Pity the poor materialist.

I’ve debated a bit on different but similar topics with Beren IV in the past, and each time I came away feeling a mix of pity and contempt. I try to make it more pity and less contempt, but it is quite difficult for me. Truly, I am not certain whether it is deliberate refusal to consider a philosophy that is not strictly materialist or that he is actually unable to conceive of such a philosophy, but he only argues from a position of strict materialism. This leads him to write things that would be, quite unintentionally I am sure, extremely funny if they were not so dangerously muddle-headed.

I bring this up because he is currently examining the “Ecology of Arda” in the Reading Room this week.

Consider this excerpt from this post:

9.Do the Ainur fit into any of the kingdoms of life on Earth (prokaryotes, protozoans/algae, fungi, animals, or plants)? Do they belong to their own kingdom? If you concluded that the Ainur are in fact biological and you were going to name the science of Ainur biology, would it be zoology? Botany? Or something else (what would the study of Angels be)?

The Ainur, in Tolkien’s mythology, are roughly equivalent to angels, as is implied in his second parenthetical statement above.

And consider this as well from this post:

On Earth, religious and irreligious scholars have debated endlessly about whether souls exist or not. Science has been unable to answer the question definitively: science has failed to prove the existence of souls, but because science has also failed to measure the existence of the spiritual in any way at all, it also cannot disprove the existence of souls. What science has established, however, is that all of the characteristics that humans possess can be reasonably assumed to be biological in nature, including characteristics such as creativity, curiosity, problem-solving abilities, compassion, and, ultimately, morality. Thus, although science cannot disprove the existence of the soul, it can at least in the context of thought and behavior establish that the soul is at best redundant, at worst irrelevant, if it exists at all.

Nonsense on stilts, as Jonah Goldberg is wont to say. Stanislaus Bocian (who is not a native English speaker, I do not believe, which explains his odd grammatical constructions) answered him thusly here:

Science cannot even allow that two human characteristics exist at all, not to speak about explaining them: free will and reason (ability to know truth).

As the science relies on human reason, it is in quite paradoxical situation.

I suggest that if you follow that thread down (self-explanatory if you follow the link) and see that when Beren IV replies he appears to fail even to grasp the point that Bocian is making. I really can’t decide whether it is purposeful or if he is so blinded by his assumptions that he can’t see past the end of his nose. I’m inclined to the latter since he seems in all other ways an earnest and thoughtful young man.

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