Intelligent Design

No Middle Ground

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Neitzsche’s conclusions are sound, some would argue inexorable, if one grants his fundamental premise, that God is dead. The “good” beyond good and evil is the strong man, the superior man (ubermensch), imposing his will on the weak. In a world without God, there is only power, and those who have it and those who do not. A strong man brutally subjugates a weak man or even a weak people. That is good because it is the natural course of the world once the strong man throws off the fetters of Christianity’s unnatural “slave morality.”

You can have God and the transcendent moral principles that flow from His Being. Or you can have the ubermensch. There is no middle ground. “But atheists can be fine moral people,” I hear someone object. Of course they can so long as the society in which they live has sufficient reserves of moral capital — such as the moral capital that accumulated in the West during centuries of Christian ascendancy — onto which they can latch parasitically. As I have written many times before, I can respect while disagreeing with an atheist who looks unflinchingly into the abyss of his metaphysical commitments. But I detest “what, me worry?” smiley faced atheists who want their nihilism sugar coated with the an appropriated Christian ethic.

Our stock of moral capital is nearly depleted. I look around me and see a generation rising that has been taught to not only to acknowledge but to actively embrace the abyss. There was a time that I could count on a young person repelling in horror at the notion that if morality is subjective, whether the Holocaust was evil is a matter of opinion. No more. Today’s fashionable barbarian is just as likely to respond “I suppose that’s right.” What happens to a parasite when the host dies? Whither a nation when it reaches a critical mass of elites who embrace the abyss? I fear we are about to find out.

10 Replies to “No Middle Ground

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    I looked up Neitzsche on wikipedia fully expecting to find that Darwin’s theory had played a significant role in forming Neitzsche’s atheistic philosophy, and I was thus surprised to find that Darwin’s theory played a very negligible role in Neitzsche’s loss of faith. In fact Neitzsche loss of faith was by other means and Neitzche was, in fact, an early critic of Darwin’s theory,, as wikipedia stated, “Nietzsche would ultimately argue the impossibility of an evolutionary explanation of the human aesthetic sense.”

    Friedrich Nietzsche
    Excerpt: After graduation in September 1864,[49] Nietzsche began studying theology and classical philology at the University of Bonn in the hope of becoming a minister. For a short time, he and Deussen became members of the Burschenschaft Frankonia. After one semester (and to the anger of his mother), he stopped his theological studies and lost his faith.[50] As early as his 1862 essay “Fate and History”, Nietzsche had argued that historical research had discredited the central teachings of Christianity,[51] but David Strauss’s Life of Jesus also seems to have had a profound effect on the young man.[50] In addition, Ludwig Feuerbach’s The Essence of Christianity influenced young Nietzsche with its argument that people created God, and not the other way around.[52] In June 1865, at the age of 20, Nietzsche wrote to his sister Elisabeth, who was deeply religious, a letter regarding his loss of faith. This letter contains the following statement:
    “Hence the ways of men part: if you wish to strive for peace of soul and pleasure, then believe; if you wish to be a devotee of truth, then inquire….[53]”
    ,,,, In 1866, he read Friedrich Albert Lange’s History of Materialism. Lange’s descriptions of Kant’s anti-materialistic philosophy, the rise of European Materialism, Europe’s increased concern with science, Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, and the general rebellion against tradition and authority intrigued Nietzsche greatly. Nietzsche would ultimately argue the impossibility of an evolutionary explanation of the human aesthetic sense.[55]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Nietzsche#Youth_(1844–1868)

    And towards the end of the article that was cited in wikipedia we find that Nietzsche criticized Evolution because, among other things, it was “not random enough”. According the Neitzche, “Such a failure of understanding in the truly most basic areas of existence, (i.e. as to how chaotic life truly was), would render us unable to appreciate that which provides beauty to the world.,,,”

    Nietzsche’s Aesthetic Critique of Darwin – Charles H. Pence – 2011
    Excerpt: Finally, I want to focus on something that is less an objection to than a peculiarity of my reading. Broad, philosophical (or theological) critiques of Darwinism, from Darwin’s day to the present, have a tendency to take issue with the lack of purpose in Darwinian evolution. Evolution is powered by randomness, by chance mutations that lack the direction and guidance we should expect a divine, all-knowing creator (or intrinsic vital force, or global idea of progress, etc.) to execute in the creation of man. Evolution, in a word, is too chaotic.
    But this is clearly not Nietzsche’s point at all. Nietzsche has, as far as I know, the peculiar distinction of standing alone in opposition to both Darwin and such responses to Darwin. Evolution is not too random; rather, it is not random enough. It denies the crucial, even constitutive role played by the impulsive, aggressive forces in living things. Darwin’s theory is false because it is too intellectual, because it searches for rules, regulations, and uniformity in a realm where none of these are to be found and, moreover, where they should not be found. Perhaps here we can see best why Darwinism is an Apollonian theory – it is an idealization, meant to guard us from the harsh reality of the underlying chaos that Nietzsche took to be present at the heart of the biological world.
    To perceive life in this way is not only to make a biological mistake, which Nietzsche clearly believed was being made, at least in the context of the will to power but, further and perhaps even more importantly, to make a cultural or even an aesthetic mistake. Such a failure of understanding in the truly most basic areas of existence would render us unable to appreciate that which provides beauty to the world.,,,
    https://digitalcommons.lsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1018&context=prs_pubs

    So thus, according to Neitzche’s own subjective sense of beauty, “that which provides beauty to the world” is for one to be able to see life as driven, apparently, by pure chaos, and he rejected Darwin’s theory precisely because it interfered with our ability to see life as driven by pure chaos.

    Others not so enamored with the Neitzche’s very subjective and peculiar notion of finding ‘beauty in chaos’ might strongly disagree with Neitzche’s claim that “that which provides beauty to the world” is for one to be able to see life as driven, apparently, by pure chaos.

    For instance, Augustine and Aquinas would both strongly disagree with Neitzche’s claim that “that which provides beauty to the world” is to see life as driven by pure chaos.

    Beauty and the Imagination – Aaron Ames – July 16th, 2017
    Excerpt: Beauty… can be appreciated only by the mind. This would be impossible, if this ‘idea’ of beauty were not found in the Mind in a more perfect form…. This consideration has readily persuaded men of ability and learning… that the original “idea” is not to be found in this sphere
    (Augustine, City of God).
    https://theimaginativeconservative.org/2017/07/beauty-imagination-aaron-ames.html

    The Reason Why God Is the Beauty We All Seek – Sept. 4, 2019
    Excerpt: God loves beauty. As Thomas Aquinas asserts, God “is beauty itself”[1] St. Anselm argues that “God must be the supreme beauty for the same reasons that He must be justice and other such qualities.”[2] As the contemporary theologian Michael Horton so aptly states in his book The Christian Faith, “God would not be God if he did not possess all his attributes in the simplicity and perfection of his essence.”[3] The reason why we gravitate toward beauty is because God created us in his image.,,,
    In a chapel sermon titled, “Can Beauty Save the World,” Albert Mohler explains,
    “The Christian worldview posits that anything pure and good finds its ultimate source in the self-existent, omnipotent God who is infinite in all his perfections. Thus the Christian worldview reminds us that the “transcendentals”—the good, the true, and the beautiful—are inseparable. Thus when Psalm 27 speaks of the beauty of the Lord, the Psalmist is also making a claim about the goodness of the Lord and the truthfulness of the Lord. While we distinguish God’s attributes from one another in order to understand them better, we must also recognize that these attributes are inseparable from one another.[19]”
    Mohler goes on to state, “Our job as Christians is to remember the difference between the beautiful and the pretty,” because pure beauty is found in goodness and truth.[20] When we gaze upon ascetically pleasing objects or witness kind deeds in this world, we are at best seeing imperfect versions of the pure beauty that can only be found in God.
    https://www.beautifulchristianlife.com/blog/reason-why-god-is-the-beauty-we-all-seek

    We will leave the criticism of Neitzche’s very peculiar, and very subjective, sense of ‘chaotic beauty’ to the side for now, but as to Neitzche’s primary reason for rejecting God in the first place, i.e. “that people created God, and not the other way around”,,,, the catastrophic epistemological failure inherent in Neitzche’s atheistic claim that ‘people have created God and that God did not create people’, is that if God is not real for the atheist, then nothing else can possibly be real for the atheist.

    I addressed precisely this fallacious “God is a figment of imagination” claim from atheists just the other day in response to Seversky’s claim that God was not real but was merely a fictional character that was created by men.

    Moreover, (and even more devastating to Seversky’s claim that God is no more real that an evil fictional character), if God is merely a figment of imagination as Seversky holds, then, (in what I consider to be a shining example of poetic justice), Seversky himself turns out to be nothing but a ‘figment of imagination. In short, if God does not exist as a real person, then Seversky himself does not exist as a real person but is only a ‘neuronal illusion’ that is generated by his material brain. i.e. a figment of imagination.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/lutheran-religious-studies-prof-asks-is-methodological-naturalism-racist/#comment-737061

    And as I further pointed out in that post,,,, Besides denying the fact the he really exist as a real person, Seversky’s atheistic worldview also forces him to deny the reality of free will, morality, meaning and purpose for his life, beauty, and etc.. etc..,,,

    Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist (who believes Darwinian evolution to be true) is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has unreliable, (i.e. illusory), beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. the illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who also must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the hopelessness of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is simply too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft). Who, since beauty cannot be grounded within his materialistic worldview, must also hold beauty itself to be illusory (Darwin).
    Bottom line, nothing is truly real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, beauty, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,,
    April 18, 2021 – Detailed Defense of each claim
    https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/philosopher-mary-midgeley-1919-2018-on-scientism/#comment-728595

    ,,, Thus in conclusion, if God is not real, then nothing else can possibly be real for Seversky. (Without God), Seversky simply has no anchor for reality to ground his atheistic worldview on and save his worldview from drifting off into, (as Poe semi-prophetically put it), ‘a dream within a dream’.,,,

    Verse:

    2 Corinthians 10:5
    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

  2. 2
    jerry says:

    The one other thing that is sustaining the current society in the West is technology in the sense that so much ease has been generated for everyone. As I look around me in a major airport there only seems to be an unawareness of anything bad is on the horizon.

    Will it be

    Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly

    We are definitely in the gradually phase where no one believes anything bad will happen.

  3. 3
    Fasteddious says:

    I agree with the post, that our moral capital is all but spent, having been wasted on uncaring generations, and then ignored by the woke elites who think that being nice is something others are supposed to automatically be towards them.
    Also, it must get very lonely and tiring being the ubermensch; always worrying about whether the low lives under you will gang up on you, or whether your “friends” will stab you in the back to get ahead. And then there is the constant looking over your shoulder in fear of the uber-ubermensch.

  4. 4
    KRock says:

    I couldn’t agree more. Great post, Barry.

  5. 5
    chuckdarwin says:

    Nietzsche’s Ubermensch is perhaps the most misunderstood of his concepts as this article shows. Nietzsche scholars ascribe ten (give or take) attributes to the Ubermensch which can be gleaned from Nietzsche’s works: self-determination, creativity, becoming, overcoming, discontent, flexibility, self-mastery, self-confidence, cheerfulness and courage. This notion of the “superman” goes all the way back to Lucian and Aristotle (the Virtuous Man). Nietzsche’s concept of the Ubermensch found its source in Goethe and Emerson, writers he deeply admired.
    Contrarily, characterization of the Nietzsche’s Ubermensch as:
    “[T]he superior man (ubermensch), imposing his will on the weak… A strong man brutally subjugat[ing] a weak man or even a weak people” does not find support in Nietzsche’s works.

  6. 6
    Seversky says:

    I would suggest It is a misconception to think of morality as a commodity like money which, once spent, is gone for good.

    Moralities arise in human cultures apparently as a consequence of recognizing a need for rules of behavior which will strengthen a society by making it one to which its members find it advantageous to belong.

    That human beings will sometimes ignore moral prescriptions when they think it suits them is what we would expect from flawed beings such as ourselves. What is harder to explain is a God, who is not supposed to have such flaws, but who is reported to have behaved in ways we would judge to be immoral.

  7. 7
    Barry Arrington says:

    ChuckDarwin says I have it all wrong and my characterization of the Ubermensch has no support in Nietzsche’s writings. According to Chuck, the Ubermensch is merely “confident” and “cheerful,” a really swell guy all things considered.

    Nietzsche says of the Umbermensch (from Thus Spake Zarathustra):

    What is the ape to man? A laughing-stock, a thing of shame. And just the same shall man be to the Superman: a laughing-stock, a thing of shame. . . “Man is evil”—so said to me for consolation, all the wisest ones. Ah, if only it be still true today! For the evil is man’s best force. “Man must become better and eviler”—so do I teach. The evilest is necessary for the Superman’s best.

    Yeah Chuck, very cheerful and confident. Looks like Chuck read some revisionist secondary source trying to turn Nietzsche into a “what, me worry?” smiley faced atheist, the very thing Nietzsche despised and the opposite of what he was trying to do.

    Get a clue Chuck. Why don’t you try actually reading Nietzsche before making making authoritative-sounding “everyone gets in wrong” pronouncements.

  8. 8
    Barry Arrington says:

    Sev:

    That human beings will sometimes ignore moral prescriptions when they think it suits them is what we would expect from flawed beings such as ourselves. What is harder to explain is a God, who is not supposed to have such flaws, but who is reported to have behaved in ways we would judge to be immoral.

    Amusing. As usual, Sev uses words like “flawed” and “immoral” as if they mean something other than
    “that which Sev does not prefer” while implying that they cannot mean something other than “that which Sev does not prefer.”

  9. 9
    William J Murray says:

    Whether or not morality flows from the nature of God, “might makes right” is unavoidably true.

  10. 10
    jerry says:

    A tweet thread on the end of Western Civilization:

    I grow ever more convinced that the pandemic of 2020 will go down in history as a point of rupture in Western society.

    We have been the victims of the most draconian suspensions of civil liberties since the end of WWII.

    I fear we may have an amputation: By leveraging on the citizenry’s fear—and the ability to stoke such fear through propaganda—governmental and bureaucratic power will continually increase. The state apparatus will become ever more involved in the private lives of citizens by controlling their movements and peeling away whatever is left of their autonomy over their own bodies.

    Cultural and educational institutions (universities, the media, pressure groups, religious institutions, etc.) have abdicated their role as moral compass of public opinion.

    they have also sided with the bureaucracy in promoting such invasions into private life and attacks on civil liberties. This they continue to do, without realizing the danger it poses to themselves.

    The Girondists always fail to realize that the Montagnards will turn on them.

    https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1438632390847614977.html

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