Traditionalism, Wolfgang Smith

Wolfgang Smith: Modern Science & Guenonian Critique

Wolfgang Smith on Scientistic IdolatryIn the previous article examining the thought of Wolfgang Smith, three modern paradigms through which reality is interpreted were identified. These paradigms were the Newtonian, the Darwinian, and the Copernican. It is important to recall that while Smith is critical of the paradigms, he is willing to recognize legitimate scientific discoveries made despite the faulty lenses interpreting these findings. For example, Smith is highly critical of the mechanistic metaphysical framework of the Newtonian paradigm, while simultaneously acknowledging discoveries made through its application. This is relevant because Smith’s essay, Modern Science and Guenonian Critique, begins by saying, “Reading Rene Guenon’s discourse on modern science more than half a century after it was written, one is struck not only by the depth of its penetration, but also, to a lesser degree, by its glaring insufficiencies.”[1] In the previous article, Smith disassociates what he believes to be faulty philosophical analysis applied to the various fields of science, and in this essay, he disassociates what he believes to be an overzealous philosophical critique of legitimate scientific discovery.

Smith recognizes in the Guenonian critique a penetrating metaphysical analysis of modernity and its scientistic reduction of reality to that which is merely quantifiable. This hyper-reductionism is leading our modern world toward an ongoing “descent to the lowest point.”[2] Smith agrees, and referencing Guenon, argues that if our modern contemporaries knew where ‘the reign of quantity’ was leading society, “the modern world would at once cease to exist as such.”[3] But this is where Smith’s agreement with the Guenonian critique ends. He says,

“However, along with such major recognitions – which I find unprecedented and indeed definitive – there are aspects of the Guenonian doctrine that strike me as less felicitous. I charge that these questionable tenets are not only gratuitous – that is to say, uncalled for on the basis of Guenon’s central contentions – but demonstrably false. What primarily invalidates the Guenonian critique, as it pertains to physics in particular, is the failure to recognize that in the midst of what is admittedly a ‘scientific mythology,’ there stands nonetheless a ‘hard science,’ a science capable of an actual knowing, ‘partial’ though it be. As I have argued repeatedly, the one thing most needful for a just appraisal of modern science is the distinction between ‘scientific knowledge’ and ‘scientistic belief,’ that is to say, between science, properly so called, and scientism. Yet it appears that nowhere does Guenon draw that crucial distinction, apparently for the simple reason that he does not credit contemporary science with any bona fide knowledge at all. Admittedly, science and scientism are invariably joined in practice, and prove indeed to be de facto inseparable; whosoever has moved in scientific circles will have no doubt on that score. It can even be argued that scientistic belief plays a vital role in the process of scientific discovery, that in fact it constitutes a pivotal element in the scientific quest. Yet, even so, I maintain that the two faces of the coin are as different as night and day, and need to be sharply distinguished.”[4]

It is important to take a moment to reflect on what it is Smith is looking to accomplish overall in his argumentation. Smith’s general criticism of the modern scientistic ideology is that bad philosophy has been illegitimately united to good science. The flawed paradigms have lead to supposed discoveries of scientific paradoxes, but in truth, they are the result of erroneous philosophical interpretations of reality. Identifying these paradigms, the anti-myths, which lend credence to the contemporary mechanistic cataract by which modern man views the world is the first step toward resolving these “paradoxes.” Following their identification – the Newtonian, the Darwinian, and the Copernican – they must be stripped away from the legitimate scientific discoveries being made in the hard sciences so that they might be reinterpreted by the corrective traditions of the perennial metaphysical and ontological understanding of an organically united natural world. However, it is important to guard against what Smith is criticizing in this essay, which is, to refrain from throwing the scientific ‘baby’ out with the dirty metaphysical ‘bathwater.’ Smith is walking the tightrope between these two extreme positions, that of ideological scientism and metaphysical fundamentalism. To successfully walk this line, Smith unites scientific discovery to the ancient wisdom of the perennial philosophical traditions.

The Guenonian critique, then, can be expressed by two basic principles – ‘solidification’ and ‘dissolution.’ And if I am understanding Smith’s analysis, he would maintain that these two principles correlate to the Cartesian bifurcation of reality, the eradication of essences and substance from modern metaphysics, and the institutionalization of these philosophical dogmas within the ‘scientific’ worldview.[5]

Following the introductory analysis of the Guenonian critique, Smith proceeds to argue that the discoveries of quantum mechanics opens interesting pathways towards reconciling traditional metaphysics and ontology to these findings. In order to accomplish this, Smith argues that, “the very possibility of mathematical physics is based upon the fact that every corporeal object X is associated with a corresponding physical object SX, which in the final count reduces to an aggregate of quantum particles.”[6] This distinction is made so that it can be recognized that X and SX are not identical, and that they belong to differing ontological planes pertaining to reality.[7] Moreover, Smith identifies the rule that, “SX determines the quantitative properties of X; and this is the reason, of course, why there can be a mathematical physics.”[8] According to Smith, moving in this direction points toward accepting the fact that contemporary physics can only be appropriately discerned from a distinctly metaphysical point of view.[9] Admitting the need for a viable metaphysical and ontological interpretation of the quantum realm, and following a brief examination of the importance of measurement and probability, Smith says this,

“It turns out, quite unexpectedly, the physicist is catching a glimpse of materia, of the Aristotelian hyle. Not in itself – not as a ‘pure potency’ or a mere possibility – but as a weighted possibility: as a probability, to be exact. Whether he realizes it or not the quantum physicist is looking in – through a keyhole, as it were – at the mysteries of cosmogenesis: not in the bogus sense of big bang theory, but ontologically, in the here and now. By way of quantum theory he has entered upon an ontological domain ‘prior’ to the union of matter and form: onto a sub-existential plane which presumably has never before been accessed by man.[10]

When reality has been correctly interpreted by properly uniting the authentic discoveries of science to that of a superior and traditional metaphysical world picture, the corporeal and physical domains become uniquely seated in their hierarchically cogent ontological planes. So construed, the Guenonian critique of modern science is appropriately corrected to include spheres of knowledge discovered by the exceptional methodological powers of the hard sciences.

 

– Lucas G. Westman


[1] Science & Myth, Pg. 25

[2] Ibid, Pg. 26

[3] Ibid, Pg. 26

[4] Ibid, Pg. 26, 27

[5] “The decisive event in the evolution of modern thought was no doubt the exclusion of essences effected by Galileo and Descartes, and the concomitant adoption of a bifurcationist epistemology which relegates perceptible qualities to the subjective domain. These metaphysical and epistemological infractions, however, do not in themselves invalidate the modus operandi of a science concerned exclusively with the quantitative aspects of reality. From a methodological point of view, the exclusion of essences constitutes simply the delimitation that defines and thus constitutes the domain of physical science; and it is by no means paradoxical that the science in question owes its prowess precisely to that very reduction of its scope; as Goethe has wisely observed…Let us note, at the same time, that since the logic of contemporary physics is positivistic or operational, as the prevailing philosophies of science aver, that science has nothing to do – on a technical plane! – with the Cartesian premises; and if it happens that contemporary physicists, in their scientistic beliefs, remain affected by a residual Cartesianism, this does nothing to invalidate the positive findings of physics as such. The knowledge in question may be miniscule by comparison to higher modes, and may indeed conduce to dissolution, as Gueonon avers, but constitutes, even so, a bona fide though partial mode of knowing.

On the other hand, Gueonon’s failure to distinguish between science and what he terms ‘scientific mythology’ does not invalidate his perception of the scientific enterprise as the dominant factor driving contemporary humanity ‘downwards’ to the end-point of its cycle. He broaches the question by pointing out that the public at large is prone to accept ‘these illusory theories’ blindly as veritable dogmas ‘by virtue of the fact that they call themselves ‘scientific,’ and goes on to note that the term ‘dogma’ is indeed appropriate, ‘for it is a question of something which, in accordance with the anti-traditional modern spirit, must oppose and be substituted for religious dogmas.’ What follows, in The Reign of Quantity, is an elaborate analysis of the modern and indeed postmodern world, which has rarely, if ever, been equaled either in depth or in breadth.

It is of major importance to recall that Guenon distinguishes two principal phases in the ongoing descent, which he designates by the terms ‘solidification’ and ‘dissolution’; and it is of interest to note that he enunciated this distinction at a time when physics was just entering the second aforesaid phase through the discovery of quantum mechanics. Although Guenon displayed no more interest in the new physics (which came to birth between 1925 and 1927) than in its Newtonian predecessor, and seems hardly to take not of the quantum revolution, it is clear that the advent of quantum theory does indeed mark the de-solidification of the physical universe. Not only, however, does this development – which came as a complete surprise and major shock to the scientific community – accord with the principles of the Guenonian analysis, but as I will show in the sequel, that analysis provides in fact the key to a metaphysical understanding of quantum theory, and thus of contemporary physics at large: they very science, that is, the existence of which Guenon never recognized!” Ibid, Pg. 30, 31

[6] Ibid, Pg. 34

[7] Ibid, Pg. 34

[8] Ibid, Pg. 34

[9] Ibid, Pg. 34

[10] Ibid, Pg. 37, 38

Standard
Philosophy, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Scholasticism, Theology, Thomism, Traditionalism

The Sacred Monster of Strict-Observance Thomism

RGL PhotoStrict-Observance Thomism

The first chapter of Helen James John’s The Thomist Spectrum is entitled “Garrigou-Lagrange and Strict-Observance Thomism.” She notes that the qualifier “strict-observance” was coined in “a half-joking fashion many years ago, but has now become a standard way of speaking about the Thomism taught in the Roman universities up to the Second Vatican Council”; it is a double-entendre – playing on the strict-observance faction present in many religious orders. In her judgment, St. Pius X’s condemnation of Modernism in Pascendi was the single-most important factor to highlight for the explanation of this type of Thomism because, in its wake, “the reaction against Modernism became the leit-motif for a total interpretation of the thought of St. Thomas.” Garrigou-Lagrange would become the leading proponent of Strict-Observance Thomism; and with the Sacred Congregation for Studies’ publication of its “Decree of Approval of Some Theses Contained in the Doctrine of St. Thomas Aquinas and Proposed to the Teachers of Philosophy” on 27 July 1914, this version of Thomism “found a quasi-official formulation.”

To simply a host of issues, Strict-Observance Thomism is at great pains to protect the metaphysical foundations of Catholic theology; part and parcel of this ‘protection’ is a demonstration that the Aristotelian heritage in metaphysics has neither been transcended nor shown to be seriously wanting. In this section, we will examine the philosophical underpinnings of Strict-Observance Thomism; we will see that many of the issues that we explored in reference to Garrigou’s disputes with the philosophes of Henri Bergson and Maurice Blondel will come into clearer focus. Since Strict-Observance Thomism is most interested in combatting Modernism, the following insight is helpful in setting the stage for understanding Garrigou’s passionate engagement with the question:

“The philosophical aspect of Modernism lay in the position that the doctrines of faith must be regarded not as stable truths of the speculative order, but as ‘symbolic’ expressions of man’s religious needs, whose content required radical reformulation to adapt it to the changed circumstances of successive eras of Christianity. The import of this position, which retained the traditional expressions of faith while denying their truth, has been aptly, if flippantly, summed up in the proposition that ‘There is no God and the Blessed Virgin is His Mother.’”

Of utmost importance is that Strict-Observance Thomism holds that the truths of Christian faith are expressions of realities that transcend the religious longings of the human person. These truths are held to have been revealed by God: they are not accounted for by a mere inspection of the workings of the human heart. This point must be insisted upon: Strict-Observance Thomism, while employing what might today strike many as obscure philosophical concepts, places its priority squarely on revelation. There is no equivocation in its doctrine that God has revealed certain truths and that these truths cannot be known apart from the gratuity of divine revelation. While it is true that these truths can be rationally analyzed and can be shown to be ‘reasonable’ and can even be shown to respond to the deepest needs of the human person, they cannot be accounted for without reference to the God who has deigned to reveal them.”

 

– Lucas G. Westman


*Taken from The Sacred Monster of Thomism, Pg. 119 – 121

Standard
Culture, Philosophy, Traditionalism

The Beauty of Tradition & An Important Lesson in Humility

Jesus & the ApostlesMy diocese recently endorsed the idea that local parish communities should form teams of street evangelists. I was very excited when I heard this news because street evangelization is something I have been very interested in ever since becoming Catholic. Without hesitation I volunteered to go and receive training to be a fisher of men. During the training session, God showed me something that humbled me to the core. While I was listening the speaker give his lecture on the importance of street evangelization, and how badly people need the healing power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, God showed me patterns of sinful pride in my intellectual habits. Then it dawned on me in a powerful way that God doesn’t need me to come up with great ideas or devise a grand vision for my life, and he definitely doesn’t need my personality, which can be annoying even for myself at times.

God doesn’t need my personality, my ideas, or my vision. I know, big breakthrough, right? Well, it can be an important corrective that God reveals to us in case we start to puff ourselves up in any way, thinking we are more important than we actually are. It is very easy to start believing that the Church needs original ideas, renewed creativity, or glowing personalities. The desire for renewal with “fresh ideas” is a ruse. The Church needs none of this, but I had fallen into the trap of thinking that I could bring something important to the Church. Now, I would never explicitly believe for a moment that God needs me. I am totally dependent upon His loving grace, and it is I who needs Him above all things. And while I have never intentionally pursued these kinds of thought patterns, that God might need me, the self-important prideful mentality can quite easily become actualized if humility is not energetically pursued each and every day. To properly fight against the sin of pride we have to fight to remain humble. Pride is an unfortunate potentiality of our fallen nature expressed through the patterns of concupiscence.

Being confronted by these truths, tears began to well up in my eyes as I realized how arrogant, selfish, and prideful I can be. It is truly a foolish mentality to think that God needs anything from us when the fact is that whatever we do have is a gift received from our Creator. As I wiped away my tears, embarrassed of my immaturity, God pressed upon me what it is He desires of me. It is as beautiful as it is simple.

I am called to love God and love my neighbor.

Be faithful to God, to Jesus Christ the only begotten Son of God, and to the deposit of faith given to the Church. Trust in the wisdom of the Church guaranteed by the Holy Spirit. Focus on leading my family through the sacramental vocation of marriage. Work to building up my local Parish in any way that I can. This is what God desires of me; that by loving Him I might love those around me, and by loving those around me in the name of Jesus Christ, God is glorified.

And here is what all of this means for someone like me who lives quite a bit inside my own head – I am never going to come up with something better than or something that adds to the genius of the Thomistic tradition of thought. I will never be smarter, more creative, or more original than the Sacred Tradition I have inherited from those who came before me. I am blessed to have the opportunity to participate in these traditions, to articulate its wisdom against the enemies of the Church, and by the grace of God to bring people into its inheritance so that they might also know Christ, His Most Holy Mother Mary, and the sacramental life of the Church. Admitting this of my prideful self exposes the futility of pursuing “new ideas” or creating “new movements” in the Church to spark emotional excitement about her teachings. If Catholics cannot get excited about what is ancient in the Church, then the new will fade away just as quickly for it is the Gospel itself that is ancient, and we should never tire from hearing of its truth, its beauty, and its goodness.

The bottom line is that I, nor will anyone else, ever outsmart or outdo the wisdom of Sacred Tradition and the fiery trials of concrete historical experiences. And as a self-avowed traditionalist, a healthy amount of shame consumes me to even admit that this “renewal” mentality crept into my thinking.

Instead of renewal, the contemporary Church needs to be awakened to her traditions.

The Church, full of the Holy Spirit and by the authority of Christ the King proclaimed the New Covenant.

The Church, by her divine authority defined the Incarnation, the Blessed and Holy Trinity, and gave us the canon of the Sacred Page.

The Church broke through centuries of violent persecution to evangelize the world and develop an organic Christian society called Christendom.

The Church, in the tradition of Christian Wisdom synthesized the ancient philosophies with Patristic devotion, leaving us with the Scholastic heritage of theology and philosophy.

The Church, to guard against revolutionaries, gave us the Council of Trent and showed us the way to defend the Church with the thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Universal and Angelic Doctor.

The Church, lead by many courageous Popes, provided encyclicals exposing the enemies of the faith and armed us with the spiritual weapons needed to defeat these diabolical foes.

The Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, has provided the soldiers of the Church Militant with an apostolic wisdom powerful enough to convert the nations.

It is our job now, as good soldiers loyal to the King of kings, to take this wisdom and baptize the nations through the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Church and her traditions do not need renewal, they need to be awakened so that the world may be renewed by her.

 

– Lucas G. Westman

 

 

 

Standard
Our Lady of Fatima, Traditionalism

What YOU Can Do To Bring About Our Lady’s Triumph

Our Lady Crushing the SnakeIn asking for the Holy Father and all of the world’s Catholic bishops to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart, Our Lady put the burden for bringing about her triumph squarely on the leaders of her Son’s Church. However, she gave the rest of us a crucially important role to play as well. If we fulfill the mission she has entrusted to us, we will share in her victory of bringing peace and order to the world, as well as the grace of conversion for many souls.

In order to hasten the day of Our Lady’s triumph and the promised period of peace, YOU can do the following seven things:

I. Increase your love of God and of Our Lady
Many people, both Catholics and non-Catholics, do not love Our Lady enough. Many, especially Protestants, are nervous about giving her too much honor. Those in this situation should remember that we can never love her as much as Jesus loves her. She is, after all, His mother. We should ask Him to help us love her in a way that is pleasing to Him.

II. Pray the Rosary every day
At Fatima, Our Lady specifically requested the daily praying of the Rosary. She promised, “You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the Rosary.” It is not enough to simply say the words of the Our Fathers, Hail Marys, and Glory Bes, however. We need to do our best to pray the Rosary well. We must strive to really meditate upon the mysteries of our salvation. It probably will not be easy at first, but with time and practice we can improve greatly. Spiritual reading on the Rosary and the great mysteries of our Faith will also help in this regard.

III. Wear the Brown Scapular
The Brown Scapular is Our Lady’s emblem. It is our symbol of devotion to her, our mother and queen. Additionally, the wearing of it makes us partakers of her promise to St. Simon Stock, “Whoseover dies wearing this scapular shall not suffer eternal fire.” The Scapular, along with the Rosary, has long been set aside as a crucial weapon for the final victory over Satan. As Our Lady told St. Dominic, “One day, through the Rosary and the Scapular, I will save the world.”

IV. Stop offending God
As Our Lady said at Fatima, the world must stop offending God, who is already so much offended. This was in 1917. The sins of the world have increased a hundredfold since then. When we are tempted to sin, we should remember that if we do so, we are only adding to the problem. Every avoided sin is that much less cause for God to punish our world. Additionally, it is a good way to show God that we love Him, and that we appreciate all He has done for us.

V. Do penance
We should do penance to make reparation to God for the sins of our world. Our penitential acts do not need to be major undertakings. The best thing we can do is to offer up the daily sufferings associated with our states in life. When you must do something unpleasant, simply say, “Dear Lord, I offer this up in reparation for my sins and the sins of the whole world.”

VI. Make the First Saturday devotions requested by Our Lady
At Fatima, Our Lady said, “I promise to help at the hour of death, with the graces needed for salvation, whoever on the First Saturday of five consecutive months shall: 1) Confess and receive Holy Communion. 2) Recite five decades of the Holy Rosary. 3) Keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.”

VII. Petition the leaders of the Church
Respectfully ask the bishops, cardinals, and Holy Father to properly fulfill Our Lady’s request without any more delay. You might also consider asking your civil leaders to use their influence to make these requests as well. It is in everyone’s best interest to see the Consecration accomplished. Spread the word. Save the world.

 

Nicholas Kaminsky

Standard
Our Lady of Fatima, Traditionalism

Peace Elusive After the 1984 Consecration

Our Lady of Fatima Sacred HeartIn 1984, Pope St. John Paul II consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. While he undoubtedly gave great honor to Our Lady by doing so, his consecration did not follow the specific guidelines she laid down. The Holy Father did not even mention Russia—the country whose consecration Our Lady had specifically requested—nor did he include all of the world’s Catholic bishops. As a result, while important blessings have flowed from the 1984 consecration, the period of peace promised to the world by Our Lady has proven elusive.

As evidence for this statement, consider the following list of conflicts and accompanying fatalities that have occurred since the time of the 1984 consecration:

  1. Syrian Civil War (2011-2017) – 400,000 killed
  2. Donbass War (2014–2014)  – 4,000 killed
  3. Libyan Government v. Insurgents (2014–2014) – 2,500 killed
  4. Sectarian Conflict in the Central African Republic (2012–2014) – 2,099 killed
  5. South Sudan Civil War (2011–2014) – 1,755 killed
  6. Syrian Civil War (2011–2014) – 43,195 killed
  7. Nigerian Government v. Boko Haram (2009–2014) – 4,627 killed
  8. Waziristan Conflict (2007–2014) – 23,494 killed
  9. Mexican Drug War (2006–2014) – 92,880 killed
  10. Iraqi Insurgency (2004-2014) – 28,863 killed
  11. Afghanistan War (2001-2014) – 53,925 killed
  12. Somalia Civil War (1982–2014) – 39,549 killed
  13. Israel vs Palestine (1949–2014) – 15,216 killed
  14. Yemen vs Al-Qaeda (2009–2013) – 4,270 killed
  15. Kivu Conflict (2006–2013) – 10,105 killed
  16. Al-Qaeda vs USA and allies (2001–2013) – 7,649 killed
  17. Russia vs Chechnyan Secessionists – (1994-2013) – 23,217 killed
  18. Algeria Govt vs Islamic Rebels (1991-2013) – 20,533 killed
  19. Indian Govt vs Maoist Guerillas (1990-2013) – 6,854 killed
  20. India vs Pakistan, Kashmir Dispute (1984-2013) – 24,376 killed
  21. Turkey Gov vs Kurdistan Guerilla – (1984-2013) – 28,655 killed
  22. Sudan Government vs Militias – (1983-2013) – 97,099 killed
  23. Uganda Civil War – (1980-2013) — 127,529 killed
  24. Mozambique Govt vs RENAMO and FRELIMO – (1977-2013) – 115,889 killed
  25. Ethiopia vs Oromia rebels (OLF) – (1977-2013) – 2,735 killed
  26. Ethiopian Govt vs Ogadeni Rebels – (1976-2013) – 23,265 killed
  27. Philippines Govt vs Mindanao Guerillas – (1970-2013) – 17,393 killed
  28. Philippine Government vs CPP Guerrilla – (1969-2013) – 24,626 killed
  29. Colombia Govt vs Guerillas Farc and ELN – (1964-2013) – 26,875 killed
  30. Burmese Government vs Separatist Guerillas – (1949-2013) – 49,862 killed
  31. Libyan Civil War – (2011-2011) – 2,082 killed
  32. Tajikistan Govt vs Opposition – (1992-2011) – 9,145 killed
  33. Senegal Civil War – (1990-2011) – 1,657 killed
  34. Iran vs Rebel Groups – (1979-2011) – 5,035 killed
  35. Chad Civil War – (1966-2010) – 36,077 killed
  36. Peruvian Gvt vs Sendero Luminoso and MRTA – (1965-2010) – 17,250 killed
  37. Sri Lankan Govt vs Tamil Militants – (1984-2009) – 73,818 killed
  38. Burundi Civil War – (1991-2008) – 15,651 killed
  39. Nepal Civil War  – (1996-2006) – 12,274 killed
  40. Southern Lebanon War – (1990-2006) – 1,712 killed
  41. Indonesia Gvt vs Aceh Liberation Movement – (1990-2005) – 2,841 killed
  42. Civil War in Côte d Ivoire – (2002-2004) – 1,370 killed
  43. Ituri Conflict – (1999-2004) – 12,664 killed
  44. Iraq vs US led coalition – (2003-2003) – 8,202 killed
  45. First and Second Congo Wars – (1996-2003) – 79,858 killed
  46. Liberia Civil War – (1989-2003) – 15,970 killed
  47. Congo Brazzaville Civil War – (1993-2002) – 15,541 killed
  48. Angolan Gvt vs UNITA Guerilla – (1975-2002) – 114,898 killed
  49. Sierra Leone Civil War – (1991-2001) – 18,119 killed
  50. Eritrea vs Ethiopia – (2000-2000) – 98,192 killed
  51. Afghanistan Civil War – (1978-2000) — 536,297 killed
  52. Yugoslavia vs NATO Forces and UCK Guerilla – (1998-1999) – 3,613 killed
  53. Indonesian Govt vs Fretilin – East Timor – (1975-1999) – 76,550 killed
  54. Cambodian Govt vs Khmer Rouge – (1979-1998) – 87,520 killed
  55. Northern Ireland, The Troubles – (1971-1998) – 3,010 killed
  56. Iraq vs Kurdistan (KDP/PUK) – (1982-1996) – 20,620 killed
  57. Iraq Government vs SCIRI – (1982-1996) – 1,165 killed
  58. Iranian Govt vs KDPI – (1966-1996) – 2,618 killed
  59. Bosnian Govt vs Serbian and Croatian Insurgents – (1992-1995) – 29,103 killed
  60. Croatia vs Serbian Irregulars, Rep. Krajina – (1992-1995) – 1,442 killed
  61. Guatemalan Civil War – (1965-1995) – 45,392 killed
  62. North Yemen vs Secessionists – (1994-1994) – 1,489 killed
  63. Nagorno-Karabakh War – (1990-1994) – 5,065 killed
  64. Rwanda Civil War (Hutus vs Tutsis) – (1990-1994) – 520,718 killed
  65. Burmese Govt vs Communist Guerillas – (1948-1994) – 17,700 killed
  66. Georgian Civil War – (1992-1993) – 2,752 killed
  67. Indian Govt vs Sikh insurgents – (1983-1993) – 11,160 killed
  68. Serbian Govt. vs Croatian irregulars – (1991-1991) – 3,933 killed
  69. First Gulf War – (1990-1991) – 22,848 killed
  70. El Salvador Gvt vs FMLN Guerrillas – (1979-1991) – 51,663 killed
  71. Ethiopian Government vs EPRDF – (1976-1991) – 56,003 killed
  72. Ethiopia vs Eritrean Separatists – (1964-1991) – 168,510 killed
  73. Nicaragua Govt vs Contras – (1981-1990) – 29,964 killed
  74. Lebanese Civil War – (1975-1990) – 131,104 killed
  75. Sri Lanka Govt vs JVP – (1971-1990) – 2,018 killed
  76. Panama Coup and US Invasion – (1989-1989) — 920 killed
  77. Romanian Revolution – (1989-1989) — 909 killed
  78. Western Sahara War – (1975-1989) – 12,687 killed
  79. Iran vs Iraq – (1985-1988) — 644,500 killed
  80. South Africa vs ANC – (1981-1988) – 4,087 killed
  81. Sino-Vietnamese War – (1978-1988) – 47,046 killed
  82. Namibia vs South Africa – (1966-1988) – 10,000 killed
  83. Chadian-Lybian War (Aouzou Strip) – (1987-1987) – 8,500 killed
  84. South Yemen Coup – (1986-1986) –  10,000 killed

These numbers represent over 4 million people killed in wars throughout the world since the 1984 consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart.

Is this really the peace promised by Our Lady at Fatima? Does it not seem more likely that the consecration has not been properly accomplished, and that as a result, we are still waiting for the period of peace Our Lady promised us?

There are of course those who argue that the 1984 consecration was acceptable, and that we simply cannot expect the period of peace promised by Our Lady to arrive overnight. However, it’s been nearly 35 years since the 1984 consecration. That’s 35 years of violence, bloodshed, and terror, resulting in the loss of millions of lives. Did Our Lady really perform the astonishing Miracle of the Sun in front of 75,000 people back in October, 1917 in order to announce that things will eventually, someday get better? Or could it be that she really meant what she requested, the consecration of Russia by the Holy Father, in union with all the bishops of the world.

God can do all things, including bringing about the “overnight” conversion of nations. But first he requires us to perform the part he has appointed for us.

 

– Nicholas Kaminsky


* Source: The Polynational War Memorial

Standard
Traditionalism, Wolfgang Smith

Wolfgang Smith: Science and Myth

Landscape & SpaceWolfgang Smith’s essay, Science and Myth, utilizes Ananda Coomaraswamy’s articulation of what constitutes an authentic myth in order to raise our conscious awareness that science too develops myths, or paradigms, when interpreting the surrounding natural order. Smith identifies three modern scientific paradigms – the Newtonian, the Darwinian, and the Copernican – which he classifies as “anti-myths.” These paradigmatic anti-myths constitute the revolutionary pillars combatting the perennially wise, sacred traditionalism inherited by mankind prior to the Enlightenment. The importance of recognizing that we are not simply arguing with individuals reporting the scientific facts opens a pathway for a clearer understanding of St. Paul’s teaching that unbelievers suppress the truth in unrighteousness.[1] When these paradigms are exposed as the vehicles for countering the authentic, sacred “myths” (paradigms) of biblical revelation, we can then move toward challenging their veracity so that the Gospel of Jesus Christ may be boldly proclaimed.[2]

Smith begins his essay by introducing the dynamic interaction of myth and doctrine, and that myth exceeds doctrine similar to the truth that a cause exceeds its effect.[3] And while this is an appropriate understanding of the relationship between myth and doctrine, it is not, however, the task of doctrine to explain away the founding myth. To the contrary, the purpose of doctrine is to bring us into dynamic interaction with the myth.[4] Sacred doctrine is respected, proclaimed, and defended by those who adhere to its perennial truth, but ancient doctrine is not sacred to everyone. As Smith points out, “atheists and iconoclasts have myths of their own. Not only the wise, but fools also live ultimately by myth; it is only that the respective myths are by no means the same.”[5] These atheists and iconoclasts champion the modernist paradigms that have fueled much hostility against the traditions of mankind, and especially the Holy Roman Church.

The first myth Smith discusses is the Newtonian mechanical universe, where “bare matter” and the interaction of physical parts is understood through the forces of attraction and repulsion, which reduces the movement of the whole to its disparate parts.[6] To be sure, the mechanical universe is related to the Cartesian bifurcation of reality into the machinery of nature and the subjective soul, so in many ways the stupendous errors of the father of modern philosophy are undergirding the Newtonian paradigm. It is important to note that Smith’s criticisms of the Newtonian paradigm does not amount to an attack on the legitimate scientific discoveries acquired through this model of the universe. Smith says,

“Though the Newtonian worldview may indeed be spurious – a ‘myth’ in the pejorative sense of this equivocal term – history confirms that it has nonetheless functioned brilliantly in its capacity as a scientific paradigm. It appears that error too has its use! One sees in retrospect that science of the contemporary kind could never have ‘lifted off the ground’ without the benefit of a worldview that is drastically oversimplified, to the point of being incurably fallacious.”[7]

He continues,

“Despite its philosophical invalidity, the success of the Newtonian paradigm has been spectacular. From the publication of Newton’s Principia, in the year 1687, to the beginning of the twentieth century, it was universally regarded, not simply as a successful paradigm, but indeed as the master-key to the secrets of Nature, from the motion of stars and planets, to the functioning of her minutest parts. I will not recount the triumphs of Newtonian physics which seemingly justify this grand expectation; the list is long and singularly impressive. Suffice to say that by the end of the nineteenth century the Newtonian scheme had extended its sway beyond the bounds of mechanics, as commonly understood, to include electromagnetism, which, as it turns out, cannot be pictured in grossly mechanical terms.”[8][9]

Smith continues to argue that even the advancement of Einsteinian physics remains largely mechanical, which indicates that the Newtonian paradigm is capable of absorbing new discoveries as long as the physical universe can, in principle, be accurately described in terms of differential equations.[10] It wasn’t until the advent of quantum mechanics that the mechanistic metaphysical paradigm of the cosmos was seriously challenged. The fundamentals of quantum theory have shown that the universe cannot be understood in fully deterministic terms.[11]

The second paradigm Smith identifies is Darwinism. While Smith is critical of the Newtonian worldview, he still respects the breakthroughs made in the field of physics following its institutionalization. The Darwinian paradigm receives no such respect,

“We turn now to the Darwinian paradigm, which proves to be, in a sense, the opposite of the Newtonian: for it happens that Darwin’s idea has been an unmitigated failure from the start. I contend, in fact, that Darwinism is not in truth a scientific theory, but is simply an ideological postulation masquerading in scientific garb.”[12]

The Intelligent Design movement notably influences Smith’s disagreements with Darwinism. He does not hesitate to use the arguments developed by Philip Johnson, Michael Behe, and William Dembski. Smith is particularly impressed by the mathematical application of intelligent design developed by Dembski, which Smith considers the strongest refutation of Darwinism.

Due to the weight of the criticisms developed by the Intelligent Design movement, Smith is in agreement with at least four of their main contentions. The first contention is that the fossil record lacks the necessary evidence to support the theory, which is why the evidential situation calls for developments such as ‘punctuated equilibrium.’ Simply stated, the intermediary forms are nowhere to be found. What does occur in the fossil record, however, is the clear indication that species appear, and then disappear with very little, if any morphological changes.[13] The second criticism of Darwinism is that the key principle of naturalistic evolution, “survival of the fittest,” is a vacuous tautology. It amounts to nothing more than a slogan masquerading as a scientific hypothesis. Chanting the “survival of the fittest” is tantamount to saying, “whatever happens, happens.” The third criticism is the circularity of “the so-called molecular clock, which supposedly measures the rate at which evolutions takes place.”[14] Smith explains, “However, in the euphoria generated by this discovery, one forgets that not even a ‘molecular clock’ can measure the rate of evolution unless evolution has indeed occurred.”[15] This criticism leads to the fourth critique, which is Michael Behe’s discovery of irreducible complexity. According to Behe, the irreducible complexity of say, the bacterial flagellum, cannot be accounted for in purely Darwinist terms, which leads into the mathematical explanations of William Dembski demonstrating the impossibility of Darwinian naturalism.

The third myth Smith discusses is the Copernican paradigm. To properly capture the enormity of this paradigm, it is worth quoting Smith at length in his description of it,

“Our third paradigm pertains to contemporary cosmology. It happens that field equations plus astronomical data do not suffice to determine the global structure of the physical universe: an infinite number of ‘possible worlds’ remain. One therefore requires an additional hypothesis. Following Einstein’s lead, scientists have generally opted for a condition of spatial uniformity in the distribution of matter: one defines an average density of matter, and assumes this to be constant throughout space. Thus, on a sufficiently large scale, the cosmos is thought to resemble a gas, in which the individual molecules can be replaced by a density of so many grams per cubic meter. It was Hermann Bondi who first referred to this assumption as the Copernican principle, and not without reason; for even though Copernicus himself knew nothing about a supposedly constant density of stellar matter, the principle in question constitutes in a way the ultimate repudiation of geocentrism, and thus consummates what has been termed the Copernican revolution. Henceforth space in the large is assumed to be void of structure or design, and subject only to local fluctuations from an average density, much like the molecular fluctuations in a gas, which remain imperceptible on a macroscopic scale. I would like however to impress upon you that this is not a positive finding of astrophysics or a proven fact, but simply an assumption: to be precise, it is the postulate or hypothesis which underlies our contemporary scientific cosmology.”[16]

This assumption eventually developed into what is now recognized as standard big bang cosmology. However, the standard model is facing difficulties due to observations that do not comport with the presupposed Copernican paradigm.[17] Only time will tell if this particular paradigm will survive the storm of observational abnormalities.

These three paradigms, these anti-myths, are what informs the modern mind and shapes the culture. The modernist cultural psychology, guided by these paradigms, is what motivates the new atheist activists looking to eradicate religious traditions from society at large. Instead of defending the authentic discoveries of science against the spirit of ‘fundamentalist’ anti-intellectualism, enemies of sacred tradition have become the ideological vanguards of an anti-mythos inherited from the now defunct “Age of Reason.” These realities significantly affect the spiritual conflict between sacred tradition and modernism,

“Now, it is at this point, I say, that modern science touches upon the spiritual domain: it enters the picture, I contend, not as an ally of true religion, but perforce as an impediment to faith, and therefore as a spoiler, an antagonist. It is a case of opposing myths, of mythologies that clash: or better said, of myth and anti-myth.”[18]

Recognizing the clash of worldviews leads to the identification of metaphysical idolatry in the modern mind,

“The trouble with paradigms, however, is that they tend to become absolutized, that is to say, dissociated from the scientific process; and this is where the idolatry sets in. One transitions surreptitiously from the hypothetical to the certain, from the relative to the absolute, and thus from a science to a metaphysics. But not to an authentic metaphysics! True to its origin, that ‘relative rendered absolute’ remains unfounded and illegitimate, a pseudo-metaphysics one can say. It needs to be understood that a paradigm of science absolutized turns forthwith into an anti-myth.”[19]

These insights afford us a properly biblical understanding of our current state of affairs. The traditionalist worldview, in possession of the graces of the Christ-mind, must interact with the deformations of the fallen, anti-christ worldview of the modernist mind in an uncompromising manner. The anti-mythos discussed in Smith’s essay cannot be approached by Christ’s disciples seeking respectability so that Christ might be added onto these erroneous presuppositions built to dethrone the King of kings from the cosmic monarchy. These paradigms under examination are intrinsically anti-logos, and therefore deny the absolute primacy of Christ over all of the created order.

Contained in the sacred pages of Scripture is a cosmic picture of reality that does not cohere with the modern anti-mythos. What we discover in the Bible is a cosmos that is created, finite, contingent, organic, hierarchic, ordered, designed, purposeful, meaningful, intentional, metaphysically peaceful, spiritual as well as material, qualitatively objective in its beauty, and revelatory. The modern picture of the cosmos, guided by the Newtonian, Darwinian, and Copernican paradigms is uncreated, mechanical, chaotic, disordered, violent, not designed, devoid of purpose, unintentional, meaningless, materialistic, contains no objective beauty, and snuffs out any notion of God being revealed by the things that have been made.

There is simply no way to reconcile these two divergent worldviews. What separates them is figuratively, and quite literally, cosmic in scale.

 

– Lucas G. Westman


[1] “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.” Romans 1:18-23

[2] Smith doesn’t suggest that sacred tradition is a myth in the sense that it is false, or a silly fairy-tale. What Smith suggests is that there are true “myths,” those of sacred tradition, and there are false “anti-myths,” which are the paradigms of modern scientism.

[3] Science & Myth, Pg. 7

[4] Ibid, Pg. 7

[5] Ibid, Pg. 7

[6] Ibid, Pg. 9

[7] Ibid, Pg. 9

[8] Ibid, Pg. 10

[9] This is an important qualification because any criticism made by a religious traditionalist of the metaphysical naturalism and epistemic scientism prevalent in elite corners of society is often mistaken for a criticism against the field of science itself. It is in many ways a preposterous conflation made by the adherents of the modernist paradigm, but it is necessary to make such mistakes in order to guard against the wafer thin justification these errors are resting upon. Philosophical crudity is often the intellectual residence of those who live comfortably in the realm of mantra.

[10] Ibid, Pg. 10

[11] Ibid, Pg. 10

[12] Ibid, Pg. 11

[13] Ibid, Pg. 11

[14] Ibid, Pg. 13

[15] Ibid, Pg. 13

[16] Ibid, Pg. 14, 15

[17] “Before too long, however, big bang cosmology ran into difficulties, which have since led to a number of modifications in an ongoing effort to accommodate the mathematics to the empirical data of astronomy. Nonetheless, all is not well, and those who claim otherwise ‘overlook observational facts that have been piling up for 25 years and have now become overwhelming,’ as Halton Arp pointed out in 1991. For example, astronomers claim to have spotted galaxies separated by close to a billion light-years. Now, given the low relative velocities observed between galaxies, it would take about 200 billion years to arrive at such a separation from an initially uniform state: a good ten times longer than the estimated age of the universe. Or, to cite another fundamental difficulty: there seems not to be nearly enough matter in the universe to generate gravitational fields strong enough to account for the formation and persistence of galaxies. Such incongruities, however, are general taken in stride by the experts…What does one do, for instance, if there is not enough matter in the universe to account for galaxies? One strategy is to introduce something called ‘dark matter,’ which supposedly does not interact with electromagnetic fields, and is consequently invisible. Its only measurable property is gravitation, and its only discernable effect is to bring the gravitational field up to the levels demanded by the big bang scenario. Never mind that not a single particle of dark matter has ever been detected: for advocates of big bang theory, it seems, the existence of galaxies is proof enough. According to some estimates, proposed by the respected members of the astrophysical community, about 99% of all matter in the universe is dark. What is more, one postulates two kinds of dark matter: so-called ‘hot’ and ‘cold,’ with very different properties, in a mix of 1/3 hot and 2/3 cold as the required blend!” Ibid, Pg. 15, 16

[18] Ibid, Pg. 19

[19] Ibid, Pg. 19

Standard
Our Lady of Fatima, Traditionalism

Russia Still Waiting

The Blessed Mother Mary Stained GlassIn 1929, Our Lady appeared to Fatima seer Sr. Lucia at her convent in Tuy, Spain to ask for the Holy Father to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart. This was in keeping with her 1917 promise to Lucia and her young companions, Francisco and Jacinta, both recently canonized by Pope Francis. While addressing Sr. Lucia, Our Lady announced the following:

“The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father to make, in union with all the bishops of the world, the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means. So numerous are the souls which the justice of God condemns for sins committed against Me, that I come to ask for reparation. Sacrifice yourself for this intention and pray.”

Many good Catholics believe that the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary has already been accomplished. As evidence of this, they especially point to the consecration of the world made by Pope St. John Paul II in 1984. The facts, however, show that despite several attempts by various popes, Russia has never been consecrated according to Our Lady’s specific requests. That is, no pope has consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in a solemn ceremony in union with all of the Catholic bishops of the world.

The following is a short list of attempts made by various popes to fulfill Our Lady’s request:

  1. In 1942, Pope Pius XII consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He did not mention Russia, nor did he include all of the Catholic Bishops of the world.
  2. In 1952, Pope Pius XII again consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and this time did mention Russia, but he did not include all of the Catholic bishops of the world.
  3. In 1981, Pope John Paul II consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He did not mention Russia, nor did he include all of the Catholic bishops of the world.
  4. In 1982, Pope John Paul II again consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, but he still did not mention Russia, nor did he include all of the Catholic bishops of the world.
  5. In 1984, Pope John Paul II yet again consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, but he still did not specifically mention Russia. He invited all of the Catholic bishops of the world to participate, but he did not order them to do so, and many did not.
  6. In 2013, Pope Francis entrusted the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He did not consecrate it. He did not mention Russia. He did not include all of the Catholic bishops of the world.

Not one of these many consecrations has specifically fulfilled Our Lady’s request. Each has left out at least one crucial element, whether the mention of Russia or the inclusion of all of the world’s Catholic bishops.

There is, of course, a common argument that since Russia is a part of the world, a consecration of the world naturally includes Russia and should therefore suffice. But Our Lady specifically asked for the consecration of Russia, not of the world. Why God wants it this way we do not know. But we do know that when God wants something done according to his specific directions, we ought to do it that way.

I would encourage any who believe that these past consecrations of the world have been adequate to open their Bibles and read Numbers 20:8-12. In these passages, we see that God did not allow Moses to enter the Promised Land because he struck a rock rather than simply speaking to it as God had commanded him. Isn’t it reasonable to believe that this same God would require His representatives on earth today to obey His request to the letter?

Why not simply fulfill Our Lady’s request according to her specific directives? How hard could it be? What could it hurt?

 

Nicholas Kaminsky

 

Standard
Our Lady of Fatima, Traditionalism

Our Lady of Fatima 100 Years Later

Our Lady of Fatima ChildrenThe 100th Anniversary of Fatima: Our Lady’s Warning and Promise

In 1917, Our Lady appeared to three young shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. These apparitions—which have been approved by the Catholic Church—took place on the 13th of each month from May to October and were concluded with the famous Miracle of the Sun, an extraordinary event witnessed by 70,000 people, believer and non-believer alike.

Since Our Lady concluded these apparitions with the greatest pre-announced public miracle in the history of the world, it is safe to say that the message she came to bring was important. We should therefore listen to what she had to tell us. Among other things, she asked for the following:

  • That we cease to offend God.
  • That we do prayer and penance in reparation for the sins of the world.
  • That we make the First Saturday devotions in reparation for sins against the Immaculate Heart.
  • That we pray the Rosary every day.
  • That the pope, in union with all of the Catholic bishops of the world, consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart.

All of us can undoubtedly do a better job of fulfilling Our Lady’s requests, but this is especially true of the Holy Father and the bishops of the Church.

Several popes over the last few decades have made various consecrations to the Immaculate Heart. Most notable among these was Pope St. John Paul II’s consecration of the entire world in 1984. However, no pope has specifically fulfilled Our Lady’s request, and as a result, the world today is moving ever closer to the fulfillment of her dire prophecies:

“If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”

Today, on the 100th anniversary of Our Lady’s first apparition at Fatima, her message there is more pertinent than ever before. With heresy and heterodoxy threatening to swamp the Church, and with the world teetering on the edge of another major war, our shepherds can no longer delay in fulfilling Our Mother’s urgent request.

 

Nicholas Kaminsky

Standard
A Catechism of Modernism, Catechism, Theology, Traditionalism

A Catechism of Modernism: Part I – The Modernist Errors

Pope St. Pius X Writing & StudyingA Catechism of Modernism

Part I

The Modernist Errors

Prelude

Q. To proceed in an orderly manner in the exposition of the errors of Modernism, how many personalities must we consider in the Modernist?

A. To proceed in an orderly manner in this recondite subject, it must first of all be noted that every Modernist sustains and comprises within himself many personalities; he is a philosopher, a believer, a theologian, an historian, a critic, an apologist, a reformer. These roles must be clearly distinguished from one another by all who would accurately know their system and thoroughly comprehend the principles and the consequences of their doctrines.

Chapter I.

The Religious Philosophy of the Modernists.

1. Agnosticism. 

Q. We begin, then, with the philosopher. What doctrine do the Modernists use as the foundation for their religious philosophy?

A. Modernists place the foundation of religious philosophy in that doctrine which is usually called Agnosticism.

 

Q. Give the teaching of Agnosticism?

A. According to this teaching, human reason is confined entirely within the field of phenomena, that is to say, to things that are perceptible to the senses, and in the manner in which they are perceptible: it has no right and no power to transgress these limits. Hence it is incapable of lifting itself up to God, and of recognizing His existence, even by means of visible things.

 

Q. What conclusions do Modernists draw from this doctrine?

A. From this it is inferred that God can never be the direct object of science, and that, as regards history, He must not be considered as an historical subject.

 

Q. What according to these premises, will become of natural theology, the motives of credibility, and of external revelation?

A. Given these premises, all will readily perceive what becomes of natural theology, of the motives of credibility, of external revelation. The Modernists simply make away with them altogether; they include them in Intellectualism, which they call a ridiculous and long ago defunct system.

 

Q. Do the condemnations of the Church exercise any restraint on the Modernists?

A. Nor does the fact that the Church has formally condemned these portentous errors exercise the slightest restraint upon them.

 

Q. What definition of the Vatican Council may be cited against the Modernists?

A. The Vatican Council has defined: If any one says that the one true God, Our Creator and Lord, can not be known with certainty by the natural light of human reason by means of the things that are made, let them be anathema (De Revel., can. 1); and also: If any one says that it is not possible or not expedient that man be taught, through the medium of divine revelation, about God and the worship to be paid Him, let them be anathema (Ibid., can. 2); and finally: If any one says that divine revelation can not be made credible by external signs, and that therefore men should be drawn to the faith only by their personal internal experience or by private inspiration, let them be anathema (De Fide, can. 3)

 

Q. But how can the Modernists make the transition from Agnosticism, which is a state of pure nescience, to scientific and historic Atheism, which is a doctrine of positive denial; and consequently, by what legitimate process of reasoning, starting from ignorance as to whether God has in fact intervened in the history of the human race or not, do they proceed, in their explanation of this history, to ignore God altogether, as if He really had not intervened?

A. The matter may be understood from this: It is a fixed and established principle among them that both science and history must be atheistic: and within their boundaries there is room for nothing but phenomena; God and all that is divine are utterly excluded.

 

Q. According to this absurd teaching, what must be held regarding the sacred Person of Christ, what concerning the mysteries of His life and death, of His Resurrection and Ascension into heaven?

A. All this we shall soon see.

A Catechism of Modernism: Preamble

 

– Lucas G. Westman

Standard
Apologetics, Metaphysics, Philosophy, Traditionalism, Wolfgang Smith

Wolfgang Smith: Preliminary Remarks

School of AthensThe contemporary debate between religion and science, faith and reason, creation and evolution will most likely continue to rage on for several generations. And no matter how ardently avoided due to the vitriolic annoyance of the modern cult of new atheist personality, the traditionalist will at some point have to wrestle with these debates despite the ill-conceived categorizations. The atheist may feel comfortable with these erroneously presumed classifications by mindlessly repeating the mantra that science has defeated religion, or that reason has won the day over faith, or that evolution is scientific fact while creation is a misbegotten magic fairy-tale, but these pontifications have very little to do with the crux of the disagreement between the opposing worldviews. The atheistic Weltanschauung requires these conflicts because the principles they are attempting to commandeer in support of their irrational dogma are undermined by their own materialistic presuppositions. The desperate hope for the atheist, then, is to go on sophistical autopilot by way of repetitious platitude in an attempt to persuade others to refrain from thinking in ways that transcend the procrustean reductions of materialism. The traditionalist, however, recognizes the perpetuation of these dialectical categorizations to be a fallacious starting point, a dead end program that ultimately traps a person in the corner of absurdity. There is no conflict between religion and science because “religion” examines revelation, which comes from God, through mystical contemplation of the theological recognition of divine mysteries, while science is a methodological study of those secondary causes discovered in nature that have been created and sustained by God. Faith and reason are not competitive aspects of the human mind and will; rather, they share a dynamically interactive relationship on the same spectrum of contemplation.

Creation and evolution, however, are at odds with one another and there is simply no way to get around this fact. This is where the conflict can become tricky. Evolution is claimed to be a scientific fact, whereas creation is dismissed as frank stupidity resulting in a staggering level of anti-intellectualism. These are the claims made by the atheist, inexorably linked to a Darwinism that perpetuates the erroneous notion that religion and science, and faith and reason are diametrically opposed to one another. Due to this interconnected narrative attacking religion, many contemporary Christian apologists have committed themselves to making peace with the secular sciences in order to analytically demonstrate, not necessarily the truth of revelation, but the compatibility of faith with secular reason according to a probabilistic epistemic theory. This maneuver has proven to be as disastrous as it is unnecessary. Rather than “sanctifying Christ as Lord in our hearts,” contemporary apologetics has knelt before the dictates of a phony secular prestige in order to look respectable.

Instead of prostrating before an ideological enemy, the traditionalist must set the terms of the debate by exposing the specious assumptions crafted by the atheist. The disagreement isn’t within the scope of scientific discoveries against the mythos of a bygone era of superstition; the debate is between a traditional mythos and a modernist anti-mythos pretending to be scientific. The sooner this is realized, the sooner the traditionalist might no longer be intimidated by illusory methodological prestige.

This is where the thought of Wolfgang Smith becomes vitally important for the traditionalist looking to confront the errors of modernist heresy. Smith is a Roman Catholic, an adherent to the perennial school of philosophy, and his credentials are notable,

“The author (Wolfgang Smith) graduated from Cornell University at age eighteen with majors in physics, philosophy, and mathematics. After taking an M.S. in physics in Purdue University he pursued research in aerodynamics. In those early years he distinguished himself by his papers on the effect of diffusion fields, which provided the first theoretical key to the solution of the re-entry problem for space flight. After receiving a Ph.D. in mathematics from Columbia University, Dr. Smith held faculty positions at M.I.T., U.C.L.A., and Oregon State University, where he retired as a Professor of Mathematics in 1992. In addition to numerous technical publications (relating mainly to differential topology), he has published five other books dealing with foundational interdisciplinary problems, and has become widely recognized as one of the foremost authors to offer a critique of modern science in light of traditionalist metaphysics. He has made it his mission to unmask conceptions of a scientistic kind which are today generally accepted as scientific truths, in the hope of opening doors which have been officially bolted since the Enlightenment.”[1]

These credentials indicate that Smith is well equipped to interact with the claims being made by the secular scientific community. In addition to his ability to interact with the technical rigors of modern scientific theory, Smith possesses the aptitude to philosophically engage the assumptions being posited as scientific breakthroughs when in actuality many of these so-called discoveries are themselves rationalized conventions. Indeed, these capabilities make up for various deficiencies within the contemporary traditionalist school when attempting to refute the modernist anti-mythos.

There are three deficiencies often hindering the total annihilation of the modernist anti-mythos:

  1. First, there are numerous Christians who have attained the necessary academic credentials to critically engage contemporary secular science, but often times these same Christians lack the ability to identify key philosophical issues important to the debate taking place between the opposing worldviews.
  2. Second, there are many Christians who have attained the necessary academic credentials to critically engage contemporary atheistic/naturalist/physicalist/materialist philosophy, but often times lack the ability to identify key scientific issues important to the debate taking place between the opposing worldviews. This results in an apologetic endeavor attempting to show that Christianity can at the very least co-exist with secular science, which in my view is totally inadequate. Another scenario that may take place is the appropriate recognition that the debate is fundamentally metaphysical and ontological, which results in the scientific community’s assumptions frequently escaping critical scrutiny.
  3. Third, the philosophical interaction with modern atheistic philosophy and secular science is most often not done from a distinctively traditionalist perspective, that is, many mainstream Christian apologists share the assumptions of the mechanistic metaphysical worldview that came out of the Enlightenment and overthrew the ancient, organic, hierarchic Christian view of reality.

Wolfgang Smith uniquely overcomes these deficiencies by not only having the scientific and philosophical acumen necessary to deal with the important issues under consideration in the dispute, but he also approaches the debate from a traditionalist perspective.

The result of Wolfgang Smith’s thought is an uncompromising traditionalist refutation of the modernistic atheism hiding behind the esteem of scientific discovery.

The refutation and reinterpretation constructed by Smith has three important phases in its process:

  1. First, it is recognized that scientistic ideology is masquerading as science, that is, method is being mistaken for metaphysics. The philosophical ideology of scientism not only reduces itself to an untenable absurdity, it also nullifies the possibility of properly interpreting authentic discoveries of the natural order.
  2. Second, once this illegitimate marriage between metaphysical ideology and the legitimate methods of science has been annulled, so to speak, authentic discoveries of the natural order can be separated from the modernist anti-mythos so that they may be reinterpreted in light of sacred tradition.
  3. The third and final step is taken when the authentic discoveries of the scientific community are newly reinterpreted in light of sacred tradition so that a fuller, more robust comprehension of the cosmos can begin to emerge. Instead of reducing the whole of reality to its atomized parts, the traditionally understood hierarchic created cosmos is once again free to proclaim the splendor of the Creator.

Wolfgang Smith is one of the most important, and yet unknown, Catholic intellectuals of our contemporary era. His thought is not only relevant for defeating the errors of the modernist anti-mythos, but also, for seeing reality through new eyes. Smith makes it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled traditionalist.

 

– Lucas G. Westman


[1] This summary of credentials is located on the back of his book, Science & Myth.

Standard