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THE FAUSTIAN OF MODERN SCIENCE
PART 2


by Phillip D. Collins
July 25, 2009
NewsWithViews.com

Understanding the Epistemological Foundations of Scientific Totalitarianism

The rejection of universals began with nominalism, a philosophical doctrine that was formulated in the Middle Ages. Nominalism originated with William of Ockham, who was born in 1290. Ockham confused ideas, which inhabited the Intellect, with the subjective images that inhabited the imagination (Coomaraswamy, "The Fundamental Nature of the Conflict Between Modern and Traditional Man--Often Called the Conflict Between Science and Faith"). As Aquinas made clear in Summa Theologiae, images only capture things in their singularity. Ideas, on the other hand, capture things in their universality:

Our intellect cannot know the singular in material things directly and primarily. The reason for this is that the principle of singularity in material things is individual matter; whereas our intellect understands by abstracting the intelligible species from such matter. Now what is abstracted from individual matter is universal. Hence our intellect knows directly only universals. But indirectly, however, and as it were by a kind of reflexion, it can know the singular, because even after abstracting the intelligible species, the intellect, in order to understand actually, needs to turn to the phantasms in which it understands the species. Therefore it understands the universal directly through the intelligible species, and indirectly the singular represented by the phantasm. And thus it forms the proposition, "Socrates is a man." (Pt. I, Qu. 86, Art. I)

Ockham failed to make this distinction, thereby reducing ideas to mere impressions on the imagination stemming from sense perception (Coomaraswamy, "The Fundamental Nature of the Conflict Between Modern and Traditional Man--Often Called the Conflict Between Science and Faith"). This epistemological confusion led Ockham to reject universals (ibid). Although Ockham still believed in God, he denied the objective character of God (ibid). Thus, God became an unknowable abstraction fraught with ambiguities.

Such a nebulous conception of God leads one to regard faith as "blind." Yet, true faith is not blind. The Greek word for "faith" in the New Testament is pistis. The term was also invoked by Aristotle and connotes forensic proof. Forensic proof is evidentiary, not blind. Likewise, many of the Apostles made evidentiary appeals for the faith. For instance, in Acts 2:22-36, Peter makes three evidentiary citations in defense of the faith. He cites Jesus' "miracles and wonders and signs." He cites the empty tomb. Lastly, he cites the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. Thus, Peter's apologia was premised upon evidence or, as the term pistis connotes, proofs.

In addition to casting faith in a rather derisive light, nominalism led to the bifurcation of epistemology into what is quantifiably or empirically demonstrable and what is believed (ibid). In turn, this bifurcation is a slippery slope towards the belief that all things quantifiable represent the totality of reality. Suddenly, all of those entities that defy quantification (e.g., the "good," the "beautiful," dignity, God, etc.) are relegated to impotent and ambiguous subjectivism. Such epistemological rigidity underpins scientism, which mandates the universal imposition of science upon all fields of inquiry. The modern mind, chronocentric as it is, might consider such an imposition favorable. However, it is very dangerous. Michael Hoffman elaborates on this danger:

The reason that science is a bad master and dangerous servant and ought not to be worshipped is that science is not objective. Science is fundamentally about the uses of measurement. What does not fit the yardstick of the scientist is discarded. Scientific determinism has repeatedly excluded some data from its measurement and fudged other data, such as Piltdown Man, in order to support the self-fulfilling nature of its own agenda, be it Darwinism or "cut, burn and poison" methods of cancer "treatment." (49)

When extended beyond its legitimate fields of application, science becomes a rigid template to which even the most complex of entities, like man, must conform. The scientific outlook acknowledges no moral master. It gives no assent to moral or esthetic judgments. In the words of B.F. Skinner, it "de-homunculizes" man, a being that was originally "defended by the literatures of freedom and dignity" (189-91).

Nominalism rode into epistemological dominance astride the Protestant Reformation. The father of the first Reformation, Martin Luther, was actually an unconscious agent of secularization. Under Catholicism, the truth had become the province of priests and other self-proclaimed "mediators of God." However, Luther made the mistake of adopting nominalism as one of the chief philosophical foundations for his doctrines. In The Western Experience, the authors write:

[S]ome of Luther's positions had roots in nominalism, the most influential philosophical and theological movement of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, which had flourished at his old monastery. (450)

By the time Luther's ideas were codified in the Augsburg Confession, nominalism was already beginning to co-opt Christianity. Nominalism's rejection of a knowable God harmonized with the superstitious notions of the time. Misunderstanding the troubles that beset them, many peasants made the anthropic attribution of the Black Death to God's will. Following this baseless assumption to its logical conclusion, many surmised that God was neither merciful nor knowable. Such inferences clearly overlooked the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which represented the ultimate act of grace on God's part. Nevertheless, the superstitious populace were beginning to accept the new portrayal of God as an indifferent deistic spirit. Nominalism merely edified such beliefs. Invariably, nominalism would seduce those who would eventually convert to Protestantism.

Christians should have had more than a few philosophical misgivings with nominalism, especially in light of its commonalities with anthropocentric humanism:

Although nominalists and humanists were frequently at odds, they did share a dissatisfaction with aspects of the medieval intellectual tradition, especially the speculative abstractions of medieval thought; and both advocated approaches to reality that concentrated on the concrete and the present and demanded a strict awareness of method. (424)

Suddenly, Christianity was infused with materialism and radical empiricism. There was an occult character to both of these philosophical positions. Radical empiricism rejects causality, thereby abolishing any epistemological certainty and reducing reality to a holograph that can be potentially manipulated through the "sorcery" of science. Materialism emphasizes the primacy of matter, inferring that the physical universe is a veritable golem that created itself. Despite their clearly anti-theistic nature, these ideas began to insinuate themselves within Christianity.

With nominalist epistemology enshrined, man was ontologically isolated from his Creator. Knowledge was purely the province of the senses and the physical universe constituted the totality of reality itself. Increasingly, theologians invoked naturalistic interpretations of the Scriptures, thereby negating the miraculous and supernatural nature of God. The spiritual elements that remained embedded in Christianity assumed more of a Gnostic character, depicting the physical body as an impediment to man's knowledge of God and venerating death as a welcome release from a corporeal prison. Gradually, a Hegelian synthesis between spiritualism and materialism was occurring. The result was a paganized Christianity, which hardly promised the abundant life offered by its Savior.

Luther's unwitting role in the popularization of such thinking suggests an occult manipulation. There is already a body of evidence supporting the contention that occult elements had penetrated Christendom and were working towards its demise. Malachi Martin states: "As we know, some of the chief architects of the Reformation--Martin Luther, Philip Melanchthon, Johannes Reuchlin, Jan Amos Komensky--belonged to occult societies" (521).

Author William Bramley presents evidence that supports Martin's contention:

Luther's seal consisted of his initials on either side of two Brotherhood symbols: the rose and the cross. The rose and cross are the chief symbols of the Rosicrucian Order. The word "Rosicrucian" itself comes from the Latin words "rose"("rose") and "cruces" ("cross"). (205)

Luther's involvement in the Rosicrucian Order made him an ideal instrument of secret societies. Michael Howard reveals explains the motive for this manipulation:

The Order had good political reasons for initially supporting the Protestant cause. On the surface, as heirs to the pre-Christian Ancient Wisdom, the secret societies would have gained little from religious reform. However, by supporting the Protestant dissidents they helped to weaken the political power of the Roman Catholic Church, the traditional enemy of the Cathars, the Templars and the Freemasons. (54).

However, occultism was not the only belief system benefiting from the Reformation. Luther's also acted as an effective apologist for oligarchical interests. Many of the secret societies supporting Luther acted as elite conduits. While Luther was already ideologically aligned with the elites in many ways, he officially became their property in 1521. In this year, the papacy's secular representative, Emperor Charles V, summoned Luther to a Diet at the city known as Worms (Chambers, Hanawalt, et al. 449). Luther was to defend himself against a papal decree that excommunicated him from the Church (449).

At the Diet, Luther refused to recant any of his beliefs (450). This led to the Emperor issuing an imperial edict for the monk's arrest (450). However, Luther was rescued by the Elector Frederick III of Saxony (450). Frederick staged a kidnapping of the monk and hid him away in Wartburg Castle (450). The regional warlord of Saxony had much to gain by protecting Luther. Frederick represented a group of German princes that opposed the influence of the Church and its secular representative, the Emperor (450). These elites would use Luther's teachings to justify defying the ecclesiastical authorities and establishing their own secular systems. In the end, the Reformation reformed nothing at all. It caused a division in Christendom and paved the way for Europe’s secularization. Howard states:

Indirectly the Reformation gave the impetus for the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth century, which centred on Newton, and led to the founding of the Royal Society after the English Civil War. (148)

The "Scientific Revolution" facilitated by the Reformation led to the popularization of nominalism, which was radically scientistic and occult in character. Commensurate with this paradigm shift was the rise of the rise of the Enlightenment. Not surprisingly, the writers of Encyclopédie, which was edited by Enlightenment thinker Denis Diderot, "praised Protestant thinkers" ("Encyclopédie," Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia). The same sort of secret societies that managed the dialectical conflict between the Protestants and Catholics played a prevalent role in the Enlightenment. Reiterating this contention, atheist scholar Conrad Goeringer states:

[S]ecret societies and salons, lodges of the Freemasons and private reading clubs would become the focal points for the sedicious and "impious" activists of the Enlightenment. Masonry required that novitiates pass through a series of degrees, accompanied by symbolic ritual, whereupon the secrets of the craft were gradually unfolded; the metaphors of masonry, the remaking of humanity as early masons had remade rough stone, soon served as a revolutionary allegory. This became the new model of revolutionary organization — lodges of brothers, all seeking to reconstruct within their own circle an "inner light" to radiate forth wisdom into the world, to "illuminate" the sagacity of the Enlightenment. So pervasive and appealing was this notion that even relatively conservative and respected members of society could entertain the prospect of a new Utopia, "or at least a social alternative to the ancient regime...." ("The Enlightenment, Freemasonry, and the Illuminati")

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The Enlightenment, which acted as the crucible for all modern sociopolitical Utopianism, represented the codification of Gnostic occultism as revolutionary doctrine. The new gnosis was science, which Enlightenment thinkers believed should be universally imposed upon all fields of inquiry. For the violent, revolutionary wing of the Enlightenment (e.g., the Illuminati, the Jacobins, etc.), the universal imposition of science included governance. Herein is the conceptual basis for all scientific totalitarianism. Next week part three.

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Phillip D. Collins acted as the editor for The Hidden Face of Terrorism. He has also written articles for Paranoia Magazine, MKzine, NewsWithViews, B.I.P.E.D.: The Official Website of Darwinian Dissent, the ACL Report, Namaste Magazine, and Conspiracy Archive. In 1999, he earned an Associate degree of Arts and Science. In 2006, he earned a bachelors degree with a major in communication studies and a minor in philosophy. During the course of his seven-year college career, Phillip has studied philosophy, religion, and classic literature.

He has recently completed a newly expanded and revised edition of The Ascendancy of the Scientific Dictatorship (ISBN 1-4196-3932-3), which is available at Amazon.com. He is also currently co-authoring a collection of short stories, poetry, and prose entitled Expansive Thoughts. It will be available late Fall of 2006.

E-Mail: collins.58@wright.edu


 

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The Enlightenment, which acted as the crucible for all modern sociopolitical Utopianism, represented the codification of Gnostic occultism as revolutionary doctrine. The new gnosis was science, which Enlightenment thinkers believed should be universally imposed upon all fields of inquiry.