Creating a Pagan Theocracy:

Modern Science


By Jefferson White

 


This web page contains the second half of Chapter 16 of the book The Political Theory of Christ by Jefferson White. The complete chapter is available for purchase as a 36 page booklet on Amazon. The essay is under copyright.

The Religious Character of All Theories

At this point, this chapter could be concluded.  We have traced the decline and fall of modern science as a source of authority among Western pagan intellectuals. The consensus among philosophers of science, by the beginning of twenty-first century, was that there was no such thing as science, there were only the sciences and with each science being governed by its own rules and traditions.  Moreover there was now a general consensus that the sciences do not describe reality as such, but are merely models of reality and are therefore, by definition, not reality.  Modern science has failed as a revelation of reality, the great nineteenth century revelation that was supposed to replace the Christian revelation.

However, we will not be ending the chapter at this point. Throughout this book we have emphasized that there is only one reality, which means – among other things – that all politics is religious and that all religion is political.  We will now expand this thesis to include the observation that the sciences are also religious, by which we mean that all scientific theories, at bottom, reflect particular religious beliefs.

We turn to philosopher of science Roy A. Clouser as our guide in this matter, since he is the philosopher who has most closely examined the religious character of scientific theories.

Roy A. Clouser:

[I am not making] the claim that the proposals of theories are all deduced from religious convictions (though that has happened at times). Rather, I mean that some religious belief or other delimits an acceptable range of interpretations of the nature of whatever a hypothesis proposes. It is in this sense that I find the influence of religious belief to be utterly pervasive. And it is in this sense that virtually all the disagreements between rival theories in the sciences and in philosophy can ultimately be traced back to the differences between the religious beliefs that guide them. 1

Clouser’s argument is that all theories are derived from what he calls a “divinity belief.” This is not necessarily a belief in God.  Rather, it is a belief in the existence of some “non-dependent ultimate reality” that determines the nature of the rest of reality. It is of course the functional equivalent of a belief in God, which is why Clouser calls it a divinity belief.2

Clouser argues that there are today three dominant divinity beliefs: theism, paganism, and pantheism.

Clouser defines theism as the belief that a Creator and a creation constitute reality. For the theist – for all Jews, Christians, and Muslims – the “non-dependent ultimate reality” that creates and sustains the creation is God. The cosmos is God’s creation and is utterly dependent for its continuing existence upon God.

Clouser defines paganism as the belief that there is just one reality, the cosmos, but also that some aspect of the cosmos determines the nature of the rest of the cosmos. For example, although the ancient pagans believed in many gods, their underlying belief was in the existence of a cosmic order of which the gods were a part. The gods did not determine that cosmic order, but were themselves determined by it.  Modern Western pagans, who are usually scientific materialists, hold a similar belief. Just like the ancient pagans, the scientific materialist believes that the cosmos is all there is. But he also believes that some “non-dependent ultimate reality” within the cosmos (usually, matter/energy) is the one aspect of the cosmic reality that determines the nature of the rest of reality.

Clouser defines pantheism as the belief that there is one single, undifferentiated reality, which masks the multitudinous seeming realities that make up the world. These many seeming realities are merely illusions that mask this single reality. The ultimate truth is that “All is One.” Human beings, animals, plants, the galaxies, are merely surface illusions of an underlying unity, which is reality. Pantheism can take more than one form. In Hinduism, it can be a belief in an actual deity that is the single reality. In Buddhism it can take the form of atheism or a belief that a radical “absence” or “void” is the single, undifferentiated reality. 

Now for the reader to fully engage Clouser’s argument, he needs turn to Clouser himself. Here we are interested solely in the examples that Clouser provides to show that most modern scientific theories rest upon entirely pagan divinity beliefs.  In other words, it is not just that modern science points away from Christian belief. Rather, it is that modern science is largely a pagan system of religious belief. To show this, Clouser provides a close analysis of three scientific disciplines: mathematics, physics, and psychology. He demonstrates not only that the theories found in these three disciplines are constructed according to pagan divinity beliefs, but that these sciences are riven by controversies based upon competing pagan divinity beliefs.

 

Pagan Divinity Beliefs in Mathematics

Today, most people think that mathematics has nothing to do with religion, since “one plus one must equal two” no matter what one’s religious beliefs. But Clouser points out that once we get beyond the basics of “abstracting and symbolizing quantities and noticing the most obvious laws that hold among them,” the question then becomes: “what, exactly, do the symbols of the formula represent? In other words, what is a number? And as soon as this issue is raised, we find that there are serious disagreements among the mathematicians…” 3 These disagreements are inherently religious.

One ancient mathematical divinity belief is called the Number World Theory. This was the belief held by the Pythagoreans, by Plato, and by some modern mathematicians that “the world of mathematical entities is not only real, but more real than the things that we observe as objects existing in space and time.”  The physical cosmos is believed to be nothing more than a physical instantiation of mathematical principles. Thus it is mathematics that determines the nature of reality.4

Against this divinity belief, the nineteenth philosopher John Stuart Mill argued that it is only our sensations of reality that are real. Because we can know nothing about reality except through our sensations, our sensations are the only reality that we know. Numbers, Mill argued, have no intrinsic reality, but are simply generalizations about our sensations. Mills argues that the formula “one plus one equals two” is true only because our sensations tell us that it is true. However, it is possible that, at some point in our experience, “one plus one” might not equal two, since our sensations might tell us that it equals something else. Of course, our uniform experience is that one plus one equals two. But that is only our uniform experience. Since we cannot know the totality of all our possible experiences, our experience – at some point – might include the datum that one plus one does not equal two. In short, Mill argued, mathematics is not divine and thus does not determine reality. Mathematics is simply a method by which we organize our sensations, which alone are reality. Here was John Stuart Mill’s pagan divinity belief.5

Now against the Pythagoreans and John Stuart Mill, the philosopher Bertrand Russell argued that logic determines the nature of reality. Russell rejected the Pythagorean belief that mathematics was divine by arguing that mathematics was merely a shortcut to logic. In Russell’s view, “all of math is either identical with, or derivative from, logic.” Russell argued, against Mill, that logic is what determines the nature of our sensations. One plus one must always equal two, no matter what our sensations tell us, because logic, and not our sensations, determines reality. It is logic that is divine. Here was Bertrand Russell’s pagan divinity belief.6

Now against the Pythagoreans, Mill, and Russell, the philosopher John Dewey argued that mathematical symbols stand for precisely nothing at all. According to Dewey’s divinity belief, mathematics is neither true nor false, but is simply useful. There can be no such thing as “true” or “false.”  Dewey believed that human beings are completely biological entities attempting to survive in a physical environment, and that this constitutes the full description of reality. And since human beings, alone among the animals, possess intelligence, they are capable of altering their environment by the creation of tools. Mathematics is a tool that human beings have created to manipulate the environment. And this means that numbers have no reality beyond their use as tools.  According to John Dewey, “to say that something is true means no more than that it works.” Here was John Dewey’s pagan divinity belief.7

There are also other mathematical pagan divinity beliefs. Mathematical intuitionists, for example, similar to the Pythagoreans, believe that mathematics determines reality. However, they decisively break with the Pythagoreans because they subordinate logic to mathematics, rather than mathematics to logic.  According to this divinity belief, “if logical paradoxes arise concerning a mathematical system, that is a problem for logic” and not a problem for mathematics. In other words, since mathematics is not bound by logic, reality is not bound by logic. Based upon this premise, mathematical intuitionists reject an entire branch of modern mathematical theory, “the theory of transfinite numbers developed by George Cantor.” This theory, which is regarded by most modern mathematicians as the most important mathematical advance of the past century, is regarded by the mathematical intuitionists as nonsense.8

Historian of mathematics Morris Kline:

The current predicament of mathematics is that there is not one but many mathematics and that for numerous reasons each fails to satisfy the members of the opposing schools.  It is now apparent that the concept of a universally accepted, infallible body of reasoning – the majestic mathematics of 1800 and the pride of man – is a grand illusion…The disagreements about the foundations of the “most certain” science are both surprising and, to put it mildly, disconcerting. The current state of mathematics is a mockery of the hitherto deep-rooted and widely reputed truth and logical perfection of mathematics.9

 

Pagan Divinity Beliefs in Physics

Most people today think that modern physics can have nothing to do with religious belief, since the same physical laws must apply to everyone despite their religious beliefs. But Roy Clouser demonstrates, through his examination of three of the giants of modern physics – Ernst Mach, Albert Einstein, and Werner Heisenberg – that each one of these men held a radically different pagan divinity belief, which caused them to hold radically different views concerning the physical nature of reality.10

Ernst Mach, like the philosopher John Stuart Mill, believed that only sensations were real. Mach, along with a large body of scientists and philosophers at the very beginning of the twentieth century, considered atoms and sub-atomic particles to be nothing more than “useful fictions.” They were merely a way to talk about reality, without actually being real, because they could not be physically perceived. In this view, any description of reality that treated atoms and sub-atomic particles as if they were real entities, existing independently of our sensations, was nothing more than an unsubstantiated hypothesis. 

Albert Einstein, while appropriating Mach’s insights, decisively rejected this pagan divinity belief. Einstein believed that there was a reality that was external to the senses, although he agreed with Mach that this could not be scientifically demonstrated. However, Einstein’s justification for believing in the existence of an external reality was that such a belief decisively aided the mind in understanding the nature of reality. And this signaled to Einstein that an external reality independent of the senses probably did exist. He also believed that this external reality was governed by mathematics and logic. Here was Einstein’s pagan divinity belief.  Although Einstein publicly spoke as if he believed in the existence of God, the word God for Einstein was actually a metaphor for the underlying Reason that he believed determined the nature of reality.

Now against both Mach and Einstein, Werner Heisenberg held that elementary particles were, in a sense, physically real, but that they were also partly mathematical entities there were not governed by logic. According to Heisenberg – and this was the basis for his understanding of quantum mechanics – although it was possible to measure both the position of a particle and its momentum, neither of those things can be measured simultaneously. Heisenberg argued that this was not because we lacked the technical ability to make that measurement. Instead, he argued that elementary particles do not have a position and a momentum simultaneously. It is only our act of measurement that causes the particle to have either one of those things. In Werner Heisenberg’s own words: “this is a very strange result since it seems to indicate that [our] observation plays a decisive role in the event and that the reality varies, depending on whether we observe it or not.”11

As a matter of logic, this is nonsense. Logically, a particle must have a position and a momentum simultaneously, nor can this reality be changed by our observations. Of course, this logical contradiction disappears if we accept Heisenberg’s divinity belief that elementary particles are also partly mathematical entities that are not bound by logic. And this is why Einstein could never finally reconcile himself to what became the dominant interpretation of quantum mechanics, since his divinity belief was that reality must be fully physical and therefore logical. Einstein’s pagan divinity belief was fundamentally at odds with Heisenberg’s pagan divinity belief.

Roy A. Clouser: 

Perhaps it is now clear that even though all these thinkers claimed to accept atomic theory, they mean something very different by it – so different that it is fair to say that the twentieth century has actually produced three atomic theories, not minor differences within one and the same theory. For Mach, atomic theory meant inventing a system of micro-entities that is useful though populated with fictions.  For Einstein, it meant postulating purely physical objects which we never experience.  For Heisenberg, it meant postulating micro-entities that comprise reality and that, while composed of physical energy, are essentially mathematical in nature. These sharp disagreements …rest on different views of what is divine.12

 

Pagan Divinity Beliefs in Psychology

Psychology is Roy A. Clouser’s third example of how pagan divinity beliefs operate in modern science. Clouser examines behaviorism, the dominant psychological theory in America during the first two thirds of the twentieth century.

In the late nineteenth century, a new science called psychology was believed to consist of the study of the “mind” or “consciousness.” This definition of psychology was then superseded, early in the twentieth century, by a much more reductive view. The new view held that concepts like “mind” and “consciousness” were too subjective to be scientific. Psychology was therefore redefined as the science of behavior, since behavior was something that could be objectively measured. According to this new belief, the science of psychology was the study of measurable behavior.

Eventually, two schools of behaviorism contended with each other. The first school focused on the study of individual behavior, while the second focused on social behavior. These were not seen as overlapping approaches, but were considered to be mutually exclusive approaches to the understanding of behavior. And they were mutually exclusive because each school rested on a radically different pagan divinity belief.

Those who believed that psychology was the study of individual behavior held that all behavior was ultimately reducible to biology and physics. This prompted the question of whether psychology was an independent science at all, rather than merely being a sub-discipline of biology. However, as Roy Clouser notes, the response of the behaviorists to this fundamental question was to pretend that it did not exist. It was just asserted that psychology was an independent science, even though it was also regarded as being completely reducible to the science of biology.13

One possible way out of this theoretical difficulty might have been for the behaviorists to believe, with John Stuart Mill and Ernst Mach, that reality could be defined as our sensations. Such a belief would then have allowed them to construct a science of psychology that was independent of biology, since their psychological theories could have been reduced to theories of sensation. However, the behaviorists were convinced that their science was completely reducible to biology. And this is also why they came to the conclusion that there could be no such thing as the “mind” or “consciousness.” The human experience of possessing a mind, they argued, was merely a subjective illusion that masked an entirely biological process.

J.B. Watson, the founder of behaviorism, argued that “all subjective terms such as sensation, perception, image, desire, purpose, and even thinking and emotion” needed to be purged from the vocabulary of the true scientist.14  His replacement for all these subjective terms was found in one phrase: “stimulus and response.” Stimulus and response explained the whole of human behavior. In other words, Watson considered behavior to be nothing more than a complex series of reflex actions. Behavior was always an automatic response to programming. Human beings had no free will or individual consciousness, except as a personal illusion. According to Watson’s pagan divinity belief, human behavior was stimulus and response – and nothing more than this.

Other psychologists engaged in variations on this theme. E. M. Thorndike argued that individual behavior also took place in response to “reinforced” and “aversive” stimuli. But these concepts were rejected by Watson as also being too subjective.15 B. F. Skinner then developed a theory based upon what he called “operant” behavioral response. Skinner believed that it was only through a complete understanding of the complete history of the conditioned responses of any individual that a genuinely scientific description of that individual’s behavior was possible.16

Roy Clouser:

Common to all these theories is the total rejection of allowing into psychology anything about human mental life that is prima facie non-behavioral, such as thoughts, feelings, purposes, and even perceptions.

Even this brief summary should be sufficient to establish that something very odd is going on. Since all of us constantly experience our own thoughts, feelings, perceptions, intentions, etc., why are these ignored by psychology? …Why [do] behaviorists regard thoughts and perceptions as assumptions? 17

The behaviorist view, Clouser argues, derives ultimately from a rejection of the concept of free will. Indeed, free will must necessarily be rejected by the behaviorist, since if human beings are free to behave as they choose there can be no science of human behavior. According to the behaviorists, psychology is a science precisely because it describes a completely closed process that can be predicted (at least in theory) at every point in the process. Thus human behavior must be entirely determined by the brute facts of biology and physics – and by nothing else. Behavioral psychology describes a completely physical process devoid of either purpose or intent. 

Now one might ask why any human being would want to believe this. One might even want to ask how one can possibly know this description of behavior to be true, since our even belief that it is true is completely determined by our physical and biological circumstances. Weren’t the behaviorists the victims of a sad illusion?

Roy Clouser:

…[W]hat makes the theory of behaviorism attractive to its advocates is not its explanatory power, since it is patently incoherent. Rather, its attractiveness stems from a particular vision of what science should be, which is based in turn on a specific view of the nature of reality and divinity….The real explanation of [this view] is that it is rooted in the religious belief in the divinity of matter/energy. This is the driving motive of the perspective, and the real source of its power over those who do science under its direction. 18

By eliminating everything that any normal human being considers as part of being human – free will, perception, feelings, and purpose – behavioral psychology invokes a pagan divinity belief in a completely natural process, a process in which human beings are entirely the product of the interaction of energy and matter. According to this divinity belief, no scientific explanation of human behavior can involve human purpose or free will, because that would mean that human beings are more than merely the random products of matter and energy, meaning that they are more than merely the products of evolution. And because, by definition, human beings cannot be more than products of evolution, there can be no such thing as human free will or purpose.

This brings us to the second school of behavioral psychology. According to this school, although biology and physics set decisive limits on behavior, all behavior at bottom is a form of social construction.  Thus human behavior, instead of being entirely reducible to the principles of biology and physics, can also be reduced to those sociological laws that have been discovered to govern societies.  In short, social behaviorism broke decisively with a purely physical understanding of behavior. It assumed that society was, at least in part, an entity that had somehow become independent of biology and physics.

Alfred Adler and Eric Fromm are the two psychologists who exemplify this pagan divinity belief. Both men were neo-Marxists.19 And this is hardly surprising, since Marxism rests upon the belief that humanity is a social construction, although Karl Marx explained that construction entirely in terms of economic relations. Thus the social behaviorism of Adler and Fromm was an updating – and a repudiation – of Marx’s pagan divinity belief. Adler and Fromm argued that it was society, rather than economics, that created human behavior.

Adler broke with the understanding that human behavior was reducible to biology and physics by asserting that psychology was a social science possessing its own standards of evidence that were independent of the physical sciences. Although Adler agreed that behavior was largely determined by biology and physics, he argued that everything specific to being human was socially determined.  In Adler’s view, all individuals naturally strive for superiority over other individuals, but are inevitably limited in their striving by the existence of those other individuals. Society thus exists to define the limits of permissible individual behavior. It is “the logic of communal life” that defines what it is to be human.

Adler held that Marx was the first theorist to actually understand that humanity was a social construct. But then Adler turned Marxism on its head. Beginning his intellectual life with the Marxist belief that history was determined by economic relations, Adler finally became convinced that economic relations were themselves determined by the historical development of societies. Adler therefore made social determinism, rather than economic determinism, the foundation of human behavior.

Eric Fromm was more explicitly Marxist in his understanding of behavior. Fromm believed, with Marx, that economics determined the nature of society, but also came to believe that society determined the nature of the family, which then determined the nature of the individual.  For Fromm, psychology was the scientific study of a chain of social determinism, beginning with an analysis of economics at the top of that chain down to an analysis of individual behavior at the bottom of the chain. Fromm believed that although economics, society, and individual behavior could be analyzed as separate categories, ultimately they were one thing. Fromm also imported into his social theory the explicitly Marxist belief that history was leading to the creation of a global socialist utopia.

However, by the end of his life, Fromm decisively rejected this understanding of reality. He eventually came to believe that human life had an inner dynamism of its own, a dynamism which was somehow independent of society, biology, and physics. The human claim to know truth, as well as the human ability to act on that claim, was somehow a reality that could exist on its own. Human beings, Fromm now believed, were entirely free.  At the same time, however, he continued to believe that human behavior was completely determined. Logically speaking, this was nonsense. One is either free or determined; it is not possible to be both. Fromm recognized the contradiction, but insisted that the idea of “logical contradictions” was false. He maintained that it was possible to believe both in human free will and in an entirely determined human behavior at the same time. To him, these were simply different ways of talking about a single reality.

Fromm also turned to the religions of the East in support of this belief. Like many Hindu thinkers, and most Buddhist and Taoist thinkers, Fromm came to the belief that human existence was a matter of “both is and it is not.” The East had always known that logical contradictions were an illusion. Thus, having begun his life as a Marxist, Fromm ended it as a pantheist.

 

Robert Rosen versus Modern Biology

In any battle between two opposing armies there is always a center of gravity which must be broken if one side or the other is going to win. Biology seems to be the center of gravity for the modern pagan understanding of science.  In no other of the physical sciences are pagan assumptions about the nature of reality so deeply rooted. The theory of evolution plays the central role in this, of course, but only because that theory is the product of prior pagan assumptions about the nature of reality.

Today there are alternative voices to the reigning beliefs of biological science, with the Intelligent Design movement being one prominent example.20 But our critique of modern biology will be guided by the theoretical biologist and biophysicist Robert Rosen, who had no interest in questions of design and was committed to an entirely pagan understanding of biology. At the same time, Rosen, who died in 1998, rejected the central pagan divinity belief of most of today’s biologists. Rosen’s background was in mathematics and systems theory, and he brought that background to bear on what he considered to be the fundamental error of modern biology.

Probably Robert Rosen’s most important book was Life Itself: A Comprehensive Inquiry into the Nature, Origin, and Fabrication of Life. In this study, Rosen begins by noting that modern biology rests upon a reductionism anchored in physics.  It is therefore physics that provides all the scientific principles from which inferences are made by biologists about the nature of life. Modern biologists simply assume that all organisms can be completely understood in terms of the physical parts that make them up. Thus life is understood according to the metaphor of a machine. The principles of physics are assumed to describe completely the nature of organisms, although those principles were actually formulated to describe inorganic matter.

Robert Rosen:

According to this view, there is no other science than physics; everything that we call a science is ultimately a special case of physics. 21

This is the divinity belief of most modern biologists. Most biologists today are atheists and materialists simply because that is the nature of their religious commitment. Rosen rejects this conception of biology. He begins by asking what the physicists themselves have said about the relationship of physics to biology.

Robert Rosen:

Living things are surely material; they are manifestations of matter; surely then the secrets of matter must contain the secrets of life. Surely, the physicist, who is concerned with matter in all of its manifestations, will have eagerly striven to translate insights about matter in general into corresponding insight into matter’s greatest mystery. 22

Except that they haven’t. Physicists as such are completely uninterested in “matter’s greatest mystery.”  And Rosen knows why: theoretical physics is concerned with “the universal and the general.”  Thus, in the view of most physicists, biological organisms can be nothing more than “special systems” that somehow are the products of the universal and general laws of physics. But physics as such has nothing to say about biology. Because most of the cosmos is not alive, because most of the cosmos is inorganic, the existence of organisms is irrelevant to the actual problems of physics.

Rosen notes that a few physicists, for example Walter Elsasser, regard this attitude of physicists as being somewhat peculiar. Elsasser argued that, although organisms are extremely rare within a largely inorganic cosmos, this does not mean that they are necessarily described by the same general laws as inorganic matter. Anything that is rare in physics, Elsasser points out, disappears into the averages. Thus life disappears into the averages. But although organisms cannot violate the general laws established by physics, perhaps it is the case that organisms are governed by laws that are not derivable from the laws of physics. Such an argument, of course, contradicts the divinity belief held by most modern biologists that organisms are nothing more than specialized examples of the laws of physics. However, what if organisms are more than this? 23

Robert Rosen:

On the face of it, there is no reason at all why “rare” should imply anything at all; it needs to be nothing more than an expression of how we are sampling things, connoting nothing at all about the things themselves… Why could it not be that the “universals” of physics are only so on a small and special (if inordinately prominent) class of material systems, a class to which organisms are too general to belong? What if physics is the particular, and biology the general, instead of the other way round? 24

However, the recognition that this is the case would mean a revolution in biological theory. And such a revolution would only moderately impact physics. Modern physics, Rosen points out, has in the recent past undergone similar revolutions, being forced to accommodate the “phenomena of electricity and magnetism” and of “spectra and chemical bonding.” The real revolution would occur within biology. Among other things, the Darwinian claim that physical evolution completely determines biological change would be overthrown. For if organisms can be described by laws peculiar to themselves, then evolution – assuming that it even exists – would become largely an external history of an independent biological process.

Robert Rosen:

[Modern] biologists believe that life is somehow the inevitable necessary consequence of underlying physical (inanimate) processes; this is one of the well-springs of reductionism.  But, on the other hand, modern biologists are also, most fervently, evolutionists; they believe wholeheartedly that everything about organisms is shaped by essentially historical, accidental factors, which are inherently unpredictable and to which no universal principles can apply. That is, they believe that everything important about life is not necessary but contingent….What is relinquished…is any shred of logical necessity in biology, and with it, any capacity to understand.25

As a theoretical biologist, Rosen’s purpose was to lay the groundwork for a revolutionary new kind of biology. In Rosen’s view, biology needed to be re-founded upon the irreducible complexity – not the design – inherent in the organization of living things. This complexity, Rosen argued, could only be described according to rules that governed that complexity itself in its “relational effects.” No biological entity, Rosen argued, was completely explicable in terms of the physical parts that made it up. It was only by analyzing the relational effects of how living things were organized that a new science of biology could be created.

Now our purpose here is not to endorse Robert Rosen’s radical assault upon the theoretical foundations of modern biology. As the reader might suspect, his influence is quite limited among modern biologists, although he has adherents. Our purpose, rather, is to show that the pagan divinity belief of most modern biologists – that life is completely explained as a specialized example of the laws of physics – is nothing more than that: a belief. Robert Rosen provides one way forward to discover a possible new science of biology, based on the very different – although in his case still pagan – belief that life can be explained according to independent laws that describe its complexity.  Such laws, according to Rosen’s pagan divinity belief, are entirely physical and do not imply design. Still, it rests on the assumption that the information that they contain that transcends a purely evolutionary explanation of life. 

 

Summary and Conclusion

Every society that has ever existed, as well as every society that will ever exist, will always be founded upon some particular religious belief.  Christianity, even now, is the self-declared religion of most Americans. However, from the middle of the nineteenth century, it has been pagan scientific theories of nature, and of society, which have come to dominate American political and social life. 

And as Christianity has declined as the religious basis of American society, the pagan believers in modern science have also been confronted with their own spiritual crisis. By the late twentieth century, the nineteenth century belief that science was the full and final revelation of reality had become a minority belief among most pagan intellectuals, at least those outside the physical sciences. Beginning in the nineteen sixties, an intellectual revolution unfolded that would eventually convince most philosophers and historians that there was no such thing as science as such, but that there were just the individual sciences, with their own rules and traditions.  And these sciences could no longer explain reality as such. They could only model reality. They could explain only those aspects of reality that could be measured according to the current practices of that particular science.

By the end of the twentieth century, modern science had ceased to be the religion of most Western pagan intellectuals. However, if modern science were not to be the new religious foundation of Western society, replacing Christianity, then some other pagan religion would have to be found. And this new pagan religion now had a name: postmodernism.

 

Footnotes

  1. Roy A. Clouser, The Myth of Religious Neutrality: An Essay on the Hidden Role of Religious Belief in Theories (2005), 3.
  2. Clouser, Chapters 1-6.
  3. Clouser, 131.
  4. Clouser, 133-134.
  5. Clouser, 134-135.
  6. Clouser, 135-136.
  7. Clouser, 136-138.
  8. Clouser, 139-142.
  9. Morris Kline, Mathematics: The Loss of Certainty (1980), 6, quoted in Clouser, 141.
  10. Clouser, 147-159.
  11. Werner Heisenberg, Physics and Philosophy (1958), 52, quoted in Clouser, 155.
  12. Clouser, 157.
  13. Clouser, 163.
  14. B. Watson, quoted in Clouser, 164-165.
  15. Clouser, 165-166
  16. Clouser, 166.
  17. Clouser, 166.
  18. Clouser, 170.
  19. Clouser, 171-180.
  20. See, for example, Stephen C. Meyer, Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design (2014)
  21. Robert Rosen, Life Itself: A Comprehensive Inquiry into the Nature, Origin, and Fabrication of Life (1991), 3-4.
  22. Rosen, 11-12.
  23. Rosen, 12-13.
  24. Rosen, 13.
  25. Rosen 13-14.

 

 

 

Creating a Pagan Theocracy: Modern Science

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Creating A Pagan Theocracy:
Modern Science