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Fuller gets Armstrong wrong

August 2nd, 2009 · No Comments

Steve Fuller on Karen Armstrong

Armstrong’s thesis is worth taking seriously not only because she is knowledgeable, thoughtful and influential — though less so in academia than in interfaith politics. In addition, her indictment is meant to extend beyond ID and its forebears in natural theology to what Armstrong regards as the hubris behind science’s own ‘quest for certainty’, to recall the title of John Dewey’s Gifford Lectures. Armstrong turns out to be very much a fellow-traveller of the Frankfurt School and those who believe that humanity’s logos-mania has led to untold cruelty, misery and harm to other humans and nature at large. ID supporters may be disoriented to find themselves the targets of such an Anti-Enlightenment harangue but I think Armstrong has got the historical drift right. She even sees the scientism in many of the founders of the Anglo-American Protestant fundamentalism a hundred years ago. However, Armstrong portrays it all as part of one unmitigated disaster. And here I beg to differ.

It is at least clear why Armstrong is of interest to Fuller, the postmodernist.
We have commented many times on Armstrong’s strategy of confusion on modernity, starting with her outrageous misportrait of Axial Age Greece, as it hardly deserved to be part of the Axial Age at all, too rationalistic.

Denigrating the Enlightenment to produce a pack of historical lies on religious traditionalist lacks the briliance Fuller ascribes to Armstrong.
The result of Armstrong’s tactics will not be religion, but a hodgepodge of postmodern mental confusions, and a kind of PR mendacity that will vitiate the religious understanding of her readers.

Tags: religion · The Axial Age

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