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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Science vs Secularity

Science is not atheistic; secularism is.  Advocating religious and moral values is not, as liberals contend, unscientific.

In the final analysis, the urge toward atheism or agnosticism does not arise from science itself.  A substantial number of scientists are and, in the past have been, atheists or agnostics.  But nothing in science itself necessitates either atheism or agnosticism.

What produces atheism or agnosticism is a hubristic presumption that the ability to describe and to name parts and processes found in nature confers upon the examiner the god-like power fully to understand and to control the processes of nature.  This is not a modern, scientific mindset, but a reversion to primitive savagery.  American Indians and African tribes believed that knowing the name of a bird or animal gave them a sort of kinship with and control over that creature. 

Secularists are simply succumbing to and repeating Adam’s and Eve’s yielding to the temptation to eat the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.  That led God to toss the pair out of the Garden of Eden.  Secularists are saying, in effect, “You can’t fire me!  I quit!”  They are voluntarily exiling themselves from the only path back to Eden, albeit an Eden in Heaven, outside our limited realm of earthly existence.

This is more understandable if we look at the history of events that produced atheism and agnosticism.  The first of these, atheism, is as old as mankind.  The second term, agnosticism, no doubt existed conceptually, but the word itself is attributed to Thomas Huxley, Darwin’s acerbic champion in the latter part of the 19th century.

Protagoras, an early sophist (the equivalent of today’s liberals) before Plato’s time, doesn’t use the term agnostic, but voices the concept to justify pursuit of self-centered, hedonistic conduct.  Man, said Protagoras, has no way of knowing whether God exists or not.  What we can know is our own desires for money, power, and sensual gratification.  From this arises a moral relativism in which each person decides for himself what constitutes acceptable conduct.

Fast forward to the 16th and 17th centuries, when Europe was torn to pieces by the emergence of national states in the modern mold, as independent Medieval cities and small principalities were swept up into larger entities that became the nations of Western Europe.  The crucible in which this bloody process took place was the Reformation and the struggle of northern European rulers to assert both political and religious independence from the Papacy and the Catholic Church.  It was essentially a series of political power struggles, but intellectuals blamed it on religion.

Simultaneously, modern science and mathematics flowered dramatically.  It was the age of Descartes, Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton, when the basis of modern scientific techniques was laid, along with the mathematics to describe and to predict natural phenomena. 

In England this produced no major contortions or bloodshed of the sort that harassed the Continent, because Henry VIII already had severed his rule from the Papacy and declared himself head of the Church of England.  But in France, the autocratic rule of the Bourbon kings and the close identification of Roman Catholicism with political rule led the French Revolutionary philosophers to a profound hatred of religion.  Social justice, they believed, required abolition of spiritual religion and its catechism of morality.  Humanity, they believed, could never find Freedom (as an abstract concept independent of day-to-day reality) until religion had been abolished and replaced by human Reason alone.

Thus, from the middle of the 18th century through today, the intellectuals (not the scientists) became by definition atheists.  It was not the progress of science that caused this presumption, but purely political and economic factors, viewed through a badly flawed lens.

The apparent, though utterly false, link of science and atheism occurred because the French intellectuals sought to misapply to economic and political problems the newly perceived, scientific laws of the physical realm of nature that Galileo and Newton had described.  The intellectuals believed they, being so intelligent and well informed, would be able to follow in Newton’s footsteps and discover laws that regulated human social and political conduct, just as Newton’s equations predicted the movements of the planets.

They then made the leap described above: if they could describe and name historical trends from the past, surely this meant that there were underlying forces controlling the flow of history, forces that could be reduced to description under The Immutable Law of History, as Auguste Comte called it.  Like primitive savages, they presumed that describing and naming past historical trends gave them power over current events and the capacity to foretell the necessary path of human social and political development.  As the French say, voil? socialism!

From this intellectual confusion arose the idea of Progress, which was to capture the imagination of intellectuals and well-meaning, but ill-informed people in all ranks of society.  American secularists no longer worship the concept of Progress overtly, but their arrogant dismissal of God rests on the same unstable foundation of sand as the presumptions of the French Revolutionary Philosophers, whose worship of the Goddess of Reason gave us the Reign of Terror and Napoleon’s military conquest of Europe, Lenin’s and Stalin’s liquidation of tens of millions of innocents, and Hitler’s Holocaust.

Self-styled intellectuals today equate spiritual religion and morality with ignorance and oppression, just as their secular forebears of the French Revolution did.  Arbitrary judicial decisions creating “rights” to abortion or same-sex marriage are Progress.  Opposition to Progress is red-state ignorance. 

Because they fancy themselves scientific, despite the endless string of social disasters like The Great Society, liberal-socialists condemn teaching anything in our schools other than atheistic socialism as unscientific.

Posted by Thomas E. Brewton on 01/18 at 05:04 PM
Junk Science • (2) Comments
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