by Phillip D. Collins
July 25, 2009
the Epistemological Foundations of Scientific Totalitarianism
rejection of universals began with nominalism, a philosophical doctrine
that was formulated in the Middle Ages. Nominalism originated with William
of Ockham, who was born in 1290. Ockham confused ideas, which inhabited
the Intellect, with the subjective images that inhabited the imagination
(Coomaraswamy, "The Fundamental Nature of the Conflict Between
Modern and Traditional Man--Often Called the Conflict Between Science
and Faith"). As Aquinas made clear in Summa Theologiae, images
only capture things in their singularity. Ideas, on the other hand,
capture things in their universality:
intellect cannot know the singular in material things directly and primarily.
The reason for this is that the principle of singularity in material
things is individual matter; whereas our intellect understands by abstracting
the intelligible species from such matter. Now what is abstracted from
individual matter is universal. Hence our intellect knows directly only
universals. But indirectly, however, and as it were by a kind of reflexion,
it can know the singular, because even after abstracting the intelligible
species, the intellect, in order to understand actually, needs to turn
to the phantasms in which it understands the species. Therefore it understands
the universal directly through the intelligible species, and indirectly
the singular represented by the phantasm. And thus it forms the proposition,
"Socrates is a man." (Pt. I, Qu. 86, Art. I)
failed to make this distinction, thereby reducing ideas to mere impressions
on the imagination stemming from sense perception (Coomaraswamy, "The
Fundamental Nature of the Conflict Between Modern and Traditional Man--Often
Called the Conflict Between Science and Faith"). This epistemological
confusion led Ockham to reject universals (ibid). Although Ockham still
believed in God, he denied the objective character of God (ibid). Thus,
God became an unknowable abstraction fraught with ambiguities.
a nebulous conception of God leads one to regard faith as "blind."
Yet, true faith is not blind. The Greek word for "faith" in
the New Testament is pistis. The term was also invoked by Aristotle
and connotes forensic proof. Forensic proof is evidentiary, not blind.
Likewise, many of the Apostles made evidentiary appeals for the faith.
For instance, in Acts 2:22-36, Peter makes three evidentiary citations
in defense of the faith. He cites Jesus' "miracles and wonders
and signs." He cites the empty tomb. Lastly, he cites the fulfillment
of Old Testament prophecy. Thus, Peter's apologia was premised upon
evidence or, as the term pistis connotes, proofs.
addition to casting faith in a rather derisive light, nominalism led
to the bifurcation of epistemology into what is quantifiably or empirically
demonstrable and what is believed (ibid). In turn, this bifurcation
is a slippery slope towards the belief that all things quantifiable
represent the totality of reality. Suddenly, all of those entities that
defy quantification (e.g., the "good," the "beautiful,"
dignity, God, etc.) are relegated to impotent and ambiguous subjectivism.
Such epistemological rigidity underpins scientism, which mandates the
universal imposition of science upon all fields of inquiry. The modern
mind, chronocentric as it is, might consider such an imposition favorable.
However, it is very dangerous. Michael Hoffman elaborates on this danger:
reason that science is a bad master and dangerous servant and ought
not to be worshipped is that science is not objective. Science is fundamentally
about the uses of measurement. What does not fit the yardstick of the
scientist is discarded. Scientific determinism has repeatedly excluded
some data from its measurement and fudged other data, such as Piltdown
Man, in order to support the self-fulfilling nature of its own agenda,
be it Darwinism or "cut, burn and poison" methods of cancer
extended beyond its legitimate fields of application, science becomes
a rigid template to which even the most complex of entities, like man,
must conform. The scientific outlook acknowledges no moral master. It
gives no assent to moral or esthetic judgments. In the words of B.F.
Skinner, it "de-homunculizes" man, a being that was originally
"defended by the literatures of freedom and dignity" (189-91).
rode into epistemological dominance astride the Protestant Reformation.
The father of the first Reformation, Martin Luther, was actually an
unconscious agent of secularization. Under Catholicism, the truth had
become the province of priests and other self-proclaimed "mediators
of God." However, Luther made the mistake of adopting nominalism
as one of the chief philosophical foundations for his doctrines. In
The Western Experience, the authors write:
of Luther's positions had roots in nominalism, the most influential
philosophical and theological movement of the fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries, which had flourished at his old monastery. (450)
the time Luther's ideas were codified in the Augsburg Confession, nominalism
was already beginning to co-opt Christianity. Nominalism's rejection
of a knowable God harmonized with the superstitious notions of the time.
Misunderstanding the troubles that beset them, many peasants made the
anthropic attribution of the Black Death to God's will. Following this
baseless assumption to its logical conclusion, many surmised that God
was neither merciful nor knowable. Such inferences clearly overlooked
the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which represented the ultimate act of
grace on God's part. Nevertheless, the superstitious populace were beginning
to accept the new portrayal of God as an indifferent deistic spirit.
Nominalism merely edified such beliefs. Invariably, nominalism would
seduce those who would eventually convert to Protestantism.
should have had more than a few philosophical misgivings with nominalism,
especially in light of its commonalities with anthropocentric humanism:
nominalists and humanists were frequently at odds, they did share a
dissatisfaction with aspects of the medieval intellectual tradition,
especially the speculative abstractions of medieval thought; and both
advocated approaches to reality that concentrated on the concrete and
the present and demanded a strict awareness of method. (424)
Christianity was infused with materialism and radical empiricism. There
was an occult character to both of these philosophical positions. Radical
empiricism rejects causality, thereby abolishing any epistemological
certainty and reducing reality to a holograph that can be potentially
manipulated through the "sorcery" of science. Materialism
emphasizes the primacy of matter, inferring that the physical universe
is a veritable golem that created itself. Despite their clearly anti-theistic
nature, these ideas began to insinuate themselves within Christianity.
nominalist epistemology enshrined, man was ontologically isolated from
his Creator. Knowledge was purely the province of the senses and the
physical universe constituted the totality of reality itself. Increasingly,
theologians invoked naturalistic interpretations of the Scriptures,
thereby negating the miraculous and supernatural nature of God. The
spiritual elements that remained embedded in Christianity assumed more
of a Gnostic character, depicting the physical body as an impediment
to man's knowledge of God and venerating death as a welcome release
from a corporeal prison. Gradually, a Hegelian synthesis between spiritualism
and materialism was occurring. The result was a paganized Christianity,
which hardly promised the abundant life offered by its Savior.
unwitting role in the popularization of such thinking suggests an occult
manipulation. There is already a body of evidence supporting the contention
that occult elements had penetrated Christendom and were working towards
its demise. Malachi Martin states: "As we know, some of the chief
architects of the Reformation--Martin Luther, Philip Melanchthon, Johannes
Reuchlin, Jan Amos Komensky--belonged to occult societies" (521).
William Bramley presents evidence that supports Martin's contention:
seal consisted of his initials on either side of two Brotherhood symbols:
the rose and the cross. The rose and cross are the chief symbols of
the Rosicrucian Order. The word "Rosicrucian" itself comes
from the Latin words "rose"("rose") and "cruces"
involvement in the Rosicrucian Order made him an ideal instrument of
secret societies. Michael Howard reveals explains the motive for this
Order had good political reasons for initially supporting the Protestant
cause. On the surface, as heirs to the pre-Christian Ancient Wisdom,
the secret societies would have gained little from religious reform.
However, by supporting the Protestant dissidents they helped to weaken
the political power of the Roman Catholic Church, the traditional enemy
of the Cathars, the Templars and the Freemasons. (54).
occultism was not the only belief system benefiting from the Reformation.
Luther's also acted as an effective apologist for oligarchical interests.
Many of the secret societies supporting Luther acted as elite conduits.
While Luther was already ideologically aligned with the elites in many
ways, he officially became their property in 1521. In this year, the
papacy's secular representative, Emperor Charles V, summoned Luther
to a Diet at the city known as Worms (Chambers, Hanawalt, et al. 449).
Luther was to defend himself against a papal decree that excommunicated
him from the Church (449).
the Diet, Luther refused to recant any of his beliefs (450). This led
to the Emperor issuing an imperial edict for the monk's arrest (450).
However, Luther was rescued by the Elector Frederick III of Saxony (450).
Frederick staged a kidnapping of the monk and hid him away in Wartburg
Castle (450). The regional warlord of Saxony had much to gain by protecting
Luther. Frederick represented a group of German princes that opposed
the influence of the Church and its secular representative, the Emperor
(450). These elites would use Luther's teachings to justify defying
the ecclesiastical authorities and establishing their own secular systems.
In the end, the Reformation reformed nothing at all. It caused a division
in Christendom and paved the way for Europe’s secularization.
the Reformation gave the impetus for the Scientific Revolution of the
seventeenth century, which centred on Newton, and led to the founding
of the Royal Society after the English Civil War. (148)
"Scientific Revolution" facilitated by the Reformation led
to the popularization of nominalism, which was radically scientistic
and occult in character. Commensurate with this paradigm shift was the
rise of the rise of the Enlightenment. Not surprisingly, the writers
of Encyclopédie, which was edited by Enlightenment thinker Denis
Diderot, "praised Protestant thinkers" ("Encyclopédie,"
Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia). The same sort of secret societies
that managed the dialectical conflict between the Protestants and Catholics
played a prevalent role in the Enlightenment. Reiterating this contention,
atheist scholar Conrad Goeringer states:
societies and salons, lodges of the Freemasons and private reading clubs
would become the focal points for the sedicious and "impious"
activists of the Enlightenment. Masonry required that novitiates pass
through a series of degrees, accompanied by symbolic ritual, whereupon
the secrets of the craft were gradually unfolded; the metaphors of masonry,
the remaking of humanity as early masons had remade rough stone, soon
served as a revolutionary allegory. This became the new model of revolutionary
organization — lodges of brothers, all seeking to reconstruct
within their own circle an "inner light" to radiate forth
wisdom into the world, to "illuminate" the sagacity of the
Enlightenment. So pervasive and appealing was this notion that even
relatively conservative and respected members of society could entertain
the prospect of a new Utopia, "or at least a social alternative
to the ancient regime...." ("The Enlightenment, Freemasonry,
and the Illuminati")
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Enlightenment, which acted as the crucible for all modern sociopolitical
Utopianism, represented the codification of Gnostic occultism as revolutionary
doctrine. The new gnosis was science, which Enlightenment thinkers believed
should be universally imposed upon all fields of inquiry. For the violent,
revolutionary wing of the Enlightenment (e.g., the Illuminati, the Jacobins,
etc.), the universal imposition of science included governance. Herein
is the conceptual basis for all scientific totalitarianism. Next week
D. Collins acted as the editor for The Hidden Face of Terrorism. He has
also written articles for Paranoia Magazine, MKzine, NewsWithViews,
B.I.P.E.D.: The Official Website of Darwinian Dissent, the ACL Report,
Namaste Magazine, and Conspiracy Archive. In 1999, he earned an Associate
degree of Arts and Science. In 2006, he earned a bachelors degree with
a major in communication studies and a minor in philosophy. During the
course of his seven-year college career, Phillip has studied philosophy,
religion, and classic literature.
He has recently
completed a newly expanded and revised edition of The
Ascendancy of the Scientific Dictatorship (ISBN 1-4196-3932-3), which
is available at Amazon.com.
He is also currently co-authoring a collection of short stories, poetry,
and prose entitled Expansive Thoughts. It will be available late Fall
which acted as the crucible for all modern sociopolitical Utopianism,
represented the codification of Gnostic occultism as revolutionary doctrine.
The new gnosis was science, which Enlightenment thinkers believed should
be universally imposed upon all fields of inquiry.