OK, maybe that’s a little harsh, but. . . .
So, I read Brooks today, I figured that I might be safe since he isn’t talking about politics and I thought that maybe he might have something to offer on other topics. Instead I find out that he is just as obtuse on science and religion. I know, I know what should I expect?
Anyway, in case you don’t want to read the column, he is talking about atheism and science and how science is showing the chemical reasons for all of the human behaviors and that evolutionary behavioralists are even beginning to figure out why we developed certain behaviors that, at first blush, might appear counterproductive to personal survival (gee, evolutionary forces can encourage the development of complex behaviors, imagine that! (sarcasm, right)).
Since biology is blowing “traditional” religion out of the water, and Brooks is unwilling or unable to believe what the science is showing (it’s amazing how people won’t learn what they don’t want to learn – I wonder why we developed that way?), he is raising some weird definitions of spirituality that he seems to claim that science doesn’t deal with. He then labels this spirituality “Buddhism”.
Does he know the first thing about Buddhism? If he did he would know that while many Buddhists might have sort of what a westerner might call a religion with supernaturalism, etc, but at its base, Buddhism is not inconsistent with atheism. Buddhism is a way of life and Buddhists seek understanding. Neither of those is inconsistent with no god. Living socially and understanding that, as social animals, we seek connection, and that by emptying your mind, new ways of looking at things can arise is perfectly aligned with what Brooks calls “militant atheism”.
What is with the “militant” label and citing Dawkins and Hitchins (a brilliant biologist and a drunken , yet witty bloviator) as the boogy men? Is it to create conflict? Make a sexier column? I would have hoped that even a conservative could handle the truth, but if any can, it isn’t Brooks, though I guess that I should give him points for trying. On the other hand can his tone get any more condescending?
Read Herbert, today, he continues to shine.