Tennyson: “Then you admit, Professor Darwin, that there is a higher power behind evolution?” “Certainly, I admit it; I am compelled to do so, because evolution has always gone onward and upward, from lower to higher forms of life. That could not be chance; it is unscientific to postulate such a hypothesis, because chance never moves in one direction.” ..Charles Darwin, 19th century naturalist .. from Talks with Great Composers, Arthur Abell “Anyone who believes in a creator God is scientifically illiterate.” .. Richard Dawkins, writer Whether divinity is believed to take the form of incarnation in a single individual, a pantheon of deities, or an all-pervading Universal consciousness, the materialist often becomes frustrated with the believer’s refusal to relinquish their faith. The reason materialism finds its way blocked in its efforts to eliminate religion is not because materialism and evolution are hard to grasp: its basic tenets can be understood by anyone. Nor is it a result of some longstanding and ingrained manipulation by religious leaders, of a mass mind which materialists assume to be infinitely plastic. The belief that humanity can be permanently distorted by charlatans is an error, revealing the contempt in which the materialists hold the religious: this attitude becomes more apparent when one reads Richard Dawkins, or the often vitriolic comments made by his followers, eager not only to criticise, but to ridicule religion and all those who follow it. Resistance to a logically presented materialistic explanation of the Universe would be puzzling if the mass mind really did have a flexible and naiive quality simply abused by the superstition of religious leaders in the past. In fact the human mind has both a remarkable ability to accept new ideas over a relatively short period of time when they deepen its understanding of the cosmos (as for example the surprising, and at first, incredible notion that energy is equivalent to mass) while, at the same time resisting concepts either repugnant to it or which decrease the apparent harmony of the Universe in which it lives. Despite the intitial resistance meeting those who propose new ways of thinking, ahead of the time at which the mental soil of the masses is prepared to accept them – of which there are many examples, such as the Sun-centric solar system, innoculations, television, space flight and even the vacuum cleaner – humanity gravitates, eventually, to concepts which expand its quality of its life, or its perception. Not only is the mind capable of absorbing advanced ideas, it is robust enough to return to its preferred worldviews after generations of repression. When communism fell after more than three generations of outlawing religion, a period of time in which the religious sentiment should have been bred out and eliminated, society immediately returned to its natural faith. In fact, nowhere are the churches and icons more lovingly maintained and attended than in Eastern Europe. In Ukraine, I saw for myself that all generations willingly attended church and followed ceremonies honouring the spirit: not only grandparents and peasant farmers, but the Gucci-shod young women also made these ceremonies part of their way of life, without any urging from others. I was surprised to find that amidst the search for new fashions and entertainment, a visit to the tiny local church was part of the weekly routine: not to pray for material things, but to light candles for friends and family, living and departed, and to commune in silence before returning to their busy lives.
Lastly, materialism’s problems are not due to unfair suppression or incoherent presentation, for at no other time in human history had the materialist such a strong, global and immediate platform for disseminating their views, which are argued by presentable and highly intelligent personalities, and bolstered by illuminating graphics, animations, screaming headlines, entertaining television shows, and all the other forceful tools made available by the mass media, and to which billions of minds are exposed every day. It is true that where the religious bias is strong, schools sometimes conflict with Darwinian theory, for example. But in the process, the theory is given far more publicity than if it had been quietly accepted everywhere, and both sides are explored once again in the media, until attention is diverted to some new and more exciting crisis elsewhere. The real reason materialism fails as a convincing worldview, especially for the religious, is that it attempts to promote matter over consciousness. It presents this idea to a living being whose sole possession of any value, and on which all its decisions and beliefs rest, is consciousness. Once consciousness is reduced to an unintended byproduct of dead matter, and stripped of cohesion with a grander reflection of it throughout the Universe, though visualised in different ways by every mind according to its evolutionary stage, its very existence becomes meaningless. It should not be surprising that the human mind, in all its phases from simple faith to a towering intellect such as Einstein’s, would tend to resist all efforts to dislodge its idea of higher intelligences. The human mind can easily make do without skyscrapers, cars and computers. Those who return refreshed and full of ideas after simple, scenic holidays, away from the media and the stress of a mechanised existence, are evidence of this. But it cannot survive without belief in a meaning to its own existence. This essential requirement became apparent to Victor Frankl in Auschwitz: the Nazis’ efforts were directed at removing all hope and self belief among the inmates of their camps, by reducing life to a meaningless and ghastly existence, punctuated with merciless and arbitrary cruelty. Frankl found that as long as the inmates felt their suffering had some meaning, and that some good might emerge one day, they tended to survive. But once the individual succumbed to this nightmare philosophy, and their hope was lost, the individual was dead within days from the same severe presures which they had survived until then. Frankl therefore occupied his time by supporting others in their faith and hope, and later wrote “Man’s Search For Meaning”, a highly unusual book. The attempt to deprive a living being of all reason for living, and undermine its own existence, was a profound act of cruelty, akin to murder; a fact which the Nazis realised and derived great satisfaction from, and which the normal human mind resisted for as long as it was able. Frankl was once slipped a small crust of bread by a sympathetic camp guard. This simple act of kindness nurtured his spirit for three months.
To counteract this accusation on a logical level and attempt to defuse the powerful emotions which greet their arguments, the materialists state that no harm is intended, and truth must be presented despite any concerns as to the damage it may do to long held superstitions; they perform this function out of a sense of duty towards progress and intellectual evolution, an admirable intention. But what this argument does not take into account, due to the shortcomings within the philosophy itself, is the nature of consciousness, and its central role in human life. All discoveries, all art, all music, design, engineering, and all love, morality, faith, all intellectual progress, and all religion, and even all of science with its concern for investigation, order and truth in the material world, have been extracted not from lifeless matter, but from the depths of consciousness. It is consciousness, mysterious and undetectable at present, which has provided man with all the elements of human life. Were it not so, animals would be at liberty to make the same discoveries as man. But the missing element is within their consciousness. The animal mind, driven by instinct, and limited to a strictly reduced range of thought, is separated from the human model by such a vast gulf that if an animal were to suddenly possess human consciousness, the experience might be so disorientating as to be unbearable. It is human consciousness which possesses the abstract quality neccessary to reflect on the past and speculate on the future, and a powerful intellect which enables it to imagine or measure the eons-old behaviour of the universe, and attempt to forecast the millennia to come. It is the human mind which enquires into the nature of its own existence and its relation to the Universe itself. Matter cannot perform any of this. The entire history of the human race is one long example of the material world gradually yielding its secrets to a steadily expanding consciousness. It is consciousness which names, measures, weighs and assigns importance to all aspects of the Universe. It is only consciousness which imagines, conceives, designs, and presents its theories. And invariably, it is consciousness alone which forms the audience for these theories, since without it there is no theory, no audience, no presenter, and none to argue for or against. How the Universe would appear, devoid of consciousness, it is impossible to imagine, since it is the brain which creates the impressions of light and sound, from tiny disturbances presented to its sensory apparatus, and which also creates happiness, sadness, love, hate, hope, faith, science and all the other facets of human life, including the concepts of the spirit, of religion and of divinity. It is only consciousness which provides the insights of genius from which the race progresses, or in decaying or unstable forms, the horrors of insanity and the rampages of the psychopath. The materialist presents an idea dismissing the fundamental nature of consciousness to an audience comprised not of lifeless molecules and barren rocks, but of consciousness itself. How can one expect a theory describing the mind as an accidental, temporary and meaningless by-product of lifeless molecular collisions, haphazardly extending itself only according to errors within its own organisation, and their influence on the frequency of reproduction, to be gladly embraced by a thinking, intelligent entity who searches for order and meaning all of its life, and uses intelligence to make progress? The very idea is a negation of everything he learns in life, a contradiction of every one of his experiences since he began to move and to think, which showed him that random efforts never achieve an organised result and can even pose a danger to his health and progress. The word “random” has become an insult in today’s lexicon, not because of any grudge against materialism, but because of the common distasteful experience from “some random act”. It is the very opposite of intelligence, in form and in result: leaving aside the disdain with which it treats the quality of consciousness, the entire philosophy is an insult to an intelligent mind, even an affront to sanity. If, as is often claimed by the Dawkinites, in order to bring knowledge to the masses, only the logical mind of the materialist is competent to stamp a reliable order on such a dead, random, unintended and misinterpreted Universe, from where does this state of order, this saving grace, this salvation from chaos, come from? Only from consciousness – the very commodity being ridiculed as having no place of its own within the Universe. Bearing all this in mind, the surprising thing is not that the materialist should meet with such profound resistance. More incredible by far is that a living mind undermining its own sovereign nature in such a dogmatic manner, while declaring it completely reliable in every respect, should expect to be taken seriously at all.