The Atheist Delusion, or How Materialism Spoils Everything (5.09.09)
Of course, if our religiosity is genetically hardwired into us -- having been selected by evolution to help us be unadapted to reality -- the atheist's ability to transcend it doesn't exactly speak well of the undiscipline of evolutionary psychology.
Oh well. Better to faithfully hew to an absurdity than to cede an inch to religion. As Berlinksi points out, the philosophy of scientism always ends up turning on itself and consuming its own. The head dies first, followed by the heart. As a result of this devolution -- in which the higher dies to the lower -- we're left with Homo crapien, the deconstructionst ape (also known as Tenured Man). Soon enough comes Homo rappien, who drains language of it's transcendent referent and confuses poetry with vulgarity.
This all goes to the fact that the bonehead atheist or doctrinaire Darwinian denies the sufficient reason for man's intelligence. In short, the Darwinian must either plead that there is no explanation for a miraculous intelligence that infinitely surpasses the needs of survival (i.e., eating, mating, and publishing academic drivel); or that we don't actually know anything, and that our intelligence is really a form of arrogant and self-deluded stupidity. But if either of these scenarios are true, it is again difficult to comprehend how nature has somehow produced these atheistic Supermen, or big know-nothing-at-alls.
It reminds me of a skit I once heard on the radio, involving a man who was so irritated by being placed on hold by a receptionist, that he struggled and broke through its "barrier," back on the line. The receptionist kept placing him on hold, but with sheer force of will, he kept breaking through anyway. Natural selection has placed all of us on hold for eternity, and Reality isn't taking any calls. And yet, the Darwinian fights his way through his genes and manages to speak to the boss.
Let us remind ourselves just what is the scope of human intelligence: it is none other than the Infinite, the Absolute, the Eternal. It cannot be surpassed, for it is potentially total, which is to say, "adequate," or proportioned to, the Divine Mind. Being that I believe human beings are in the image of the Creator, this is not a surprise to me. But for the Darwinian, it is a miracle, pure and simple. Again, unless we can't actually know truth. But if that were true, then we also couldn't know the truth of Darwinism, so the argument is self-defeating. Scientism devours yet another immature mind.
If the sorry Homo saps who sopher from materialitis and reductionosis were correct, our total intelligence would have no cause and no explanation. Oddly, we would have this vast intelligence corresponding to... nothing instead of everything (and make no mistake, it's either one or the other, being that the gap between Truth and Falsehood is infinite).
Obviously, no other animal has an intelligence that infinitely exceeds the necessities of survival. Rather, whatever intelligence they possess is easily reduced to its sufficient cause located somewhere in the environment, i.e., survival needs. But what is the sufficient cause of poetry, art, humor, music? Of mathematical truth, aesthetic truth, metaphysical truth? As I said in my book, these are "luxury capacities" that are as different from animal intelligence as life is from matter.
To quote Arthur Koestler,
"[T]he evolution of the human brain not only overshot the needs of prehistoric man, it is also the only example of evolution producing a species with an organ which it does not know how to use; a luxury organ, which will take its owner thousands of years to learn how to put to proper use -- if he ever does."
And luxury is an apt word, for it is a kind of extravagant light placed in the middle of nowhere. As the zoologist and science writer Matt Ridley put it, there is simply no conventional scientific way to "understand how a costly investment in big brains today may be justified by cultural riches tomorrow."
In fact, there is a certain structural similarity between science and religion, to the extent that both are systematic forms of understanding a world or "plane" of phenomena. In both cases, there is a transitional, generative space that exists between something capable of "revealing" itself and our contemplation of it. In this regard, one can see that Torah study, for example, has the identical deep structure of science, only on a higher plane that ultimately shades off into pure metaphysics, or those necessary truths which cannot not be.
Science has what you might call a "written revelation" and an "oral revelation." The written revelation is simply the Cosmos, the World, physical reality, or whatever you want to call it. It is the Object which was here before we arrived, and to which we are Subject. Science -- the evolving "oral tradition" -- takes place in the space between the exterior Object and our own interior Subject, whose intelligence mysteriously conforms to the Object on so many levels that it's positively uncanny -- as if the one were a deep reflection of the other.
Which of course it is. I have no problem with that, which is why I have no problem with scientific or any other kind of truth. The question is, why does the atheist have such a problematic relationship to truth? Must be a genetic defect, I suppose.
When unintelligence joins with passion to prostitute logic, it is impossible to escape a mental satanism which destroys the very basis of intelligence and truth.... When a man has no "visionary" -- as opposed to discursive -- knowledge of Being, and when he thinks only with his brain instead of "seeing" with the heart, all his logic will be useless to him, since he starts from an initial blindness.... Closing itself, above, to the light of the intellect, it opens itself, below, to the darkness of the subconscious. --F. Schuon