The Bankruptcy of Evolutionism
Evolutionism is a “scientific theory”.  By that we usually mean that it is a doctrine that abstracts “scientifically” data, or strictly quantifiable facts, without any concern (or with the least possible concern) for values, for the sake of gaining a progressively refined or sophisticated grasp of the mechanisms governing physical mutation, especially as this pertains… The post The Bankruptcy of Evolutionism appeared first on VoegelinView.




Evolutionism is a “scientific theory”.  By that we usually mean that it is a doctrine that abstracts “scientifically” data, or strictly quantifiable facts, without any concern (or with the least possible concern) for values, for the sake of gaining a progressively refined or sophisticated grasp of the mechanisms governing physical mutation, especially as this pertains to living or animated things.  Evolutionism entails a mechanistic conception of bodies as functioning, at least in practical terms, independently of any value, meaning, or constitutionally indefinite or unquantifiable agency.
Ironically, modern “Science” lands upon quantum uncertainty as bedrock to all of Science’s own certainties.  A minor obstacle that Science pretends to overcome by progressing, in neo-Kantian or positivist fashion, as if its bedrock had no decisive bearing on Science’s own conduct.  Science simply retrenches within a pragmatic universe where all that counts or that is practically meaningful is purely quantifiable, even as one readily admits that outside of the sphere (bubble?) of “the practical,” lies an abysmal wasteland of “metaphysical” uncertainty.
The abstraction of the discipline of knowledge (Science), not to speak of human life as a whole, out of an unknown mysterious universe is not a novel event, since it finds its dawn in early-modern Machiavellianism; its prominent representatives include Descartes, Spinoza and Locke.  Galileo’s “new science” (nuova scienza) bespeaks it when appealing to its symbolic “mathematics” as the language of the universe—a universe evidently conceived in terms of quantities abstracted from qualities.  The moral universe is supposed to be a superstructure presupposing as its substructure or foundation an amoral universe of pure data.  The data are supposed to be discernable, analyzable, manipulatable and most crucially controllable independently of any moral question.  All classical moral considerations—not solely the most formidable moral dictates of Christianity—are of obstacle to the proper pursuit of Science.  This Machiavellian, anti-hierarchical lesson is of the essence for modern evolutionism, as it is by extension for the whole modern scientific enterprise, an enterprise that retains the systematic and teleological character of ancient thought, albeit significantly cut off from the hierarchical.[1]
When confronted with data that are not quantifiable, our Science will keep doing what it did at its modern dawn, namely symbolically use the element of the unknown—the mysterious, not to say the mystical—as fuel for the practice of quantification.  In the sixteenth century this meant using Religion (or, more precisely, appropriating the echo of its discourse) to promote a New Science.  We face the same situation today when the unquantifiable is considered in terms of sheer chance, ostensibly for the sake of driving Science into ever more symbolic, or “virtual” horizons of certainty, or safety.  The logic at play is, in both cases, one and the same: when confronted with the unquantifiable, Science looks upon it as pretext to reify its own boundaries in narrower, more abstract terms, so as to reconstitute itself, its blue prints, its own authority, as undisputed, universal guide over all human or political life (“the public sphere”), which is thereby alienated from any and all properly moral consideration with the sole exception of those considerations that depend upon (and support) our Science’s authority.  Hence the rise of a new scientific morality, the morality of the “open” or “secular” society—the morality of technocracy.
In the new society, the early-modern blue print becomes us, drawing us progressively into it, as in a formidable, inescapable web, thereby exposing us to the realization that we ourselves are its primary “clinical” subjects/patients.  Thereupon, the aim of the modern Enlightenment appears to be not merely, or even primarily to transform our world, but to transform us—to uproot us into a new world created as if ex nihilo by modern technology; a world in which people linger massified and equalized as radically dehumanized, thus soulless, material fuel or flesh for technologically framed information exchanges.
Yet even the new “data world” requires a “moral” framework.  Its new immanentistic (“secular”) morality comprises a network of universally applicable “rules and regulation” guaranteeing the survival of the technocratic society, the society of quantification abstracted from the unquantifiable, even as the latter term is met as motive to take refuge into ever more symbolically mediated spheres of reality.  It would then seem fair to designate modern progress as a continuous flight from Totality understood as entailing the original dependence of quantity upon unquantifiable meaning.  Scientific progress could be understood as progressive alienation of man from a life in which quantity is inextricable from pre-scientific moral considerations insofar as these serve as original stage for any proper understanding of “quantities”.  Modernity’s Science, however, dismisses any pre-scientific morality as superstitious, biased, incoherent and to be gradually replaced by the universal morality of Science.[2] Morality is not supposed to be rooted directly in divine mystery, but in purely “scientific” considerations; to echo Hegel, the proper end of morality is supposed to be Science itself, or the scientific, universal society.
Whether or not it accepts as a fatality the lingering of moral orders independent of the scientific, universal society, our Science cannot make sense of such orders if not as inspiration, or fuel for modernity’s Science itself, to the extent that “traditional morality” lends itself to serving as a storehouse of material susceptible to being integrated “symbolically” into the constitution of a new universal morality.
Now, there is something radically unscientific about the conduct of a Science that cares for itself, its own survival, to the detriment of a direct (onto-epistemic) confrontation with things themselves.  There is something radically irrational about a “Reason” obstinately employed to flee the unquantifiable as long as it does not serve the interests of Reason’s own empowerment as universal Master Quantifier.  What is more, when viewed in the light of medieval Christianity, modern Science appears as the consummate incarnation of a satanic impulse to determine God, the ultimate indetermination, that which remains eternally ineluctable, unfettered, unconquerable, indivisible (accordingly, at the bottom of Dante’s Inferno we find Beelzebub as the freezing of the divine in a thoughtless abysmal “point”).
A coherent Science, one that points to reality or things as original repositories of both the quantifiable and the unquantifiable (“qualitative”), cannot be founded on a mechanistic conception of bodies, or quantifiable entities.  Such a conception reifies bodies into symbolic abstractions, unrealities, ghosts—which is precisely what scientific evolutionists do when they seek mechanisms governing physical mutations.
Beyond the confines of the evolutionist’s endeavor to flee nature into the Chimeric “analytical” universe of amoral quantification, quantification emerges in a moral context, data on the stage of stories reflecting a divinely intelligible order.  Prior to their being abstracted by our modern scientists, quantifiable entities arise as integral to a moral-political universe mirroring a world in which quantities are qualities, or in which, to speak with classical antiquity, “numbers” are (Platonic) Ideas: essential constituents of the World of Pure Intelligibility, or integral aspects of the Good itself.  Otherwise put, mathematics belongs originally to the divine, or to what is sometimes referred to as metaphysics, a realm of things that are at once living and eternal (not continuously decaying into “the past” or “death”).
In sum and to echo Husserl’s indictment, a science of quantification that remains oblivious to the original, moral fiber or telos of quantities, is a pseudo-science.  Science proper must seek data as integral to a moral-political discourse orienting us back to indefinite values, or the foundation of morality.  What is of the essence for moral-political discourse, or “old morality,” is its capacity to reflect or bespeak its ground, as opposed to distracting us from it.  Old morality constitutes a mirror of natural presuppositions, or antecedents, as opposed to orienting us to the buildup of a world of “value-free” certainties, prognoses defining their own diagnosis (“what is” being devised as pretext to advance ideological goals).  Whereas in the technocratic society truth is a function of work or power, in pre-technocratic societies power is a function of the quest for truth: in the former case, “mechanisms” (as determinations seemingly severed from all indetermination) distract us from all value, both the “definite” one of traditional or religious mores (mores relating us to transcendence, or the Sacred) and the “indefinite” one sought by classical philosophy; in the latter case, moral-political life articulates its “material” undercurrents, guiding us to discover a mysterious coincidentia between “matter” and the divine—an “overlap” supporting a traditional religious appeal to divine providence.
While modern academic “idealist theorists” formally oppose radical materialists, both parties fail to face the key role of ordinary morality in our accessing reality in any significant way.  Even in the case of the spokespersons of evolutionary panpsychism (from Galen Strawson, Giulio Tononi, Rupert Sheldrake, Philip Goff and Max Planck back to the likes of Whitehead, Leibniz and Spinoza), no less than of “idealists” such as Bernardo Kastrup, the clinical language of modern mathematics replaces that of traditional morality.  In all such cases, the appeal to “consciousness” steers away from any question of divine transcendence.  Consciousness must be experiential, at least insofar as it manifests itself physically.  Nothing is said here of traditional morality and its divine point of reference, inviting the suspicion that the psychic is none other than the mere guarantor of the physical, the glue that justifies bodily strife.
The alternative reading of reality offered by our Platonic classics invites us to approach the physical as a moral mirror of the psychic and the latter as the terminus ad quem, the “that for the sake of which” of the moral-poetic universe, a universe that is at once natural in the respect that we discover nature in inherited linguistic forms (“nature” being the invention of early philosophers abstracting themselves out of the world of moral duties).[3] Here, there is no evolution of consciousness from lower to higher states, but an “evolution” (mediated by consciousness), or rather metamorphosis of the bodily in terms of “shadows of consciousness,” organized in a hierarchy at the pinnacle of which stands the human or properly moral body: not a mere “shadow,” but the mirror of consciousness (even as greater shadows are discernable throughout the Cosmos).
The linguistic forms of traditional morality prove to be an indispensable compass in our everyday living; without them, we—the very fiber of our experience—fall apart.  This, modern “science” fails to appreciate, even as it rushes down the torrent of its complexities, gravitating evermore rapidly towards the waterfall of all linguistic abstractions, where every conclusion is destined to implode into another—much as the Big Bangs of Roger Penrose.
Our ordinary experience is simply unsustainable on the basis of conceptual constructs, or clinical abstractions.  Without a vision of ends and thus of a good, we simply cease functioning as living organisms: we implode, if only by exploding.  Either we turn to ourselves as moral agents, or we destroy ourselves.  But now, to be a moral agent is to accept 1. the primacy of moral life over bodily or physical life and thus 2. the consequent irreducibility of consciousness (essential indetermination) to any of its possible objects (determination).  Moral life’s primacy tells us that physical life—the movement of bodies—is meant or designed for a proper end, its own good, and that this good is transcendent in the respect that it entails the integration of physical determination (the body) in the indeterminate element of moral life (that in virtue of which moral life rises above bodily life): there is “something” about moral life—about properly human freedom—that bespeaks the transcendent end of physical life.
In ignoring ordinary moral life, modern scientists fail to transcend the bubble of materialist compulsions, even when appealing to consciousness as the ultimate constituent of matter.  There, in particular, we hear that the bodily is the manifestation of the psychic, without any pertinent reference to traditional morality, or without accounting for the unique character of human consciousness.
Typical accounts of the consciousness-matter relation involve a progressive reading of time, whereby consciousness shifts from the past into a fundamentally future-oriented present.  Given such a reading, there can be nothing exceptional about the human being as privileged site of consciousness, as there would be if the present were conceived as emerging from the future, only to empty itself into the past.  On this latter conception, the human being would be the being through which alone consciousness would awaken or open itself to itself and this through man’s reverence for the dead—through man’s turning to that into which he empties himself.
Man buries the dead, being careful to distinguish himself from other animals in whom consciousness abides in striving for the future as divine possibility continuously consummating the present.  Man has faced the death of that divine possibility, of the divine, through its being made present.  Only with man does the future make itself truly present; only with man is the present the site of freedom irreducible to compulsion.  But in entering into the present, thus through its incarnation, the divine future orients the present to face the past—death.
Facing death is to orient oneself along the trajectory of consciousness itself; it is to testify to the true nature of consciousness.  It is the human being as such that responds to consciousness’s calling to face death as the place where consciousness and its shadows go into hiding, if only for the sake of re-emerging as future gifts.  The present must die in order to return.  This is true for all bodies or finite movement, but only in the case of the human body—the moral-poetic body, the body oriented constitutionally towards its proper end, its good—do we find consciousness facing itself as consciousness.  For only the human being among all other beings, turns back to where he is heading, to his destiny, as the sacred mirror of mind (noetic indetermination) itself; and it is in that destiny, in that sacred end, that man recognizes himself as man, as mortal.
The modern turn to the future bespeaks man’s betrayal of his humanity, of his original turn to death, of his turn to the past to discover himself as mortal.  There, the past would not be conceived merely as a place in which man is advancing, but as the very advance or “decline” itself of man—his Occident.  The past being the passing, the future would be the coming, while the present would be the hinge or pivot of the conversion of the coming gift into the passing away, away back into the future.  But now, as in Botticelli’s so-called Primavera, the triadic cycle of future-present-past points transcendently to the heavens of meaning open to interpretation (thus in Botticelli, Hermes—whence hermeneutics or interpretation—dispels clouds in response to the “dance” by which physical life (the current of bodily motion) is metamorphized into the form of law (statuesque Venus).  How does “nature” die?  It dies through Flora’s fioretti (Dante), here “verses”.  Poetry, the poetic body, is the pivot through which birth converts into death, or through which mortal life unravels; with the understanding that what dies returns (hence the dance of the three Fates represented by Botticelli).  It is through the human or poetic-moral body, through the moral activity of poetry, that the future empties itself into the past as the passing back into the future, the emerging back into the East (the left-hand side of Botticelli’s painting).  Birth emerges out of death where dying is being-born, much as the Sun setting in the West is preparing to rise in the East.  But this “movement” is not physical; it is moral.  For physical motion as such is merely an aspect of motion, namely a tending towards death, a disappearing “Westward”.  It is through man, through human life, that this disappearing discloses itself as a reappearing, or as the way through which the Sun rises anew.  Hence the privileged role of man in the constitution of nature.  Without the human, the bodily would die in vain, or never return, to be redeemed, from the future as a divine gift.  In sum, divine providence is effective only through human providence.
If the forgoing assessment is valid, then there is no nature without man: the human is to be understood as an essential element in the constitution of “nature”.  Whence the importance of questioning our received notion of “nature” as an “objective” counterpart of human consciousness and volition—the “subject”.  As long as we speak of the “self” (ego) as “subject” vis-à-vis an “objective” universe, we remain trapped in a Cartesian web of conceptual and moral antinomies feeding into the tyranny of progressive/historical determinism.  Once, however, we recognize the self as a mask of consciousness, much as in the Bible Adam is the image/reflection of his mysterious Master, consciousness (thought/mind) will no longer be conceived as a predicate, emerging rather as that of which all egos are predicates.  Here, thought thinks the self in forging it as the site through which all subject-matter of consciousness is ordered back into thought.  But this ordering occurs only through man as logos, through man as “moral-poetic body,” which is to say not through merely bodily motion, but through moral motion or properly human/political action.  As the “Genesis” (Bereshit) biblical story suggests, man’s “free will” is the master key of the ordering of things in the light of the divine.  Adam humanizes all bodies falling short of his own moral one, a “body” standing freely between the merely-physical and the purely-intellective, inviting the conclusion that man stands to will as his divine master stands to thought.  It is only where thought determines itself as will that the human ego is manifest.  Hence the Christian appeal to the Christ as “First Adam”.  Christianity’s divine will is mediated by the human will.
Dante Alighieri stands at the pinnacle of a Platonic-philosophical tradition appealing to the divine will (velle), not as the divine as such—which is love (amor or caritas)—but as the heavenly consummation of the properly human or free will, a desire free from all beastly compulsions or cravings.  Thus, at the end of his Comedy, Dante shows that the poet’s desire is seemingly catapulted into the heavens to yield to a divine love that effectively divinizes the poet’s will, that is the ends of the poet.[4] Christianity’s God of love shows us that man’s natural end is at once divine, or that, to speak with Dante’s Monarchia, man has a double or two-fold end.  Not only is the human will, as desire’s determination(s), harmonized with the divine will, or divinized; desire itself—the poet’s philosophical life—finds its validation in divine authority, or law.  All of this is achieved where the poet’s desire is projected into divine love by the grace of a bolt of lightning.  In other words, there is no “explaining” of the means by which the poet’s desire converts into divine love/care—“the love that moves the Sun and the other [read, poetic] stars”.  For it is through divine love that poetry governs its universe.
Thus does Dante defend poetry in terms of divine universal providence.  It is through the poet’s “living word” that God cares for all things.  There is no natural order aside from man’s original agency, then.  Somehow, all physical motion is ordered from/in the beginning (bereshit) through man, even as man appears “outwardly” as forged in the midst of other bodies.  Hence, again, Christianity’s appeal to Christ as “First Adam”: the man lost in the Garden presupposes man as mediator of the Garden’s own creation.  But this hidden dimension of man emerges only where man is chased out of the Garden, or where the Garden loses its pristine beauty, its enchantment, thereby being “unmasked” as what Dante calls “an obscure wilderness” (selva oscura), or darkened matter, “matter” (selva, from the Greek hyle) that has lost its beauty, or original order.
Why has matter lost its original order?  Because it has lost man’s proper role as orderer of matter.  If we are to speak in terms of “nature,” then we can say that nature needs man.  But in the Biblical account, “nature” is not generated, but ordered through a “setting aside,” or “cutting out” of things into their proper places.[5]  Bereshit bara Elohim (Gen. 1.1.): the primordial act is one of legal-like determination.  Otherwise put, “the divine mind designates”; it orders into place; it organizes.  But it does so through man, even though we learn this only through education in a Fallen World.  This is Christianity’s arguably foremost lesson or reminder—that man’s proper activity is pivotal to the organization of all physical motion.  There would then be a hidden dimension to the human being, or a dimension that hides in the very act of manifesting itself as mortal man.  Thus does the Christ rise upon his dying as Jesus.  He must die in order to rise.  Man must fall in order to be drawn back to the heavens—he must depart from the Garden’s beauty, he must suffer its loss, in order to educate himself back to an awakening, an opening to his proper function as man; a hidden or “background” function, presupposed by a visible poetic function.  What Adam does in the Garden presupposes and is safeguarded by what Adam does behind the Garden, or “off stage”, as it were.
What we learn here is that what happens in “the lower world” presupposes and points back to what happens in “the higher world,” what in Platonic terms may be referred to as the world of pure intelligibility, the world as it emerges purely in thought or mind (the Latin mens renders both terms—both the form and activity of consciousness, both the limit and movement, both the circumference and the circling, to echo Aristotle’s nous “thinking itself”).  But the world as it “emerges” in what medieval Scholastics refer to as purissima mens, or the divine absolutely-pure mind, is a permanent world, a world present eternally in God.   Clearly that is not the world we live in daily.  We ordinarily live in a world of contingencies, a world of impermanence.
How are we to account for the shift from the permanent to the impermanent, from “eternal life” to mortal life, or perpetual dying?  “Here we are lost, even as we are found in the beginning”: a Biblical lesson.  Our modern scientists step-in either by clinging to the old “bottom upward” stance of mechanical materialists (generally, Darwinians), or by adopting the “top downward” stance of mechanical idealists (such as Stephen Meyer).  The latter group objects to the former simply by inverting the “bottom upward” orientation, while retaining the underlying mechanistic approach to life.  Both groups ask how we are to account for the emergence of life and both in effect take it for granted that a mechanism is at work in the supposed emergence.  Neither questions the notion of an emergence, or the reality of a mechanism.  The debate pertains to whether the mechanism or its code is primary; whether the lock or the key is primordial.  Materialists will swear that the lock, the mechanism generates the code; idealists will answer that the code is responsible for the mechanism, thereby inviting us to ask how the code, the “laws,” could arise in the first place; whence the appeal to “Intelligent Design”.
Once again are we confronted with a tendency to view consciousness as intervening to justify nature as machine.  Whether our scientists say that mind and its “code language” emerge out of inert, “dead” matter, or whether they say that the latter is organized by a code language dependent upon a divine mind, the problem persists: the language is technical (clinically abstract, mathematically symbolic) and the world it organizes is a machine.  Following in the footsteps of early modern Deists, our new scientists casts the indeterminate (apeiron) out of the window and with it the poetic language of traditional morality as proper mirror of reality.
What our scientists see is “information,” at best (or at worst) invoking a deus ex machina to account for information’s presence, though returning, as Stephen Meyer does, to theological stories to account for the “corruption” of our current state of affairs, or the lingering of pervasive disorder.  Yet, the breakdown of integral meaning into “information” is at work presently in the systematic habit of approaching nature (the physical) in terms of mere “value-free” information.  We need not revert to theological stories to account for the breakdown.  It is our scientists who are fueling the breakdown in the very act of abstracting indeterminate meaning out of their picture of nature, the picture that our schools inculcate systematically in children worldwide.  Everywhere are we instructed, trained to abide in the abstract, symbolic, “virtual” world of information, growing to crave meaning as a promised land that our teachers, our instructors, leave us dreaming about.  That is where religion is supposed to jump in, to fill the void left by the “scientific” destruction of meaning, its banishing of meaning to the margins of life, if not flatly to an irrational “afterlife”.
To be sure, at times we are promised meaning in terms of holistic processes (Whitehead) evolving out of scattered, if not altogether random information, with the understanding that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  Yet, little does such a promise do to help us in cultivating the strength of character required to resist servitude to the perceived demands of a materially determined or reduced universe.  How are we to successfully resist the tide of “our times” as long as we do not dare cut through the abstract universe of scattered information, thereby accessing anew the moral world of men as holding primacy over all physical motion as such?
Our scientists teach us precious little of honor, of integrity, of the strength of character needed to rise above servitude to the dominion of our times, to the demands set by the certainties or prejudices of our societies.  Does this state of affairs not suggest that our science knows nothing about character?  That it remains blind, perhaps even willfully so, to what is needed to save science/knowledge from decaying into its own world, or even from being swallowed into the “Blackhole” of what our science fails to measure?  Our scientists, in other words, appear to be dramatically ill equipped to resist either the implosion or the explosion of their disciplines.
Do we wish to rise above moral concerns and constraints?  The answer of early modern Enlightenment thinkers directs us to the abstract world of symbolic mathematics.  That world has become our world, compelling us to renounce our own human or moral fiber and enter into a new era in which the identity of man is defined in radically mechanistic terms.  The “new science” created a machine to solve our problems, but that machine ended up exposing itself as set up to solve us as the fundamental problem.  What the “new science” set out to achieve was the eradication of “the old man,” and his replacement with a radically “new man,” a Frankensteinian monster created by, within and for the sake of the development of modern machines.  Whence the gruesome, dystopian lesson that the new man, a morally decrepit “vegetable,” is the primary fuel of technology, just as technology rises as foremost leader of life.
Technocracy appears to be, not merely an accidental offshoot of modern science, but its primary goal.  Its attempt to convert man into a machine goes hand in hand with its attempt to render man entirely manageable, or to guarantee human freedom and equality away from all danger.  The new life will be danger-free and thus too loveless and thoughtless, for love and thought deserve being addressed as the most dangerous elements of life.
The digitizing of life does not and cannot tolerate such indeterminate features of life as love and thought, which risk unsettling at every instant the system of protection of man against himself.  Intelligent design, or even God, are permitted to rise on the stage of technocratic discourse, but not any unfettered traditional moral discourse.  Traditional moral discourse may be tolerated, but only on condition of its being handcuffed, muffled, neutered, crippled, even “vaccinated” against its own tendency to sever us from our world of mechanical determinations.  For man is his own worst enemy.  A self-fulfilled prophecy appropriately addressing a new man identifiable with the fool (stultum) decried by classical antiquity, the corrupt man that justified Cicero’s remark that man can be his worst enemy.[6] For man is capable of being his worst enemy, insofar as he is his own greatest danger.
While traditional moral discourse set out to educate man to face himself as the consummate dangerous challenge, modern technocratic discourse instructs us to avoid facing ourselves and to face, instead, the platitude of a life devoid of meaning and ultimately devoid of life itself.  Hence the contemporary phenomenon of mass zombification, or the emptying out of human life of both humanity and life—the result being a de facto lobotomized or morally castrated larva projecting its lost (sold) identity into “avatars” randomly selected from an open digital cesspool of evermore diversified avatars.
The triumph of modern science coincides with the utter demise of humanity; the glory of the new machine requires the extermination of the Old Man; the rise of the Digital Gender-Free Larva demands that no Real Man be left lingering behind.  For the regime of absolute security cannot tolerate the faintest trace of the greatest danger to its instauration.
The good news for the Old Man is that the New Regime is utterly blind to the “dark energy” that threatens it, namely the indeterminate substance of the Old Man’s own life.  Insofar as the Old Man remains open to thought, he is immune to the dominion of the new machine, lingering under the radar of a Leviathan that fails to detect anything that is not of its own making.  Hence the bankruptcy of modern science, and thus too of its project of “measuring” the Old Man, of severing him from both life and humanity.  Our “evolutionary science” succeeds merely in abstracting an inhuman semblance of man, a fetish ready to be radically manipulated insofar as it has left behind all that must forever defy any attempt to manipulate it.
What then does modern Science succeed in controlling?  Not much.  What does it attempt to control, to begin with?  Not merely what it makes, namely controlling machines, but the conditions for the construction of those machines, or rather of a clinical environment in which control may be conducted.  Control would have to take place independently of the making of machines, in a measuring presupposed by all machines.[7] What would need to be measured and thus controlled is the condition of possibility of the environment required to build machines of control.  But what is the condition in question?  It is not merely quantifiable motion (physical bodies), but the difference between quantity and quality, between the determinate and the indeterminate, between the inanimate and the animate.  For only upon “controlling” the difference in question can quantity or the quantifiable serve as a pure stage for the production of controlling machines.  But the endeavor in question presupposes the capacity to define the undefinable, if only by defining its onto-existential locus.  Upon attempting to control pure quantities or “value-free data,” the modern scientist is more or less tacitly or implicitly supposing to have kept at bay or controlled the indefinite or animate.  Yet, his cannot be more than a supposition, the content of which is patently self-contradictory, or absurd.  Whence the Scientist’s compulsion to retreat into the arena of pragmatism, acting merely as if the indeterminate were not interfering in the control of the determinate—and so, too, as if Science could function independently of moral life.
As long as Science persists in appealing to value-free “data” as bedrock of certainty and validity, Science will persist in advancing towards its demise (or in lingering in its demise, as the plaything of alien forces).  For, to paraphrase a foregoing argument, either Science will collapse into its own data, or Science will be shattered from the outside by the “infinite data” (the animate) it fails to keep in check.  Yet, in recognizing the “value” of its data, does Science not decay into unscientific modes of life?  Does it not relapse into superstition and magic?  Not if it recognizes the pivotal function of traditional poetic-moral language in the ordering of the empirical universe.


[1] The consequences of the severing of the hierarchical from the systematic and the teleological are dire.  In the absence of a (moral) hierarchical dimension, system and telos collapse “immanentistically”.  See p. 43 of Nino Langiulli, “A Liberal Education: Knowing What to Resist,” Academic Questions, Fall 2000: 39-45.
[2] Leo Strauss showed that even Herman Cohen failed to resist the modern Enlightenment’s universalist tide.  See Strauss’s “Preface to Spinoza’s Critique of Religion” (1965), in Leo Strauss, Jewish Philosophy and the Crisis of Modernity.  Edited by Kenneth Hart Green.  Albany: State University of New York Press, 1997: 137-76.
[3] I have explored this problem in “Mastery of Nature,” in “Mastery of Nature” (Part 1), in Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy, 45.2 (2019): 223-47.
[4] See my forthcoming “Poetic Soteriology,” in Italian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 5 (2022).
[5] See Leo Strauss, “On the Interpretation of Genesis” (1957), in Leo Strauss, Jewish Philosophy and the Crisis of Modernity.  Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1997: 359-76.  For a discussion forum on the biblical “bara,” see also
[6] In Vico’s terms, “There is no enemy more hostile and harmful to his adversary than the fool is to himself” (Hostem hosti infensiorem infestioremque, quam stultum sibi esse neminemOration, Oct. 18, 1700).  See also Cicero, Epistle to Atticus, 10.12a.
[7] See my “Science and Religion Revisited: A Provocative Lesson for Today’s Christians,” in Voegelin View, Nov. 29, 2021.

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