Friday, April 10, 2015

sincere compassion, hobbled by an equally sincere belief in non-accurate science, led to the horrors of WWII

There is no real evidence that people in 1940 were any less compassionate than people in 2015 --- forget that belief if you seek to account for history's most cruel and heartless war , cruel and heartless on all sides -- neutral, allied and axis.

Morality follows the Science

But ever since Darwin's 1859 "Origin of the Species", the world has increasingly tempered its innate compassion with what it thinks current science tells us about the way the world works and must work.

Science, today, has repeatedly demonstrated that a healthy planet needs plenty of biodiversity and a bigger, deeper, more varied gene pool.

Has demonstrated that we humans will never be able to predict the future, be it in terms of the stock market or the weather , well enough to risk putting all our money on just one or two nags in a gene pool.

But Science 75 years ago taught us precisely the opposite .

Putting all its faith in hard reductionism, the science of the Modernity era argued evolutionary progress led to the ancient and the small to be gradually and inevitably replaced as individual entities and instead to end up being bundled together in ever newer, bigger, stronger and smarter beings.

Thus : the first shall always be first and the last always shall be last and the small and the ancient are but road kill - regrettable - beneath the steam rollers of progress. Bigger is better and the Laws of Nature are on the side of the ever bigger battalions.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh : Christian advocate of do-nothing bystanding ; silently watching as the bully beats up a small child

The most eloquent advocate of this iron law of progressive determinism was perky Christian (sic!) housewife and mother Anne Morrow Lindbergh, author of October 1940's Wave of the Future.

"Relax, be happy America : Nazis and Communists are the inevitable wave of the future."

"Denmark and Belgium were but the regrettably inevitable small road kill in the pathway of progress - watch the bully but don't intervene America - stay neutral - relax, be happy."

When I was working in bookstores, I sold tons of her books to very sincere Christian women and I learned to curb my tongue on her pro-totalitarian views from years before.

Can a leopard ever change her spots ?

I don't think so - I think Mrs Lindbergh was as confident of her Edwardian era  high school science dogma (social darwinism and eugenics) on the day she died as she was when she learned it 80 years earlier.

Dawson's more accurate science gave wings to his compassion

There were a few exceptions of course - because even Dr Martin Henry Dawson learned the same inaccurate science as Mrs Lindbergh.

But in his published articles --- and in his hands-on work from the late 1920s to the early 1940s --- he provided the sort of evidence that helped write the rules of a new (kinder, gentler) science, today's science.

He has a reputation for being extraordinarily compassionate but I don't think this was so.

He had merely ordinary innate compassion --- but his science put wings beneath that compassion and didn't hobble it.

The very same month (October 1940) that Lindbergh published her pean to accepting the inevitability of totalitarianism and the thesis that the first have a right to always be first, Dawson gave history's first injections of life-saving penicillin to the last in society ; two poor young men , one black and one Jewish.

And his science proved more accurate than that of his opponents - not simply that his wide compassion overwhelmed their narrow intolerance.

This is why WWII, much to its own great surprise, ended with his Nature-produced penicillin being made freely available to all  --- the last as well as the first...

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