Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Consequence of Ideas: Materialism

We live and die according to our ideas and beliefs. Materialism – the belief that man is no more than a sophisticated bio-chemical machine – imposes costs. Historian Robert Royal, along with many others, has written about these costs:

  • The materialist view of the person – combined with the notion that humans, as material beings, can be reshaped into the New Man of the Communist dream merely by a change of their social conditions, a view still widespread today – is a falsehood that inevitably leads to awful consequences… By most credible estimates, Communist countries killed about a hundred million people in the twentieth century. (The God that did not Fail, 247)
Although atheist-Communist apologists want to ascribe these horrors to the alleged insanity of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot, the evidence shows that they were merely being faithful to their materialistic vision of humanity. If we are no more than animals or machines, we can be used and manipulated as such in order to achieve their “utopian” dream.

Materialism places a sword in the hands of the oppressor. This worldview mitigates the horrors of genocide and all forms of coercion. After all, machines that fail to perform their prescribed roles are thrown on the junk-heap.

Evolution has also bequeathed this materialistic sword to society. If man is just another animal, he can be treated as such. Even the evolutionist, Karl Giberson, admits to the power of this idea to shape human society:

  • “[Evolutionist] Ernst Haeckel nudged the racism of the Third Reich along its malignant road by suggesting that …”You must draw [a line] between the most highly developed civilized people on the one hand and the crudest primitive people on the other and unite the latter with animals.”(Saving Darwin: How to be a Christian and Believe in Evolution,76)
  • “How shocking it is today to acknowledge that virtually every educated person in the Western culture at the time …shared Haeckel’s ideas. Countless atrocities around the globe were rationalized by the belief that superior races were improving the planet by exterminating defective elements…there can be little doubt that such viewpoints muted voices that would otherwise have been raised in protest.”
  • “The Holocaust would have happened with or without Charles Darwin. There can be no doubt however, that the Nazi campaign against the Jews was assisted via rhetoric and rationalization with arguments from social Darwinism. (79)”
The idea that we a just another member of the animal kingdom can lead to some troubling suggestions:

  • Back in 2006, award winning Univ. of Texas evolutionary ecologist, Dr Eric R. Pianka, publicly stated that the use of an airborne Ebola was necessary to kill off 90 percent of the world’s population, that war and famine wasn’t sufficient to get the job done. 
Sadly, Planka is not alone in this assessment of the relative value of human beings. Perhaps even more troubling, if we are just another animal, there is no good reason not to exercise population control. Then, who will live and who will die? Well, it depends on who you know and how valuable you are to society! You better strive to be well-liked!

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