How biological reductionism promotes moral nihilism
On the recent fighting in the Mideast, the most generous stance Steve Sailer is capable of taking toward Israel is total moral neutrality as between Israel and its mortal enemies. Thus he approvingly quotes a thoughtless line from comedian Dave Barry:
They can hold all the peace talks they want, but there will never be peace in the Middle East. Billions of years from now, when Earth is hurtling toward the Sun and there is nothing left alive on the planet except a few microorganisms, the microorganisms living in the Middle East will be bitter enemies.Translation: There is no moral content to the conflict, no civilized Western nation on one side versus savage mass murdering jihadists seeking its destruction on the other. No. There are just brainless “micro-organisms” involved in a meaningless, endless conflict. How convenient for people who themselves don’t want to think about the conflict, as that might actually obligate them to make judgments and take sides.
Any news reporter, columnist, etc. who is giving analysis on what is going on in the Middle East right now becomes irrelevant if they do the following:Mark W. writes:
I just read the statement (citing Steve Sailer/Dave Barry) that “there are just brainless “micro-organisms” involved in a meaningless, endless conflict.”Mark W. continues:
Consider this possibility. Given that Darwinian evolution cannot address the morality of civilizations since we are all simply micro-organisms, has the victory of Darwinian evolution as the primary method for explaining the origins and emergence of human life in society contributed to the state of civilization in Europe?Sage McLaughlin writes:
Mark W.’s correspondence essentially asks the same questions posited by C.S. Lewis’s Abolition of Man. Of course, Lewis answers in the affirmative. The real salient point is his contention that in a world where scientism, subjectivism, and materialist metaphysics combine to become the reigning orthodoxy, “man’s conquest of nature becomes nature’s conquest of man.” We literally are our material nature, since there is no other basis for understanding any phenomena, not even man’s very existence. It is an obvious and inevitable step from this point to the point that all human beings and all societies are equal in every respect that counts—since, after all, my electrons are not any different, and certainly not better, than your electrons.LA replies:
That could be VFR’s motto: “As long as liberalism is demolishing our way of life, we ought to be interested in where it comes from.”Tom S. writes:
I agree—Sailer’s coverage of the most recent outbreak of war in the Middle East has been worse than useless. I have noticed some oddities in his work ever since he started working for the Anti-American Anti-Semitic Neo-Confederate Leftist magazine, or whatever it’s called, and this most recent episode just illustrates the change. In the last four days, when Lebanon has been exploding, Iran has finally taken off the “moderate” mask and displayed its real features, and the next World War can be seen to be taking shape, Sailer has chosen to discuss… the World Cup soccer match, with a few asides today from a washed-up humor columnist. Absolutely pathetic. Once, Sailer would have given us incisive analysis on the demography of Gaza, or the history of the Alawites in Syria, and now we get… Dave Barry quotes. I guess that it just goes to show that “anti-Semitism doth make fools of us all..”. Sad, but such is the Buchananites’ progress.Bruce B. writes:
I finished watching (without the kids present) the National Geographic hominid DVD I referred to in a previous email. I spent a fair amount of time rationalizing against or around your belief in the incompatibility of God and Darwin but I feel that on some deeper, more a-rational level you are right. I keep thinking about my son’s summarizing words about the hominid program, “It’s about people turning into apes.”LA replies:
I have not commented on the “armed neutrality” doctrine and it never occurred to me that it is nihilistic. As a general principle, it appeals to me. But when someone looks at Israel and its enemies and says they’re the same, that’s nihilism. The nihilism is however a front for something else. Many paleos actively hate Israel or see it as an enemy of America, which draws them inevitably to sympathize with, or at least downplay the evil of, its terrorist jihadist enemies. They cannot state such an evil position openly, especially in America. So instead they adopt the passively nihilistic attitude that “everything is the same as everything else”—that Israel and its enemies are morally equivalent.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 15, 2006 07:04 PM | Send