Out of religion came politics and then science, each reacting upon the others while going its own way. Science is a set of interests that is religiously, socio-politically, and autonomously determined. Science struggles to conform to a scientific method in whatever it does. The struggle lends it its distinction, providing it with its social character. Without the method, it is useless to speak of science. The method is applied to whatsoever extension of the senses is of interest and controls such extension; both operations sometimes fail but also often succeed in our day.
A scientific procedure typically puts forth a hypothesis about what is measurably expected to occur under certain conditions, and, by finding or producing the conditions, finds or produces the event. Wherever conditions permit, these are produced under controls; wherever they occur naturally, they are overseen as strictly as possible. No place is allowed in theory for supernatural conditions or supernatural effects, that is, for the intervention so factors that are undefinable in material terms, or of an external ungovernable will.
As Alexander Hamilton quipped, when Benjamin Franklin suggested prayer at an impasse while composing the American Constitution in 1787, we should not call upon the help of a foreign power. Hamilton, intending for politics what Franklin had already practiced in electrical experiments, had in mind a republic whose behavior might be predictable when certain regular operating conditions were established by its structure.
The incident reminds us that science includes social as well as natural science. Humans are a material factor in the one, if not in the other; they are a contaminating factor in both. The human factor has so continually disturbed the scientific method in its application to natural phenomena that, in a sense, all science becomes social science, especially as the material conditions of study become more difficult and less amenable to continuous ordinary sense observation. We cannot go here into the progressive discoveries of the intervention of anthropo-sociology and especially psychology in the workings of natural science, citing the works of P. W. Bridgman and others, but we can, without fear of rebuttal, warn of the inevitable effects upon experimenters and researchers of their psychological as well as physical presence amidst the supposedly materially and logically observer -- proof conditions of scientific work.
Already, then we have to be on the alert, in all that passes as science-applying-scientific-method, so as to detect the interest that inspires the work and to discern the sometimes exceedingly subtle intervention of the mind in the process of discovery, proof, and disproof. The "interest" in a scientific task may range from the most banal, obvious, and limited (e. g. to polish better a lens so as to see stars more clearly; to adjust the angle of a spade to bite the ground with less energy input) to the general and ideological, that is, unconscious (e. g. to validate evolution by setting up hypotheses implying or excluding neo- darwinian evolution; to calculate pre-historical sky charts by retrocalculating or presumptively modifying present motions of the Earth and Solar system).
The aggregation of "outside" interests creates a continual uneasiness in scientific work; like barnacles on a fine yacht, it keeps science from being "clean;" but the barnacles are part of life at sea: no barnacles, no sailing. We may sympathize with scientists who call up their psychic mechanisms of unconscious denial by indignation at the idea that they may be skirting the supernatural, or, worse, serving the supernatural, or by backing up into ever narrow slips of material phenomena where it is hoped that none can say that anything but sense data are implicated in their work. The search for a body of pure science, however, like the search for the Golden Fleece, eventuates in taking aboard a witch with the long-sought prize, and Jason and his Argonauts must move on evermore in unresting adventure.
The main theories of astronomy are as remote from experience as to be spooky. Astronomers walk on a tightrope between science and religion, depending upon a few principles that are empirically formulated to keep the field aloft as a science. The most that astronomers can say empirically is that much of the universe, including fortunately most of the solar system, exhibits some large uniformities of behavior. As soon as they retroject or project by thousands of years they become vulnerable, that is, unbelievable.
The theories include largely a set of Newtonian laws that are fading fast and may soon be abrogated, and which serve to fire projectiles from the Earth in the direction of objects in space, such that, by deft ad hoc maneuvering, arrive on target. Otherwise, they boast La Place's mathematical explanations, which La Place himself declared to be dependent upon uniformitarian premises. Then there occur various ways of measuring brilliance, heat, distance, chemistry, speed, and chronology of heavenly bodies, which are hopeful speculations, thanklessly spared from all but an iota of factual proof, leaning upon one another for support but also begging each other's question.
So great, however is faith in the one "law of falling bodies" that all else passes as science simply because, as I said, the proof of science is the scientific method, and all of astronomy, by this time, has become couched in scientific form. That some of the more famous astronomers and related scientists of these decades - Urey, Hoyle, Wickramasinghe, Crick, T. Gold, and Sagan, the name only several, have toyed with bizarre theories impermissible to laymen, acknowledges the essential fragility and defensive posture of the field.
Nowadays an astronomer, provided that he has an appropriate university degree, can profess the Doppler Effect, Bode's Law, intelligence in other worlds, the "Big Bang", the La Place theorems, empty space, straight lines, exact solar time and motions, and a dozen other mostly conventional concepts. Whatever the mix, it is apparently unsystematic, unreliable, ad hoc, and temporary. If scientists lay claim to authority on grounds that such a mix is true and fully representative of reality, they can deny a "union card" to whoever disturbs the mix. If, however, they place claims of authority in the procedures of scientific method, then they must give a respectful hearing to any educated person who seeks to establish an identity for Plato's "divine animal" in the universe or to prove empirically any number of such hypotheses.
The same kind of reasoning can be directed at biology and geology. Basic conventional theories in both of these areas of study are weak and straining at the point of collapse into disintegration, if not supernaturalism. No more than physics can define energy other than by fiction, operations and hypothesis, can biology define life. Fringe life forms are several, with subatomic behavior, crystals, and viruses providing initial confusion, and sending practitioners to more comfortable empirical fields to work. Ethology is rampant in the fields distinguishing among animals. Evolutionary theory is a shambles; "natural selection" is invoked as often as God in the Bible, but it is an embarrassment to do so.
The Earth Sciences, like the other fields, are making many advances to which the name "revolutionary" is increasingly applied with some pride. Yet two of their greatest operational concepts -- that of time and that of uniformitarian change -- are in peril. They invest much hope in radiochronometry to preserve long time spans and therefore smooth out curves of change, but, as I have explained elsewhere, radiochronometry is based upon radioactivity which is affected by the kind of history that it claims to prove; that is, catastrophe destroys time even while time pretends to disprove catastrophe.
Psychology and anthropology include so many variations of methodology that discerning the supernatural in them is not difficult; only the naive can persistently believe that variant methods are independent of moral perspectives, simply grasping the struggling corpus by a toe instead of its nose. Every psychological or anthropological "school" is a supernatural sect, whether it seeks to confront the supernatural or turn its back to it.
But, although moral and supernatural, science in itself is not capable of justifying human action; it cannot even justify its own. The myth that it can, which was exposed as soon as science was mature enough to bear the truth, lives on like any other supernatural belief, lending motivation, inflaming passions, claiming moral credits, inspiring lives, and narrowing thought and options. Probably, too, many scientific secularists labor in the hope that something marvelous and morally convincing will grow out of their work, as penicillin emerged serendipitously from a mold.
Willy-nilly all sciences, in their healthy vigor, are wrestling with the supernatural and contributing to its expansion thereby. In this sense, all sciences are addressing the foundations of religion and theology. The more scientific work that is performed, the more areas of uncontrollability and contradiction come upon the stage. Science itself is the biggest factory of the supernatural. It tears holes in the fabrics extending reality. It works all the while surrounded by amateurs of the supernatural and theologians, pelted by derision. Perhaps one might forecast the most esteemed and influential religion of the future by locating the contemporary cult that is closest to the anomalies and radical new interests of science.
Theology can be a science, whether it be formulated as pure or as applied science. As the latter, it can be called religious science, or, simply, religion, just as certain departments of political science in American universities call themselves departments of politics (New York University) or departments of government ( Harvard University), both of these terms meaning applied political science. A proposition (hypothesis) in theology might then read: "All cultures denominate historical gods."
We suppose that this proposition, empirically tested, may eventuate with exceptions, such as the Buddhists or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and possibly several other totalitarian socialist regimes. Then, if we wish, we may restate the proposition, as some have, to include "pseudo-gods," saying that "a god includes a figure with 3,4. .n attributes of which at least 'x' have to be present to permit the designation 'god' to be used." Hence certain cultures have figures such as Lenin or Mao Tse Tung who possess at least 'x' attributes, while others have celestial figures that border upon gods such as Region 'A' in China where "Heaven" (Ti'en) is accorded at least 'x' traits of a god, and still others elevate masters and gurus to the stature of Mohamet.
We perceive that the pure proposition is heading in a certain direction and that by the manipulation of the definition of the term "god," certain areas of empirical research are opened up, and, furthermore, that some hidden intent may even be present, such as to demonstrate the ineradicability of the worship of gods.
A related proposition in applied theology or religion can continue to illustrate the nature of theology and at the same time show how applied propositions formulate matters often more transparently, from the viewpoint of ideological research. Thus, one says: "To disestablish gods of traits 'a.... n' including 'g' and 'h' it is necessary to establish a totalitarian regime with semidivine figures of traits 'a... n' less 'g' and 'h'."
So elementary an introduction will hardly persuade anyone of the profoundity and possibilities of theology as a science. The reader may be justifiably impatient to hear what theology can do with propositions of the supernatural. He may be wanting to know whether the supernatural exists, for example, and how the science of theology proves this.
One ought not be evasive; nevertheless, it must be pointed out, in anticipation of the answer to this question, that no science pretends to answer impossible questions, even though these may be scientifically formulated and studied. Medicine has few researchers (perhaps one-ten thousandth of its energies?) given over to the long-term prolongation of human life, although this may be a strong interest of the public. Nor are many astrophysicists preoccupied with voyages of a duration greater than a few seconds of a light-year. Nor are many political scientists or psychologists devoted to the attainment of utopias. That is, one can conceive of a flourishing science of theology that concerns itself hardly at all with proving hypotheses on the existence of the supernatural (and, indeed, may flourish for that very reason, just as chemistry flourished only after it stopped seeking for an Elixir of Life and to transmute lead into gold).
So warned, we can put forward a proposition that deals with the central interest that many people have in religion. One may hypothesize thus: "The spiritual, defined as any event contradicting existing laws of science relating to materiality, and probably nonreproducible by known scientific procedures does (or does not) exist." I see no objection to arguing that this statement is scientific. For instance, let us suppose that a person claims to achieve a certain vision, that no one else can see. (" No one" here means nobody in a large random sample of a population to which the visionary belongs.)
Suppose an adept in drug-use demonstrates that 'X' percent of the population, to whom a certain drug is administered, claim the same vision as 'A. ' The vision is therefore proven to be possible, although not proven to deal with real objects. A scientific explanation of 'A' is not forthcoming, even though the state of 'A' is reproducible. Theology takes in consequence the position that the vision itself is actual, that 'A' and possibly some other rare persons are capable of it, and that many others can attain it upon taking the certain drug. Obviously we are not faced with a powerful proof of the existence of the supernatural.
But suppose that 'A' reports that this vision is of a vaguely defined human form who tells him "You shall see my power at Bunting Green Airport in 48 hours." Two days later a plane crashes at said airport. This has happened while a quarter of the large sample has been taking the drug and many of these had images predicting dire events at the same airport or some airport at roughly the same time. It would not require many cases of this sort to prove the validity of this type of supernaturalism (the type is very commonly asserted in legends, mythology, and religious documents, as, e. g., when Yahweh tells Moses to fetch the Elders on the Holy Mountain to be near The Lord and they come and do see the Lord. (Exodus 24)
However, if one were a foundation grants officer he might give money to the "control group drug study" as described, but not in any expectation of a resulting byproduct such as the air crash prediction. For he would be warned by practically every alert and informed person that cases such as this occur only insofar as visionary figures make predictions and that the predicted events practically never occur. If you cannot expect definite and defensible results from it, you should not grant funds to a project. Never mind the appeal that to prove god at work once in a million projects is enough.
Suppose yet another type of proposal comes before the foundation. This asserts that, "Totemism in religion functions to repress human creativity, while anthropomorphism in religion increases it." The applicant conjectures simply that if people imitate an animal, even in imaginary behaviors, they will not become very clever, whereas if they imitate an equally fictional superman, they will become more clever. "Imitation" is, of course, defined and measured operationally as part of religious totemism and anthropomorphism, as are the concepts "totemism," "anthropomorphism," and "creativity."
Whatever the results of such an inquiry, which is highly relevant both to anthropology, where pre-existing theories of the origins of totemism amount to over forty, and to theology, where, whether or not one believes in the well-nigh universal anthropomorphism, it is useful to know how it functions in the social structure, they are relevant to main lines of investigation in these fields and a priori must be useful.
Our imagined foundation is not likely to look so kindly, however, upon another proposal which crosses its threshold proposing to show that A) Moses' monotheism is anti- democratic and B) leads to politically harmful ideas of the supernatural among persons steeped in its learning. If government-financed and American, the foundation might decide that support for the program might be liable to court action on grounds that it violated the constitutional guarantee against abridgment of the freedom of religion, even though the argument might be advanced that the Constitution has the right to discover and protect itself against potential enemies.
A private scientific foundation would probably decide that the study would bring in no valid or useful results. The probable pro-Moses trustees would also determine that such a study is not scientific, even if the word "harmful" were replaced by several categories of consequences, empirically verifiable and undeniably relevant, such as "proneness to belief in charismatic authority," "totalitarian," "highly ethnocentric," and "highly aggressive and non-conciliatory."
Perhaps the term "anti-democratic" might escape similar close scrutiny, although quite vague and usually meaningless as employed; here again, the proponents of the research would no doubt advance empirical indicators, such as scoring high in attitude test of tolerance, respect for discussion, consultation with others, compromise in decision-making, belief that opposing views may be right, and relative immunity from paranoia and hallucinations.
In sum, expertly espoused, the project could rebut all attacks against its scientificity, and certainly would transport scientific method into the core materials of theology. But it would be unlikely to win support. Generally speaking, scientific investigations have scarcely been employed in the field of theology proper. To the degree that theology in a given setting could be studied scientifically, it is deprived of the means, the intervening variable being indifference. This can be promptly and cheaply demonstrated by examining the articles in standard encyclopedias having to do with the field and those who have worked in it. What is to be observed, creeping into the area from its fringes, are studies in anthropology, ethnology, sociology, political sociology, and psychology, few of which ever gain entry except through works such as Mircea Eliade's in the history of religion or works carrying a favorable attitude (from the standpoint of the market in ideas) such as Henri Bergson's and Teilhard de Chardin's or Hans Kung's.
A group of scholars working in the area with an approach termed "creation science" have developed their own audience and market. Their efforts to correlate natural history with sacred scripture qualify for the field of theology, too, and there is nothing un-scientific about quoting words attributed to Elohim or anyone else as a hypothesis for testing human or natural history. One would not refuse as the hypothesis for the study of, say, American politics (1965-80), or of history generally, a quotation attributed to an historian, Harold Acton, "All power tends to corrupt; absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely." One would however have to assure himself of the usual criteria: that "power," "absolute" and "corrupt" are operationally defined, and empirical indicators or measures provided for them.
When certain scholars determine to test the veracity of the Bible by quoting therefrom "God said to Noah... I will bring down a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall die," and plan to adduce evidence from natural history of such a deluge, they are certainly proposing an ambitious project. And to qualify as scientists, they must clarify precisely, hypothetically, the extent of the destruction that is mentioned and its main instrument, a watery deluge, then validate by geological and ethnological evidence the occurrence of this particular flood (as distinct from a series of floods, etc.) And they would have to eschew any direct test of whether in fact the conversation took place between Elohim and Noah, because it is unverifiable. Most scientists would be logically compelled to accept a properly drafted study proposal of this type as belonging to the realm of scientific work.
Some scholars, gripped in the avoidance mechanism previously alluded to, would deny the relevance of any study whatsoever that would tend to confirm a scriptural statement. When one examines an encyclopedia such as the Britannica which assigns millions of words to theological matters and many more millions to geology and ancient history, with only a dozen paragraphs treating the deluge issue, whether as an issue or as a disputable event, and when one considers that the deluge problem has agitated all generations of man everywhere since the beginning of history and before, one is inclined to ask, at least in this instance: "Who is the more biased against science: the creation scientists accepting scientific terms, or the editors of the Encyclopedia Britannica avoiding the subject unconsciously?"
Waiving the question, whose intent is obviously polemical, one may note once again how important is the matter of "interests" and the motives for such interests in science. The choice of subjects for hypothesis and study is obviously crucial in human culture and welfare, and yet has little to do with scientific method but much to do with the meaningfulness of science. And what is "meaning"? And who shall determine it?
"Meaning" is certainly among the most profound questions of philosophy and theology. "Why do we exist?" "What is our destiny?" If scientists choose to interest themselves, or are forced to occupy themselves with research on the advertising of commodities and with the perfection of weapons of destruction, to the extent say of ten thousand times the efforts put into the most meaningful questions of human existence, then they can hardly complain that the profound questions are overvalued.
One is led, therefore, to suggest that the supernatural is a proper and major concern for scientists, even if successes in the field come hard and require that they conduct humbling investigations of themselves. Perhaps a tithe of ten per cent of one's scientific energies and resources to theology is in order, and a similar tithe to the basic needs of humanity in regard to a basic minimum material subsistence, a basic possibility of gaining life experience through free movement and education, and a basically equal access to disinterested justice in all situations of conflicts of desire or interest. For, in this latter regard, scientific effort is also hugely biased against giving itself over to just those problems that render mankind incapable of an adequate material substratum of meaningfulness. It is from the basic desire for new experience that the interest in the supernatural emerges. To stunt it, by allowing it a meaningless diet according to the scientific method, is a form of deliberate, if unconscious, deprivation, just as much as to stunt it by forcing it into obsessive narrow ritual which has nothing to do with scientific method.
Under such circumstances, it becomes ironical indeed to speak of "meaningless" propositions, as many modern logical positivist philosophers call considerations of the supernatural, for it is precisely against their "meaningless" reductionism that religious man is rebelling. "Words" are important in thought, but to carve them down into nothingness except as they have rigid and narrow denotations is but an unconscious method of assuring that the thought that occurs is to be equally rigid and narrow.
The kind of person who is then to be fashioned out of the raw material of homo sapiens schizotypus comes to depend upon only very limited mechanisms of fear-control, to wit, obsessed and catatonic behavior according to scientific rules, with a limited capacity for displacement of the selves of a person, a limited ability to identify the selves with the larger human and natural world, a severely suppressed ambivalence turning back upon the self, and a general lack of animation of the psyche. Surely this is not the intent of science, which only hopes to use words instrumentally and to solve otherwise impossible problems by a sure-fire method; but it does tend to be the effect of science when science exceeds its logical limits, demands to be "pure," and goes so far as to restrict its own method to areas guaranteed not to possess deep human meaning.
We can take up two attitudes in the face of the threat posed by many scientists to human development. One is that scientists are bound to fail in this method of coping with man's essential madness. "Just be patient; the movement will collapse from its inherent weaknesses," and indeed scientists do feel an overpowering weakness, and ensuing exasperation, when human cultures fail to embrace their interests and techniques or, worse, fashion crazy worlds of science fiction to dwell in while waiting for science to solve all problems without the aid of politics or religion.
A second attitude, much to be preferred, is to encourage science in every way possible to examine itself and proceed to the examination of human nature, upon whose basic mechanisms science, politics, and religion must ultimately depend. What must this human being be fed to keep him creative and within bounds? The answer may be scientific theology. Bring together all that science is producing, half-consciously, in the way of theological findings and blend them into an integrated metaphysics, the whole of which addresses, not "mythical" or "rational" man, but the operative homo sapiens schizotypus.
I have examined human mental structure and operations in other works, so am permitted to relate here only the central relation of religion and science, and of this most clues are already familiar to the reader. Science emerges from the limited but most significant ability of the human mind to capture pragmatically, that is, to control, the connections between the person and an immense world of identifications and displacements. From his very beginnings, mankind has identified and sought to control the heavens and the gods, the mountains and oceans, the plants and animals. No other being on Earth is so ambitious; all others are confined to such rational activity as instinct requires for the purpose of survival and propagation.
The human mind, disordered by genesis and at birth, has the immense problem of extending pseudo-instinctive (that is, voluntary) controls over connections with existence that have very little to do with survival and propagation. The human, for instance, will sacrifice (both in the functional and symbolic senses) everything -- food, family, sex, lesser powers, safety -- in his efforts to command the skies.
Furthermore, besides the skies, there is many another realm of being that he is compelled by his mind to deal with, an infinite set of realms it seems, even though his mind, we must remember, is assisted by only moderately competent sensory organs, so that he is encumbered in his ingesting, questing, and adjusting.
So the need to order one's head requires that the cosmos be set in order, and it is natural for one to apply the pragmatic( scientific) techniques that substitute for instinct in the obtaining of both very close necessities and the most faraway necessities, and hence the elaboration of science out of immediate pragmatism occurs on both the intimate material level and the cosmic level.
Science is a human activity and therefore can be characterized as such, no less than religion is a human activity. It has a history, a sociology, a sub-culture, a psychology. It exhibits struggle, cooperation, ambition, failure, success, inducements -- payoffs and penalties, a total range of material subjects to study, just as religion is subject of study, by the scientific method. It has religious and political aspects. It deals in authority, fictions, myths, claims, anomalies, rituals, and hypotheses, all of which are perilously reminiscent of religion and the supernatural. And, of course, to distinguish it especially from all other social activities, it is obsessed with the secular ritual of scientific method, and tends to extend the practice to all spheres of life.
The basic rite of scientific method is similar everywhere. But there come into being elaborations, embellishments, and variations of the basic rite. Some scientists like to think of the changes in naming, conceptualization, procedures, research interests, and so on as "progress" or at least "different ways of looking at the same thing." Other scientists know that they are in the grip of fashion and fads, whether in astronomy or geology, psychology or sociology. Magic, cultism, and other overtones, usually sounded and noticed in religious practice, can be heard in any science.
Every science must have a supernatural auxiliary. I would call it a suprascience, if such a term would not offend. I mean that the science itself consists of a stripped-down method and its findings, and that there must form around it not only a halo or encrustation of fictions, hypotheses, and non-empirically derived speculations, but also an attitudinal complex, rather like a system of illusions and delusions, or like a ruling formula (a term which Gaetano Mosca applied to the field of political science).
This auxiliary suprascience functions as a propaganda machine to make the science appear to its practitioners and public as continuously worthwhile, to tie it non-empirically into various problem areas of life, to act as a lightning rod (I will not argue whether lightning rods really are effective against lightning) to dissipate attacks gathering against the field, to give the field a history (much of it pseudo-history) and a future (much of the genre of science fiction).
As political science is impossible to consider without its ruling formulas (elites, democracy, kingship, laissez-faire, militarism, etc.), so astronomy cannot exist unaccompanied by schools of astrology, or geology without forms of uniformitarianism, or economics without models of "economic man," or literary analysis without fads and fashions, or medicine without magic and homeopathy, or chemistry without suprasciences, one or more for each of its numerous subdivisions such as diets alongside food chemistry, drug cultures alongside drugs, aesthetics alongside plastics, and so on.
There is no fakery here; there is strict necessity; man lives in the skies as well as in his hovel; culture marches along all paths and all paths are psychically connected, even when, especially in a scientific and pragmatic age, they may be, by an effort of will, separated for specialized solutions.
Under these circumstances, man lives throughout the cosmos, effectively. He lives pragmatically in the cosmos that he can experience and command through sensory manipulation. He lives mentally (and, by ritual, pragmatically) in the cosmos that is beyond experiencing but which he can imagine and bring into order. We may fancy that Jesus of Nazareth would speak this parable:
A woman of the mountains saved her money to buy a rain cloak, for she was often wetted by the rains there, and when she had sufficient she ventured to Jerusalem to buy a cloak. But the cloak was so beautiful, that she would not wear it, so as to preserve it, and all her clothing became wet and damaged. Now I say unto you, wear your beautiful cloak of religion and all of your other clothing will be saved, and your Father in Heaven will replace your rain cloak with the raiment of angels.
Reason, many theologians and secularists pray, will serve religion, and show a person what is good and bad in religion. So, if there is bad religion, it is because men do not use their reason to find the good, or they exercise their free will to choose to do bad with religion.
Rationalism is thus used in two ways to damage religion. First, it becomes secular and refutes most or all religious pretension, as with Voltaire and Marx. Second, and more important here because it is a lesser known argument, rationalism erodes religion because it claims that mankind, possessed of the gift of telling what is "true" religion from what is "false" religion, only needs to be educated to distinguish "truth" in order to pursue true religion.
Thus the problems of religion can be said to be solved by the independent pursuit of the principles of reason with regard to supernatural beings and rituals. In this second situation, the rationalist theologians, counting here Saint Thomas Aquinas insofar as he is Aristotelian and rationalistic, lend themselves to the continuation of evil in the name of religion; for evil becomes the result of ignorance and neglect of reason.
Reason, as conceived in traditional and conventional philosophy and theology, presumes "free will." Free will is considered as the endowment of human nature with the capacity to choose one out of two or more alternative options as the basis for action upon an issue. Thus, employing reason, a choice of good over evil is imposed by free will, and an opposite decision becomes a free choice of evil. It is this "free will" which has been used in many cultures to explain the harsh effects of religion. Man is wicked and is therefore punished by his gods; by no means can the wickedness be blamed on the gods.
This argument would appear to constitute an imposing defense of traditional religion and may even explain why all other life activities are dealt with by the principles of rationalism and free will (rather than the other way around). If so, it is one more important indication of the extent to which the religious sphere permeates and dominates the structure and operations of the other seemingly separated spheres of life.
Actually, the belief in free will can be viewed as a primary obstacle to the improvement of religion. Not only does it make of man in his own eyes a wicked sinner, much more fearful of the gods, the authorities, and the people around him than he would otherwise be, hence aggravating his natural paranoia, ambivalence, and hostility to others. But it also makes it impossible for man to govern himself; for he believes that he has within him, quite divorced form the really essential set of mechanisms according to which he behaves, the ability at any time to change himself from good to bad and from bad from bad to good.
Furthermore, the "bad" and "good" are themselves applied in the religious sphere often quite apart from any connections which they might have with the other spheres of life. "Free will," and rationalism as well, are fantastically individualistic fictions. They permit the dissociation of an individual decision from all that in fact determines, and should determine, the decision. Neither a balky donkey nor the gods themselves can prevent man's exercising his will upon them to turn along his way.
By contrast, the theory of homo schizo holds that man derives his religion from the same set of mechanisms whence he derives all his religion, from the same set of mechanisms whence he derives all his other interests and activities. One cannot allow the concepts of free will and rationalism to enter. All of human behavior considered as a mind transacting within himself and throughout the medium of his culture is of one piece, holistic.
Free will is no longer, if it ever was, a useful idea. The known and experienced deviations or range of choice available to us is large enough, whether determined or free, to allow for extremely diverse decisions.
Now see what this theory of homo schizo does to the status of the supernatural and of religion. It elevates their status, rather than depressing it. But, more than that, it makes sacred and religious man impregnable to separatistic assaults upon his religion. For he can say and he can prove, or others can do this for him, that even if his religious aspects are suppressed, he will be different only in those particulars where a transference occurs, from the prohibited areas of religion, to the permitted secular areas.
Religious man can further declare that the elimination of religion does not eliminate evil, but merely introduces more evil to other quarters of human behavior. And he can heap up evidence showing that secularized societies and secularized man have shown no noticeable improvement in conduct denominated as good.
Until we decide who we are and what we want to be, we are at fault in what we are and want to do. Unless we shut the doors against all unwanted conduct from all spheres of life, shutting the door against religion in the hope of stopping all unwanted conduct is futile; it will enter by the other doors. As well as saying that religion cannot be suppressed, and as well as stating that much of religion behavior is true both in itself and in reconciliation with science, we are now prepared to say that the suppression of religion will not consign evil beyond man's ken. For that great task, a reconstruction of human nature is required.
Such a reconstruction may well be impossible. We do not know enough yet to define the terms of reform. What we can do at this stage of our study is to argue for the incorporation into religion of our findings, both to prepare the ground for the possible coming reconstruction and to maintain the best possible, the least damaging, of religious as well as of all other systems.
The problem of absolute morality -- of the standards of good conduct and the means to practice it -- must go unsolved here. Absolute morality may be forever beyond human abilities to demonstrate. Short of this, we resort to what many philosophers before us have advocated, a natural law of human behavior: How people have always behaved and seem compelled to behave is restructured so that the consequences which people seem always to have wanted -- even when acting in contradiction -- will ensue.
Since we do not appeal to gods, reason, or secular authorities, nor to charism, faith, and revelation, it would appear best to label our natural law as hypothetical, tentative, and only so good as its consequences are acceptable to most people, whether educated or not, in all cultures. This might be called a natural moral consensus.
To summarize from suggestions offered in various passages of our work, we perceive four essential and general human demands: for freedom from fear, for material subsistence, for new experiences, and for a disinterested arbitration of human conflicts. Fearlessness; subsistence; experiencing; and justice: these words may be used also.
All of these require controls over the self (selves), others, and nature. Control requires skills (considering even brute force as a kind of skill at leverage, if nothing else), and mankind is obsessively driven to elaborate his internal and external control system to a stage where he has obtained what he can regard as minimal and sufficient guarantees of his several needs.
The overall problem of a culture is, unconsciously or consciously, to provide a network of practices that will supply its people with excellent chances of obtaining these guarantees. And so we proceed to human relations, technology, politics, religion -- family government, world government, cosmic government -- and science, which acts to supply better ways for cultures to fulfill these needs.