tisdag 22 december 2009

Mörkermannen Darwin synad



Jag hoppas att för den goda saken förlaget SteinerBooks ser mellan fingrarna att jag gör ett lite längre utdrag ur amerikanska konstprofessorn J.L. Bensons "The Inner Nature of Color - Studies on the Philosophy of the Four Elements" (2004).

Boken är löst sammansatt av två essäer och citatet är taget från den andra som inte har mycket med boktiteln att göra. Likväl är den andra essän en intressant idéhistorisk exposé över några strömningar som ledde fram till den stackars obildade Darwin, hans harvande för att få ihop en teori, och sedermera till det halvbedrägeri som består i att vår pseudo-vetenskapliga evolutionsbiologi presenterar darwinismen som en etablerad sanning.

Benson påminner om att två av de tre huvudmän som först stöttat darwinismen drog sig ur. Den kände geologen Lyell kunde aldrig under hela sitt liv ge teorin sitt fulla stöd. Resten av myten byggdes av aggressiva neo-darwinister efter Första världskriget. Och den senaste kadern av "sekulära humanister" ska vi inte tala om! Aggressiva ideologer med politisk ambition! En sinnessjuk rörelse i västerlandet, men lyckligtvis helt steril. Den kommer att försvinna.

Benson understryker att folk i gemen inte förstår på hur lös grund hela den västerländska ateismen vilar. Den minnesgode vet att den ateistiska evolutionsbiologen Richard Dawkins inte långt efter den här okända boken släppte sin pinsamma litania över religionerna, vilken jag inte sett mig i behov att läsa. Men jag betvivlar att något i den boken når Bensons ofta snillrika och djupa - inte alls lättillgängliga tankegångar.

Åtminstone har jag vid genomläsningen känt mig lite handikappad av att veta så lite om Newtons defekta färglära och om Goethes mer omfattande syn på färg (det är f.ö. Goethes färgcirkel som används i tryckbranschen).

Benson är ibland kanske lite väl koncis, som om han egentligen i huvudsak vänder sig till bildade konstnärer och antroposofer. "SteinerBooks" syftar ju på den gåtfulle klärvoajanten Rudolf Steiner, vars "Grunddrag av vetenskapen om det fördolda" jag börjat om med flera gånger sedan jag köpte den 1980, men ännu inte nått slutet av. Hos Benson summeras världstillblivelsen Steiner skådade på bara några få sidor. Perfekt!

What actually is natural selection as an idea? If it were an idea which could be transmuted into an ideal, offering something new and inspiring without shattering the foundations of a millennia-old cultural tradition—instead of becoming, as it has, a doctrinaire dogma—we would not be stumbling over the language problem at the very beginning. Why did Darwin choose these particular words?

It seems that he saw a satisfactory departure point for his theorizing in the grand "prolepticly" evolutionary scale of being, that is, of nature, in Paley’s work, which, however, had the defect for Darwin of accepting as the usual source of energy for this a Divine Creator.

As it was still daring to dispense altogether with "supernatural" (a "loaded" word in our times) causation, Darwin needed to find (we might suggest) a seemingly neutral expression. "Natural Selection" was selected, as if by a higher power meddling in human affairs. As it turned out, "deceptive" would describe the term chosen more accurately than "neutral."

How does the word "selection" serve Darwin’s purpose? First of all, by using the noun form of the verbal concept be de-emphasizes the transitive quality of the verb. Attention is subtly drawn away from that by focusing on the results, in this case the traits being studied.

Of course, in the background must be some agent (ago = do) but its identity is left unspecified. Since the "selected" traits make sense, are meaningful on some level, the logical implication is that some intelligent force (being) did the selecting. Otherwise we should expect a jumble, a heap of unrelated fragments, to have resulted.

It is exactly this expectation that is denied. We are to believe that the meaningful selection of traits selected itself, that is, to have come about spontaneously. And not once, but repeatedly, while the previous selection still existed to be acted on by the same chance processes.

Taxed with this abstraction, Darwin admitted that the term was meant not literally but as a metaphor for the "aggregate action or product of many natural laws"—not to be thought of as an "active power."

Far from being a clarification, this simply re-states the original proposition with another noun form of a different transitive verb, the transitive quality of which is again denied. The logical impasse remains.

Unanswered is our burning question: how do natural "laws" (a term that in human affairs always implicates a law-giver) that control highly specific activities such as rain-making or blowing earth around produce any results other than rain or displaced earth?

To make sense, would we not have to make the critical assumption of a pre-existing organic world capable of reacting selectively to those lawful but not "active powers"?

This dense mental muddle is ignored or trivialized to this day by Darwinians. Thus the grammatical and logical absurdities inherent in this use of the word "selection," concealed in a new but equally meaningless terminology, remain unknown and unsuspected by the general public.

However, we have still to examine the even more critical role of the adjective "natural" in this expression. Actually, to do this two conflicting concepts that play a strong part in Darwinism: "natural" and "machine" need to be treated simultaneously, but since that is impossible I shall begin with the former.

Just as "machine" leads forward to the cultural determinant of our time, technology "natural" leads us back to the pre-Darwinian cultural situation.

In qualifying "selection" with "natural," Darwin sidestepped the intellectual task of deciding what aspect of nature he was referring to, for the adjectival form conceals the problem.

Did he mean natura naturans, the active, creative principle in visible nature (as when flowers grow in the spring) or did he mean natura naturata, the summer product, the fruit and its seed?

To have faced this problem squarely would have threatened his assumption that there is no "supernatural" (divine or metaphysical) side of nature, traditionally an inalienable part of human consciousness.

The price for this default—admittedly he did not see it as that, and his followers one by one fell in line with that view— was that the resulting confusion remained built into his theory.

Amen!

(Den observante ser att texten inte nådde ett naturligt slut där, "maskinen" hade ännu inte avhandlats.)

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Jag återkommer till den här boken i ett inlägg på Sideriska siktet eftersom Bensons analyser stämmer så väl in med Darwins horoskop.

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