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Idealogues true and false: Blackheart or Braveheart? part II

24 May

NY Times op-ed columnist, Stanley Fish

Thank you Stanley FishIndeed, we are all idealogues.

The fact that evidence which is public, relevant and convincing is (evidently) important to many of us cannot change this fact.  In short, there are true and false idealogues (by the way here’s part I ; also see this):

“…Dawkins and Pinker asserted that the trust we place in scientific researchers, as opposed to religious pronouncements, has been earned by their record of achievement and by the public rigor of their procedures. In short, our trust is justified, theirs is blind.

It was at this point that Dawkins said something amazing, although neither he nor anyone else picked up on it. He said: in the arena of science you can invoke Professor So-and-So’s study published in 2008, “you can actually cite chapter and verse.”

Intellectual responsibility for such matters has passed in the modern era from the Bible to academic departments bearing the names of my enumerated topics. We still cite chapter and verse — we still operate on trust — but the scripture has changed (at least in this country) and is now identified with the most up-to-date research conducted by credentialed and secular investigators….

the chapter and verse we find authoritative is the chapter and verse of the scripture we believe in because we believe in its first principle, in this case the adequacy and superiority of a materialist inquiry into questions religion answers by mere dogma….

It is at bottom a question of original authority: with what conviction — basic orthodoxy — about where truth and illumination are to be found do you begin? Once that question is answered satisfactorily for you (by revelation, education or conversion), you cannot test the answer by bringing it before the bar of some independent arbiter, for your answer now is the arbiter (and measure) of everything that comes before you. Your answer delivers the world to you and delivers with it mechanisms for distinguishing good evidence from bad or beside-the-point evidence and good reasons from reasons that just don’t cut it…. 

despite invocations of fairness and equality and giving every voice a chance, classical liberals, like any other ideologues (and ideologues we all are), divide the world into “us” and “them.” It’s just that rather than “us” being Christians and “them” Jews or vice-versa, “us” are those who subscribe to the tenets of materialist scientific inquiry and “them” are those who don’t, those who, in the entirely parochial judgment of liberal rationalists, subscribe to nonsense and superstition….

But the desire of classical liberals to think of themselves as above the fray, as facilitating inquiry rather than steering it in a favored direction, makes them unable to be content with just saying, You guys are wrong, we’re right, and we’re not going to listen to you or give you an even break. Instead they labor mightily to ground their judgments in impersonal standards and impartial procedures (there are none) so that they can pronounce their excommunications with clean hands and pure — non-partisan, and non-tribal — hearts. It’s quite a performance and it is on display every day in our most enlightened newspapers and on our most progressive political talk shows, including the ones I’m addicted to.”

Good stuff!

Meanwhile, on a (I think) related front, check out this concise summary of Lutheran vs. Reformed apologetics.

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2 Comments

Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

2 responses to “Idealogues true and false: Blackheart or Braveheart? part II

  1. Asinus Spinas Masticans

    June 6, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    We haven’t exchanged just Scriptures. We have also exchanged Magisteria. Magisteria are unavoidable. It is how human knowledge is arranged and transmitted. The Reformation was basically a change from the realist Scholastic magisterium of the medieval Church to the emerging academic nominalist magisterium of the Universities.

    Of course, once that happened, secularism was inevitable. After all, why exempt the Bible from applications of the same reagent you are applying to the panoply of received tradition?

    This was made possible once Rome led the Western Church into schism from the distributed patristic magisterium that had existed prior to the Great Schism, and still obtains today in the Eastern Church.

     

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