SBNR’s very effectiveness, and the loyalty shown it, has made it some enemies. The new-atheist arguments about SBNR being pseudoscientific, incoherent and “just plain wrong”, are probably best known at the moment. (Although one should not overlook the religious and academic arguments about lazy, anti-community narcissism either. ^_^)
Some of this is incitement to discrimination, and should be opposed — but the arguments themselves usually implode if prodded. They often lack a proper understanding of myth. Usually they are talking to their own constituencies and rarely if ever address the great SBNR writings or achievements, preferring to beat up on the less educated, an unedifying spectacle.
Accusations of “pseudoscience”, for example, against pop SBNRS who talk of “humanity evolving to a new species” or a “new quantum spiritual reality”, are really silly when used to dismiss SBNR altogether — scientific terms are simply being used mythically, something scientists themselves frequently do. Since scientists publicise their visions for the non-scientific to live by, they should not be surprised when their mythic terms are turned to new uses. That’s what humans do with the stories they tell. That’s life in this species.
Of course, it would be nice if all those pop SBNRs could themselves learn to tell mythic from literal uses of terms! :) And I’ll continue to argue for exactly that over the weeks ahead by showing how sensitivity to language can improve SBNR. But the solution to oversimplification is not some other oversimplification. Myth exists and certain scientific words have become mythic words.
Adherents of orthodox scientism have to pretend myth doesn’t exist, another unedifying spectacle. Although this can never be admitted, scientistic anti-SBNR is itself based squarely on myth — the myth of the world becoming free of both religion and spirituality (see part II of this series). These prophecies imagined a world with no imagination, and told a myth about a world with no more myth. Without understanding it, they thus were keeping myth and imagination alive.
Addendum to this post: quiz!
Who said this:
It’s so beautiful — it’s such a magnificent thing to live in the universe and to understand the universe in which you live, to be a part of life and to understand the life of which you are a part, to understand why you were born before you have to die… And it’s so sad that people go to their grave without understanding why they were born in the first place.
Answer next post!