Really, all one needs is an aphorism or two. So much easier to realize memes than memorize reams of philosophy. The following are not so much hierarchical as mutually reinforcing, like a strong rope made of individual threads:
Man has as much of a soul as he believes he has. When that belief dies, man becomes an object.
Modern man denies himself every metaphysical dimension and considers himself a mere object of science. But he screams when they exterminate him as such.
If the soul is a myth, genocide is a simple problem of effective anesthetics.
Between animal and man there is no other barrier than a palisade of taboos (Dávila).
Speaking of reductio ad absurdum -- reduction to absurdity -- I wonder what the opposite of this would be? Expansion to certitude? "That is absurd which is contrary to the first principles of reasoning," says the venerable Prof. Fernald -- for example, "that a part should be greater than the whole."
Fernald continues: "Monstrous and preposterous refer to what is overwhelmingly absurd." Then there are the ridiculous or nonsensical, which are "worthy only to be laughed at," such as "the lunatic's claim to be a king." Or, for that matter, the Darwinian's claim to truth.
So, depending upon our angle of vision, atheistic materialism might be absurd, paradoxical, irrational, foolish, silly, unreasonable, monstrous, preposterous, ridiculous, or nonsensical. What? The power of and?
Fernald also helpfully provides antonyms of absurd, e.g., certain, consistent, demonstrable, incontestable, incontrovertible, indisputable, logical, sound, true, undeniable, etc. These are the properties -- whether scientific or religious -- we're really after, aren't they? For it's one thing to prove an argument absurd, another thing entirely to find the one that is absolutely certain.
And yet, the two are related. For example, to explicitly affirm the absurdity that all truth is relative is to implicitly utter an absolute truth, thereby negating one's own first principle. All the relativist or neuromaniac or Darwinitwit need do is draw out the implications of his creed, and voila: he is cured of the absurd!
Note that this is precisely how Jordan Peterson rocketed from cult fame to something approaching the real thing: merely by holding his BBC interviewer to her own absurd standards.
By the way, Dávila has a cautionary aphorism for Peterson: No one is important for long without becoming an idiot.
And while looking for that one, I found this, which aphorizes what we are about to prosify. Read slowly and SEE:
The world is explicable from man; but man is not explicable from the world. Man is a given reality; the world is a hypothesis we invent.
This is indeed one of our first principles. And please note that this does not reduce to some form of arbitrary subjectivism or pure idealism. If it does, then it is no better than the dodgy materialism it displaces.
Unfortunately, politics is not only downstream from culture, but from pseudoscience, AKA scientism, or the Fashionable Nonsense of the Tenured. "The assumption... that we have no free will is combined with all manner of would-be progressive social policies claiming to be rooted in neuroscience" (Tallis). Therefore, for example, if we have no free will, then our justice system is patently unjust. We saw how this played out beginning in the 1960s: an entirely predictable explosion of crime.
Ideas have consequences. If crime is not a choice but only an effect of a material or efficient causes, then it leads to the reductio ad absurdum of... of a community organizer president with Al Sharpton as Czar of Race Relations and Black Lives Matter as intellectual vanguard.
Prof. Fernald says we are abusing the word "absurd." The word we are looking for is monstrous.
"Scientism and government have always made unhappy bedfellows" (Tallis). Let us count the (progressive) ways: eugenics, high carb/low fat diets, Keynesian economics, the government-global warming industrial complex, transgenderism, heterosexual AIDS, homosexual marriage...
Hear hear: "if any ideas are important, then ideas about the kind of creatures we are must be of supreme importance." And as we have pointed out on many occasions, "if On the Origin of Species really were the last word on humanity, it could not have been written." Do we really need to explain why? Okay: a brain simple enough for us to explain would not be complex enough to give rise to the explainer.
About those novel arguments alluded to above, here's one. Scientism, in order to be strictly consistent -- or fully monstrous -- must paradoxically adopt the point of view of no point of view, or of the "view from nowhere," in which "all appearances are summarized in the abstract," but are "had by no one in particular, and consequently by no one at all..." Again, it is the "material world seeing itself but from no particular point of view."
There is so much wrong with this that we don't have time to unpack it all. You can't just obliterate conscious selfhood and then try to sneak it in via the side door. Rather, if it's gone, it's gone. You can't secretly resurrect it without recourse to the miraculous. "There are some fundamental elements of selfhood that cannot be denied without self-contradiction," one of which is viewpoint.
We'll end with this, and pick it up on Tuesday: the realm of memory
has no place in the physical world. The physical world is what it is. It is not haunted by what it has been (or indeed, what it might become): by what was and will be. There are, in short, no tenses in material world.
[I]n the physical world no event is intrinsically past, present, or future. It becomes so only with reference to a conscious, indeed self-conscious, being who provides the reference point, the "now," that makes some events past, others future, and yet others present (Tallis.)