[asa] On the Intelligence of the Stupid and the Stupidity of the Intelligent (Was Statement on Intelligent Design..")

From: Janice Matchett <janmatch@earthlink.net>
Date: Fri May 25 2007 - 11:50:04 EDT

Back in town for the moment to offer this insightful item. ~ Janice

Friday, May 25, 2007
On the Intelligence of the Stupid and the Stupidity of the Intelligent

One of the most common logical flaws of the left is the dismissal of
religion based upon the fact that so many stupid people believe and
practice it.

Frankly, I've never understood this argument, since it's not really
an argument anyway. It's quite easy to dismiss anything based upon
what its most unintelligent adherents believe about it. For example,
I would also reject the constitution of the United States if my
understanding of it were based only upon what dopey leftists say about it.

After all, they think our constitution sanctions racial
discrimination, murder, prosecution of thought crimes, government
hostility to religion, and censorship on college campuses.

It goes without saying there are plenty of bright and intelligent
people who believe in nonsense. In a way, they are much more
problematic than the mentally diminished religious believer, since
one would think that the former's intelligence -- if it is truly
intelligence and not something else -- would inevitably lead them
down the path of truth. But to point out that this isn't so is a
monumental understatement.

If anything, the person who explicitly rejects religion is generally
the most philosophically confused. Unmoored from perennial truth,
they go on a wild nous chase that we know ahead of time will never
lead anywhere.

[[[ Janice interjects as a for instance: Eugenie Scott is a
self-professed atheist. Moreover, a survey given to representatives
of the National Academy of Sciences that was later published in a
1998 volume of the Journal of Nature confirms that 73% of its members
are atheist and 20% are agnostic. 1 In the same article, Oxford
University scientist Peter Atkins said, "You clearly can be a
scientist and have religious beliefs. But I don't think you can be a
real scientist in the deepest sense of the word because they are such
alien categories of
knowledge."
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1631243/posts?page=8#8 ]]]

In short, there is no necessary connection between intelligence and
truth. At first blush this seems odd, but at second blush I think you
can see why. It has to do with the two aspects of our intelligence,
one natural (or animal), the other supernatural (or divine). For
example, at this moment I have a nine week-old puppy playing at my
feet. She is obviously very intelligent, but no matter how
intelligent she becomes, she will never know truth. This is because
she has only natural intelligence -- the sort of intelligence that
can more or less be explained by natural selection (not really, but
we'll let it slide for the moment).

But why can Coondog's intelligence never know truth? Yesterday a
commenter who is himself brimming with rudimentary intelligence took
issue with my statement that "either natural selection explains our
intelligence, or our intelligence explains natural selection. You
can't have it both ways." Instead, the commenter declared that
"natural selection is the cause of our intelligence; in turn, our
intelligence provides the written and/or verbal explanation of
natural selection. Problem solved; now we have it both ways."

The tail-chasing circularity of this dogomatic barkument should be
evident to all. It is logically equivalent to saying that truth and
intelligence do not exist, since they may be reduced to blind natural
selection. With such a view, there is not even an ontological basis
to draw a fundamental distinction between animal and human
intelligence, much less between the evolved brain and the uncreated intellect.

[[[ Janice interjects again: Theories of Evolution by John Paul
II http://www.firstthings.com/article.php3?id_article=3659 ]]]

Now, the above commenter may be excused, since his sort of
metaphysical nonderstanding is obviously a "sign of the times." In
most men of our age, the intellect has been reduced to a shadow of
itself. In most people it is more a virtuality than an actuality,
encased as it is under thick sheets of learning. Even so, it is
difficult to completely kill a soul while its body still lives. As
Schuon observes, there is no watertight partition between the
intellect and the reason, "for a sound process of reasoning
indirectly transmits something of the intellect." Nevertheless, "the
respective operations of the reason -- or the mind -- and of the
intellect are fundamentally different," irrespective of "certain
appearances due to the fact that every man is a thinking being,
whether he be wise or ignorant."

In other words, you can't actually stop thinking, despite what the
occasional Tolle-troll drops by to tell us. As a matter of fact,
their insipid thoughts make the case, don't they? If they were
actually coming from the plane Tolle thinks he has achieved, their
thoughts would be luminous and clear instead of murky and new-agey.
Furthermore, they would be "generatively resonant" for the person
reading them, not dense and stagnant. And finally, you could not
build a financial empire around them, a la other new age hucksters
such as Deepak Chopra. The secret protects itself, something proven
every time Chopra opens his ghastly piehole or sets his beastly
fingers to the keyboard.

Schuon writes that the lower mind is analogous to the intellect
"insofar as it is a kind of intelligence." However, at the same time,
it is opposed to the intellect "by its limited, indirect and
discursive character." Clearly, the reasoning of the lower mind
cannot determine its own limits or provide its own materials, which
are "exterior" to it. On the other hand, knowledge of the intellect
is interior to it, but externalized, so to speak.

For example,
<http://www.amazon.com/dp/0802840795?tag=onecosmos-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=0802840795&adid=1K5VRN0XB96VR8KNGVZ2&>Polanyi
has written extensively of how the intellectually gifted scientist
(as opposed to the typical "worker bee" scientific laborer) employs a
kind of translogical vision in order to identify a fruitful problem
that will then be susceptible to conventional reasoning. But this
vision can never be reduced to some mechanical or deterministic
rational formula (any more than great songwriting can be reduced to
knowledge of musical scales). Rather, it is much more analogous to
artistic vision, to a sort of holistic seeing, than to scientific
reason. It is a kind of "seeing within," or into the "withinness of
things." It is what Einstein meant when he said that he wanted to
understand the mind of God.

Frankly, I do this all the time with my posts. I can often read a
single sentence and intuitively know that this sentence can be
expanded into an entire post. But if you are an "expert" at anything,
I think you will see that you routinely do it as well. For example, I
am quite sure that a successful businessman such as Smoov can peer
into the marketplace and see things that are completely invisible to me.

Another way of saying it is that the limits of the lower reasoning
mind are inherent and intrinsic, whereas the apparent limitations of
the intellect "are merely accidental and extrinsic." No, the
intellect cannot know "total truth," for that would be equivalent to
being God. Nevertheless, the formula "as above, so below" means that
it is possible for the intellect to, as Schuon describes it,
"establish certain points of reference which are adequate and
sufficient," somewhat analogous to the way in which "it is possible
to represent space by a circle, a cross, a square, a spiral or a
point and so on." One immediately thinks of how scripture -- say,
Torah -- is intended to function as a perfectly adequate
"representation" of the eternal.

In any event, "there is no difficulty in the fact that pure
intelligence -- the intellect -- immensely surpasses thought," even
if we do not possess God-like omniscience. Philosophers and
scientists habitually try "to enclose everything in the cogito
alone," which is a fool's errand, for there will always be areas
"which exceed the possibilities of reason" but "none that exceed
those of intelligence as such."

For what is human as opposed to animal intelligence? For starters, it
is objectivity, or the ability to consciously transcend
self-interest, something no animal can do. Is is also discernment, or
the ability to pass "from appearances to reality, from forms to
essence, and from effects to cause." And beyond objectivity and
discernment is faith which, according to Schuon, "is the propensity
to pass from the concept to the thing itself, or from knowing to
being; we say the propensity and not the passage itself, as this is
dependent upon the spiritual means and upon grace. Faith is the moral
qualification insofar as the latter allows itself to be determined by
the saving truth and through this content realizes its whole vocation."

At risk of championing the obvious, this kind of faith-lit
intelligence far exceeds the animal intelligence of the Darwinians,
let alone the lowbrow atheistic ravings of the
Dennett-Harris-Hitchens crowd. After all, "intelligence is the
perception of the real and not the 'intellectualization' of the
unreal." The former not only gives rise to discernment of the higher
realities of which it is an adequation, but "to the awareness of our
superiority in relation to those who do not know how to discern."

All [people like us] know that this sober attitude is not to be
confused with the smug sanctimony of the Chopras on the one hand and
the religious nuts on the other (for these are simply two sides of he
same worthless coin). Rather, as Schuon points out, this awareness
"is not in itself a fault, for we cannot help being aware of
something that exists and is perceptible to us thanks to our intelligence."

But at the same time -- and this is the key -- awareness of this
"superiority" -- if that's what we're going to call it --
automatically engenders humility, since it brings with it awareness
of hierarchy, and therefore, our own relative inferiority to those --
and that -- who vastly surpass us. It is why it would never even
occur to me -- or to any [like us], for that matter -- to pose as a
some sort of spiritual master despite the vast herd of sheep for the
lowdown Chopraesque darklings to fleece.

I don't mean to rely upon Schuon so much, but he wrote so many
wonderful things about human intellegence, plus, as you know, I'm
writing these posts under adverse circumstances that make it more of
a challenge to dwell in the infinite in the usual leisurely way.
Besides, I'm hardly inventing truth, but simply passing along the
Truth as I find it, hopefully in a way that is not too distorted by
my own bobliviousness.

As I have mentioned on many O->ksions, if I can simply redirect
people back to their own authentic spiritual traditions without being
too much of a muddleman, then I will have accompliced your climb.
That's enough for me, and nothing gives me more metaphysical joy than
to hear testimony to this effect. For it means that it is not about
me, which is naturally a great comfort. ..."

posted by Gagdad Bob at 5/25/2007 08:05:00
AM http://www.onecosmos.blogspot.com/ Robert W.Godwin [Gagdad Bob]
, Ph.D is a clinical psychologist whose interdisciplinary work has
focused on the relationship between contemporary psychoanalysis,
chaos theory, and quantum physics.

*
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Ransacking the Cosmos and Vandalizing the Pages of History

[snip]

"...In the words of theologian Thomas Torrance,

"The fact that the universe expanded in such a way that the emergence
of conscious mind in it is an essential property of the universe,
must surely mean that we cannot give an adequate account of the
universe in its astonishing structure and harmony without taking into
account, that is, without including conscious mind as an essential
factor in our scientific equations.... Without man, nature is dumb,
but it is man's part to give it word: to be its mouth through which
the whole universe gives voice to the glory and majesty of the living
God. ..."

[snip] http://www.onecosmos.blogspot.com/

Robert W.Godwin [Gagdad Bob] , Ph.D is a clinical psychologist whose
interdisciplinary work has focused on the relationship between
contemporary psychoanalysis, chaos theory, and quantum physics.

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Received on Fri May 25 11:50:24 2007

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