I haven’t the time or spare mental space to dig through to a conclusion, here, but I’ve felt vaguely like pointing to two items in my daily reading, and it just occurred to me that they’re thematically related.
The first is a review by Father Robert Barron of “Stephen Hawking’s God-Haunted Movie.” Hawkings, you likely know, is a bit of a poster child for modern science, as well as modern atheism. Writes Barron:
Two suppositions were required for the sciences to flourish, and they are both theological in nature, namely, that the world is not divine and that nature is marked, through and through, by intelligibility. As long as the natural world is worshipped as sacred-as it was in many ancient cultures — it cannot become the subject of analysis, investigation, and experimentation. And unless one has confidence that the world one seeks to analyze and investigate has an intelligible structure, one will never bother with the exercise. Now both of these convictions are corollaries of the more fundamental doctrine of creation. If the world has been created by God, then it is not divine, but it is indeed marked, in every nook and cranny, by the intelligence of the Creator who made it.
What comes first to mind is how modern progressives pervert both of these “suppositions” in a way that makes them feel as if they are “on the side of science” while belittling science to its political utility. In their way, for one, environmentalists have, indeed, made the natural world into a sacred place. In a sense, with the elimination of the divine altogether, they’ve re-elevated the natural world to the highest position.
And from the promoters of identity politics, we get the notion that there is no right answer to reality. How you feel about the world is how the world is.
That brings us to the second item, Tom Maguire’s take-down of Charles Blow (via Instapundit). It turns out that First Lady Michelle Obama once told an anecdote about a short woman’s asking her to get something from a high shelf in a Target store, not realizing who she was. “It felt so good,” said Michelle.
But now that we’re in the world of “hands up, don’t shoot,” Mrs. Obama appears to be repurposing the anecdote as one of racial prejudice. Apparently ignorant of her prior use of the story, Blow takes up the feeling:
But that is, in part, what racial discussions come down to: feelings. These feelings are, of course, informed by facts, experiences, conditioning and culture, but the feelings are what linger, questions of motive and malice hanging in the air like the stench of rotting meat, knotting the stomach and chilling the skin.
One can easily imagine Blow next arguing that it doesn’t matter whether Michelle changed her story, because, having reconsidered it, her feelings have changed.
To Father Barron’s point, science could never survive in a world in which there is only chaos. When personal feelings can change facts and bring into being unprovable theories about how the world operates, there is only superstition.