Where History, Biology, And Religion Intersect

Some recent articles I’ve read have made me reflect on the interrelationship between religion, science, and history.  How do they intersect, and how has one influenced the other?

The historian can be seen, in many ways, as a biologist. He examines the activities of one organism: man. So the historian, almost unwittingly, becomes a biologist from his survey of the historical processes. Just by observing the behaviors of tribes, men, and nations, one learns about biology.

(Geography and climate are also major influences on history, but that is a subject for another day).

And what has the study of history taught me of biology?

1. Competition is essential. There is no peace in Nature. All organisms compete with each other for food, water, mates, and living spaces. Nations behave like individuals, in that they ceaselessly compete. The clash of nations and tribes reflects our primeval origins, where all life was a struggle for survival.

2. Nature selects the fittest. Some organisms are better adapted to survive than others, and these pass on their genetic inheritances. Out of a mass of organisms, some will adapt, and others will not. Concepts like “freedom” and “equality” are unknown in Nature. Nature is an aristocracy.

3. Nature prefers fertility. Organisms expand their number to fill their boundaries. When they burst their boundaries, they put ever farther outwards. Wealthy, civilized nations have low birthrates; they attract the hungry mouths of the more savage nations, and so are subject to infiltration and invasion.

The Chinese fought a losing battle to keep out the Mongol barbarians on its northern frontiers; the Romans in vain sought to contain the Germans on their side of the Rhine; the Arabs were crushed under the heels of the Tartars in the late Middle Ages; and the Americans presently labor to control their southern border (with equal lack of success).

And what of religion? I’ve written on this subject before, and wanted to emphasize a few related points here.

It is perfectly acceptable for the man of reason to pledge his allegiance to both science and religion. Each has a place in the life of man, and in the trajectory of history.

Religion has proven to be one of the most vital and resilient forces in history. Cut it down, and it grows again. All attempts to snuff it out have been in vain. So the Communists labored fruitlessly to uproot the Orthodox Church in Russia from 1917 to 1989. So the Egyptian pharaoh Ikhnaton tried in suppress the religion of Amon; but as soon as the pharaoh died, it came back as strong as ever, with an entrenched priesthood. The persecutions of Diocletian and his successors only succeeded in making Christianity stronger, until it took over the empire.  The French Revolution tried to eradicate the Catholic Church, but it came back stronger than ever once Napoleon signed a concordat with the Papal See in the early 1800s.

Religion is the repository of morals and the imaginative life of the people. No society in history has ever been able to function for long without the aid of some agreed-on faith. Without the supernatural backing of an organized faith, it is not possible for the moral lessons to “sink in”, and keep in check man’s baser impulses.  Religions, with their myths, moral stories, admonitions, rituals, pageants, codes of conduct, and works of art, have been the sources of inspiration and discipline for man for many thousands of years.

And this is what the thoughtful man finds so objectionable in the atheist. The atheist lacks a deep understanding of the psychology of man and of history. He believes that his books of science, that his charts, tables, and computers, can explain all. And we should give him his due. The achievements of science are just as impressive, and just as powerful, as the beauties of art, literature, and organized faiths.

But when all is said and done, the common man prefers to listen to the call of religion. He grows tired of the exertions of thought. He wants to be assured that his struggles on earth are dignified by some grander cosmic meaning.  He is daily harassed and oppressed by the struggle for existence; he needs a faith that can provide a source of consolation and inspiration.  He grows tired with the relativism of everything, the exertions of speculative thought, and the confusing incredibilities of science. The deeper we go into science, the more uncertain we become of everything.

Science, for all its grandeur, has little to offer in the way of spiritual consolation. It tells us that this existence is nothing but a meaningless struggle of man against man, signifying nothing, and which ends in a cold death. Is this the ethic that will inspire man? No. Science provides little nourishment for the soul.

A cynic may even go farther: science has brought us only an enervating relativism, the poisoning of the air, soil, and seas, the fake “equality” between the sexes that has destroyed the family and ruined the position of men in Western culture.

The victory of science over the soul of Western man began with Copernicus, gained speed during the Industrial Revolution, and now appears complete.

But the battle is not won yet. History, as it moves with glacial slowness, has surprises in store for us yet.

As Western man grows more disillusioned with the false promises of science, and as the fertility of the simple overwhelms the sterility of the privileged few, and as the influx of immigrants of religious backgrounds continues, we may see the advent of a new Age of Faith. If Western society does indeed disgrace itself with social ruin and economic collapse, we may indeed see some sort of religious revival.

Parents will call on the help of religion to discipline their young; governments will seek the aid of organized faiths to stem the tides of discontent, of sexual depravity, and of barbarism.

This has happened before in history, and it can happen again. We await developments, and do the best we can in the meantime.

Read More:  A Tale Of Redemption:  Robert Downey Jr.’s Victory

15 thoughts on “Where History, Biology, And Religion Intersect

  1. That was the best post I’ve read in awhile. Just got done doing approach and observations in DC. Nice job with your research. Especially about nature and the inherent observations of stillness.

    Like

  2. Quintus, you need to stop reading ancient philosophy and read the modern one. You are like a dude who wants to learn physics and reads Newton. That’s okay when you are 16, but at some point you have to read where we have arrived TODAY, not where we were centuries ago for christsake. The same applies to everyone in the littleboyosphere. Here’s your reading list then: http://orgyofthewill.net/read/

    Have fun, and if you are ready for the next level try this: http://orgyofthewill.net/

    Like

      • I haven’t even read what you wrote. I’ll do it now. I just saw the link to your blog on Roosh’s site and thought I’d give you some feedback on your work as a whole, as I perceive it. Wrong thread I guess.

        P.S. Medieval philosophy is most laughable period in the history of philosophy, and the most useless (because of the domination of Christian ideas).

        Like

        • I appreciate your comments, Alex. I come from a scientific background and have the highest respect for it. I tried to give it its due. It’s just that I believe the pendulum has swung too far on the side of adulation of science. Education has too long neglected discipline, character, and moral development in men.

          As for your comments about philosophy, we should recognize that every period of history has contributed something great: the ancients had their good men, the medieval period had its great thinkers (William of Ockham, Averroes, Albertus Magnus, etc.), the Renaissance had its great minds, and so did the early modern (Schopenhauer, Spinoza, Bacon, etc.) period. I like all of these guys, and give them their due.

          No one period has all the answers. For example, I used to think the same thing you did about the medieval period. I used to think that it was all boring scholastic bullshit. But this is not the case. You should actually try to read some of these names I’ve mentioned. Some of them even had great senses of humor.

          Like

  3. Okay, read it. Mostly solid, in the beginning at least, but I do have a few criticisms of the later parts.

    “It is perfectly acceptable for the man of reason to pledge his allegiance to both science and religion. Each has a place in the life of man, and in the trajectory of history.”

    Religion has not had any place in the life of the “man of reason” since at least Schopenhauer (the first post-enlightenment Western philosopher to be staunchly against it). So you are several centuries behind on this score. (And by the way, the “man of passion” stands above the “man of reason”. Nietzsche explains that somewhere in The Gay Science iirc, when he destroys Descartes. “Reason is but a tool, and Descartes was superficial.”)

    “The achievements of science are just as impressive, and just as powerful, as the beauties of art, literature, and organized faiths”

    I am sorry, but science has taken us to the moon, while the Hindu faith cannot even provide enough food to adequately feed its adherents. I call bullshit on this.

    And as for your conclusion, that religion may make a comeback and so on. It very well might. But the religion of the future is philosophy, and whoever fails to catch up to it will end up a subhuman.

    Like

  4. Another mistake you make is lumping all religions together under the label of “religion” as if they were equal. But Nietzsche has clearly explained that Christianity stands lower than Buddhism, and Buddhism stands lower than the pagan religions of the various nations — and especially those of classical antiquity — which themselves stand lower then the religion of the future: philosophy/Overman worship. So… if by the “comeback of religion” you mean “the comeback of faith” — after the slight suspension of the faith caused by the Enlightenment and the scientific revolution, you are correct. But the faith that will dominate the future is not the faith in “other Gods”, but in the Gods within us.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s