Why isn’t the argument that “Darwinism is false because it rules out the mind” decisive? You could also call this “The Trouble with Thomism”
|March 14, 2011||Posted by O'Leary under Philosophy, Intelligent Design, Darwinism, Mind, Evolutionary psychology|
Recently, Bantay, a commenter on a post addressing the origin of language, quoted
…because Darwinists need to chase their tails by denying precisely what language itself affirms (meaning, order, and purpose)”
Does that mean that when Dawkins speaks, it is meaningless, orderless and purposeless?
Well, let me try to unpack that a bit.
Conversation with friend
Recently, I was on a road trip with a friend who wanted me to listen to this wow! CD by a dynamite Catholic preacher, who was into Thomism. (Thomism, sometimes neo-Thomism, is an attempt to use the teachings of medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas to counter materialism, Darwinism, etc.)
He made clear he was not talking about (nonsense like) intelligent design or creationism when he offered “proofs for God” going back to ancient times. I listened carefully, and then my friend asked me what I thought.
I sensed I’d better not just make social noise (= Isn’t he wonderful! Isn’t he profound! Take that,atheists!). So I thought about it, then said,
He is a good preacher, but I believe his arguments will have no impact whatever today, and at present are merely a distraction. Here is what I learned, writing The Spiritual Brain:
The Darwinist does not believe in the reality of the mind, and as a result, arguments from reason and logic are dismissible, because they are simply the natural selection of your successful genes operating on your neurons to produce delusions that cause you to pass on your genes. Tht is why people continue, through the generations, to find them persuasive. As materialist cognitive psychologist Steve Pinker, has said, “Our brains are shaped for fitness, not for truth.”
To get some sense of how this plays out, consider ultra-Darwinist Richard Dawkins’ remarks on the Martin Gaskell case, where he makes perfectly clear that he supports an irrational form of discrimination (an astronomer who may doubt Darwin doesn’t get hired). That’s because Darwinism, once accepted, is the Truth That Ends All Truths. After that, there is only the “truths” of “science” – essentially, all the evidence and only that evidence that is processed in such away as to support Darwinism.
Look, Dawkins actually admitted, in New Zealand journalist Suzan Mazur’s hearing, that he had come to regard Darwinism as a religion, and was trying to swear that off. But, of course, seen in the only terms that make sense, given its own premises, Darwinism must function as a fanatical religion, and it is certainly treated that way by its adherents. Everything about Darwinism – the trolls, the enthroned mediocrities, the persecutions of the “potentially evangelical” – are exactly what one would expect of a toxic cult. Accommodation can never work because the cult cannot, by its very nature, accommodate traditional values. It subsumes them, as noted, as the random dance of neurons on the brain that happened to benefit natural selection.
Darwin himself admitted as much1:
But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?
The “horrid doubt” necessarily arises and cannot, by the very nature of Darwinism, go away. It should have ended Darwinism right there, but the monster was seductive, was well-fed, crunching the bones of its opponents, and it grew.
As a result, to today’s Darwinist, it isn’t even a horrid doubt. It is the Fact that ends all facts, and science is only and ever what adds to its Facthood.
Yet some people insist that there can be an accommodation between Darwinism, as taught, and traditional civilization. They call it “science,” to soften the blow, because science is what supports Darwinism and materialism. From a traditional perspective, the accommodators, however well-meaning, do serious harm.
To see what they are asking for, forget religion, Christianity, and such. Go right back to Gilgamesh, perhaps the oldest known story (4500+ years old):
He who has seen everything, I will make known (?) to the lands.
I will teach (?) about him who experienced all things,
Anu granted him the totality of knowledge of all.
He saw the Secret, discovered the Hidden,
he brought information of (the time) before the Flood.
He went on a distant journey, pushing himself to exhaustion,
but then was brought to peace.
So gently does the anesthetized venom enter the bloodstream that many would say, “It only adds to the richness of the experience of reading the poem when we learn from the Darwinists that Gilgamesh’s real purpose was spreading his genes around, and his neurons were naturally selected to foster the delusions shown here.”
No. It doesn’t add to the richness. The Darwinists are basically saying that they have explained something that they can’t begin to understand. In fact, no materialist can explain Gilgamesh because the materialist is too far beneath Gilgamesh to understand him. And when you become a dhimmi for Darwin, as the Christian Darwinists would have you do, you will never understand him either.
No problem, though. You will send your children to schools where no one does understand him, hence he is not on the curriculum. “Evolution rocks” will be taught instead, alternating with the lyrics written by nihilist rock stars. And nothing disturbs the eternal peace that now reigns.
Indeed, you will still be free (in some places) to holler and stomp for Jesus, if that is what your selfish genes have selected your neurons to facilitate. The only thing you must not do is act like or talk like you know that Darwinism and materialism are utterly false and noxious.
So, what’s wrong with Thomism/neo-Thomism, whatever-Thomism? Nothing, nothing at all. It’s just another porcelain figurine in the china cabinet. Another evidence of what your selfish genes cause your neurons to cause you to produce. Nice in its way. But nothing you’d want to defend yourself with when the trolls are coming.
The trolls can only be stopped by
1) a vigorous defense of intellectual freedom to question Darwinism. Incidentally, the Thomists are notoriously silent on the thuggery practised against ID theorists. Some have said – in my own hearing, privately, so there can be no doubt of their real views – that the ID theorists had it coming; and
2) an insistence that facts, in the traditional sense, matter. Facts, in the traditional sense, would topple the monstrous edifice of Darwinism. But only direct conflict can put them there, not philosophical arguments of the sort that can never be worthy of serious consideration until the facts, as traditionally understood – including the massive evidence against Darwin – are.
Oh well, some people do have their hobbies. The danger lies in getting mistaken for a pro.
1. I bet this idea won’t be on the Texas school lobby’s “Darwin only” curriculum.