I suppose that the people who took the time to tell me that didn't understand that, instead of discouraging me in my heresy, it would encourage me to note even more of the problems of materialism, the Stalinist style orthodoxy that dominates any intellectual discussion that is to be considered respectable.
That that materialist orthodoxy had forced so many people out of the left and alienated so many others who could have been political allies was the reason I took it on to start with. I had already committed the unforgivable sin of dissing Darwin and looking at the entirely indisputable fact that natural selection was, in fact, incompatible with the existential basis of liberalism (in the American sense) and any left that wouldn't merely reproduce the homicidal and dictatorial depravity of right-wing materialism with a coat of red paint. Being challenged on that point, I began my long program or research into the, apparently, unmentionable record of what Darwin, his closest contemporary colleagues whose "science" he endorsed and others who knew Darwin as intimately as his own sons said on that count. Instead of forcing my sorrowful recantation, they proved to me, beyond any doubt, that Darwinism gave rise to and was, in fact, motivated by the most obvious upper-class depravity.
I have come to the conclusion that the farther away from the evidence-based, tested conclusions about rather simple objects that are studied by physics and chemistry, the more open the science will be to unadmitted, even unsuspected ideological pollution. That is true of theoretical science and those sciences which study very complex entities, for which much conjecture must fill in for actual observation, such as evolutionary biology and, most of all any attempt to deal with thoughts and consciousness.
And, the unflagging vigilance of materialists in science being what it is, that pollution will not be supernatural, it will be materialistic. They will be forever insisting on their right to fill gaps in knowledge with whatever is convenient for their materialist ideology.
And the ideological dominance within science, as within any profession, the nature of those sciences will be largely determined by the social and political coercion and the resultant habits that people who are trained by older scientists will learn as the prerequisite for having a successful career and a peaceful life as a working scientist. I think that coercion and those habits are constantly on display but, as the record of what Darwin, his cited colleagues and his children, it is also pretended to not exist.
All of this comes up because I read a couple of Jerry Coyne's recent diatribes. One against another atheist, Thomas Nagel who dared to write a book about the problems with the current orthodoxy of the materialist, neo-Darwinist, conception of nature isn't credible. If you must, here's his diatribe on that topic*.
Coyne has also been frothing about other academics, specifically Jeffrey J. Kripal, who has done the forbidden, looked seriously at both what people have had to say about paranormal experiences and controlled, peer-reviewed research into psi.
I will probably write something about Kripal's article since it is entirely more interesting, less dogmatic, less predictable and entirely more reasonable than Coyne's ranting. I would recommend everyone read it because it is something that nothing Coyne writes is, THOUGHT PROVOKING, instead of merely prejudice confirming. Kripal gives several of the things I've written about a somewhat different take, which has given me a lot to think about. If I wrote about Coyne it would be merely a tedious search for the citations of things I would need to dispute what he said and that's far less interesting.
The real reason that Coyne is so much in a lather is that a serious journal, The Chronical of Higher Education, has published an article recommending people take a serious look at reports of supernatural experiences and there couldn't be anything that would endanger Coyne's favored materialist Stalinism than people being unafraid to look at things forbidden by his faith. And, given recent scientific publications in respected, peer-reviewed science journals that support the existence of precognition or, as Dean Radin calls it, pre-sentiment, of extremely high significance, Coyne may well realize that the days of that Stalinist freeze on free thinking are numbered. As soon as a significant number of people look at that controlled, experimental research and are aware that it has passed every requirement of science, Coyne's old-line materialist orthodoxy will crumble like an ancient idol that stood on feet of clay. With that, the Stalinist freeze on people talking about such experiences and science, the enforced silencing of anyone who dares mention that in the educated classes will be over.
* Here is Coyne's non-psychotic student, H. Allen Orr's critique of Nagel's book. Which is really what lead me to write this. I'm finding Coyne's insane ranting to be less worth answering the more of it I've read and written on. I wonder if he might end up like Nietzsche, sometimes. The man is a raving nutcase with a professorship.
I have to say that even as much as I respect Orr and find him a reasonable and honest writer, I think his professional training has not allowed him to transcend the habits of thought that he learned to become a geneticist.
Update: HA! Apparently Jerry Coyne or someone at The New Republic(an) has accused me of "posting malinformed content" so I'm blocked from further commenting. See what I said, it's a Stalinist style speech code.
Update 2: And I suspect someone read that update because I'm reinstated to comment at TNR.