Sunday, April 15, 2007

David Brooks, Naturalist

In case you missed it, have a look at David Brooks Times op-ed, The Age of Darwin. It’s straight naturalism, except that he allows god might exist as an uninvolved initiator.

Some highlights:

~ Non-optimal natural “design” driven by selfish genes
~ No separate immaterial soul
~ No central controller-I – the self is emergent
~ No higher purpose or intention

Great stuff, and he caps it by admitting that, as Darwin put it, there's grandeur in this naturalistic view of life: “We have a grand narrative that explains behavior and gives shape to history. We have a central cosmology to embrace, argue with or unconsciously submit to.”

Not bad for a button-downed conservative. But not a complete surprise since his naturalism showed in earlier columns that discussed the causal antecedents of self-control and good citizenship. How much further will naturalism push Brooks to the left, one wonders?

2 Comments:

Blogger Otis said...

David Brooks' column speaks of the "grand narratives" of history and introduces "The Age of Darwin" as the next one. Somehow the grand narratives of the past always ended up with the same results: endless wars, political despots, tyrannical governments, human exploitation, avoidable poverty, disease and suffering. Look at the results of the twentieth century: hundreds of millions killed and more people living in political and economic misery than ever before in human history.

Now The Age of Darwin gives another grand vision and promises to change the nature of humanity and give us a new man and a new woman. But the results of past visions were always the same; and so it will be with this one. A new ideology with new promises, but the same dreary results.

In this post Tom Clark links naturalism with leftist politics. That is where he and other naturalists want to take us. Simply another political movement that seeks to exploit and enslave the ignorant and helpless masses for the benefit of an elite and powerful minority. Fortunately, the vast majority of us have not bought into this new grand narrative, and we will not be moved by the incoherence of naturalism.

I think Tom Clark's exuberance with David Brooks' column is overblown. Brooks is only reporting on what is the next decadent and destructive trend in human history.

Apr 17, 2007, 11:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Simply another political movement that seeks to exploit and enslave the ignorant and helpless masses for the benefit of an elite and powerful minority."

Otis reveals himself to be a crank.

May 14, 2007, 6:34:00 AM  

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