Monday, May 25, 2015

Revealing The Atheists' Theology For What It Really Is An Alternative Religion

The evolutionary psychologists and others have turned natural selection into the magical creative force in biology and, in some hard cases such as Daniel Dennett, into a universal force to explain everything.  That is beyond dispute.  At least it is if you think out the real meaning of what they're saying to its conclusion.

Since they inevitably depend on the major modification of Darwin's major idea by gluing it to Mendelian genetics, done in the 1930s,  and with DNA being identified  in the 50s of the last century, and especially since H. D. Hamilton, E. O. Wilson and Richard Dawkins published their ideas, when they talk about "natural selection" they're really talking about DNA.  The same, when they say "evolution".

And I think it is with Hamilton and Dawkins that it's necessary to begin to talk about their turning the object, "DNA", into a creator god. as they attributed to it far vaster magical, creative potency than more careful geneticists I'm aware of ever did.   Today, when you hear or read the words "DNA" "genetics" "natural selection" or even, and most damaging of all to science, "evolution" most of the time it is to the magical creator god to which is attributed the most enormous powers of creation.   In the claims that all of our behavior is, ultimately, the creation of this deified "DNA", is literally the claim that we are made in its image, that it is the origin of our entire being.

And, as I've noted, in the hands of Daniel Dennett, its creative powers are claimed to extend far outside of mere biology but to all of nature, which is why he entitled what is certainly his most famous book,  Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life.  In that title, he merely restates the claims made for Darwinism by Ernst Haeckel, who was more honest about his motives, when he said that in Darwinism was the final triumph of materialist monism. When I talk about materialist monism, I am merely using the right term for what they're talking about, without the typical slippery avoidance of it.   And in that I think lies the real motive of the entire effort of the entirely slippery and, I think quite naive and wrongheaded effort.

Think about what their apotheosized version of "DNA" is claimed to do by them and its powers rival those of the creator gods of classical paganism.  In their presentation it creates us, quite literally, it imbues us with all of our capabilities and faults, it determines our fate, it even controls our thoughts and actions.  It causes our crimes, it is the source of our virtues and even, in that line of thought, is the real and quite selfish motive that is the real explanation of our most noble acts of self-sacrifice, transforming that into a service for that, their most selfish of all gods which only cares about its own survival.   If you think that is a grotesque exaggeration, consider that the major proponent of the idea, Richard Dawkins, famously said:

“Was there to be any end to the gradual improvement in the techniques and artifices used by the replicators to ensure their own continuation in the world? There would be plenty of time for improvement. What weird engines of self-preservation would the millennia bring forth? Four thousand million years on, what was to be the fate of the ancient replicators? 

They did not die out, for they are past masters of the survival arts. But do not look for them floating loose in the sea; they gave up that cavalier freedom long ago. Now they swarm in huge colonies, safe inside gigantic lumbering robots, sealed off from the outside world, communicating with it by tortuous indirect routes, manipulating it by remote control. 

They are in you and in me; they created us, body and mind; and their preservation is the ultimate rationale for our existence. They have come a long way, those replicators. Now they go by the name of genes, and we are their survival machines.”

― Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene

What I have said, which is held to be outlandish and ridiculous is merely to restate the claims of these people,  letting the cat out of the bag, revealing what it is that they're doing.  They're inventing a fantasy version of DNA as a god* substitute, providing Haeckel's magical force, the thing that led to claims of God being dead, with a physical form.   Since their religion is a materialist one, of course their god would have to have a physical form.   As I've already mentioned before, when Dennett tried to remove the force, natural selection, from its physical form he unwittingly made it logically impossible, natural selection requiring the inheritance of discrete entities to avoid everything being turned into a chaotic and homogeneous soup,  perhaps what would happen if some of those famous finely tuned constants were slightly different and the basic physical structures that gave rise to our bodies and our putative intelligence were made impossible in the universe.   Though I think there really is no way to know all of the ramifications of such universes or even if they are an actual possibility in reality, our only knowledge of something we use that term for comes from this actual universe we inhabit and know.

What I wrote in the past few days was misidentified as a claim of a proof for the existence of God, which it wasn't.  I have never been in the business of trying to provide a proof of the existence of God, I don't think such a "proof" is available to us,  the impossibility of defining, of delimiting the meaning of the immaterial God I believe in would definitively make such a proof impossible.  You can only prove things which are defined and delimited.  To ask to prove of the God I believe in would make even less sense than a quest to prove that reality is real, since you would have to do so within the reality you are trying to prove.  The attempt of materialists to debunk the reality of consciousness in service to their material gods runs into a quite similar problem as their attempts rather convincingly demonstrate the reality of the thing they are using to enforce their will on reality.  Their effort disproves the case they are making by debunking the reality of what they are using to make their arguments.   Now THAT is something worth pointing out, which is what I have been doing.

* Dawkins is sophisticated enough, though most of his fellow neo-atheists are not, in that he realizes that the creation of one godly "DNA" is insufficient as there is on one molecule that is DNA.   But he does create the largest of all pantheons in his attribution of powers to DNA, warring gods which are engaged in competing and killing each other off, using us and our macroscopic scale to determine the winners.  Though I think even he can't turn such entities into more than limited deities in that they are dependent on the physical environment.  As I indicated their gods are henotheistic, with potency within a certain locus of influence, other gods having sway in other regions.  I've mentioned other gods of those efforts, "quantum gravity" "quantum vacuum" and, in an earlier post, what might be the current and reigning and likely all-time(s) champion creator god, "probability" with which these atheists have made, not only immaterial, enormous brains, but a stupendous number of imaginary universes, created out of nothing else.  As they really do talk about such imaginary, unevidenced things, and use them in argument - something they mock religious folk for doing I think it's only fair that we be allowed to take them as serious about it and to make logical observations about just what they're doing.  Atheists have their own theology in which they talk about such stuff, only they're touchy about admitting that's what it is.  I'm more interested in the logical consequences and the proper identification of what they're doing than in the anger caused by pointing those out. As the widespread and naive belief in such things as evolutionary psychology is a major danger to liberalism and democracy, I think it's important for a political blogger to address it.   The claims of evolutionary psychologists are used to attack everything from gender and ethnic equality to economic justice.   David Brooks and Andrew Sullivan love such things for a reason, after all.

1 comment:

  1. I cam across a reference to Nietzsche in a book by Caputo about Derrida (are we far enough away yet?), mentioning that (not quoting, though) the mad German saw atheism as the flip side of religious belief, because both deal in certainty.

    Interesting thing about my faith is how little certainty I have, and how comforting (however) that lack of certainty is. It's the defenders of tiny realms that weary me: the ones who insist "proof" of existence must be presented (though what that proof would be is never stated), and any contradiction is proof of failure, and any disagreement between believers is proof one of them is not a "true" believer, and so on and so on. Honestly, in the words of Jesus, they strain at gnats and swallow camels, and think themselves wise.

    Mostly they are afraid of their own ignorance, and so cling tenaciously to what little they know, afraid of learning anything else, lest it expand their world into the complexities of reality.

    So they snipe and snip at every little thing, determined to keep their world as small as possible. One never encounters argument, except in the Monty Python version (which was meant to be a joke....).