Other Mental Health
BLAINVILLE'S FUNERAL--A WORLD-CHANGING EVENT
By Erica Carle
Henri-Marie Ducrotay De Blainville was found dead in a railway carriage while traveling between Rouen and Caen. He was 72 years old. Although his name is little known today, in the early 19th Century he was recognized as one of the great and influential contributors to the science of biology. He was an anatomical artist, a professor of comparative anatomy, an MD, and a tireless researcher. Although you may never have heard of Blainville, his funeral was an historic event of unparalleled significance. Your life today is still impacted by repercussions following this funeral which took place May 7, 1850.
Among the funeral speakers was the French mathematician/philosopher Auguste Comte, the father of sociology, the religion of humanity, and the positive philosophy. Comte used the occasion of Blainville’s funeral to acknowledge his achievements, but more importantly to warn young scientists of the future not to make the same mistakes he claimed Blainville had made. According to Comte, Blainville’s scientific contributions ought not be fully honored by posterity because his religious and philosophical beliefs were politically incorrect. This failing, Comte declared, should serve to deprive the scientist of the historical recognition which he might otherwise deserve.
What were the failures so contemptible that they should deprive a scientist of recognition for his achievements? Blainville was unwilling to give up Christianity in favor of Comte’s religion of humanity. He did not fully support the positive philosophy, and he did not relate his comparative anatomy to Comte’s concept of the sociological evolution of humanity. Comte said:
". . . great minds should share largely in the general movement of Humanity. It is principally with the view of inculcating this salutary lesson upon the young that I have thought it right to take part in this funeral solemnity. . . He who did more than any one to systematise the scale of animal life, ended by placing it under the fatal patronage of theology. . . . It will be seen that Blainville’s intellectual degeneracy was largely due to the defects of his moral organisation. . . Such a nature could not accept a revolution of which the principal purpose was to subordinate all personal feeling to social interests. This, too, is what prevented his frank adoption of the positive philosophy: attracted to it intellectually, he rejected its moral and political applications."
Comte was not opposed to philosophical or religious domination over science. He was only opposed to domination by religions and philosophies other than his own. He wanted young scientists to know that future deviance from the concept of sociological evolution, and refusal to acknowledge sociological control would not be tolerated. Scientists would have to acknowledge Comte’s philosophical beliefs, especially that belief which insisted that the mind should be dominated by the heart.
"The systematic action of the heart upon the mind is one of the most precious fruits of Positivism; and Blainville studied Positivism too slightly and too late to utilise it thus. His repugnance to the Revolution did not therefore save him from the principal symptom of the revolutionary state, the insurrection of the mind against the heart, from which the whole Western population has increasingly suffered since the close of the Middle Ages. . . Such was the way in which one of the strongest intellects that ever existed was impaired solely by moral feebleness. Isolated from the generous movements of his century, Blainville failed to attain an historical position at all corresponding to his intrinsic worth. With the one exception of the incomparable Bichat, he was in reality equal, if not superior, to any of the great founders of Biology. And yet he will not be placed at their level."
From 1850 to the present day followers of Comte’s sociology, religion of humanity, and positive philosophy have declared the existence of a new morality--one which scientists could ignore only at their own peril.
"Such, Gentlemen, is the moral teaching to be drawn on this sad occasion from a most opportune and signal example. The temples of Humanity will naturally be surrounded by the tombs of the good and great: for the true Great-Being consists essentially of the dead worthy to survive. No place then could be better suited for the religious teaching of positive morality, from which we learn how best to harmonise each individual life with the eternal evolution of mankind.
To make my principal intention more distinct, I may add that the failure of Blainville’s career was more prejudicial to his own fame than to the general progress of Biology. The condition of thought in his time was not such as to make a final synthesis of vital studies possible. This great task, which is now left to the younger biologists who may be worthy of it, can only be performed under the direct impulse of Sociology, the sole permanent source of encyclopedic construction. . ."
Comte insisted that scientific speculation, investigation, and recognition be limited to those who shared and were willing to abide by his philosophy and religion:
"Universal science and final religion have now begun to exist. These are the objects on which future thinkers must expend their efforts, if they would save themselves from failure more complete and less excusable than that of Blainville. . . The Scale of Life, Blainville’s principal field, is threatened now with utter subversion at the hands of investigators who are incapable of understanding its value. It can be saved only from above, by the universal discipline emanating from true Social Science, which will reserve all speculative study for encyclopaedic thinkers. Such men will be always ready, alike on moral and intellectual grounds, to give full generality to their special conceptions. Blainville’s organic although retrograde instinct had given him a confused sense of the necessity of connecting Biology with the general beliefs of man: the mistake was in the system which he chose. Science in the Middle Ages was essentially subject to the religion of God. Reason and morality now call for its far completer subjection to the religion of Humanity."
By the time of Blainville’s funeral Auguste Comte had already acquired a following among philosophers, scientists, and even Christian priests and ministers. The Positivist Society had been formed, and one of the projects it carried out was to publish and distribute Comte’s funeral address in memory Henri-Marie Ducrotay De Blainville. The Positivist society already had branches in Madrid, Aberdeen, Genoa, and Brussels. Comte had a number of influential followers in the United States. Contributions to Comte’s support from a group of English scientists and philosophers, though modest, had helped him complete his works.
In the United States by the end of the nineteenth century sociology, financed by American millionaires, had achieved academic acceptance at many colleges. By 1930 it was offered in most high schools. Today both high school and grade school children experience social studies rather than history, geography, and civics. A religion--the sociological religion of humanity--is being taught openly in the public schools, and the citizenry is barely aware of it.
Many scientists when they speak of the compatibility of science and religion mean the religion of humanity rather than God. They know God is regarded as politically incorrect. They have been indoctrinated in the beliefs, and dedicated to the objectives of the religion of humanity.
Comte’s Positive philosophy, sociology, and religion of humanity, and the theory of evolution--whether biological or social--are interdependent. To deny any part of this construction and its plan for the management of human life on earth is to threaten all parts. Small wonder, then, that those who are dedicated to the advancement of the New World Order panic and become nearly hysterical when doubt is cast on any part of the theory of evolution.
NOTE: All Comte quotes are taken from his speech at Blainville’s funeral which was included in the appendix to the first volume of his System of Positive Polity published in France in 185l. The funeral speech was then published and distributed by the Positive Society.
© 2002 Erica Carle - All Rights Reserved
Erica Carle is an independent researcher and writer. She has a B.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin. She has been involved in radio and television writing and production, and has also taught math and composition at the private school her children attended in Brookfield, Wisconsin. For ten years she wrote a weekly column, "Truth In Education" for WISCONSIN REPORT, and served as Education Editor for that publication. Her books are available through Education Service Council, P. O. Box 271, Elm Grove, Wisconsin 53122.
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"From 1850 to the
present day followers of Comte’s sociology, religion of humanity, and
positive philosophy have declared the existence of a new morality--one
which scientists could ignore only at their own