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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Green Dionysius

Timothy Birdnow

Our old friend Mark Musser has a great piece at American Thinker today about the Christian roots of science and how radical environmentalism is fundamentally a pagan and anti-rational movement.

From the article:

"Lovers of philosophy, the ancient Greeks had very little interest in developing applied modern science as is practiced today. It was the Old and New Testaments, which time and time again stress the practical import and value of knowledge, which helped form the basis for applied modern science. Moreover, since people believed that God created the universe, this made nature not only tangibly real and rational, but also something worthy of serious investigation. In other words, the Christian scientist expected to learn from nature precisely because he assumed that God intelligently designed it. Once the assumption of God's intelligent design is removed from nature, it becomes very difficult to understand just exactly what scientists are intending tolearn these days. Neither can they explain why it is that they have indeed learned so much from nature. The Darwinian descent of man fully submerged into a purposeless natural world of unintelligent outcomes has only compounded this problem further. Contrary to popular opinion, a mixed up post-Christian, postmodern world is anything but a good foundation upon which to build an epistemological basis for scientific knowledge.

Further, the Judeo-Christian God is also separate from world which He created. This is extremely critical. Since God is transcendent above the natural world, to study nature and tinker with her secrets is not an act of irreverence. As such, surprisingly enough, it was the Judeo-Christian worldview which removed the superstitions of the pagan universe and opened wide the door of scientific investigation. Here is precisely where Lynn White, Jr. strongly complains that "by destroying pagan animism, Christianity made it possible to exploit nature in a mood of indifference to the feelings of natural objects."

The fact that man was made in God's image further established the inherent connection between Christianity and modern science. Man's reasoning capacity was assumed to be one of the primary characteristics of being made in God's image that sharply separated him from brute nature.

The great concern today, therefore, is not that Christian theology will ruin science with anti-scientific ideas like so many fear, but whether modern science can continue to have a genuine future if all of its foundation stones have been removed -- especially if they have been replaced with green ones. As Lynn White, Jr. showcased throughout his speech, the green movement has little regard for the scientific revolution precisely because it associates that movement with Christianity's dominating view over nature. Christianity has allegedly ransacked the ecology of the planet with a heavenly imperialistic worldview which has had little sympathy for the feelings of plants, animals, and indigenous peoples.

Lynn White, Jr.'s answer to help resolve the environmental crisis is even more revealing: "more science and more technology are not going to get us out of the present ecological crisis until we find a new religion, or rethink the old one." In other words, environmentalism is not nearly as scientific as many would presume. The fact that many of its proponents are modern-day pantheists is further evidence of what Lynn White, Jr. may have had in mind. Modern environmentalism is therefore just as much a religious philosophy of man and nature as it is a science. Conservationist Paul Sears wrote in 1964 that ecology was a subversive science and that it was quickly becoming the favorite child of the sciences. Such favoritism has since inserted many green biases into the modern science department."

End excerpt.

I am mindful of Nietzche, no Christian in any regard:


There is no deep reality, no underlying objective and unchanging reality. According to Nietzsche, this is a lie because life is meaningless, and what you see is what you get. We must rely on sense and common sense as most useful means to understand the world. This doesn't give a "correct" view, however, because there is no such thing—even the view that life is really meaningless isn’t true, if this is understood as a metaphysical account of reality! So common sense merely supplies the perspective by which we live. "The apparant world is the only one: the "real world" is merely a lie." Twilight Ch 3 Ap2

A problem. In the words of Arthur C. Danto: "How are we to understand a theory when the structure of our understanding itself is called in question by that theory? And when we have succeeded in understanding it, in our terms, it would automatically follow that we had misunderstood it, for our own terms are the wrong ones" ("Nietzsche" in A Critical History of Western Philosophy, Edited by D.J. O’Connor).

A kind of resolution: "Even if on his own view of truth, his theories necessarily assume the character of myth, these myths were intimately associated with value-judgments which Nietzsche asserted with passion. And it is perhaps these value-judgments more than anything else which have been the source of his great influence." Frederick Coppleston, History of Philosophy: Fichte to Nietzsche

It fits with Nietzsche’s emphasis on strength that philosophy itself is another test for the superior man; like belief in God, he must test himself to see if he is strong enough to live without it."

End excerpt.

Without a worldview that believes reality is really real and not some subjective construct science becomes untenable, and indeed, Nietzche did believe that the Western scientific rationalism would fall of it's own weight. Christianity gave the world that worldview; it neither denied reality nor deified it, but merely made the world intelligible, an artifact to be studied. The Greeks were too caught up in notions of reason as a purely metaphysical experience.

But modern science has adopted irrationality as a core virtue thanks to the Heisenberg principle and certain aspects of neurobiological research which seems to suggest there is no concrete reality, and the atheism engendered by scientists with God complexes has led to a worldview unwilling to accept a Creator. Science is indeed about the study of the natural rather than supernatural, and postulating God in the scientific method is an easy escape, but removing Him is equally an easy escape, and leads to a terrible myopia of thinking that calls men to madness. How can we learn about our universe when we don't believe it has an independent existence anymore? It's like analyzing the science of Middle Earth; it makes no difference except as an intellectual exercise.

And so modern science has descended into the superstitions of Global Warming, Gaia, and a host of other incredibly stupid things.

At any rate, do read the entire piece by Mark; it is well worth your time.
This is an outstanding piece!

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