Last Crusade 22: The Debate is Over

If you were the Devil’s Advocate and wished to see his party prevail, one method you would advise the Prince of Darkness to adopt would be to find ways to silence objections. The witnesses must be silenced before they reach the witness box of public opinion.

One way of silencing objections is to accuse any objections of denying settled authority. This is the claim that the debate is over and that the science is settled [1]

No matter the real condition of the scientific debate, any moral or theological question the Devil’s party wishes not to address is decreed to be scientific question, therefore proven and done, and to dispute them is to dispute matters of iron-hard and uncontestable fact.

The trick is merely to decree, without evidence, without proof, without argument, that those who oppose the Devil’s Party are crackpots, as scientifically illiterate and mentally unbalanced to those who continue to claim believe the world is flat, or hollow, or the center of the solar system.

Into this category goes endless environmental hoaxes, starting with the ban on DDT inspired by Rachel Carson, through the Alar scare, the acid raid scare, the chlorofluorocarbon ozone hole scare, the global cooling scare, the global warming scare, and on and on. All of these and more than I can list have been as thoroughly discredited as any scientific hypothesis can be, but the credulity of the true believer of the cult cannot be shaken by mere facts.

For example, the most damage done to the Western intellectual tradition comes from Freud, whose work, for anyone who takes the time to read it (I have) is hardly even worthy of the name anecdotal evidence. They are case studies where he speculates freely about things outside the range of any empirical observation. He makes up myths, which he borrows from classical mythology. He give modern scientific sounding names to the Platonic division of the soul in order to offer an explanation of the soul which denies the existence of the soul.

Freud mesmerized a whole generation, and his ideas to this day are part and parcel of the unspoken consensus worldview of the West, and every field except the hard sciences was influenced. It is not science.

To this day, I am not sure why even one person was convinced by this flapdoodle. No one familiar with Aristotle would have bought into it.

It was certainly not because of the clarity of Freud’s thinking nor the repeatability of his results. He was erecting the first post of a tripod of secular religion meant to replace God.

His argument was that belief in God was a child’s misplaced belief in a father figure, which was false ergo unhealthy, and so belief in God had to be erased in order to achieve mental health. Belief in God is false ergo it is false. The argument is circular because it is circular.

And all the intellectuals in the West believed this claptrap a child could see was false.

The modern writer who most strongly reminds me of Freud is Robert Graves, and his unanchored speculations into ancient alphabets and lost matriarchal societies, which he pens in his book THE WHITE GODDESS. It relies on confirmation bias, a love of tidiness, and ignoring contrary evidence.

As prime evidence that it is not science, one need only look at the notorious behavior of Freud and his inner circle toward Jung. When Jung proffered alternative theories, Freud said Jung was motivated by psychological instability. He was duly anathematized and excommunicated as a heretic.

Of course, an alert reader will notice that scientists, real scientists, welcome challenges to their theories, since the crucible of skepticism is the only test of verity in empirical matters. Here, where the subject matter is the soul of man (the word psychology means the study of the soul) no empiricism is involved. It is a religion.

Marxism is the second post of the antichristian religion that became so popular in the modern day. Marxism, in the postwar years, managed to conquer more than half of the Earth’s surface in a matter of decades. Marx claimed that Christianity was an opiate, which was used to dull the pain of the economic injustices built into a world of scarcity and poverty. He famously blamed that poverty and scarcity on the sole institution able to alleviate some measure of the suffering. He promised that by ignoring the science of economics, ignoring things like the law of supply and demand, the law of comparative advantage, and by abolishing the price system, the dark gods of the end of time, if fed the blood of millions and tens of millions of innocent human sacrifices, would usher in a utopia where everything nice and good happens for no reason, every day is a holiday, and meat pies fly out of clouds and land on your face so you can eat them before making them. He promised that abolishing God would usher in the New Jerusalem and return us all to the peace and prosperity of the Garden of Eden.

And all the intellectuals in the West believed this claptrap a child could see was false, and cheered and applauded and welcomed their own destroyers, even as, to this day, they believe, cheer, and applaud Mohammedan terrorism.

Now, all Freud and Marx had to do was to claim that their make believe was science, and claim that any idea older than their newly minted ideas was old and therefore out of date, reactionary, a product of prejudice, old-fashioned nostalgia, and superstition. The argument was over. The science was settled.

The claim that their fashionable make believe is recent and modern therefore true gets harder to swollow every year that passes. We are dealing with Victorian theories. Pluto was discovered, became a planet, and ceased to be a planet, in that time.

The third post of the antichristian worldview was Darwin, who actually was a careful scientific observer. Now, in all honestly, his theory is not something that can ever be proven or disproven. There is no way, if ever a new species is observed to emerge from an old, to confirm that natural selection and not some other cause, was the sole or even primary cause for the change. For the same reason, if a new species is ever seen to emerge, skeptics of Darwinism will have no way of isolating the causes involved, to prove that natural selection was not a cause.

And since no new species has ever been seen to emerge from the old, even under intelligent dogbreeding and horsebreeding, and since the strata record shows the opposite of what one would expect from a gradual Darwinian process (namely, intermediate forms), the phenomena which Darwin seeks to explain has never been observed to happen at all, much less happen for the reason he suggests.

Despite this, the theory has a robustness which offers a framework for shedding light on many other aspects of biology. It is a philosophical theory concerning the final cause of a whole class of biological changes whose utility I hope even those who do not believe it will not deny. Darwinism offers an explanatory myth or account of why Penguins have wings. Ironically, it main advocates use it as springboard to deny the existence of final causes in nature.

But technically, Darwinism is not science, because it rests on non-empirical assumptions about matter not open to empirical proof or disproof. You cannot hand me a telescope and show me the apeman giving birth to man, or man giving birth to superman. You cannot even breed peas and make them into something other than peas.

Ironically, the young-earth creationists, who claim the world was made in six days roughly six thousand years ago, are the perpetrators of Junk Science in this case. Their case is based on a Protestant and literalist reading of the Bible, and not on science at all.

The Darwinians, of course, do not help their case at all by frothing at the mouth, flailing about, and falling into all the same traps of declaring the debate to be over. A court of law, or an Inquisition into a heresy, can declare a controversy to be truly over, once the Supreme Court or a General Ecumenical Council makes a ruling.

In science, there is no Supreme Court.

There is no point at which new evidence will be excluded. If someone tomorrow finds evidence to support the Phlogiston Theory, then the debate reopens. That is science.

The people who make windy claims about Darwinian evolution of human social institutions and moral intuitions, much less the evolution of Nietzsche’s superman, Hegel’s absolute or Marx’s utopia, are, of course, trampling the good name of Darwin, and trying to use his work to put forward philosophical or theological ideas having nothing to do with biology at all.

Ironically, H.G. Wells, a science fiction writer, had a better grasp of Darwin when he invented his Morlocks than Neitzsche when he invented his Superman. Darwin predicts change, not improvement. The race replacing man is no more likely to be smarter than man than the race replacing brontosaurus was taller than brontosaurus.

Darwin is not Junk Science, but nearly all modern Junk Science is based on Darwin.

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[1] Endnote: the title of this column is homage and admiration for a video of the same name by Andred Klavan