Reply to a Darwinian

I was going to reply to someone who had made several comments at the Inverted World thread on Darwinism, entitled “Auster’s Folly,” but then I saw that Ian Jobling, the host of that site, had unfortunately gotten carried away with himself and made remarks about me that surpass the boundaries of even vigorous debate. He accuses me of “mindlessly abusing” a commenter at VFR, of “shameless distortions of the positions of your opponents and … furious browbeating of them that makes debate impossible.” The effect is to make me sound like some intellectually dishonest megalomaniac. Then, to top it off, Jobling turns around and makes assurances of his respect for me. I don’t require or expect anyone’s assurances of respect for me. It would, however, be nice not to be smeared.

In any case, instead of posting my reply at IW, I’ve sent it directly to the commenter, Charlie Prince. I’ve copied it below.

LA to Charlie Prince:

Re your comment on 1/17/08 at 10:15 pm:

You are making a mistake that is very common today. You find things in the New Testament that seem unworldly or anti-kinship, such as Jesus’ statement, “For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” And you conclude that Christianity is incompatible with ethnic loyalties and nationhood and therefore that Christianity is in support of modern liberalism. But the Gospels are not and have never been Christendom’s guidebook for political society or even family life. The Gospels are about salvation. Jesus is saying, yes, there is a higher truth than kinship, there is a higher truth than earthly kingship. But that truth, the kingdom of heaven, is on a different level. Jesus is not calling for the destruction of kinship or of earthly society, he is calling on his followers to live on a different level, the kingdom of heaven, even as they live on earth. Thus he is not trying to replace one secular organization, such as the family or the nation, with another secular organization, such as global government, which is what modern liberals seek to do.

The distinction between the secular and spiritual has been central to Christianity from the start and must always be remembered: “Render under Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s.”

As I’ve written before, Christian civilization has Christianity at its core, but Christianity is not its totality. Other traditions were needed to be added onto Christianity to create a working society: the Old Testament, the Greek culture, Roman civilization, Republican government, the Germanic tribal culture, the modern nation state and so on. You misunderstand our whole civilization if you think that it ever defined itself exclusively by the New Testament. The New Testament assumes the existence of a working society, it is not concerned with the matters of society. It is concerned with how to follow Christ. Also, the Catholic Church developed laws and traditions of earthly organization. It was always aware of the gnostic potentialities of the New Testament and kept them in check. See these two articles:

Why Christianity is not a sufficient basis for our civilization

What Christianity requires in order not to be destructive of society

Also, see these two exchanges, one with a Christian who denies the world, another with a secularist who is ignorant of the role of Christianity in the West:

The undiluted voice of otherworldly Christianity

Response to reader who denies that Christianity has contributed anything to the West

Re your comment on 1/18/08 at 4:03 pm, You’ve understood me to be saying the exact opposite of what I said. I did not say that Darwinism is teleological. I said that it utterly denies teleology, but that Darwinists repeatedly sneak teleology into it, as an unconscious recognition that reality is in fact teleological and is senseless without it.

Re your comment on 1/19/08 at 11:44 am, you ask how do I derive from Christianity the idea that race matters. Again, the New Testament is not the totality of knowledge and guidance needed for organized human life on earth. The Fathers of the Church, especially Augustine, never said that it was. They made the distinction between the spiritual and the secular. Historically the Church has always recognized the validity of nations and peoples. The hyper liberal himself, John Paul II, saw the Polish people as a distinct spiritual personality. The New Testament like the Old recognizes the importance of nations. In the climactic moment of the Bible, in Revelations 21, when the New Jerusalem descends, there is the nations, and the glory of them, as I discuss in the below article. Nations are a part of God’s plan.

Of course, Paul said, “there is neither Greek or Jew.” But he was speaking to a Christian community. He was not calling for Greek people and Jewish people to disappear. He was not organizing a United Nations. He was speaking to Greeks and Jews as members of the Christian church. Remember also, that both Greeks and Jews were not independent peoples at that point but Roman subjects and citizens. A further point is that the first generation of Christians expected the Second Coming of Jesus to occur in their lifetimes, so that the question of the long-term political organization of society did not matter to them. Once it became clear that the Second Coming was not imminent, and that the world was going to continue to exist, the Church had to work out arrangemnts for man’s continued political and cultural existence on earth. So again the New Testament is not the totality of Christianity, there is also the Church tradition In any case, there has never been a Christian program to wipe out actual nations by merging them demographically with other nations—until the open-borders Christianity of our time.

I repeat that you simply can’t understand Christianity unless you see that it sees the world on two levels simultaneously, the Kingdom of God, and the Kingdom of Man. If Christianity was as whacked-out as you believe, could it have created and organized European civilization for 1,500 years?

How liberal Christianity promotes open borders and one-worldism:
first half of article.
second half of article

In your comment on 1/19/08 at 1:25 pm, you write:

“In your remarks on the evolution of the cilium, you suggest that since Darwinists don’t know exactly how the cilium evolved, Darwinism must be an invalid theory.”

That was not at all what I said. I was responding to Ian Jobling’s argument, Here’s what I said:

And what do his arguments for Darwinism add up to? Read again his argument for the Darwinian creation of the cilium. The individual parts of the cilium “could” have evolved by random mutation and natural selection one by one in separate organisms, before the cilium was brought together in its final form. That’s it, folks! That’s not even a “story.” It’s just a “coulda.” But his “coulda,” he says, is more plausible and explains more than my supposed creationist theory, and therefore his “coulda” is true.

Thus I was not saying in this comment that I had disproved the Darwinian theory. I was merely pointing to the weakness of Mr. Jobling’s argument in favor of the Darwinian theory. Yet you characterize my comment as:

“In your remarks on the evolution of the cilium, you suggest that since Darwinists don’t know exactly how the cilium evolved, Darwinism must be an invalid theory.”

In conclusion, over and over you misconstrue what has been said. And you misconstrue with great assurance and at great length. My friendly advice is that you should read and think a bit more, and write a bit less.

Best regards,
Lawrence Auster

Charlie Prince replies:

Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I was under the impression you were not interested in continuing this debate. Your response has clarified several misunderstandings on my end. I now have a better idea of where you are coming from.

1. You are not deriving racialism from Christianity.

- I share this view. Jesus Christ was not a racial theorist. Neither were the authors of the Gospels. The Old Testament is largely silent on the race question. The so-called “Curse of Ham” which was invoked to justify racial chattel slavery is based on a strained interpretation of the Bible. It had more to do with early modern economic imperatives than original intent. I am sure you would agree that the roots of racialism trace back to a peculiarly modern stream of thought; that Christianity (in the form of Genesis) is not the “foundation” of racialism.

2. You believe that racialism is compatible with Christianity.

- I agree. The American Founders shared your view. They married racialism to their Christianity/Deism and republican political ideology. There are plenty of Christian racialists around today. Are they capable of defending the West? Absolutely. I haven’t denied this.

3. You stress that Christianity must be understood within its proper context.

- This is an excellent point. I’m not disputing any of this.

Why then have I denied that racialism can be based on Christianity?

Last night I caught a fascinating show on The History Channel called Life After People. The encore is coming on tomorrow.

It provides an excellent metaphor of how I understand racialism, its relationship to Christianity, and the tragic state of the West. Suppose that all humans vanished from the face of the earth. What would become of the world? What would happen to everything we leave behind?

Without regular human maintenance, nature would annihilate even the most colossal urban skyscrapers within 300 years. The landscape of New York City would quickly revert to what it must have looked like in the seventeenth century. The paint around the the steel would crack and peel off. The great steel skeleton supporting the skyscraper would corrode and begin to expand. That would crack the concrete facade—chunks of which would start to fall off. Eventually, the whole leering structure would be pulled down by its own gravity.

This is what has happened to us. Like my skyscraper, our culture required regular maintenance to remain healthy. We refused to perform these routine tasks because of our ideological commitment to “liberty” and “equality.” The old structure is now probably beyond repair. It has been devoured from within by the internal tensions of its own elements.

Christianity resembles the steel. Without that indispensable context you mention, it quickly “oxidizes” into something else: the liberalism and secular humanism which pushes against the foundations of our society. It expands until it cracks the racial and ethnic shell. The building becomes exposed to the elements and catches fire. Then comes the inevitable collapse. Left behind is a brownish residue of concentrate universalism, egalitarianism, and humanism.

Moral of the story: the original marriage of racialism to Christianity was unnatural, although not impossible. It required virtue and high maintenance to be sustained. The genie is now out of the bottle. I cannot fathom (1.) how it will be put back in or (2.) why we would desire to repeat this experience.

LA replies:

This is very interesting, but in the end, with your multiple parallels, I don’t follow the parallel between the crumbling oxidizing city (Christianity without the transcendent to “maintain” it turning into liberalism?) and the racialism-Christianity connection. I’ll have to read this again when I’m fresh.

But I am most surprised to read this coming from you. I thought you were a non-believing Darwinian. Now you’re coming across as something very different from that.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 22, 2008 07:34 PM | Send

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