Anglican Samizdat

July 14, 2009

The Age of Credulity

Filed under: Lunacy — David Jenkins @ 11:43 am
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Between 1100 and 1600, the emphasis on reason in the learning and intellectual life of Western Europe became more pervasive and widespread than ever before in the history of human civilization. This led to the Enlightenment or Age of Reason which began in the mid-1600s and had its origin in Descartes’ Discourse on the Method published in 1637. Descartes is famous for the idea that one cannot doubt the existence of the thing that is doing the doubting – I think, therefore I am. Further, he argued for the existence of God along these lines:

  1. I have an idea of a perfect being (God)
  2. In every cause there must be at least as much reality as there is in the effect
  3. I am imperfect
  4. Given that I am imperfect (3) I cannot be responsible for the idea of perfection that I hold (1)
  5. Therefore, given that every cause must be at least as great as its effect (2), whatever caused my idea of perfection (1) must be perfect. Therefore a perfect being exists and this is God who created me.

Now whether one finds this argument convincing or not, it is nevertheless interesting that it was made at the outset of the Age of Reason: for Descartes, unlike Dawkins, the notion of God’s reality is not equivalent to a belief in fairies.

Sadly, today we had moved beyond the Age of Reason: as G. K. Chesterton observed, when people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing — they believe in anything.

So, having abandoned God, we have left the Age of Reason and have entered the Age of Credulity. The familiar benchmarks of credulity that have hitherto set the standard for vacuous callowness – astrology, crystals, alien abduction, self-help, Oprah, atheism – have been trumped by a remarkable new discovery: Quantum Jumping.

Quantum

H/T to Kate for pointing me in the direction of Multiverse enlightenment

On further inspection of this site, I discovered that the secret to jumping into other universes can be mine for a mere $97 in downloadable format or $197 in CDs. Needless to say, I find this so enticing that my download will begin as soon as I finish typing; don’t be surprised if, in the future, I seem different.

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2 Comments

  1. Erm, you could have left the hat tip out, actually, David. Sad thing is, there will be people who will pay for that.

    Comment by Kate — July 14, 2009 @ 2:04 pm

  2. What’s that thing atop his head? Is it alive?

    Comment by Ian — July 16, 2009 @ 5:31 am


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