Friday, 1 April 2011

A History Of The Warfare Of Science With Theology

That's the name of a book written by Andrew Dickson White, in 1896.

A History Of The Warfare Of Science With Theology

We've descended into superstition since then, quite literally. When people were closer to the soil, they could see Reality more clearly - the curvature of the Earth visible on the plains, the existence of livestock with Intersex conditions, and the efficacy of lightning rods vs prayers and ringing bells vs the Thunderbolts of Heaven.

We live in a world of sufficiently advanced technology, to many people. I refer to Arthur C. Clarke's quote:
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from Magic"
The scientifically uneducated live in a world filled with magic buttons that turn on lights, magic machines that allow them to watch films, magic, magic everywhere. So why not believe that it's captive demons inside the computer, that ghosts are real, and that the Earth is Flat because their Pastor tells them so.

It's not just the uneducated either: it's the morally and ideologically bankrupt, those who believe in the Triumph of the Will, that there is no such thing as objective fact, only useful and not-useful beliefs. Those who look upon the rest of humanity as legitimate prey, sociopaths.
We affirm that the scientific method is useful in carrying out the creation mandate of Genesis 1:28 to subdue and have dominion over creation when the investigators have Biblical presuppositions and when the Bible does not directly give us the answers we seek; that the use of the scientific method is entirely controlled by the presuppositions of the investigators and therefore the results are a pronouncement of faith rather than of scientific fact;...

We affirm that creatures who have only a spiritual dimension exist, that some serve God faithfully (angels) and others are in active rebellion against God (demons), and that the latter may possess unregenerate persons and oppress or influence regenerate persons. We deny that the Christian counselor may neglect the reality of demons, and that personal problems, organic or non-organic, are never the result of the influence of or possession by demons....

We affirm that all personal problems have their roots in the sin of Adam and Eve; that non-organic (and even many organic) problems are immediately affected by personal selfishness and rebellion against God and His Law, and that man's restraint against worse sin is due primarily to God's common grace and secondarily to the governing structures of conscience, family, state, and society. We deny that these problems may be explained entirely on any other basis; that men are basically "good" (moral); and that any man has within his own knowledge and energy all that he needs to solve his problems.
That's all from The Christian World View of Psychology and Counseling, which I've blogged about before.

They're evil: so they assume that everyone else is too. So to keep them in line, it's necessary to have an Invisible Sky Policeman who chastises the Ungodly with Natural Disasters.

From Martinsville Media
Though he later apologized, Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara said Monday that the calamity that hit his country was “tenbatsu,” or divine punishment, for the wickedness of the Japanese people. In some right-wing religious circles, leaders have called the disaster a prophecy about the need for more Japanese to turn to God.

“Because the Japanese people shun God in terms of their faith and follow idol worship, atheism, and materialism, it makes me wonder if this was not God’s warning to them,” Rev. David Yonggi Cho of South Korea’s Yoido Full Gospel Church, considered to be the world’s largest single congregation, told the online newspaper News Mission.
U.S. Christian televangelist Pat Robertson said the 2009 earthquake which rocked Haiti and claimed more than 200,000 lives was because the country was “cursed” after making a “pact to the devil.” In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina slammed New Orleans, Texas mega-church pastor John Hagee said the storm, which left 1,400 dead, was the “judgment of God” for the sins that took place on its streets.
And for some of course, it's all about the money. From World Net Daily:
Tim LaHaye, the best-selling author of the "Left Behind" series of Bible prophecy novels, was one of many visiting the island of Maui who had to be evacuated to upper floors of the Marriott Hotel today.

He said being caught in the crossfire of the fourth largest earthquake in modern history helped prepare him for two prophecy conferences he was scheduled to address in Hawaii.

"The Bible tells us in Matthew 24 that one of the signs of the last days – one of the birth pangs to occur – is an increase in earthquake activity and intensity," LaHaye told WND. "We're seeing that happen here. It's not just earthquakes, but hurricanes and all kinds of natural disasters."
LaHaye, an evangelical pastor, has written more than 60 non-fiction books on a wide range of subjects such as family life, temperaments, sexual adjustment, Bible prophecy, the will of God, Jesus Christ, and secular humanism with over 14 million in print, some of which have been translated into as many as 32 foreign languages.

The books of his "Left Behind" fiction series, co-authored with Jerry B. Jenkins, have broken all publishing records with a total of 80 million in print. Based on the Bible, the apocalyptic thrillers follow the lives of those left behind after the sudden disappearance of millions of believers.
I'll leave with some quotes from Robert A Heinlein:
The profession of shaman has many advantages. It offers high status with a safe livelihood free of work in the dreary, sweaty sense. In most societies it offers legal privileges and immunities not granted to other men. But it is hard to see how a man who has been given a mandate from on High to spread tidings of joy to all mankind can be seriously interested in taking up a collection to pay his salary; it causes one to suspect that the shaman is on the moral level of any other con man. But it is a lovely work if you can stomach it.

It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics.

I contend that the disgusting behavior of many of their alleged 'holy men' relieves us of any intellectual obligation to take the stuff seriously. No amount of sanctimonious rationalization can make such behavior anything but pathological.
In many ways, we're a lot more ruled by superstition than in 1896. Part of that is because Science has shown itself to be perfectly corruptible. The invention of Poison Gas in World War I, the Industrial Death Camps in Nazi Germany..
"If we fail, the whole world will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister and perhaps more prolonged by the lights of a perverted science." — Winston Churchill, June 18, 1940
Yes, we won. But Science was shown to be a very human endeavour - as it is - and thus fallible. Many turn their back on evidence and rationality in search of infallible truth as the result, with horrific consequences.


Chris Phoenix said...

Americans, when young, typically believe in two different men in the sky, with white beards and supernatural powers, who know if you've been bad or good, and reward or punish accordingly.

As adults, they become firmly convinced that one of these two men does not really exist; yet many of them remain convinced that the other one does exist.

On a possibly related topic (related because of the massive amount of irrational belief and magical thinking surrounding the topic), I saw a pithy and useful statement tonight in an online discussion about Fukushima: "I'm not pro-nuclear, I'm just pro-arithmetic."

bonze Anne Rose Blayk said...

A very nice post, Zoe... I share your thinking about advanced technologies being taken for granted as if they had been deposited as Cargo.

Will the next generation of Americans take up the religion of John Frum? Could be!

"Every time I crank up the old Volvo, I pray. And you know what? IT STARTS"


What is appalling is how many well-educated people, and I don't mean just artsy or literary or social-science types, but those trained in purportedly scientific disciplines (e.g., psychiatry) will not engage in critical thinking.

And the descent of the mass media's "news" outlets into feckless and moronic finger-pointing and imbecility bodes poorly for the future.

However, as an imbecile myself, I may do well!

Would I join in following some herd of lemmings rushing towards the edge of catastrophe?* Never! You will find me in THE VAN.

- bonzie anne

*I know that's just a myth about the lemmings hurling themselves into the sea en masse, but is it not a great story ?-)