In the 13th Century there was an interesting Franciscan friar named Ramon Llull (pronounced “yoohl”), who, like another philosopher 400 years later named Pascal, was also a noted mathematician. So Llull understood both the immutable laws of logic and God’s laws. He was also something of a charismatic, which even in the days of the Crusades was rare, and rarer still, any day, for a mathematician.
Llull was born on Majorca, an island off the coast of Spain, so wanted to convert his people under the dominion of the Muslims in Spain. Now in those days the Arabs of Spain and North Africa were hardly the grimy camel drivers we see killing people in Syria, Iraq and Libya. This period was probably the height of Muslim arts, architecture and scholarship. Their philosophers matched the best in the West and Byzantium; great minds such as Averroes, Avicenna, and Ibn Khaldun. (I studied these men in college, so know how to spell their names.) Llull knew he could not simply march up to people like that and begin pointing to Christian scripture (called “Bible-thumping” today) knowing that these people had their own holy books. Instead, he engaged in a process called “disputation”, which for those of you who’ve followed Plato, was a form of argument, involving step-by-step logic, thrust and parry, which carried the discussion to a certain conclusion. If you’ve followed the arguments of Richard Dawkins, the anti-Christian animal behaviorist and William Lane Craig, the defender of Creationism, or the Dinesh D’Souza-Christopher Hitchens debates on the subject of atheism versus religion (you can find these on YouTube, and are well worth the 45-minutes of your time), you’ll get some idea how the “disputation” style of argument works. No matter which side you’re on, it’s very edifying for it leads up to a point, if the cards are played well, where one side simply cannot answer one final logical question. Thus is was with Richard Dawkins, who has refused to debate Craig any longer, since Craig posed just that sort of question about creation.
Sadly, this happened to Llull as well, in Tunisia, where he’d forgotten all about the home field advantage, and the Muslims stoned him to death. At age 82.
Llull’s lesson today is that it really is of no purpose to thump the Bible to people who either have another book, or no book at all, but are proud of that fact…if your purpose is to bring them around to seeing your way of thinking. Being a mathematician Llull first studied then learned that there were logical flaws in the Muslim philosophy of the day, and drove those points home. He succeeded in his arguments because he explored the logic of the faith of his enemies. It’s that simple and is a lesson we must learn if want to open minds.
Men like Llull usually had two purposes in their arguments. The first was to sow seeds of a nagging doubt in the scholars on the other side. He could never win them over. Call it a slight vanity. Richard Dawkins also probably carries doubt also, only his vanity has been bruised and his arrogance wounded so he can’t say it out loud. Besides, intellectual atheism, even the pseudo-variety, pays much better than Christian apologetics. He’s been asked questions he cannot answer about a subject he thought he had down cold; the non-existences of a guiding Force in the Universe. Nothing can be more humbling to a scientist than to deny, with certainty, the existence of a thing, then learn he cannot prove that it does not exist. The other side of vanity.
But sowing this seed of doubt was not Llull’s main purpose, just as it shouldn’t be ours.
His second purpose was to persuade the general population, not just the scholars; to actually gain converts. The same sort of people Christ preached to. Here we are talking of a different audience, the man in the street, not the cloistered scholar. When you can win the hearts and minds of the people in the street you can change the politics of a nation. It was that threat Llull posed that caused Muslim clerics to fear him and caused him to be stoned.
And this brings to where we are today in America, for our battle is twofold as well.
Even if, with the snap of a finger, we could pass new laws undoing all the bad laws that have been foisted on us the past forty years, and which have made the American ground more fertile for their brand of culture-destroying supervision, making possible the sort of sterile spiritual life the Left has in mind, we would still have to go out and first retake, then re-till and replant the common ground we’d lost. After all, we’re the ones who sat idly by and allowed all that ground to go fallow in the first place, in the naive belief that as long as we kept our own yard clean, that would be civilization enough to keep the barbarians at bay.
Since the 1990’s our public schools have pumped out approximately four million students per year, graduates and dropouts combined. That’s 80 million, ranging from 18-to-38 years old today. How many of these came from broken or single-parent homes? Close to half, maybe more. How many were raised without any moral education based on any religion at all, outside the public schools, where situational ethics are considered moral teachings? Probably more than half. And how many of those were raised in strong enough moral settings to strengthen rather than weaken the bonds of marriage and family as they grew up, thus providing fertile ground for that family to move into yet a third generation with the same core foundations?
This was once recognized as the “scientific” miracle of America, that we had created a society that regenerated itself with no intervention from government, and only the most personal injection of clergy.
We now face a generational multiplier theory that is tilted downward, and algorithms are probably available to show this mathematically.
If you think I am speaking here as a moralist, well a little, but I am also speaking as a Darwinist, for these same “survival indicia” are recognized by animal behaviorists as survival enhancing in virtually all species, only as a matter of instinct, not human teaching.
If I were teaching young students not brought up in a religious home, I’d try to impress upon them the Darwinist notion of survival enhancing behavior.
American youth, as you already know, are perfectly OK with what many Darwinists and religionists agree are survival-endangering behavior, from indiscriminate sex with each other, and of either gender, having nothing to do with bonding, procreation or permanent relationships and a complete abjuration of the duty of self-sufficiency, or the simplest economic principles of personal survival.
Darwinism is not all we have been led to believe, sometimes by our own preachers.
First, it never was a scientific movement marching in lock step. They disagree with one another all the time. Second, Darwin’s Theory is just that, a theory, many of its grander precepts, especially a direct link between ape and Man, are not proven. But the fact that humans, like other vertebrates, evolve within their own species is not really in doubt, or that our evolution is a result of new environments we’ve encountered, even over the past hundred years, e.g., smaller ears and bigger derrieres. The average man or woman today couldn’t fit into the seats that served the audience of a Chicago opera house in 1898.
There’s Darwin-the-theory as science, and Darwin-the-theory as religion and Darwin-the-theory as politics. I only say this for amusement, for Darwin-religionists are just like the Muslim scholars Llull wanted to debate an academic adventure in vanity. Interestingly, these seeds of doubt about scientific orthodoxy are being sewn anyway due to the growing exposure of the climate change hoax, a different science field altogether, but which has exposed 1) the power of politics in the fact-based scientific community, and 2) the power of the pursuit for status and money within several scientific disciplines which will cause men to lie, fudge numbers, cook the books, just like commonplace government bureaucrats…just in order to maintain their standing in their field and to continue to get those grants every time some Pavlovian handler rings a bell and offers some more cash.
So just like Law, accounting, business, even some churches, Darwinism, and its whole evolutionary grab bag of disciplines have always been contested between what can only be called “honest scholarship” and “dishonest scholarship.” This has nothing to do with Darwin’s Theory itself, but a more basic principle, i.e., whether factual evidence has been put forth honestly. Just like the rules of evidence in law, science has a process of approval for any thesis, called the Scientific Method, which is actually more rigorous than Law. Like the Talmud, the Hebrew Law, it is to be protected at all times. Or is supposed to be.
So, if one can prostitute that process, which consists of a jury of peers, then you have the rest made in the shade…until, as we’re seeing with
global warming, climate change, when the whole house of cards suddenly begins to come tumbling down.
Enter Karl Marx and why all this matters to America and its exceptionalism. The god of Marxism is science. But Marxists being what they are, they have always tried to make science comport to their contrived unscientific view of the world, and how mankind should fit within it. I’ve never known any leftist who was the least bit intellectually curious about anything genuinely scientific.
True scientists are at heart ethicists, for the Method is sacrosanct with most of them. Like personal honor, it’s not for sale. These scientists see no Truth as being higher than scientific Truth, and trust me, this is a Good Thing for our world (Aristotle, Aquinas, Natural Law) for it has enabled science to achieve many wondrous things on Mankind’s behalf over the centuries.
Now I can’t say exactly when Marxist “science” began to try to steamroll the academy, since no one was really looking at it in those terms until the 1950s. F A Hayek encountered it in England in the 30s and 40s, but in a book of essays he edited in 1963, Capitalism and the Historians, he chronicled socialist historians and economists fudging numbers in academic tracts going back into the 1870s.
The term “political correctness” had not yet been invented yet, but Robert Ardrey, in his 1966 The Territorial Imperative, mentioned that academic discussion about the existence of instincts in Man, a central subject of the Natural Right of Freedom thesis here, suddenly disappeared from scientific inquiry in America in the 1920’s, which coincidentally, was the period in which the Soviet Union and their Marxist views of “scientism” first arose.
Ardrey, an atheist by the way, was one of the early writers of science who was excoriated by the American left because he discussed observations and conclusions about Man’s instinctive behavior contrary to Marxist scientific holy writ. That’s why “instinct” is my jumping-off place here, for Darwinists acknowledge it in lower animals, but since the 1920s, have gone mute about it in man, and apparently for political, not scientific reasons.
A scholar could do a much better job than I can in chronicling the story of academic discrimination against any theory that highlights man’s instinct for freedom instead of insisting on his innate malleability for servitude, but I have another objective in mind here. Following Ardrey’s cue, I can simply pull that one un-Marxist piece of science from the pile, the instincts of Man, and carry that thesis forward to establish all I need in order to prove that the thirst for freedom is innate in Man, and that it cannot be conditioned out of existence, destroying all the Leftists’ hope for a scientific basis for their invasion into Man’s personal choices.
Marxism believes in the “perfectibility” of Man through science…namely socialization and conditioning, much like Pavlov conditioned his dog, with a whistle and bite of food. But simply by connecting a few scientific dots, Marxist science completely unravels once it can be shown that Man’s instincts cannot be conditioned out of him. He will always resist. (Stalin called it “wrecking”.)
And always has.
If Man is hard-wired to mate (pair bond), acquire and defend territory (and property) and to provide for a place to breed, and nurture young, so as to extend the species, just like any other animal, and to be part of a larger group (genetic population) with which he also identifies, and works together for mutual benefit and protection (reciprocity)…
…then Man is hard-wired to strive to attain this if denied it, and to resist once taken away.
Territory = Property = Status = Mating = Heirs = Genetic Population (community or nation = Survival of the Family Blood Line into the next generation.
Collectively Ardrey said this equation amounted to a “biological morality.” I can add that his biological morality is very similar to the moral antecedents found in Jefferson’s “pursuit of life, liberty and happiness” clause of the Declaration, and the moral and ethical underpinnings of the Constitution found in The Federalist Papers.
They knew of what they spoke.
If this is true, and many evolutionists insist it is, then Marxism and socialism becomes unraveled at it very roots and fails, exposed as nothing more than a power-grab based on a fraud.
This we already know, but we should find profit in being able to explain Liberty in this way, to newer sets of ears who are not yet ready to appreciate the Invisible Hand.
This is the tale we need to tell non-believers about freedom. If they want to go against Nature, and many will, they must know, as “mutations,” nature has its own ways of dealing with them, which, again, is not unlike how God promises to deal with them. By teaching them in this way, through disputation, you can lead them all the way to the end of the story before they finally reject you, which is much better than have them shut you down before you can get the first “God loves you” out of your mouth.
We are planting seeds, and trying to restore our country, not getting them to join our church.
Marxist science is the mad dog I want to shoot down in the street, and if shaking hands with a bunch of honest Darwinists will help me in this endeavor, I’m all for it.
A very thought-provoking piece, Vassar… Nicely done. It reminds me of a conversation I had a few years back with a Catholic priest when I asked him directly about the issue of evolution versus intelligent design. I mentioned that there appeared to be a direct conflict between Christianity’s view on the matter of how we got here versus the scientific community’s view. Keeping in mind that Benedict was the Holy See at the time of the conversation, not the Christianity-revisionist Pope that we have today.
In deference to brevity, let me encapsulate the gist of his response.
“The Catholic Church sees no major conflict between the idea of creationism and intelligent design, and it recognizes the concepts of evolution in the context of man’s endless efforts to quantify things that can’t be quantified; abstract notions such as eternity and infinity have plagued the minds of men since God put men in the universe. The church continues to work with God’s creations in the eternal effort to help them further along the path on the journey toward faith and acceptance.”
In other words… So long as men consider themselves to be the arbiters in passing judgment on whether God exists there will never be a definitive answer to that fundamental question. And, simply put, it is because the species’ views the universe in finite ways but God and the universe and eternity are, by their very definition, not finite constructs.
Personally, I believe with every fiber of my being that today’s version of mankind simply cannot handle any truth that includes a higher authority having had anything to do with how we got here, let alone any of the reasons why.
It sure is a vanity.
Sounds to me like the Church is content to teach only to its choir. In the Billy Sunday manner of reaching out to people with indelible truths and faith, they gave that up 1300 yrs ago when they no longer had to worry about people siccing the dogs on them. The arrangement they had with the kings of Europe was that the kings would bring them the children, and they’d baptize them, then instruct them. Very little persuasion was involved. No one bothered to teach the kids to think.
Kids today don’t disbelieve in God so much as they don’t like Him…because He claims the authority to judge them. Druids believed they could cause their gods to disappear simply by not believing in them. Children are that way today, as if to say they can avoid judgment simply by saying no such power exists. Oops.
All we can do is make an argument that will echo in them for many years, so they can revisit it from time to time.
And pray for them in spite of themselves.