Skip to comments.Darwinism and the Religion of Scientific Materialism
Posted on 02/11/2006 3:20:33 AM PST by Lindykim
Enrico Ferri (1856-1926), a prominent socialist of his day, was an Italian criminologist who for many years was the editor of Avanti, a socialist daily. Writing in "Socialism and Religious Beliefs," he spoke of the all-important connection between Darwin's theory and socialism: "I add that not only is Darwinism not contrary to socialism, but that it forms one of its fundamental scientific premises. As Virchow justly remarked, socialism is nothing else than the logical and vital outcome partly of Darwinism and partly of Spencerian evolution." (www.marxists.org/...)
Enrico frankly discussed how and why Darwinian socialism serves as an alternate religion: "socialism is joined to religious evolution and tends to substitute itself for religion because it desires precisely that humanity should have its own 'terrestrial paradise' without having to wait for it in a 'something beyond' the socialist movement has numerous characteristics common to primitive Christianity, notably its ardent faith in the ideal." (ibid)
To wit: Darwinian socialism (Marx's dialectical scientific materialism) is a secularized and distorted mirror image of the Christian teaching of divine providence. In as the Biblical model teaches that man and history are moving towards the Kingdom of God, scientific materialism preaches that man and history are evolving toward a terrestrial paradise created by Promethean humanists. The notion that both history and man are evolving upward through successive stages is what British philosopher Mary Midgley termed the "Escalator Myth." When speaking of scientific materialism's creation account, Ferri candidly admitted: "modern positive science has substituted the conception of natural causality for the conception of miracles and divinity." (ibid) In other words, scientific materialists have reduced the personal Creator of the universe to the level of an impersonal animating force. It's this 'force' into which Promethean materialists tap, thus using it as the source of both their power and authority.
David Horowitz had this to say about scientific materialism's theology and creation account: "The victorious radicals had proclaimed a theology of Reason in which equality of condition was the natural and true order of creation. In their Genesis, the loss of equality was the ultimate source of mankind's' suffering and evil The ownership of private property became a secular version of original sin. Redemption was possible only through the Revolution that would abolish property and open the gates to the Socialist Eden---to paradise regained." ("The Politics of Bad Faith" www.discoverthenetwork.com)
In the Promethean project, everything from the cosmos to all living things, culture, customs, etc. are subject to evolution. The cosmos, or 'supreme being' is alive and in a constant state of transformative change. In speaking of the cosmos, Lenin used explicitly religious terminology: "We may regard the material and cosmic world as the supreme being, as the cause of all causes, as the creator of heaven and earth." (Vladimir Lenin as quoted in Francis Nigel Lee "Communism versus Creation," pg. 28)
Even the convoluted double-speak so peculiar to the Left is itself founded upon the notion of evolution, which no doubt explains why truth is a stranger to them. Dialectics (or more correctly: speaking in tongues) is what they call their snake-oil rhetoric. In Trotsky's words: "Vulgar thought operates with such concepts as capitalism, morals, freedom etc. Dialectic thinking analyses all things and phenomena in their continuous change. Dialectics teaches us to combine syllogisms in such a way as to bring our understanding closer to eternally changing reality." (The ABC of Dialectics, Leon Trotsky, http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky)
As double-speak indicates a need for secrecy, it comes as no surprise that dialectical materialism is likewise a hotbed of Gnosticism. Christian Gnostics were people who, when they read Scripture, claimed an ability to receive 'secret' knowledge from it, knowable only to them. Hence, they were practitioners of 'divination.' Modern Gnostics on our USSC have claimed to receive secret knowledge through 'auras, penumbras, and emanations" during their readings of our Constitution. Gnosticism, for obvious reasons, has a history of attracting megalomaniacs in search of secret knowledge to use as power over others. Frederick Engel's reveals that dialectical materialism is rooted in Gnosticism when he says: "An exact representation of the universe, of its evolution, of the development of mankind, and of the reflection of this evolution in the minds of men, can only be obtained by the methods of dialectics." (The Making of Utopian Socialism," Frederick Engel's, www.marxists.org)
In the theology of scientific materialism, Judgment Day is the Day of Revolution. This is the day of redemption when, in the name of 'Absolute Science! Amen!" the evil bourgeoisie (Conservatives, Christians, white males, all heterosexuals, George Bush, Rumsfeld, etc) will be damned. Likewise, all evil social institutions such as private property, traditional family, absolute moral laws, the Boy Scouts, Christianity, the concept of sin, and man's created condition as either male or female will be demolished, thus allowing equality of condition to prevail. This is what the Left means when it rhapsodizes about 'peace.'
In a brutal, but much deserved condemnation of Marx's dialectical materialism, David Horowitz wrote: "In every revolutionary battle in this century, the Left has been a vanguard without a viable future to offer, whose only purpose was to destroy whatever civilization actually existed. Consider: If no one had believed Marx's idea, there would have been no Bolshevik Revolution Hitler would not have come to power; there would have been no cold war." (The Politics of Bad Faith) Additionally, more than one-hundred million people would not have been slaughtered.
By the turn of the century, Marx's idea (the religion of scientific materialism) had crossed the Atlantic where it then began to metastasize in America. It was not long before it began to bear rotten fruit. By 1932, William Z. Foster, head of the Communist Party USA stated: "Class ideologies will give place to scientific materialist philosophy the American Soviet government will further the cultural revolution (by doing) the following: schools, colleges, universities will be coordinated under the National Department of Education studies will be revolutionized cleansed of religious, patriotic ideology students will be taught Marxian dialectical materialism; general ethics of the new socialist society. Science will become materialistic God will be banished from laboratories as well as from schools." ('Toward Soviet America," by William Z. Foster, 1932)
So now its America's turn to be sacrificed upon the altar of Promethean narcissism, for having learned nothing from his corpse-littered past, bloody-handed Prometheus continues to doggedly pursue his fantasy of a terrestrial paradisein the name of 'Absolute Science! Amen!"
Copyright Linda Kimball 2006 About the writer: Linda is a writer and author of numerous published articles and essays on culture, politics, and worldview.
"When the quartz (I'm guessing) crystallized out of the molten mineral flux, it did so so rapidally that it created a local vacuum zone that the titanium-mix bubbled into -- I wonder if those globules are geode-like."
Probably not. That specimen is from Mt. Ste. Hilaire. The typical pattern there was for the quartz to form, then the secondary minerals in a different time period. Lots of zeolites there, which crystallize from solution, but nowhere near the time that the quartz does.
The globular habit is pretty common, and is usually made up of radiating acicular crystals. I haven't seen this mineral, though...at least not knowingly. It's possible there has been some on a Hilaire specimen I've had, but there are always unidentified minerals on those specimens.
Since this article started off with a physicist named Ferri, that got me thinking of Fermi, and Fermi levels, and atoms with strange Fermi Levels so I goggled minerals with ytrrium, flourine and titanium -- the last for being not so common, and came up with the two I named. I figured that such a mineral might have some novel appearance. Yet neither yfisite or tadzhikite have flourine, and I wonder if there is a mineral form that would contain the three.
Hello Patrick! Actually, the above italics do not accurately reflect my view of Charles Darwin. As a scientist, I dont think he had any particular anti-transcendence ax to grind for the simple reason that he was not preoccupied with such matters. He was no philosopher; he was just doing science. The microevolution aspects of the theory seem sound to me, a non-scientist. But I never could develop as much confidence in the macroevolution aspects. The theory may yet be true, but for now it seems there are some yawning gaps in it that need explanation.
At bottom, the problem I have with Darwinist theory is the way in which it has been appropriated by other thinkers. I have in mind some of its early boosters, such as J. Huxley and E. Haeckel, who seemingly have inferred certain principles from the theory, chief among them that man is body only, soul being an illusion, a ghost in the machine (which statement reduces the body itself to a mechanism). It appears that Karl Marx was well aware of Darwins science by the time of Das Kapital, and it is evident that he shared the view of Huxley and Haeckel.
What Huxley, Haeckel, and Marx have in common is they are all radical materialists who utterly reject any possibility of transcendence in reality: random mutation + natural selection essentially boils down to its unstated initial premise, that matter in all its motions is all that there is. In more recent times, we have Jacques Monods analysis of Darwinian evolution as the expression of pure chance and necessity. And as you are well aware, the infamous Richard Dawkins uses the theory as a stick to beat Christians with. Two more radical materialists.
In short, Darwinist evolutionary theory has had some rather stunning social effects that Darwin himself most probably did not intend or anticipate. And manifestly, political effects, too.
I stand by my observation that Darwinist theory is the basis for Marxs theories of man and history. For Darwin, it is the species that is significant; the individual has no real significance in itself beyond what it contributes to the gene pool of the species. Certainly this maxim extends to mankind. But if man is merely the unavoidable consequence of chance and necessity, and is ultimately subject to it, then there is no possibility left for there to be any meaning in history. History simply becomes the evolutionary process itself which is blind.
It is not to be doubted that Marxs theory of man likewise places no particular value on the individual the mass of men, or the Massman (e.g., species), is the subject of its tender concern. Because the individual is not preeminent in Marxian theory, he may be sacrified as necessary if the well-being of the Mass demands it, for the greater good of the whole.
For Marx the senselessness of history is something that must be ended by ending history itself and a new beginning made, shaped to an eschatology of the perfect State which shall bring about a perfect human future. That is to say, that Marx (a kind of self-appointed representative man of his age, and would-be savior of mankind) will guide human action toward the perfect fulfillment of a Paradise in time, here on earth: A system so perfect that no one will need to be good. So its time for the senselessness of history to stop, and for socialist action finally to create a real pattern of meaning for history which, by the way, really could not be intelligibly discerned at all until some unspecified future time. So history still remains senseless in this respect, from the view of the present.
For Marx, one particularly obnoxious example of the senselessness of history is the accretion of all ideas of human and natural transcendence, which he held to be utterly false. These, Marx teaches, must be eradicated so that man, once cured of false consolations, may construct a perfect world. Religion is the opiate of the masses; so the masses must be cured of this pestilential addiction: And so God must die.
And yet I find it highly ironic that Marxism:
draws its passion, and its fascination, from the root of [biblical] prophetism, which promised a world the signs of whose coming had no rational index. [Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, 1941, quoted in Aiden Nichols OP, The Thought of Benedict XVI, 2005, p. 156]In short, Marxism presents itself as an alternative religion suitable for rationalist, materialist, desacralized human beings. It certainly goes without saying that it is a religious commitment to which its followers are passionately devoted, usually to the point of irrationality. By comparison, Christianity is the model of self-consistent reason.
In the broadest sense, the entire complex of theoretical thought articulated by the thinkers mentioned above, what they all have in common, is participation in the post-Enlightenment intellectual/cultural ambience, with its emphasis on reason, materialism, positivism, and utilitarianism. Yet as Nichols points out,
the Enlightenment contained within itself the seeds of its own downfall. Enlightenment depends on a conviction of the absoluteness or divinity of truth. Should it call into question this pre-supposition of truth, it will end up by justifying the irrational, as has happened in the work of the philosopher-biologist Jacques Monod. Moreover, the more the Enlightenment movement advanced in history, the more it tended to whittle down the concept of reason which was its foundation. The rational becomes the reproducible (in a laboratory). Reason undergoes a positivist fall. People renounce the search for truth and replace it by concern with what can be done with things .For Darwin, apparently there is no logos, either. At least logos reason, intelligence does not show up in his work as in any way involved in the order of the natural world. But then we must realize that logos is non-phenomenal, non-random, immaterial, and transcendent the very sort of thing that both Darwinist and Marxian materialist presuppositions forbid. We do need to recognize that logos on the one hand, and random mutation + natural selection according to chance and necessity on the other, are mutually irreconcilable concepts: They are totally non-isomorphic.
Like positivism, Marxism rejects the primacy of logos. It sees reason as generated dialectically by matter, [ergo] by the irrational, and must, therefore, regard truth as simply a human postulation. [ibid., p. 256f]
Well, them be my thoughts this afternoon, for what theyre worth my usual two-cents worth.
Just one last thing to mull over, if you have the time and interest:
In the religious history of the species, God appears in a variety of cultures as the Watcher, the being full of eyes. ManThanks so much for writing, dear Patrick!
knows that absolute security does not exist, that his life is always exposed to the gaze of Someone, that his living is a being-seen. [ibid., p. 190f]
But this sensation can precipitate two contrary reactions. Either one can react negatively, angry at the existence of this Witness who threatens mans unlimited capacity to will and act. Or one can respond positively, opening himself to love through his enveloping presence, finding in it the confidence which allows him to live.
Hi TX! I meant to ping #103 to you (just above). Thought you might find it of interest.
Yes, the whole world had heard of Darwin by that time. Marx was also, no doubt, aware of Robert E. Lee. But I see no hint in the work of Marx that he was intellectually influenced by Lee -- or Darwin.
As the chronology of Marx's work points out, his principal ideas were well formed before Darwin had published anything about evolution. Surely that is significant -- even conclusive -- regarding any claim of a connection between them. Further, there is no place in the work of Marx where he quotes Darwin as authority for any of his ideas. Marx and Darwin are two separate phenomena. We don't like Marx, or his work, and you don't like what some people have claimed to be the consequences of Darwin's work. But there is no literal tie-in between the two. None.
Additionally, there's that little matter of "to each according to his needs" that Marx preached, but that is contrary to the theory of evolution. Come on, BB, the basic concepts of communism and evolution are in flat-out conflict!
However, if you can show me where Marx relied on Darwin, I'll admit my error.
To which you replied: The very sort of thing that all science ignores because it is untestable. Anybody can make claims about what the *logos* is without fear of anybody being able to say they are wrong. Very convenient.
Hi CarolinaGuitarman! Science can ignore this as "untestable" if it wants to. But this is entirely beside the point: There would be no science at all without this "untestable" thing, "reason." "Logos" -- which is simply the ancient Greek word for reason, ratio -- is indispensable to what science does, for it is the very presupposition on which science is based, thus that which makes science possible in the first place.
In other words, the world is "intelligible" only to the extent it is "reasonable."
In other words: No reason, no science. Without reason, science has nothing to do, and no way to do it anyway. Do you dispute this finding?
Dear PH, IMHO, you really do need to get past the "sloganeering" and look at the facts. That little motto of Marx has the sole purpose of proselytizing people into Marx's "new dispensation" for the world. The uncooperative are subject to Marxian "selection" -- in the negative sense.
Marx has to "correct" the world, because he detests the way it has evolved and is evolving: He finds it senseless -- which is all that Darwinist evolutionary theory makes it to be.
What we are looking for here to clarify the point of Marx's awareness of Darwinist (and Spencerian) evolutionary theory is to be found in Das Kapital. I'll try to get my hands on a copy soon, and track down a cite or two for you.
Thanks for writing!
Here ya go, BB: Here's an online version of Das Kapital.
Be speaking with you again soon!
What Huxley, Haeckel, and Marx have in common is they are all radical materialists who utterly reject any possibility of transcendence in reality: random mutation + natural selection essentially boils down to its unstated initial premise, that matter in all its motions is all that there is."
It seems that it is not only Darwinist theory that gets appropriated by Marxist/Socialist boosters. Certain thoughts of our nations founders likewise have been appropriated, most especially the thoughts of one Thomas Jefferson. Mr. Jefferson, it is alleged, was a Deist if it could be said he harbored any genuinely religious beliefs at all. Perhaps so, but a most unusual Deist he was, in that his Deity was avowedly and specifically Jesus Christ, as various of his letters to various persons attest. This is no surprise, but what follows may be to some.
In the excerpts above you make mention of matter in all its motions is all that there is as being the unstated initial premise held in common by Marxists and many another radical materialist. These are familiar phrases oft mentioned both by you and by a certain young lady whose initials are A-G, but they were also familiar to me in another context. I was rather certain that sooner or later I would come, once again, upon that other context. Sure enough:
In a letter to John Adams, dated April 11, 1823, the aforementioned worthy, Thomas Jefferson, first expresses his vehement disagreement with Calvinist thought (Adams was a Calvinist) and then launches into a declaration of faith that could today only be identified as Creationist or of Intelligent Design! Quoting:
On the contrary, I hold, (without appeal to revelation) that when we take a view of the universe, in its parts, general or particular, it is impossible for the human mind not to perceive and feel a conviction of design, consummate skill, and indefinite power in every atom of its composition. The movements of the heavenly bodies, so exactly held in their course by the balance of centrifugal and centripetal forces; the structure of our earth itself, with its distribution of lands, waters and atmosphere; animal and vegetable bodies, examined in all their minutest particles; insects, mere atoms of life, yet as perfectly organized as man or mammoth; the mineral substances, their generation and uses; it is impossible, I say, for the human mind not to believe, that there is in all this, design, cause and effect, up to an ultimate cause, a Fabricator of all things from matter and motion, their Preserver and Regulator while permitted to exist in their present forms, and their regeneration into new and other forms.
We see, too, evident proofs of the necessity of a superintending power, to maintain the universe in its course and order. Stars, well known, have disappeared, new ones have come into view; comets, in their incalculable courses, may run foul of suns and planets, and require renovation under other laws; certain races of animals are become extinct; and were there no restoring power, all existences might extinguish successively, one by one, until all should be reduced to a shapeless chaos.
So irresistible are these evidences of an intelligent and powerful Agent, that, of the infinite numbers of men who have existed through all time, they have believed, in the proportion of a million at least to unit, in the hypothesis of an eternal pre-existence of a Creator, rather than in that of a self-existent universe. Surely this unanimous sentiment renders this more probable, than that of the few in the other hypothesis.
I cannot attest that this is the specific letter which awakened in my mind echos of your phrases and descriptions. Very likely there are more letters. Jefferson wrote so many, and so many on the subject of religion; written often to his closest friends, but also to ministers who were simply interested in effecting an exchange of views.
So there it is, dear Betty. Make of it what you will.
Actually, CG, I used the term in the classical Greek way. I am particularly fond of the philosophy produced in ancient Greece by thinkers such as Heraclitus, Parmenides, Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle. They were familiar with the term logos as denoting the meanings reason, intellect, mind, ratio (with its mathematical implications). It is (as you point out) the etymological root of the word logic.
Maybe you are of the persuasion that reason was a discovery of the Enlightenment period. It seems quite clear to me, in contrast, that reason had been discovered in mid-first-century B.C., in Athens. It seems clear this was the first historical period that gives evidence that human beings had isolated and described this thing "reason" and they called it logos.
I don't need to point out again that this logos is, by nature and definition, nonphenomenal, nonrandom, immaterial, and "transcendent." This appears to have been the consensus view of the time, and the settled meaning of the word for a couple of millennia.
I am not talking "metaphysical banality" here, but of something that (evidently) your blind spot does not let you see. But if you've never been a student of human cultural history, then one can't blame you for having a "blind spot." Maybe it's just a lacuna that your experience in the future will supply. I hope so.
cheers, CG. Thank you so much for writing.
Very beautiful words from Thos. Jefferson, thank you for pinging me.
Seems like the most truthful and equitable definition of ID I've seen yet! Hoo-rah TJ!!!
So let's just leave the definition to TJ!, and move on to the next great thing, sure of a sound footing in reality. (TJ had a knack for seeing things square and true. Or so it seems to me.)
Thank you ever so much, YHAOS, for posting this gem!
I wasn't aware that I had, but I'm glad you've derived some value from it. To me, Jefferson is always an interesting read.
The definition itself was hardly my point
Good night, and sleep tight!
PatrickHenry, concerning the influence of Darwin on Marxism you might be interested in these articles and bits of correspondence from this google search of the Marxist archives.
YHAOS, I do find the quote from Jefferson to be quite telling - he did not accept the notion that matter in all its motions is "all that there is".
Oh, I am sorry. Youre absolutely correct. The express condition was indeed do with it what you will
After that, I can hardly go back on my word. [smile]
I do find the quote from Jefferson to be quite telling - he did not accept the notion that matter in all its motions is "all that there is".
Indeed. At least that, minimally.
"Most Evolutionists still keep trying to say that it has nothing to do with 'religion'."
Evolutionists are the anti-Christ intent on the subversion, perversion and ultimate destruction of Christianity and Western Culture.
The anti-Christ is not an individual, but an entity that hates Christ and Christianity. We know in our hearts who they are, but many are sleeping on their laurels and afraid to admit the truth. But only the truth will set them free.
Beware of dialects as it is the stongest weapon in the hands of the anti-Christians.
*In hoc signo vinces*
Yes, it's a winner! Soon to be memorialized.
NEW post 124 by TheBrotherhood on 13 Feb 2006. Evolutionists are the anti-Christ intent on the subversion, perversion and ultimate destruction of Christianity and Western Culture.
You: A very banal metaphysical point, having nothing to do with the validity of ID.
But we're not talking about ID at this very moment, nor have we for the past several posts. We were speaking of reason and logic, logos.
Somehow, CG, I don't think you have a problem with my description of logos as "non-phenomenal," "non-random," and "immaterial." But perhaps the "transcendent" claim is a stumbling block.
What is meant by the term? For openers, it's the antonym (though I prefer the term "complementarity," in Niels Bohr's sense) of immanent. Which sheds a whole lot of light on the problem -- NOT!
Anyone can go look up those two terms in any good dictionary. But what do they mean? This you have to figure out for yourself.
My proposal would be as follows: Immanence pertains to things that arise in, exist through, and ultimately perish in and from 4-dimensional reality: 3 of space and 1 of time. This is the "physical" world.
Transcendence is that which is not confined within the "4D block" of x, y, z + t.
If that sounds farfetched, or "New-Ager," just consider this: The thought you have in your mind right now is nonphenomenal, non-random, immaterial -- and transcendent: Because what you do with this thought is not determined by the phenomenal, random, or material.
Reason and free will are transcendent. Human liberty is transcendent. So is human creativity. So is logic, reason, science -- all human beings have a "transcendent extension," as the philosopher might put it. Something that is not predetermined by nor subject to the physical laws as such -- for the simple reason that it is not "physical," "random," or "material."
Julian Huxley, however, famously could not resist blowing a nasty raspberry at this sublime understanding: He referred to what I'm talking about here as "the ghost in the machine."
Personally, I take that as an insult to human being.
Thanks for writing, CarolinaGuitarman -- you're a good conversationalist.
"There is no evidence that my thoughts are not grounded in matter."
You sound really confident w/ that particular sentence.
I suppose if you had proof, sufficient for yourself, not necessarily something you'd could reproduce in lab, that telepathy actually was real, you'd change your mind?
Vintage bb at her best.
"Why would I not think that there was a material basis for telepathy"
One example: you decided that someone close to you was going to die based on the doctors report, but you didn't like what you heard. So you said a prayer.
And then, later, the doctors reported the incurable malady had 'disappeared'.
Prayer is telepathy w/ God Cg....
"One example: you decided that someone close to you was going to die based on the doctors report, but you didn't like what you heard. So you said a prayer.
And then, later, the doctors reported the incurable malady had 'disappeared'.
Prayer is telepathy w/ God Cg...."
Or maybe I farted and that is what cured her. It's just as probable.
On that note, I retire for the evening.
Hello Patrick! Thanks again for the link to Das Kapital (1867). I havent read through all 33 chapters yet; but I have found some interesting connections to Darwins theory of natural selection in my reading so far, in particular as it informs Marxs own theory of division of labor. See Part IV: Division of Labor in Manufacture, and Division of Labor in Society, in Chapter 14. Also, in 1873 Marx appended an Afterward to the Second German Edition of Das Kapital which is basically a reply to his critics; it is revealing of some of the sources of his ideas.
Heres a little sampler from Chapter 14:
Castes and guilds arise from the action of the same natural law that regulates the differentiation of plants and animals into species and varieties, except that when a certain degree of development has been reached, the heredity of castes and the exclusiveness of guilds are ordained as laws of society.That bellum omnium contra omnes remark is a direct quote from Darwin. Darwin first made his theory public a year before On the Origins of Species was published, in 1858, in a paper delivered to the Linnean Society. [see Charles Darwin, The Linnean Society Papers, in Darwin: A Norton Critical Edition, ed. Philip Appleman (New York: Norton, 1970), p. 83.]
If we keep labor alone in view, we may designate the separation of social production into its main divisions or genera vz., agriculture, industries, &c., as division of labor in general, and the splitting up of these families into species and subspecies ., as division of labor in particular, and the division of labour within the workshop as division of labour in singular or in detail . Different communities find different means of production, and different means of subsistence in their natural environment. Hence their modes of production, and of living, and their products are different. It is this spontaneously developed difference which, when different communities come in contact, calls forth the mutual exchange of products, and the consequent gradual conversion of those products into commodities.
The division of labor within the society brings into contact independent commodity-producers, who acknowledge no other authority but that of competition, of the coercion exerted by the pressure of their mutual interests; just as in the animal kingdom, the bellum omnium contra omnes more or less preserves the conditions of existence of every species.
The paper begins with the words, All nature is at war, one organism with another, or with external nature the war of all against all. Darwin elucidates the character of this war in The Origin of Species:
There must be in every case a struggle for existence, either one individual with another of the same species, or with the individuals of distinct species, or with the physical conditions of life. [Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species (New York: Mentor, 1958), p. 75.]It is clear to me beyond a reasonable doubt that this motif of the bellum omnium contra omnes is common to both Darwinian and Marxian analysis.
Marx, in Section 2 of Das Kapital Chapter 14, The Detail Laborer and His Instruments, cites the authority of Charles Darwin in relation to his analysis of how the manufacturing process simplifies, improves, and multiplies the implements of labor, by adapting them to the exclusively special functions of each detail laborer. As footnote 6 explains,
Darwin in his epoch-making work on the origin of species, remarks, with reference to the natural organs of plants and animals: So long as one and the same organ has different kinds of work to perform, a ground for its changeability may possibly be found in this, that natural selection preserves or suppresses each small variation of form less carefully than if that organ were destined for one special purpose alone. Thus, knives that are adapted to cut all sorts of things, may, on the whole, be of one shape; but an implement destined to be used exclusively in one way must have a different shape for every different use.Marxian labor theory envisions a situation in which each laborer is reduced to a specialized function, organ or worse, a machine part dedicated to one special purpose alone within the capitalist productive enterprise. Marx sees this process as an adaptation directly analogous to the working of natural selection in Darwins scheme. He doesnt approve of it; but he understands how the situation could come about because essentially, Darwin has explained it to him.
Turning now to the 1873 Afterward to the Second German Edition, we find Marx replying to his critics some approvingly, others not so. He is very pleased with a review of Das Kapital carried in The European Messenger of St. Petersburg (author not identified):
The one thing that is of moment to Marx, is to find the law of the phenomena with whose investigation he is concerned; and not only is the law of moment to him, which governs these phenomena, in so far as they have a definite form and mutual connexion within a given historical period. Of still greater moment to him is the law of their variation, of their development, i.e., of their transition from one form into another, from one series of connexions into a different one. This law once discovered, he investigates in detail the effects in which it manifests itself in social life. Consequently, Marx only troubles himself about one thing: to show, by rigid scientific investigation, the necessity of successive determinate orders of social conditions . For this it is quite enough if he proves, at the same time, both the necessity of the present order of things, and the necessity of another order into which the first must inevitably pass over; and this is all the same, whether men believe or do not believe it, whether they are conscious or unconscious of it. Marx treats the social movement as a process of natural history, governed by laws not only independent of human will, consciousness and intelligence, but rather, on the contrary, determining that will, consciousness and intelligence . That is to say, that not the idea, but the material phenomenon alone can serve as [the inquirys] starting point. Such an inquiry will confine itself to the confrontation and the comparison of a fact, not with ideas, but with another fact. For this inquiry, the one thing of moment is that both facts be investigated as accurately as possible, and that they actually form, each with respect to the other, different momenta of an evolution; but most important of all is the rigid analysis of the series of successions, of the sequences and concatenations in which the different stages of such an evolution present themselves. [italics added]It is evident from its context in the Afterward that Marx was enormously well pleased to have had his work understood in this fashion by an anonymous Russian writer.
Marx then goes on to protest that his dialectical materialism was not at all of the idealist sort of dialectics as propounded by the great German transcendental idealist philosopher, Hegel. Still, dialectics is dialectics indubitably, inherently evoking an evolutionary process, whether it be of the Marxian or the Hegelian type.
Now its true that Darwin could have had no way to anticipate that Marx would later appropriate his theory in support of his own economic/social theory in the manner he did. But to me, thats entirely beside the point: It is clear that Marx did make this appropriation.
And it seems quite natural that he did so. For the two men share common presuppositions about the fundamental structure of reality: that it is essentially materialist, determinist, mechanistic both men are firmly planted in the Newtonian universe and wholly subject to the workings of natural law, which essentially denies any role to consciousness, or intelligence, in the workings of evolutionary development. The natural world determines consciousness and intelligence; it is not the other way around.
Well, that would be my preliminary report on the issue at hand, dear PH. Im looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the matter.
Hi Guitarman! There's no denying that organic nature has a basis in the physical, i.e., in the material. But what "proof" can you show that the material/physical is "all that there is" in organic (i.e., biological) nature?
I meant to ping you to post #138 on this thread, but my fingers got itchy to hit the post button before my ping list was fully composed.... Truly I'm interested in your thoughts regarding the matters discussed therein.
Only a Marxbot or Darwinbot could get around it..
Both of their "faiths" can jump over logic.. thats what faith does.. Supplies answers for where there is no logical answer.. Any second reality needs that, a "bible".. its completely logical.. First reality needs a bible too in a world that requires faith..
Really, humans are suckers for a good story.. and Marx and Darwin supply a rich Soap Opera of drama.. just waiting for competent Drama Queens.. BOTH missing the greatest drama of all..
Pity too.. but the goats MUST be separated from the sheep.. its very important for Zero reality.. when bibles and human language are obsolete.. Where reality is not a thing to be grasped..
Marx developed his "labor theory of value" a key factor of his economics (an idea which Ricardo rejected), and this was before Darwin published Origins. So if Marx later referred to specialization of labor, and made a Darwinian reference, that's certainly interesting (and news to me), but it wasn't a new idea, and -- like Darwin's work -- it has nothing to do with communism.
It's nice that you've found a reference, but ... you haven't shown a conceptual linkage between evolution and communism. As I've said before, "to each according to his needs" is the opposite of natural selection.
Darwinian evolution is compatible with free enterprise and uncontrolled markets. If Darwin had preceded Adam Smith, we probably could show a connection between those two. (In fact, it's been suggested that Darwin was influenced by Adam Smith.) But there is no conceptual connection between Darwin and Marx.
Ping to 143.
Darwinian evolution, when properly understood by a Marxist, is much more conducive to capitalism.
Creationists agree. As I've pointed out earlier, the Institute for Creation Research has this article posted at their website:
Darwin's Influence on Ruthless Laissez Faire Capitalism.
The article's (rather leftish) abstract says this:
A review of the writings of several leading "robber baron" capitalists shows that many of them were influenced by the Darwinian view that the strong eventually will overcome the weak. Their faith in Darwinism helped them to justify this view as morally right and completely natural. As a result, they thought that their ruthless (and often unethical or even illegal) business practices were justified by science, and that Darwinistic concepts and conclusions were an inevitable part of the "unfolding of history," and for this reason were justified.
I's rather difficult to see how Darwin can be blamed for both capitalism and communism at the same time. The answer is simple: Darwin's work is incompatible with communism. Slam dunk.
And clearly, Marx was also. Marx cites him repeatedly in Das Kapital -- along with Ricardo and J. S. Mill. And Darwin himself. So, what do you make of that?
Another Linda Kimball thread? Yawn. The last one wasn't very entertaining I have better things to do.
And Darwin's work is also incompatible with capitalism -- to the extent that capitalism involves a system of voluntary cooperation, which goes entirely out of the schema of "natural" behavior. Which even Marx acknowledges: Marx thinks that cooperation subverts and distorts the natural interests of the human person, and that if there are any "battles to be won," they are to be won -- as Darwin suggests -- through "the war of all against all." That is, by means of conflict.
What a happy worldview!
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