25 October 2006

Dawkins, Oxford ideology, and God

Oxford is the ideological centre of this country and Richard Dawkins continues to attack a very crucial element in pre-higher level psychology. In fact the whole of modern ideology is designed to eliminate any possibility of higher-level psychology.

Some time ago, Richard Dawkins declared it is more harmful to bring up a child as a Catholic than to abuse it sexually.* This is because Catholics are supposed to believe, and to teach children to believe, that certain things are the case which cannot be experimentally verified or (which is actually more important, although he does not say it) verified to be in agreement with the social consensus.

What Dawkins is really asserting, on behalf of the modern ideology, is that:
a) there is no God in any sense (other than perhaps that of ‘society’ acting as a god-substitute) and
b) nothing inconceivable can exist.

He wants to eliminate entirely any tendency to notice, however fleetingly, the uncertainties actually present in the existential situation, which might possibly develop into an interest in reality in a sense other than ‘other people’.

It is true that people of his ilk sometimes refer to ‘reality’ in the sense of the physical world, and life forms other than human, as something which gives them feelings of sublimity and transcendence. People such as Dawkins tend to say things like: ‘Why should anyone need an unrealistic religion, when we can lose ourselves in admiring the wonders of nature, which is so much more special than we are ourselves, and makes us feel thoroughly unimportant’.

Actually Catholicism does, or at least did, tend to provide people with some openness to the idea that there might be an extended reality beyond their immediate sense data. Of course this was combined with some psychological drawbacks which were designed to prevent anyone from going too far in the direction of taking an interest in reality, but this could hardly be otherwise in a system designed for mass consumption.

Certainly the psychological drawbacks are no more than are provided to those brought up with the more implicit belief systems of various forms of atheism.

Explicit beliefs are much easier to consider objectively and possibly to reject than are implict beliefs which are being foisted on the schoolchildren of socialist and communist countries, to some extent by systems of compulsory education, before these children can be expected think for themselves. Even as adults they usually do not think for themselves anyway. Independence of mind and analytical thought occur rarely, even in high-IQ adults. But it is certainly much harder work to see through a belief in society, since this involves defining the implicit beliefs before you can criticise them, than to see through a belief in God, in the sense which Richard Dawkins ascribes to that concept.

The God of Richard Dawkins is a loose association of characteristics derived from mass religions, such as Catholicism. This God has directed the course of development of life forms, must be available to receive and answer prayers and forgive sins, and is also supposed to have strong feelings about the ways in which human beings treat one another.

This is not necessarily a bad sort of God for a mass religion to have, but it is easily made to sound absurd by the fact that evolutionary processes can be accounted for on the basis of the laws of physics, and that when people do crude experiments on the efficacy of prayer, these are usually inconclusive. (For example, you have some people in hospital prayed for by a number of people and triumphantly demonstrate that a matching number of hospital patients who are not prayed for do not fare any worse.)

So, of course, it is easy for Richard Dawkins to show that there is no experimental evidence for the existence of God, and hence that it is harmful to bring children up to believe that God does exist. What he, and the modern ideology in general, are really aiming at is to make it impossible, or socially taboo, to allow mental space to any speculative ideas about reality beyond the world of everyday experience, as it is normally experienced.

It is supposed to be damaging to bring people up to believe in the infallibility of the Pope (if they still are) or to have to tell their doings to a priest in order to be absolved from their sins. It is, on the other hand, quite OK to bring them up to believe in the infallibility of the state and its agents, who supervise and interfere in every aspect of their lives and the lives of their parents, taking them into ‘care’ if their parents are not assessed as having a suitable outlook.

There is to be a massive data base on which will be recorded every particular ever observed about every child born in this country by any agent of the collective, so that in their future lives all authorised agents of the collective will be fully informed of any assessment, motivated or otherwise, that has ever been foisted upon these children, and their evil tendencies can be monitored and checked (if considered necessary) by drugging or incarceration when they reach a more mature age.

* The Dubliner magazine, October 2002