October 5, 2005

THEIR DARK MATERIALISM (via Robert Schwartz):

For the Anti-Evolutionists, Hope in High Places (GEORGE JOHNSON, October 2, 2005, NY Times)

EXCEPT for the robes and the fact that each is addressed as "His Holiness," it would be hard to find much in common between Pope Benedict XVI and Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama. Yet both have recently expressed an unhappiness with evolutionary science that would be a comfort to the Pennsylvania school board now in a court fight over its requirement that the hypothesis of a creator be part of the science curriculum.

It's not just fundamentalist Protestants who have difficulty with the idea that life arose entirely from material causes. Look East or West and you can detect the rumblings from an irreconcilable divide between science and religion, with one committed to a universe of matter and energy and the other to the existence of something extra, a spiritual realm. [...]

Neither [the pope or the Dalai Lama] believes that a religious text, whether the Bible or the Diamond Sutra, should be given a strictly literal reading. Yet they share with evangelicals an aversion to the notion that life emerged blindly, without supernatural guidance. Particularly offensive to them is the theory, part of the biological mainstream, that the engine of evolution is random mutation.

In a new book, "The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality," the Dalai Lama laments what he calls "radical scientific materialism," warning that seeing people as "the products of pure chance in the random combination of genes" is an invitation to nihilism and spiritual poverty. "The view that all aspects of reality can be reduced to matter and its various particles is, to my mind, as much a metaphysical position as the view that an organizing intelligence created and controls reality." Both, he suggests, are legitimate interpretations of science.

In Joseph Wood Krutch's great book, The Modern Temper, he relates the story of Thomas Huxley writing to a friend after the death of his own son:
"Sit down before fact as a little child...follow humbly and to whatever abysses Nature leads, or you shall learn nothing."

He at least had the excuse that prior to the 20th Century applications of Darwinism people hadn't yet plumbed the bottoms of those abysses, but what can you say of those who've still learned nothing?

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 5, 2005 12:00 AM

Isn't Buddhism all about trying to acheive a state of nothingness? Who is he to make accusations of nihilism?

Materialism is about somethingness, not nothingness.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at October 5, 2005 5:20 PM

Material isn't anything. Spirit is.

Posted by: oj at October 5, 2005 7:01 PM

If you really believe that, cut off your ear and mail it to me.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at October 6, 2005 10:10 AM

I'll trade it for your soul?

Posted by: oj at October 6, 2005 10:19 AM

How will you know that I've fulfilled my side of the trade?

Posted by: Robert Duquette at October 6, 2005 10:56 AM

By making you do whatever I want you to do.

Posted by: oj at October 6, 2005 11:01 AM

Sorry, I gave that up when I got married.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at October 6, 2005 11:29 AM

Yes, a soul means more than a thumb.

Posted by: oj at October 6, 2005 11:36 AM