Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sri Aurobindo, the last word

[I might also count Dawkins as a political ally, but not as a cosmological ally. And since I, like Adam, struggle to avoid separating cosmos and polis, in the end I have to critique Dawkins as quickly as I do Perry. Jung said he was glad he was not a Jungian; I think Darwin would say something similar were he alive today. Dawkins represents a minority position in the ecology of ideas circulating in the rather large academic aquarium of the contemporary life sciences. His assertion that “natural selection” explains life, the universe, and everything seems no less fundamentalist to me than creationism. Darwin assumed much about the nature of reality in order to offer an account of the origin the variety of species. His assumptions were empirically justified, I’d agree, but not theoretically explained. His conception of life-itself is quite Romantic (yes, in the capital “R” sense; see Robert Richards’ work on the influence of Schelling and Goethe on Darwin). Darwin’s theory of the origin of species by natural selection assumes self-producing/autopoietic organisms capable of reproduction (E. Thompson makes this case convincingly in “Mind in Life”). Natural selection, in the neo-Darwinist genocentric context that Dawkins employs it, offers no explanation whatsoever even for how genes can produce individual living cells, much less animals or a potentially freely creative, self-reflective species like us. Creationists may not know how to rationally articulate their intuition that scientific materialism is inadequate, nor even how to rationally construct an alternative account of cosmogenesis; but nonetheless, their intuition is correct. Civilization cannot survive without a more adequate answer to the Biggest Question.
Response to Knowledge-Ecology about Dawkins, Evolution, and Creationism - Posted by Matthew David Segall]

[MODERATOR: This message from "imimarla" has been consolidated here.
Sat Sep 10, 2011 3:32 pm Subject: Re: [sbicitizen] Re: On Religion imimarla@aol.com Dear friends,
I strongly recommend to read the following author: Richard Dawkins, who is able to explain for non-biologists the origins of life (an earth) and, on this fundament, why religions are just human inventions, the way humans tried to explain things happening around them so that it seemed convincing to them. Pre-scientific stories, but sorry, there was no 'creator'!
There are lots of other eminent scientists/anthropologists following neo-Darwinist enlightenment, and I recommend to read them, too. Greetings, Irmel V. Marla (Sociologist/Anthropologist)]

[ the lion in winter: @hitchbitch writes a book of essays, which may be his last #hitchens - Shadow Warrior
by nizhal yoddha on 10/09/2011 12:10 AM
one of the greatest essayists of this era (and indeed of any era), christopher hitchens is now seriously ill with cancer, but that has not stopped him from writing another fabulous book (so far as i can tell from this review).
i admire him greatly, even though he's british. i particularly liked two things about him:
1. his harsh, and entirely well-deserved critique of that 'leathery old bat' M Teresa and of the church in general -- a true atheist who, unlike the secular charlatans of india, do not uphold some religions and demean others
2. his willingness of change his mind and thus his break with his erstwhile colleagues of the left-lib persuasion (who have never forgiven him) over the invasion of iraq
what a guy, hitch! even when he realized he was ill with cancer, he took it with characteristic aplomb. we will miss his mordant voice when he is gone. i hope the cancer goes into remission, so that we will be treated to his brilliance for a while longer.]

Dawkins and Hitchens, indisputably, hold great attraction for the intellect and it is instructive to be aware of the arguments they offer. But, to assume that theirs is the final word would be a gross mistake. The signal contribution of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo to the 20th Century thought comes to the rescue and guides us seamlessly from politics to philosophy, from education to religion. [TNM55]

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