Magical thinking

Magical thinking December 18, 2019

Both St. Albert the Great and St. Thomas Aquinas are spinning in their graves:

Ohio lawmakers are weighing in on how public schools can teach things like evolution.

The Ohio House on Wednesday passed the “Student Religious Liberties Act.” Under the law, students can’t be penalized if their work is scientifically wrong as long as the reasoning is because of their religious beliefs.

Instead, students are graded on substance and relevance.

Every Republican in the House supported the bill. It now moves to the Republican-controlled Senate.

No. No. No. No. NO!  This is not Christian.  This is stupid gnosticism.  There are not two truths, scientific and religious, in opposition. Faith and reason are not opposed. Grace builds on, not destroys, nature. Truth is one.  If something is scientifically wrong, all the religion in the world cannot make it true.  If a student declares that his religion decrees 2+2=5 or water is not H2O, that does make those statements true.  It makes him either a fool or a liar.

The incredible thing is Catholics are now starting to go for this junk. Bad theology and science for crank conspiracy theorists used to be a Fundamentalist Protestant thing. Sensible Catholics listened to the Magisterium for their theology and let the sciences do their work. Now such nuttiness is becoming fake orthodoxy for not a few conservative Catholics who regard the Magisterium as the enemy, who regard the sciences as a liberal plot, and who get most of their formation from crank conspiracy theorists who are Fundamentalist Protestants with a taste for Latin, smells, and bells.

So we have absurdities like Michael Voris platforming quack science like The Principle and lobbing softballs to geocentrist cranks. The logic? Some churchmen five centuries ago accepted geocentrism, therefore it is Sacred Tradition and we have to torque our brains into believing that heliocentrism and relativity are liberal (and, by the way, *cough* Einstein *cough* Jewish) conspiracies.

Likewise, cranks like the Kolbe Center for Creation Research are increasingly treated as something besides the fringe group they are. Here is their state of the art scientific and theological institute that single-handedly overturns centuries of science and centuries of theological development by the Church.

Strangely, they were not invited to the Vatican by Benedict XVI when he held a conference on Creation and Evolution in 2008:

But in the world of Reactionary social media mini-popes, that only proves that the Deep Science/Deep Church/Deep State Conspiracy has its tentacles everywhere and the only salvation is for Catholics to listen to their favorite social media crank, dismiss all outside the Bubble, and soldier on with Me and My Bible.

The result is Magical Thinking: the diabolical parody of (ironically) the Catholic doctrine of creation by the Power of the Word.

Magical thinking insists that we can create alternate reality by the power of the human word known as the Lie. We can simply declare that proven facts don’t exist, that the world is flat if I say it is, that all of reality is simply and solely determined by our will. Civilizations that adopt this way of thinking are doomed. You can see it deployed by people like Stalin, shooting “counter-revolutionary weather forecasters” for predicting weather that did not fit his Five Year Plans. You can see it with Hitler, moving around imaginary armies as the Soviets closed in on Berlin. You can see it with climate science denialism. You can see it with nearly everything the Cult of Trump now says.

And you can see it with the false claim that something scientifically wrong magically becomes true if their religion declares it to be so. It can only end in disaster to pit faith against reason this way and it assaults both faith and reason to do so.

All truth is God’s truth. That this needs to be said to Catholics–and above all to Catholics who regard themselves as the last best hope of the Tradition–only makes clear how little so many people who call themselves “Traditionalist” actually know of the Tradition.

Browse Our Archives