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Glenn Ellmers: "Lysenko convinced Stalin that..'political truth,'.. could command nature..spirit of alive..[COVID] authority, not nature, determines scientific truth..Australia post-COVID"

Glenn Ellmers:

Lysenko convinced Stalin that plants could be “educated” to conform with Marxist dogma, altering their natures—i.e., their genetic traits—to meet the needs of the state. Stalin was only too happy to hear that “political truth,” as revealed in the unfolding of the historical dialectic, could command nature. This conceit, however, neither originated nor dissolved with the Soviet Union.

If Niccolò Machiavelli was, as Leo Strauss argued, the founder of the modern world, one could say that the one who perpetuated this new political order by giving it a religion was Francis Bacon. The religion Bacon preached, of course, was science. Both Kheriaty and Desmet want to defend genuine, modern science, which is objective, modest, and reasonable, from scientism, which isn’t. But we may wonder if this is a distinction without a difference, and whether the inclination to reductionist materialism (as well as technological utopianism) was present from the beginning of the modern project.

Bacon’s approach to science is premised on the need to interrogate and “vex” nature to uncover her secrets. He suggests in The Advancement of Learning that with diligent effort future scientists might “become the instruments and dispensers” of “prolonging and renewing the life of man.” Bacon explains his general method in Sylva Sylvarum: when perceiving some unseen action at work, we must look for the “pneumaticals” found “in all tangible bodies,” and must not be distracted by what the classical philosophers vaguely called “virtues and qualities.” True causes, Bacon insists, are “infinitely material in nature. For spirits are nothing else but a natural body.” Then, with an astounding string of technical words which perfectly capture the direction and tone of his enterprise, he declares that the invisible pneumatics

are in all tangible bodies whatsoever, more or less; and they are never (almost) at rest: and from them, and their motions, principally proceed arefaction, colliquation, concoction, maturation, putrefaction, vivification, and most of the effects of nature.

Can we not see here the spirit of Harari’s transhumanism, and the WEF’s goal of expedited evolution? In The Great Instauration, Bacon announces a goal that today would earn him a grant from the Gates Foundation: “I am laboring to lay the foundation not of any sect or doctrine, but of human utility and power.”

Consider in this light a statement Kheriaty quotes by the Australian Medical Indemnity Protection Society, which issues the malpractice insurance necessary for an Australian medical license: “Health practitioners are obliged to ensure their views are consistent with public health messaging…. Views expressed which may be consistent with evidence-based material may not necessarily be consistent with public health messaging” (emphasis added). As Kheriaty notes, “evidence-based material” means peer-reviewed research—which used to be the standard for legitimate science. But the pandemic revealed that the spirit of Lysenko and Bacon is alive and well: power or authority, not nature, determines scientific truth. To practice medicine in Australia post-COVID means pledging obedience to “public health messaging”—that is, to the diktats of the establishment bureaucracy. The Australian guidance is only slightly more explicit than similar language promulgated by the Federation of State Medical Boards in the U.S., which warned (Kheriaty quoting again): “Physicians who generate and spread COVID-19 vaccine misinformation or disinformation are risking disciplinary action,” which may include “the suspension or revocation of their medical license.” Millions starved in Soviet Russia in compliance with the official edicts for growing wheat and potatoes. We don’t yet know, and probably never will, how many have died because of official rules about COVID “misinformation.”

Let me note one regrettable omission in Kheriaty’s book: gender reassignment therapies. Especially with regard to children, this must surely be the most alarming aspect of the Left’s neo-Lysenkoism. Just as the Soviet Central Committee decreed that the nature of plants could be made to conform to the wishes of the party, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—in a list of resources for “Gender-Affirming Care and Young People”—explains that gender identity is a subjective “experience,” and “not always congruent with biological sex.”

But what happens when nature does not yield as submissively as we would like?

Disappointed Hopes and New Anxieties

John Milton used the term “pandemonium” for the great hall of “all demons” (pan daimon) that he describes at the end of Book I of Paradise Lost. Over time, Milton’s term for Satan’s home base in his revolt against God came to be synonymous with chaos and violent disorder. []


Glenn said…
Thanks for excerpting my essay! Happy to discuss.
Fred Martinez said…
Thanks, Glenn. Below is why your article interested me and where I'm coming from. Please comment is you have time:

Dear Mr. X,

I'm buying most of your books including your Gilson book as well as another author's "Medieval Trinitarian thought from Aquinas to Ockham" that I deals with the semi-fideist Gilson's take on Ockham's fideism on Amazon. I am the person who runs The Catholic Monitor website where I've written on the destructive nature of Gilson's influence.

On a quick search, I found a Fr. Barattero, IVE who says you don't understand Aquinas, but I suspect he never read McInerney's praeambula fidei that agrees in my opinion with your general Gilson thesis on his false takes on essence and existence in terms of Aquinas original writings.

I would like to know more about you writings and research. If your music book thesis is correct it destroys the Descartes/Bacon "Enlightenment" presumptions of modernity. You see the big picture in my opinion which is almost impossible to find even with smart guys like Feser and McInerney. Please send more info on your work with links.

I'm basically a journalist who is catching up on my Thomism with Ed Feser and McInerney, but I'm looking for a cliff notes type of work to give me a birds eye view. Any recommendations?


Fred Martinez
Fred Martinez said…
Hello, Mr. Martinez. Thank you for writing.
I have found over the last 20 years that there is a great deal of condescension among the Thomists I have met (electronically), who don't seem to be able to refute what I say, but simply dismiss it with similar comments. We live in a society that cares little for truth and a good deal for status. It is difficult to admit that one's teachers have been incorrect and that one's own academic career (for that is what really irks a lot of them) is based upon fundamental misapprehensions. I think that Kuhn was right in "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" that old ideas (and Gilsonism is an old idea at this point) only die when their adherents die. I find that younger Thomists are quite open to what I have said. They don't have a revolution and ideology to defend. My most appreciative reader was actually Dr. Ronald MacArthur (R.I.P) of Thomas Aquinas College, who strongly disapproved of Gilson's attempt to divorce Aquinas from Aristotle, and offered to publish the original manuscript in their journal.
From what you have said, you are probably the only person in the world who has understood the ultimate meaning of "M... and M..." I really did take aim at the entire edifice of modernity. That is heartening, because I really don't sell any copies of that book. You may have seen the book on Shakespeare's "Hamlet," which I believe I have shown is from first to last a theological enactment of the question of Faith and Works. (The number and consistency of its Biblical references to this question is astounding.) I am currently trying to complete a commentary on Plato's "Euthyphro," a dialogue which I consider to be completely misunderstood and unappreciated. It really contains the whole metaphysical justification of Plato's doctrine Ideas, but this cannot even be grasped in translation. Greek possesses a middle voice in addition to the active and passive voice of English, and the metaphysical question depends upon a double-entendre between the passive and middle voices. I have taken up the interpretive method of Jacob Klein (St. John's College tutor and president) and expanded it. It really shows a much more profound view of Plato's doctrine. Perhaps sometime early next year...
For the future... My crown jewel will be "Taxology," in which I unite Thomistic and Scotistic metaphysics through the study of the convertibility of being and order. This also allows me to investigate more deeply the Trinity and create a material logic of the transcendentals. I have a critique of Kant's epistemology in which I introduce a new kind of abstraction, virtual abstraction, which accounts for mathematical objects and their manifest synthetic a priori validity. (Mathematics is prior to Aquinas' "abstractio formae" and "abstractio totius," but posterior to this "abstractio virtualis." Kant did have interesting observations about mathematics, but his metaphysics is mere rubbish founded upon a false mathematical analogy.) I also have a new and more basic foundation for plane geometry, from which I intend to demonstrate Hilbert's modern axioms as consequences.
I'm naturally attracted to the questions that change that "big picture" you describe. I just want to know what is real. Unfortunately, I don't have much time to write.
Back when I was an existential Thomist, I used to recommend Gilson to those who wanted an overview of St. Thomas. Having departed substantially from that view, I really am at a loss for any survey-level book recommendations.
I will certainly take a look at your website. Thank you again for contacting me.
In Christ,

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