Sometimes, one of our commenters raises a significant matter that is worth headlining and further analysing. In a recent thread, Seversky dismissies Christian concerns about anti-Christian bigotry, bias, lockouts and the like, with:
Sev, 14: ” This doesn’t sound like a crusade against Christianity so much as the faith playing the victim because they are aggrieved that they no longer have the prestige, social privilege and political power they once enjoyed. “
What is interesting here is the structure of the dismissive rhetoric, which turns rights and justice concerns into “playing the victim” as one is “aggrieved” that the Christian Faith has somehow lost “prestige,” “privilege” and “social power.” Immediately, we can recognise a familiar rhetorical pattern, blaming the victim by first demonising him [see, two can play the rhetoric game, especially if one is familiar with how fallacies work!], but that is not a primary concern just now.
What is, is the underlying vision of moral government and law, thus rights, fairness and justice, also duties to truth, prudence, right reason.
For, what lurks just beneath the surface of Sev’s rhetoric here [as a “typical” representative of such views], is the familiar pattern long since exposed and rebuked by Plato, in The Laws, Bk X (as was noted a few days ago). That is, when one resorts to evolutionary materialistic scientism [and even setting aside the question of how one then gets to a credible, rational, responsible and significantly free mind on such premises] one reduces moral government to “the highest right is might,” which then leads to ruthless factions grabbing power and imposing their will.
Obviously, if that is all that there is, then of course, those who formerly held greater prestige and power but are now denigrated have nothing to appeal to as “justice,” “truth,” or “fairness,” they lost the power struggle and that’s that.
Nihilism, in one word.
Which, is instantly absurd.
Were my fellow blacks simply whining because they lacked social prestige and power when complaints were made against slavery, then Jim Crow [and its like, the colour bar], etc?
Worse, “rights,” “fairness,” and “justice” have now become little more than rhetoric appealing for power. Words, weaponised into means of manipulating the generally dumb public to gain a new power advantage.
For, on such views — and in the practice of those who go along as fellow travellers, there are no enduring principles of right or justice, there is only power struggle with the lurking matter of the preservation of favoured races and classes in the struggle for life. Complete with H G Wells’ twist in Time Machine, that if one becomes sheep for the table of the dominant class and species, then one may be kept as a useful herd animal and preserved as a food source. (Sheep, notoriously, are stupid but they are not about to die out, as they are tasty and provide wool.)
Of course, we usually do not recognise when we have made such a fatal step too far into absurdity. Especially, if that is what the chattering, celebrity, Twitter blue tick classes and their media amplifiers promote.
However, absurdity is not healthy, and bad ideas can have terrible consequences:
As in, who benefits from sustaining absurdity with power and manipulation? Or, again:
So, we need to fix the error that has become embedded in our culture’s centres of influence or commanding heights:
That means, we have to cut across one of the central ideas of evolutionary materialistic scientism, that effectively Big-S Science is the ONLY begetter of truth (thus, knowledge). In the words of Nobel Prize holder Jacques Monod in his 1971 TV interview (and building on his arguments in his 1970 Chance and Necessity):
[T]he scientific attitude implies what I call the postulate of objectivity—that is to say, the fundamental postulate that there is no plan, that there is no intention in the universe. Now, this is basically incompatible with virtually all the religious or metaphysical systems whatever, all of which try to show that there is some sort of harmony between man and the universe and that man is a product—predictable if not indispensable—of the evolution of the universe.— Jacques Monod [Quoted in John C. Hess, ‘French Nobel Biologist Says World Based On Chance’, New York Times (15 Mar 1971), p. 6. Cited in Herbert Marcuse, Counter-Revolution and Revolt (1972), p. 66.
Let’s remind ourselves, through an infographic:
Notice, the evolutionary materialtic scientism is built in as underlying assumptions defended through the prestige of Big-S Science. Whatever does not fit in with the notion that such an ideology has cornered the market on truth and right and reality, is to be discredited and dismissed, even when words to that effect are not spoken out loud. The objector, in short, is beyond the pale, beyond the protection of the dominant worldview and cultural agenda and is fair game for those who dominate the mountains of influence in a civilisation.
So, when the civilisaiton in question was once universally known as Christendom, but has now turned away from that faith and from the Christian Synthesis of the heritage of Jerusalem, Athens and Rome [history is bunk, bunk by dead white men!], the holders of power will act to preserve that power.
And don’t you peasants dare rise up in populist rebellions by ballot box. We will use our cultural dominance to marginalise, censor, delegitmise, deplatform and demonise you and your views, then pounce with all the powers of lawfare, government, education and media. Not to mention, power to lock you out of education or employment in high prestige professions. (Do such realise what will eventually happen if they reduce an increasingly marginalised people of the despised hinterlands to the other box? As in the rule of .303, .308, .223 and kin? [If drugs can be smuggled, so can be guns and ammunition.] A warning, out of concern that we turn back before we go over the cliff. )
Demonise is a key term, as we must now take seriously the complaint the despised deplorables and populists have been saying for years when they have pointed to these remarks of Richard Lewontin as a cat out of the bag moment:
>> . . . to put a correct [–> Just who here presume to cornering the market on truth and so demand authority to impose?] view of the universe into people’s heads
[==> as in, “we” the radically secularist elites have cornered the market on truth, warrant and knowledge, making “our” “consensus” the yardstick of truth . . . where of course “view” is patently short for WORLDVIEW . . . and linked cultural agenda . . . ]
we must first get an incorrect view out [–> as in, if you disagree with “us” of the secularist elite you are wrong, irrational and so dangerous you must be stopped, even at the price of manipulative indoctrination of hoi polloi] . . . the problem is to get them [= hoi polloi] to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world [–> “explanations of the world” is yet another synonym for WORLDVIEWS; the despised “demon[ic]” “supernatural” being of course an index of animus towards ethical theism and particularly the Judaeo-Christian faith tradition], the demons that exist only in their imaginations,
[ –> as in, to think in terms of ethical theism is to be delusional, justifying “our” elitist and establishment-controlling interventions of power to “fix” the widespread mental disease]
and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth
[–> NB: this is a knowledge claim about knowledge and its possible sources, i.e. it is a claim in philosophy not science; it is thus self-refuting]
. . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists [–> “we” are the dominant elites], it is self-evident
[–> actually, science and its knowledge claims are plainly not immediately and necessarily true on pain of absurdity, to one who understands them; this is another logical error, begging the question , confused for real self-evidence; whereby a claim shows itself not just true but true on pain of patent absurdity if one tries to deny it . . . and in fact it is evolutionary materialism that is readily shown to be self-refuting]
that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality [–> = all of reality to the evolutionary materialist], and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test [–> i.e. an assertion that tellingly reveals a hostile mindset, not a warranted claim] . . . .
It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us [= the evo-mat establishment] to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [–> another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute [–> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door . . . [–> irreconcilable hostility to ethical theism, already caricatured as believing delusionally in imaginary demons]. [Lewontin, Billions and billions of Demons, NYRB Jan 1997,cf. here. And, if you imagine this is “quote-mined” I invite you to read the fuller annotated citation here.]>>
No, this is not mere quote mining or ignorance, stupidity insanity or wickedness. Something is wrong, something that needs to be faced. First, at ideological and worldviews level — as, that is where controlling assumptions and agendas live. Science itself depends on sound epistemology, logic, mathematics and metaphysics, all of which are different from science and all of which are antecedent to it.
Where, too, all of our rational, responsible life is inescapably morally governed. If we disregard binding, universal duties to truth, right reason, prudence, sound conscience, neighbour, fairness and justice etc, we undermine the very basis on which science itself can legitimately have respect and credibility. For, if all is manipulation, power and imposition, nothing has genuine credibility thus moral authority.
And yes, that points to the IS-OUGHT gap and to the only place it can be bridged; on pain of ungrounded ought. Namely, the root of reality. We have a bill of requisites for the root of reality, which must be adequate to account for a fine tuned world fitted to C-Chem aqueous medium cell based life. That is already enough to put design on the table. When we see that such cell based life embeds coded DNA in the heart of the cell’s operations, we find that language is antecedent not only to human life but to biology. Language working through algorithms implies purpose.
Design sits at the table as of right, right from the root of reality.
But that is not all, such design includes a biological creature that transcends mere computation on a substrate, having rational responsible, morally governed freedom. That points to a root of reality adequate to ground moral government: the inherently good and utterly wise.
Factor in, that the root of reality must be independent in being, i.e. a necessary being. One, capable of designing and building universes, i.e. one of awesome power. Power, governed by inherent goodness and utter wisdom.
The outlines of a familiar figure that the atheists in lab coats thought they had banished forever from the halls of Science and power are looming through the mists.
Soon, he will be knocking at the door.
What will we do as a civilisation? END