Religious Humanism vs. Darwinist Animalism
Perry writes that "Of the forces at work radically modifying the nature of Western and Christian civilization, there are those which are open and violent and easily discernible [e.g., the left, Islamism], and there are those which are covert and subtle and easily ambiguous." Reductionistic Darwinism falls more into the latter category, but it transitions to the former in the hands of demagogues and polemicists such as Dawkins, Harris, or Hitchens.
To paraphrase the Upanishads, the world is a mirror, a window or a door for the sage, a wall or "stopping point" for the spiritually untutored man, for whom reality "is what it is" and nothing more. And to plagiaphrase Richard Weaver.... Well, lets just list some bullet points that I placed at the back of the book:
--The world is intelligible and man is free.
--Without imagination, the world is simply a brute fact, with nothing to spiritualize it.
--Every group regarding itself as emancipated is convinced its predecessors were fearful of reality.
--When matter is placed over spirit, quantity is placed over quality. But quality is not just another quantity.
--In the scientistic flight from the center to the periphery, they become lost in details which cannot be understood; this downward pull puts an end to ideational life, and the world shrinks down to an image of our most crude way of knowing it.
Schuon describes the situation well: the scientific reductionist, like a machine, "has reversed the roles, turning its creators into its own creatures; it escapes the control of intelligence as such from the moment that it claims to define the nature of intelligence from the outside and below." People forget that the quantification of all knowledge "necessarily entails an inward impoverishment, unless accompanied by a spiritual science that re-establishes unity and maintains equilibrium."
This is one of the points I attempted to make at LGF, but to no avail. The bulk of commenters there seem to think that the "wall of separation" between church and state (itself a gross misunderstanding) must somehow extend to science and religion. Talk about a "wedge strategy"! But American schools are not failing because of "too much religion" (and by this I do not mean a religion, but simply a more sophisticated transcendental viewpoint that easily accommodates religion as such). To the contrary, our schools only began to fail after they were taken over by the radical secularists of the left. It could hardly be otherwise. What did you expect, wisdom?
For this reason, I will be sending the Gagboy to a religious school, for, among other reasons, I have no doubt whatsoever that he will receive a superior science education there. And this will be because he will be able to place science in a much grander divine-human context that imbues the scientific endeavor with real meaning. After all, there is a reason why America is 1) the most scientifically advanced nation, and 2) the most religious. The two fundamentally go together. They were never antagonistic -- at least not on a widespread basis -- until leftist activists came in with their radical agenda of draining science of any transcendent meaning and purpose, in order to advance their atheistic political religion.
Anyone who claims that their life is meaningful in the context of reductionistic Darwinism is strictly fooling themselves. I won't argue with them, because there is no reason to take them seriously for even a single moment. If they don't understand this, they are either stupid or intellectually dishonest. The same applies without qualification to morality, beauty, and truth. Obviously, I will not waste my time "debating" someone who simultaneously believes in Darwinism and truth, as if the transcendent absolute could ever be derived from matter.
I notice that the unsophisticated commenters at LGF also have a caricatured view of the scientific endeavor, as if it is a strictly mechanical process that results from "facts + induction" -- as if it requires no imaginative leaps, or an overarching paradigm in order to even perceive a fact! I cannot see that any of them are the least bit acquainted with the philosophy of science, e.g., people like Whitehead and Polanyi.
As Ben said, one stupidly arrogant commenter even said in response to one of my queries that he believed in "absolute facts" but not "absolute truth." How to even begin to respond to such sophistry? There is no fact that "speaks for itself," no experience that tells us what we are experiencing. To paraphrase Weaver, only by knowing little may we know much; logic depends on our "metaphysical dream," not vice versa. And it should go without saying that it is this Dream that unites men, not the logic. Nazis and Islamists are rational within the logic of their sick dreams.
Obviously, I don't think my huge mythunderstanding detracts one iota from scientific truth. To the contrary, the whole point is that it places scientific truth in a much wider and grander coontext that does indeed imbue science with the intrinsic meaning it otherwise lacks. For it places science in the context of the antecedent reality perceived by the higher intellect and not merely the senses. To deny this imaginative vision is to deny the unity that transcends experience, and therefore compels the acceptance of relativism, pure and simple.
This is the very real danger of reductionistic Darwinism, don't you see? Charles keeps harping on the scurrilous charge that Darwinism had something to do with nazi ideology, but that is somewhat beside the point. Rather, I would like someone to explain to me how reducing man to a mere replicating machine cannot inevitably, in the long run, lead to the abolition of Man as Such.
In my opinion, Charles is quite naive about the inevitable implications of such an intrinsically anti-human ideology. Indeed, I see the results all around me. The adverse changes in the culture over the past 40 years have been undeniable to anyone who has lived through them. Do I blame only reductionistic Darwinism? Of course not. I blame the general "materialization" of man, of which that is just a reflection. And materialization means dehumanization. Again, it is inevitable. Ideas matter!, especially the organizing ideas that make culture possible.
The word culture is derived from "cult." As all conservatives -- and no leftists -- understand, culture is something that grows "organically" through time. It is like a tree planted deep in the soil, that is nourished "vertically" by the divine-human revelation that gave birth to it, as it is "prolonged" in time. In turn, from the root we eventually see a trunk, branches, leaves, etc, all nourished by the spiritual sap that flows through the tree.
Scientistic materialists -- including the radical Darwinists -- are like defoliants, or people who would take an axe to this beautiful tree that has organically grown over the past 2000 years. Please, I am not being polemical here. When you mess with the fundamental vision that holds a culture together "from the inside," you are messing with the equivalent of nuclear physics on the collective human plane: an Adam smasher, if you will. You just have no idea what you will unloose from the bowels of hell.
And one thing you will unloose will be unbridled spirituality, no longer channeled or guided by the perennial truth of revelation to "contain" it. When this happens, genocide results. Again, to not understand this is so preposterously naive that it boggles my mind. First they came after the fetuses. Now the elderly. Who's next? Please, this is not hyperbole. Just read the works of Peter Singer, a man who is at least intellectually consistent. But under his ethical terms, I should have the right to kill him, because he clearly isn't a person in my book.
Perhaps it is my psychoanalytic training which makes me very aware of the thin membrane that separates man from his most primitive and regressive impulses, and which prevents man from seeing his fellow man as prey. But if my fellow man is not even a man, just a self-replicating animal.... To me, this looks like a nightmare come true -- like a living hell. And it will naturally require a leviathan state to keep these animal-machines in check, and perhaps that is the point.
Human beings do not live in world of sense-data. But the postmodern vertical barbarians do. In their small minds, they are "liberated" from the "childish mythologies" of the past. In this regard, such an impoverished scientism "is assuredly cut to the measure of modern man who conceived it and who is at the same time its product" (Schuon).
This isn't liberation but a special kind of tyranny, for to strip away the veils that simultaneously conceal and reveal the higher realms is to immerse oneself in "the ravages of immediacy" (Weaver). Ironically, it is knowledge of death, not life, because that is where the downward flight into matter inevitably leads. To paraphrase Weaver again (this is from my notes, so I'm not sure if it is a direct quote), "behind the veils is a reality of such commonplace that it is merely knowledge of death.... The raw stuff of life is precisely what the civilized man wishes to have refined."
And with the loss of transcendentals comes the loss of the human -- not to mention the hero, the saint, the sage. These are our fixed "vertical stars" that have always guided us up the ladder of ascent, but in the Darwinian paradigm, these are all illusions, pure and simple. Richard Dawkins is greater than Shankara. Chrisopher Hitchens is superior to Meister Eckhart. Ray Ingles is on a higher plane than Jesus.
If culture is to be understood, it must have a structure; if a structure, a hierarchy; if a hierarchy, an end. Nor is "infinite progress" possible. Rather, if a series is hierarchically ordered, it is conditioned from top to bottom and cannot be infinite; if it is infinite, then it cannot be conditioned from top to bottom. In other words, in the latter scenario, there is no higher and lower, just a kind of infinite horizontal dispersion in all directions.
No. Man, because he is man, may know the absolute within his own transcendent interiority, which paradoxically "contains" the infinite. Conversely, to deny this absolute is to deny man and to reject the measure of all knowledge: the uncreated intellect.
The world is not real, contrary to what the reductionists tell you. And when I say this, I mean "absolutely real," in that if it were absolutely real, then we couldn't be. Rather, we would be reduced to the "real nothing" beneath our feet, as opposed to the transcendent absolute above our heads: "The common illusion of an 'absolutely real' within relativity breeds philosophical sophistries, and in particular, an empiricist and experimental science wishing to unveil the metaphysical mystery of Existence." But to pursue this illusion is analogous to believing "that an animal endowed with sight were more capable than a blind man of understanding the mysteries of the world" (Schuon).
As Perry writes, "man is virtuous because God is Good." To the extent that the latter is not known, the former will eventually not be realized, for virtue is not mere behavior but consciousness of a reality. Nor will we know anything worthwhile, for we will have abolished the measure of all things, and thereby live long and meaningless lives that make up for in shallowness what they lack in depth.
Related, as it is a reflection of the same dominant stupidity: at the University of Chicago, free market capitalism is as dangerous as God, and why not, since both are the quintessence of liberty?:
"Having a drudge like Lincoln call to reject a real intellect such as Friedman only underscores the leading affliction in the Groves of Academe today: Intellectual Insanity, a dread disease that cripples and kills minds that might otherwise have been used to ask the universe: 'Do you want fries with that?'"