Darwinian Delusions and the Codifying of Unintelligence
One person wrote that "I dislike Gagdad Bob’s stuff. The essay to which you’ve linked provides a good example of my reasons. It’s discursive, incoherent, and unbearably pompous; reading such a thing all the way to the end should entitle the reader to an award for endurance. While speaking of why he’s not peddling his self-aggrandizement out in the world, he postures as an Anything Authority behind the thin cover of a nom de plume.... Give me a plainspoken man who can focus, make his point, and shut up."
Another person wrote that my writing "was harder than hell to follow, but I think I agree with what Bob is saying. He actually is quite good with ideas, but I think is afflicted by the same malediction that I am: the curse of the incessant rambler. This means that while his ideas are excellent, he struggles mightily to communicate them to others."
Or this one: "I am as exasperated sometimes by Gagdad Bob as you are. The original Teflon therapist. So used to being needed too much by hurting people that he overvalues his own opinions when they are really no more than just another searching sinner's notes along the way..."
Nevertheless, a compliment: "he's still good entertainment. Plenty of narcissistic jerks are good for diversion... "
Let's see: discursive, incoherent, unbearably pompous, authoritarian, convoluted, unfocused, rambling, needy, grandiose, narcissistic jerk. And that's just my friends!
The "funny" thing is that I try to be the opposite of these badjectives. To a certain extent, any lack of total coherence has to do with the nature of the subject, which can never be contained, only approached and orbited (at least with words).
I do want to be provocative, but never for its own sake. Rather, in order to talk about God, a little destruction is always necessary -- i.e., some disassembly required. This is because the lower mind has to somehow be bypassed, so that it doesn't imagine it has contained or saturated the subject. Why do you think Jesus spoke in parables? After all, he was the Word, and yet, his own words are often "vague" and "ambiguous." And he was careful not to leave a paper trail, for what do you suppose people would have done with it? They would have undoubtedly confused his words with the Word to which they point, i.e., himself.
Sorry for being so rambly. But I was thinking of this while selecting this oldie from two years ago. I mean, as far as I am concerned, it's a model of clarity that makes religion accessible to the intelligent person who is stuck-on-smart, and thinks he has to leave his mind outside the door if he wants to be religious. And never confuse pomposity with fine insultainment, nor frivolous humor with guffah-HA! experiences.
Oh well. On to the post;
One of the keys to the understanding of our true nature and of our ultimate destiny is the fact that the things of this world never measure up to the real range of our intelligence. Our intelligence is made for the Absolute, or it is nothing. Among all the intelligences of this world the human spirit alone is capable of objectivity, and this implies -- or proves -- that what confers on our intelligence the power to accomplish to the full what it can accomplish, and what makes it wholly what it is, is the Absolute alone. --Schuon
Atheists like to say that it is not incumbent upon them to prove that God doesn't exist. Rather, the burden is on believers to prove that he does. But since the vast majority of human beings are and always have been believers, I would turn the question around and ask, how is it that the atheist is so much stronger and intelligent than the rest of us, able to fearlessly overcome his own genetic programming and look reality straight in the eye, with no comforting delusions?
Of course, if our religiosity is genetically hardwired into us -- having been selected by nature to help adapt us to unreality or unadapt us to reality -- the atheist's strange ability to transcend it doesn't exactly speak well of the discipline of evolutionary psychology. Rather, it is more of an undiscipline, because it can't even control its own unruly causality.
Oh well. Better to faithfully hew to an incoherent absurdity than cede an inch to a coherent one such as 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 (or is it the other way around?). As a result of this devolution -- in which the higher dies to the lower -- we're left with Homo crapiens, the deconstructing ape (also known as Tenured Man, for whom cynicism is the highest truth. He cannot see a simple truth because he has no vision, only revision).
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 any real truth, so that our vaunted 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 Superapes, or big know-nothing-at-alls.
It's really quite simple, and don't let these cunning sophists try to tell you otherwise: if metaphysical Darwinism is true, it can't be; and if man can know Truth, then natural selection cannot fully explain his existence. Thus, "If intelligence is the capacity to discern 'substances' through 'accidents' or independently of them, 'concretism' can only be described as a kind of philosophical codifying of unintelligence" (Schuon).
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. Now, 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 (and for) the boss, i.e., Truth.
Let us remind ourselves just what is the scope of human intelligence: through it, man is able to reconcile himself to the Infinite, the Absolute, the Eternal. Man's intelligence cannot be surpassed by any potentially "higher" intelligence, for it is already potentially total, which is to say, adequate or proportioned to the Real.
In fact, if we didn't partake of this absolute intellect, we couldn't even know of the relative, which is why, ironically, the cynicism and skepticism of the bonehead atheist is living proof of the transcendent Absolute: "even in their blasphemy they praise him." The intellect may know the principle because it sees the appearances. The profane mind reduces everything to appearances, but then eliminates the principial That of which they are a manifestation, leaving these smirking cats without so much as a Cheshire to back it up.
(As always, we are speaking of the intellect, the nous, not the empirical, or merely logical, ego: "The intellect knows through its very substance all that is capable of being known and, like the blood flowing through even the tiniest arteries of the body, it traverses all the egos of which the universe is woven and opens out 'vertically' on the Infinite" [Schuon].)
Being that I believe human beings are in the image of the Creator, this is hardly a surprise to me (only a perpetual shock), nor is it a problem for my metaphysics. But for the Darwinian, it can only represent a miracle, pure and simple -- again, unless we can't actually know truth, then it's not a problem. 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 sophering from materialitis and reductionosis were correct, our transcendent 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 ontological gap between Truth and Falsehood is infinite; 2+2 cannot kinda sorta be 4 -- it either is or isn't).
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 the Summa Coonologica, 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, or de-luxe 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. Theology 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 -- and without which the real but strictly limited truth of Darwinism could not be either.
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