The great G.K. Chesterton once said, "Really, there are only two kinds of people: those who accept dogmas and know it, and those who accept dogmas and don't know it." If you want to read the musings of those in the latter category, you need look no further than the hostile postings left under my article about would-be philosopher king Richard Dawkins. These individuals are some of a legion of folks under Dawkins' delusion. In fact, so dogmatic are they that they never even gave the piece I wrote its day in court in their minds. So here is my response to them.
I'm so tickled pink that you folks were inspired to arise from the muck and comment at my site that I could almost, well, evolve a second smile. However, it would be nice if you actually read my piece before expressing the result of the electro-chemical impulses coursing through that cranial tissue, that product of billions of years of adaptation and random mutation. If you had, you might have understood my position.
In reality, I have no problem with the idea that evolution may be the vehicle through which God created life; I was not discounting that possibility. Rather, I simply addressed two comments Dawkins made that were, on the face of it, silly. One of them concerned time, and, again, time is an invention of man; this is why Albert Einstein called it a handy illusion. Thus, the pace at which the development of life occurred is irrelevant and has no bearing on how intelligible the process may be, on how miraculous or mundane it may be. And, while you can call me uneducated all you want, if you can't grasp this simple fact -- one revealed by both theologians and scientists -- you're not the intellectuals you fancy yourselves to be. You're then more like frogs who think they're men simply because they learned a bit about atoms, molecules and genes.
It is interesting but not surprising that one of you dismissed philosophy along with religion, as those two subjects are related (philosophy, correctly defined, is the search for Truth). Nevertheless, however, it bespeaks of extreme provincialism, of a dogmatism that leaves room for no dissent in the mind it occupies. This is why you evidence extreme prejudice.
What I'm talking about is the fact that you assumed you knew my background and beliefs after just a cursory examination of my commentary. It seems that some of you didn't read my whole piece -- certainly not with an eye toward understanding it -- and this is because you were sure I was just a "Bible thumper" like any other. One of you also assumed I had a religious upbringing, when nothing could be further from the truth. I actually was raised in that great Bible Belt locale of New York City, with no faith whatsoever; before I was 12 years old I knew I didn't believe in God, and not long afterwards I started describing myself as an agnostic. In point of fact, like you, I used to believe religious people were stupid. But I evolved.
As for the Bible, to criticize it on the basis that it contains amazing stories only makes you sound as childish as some of you would claim fundamentalists (of whom there are very few) are. After all, you scoff at them for their literalist interpretation of Scripture but then proceed to condemn Scripture based on that literalist interpretation! Does it really elude you that virtually every work contains both literal and metaphorical elements? Do you really want to present yourselves as that naive? Symbolism has always been considered the stuff of good literature; in fact, the more subtle and esoteric it is, the more many movie and literature critics will like it. So I would suggest that if you want your criticism of the Bible to be taken seriously, you have to exhibit a bit more sophistication than a "snake handler."
Lastly, since science seems to be your "religion," I'll say that if you limit yourselves to its findings, you will live a very barren, narrow, antiseptic life, one devoid of joy, peace, hope and wisdom. As for the last thing, science can tell us what we can do but not what we should do.
For science to be used for good and not ill, for the betterment of man and not his destruction, it must be guided by a sound moral compass. But moral principles are matters of faith, as they cannot be proven scientifically. Why not murder, rape or steal? Can you prove in a laboratory that such things are wrong? I know, I know, you'll tell me about how such acts hurt others, and I'll then just ask you to prove scientifically that this is wrong. It's a circle, and we can go around it all day long and only discover that unless something exists apart from man called the moral law, all our ideas about "right and wrong" are just fantasy, notions that happen to feel right. Now, I'm sure some of you evolutionists would say that they feel right because we are genetically programmed to find certain ideas appealing and others appalling. What you don't realize, however, is that a corollary of this moral relativism is that there's nothing wrong with cracking your skull open and taking your money if it suits my ends. And spreading this relativistic message makes it impossible to preserve a civilization.
This numbness to Truth is precisely why some absolutely horrible things have been perpetrated by very intelligent people in the name of science. Their brains -- their worship at the altar of logic and reason, of what can be empirically proven -- were not sufficient to stop them from evolving into monsters. I wonder why.
The answer is that without a sound philosophical and moral foundation, it's very easy to become Dr. Mengele.
Oh, but I forgot. Aristotle, Plato, Confucius, St. Thomas Acquinas, St. Augustine and G.K. Chesterton were all wasting their time. They weren't as rational as you are.
© 2008 Selwyn Duke -- All Rights Reserved