History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Gould book authors, and materialism/idealism

May 7th, 2010 · No Comments

Critique of Intelligent Design: Materialism versus Creationism from Antiquity to the Present
by John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark, and Richard York

We just discussed the book on Gould by the same two authors who wrote the book above: we have commented here at length on that book, use the search box.
It is an interesting book, but the emphasis on ‘materialism’ is bit passe at this point (as is the design arugment). After all we have had a century of QM (what to say of even more time with electromagnetid field theory), the emphasis on materialism is a ghost from the nineteenth century positivists.
The issue of evolution is not materialism versus design.
Marxists crippled themselves with materialism in the generation of Marx, even as Schopenhauer without religious obsessions produced a version of transcendentalism idealism that would have served Marx better. Marx’s thinking was downright clumsy by comparison.
To be sure Schopenhauer has surface problems in this work that drive people away, surface problems. He ended with a metaphysics of the will, which is odd, or is it right on?
We can see exactly what is missing from evolutionism, stuck in its material reductionism. It is Ok to make the same charge in reverse for Schopenhauer’s idealism, but the point is our suspicion that just as classical physics was resolved with force fields (gravity the first) so…., so we are not sure, but it would seem that a ‘force field’ construct must be involved in the paradoxes of evolution. That may be off, but the fact is that something much more complex than material processes is involved in the processes of development. It is hard to avoid this kind of thinking when you look at the real processes of evolution seen in world history.
Schopenhauer and Kant are much better than simple idealism, which is different. In any case, there is no victor in the dialectic of materialism and idealism. Why did that enter into Marxist fundamentalism, only to confuse the left for over a century. A more sophisticated dialectic would have served better.
Material issues are inescapable, but so are ‘idea’ issues as Schopenhauer understood well, with his artificial and preposterous but cogent annexation of the ‘Platonic ideas’ into his thinking.
You can’t reduce ideas to material forces (or vice versa)>

Tags: Evolution · Philosophy · physics · Schopenhauer

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