Evolution and Exorcisms

EVOLUTION: More surprising to me as I consider where my intellectual head-space has been on this issue, which is central to theological ideal; is the fact that I have become more of a creationist. Skeptics may say that God doesn't exist and I am inclined to agree he/she isn't within our purview to limit and say we know; HIM, or even what it is that really goes on, in the world about us. It would be difficult to say there is any one humanistic discipline or theology that fits with my perception. Teilhard de Chardin's 'templates' and 'quantum many worlds' join Lamarckian science, that requires uncertainty and values mystery and uncertainty principles with purpose. In the final analysis you can put me in whatever 'cubby-hole' you want and there'll be agreement and respect for the truth therein expressed. I see a lot of people sounding like they disagree and yet I see little difference except when they seek personal gain by it. Surely science has given a great deal of support to the concept of consciousness existing in the very smallest parts of energy, and in the ways it performs what was once considered miraculous, or magical. Here are the thoughts of two very scientifically oriented people from MIT in a book called Darwinism Evolving:

"They also made it harder for the scientific worldview to be received with equanimity by other sectors of culture. Indeed, since the reducing impulse undermines fairly huge tracts of experience, people like Wallace, who feel deeply about protecting phenomena they regard as existentially important, frequently conclude that they have no alternative except to embrace spiritualism, and sometimes even to attack the scientific worldview itself, if that is the only way to protect important spheres of experience that have been ejected from science's confining Eden. In response, scientists and philosophers who feel strongly about the liberating potential of a spare, materialistic worldview began to patrol the borderlands between the high-grade knowledge scientists have of natural systems and the low-grade opinions that in the view of science's most ardent defenders, dominate other spheres of culture and lead back toward the superstitious and authoritarian world of yesteryear. 'Demarcating' science from other, less cognitively worthwhile forms of understanding was already a major feature of Darwin's world. A line beyond which the Newtonian paradigm could not apply was drawn at the boundary between physics and biology. We have seen how hesitant Darwin was to cross that line and what happened when he did. Twentieth-century people are sometimes prone to congratulate themselves for being above these quaint Victorian battles. They may have less reason to do so, however, than they think, for the fact is that throughout our own century, the same sort of battles, with emotional overtones no less charged, have been waged at the contested line where biology meets psychology, and more generally where the natural sciences confront the human sciences. Dualisms between spirit and matter, and even between mind and body, may have been pushed to the margins of respectable intellectual discourse. But methodological dualisms between what is covered by laws and what is to be 'hermeneutically appropriated' are still very much at the center of our cultural, or rather 'two cultural', life. Cognitive psychologists and neurophysiologists are even now busy reducing mind-states to brain-states, while interpretive or humanistic psychologists are proclaiming how meaningless the world would be if mind is nothing but brain. Interpretive anthropologists are filled with horror at what would disappear from the world if the rich cultural practices that seem to give meaning to our lives were to be shown to be little more than extremely sophisticated calculations on the part of self-interested genes. Conflicts of this sort would have given Darwin stomachaches almost as bad as the ones he endured over earlier demarcation controversies.

The rhetorical pattern of these battles is still depressingly similar, in fact, to Huxley's confrontation with Wilberforce. Hermeneuts ridicule scientists like Hamilton, Dawkins, and Wilson when they suggest that nothing was ever known about social cooperation until biologists discovered kin selection. Reductionists in turn criticize hermeneuts, now transformed largely into 'culturists,' for bringing back ghosts and gods, just as their nineteenth-century predecessors were taxed with being 'vitalists' every time they said something about the complexity of development. Humanists identify scientists with an outdated materialist reductionism. Scientists insist that hermeneutical intentionality is little more than disguised religion.

Perhaps, a way out of this fruitless dialectic between the 'two cultures', can be found if each party could give up at least one of its cherished preconceptions {Or just give up the science that rejects certain facts in favour of convention or the 'Toilet Philosophy'.}. It would be a good thing, for example, if heirs of the Enlightenment would stop thinking that if cultural phenomena are not reduced to some sort of mechanism; religious authoritarianism will immediately flood into the breach. They should also stop assuming that nothing is really known about human beings until the spirit of scientific reductionism gets to work. Students of the human sciences have, after all, been learning things alongside scientists ever since modernity began. Among the things they have learned are that humans are individuated persons within the bonds of culture and cultural roles, and that as recipients and transmitters of cultural meanings, they are bound together with others in ways no less meaningful and valuable than the ways promoted by strongly dualistic religions. By the same token, it would be helpful if advocates of the interpretive disciplines would abandon a tacit assumption sometimes found among them that nature is so constituted that it can never accomodate the rich and meaningful cultural phenomena humanists are dedicated to protecting, and that therefore cultural phenomena 'ought never' to be allowed to slip comfortably into naturalism. Humanists seem to have internalized this belief from their reductionist enemies, whose commitment to materialism is generally inseparable from their resolve to show up large parts of culture, especially religion, as illusions. These opponents, we may safely say, take in each other's laundry." (7)

Ego and protecting territory abound in the internecine warfare that academics who seldom DO anything, often fight over. Meanwhile the real DOERS explore the boundless and awesome 'waves of the marvellous'. (8) We should accept even the ridiculous possibilities that come to mind as having merit or avenues to understand, rather than constantly fighting to make black and white answers that support our ego and limit the people who put forward possibilities. The real rule should be something along the line of 'if it hurts no one, why not enjoy the possibility? There are ample evidences that every supposed correct point of view or paradigm is short-lived unless backed by force and some kind of authority that limits rather than supports god and his/her purpose. Then an open-mind obtains new insight and finds the templates of reality even in exploring what first appears to be utterly absurd. I admit I often have found the idea of creationism absurd, and yet as I said at the start of this entry I am now on the side of creationists through evolutionary forces with intentional creative inputs in the Intelligent Design or Interventionist mode. The next entry will seem absurd to most people and few will think it deserves inclusion in a segment purporting to have anything to do with science. I must include it in honest presentation despite the ridicule most people will attribute to it, and me.

EXORCISMS: - No, I don't believe it has anything to do with devils and those who project such evil images and intents. These people are the ones who claim only they can exorcize the very devils they manufacture, in the hallucinatory and delusional or vulnerable people they treat.

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