine.
Now all forms of leftism, secularism, or materialism are every bit as logically incoherent as Islam, and will sooner or later lead to tyranny over the mind, spirit, and body (which history demonstrates time and again). Since these philosophies deny the vertical a priori, they actually run counter to that which makes us human: our access to the realm of vertical values that illuminate and give meaning to our humanness.
What is political correctness but an assault on the ability of people to arrive at certain unwanted conclusions? What is deconstruction but a frontal attack on any meaning that places western civilization in a positive light? There are no conservative deconstructionists, because what is specifically being deconstructed -- that is, attacked -- is the truism that America is a good and decent nation, that western civilization is a uniquely precious gift, that America is not a racist-sexist-homophobic society, etc. None of these conclusions are permissible on the left.