History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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On atheism, at Counterpunch

January 30th, 2016 · No Comments


This is a very useful article and has almost too much material to deal with save at great length, but we can consider it over a few days, perhaps. I have a few quick criticisms: atheism is already present in buddhism, and in its modern form emerges almost within the scope of the Reformation, certainly by the seventeenth century. Consider Spinoza, et al.

In general to me, having been a sort of instant ‘new atheist’ decades ago as a college sophmore, the new atheists seem amateurs, as I was: a real atheism must be more than simple negation of god. In fact, theism/atheism are moments in a related discourse.
The issue of atheism is the idolatrous theism of monotheists of the biblical tradition. A more subtle meta-theism is something we still barely understand, and it has to coexist with atheism.
The issues are dealt with better with a Kantian foundation, rather than the perspective of the next generation of positivism.

Another criticism concerns the failure to see through Darwinism. If secularists insist on Darwin’s theory the religious world will simply resist, and via the ID groups such people have learned to expose the darwinian pretense. Using darwinism to found atheism doesn’t work any more.
We cannot dogmatically disavow an hypothesis of some kind of unknown cosmic entity. I was looking at J.G. Bennett’s The Dramatic Universe, where he propounds the idea of The Cosmic Individuality. The latter refers to ‘will’, while ‘god’ concepts more generally are about ‘being’, thence pop theism with ideas about divinities.
I can offer no wisdom here but the standard negations of ‘god’ in all possible forms is a dubious exercise…

This article and the books cited are important and it is hard for many to see beyond surface ‘atheism’ to what’s going on with people like Sam Harris.

This is from my new Enigma of the Axial Age, a work in progress coming this spring…:

The rise of modern atheism is a powerful counter to the Occidental monotheism generated in the Axial Age, and began early in the modern transition, but the secularization of the cult of ‘Jehovah’ is not the same as the one-way valve of the Axial impress of ‘meta-theism, which is likely to survive its first religions, reflected in the mysterious fragment of a lost legacy of the ‘unspoken name of god’: IHVH. The point is clear in the way the tide against paganism and ‘idolatry’ remade the ancient Roman oikoumene, followed by the complex and still hard to understand Islam. This is seen also in the way that modern atheism attacks the de facto idolatry of ‘pop theism’ and its rapid ascent as a new ‘superstition’. The dialectical interaction of theism/atheism comes to the fore in figures such as Kant and Hegel, and the philosophy of Schopenhauer as an inverted theism is a brilliant counterpoint to both the Reformation and the rise of Secular Humanism. ‘God’ as ‘being’ and ‘god’ as ‘will’ would really require two different forms of atheistic negation.

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