When Ought Becomes Is, Reach for Your Revolver
These two sides are equally important, for if one is unaware of the bad news, it will render the good news inoperative. The bad news, instead of being a helpful diagnosis, will become an invisible stumbling block. Without appreciating the bad, the good can easily become spoiled -- charity can be reduced to indulgence, confidence to pride, courage to rashness, humility to self-loathing, chastity to prudery, etc.
Science cannot provide a satisfactory response to our innate desire to know "what is" and "who we are," the reason being that it simply does not operate on that plane. To ask it to do so is analogous to asking religion to address only one side of the equation: to descend to man without asking man to ascend to God.
Science can handle the descent but knows nothing of the ascent, or in other words, it sees the Is but not the Ought. Thus, it either elevates the Is to the Ought -- the naturalistic fallacy -- or reduces the Ought to the Is -- the citsilarutan fallacy (that's naturalistic backwards).
This latter fallacy pretends that how we would like things to be is how they are -- for example, that homosexuals can exist in a state of matrimony, or that people can choose their gender, or that welfare programs won't foster dependence, etc.
This fellow claims that conservatives are more prone to the naturalistic fallacy, liberals to its opposite. Is this true? Yes, if the liberal is a liberal or the conservative is an idiot. No conservative should conflate Is and Ought, because the first principle of conservatism is a clear distinction between the two. Any conservative who immanentizes the eschaton is not a conservative but a millenarian liberal (but I repeat myself).
But "Since academics, and social scientists in particular, are overwhelmingly left-wing liberals, the moralistic fallacy has been a much greater problem in academic discussions of evolutionary psychology than the naturalistic fallacy." Or in other words, liberals conflate desire and reality, which is vividly described in this distressing book on racial preferences. That they do great harm to their intended beneficiaries is of absolutely no consequence. Rather, the desire to do good is all that matters, and is sufficient to magically transform Ought to Is, or academia to racial Sugar Candy Mountain.
Speaking of witchcraft, isn't this what the Magician in Chief is trying to do with ObamaCare? "The debate is over. Ought is forevermore Is, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it." Obama is trying to convince us that the way ObamaCare is in his dreams is actually the way it Is. In other words, pay no attention to that Is behind the Ought.
You could say that the so-called dispute between science and religion is between Is and Ought, but how can this be? How can, say, our duty to be polite be at odds with science? They can only be at odds if science insists that man is and therefore ought to be a wolf to man, and not pretend to be something better.
Schuon suggests that modern man seems incapable "of grasping a priori the compatibility of the symbolic expressions of tradition with the material observations of science."
I suppose this was part of the challenge I was having in my theological discussion with the boy the other evening. It's naturally difficult for him to shift between the concrete and abstract, for example, vis-a-vis Genesis. Genesis symbolically comports to the nature of man, but if we try to look at it as a scientific account, we commit a category error. Or again, we accept the descent of the message without the corresponding ascent on our part.
The pervasiveness of scientism has resulted in a kind of "materialization" of the mind. Thus, when we say the leftist or secular fundamentalist is dense, we mean this literally. They are especially dense, or opaque, to the Light. As a result, they still have the same hunger for truth, but demand that it be presented to them on the same level as their density. It would be analogous to a child who knows only basic math insisting that calculus be presented to him in simple arithmetic terms.
As Schuon describes it, the modern man wishes his ultimate explanations "to remain as external and easy as scientific phenomena themselves, or in other words, he wants all the answers to be on the level of his own experiences." But these experiences "are purely material," so this attenuated consciousness "closes itself in advance against all that might transcend [these experiences]."
But again, there is still the same hunger for truth, or there would be no demand for explanations. To even ask Why? is to have already transcended the external and material, the mere Is.
Now, this Why is made of truth. This sounds like an odd thing to say, but isn't it true that question and answer always go together? Indeed to paraphrase Don Colacho, there is far more Light in a good question than a stupid answer.
So, the Why is an artifact or echo of the Truth it seeks. The intellect's "own nature," writes Schuon, "does not allow it to resist truth indefinitely." The only way for this to happen is for the will to counteract the intellect, or again, for desire to negate reality. Hunting for truth requires a good will.
"No meaningful public debate over belief and unbelief is possible. Not only do convinced secularists no longer understand what the issue is; they are incapable of even suspecting that they do not understand, or of caring whether they do. The logical and imaginative grammars of belief, which still informed the thinking of earlier generations of atheists and skeptics, are no longer there. In their place, there is now—where questions of the divine, the supernatural, or the religious are concerned—only a kind of habitual intellectual listlessness."