It has been nearly 70 years since C.S. Lewis made public a mysterious correspondence that became known as The Screwtape Letters. The “letters” contained advice, instructions, and warnings from a senior demon to a junior demon about the handling of an earthling in his “care.”
The Swillpit Chronicles, No. 10, “The God of Science”
Never forget that soul-winning is a matter of one, and only one, thing: seducing the creatures into rejecting their creatureliness. It starts with an itch they have to scratch.
Maybe it’s a sexual dalliance they must experience, a commodity they can’t afford, a habit they can’t (and don’t want to) shake. It matters not. Just dangle some forbidden pleasure before them until it is inflamed into something indispensable to their happiness.
Ah, happiness! A thing He intended as a byproduct of life has become its chief aim. The splendid outcome is that “happiness” has now achieved the status of “rights.” Who could have guessed that “the Declaration,” with its cursed references to the “Creator,” would have helped us pave the road to hedonism? All we had to do was sever virtue from their notions about liberty.
Although it took nearly two centuries of dedicated devilry, the freedom to pursue happiness is now the freedom to follow their animal instincts without correction, criticism, or comment. Even in the Carpenter’s camp, you will be hard pressed to find a witling who has not fallen for those winsome lyrics, “If it feels so right, it can’t be wrong.” It’s a sure sign that the shelf-life of objective moral truth has expired. It’s enough to make your heartless chest swell, eh?
Once they deem happiness their unbridgeable right, they will view any restriction as unreasonable and unjust. And that goes for those who put up restrictions, like Him. Remember how our Master duped the first couple? He planted the seed of distrust, explaining, ever so helpfully, that their Maker was selfish and jealous, keeping from them what was good for them.
I’m glad to say that line has been working like a charm ever since. As soon as they suspect that He is untrustworthy, they will be disposed to ignore Him, or reject Him altogether, and look to another; one that will not impede their happy journey.
Their perennial favorite is the Man in the Mirror, doing what seems right in his own eyes. Another is the utopian State that promises progress and prosperity for subjects who have no Gods before It. But over the last few decades, there has been a meteoric rise in Science as the source of their transcendent hopes. The way the Adversary designed things, this was inevitable. It is a delicious irony!
First, he organized the jumbled bits of chaos into an integrated cosmos. Then he infused it with law, making it rational, predictable, and intelligible. Finally, he made intelligent beings that could make sense of it, harness it, and manipulate it.
With each discovery and technological success, their creaturely heads swelled until they could no longer suffer that they were creatures. From the beginning, it was only a matter of time before they discharged Him and placed Science in the vacancy. A fiendishly exquisite turn of events!
What this has done to their concepts of knowledge and authority cannot be gainsaid. In times past, philosophy and religion were consulted for the metaphysical questions of meaning, purpose, and ethics. Today, increasing numbers turn to science as the sole source of knowledge, even moral knowledge. Whereas they used to seek out teachers, ministers, theologians and philosophers for wisdom, now they look to scientists. Consider the rather recent phenomenon of the celebrity scientist.
During the Scientific Revolution there were but a handful of pioneers who were largely unknown outside of their academic circles. But thanks to modern media and telecommunications, Einstein, Crick, Cousteau, Leakey, Gould, Sagan, Hawking, to name a few, have become household names.
Indeed, many witlings are more familiar with the images of Einstein and Sagan than they are with their heads-of-state, and have a better grasp of Darwin’s theory than they do of the policy positions of political candidates.
Remember how the pioneers approached nature as a purposeful product of creation? Well, the celebrities fancy that everything, from protons to pulsars, is a haphazard artifact of chance bereft of any intrinsic meaning or purpose.
I know, the celebrities make frequent references to “God” and “design.” As counterintuitive as it sounds, this is a good thing. Those terms are nothing more than poetic nods to transcendence from individuals whose worldview is thoroughly materialistic. Despite what their words suggest, their real object of reverence is not the Unknowable, but the unknown and yet to be discovered and deciphered. You could say that Science is their “statue to the unknown god.”
For instance, when Einstein famously said, “God does not play dice,” he was not referring to a sentient, supreme Intelligence, he was referring to a universal principle of order, symmetry and reason. Similarly, his later statement, “Science without religion is lame,” was not a bow to religion, per se, but recognition that science depends on belief, of a religious sort, that the world is rational and comprehensible.
I trust that you don’t miss the utility in this. These poetic references make materialistic science appear Creator-friendly. We may be glad that this sort of thing has turned many an earthling slowly, but surely, from theism to shallow materialism (via theistic evolution) to materialism “all the way down.”
Now for the bad news: Science is slowly losing its grip on them—not over the intellectual elite, mind you, but over the brutish masses.
In the area of evolutionary science, a dark pall gathered over the whole enterprise as parade evidences—embryological drawings, peppered-moth studies, and a number of much-heralded “missing links”—were found to be the results of fevered imaginations or outright fraud. But nothing has been more damaging to evolutionary theory than its inherent weaknesses, now being broadcast widely and effectively by the intelligent design community.
Over the last decade or so, the credibility capital of environmental science has also taken a sharp dip with the failed predictions of the population “bomb,” mass extinctions, global starvation and global cooling, not to mention the current controversies surrounding global warming.
Likewise, the reputation of medical science has been severely damaged by incidences of falsified research and failed predictions of worldwide epidemics.
But what is causing the most damage to Science is not what has been done in its name, but what is being said by its practitioners—things so illogical and absurd, that only the most imbecilic of their kind would pay them any serious attention.
For instance, one of their most prestigious oracles acknowledged that there is no such thing as a “free lunch,” before quipping that the universe is the “ultimate free lunch.” It was enough to make me lose mine! And the bitter taste lingers.
Another stated that humans are biochemical machines governed by the deterministic laws of physics and chemistry. Had he left it there, I would have no quibble; but he went on and, in an unguarded moment, blubbered: "When I look at my children, I can, when I force myself… see that they are machines…[but] that is not how I treat them…They have my unconditional love, the furthest one might be able to get from rational analysis.”
Did you get that, Swillpit? He has to force himself! What an awful disclosure, just awful!
But the worst came later with this blunt and shameless admission: “I maintain two sets of inconsistent beliefs." And this from a man who wants his materialistic claims taken seriously? Oh, if we could find the “mute button” on these stooges! I’ve put thirteen of our best demons on it; but as of yet, nothing.
Why just the other day that Hawking fellow spouted: "Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.” Createitself? A logical and physical impossibility! From nothing? Gravity is not nothing! If that was the best he could come up with, he should have kept it to himself! Instead he gave it air, and his sycophants made sure it spanned the globe at light speed.
Even the dullest of their dimwits can see through this drivel.
As I hope this has made clear, Science, for all its benefits, is becoming a two-edged sword. Once its luminaries become charmed by their own celebrity, any microphone within shouting distance will prompt utterances disconnected from each other and from any measure of critical thought, logic or reason.
Swillpit, we need to put the kibosh on this, now. If we fail, Science will lose its exalted position, something will take its place—maybe … Him…again -- and their creaturely feelings will revive. Hell forbid!
As our theater commanders work out a strategy, I expect you to monitor your man closely for any sign that he is entertaining this line of thought. Early detection is our best defense against Heaven’s viral influences.
Your Ever Doting Tutor, S.
Regis Nicoll is a freelance writer and a BreakPoint Centurion. His "All Things Examined" column appears on BreakPoint every other Friday. Serving as a men’s ministry leader and worldview teacher in his community, Regis publishes a free weekly commentary to stimulate thought on current issues from a Christian perspective. To be placed on this free e-mail distribution list, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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