Monday, April 10, 2006

(still working on it)
Apropos any discussion of 'enlightenment' and multiculturalism:
Arch defenders of the Enlightenment are most often those who defend the rule of ideas as if it were synonymous with the rule of law and as if both were equally opposed to romanticism. But while the rule of law has never been a romantic ideal, the rule of ideas is little else.

If maintaining this blog has done anything it's giving me a way to work through the defense of my sensibility and give its defense a logical form: The rule of law is the rule of form, not of ideas, and therefore not of any ideal of truth. Scientists tend towards optimism, as prosecutors tend towards moral absolutes. By this logic poets and trial lawyers argue complexity (by description) against the desire to simply name. Science gives us the only valid description of material fact, but is a simplified and vulgar description of experience.
That even scientists agree on the necessity of a rule of law means that they accept its premise.

The historical role of religion was as law. By religious logic -and now by secular legal logic- law must trump science as a description of experience. The recent misunderstandings between both sides of the creationism debate is that the creationists, in defense of the primacy of law (as God's law), are attempting to fight scientists on their own terms. They fail. What PZ Myers et al. fail or refuse to understand is the reason for creationist desperation.
Creationists see scientists equating the rule of science with the rule of law. And as long as defenders of secularism defend the rule of ideas rather than of law, the creationists are right to worry.

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