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Thursday, April 07, 2005

Ethics Without Religion? An Addendum

Spelling out some fundamental understandings.

First, in Ethics Without Religion?, I spoke of religion-based ethics vs. secular and materialistic ethics.  I should have made it clear that all of these systems of ethics, not just Judeo-Christian ethics, are religious, either spiritual or secular.  All base their ethical systems and political structures on their theories of human nature and of the nature of reality. 

Socialism, for example, is a secular religion, with a system of materialistic ethics known as social justice.  In that regard, see Socialism: Our Unconstitutionally Established Religion.

The deep religiosity of liberal-socialism accounts for the fierceness with which liberals attack Christians and religious Jews.  The aggressive campaigns we saw last year to eliminate God from the Pledge of Allegiance and to banish all aspects of Christmas from public life are similar to Al Queda’s jihad against the United States, differing only in degree.  Al Queda seeks to destroy the United States; liberal-socialists seek to destroy the Judeo-Christian heritage.

Second, do not accept the assertion that religion is unscientific and that secular materialism is scientific.  Science is not inherently antithetical to religion.  See Science vs Secularity.  The physical sciences, by definition, can deal only with the physical world and with the detectible energy fields affecting the physical world. 

There is ample evidence supporting the reality of the metaphysical, spiritual realm within religion, philosophy, history, and political science.  The data of history, to take one example, are just as much real, analyzable evidence as the physical, experimental evidence obtained in chemistry labs, in linear particle accelerators, or in interstellar observation.

The atheist says triumphantly that you can’t prove the existence of God, but no atheist can prove that God and the spiritual world don’t exist.  An atheist’s faith is simply a matter of his religious intuition and personal preferences.  As the newcomer and challenger, it is incumbent upon the atheist to disprove thousands of years of deep philosophical and religious thought.  And he can’t do it.

Liberal-socialist, atheistic defenders of secular materialism simply start with the presumption that spirituality has been disproved.  When confronted with countervailing fact, liberals either resort to nasty name-calling, or say loftily, “You just don’t understand science.”

Professor John Dewey’s secular and materialistic ethics of Pragmatism rests on the assumption that Darwin’s hypothesis of evolution is scientifically valid.  The logic chain is: the Judeo-Christian tradition posits God’s Eternal Truth as its basis for morals; but Darwin “proved” that everything is continually changing (evolving), so there is no such thing as Eternal Truth; therefore, truth and morality are relative to the specific circumstances of events.  Thus we get moral relativism.

Apart from the fact that there exists not a single proof of Darwin’s evolution hypothesis, even if the physical world were continually evolving, it does not follow that the moral, spiritual world evolves.  For more on the speculative nature of Darwin’s hypothesis, see More Arguments about Darwinian Evolution.

Beginning with Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the mid-1700s, the most fundamental principles of socialism are speculations for which there is no evidence.  Most notable in that regard is Rousseau’s doctrine that humans in the primal state of nature were inherently benevolent before the advent of private property.  He wrote that there is no evidence to support this idea; his reason just told him that it must have been so.

Marx spoke of scientific socialism.  He gave us quite precise predictions about the cataclysmic collapse of capitalism and a world-wide workers’ revolution that would establish socialist governments.  None of it has come to pass.  Both Russia and China were agricultural, peasant economies, not capitalistic nations; neither had a large proletariat of industrial workers.  In neither nation was the predicted social harmony and increased economic productivity realized.

No socialistic system has ever met those standards, yet liberal-socialists’ fierce religious faith remains undimmed.  They are always certain that just spending more government money, a little longer, will achieve success.

For a recent example of the liberal scientism that passes for science, read The Science Haters, by Smith College professor of economics game theory James D. Miller.

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