Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Most Amusing

Modern Cathedrals

Book's like David Berlinski's The Devil's Delusion are a joy to read.  In this particular case, it is also most amusing.  We would recommend it to anyone wishing to make some sense of the sociological structures and forces (the "cathedral", as Berlinski would put it) surrounding evolutionism.

Berlinski's position is that when it comes to particle physics, science has reached its limits.  It is impossible for it to progress further without falling into an abyss of a thousand contradictions, antinomies, and non-sequiturs.  The science of "everything" has thus reached the point where it spends most of its time enforcing itself upon others.  Don't question.  Don't debate.  Just believe.  In Berlinski's metaphor, cosmology has become a cathedral, a monument to something ineffable, unknowable, and mysterious.

All Christians would recognise this position.
 The science of evolutionary theory has become the religion of evolutionism. The study of the cosmos via particle physics has become cosmologism.  In other words they have become religions in their own right.  The ultimate reality to which they bear witness has to be presupposed as true.  There is no higher authority to which cosmologists and evolutionists can appeal.  It has become a grand circular argument.  Therefore, it just is.

To be sure, all this is a bit embarrassing because officially the religions of evolutionism and cosmologism claim that one can only know anything for sure and certain if it is scientifically proven, including that claim.  To be scientific, therefore, the theory of evolutionism must be falsifiable.  Long ago, it departed from that touchstone of authenticity.  Using the scientific method to prove and establish the scientific method has rapidly devolved into a circle, and a rather vicious circle at that.  Far better, then, just to erect the cathedral and worship.  Worship Man, because that's the point after all!

Here is Berlinski's way of putting it: the positions of the scientist and the Christian Church have been swapped in the modern era.  Now it is the scientist who denounces all who do not worship in the "orthodox" manner.  The spirit of Niccolo Lorini, Galileo's critic, can be found everywhere today.
Nicolo may today be found wherever the faith is under attack.  Darwin's theory of evolution is the obvious example, because Darwin's theory is virtually the only part of church teaching commonly understood.  It may be grasped by anyone in an afternoon, and often is.  A week suffices to make a man a specialist.

The great virtue of Darwin's theory, Richard Dawkins has argued, is that it has made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.  Dawkin's claim, while it has been widely repeated, has not been widely believed.  "Two-thirds of Americans," the New York Times reported, "say that creationism should be taught alongside evolution in public schools."  But even among those quite persuaded of Darwin's theory, "18 percent said that evolution was 'guided by a supreme being.' "  [David Berlinski, The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions (New York: Basic Books, 2009), 219.]
The politically connected clergy of evolutionism are busy defending the faith with their own kind of Inquisition--thus, unintentionally illustrating and exposing the religious nature of their enterprise.
"If scientists to not oppose antievolutionism," remarked Eugenie Scott, the executive director of the National Center for Science Education, "it will reach more people with the mistaken idea that evolution is scientifically weak."  Scott's understanding of "opposition" had nothing to do with reasoned discussed.  It had nothing to do with reason at all.  Discussing the issue was out of the question.  Her advice to her colleagues was considerably more to the point: "Avoid debates."  [Ibid]  
The cathedral of scientism is grand and glorious.  Let all who enter suspend unbelief and scepticism.  Those who stand outside with doubts, questions and objections are to be put on the rack or cast into the flames. Thus runs the ruling Inquisition of our day.

But the cathedral of scientism is also incomplete, misshapen and polyglot.  Does it really support the faith by which it is supported?  Of course not.  It is constantly roiled by very, very vicious circles.  Let's just keep that amongst us friends, eh.

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