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History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Historical materialism and Beyond materialism conferences

November 12th, 2016 · No Comments

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2016/10/british_invasio103201.html: British Invasion: ID Scholars to Gather at Cambridge University for “Beyond Materialism” Conference

http://conference.historicalmaterialism.org/annual13/programme.pdf

It is interesting and frustrating to look at the failures of two opposite perspectives…the ID group has spawned a ‘beyond materialism’ conference, and the marxist left continues with its same old same old dreary nineteenth century ‘materialism’ which up to a point works well enough, as a sketch. But as an overall social perspective it is too limited, turns reductionist and posits a stages of production theory that doesn’t work.
The ID group has demonstrated ‘design’ but can’t take the issue any further than the inference of design. The latter is the key concept in a set of books (Dembski) and these claim to have made ID a science, but that is a dubious claim. The ID group, to achieve science, must renounce Christianity and its claims for historical design.
The ‘design’ in history is discussed in my Enigma of the Axial Age, a book the ID group is too terrified to discuss in public, although it has been read by many.

Although a broader materialism (as with Indic Samkhya) can be constructed to show the universal materiality of ‘reality’ (in a context of phenomenal/noumenal distinctions) the reality of a ‘spiritual dimension’ has to be faced in the simple distinction of facts and values. The latter are intangible, the former roughly, but only roughly, the material domain. The spiritual and the material thus interpenetrate at all points. This does not endorse the hopeless muddle of spiritual conceptualization precipitated by too many religionists.

Consider a double cone (disregard the arrows, image taken from another context), a standard metaphor for the material spiritual distinction. The problem with this metaphor is the top and the bottome are really a unity and generates equally the suspicion the ‘spiritual’ and ‘material’ are really part of a larger unity stalks the discussion.
The question of historical materialism is an albatross around the neck of the left. Why not drop it and start over? Turning 3 billion religionists into materialists to achieve socialism is a hopelessly wrong strategy. That doesn’t mean the left should peddle ‘god’ or compromise with religion. Rather it must achieve a new and robust secular viewpoint that is not the braindead materialism of the early nineteenth century. And marxists should evacuate their marxist cult with a judicious critique of their brilliant but archaic legacy.
And while they don’t have to deal with the ID of the religious right they do need to critique darwinism as another albatross around the neck of the ideological fixations.

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