The neoconservative mind deconvoluted at last!
At a meeting on artificial intelligence ??
Last year's Smith Family Foundation debate on science policy, featuring Wesley Smith, invites comparison with an improbable venue that has yielded an unexpectedly deep insight into the present day reality of political science. At this year's Singularity Summit , Sam Adams who directs IBM's Joshua Blue Project concluded that the only sure path to AI is the " way we walked ourselves," -- intelligent systems, like small children need rearing in order to learn to think about the difference between appearance and reality. Both needs must be taught that not all patterns are real ,and that false impressions, however early the may be imposed or accepted , must be actively discarded-- one must balance superstition with forgetfulness. The mirror image of his view presents itself in Washington , as reality is deliberately forgotten or set aside whenever it gets in the way of turning metaphysics into the basis of policy.
Those who do so insist on a critical distinction between philosophical or religious Truth, with a capital T, and mere facts based on observation . Only thus ,they argue, can policy be subordinated to ethical imperatives , rather than becoming a plaything of amoral materialism. Within the artificially constructed reality in which their political operatives are reared , it is scientific facts that must be subordinated to metaphysical imperatives that exist a priori, stemming from the Author of Creation and revealed in his Word. Says who? Those who have welded apologetics to politics in justifying the fusion of church and state in order to deliver the votes of those disposed by their upbringing to delegate their thinking to those that preach. To disagree with this earns reflexive denunciation as 'secular materialism' , as heresy is called nowadays, but what would say, Martin Luther make of those who go along with the program ?
Tacitus observed that human nature is such that people hate those whom they injure, and since neoconservative dogmatists may do much harm to themselves, it is unremarkable that they should accuse those who object to their theories of being dogmatic. Anthropologists cheerfully concede the many societal benefits of religion, but some believers think it natural to demanding equal time for the supernatural in teaching students about explanations of the world, and to declare present scientific theories indistinguishable from the mass of past superstitions? If you think this a parody of their philosophy of education, look to the record of what the Discovery Institute said when it had its day in court in the recent Pennsylvania Darwin trial.
If the politicization of science consists most basically in having one set of facts for internal discourse and another for purposes of publicity, then what are we to make of neo-legalists who want the evidentary criteria of the physical sciences subordinated to the dictates of canon law , legal theory , or Talmudic exegesis when it comes to proving what belongs in elementary biology texts? The old left provided ample matter for "The Closing Of The American Mind" now it is time for palaeoconservtives to stand up and read the riot act to neocons bent on providing a mirror-image sequel.