I found not one but two good theologically-minded writers last week, who are I think taking theology’s case against materialist ideology to the next level. By that I do not mean to call the approach wholly new or to forget those who, in the spirit of Plato, Berkeley, and Kant, have contributed at a level quite above the hubris we often find today on both sides of the online discussion between religion and science.
In my last post I mentioned the interesting views of essence and existence recently published by Jason Michael McCann over at homophilosophicus. The second writer, Matthew David Segall is the mind and soul behind Footnotes to Plato, a blog which includes an interesting use of video, and has been running at least a couple years. When I encountered Segall he was offering a defense of the essential ontological status of human consciousness against the usual bad philosophy utilized by today’s materialist neuro-metaphysicians when imagining themselves heirs to all the authority of science. Matthew writes:
In the end, what concerns me most is the practice of deepening consciousness, which means not only striving to learn the truth, but to feel the beautiful and to will the good. Is neuroscience relevant to these pursuits? Of course! Do its own methods, paradigms, and data have some sort of a priori authority over other ways of knowing? Of course not! (Which is not to say that there may not be a posteriori reasons for altering a philosophical perspective because of a neuroscientific discovery–it is only to say that critical appraisal is always warranted of supposedly scientific claims that border on the metaphysical).
I think it is obviously very good for the physical sciences that the scientist, qua scientist, be a strict materialist. It is good even that any truth-seeker, qua scientist, be a strict materialist. But no truth seeker – not even the scientist 24/7 – has some kind of professional duty to be a strict materialist in all of their approaches to all of reality.
I keep looking for help in the so-called theological ‘dialogue’ with materialism because materialism is an ideology which today appears to inform the thinking of most of the brilliant minds in our culture. Not many of them appear to understand truth as an objective extending outside the grasp of their ideology, but I think they would be superbly furnished for truth-seeking of a higher kind if only they could be disabused of this fatal misunderstanding. I see great things coming for our society if our scientific-minded persons could only be persuaded of the folly of applying materialistic theories and methods wholesale to psychology, abiogenesis, philosophy, and theology.