Darwinism's "Virtual Reality": A Lepidopterist Explains - Evolution News & Views

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Darwinism's "Virtual Reality": A Lepidopterist Explains

In explaining how the Darwinian "trick is done," internationally famous lepidopterist Bernard d'Abrera recruits a name I haven't heard much about since college: the philosopher and historian Michel Foucault. In the latest volume of d'Abrera's epic Butterflies of the World series, titled Butterflies of the Afrotropical Region, Part III: Lycaenidae, Riodinidae, he gives us Foucault in a supporting role you wouldn't have expected.

The two make an odd pair. D'Abrera is the Australian butterfly expert and defender of traditional Linnaean taxonomy, Foucault the French Nietzschean and amoralist. But Foucault's concept of the episteme, an a priori framework in which scientific and other thought is carried out, nicely describes the hermetically enclosed scientific world of the Darwinist as d'Abrera sees it. Foucault defined an episteme as

the strategic apparatus which permits of separating out from among all the statements which are possible those that will be acceptable within, I won't say a scientific theory, but a field of scientificity, and which it is possible to say are true or false. The episteme is the "apparatus" which makes possible the separation, not of the true from the false, but of what may from what may not be characterized as scientific.
An "apparatus" like this -- Darwinism, for example -- arbitrarily limits the horizon of scientific thought, while remaining blind to its having done so and looking for confirmation of the theory's truth by citing the theory itself.

D'Abrera reflects:

Consequently, it would appear that the three great epistemes of modern times are (in chronological order), Darwinian Evolutionism, Marxist Dialectic, and Freudian Psychoanalysm. To these three horsemen of the scientific apocalypse, we have the fourth (and last) -- Climate Change. These conveniently interrelated epistemes have become so rooted in the modern intellect that Reality is tempered by them, to the point where "Virtual Reality"...is given equality of stature as a "Truth" that may not be questioned, as long as there are sufficient people to impose and police it....This leads to a kind of logic practiced by such ideologues, which is called "doxastic logic" (Gr. doxa = glory, holy, opinion). It is not the logic of sane ratiocination, but rather a modal logic of convenience that follows from the acceptance of the episteme as the fundamental premise. It is "Viritual Logic" because it is based on "Virtual Reality."
This might even be understating things. Reality isn't just "tempered" by the materialism of Darwin (and Marx and Freud). Rather, it forms an almost inescapable matrix in which most of us form our beliefs. Borrowing W.H. Auden's famous meteorological description of Freud's influence, "a whole climate of opinion," you might say it's like a thick climate blanketing the modern world. Or maybe "atmosphere" is the more accurate metaphor.

Astronomy shows that on some planets the atmosphere is so heavy with thick swirling gases as to totally obscure any line of sight from the surface toward the cosmos beyond. If you could somehow live on the night side of Venus, veiled everywhere with clouds of sulfuric acid fifty miles deep, you could never see the stars. Increasingly, that is our intellectual and spiritual world, one from which the view to the heavens is largely blocked by a dark poisonous haze of materialist opinion.

Bernard d'Abrera is to be congratulated for taking the professional risk of pointing this out, and in thoroughly, even imprudently combative and unapologetic terms. He alludes a number of times in his book to career costs he's suffered, some because of his forthright distaste for Darwinian evolutionary theory. One particularly interesting loss, an act of intellectual piracy, he sustained at the hands of no less an antagonist than the Smithsonian Institution. More on that in a future post.