In praising the clarity of Stephen's vision of an art in
service to science as opposed to religion (see our
posts of October 19th), I made a point of invoking
Loren Eiseley as a moderating influence -- and I am
now quite glad that I did so.
Along with Ken Friedman -- the author of yesterday's
lengthy post equal in brilliance and clarity to that of
Stephen's -- I, too, must take exception with the direction
in which this discussion has turned. Yes, I too am an
atheist in not believing in the existence of a god or gods
as such; but neither can I endorse a crusading atheism
which insists, for example, that "everything is an accident".
It is the supernatural which we are trying to jettison
-- those irrational tendencies so often placed in the
service of discrimination, hate, and violence; but let us
not fool ourselves into thinking that its opposite, nature
(this the title of THE pre-eminent scientific journal!) must
conform to a currently limited human "rationality", and
in the name of which rationality -- as in the name of
religion --quite a bit of mischief has been carried out.
As per J. B. S. Haldane, "My own suspicion is that the
Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but
queerer than we can suppose"; and it is of course
precisely this sense of wonder about the natural order
which Eiseley so beautifully articulated in "The
Immense Journey" and "Darwin's Century".
And in further consonance with Ken's questions about
the form of an alliance between art and science, we
might say almost by definition that it is art and not
science which will be best able to express the wonder
of the natural order.
G. W. (Glenn) Smith
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