Prayer before Birth?

God by "Prometheus",40pp Printing Services and Supplies, Kentucky 1991. Available from us at ť4 (half price Friends of the Scorpion) plus ť1 p.& p.

With the availability of affordable quality computer and printing equipment, more and more people should be able to do what this Scorpion reader has done and produce interesting essays and booklets at their own expense. Such intitatives should be supported and copied.

THIS IS A BOOK which addresses a subject that haunts the pages of The Scorpion, namely: is there no alternative to atheism for those who accept the findings of science? If there is no God, is everything permitted, as Ivan Karamazov preached? If not, why not? For the writer as for Christians and followers of other creeds, good and evil exist, the difference being that for Mr. Hart, the "Promethean", they lie within us, not without us. The acceptance of good and evil however, is according to the writer, incompatible with atheism, for atheism is a rejection of transcendence. The source of religious faith is Man himself: "We are the source of all the legends and all the horrors; of all the glories and all the terrors ever dreamed." Unfortunately, while Mankind (or part of Mankind) has made dramatic evolutionary strides in terms of scientific discovery, morally, according to Mr. Hart, we remain in the Stone Age, confronted with a negative choice of Atheism (the deification of science, the ignorance of transcending values) and superstition (following Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary here defined as "a belief or practice resulting from ignorance and a false conception of causation").

Prometheus was the legendary figure who stole fire from Heaven, who sought to make men like Gods. God is in fact, Man's conception of his higher self. The definition of God recalls Nietzsche's Übermensch: "God was not but is to be" By denying that man has an absolute moral responsibility to the Universe, atheists are denying that man has a universal responsibility to maintain his own existence." For this writer Good is the love of life, the will to carry it on and Evil is the rejection of life, the will to nothingness. Man is the energy of the Universe at its highest point but capable of destroying all higher forms of energy (life). The Devil is Death. The religions of the Book (Christianity, Islam and Judaism) insist that man is immutable, the image of God, an imperfect image, but one which is radically different from the rest of the animal kingdom because in possession of an immortal soul. For these religions then, all representatives of the human species have a soul, and it is for God, not for us to judge, what should become of them. Prometheus offers us a religion where we do have that right to judge.

What of the question which, according to atheists, has always driven so many to seek solace in religious creeds which they could not rationally believe, namely the fear of death, or the pessimism that there is nothing after death. For Prometheans, we are in fact immortal, immortal spiritually by what we achieve and biologically by reproduction. Cells of the body die without the body itself dying. so it is for Man. Like Socrates/Plato in The Symposium Mr. Hart is assured that we live on in our spiritual and biological progeny. But there is no suggestion here that biological reproduction is inferior to sprirtual reproduction, as Plato seemed to believe. We have a responsibility to influence and create in the direction of God, that is to say of the God which has not yet come into being, the perfection of Man. We have an obligation to live, because without life we are without influence. From this it will come as no surpise to learn that the last chapter of this essay is a plea for eugenics.

Medical science is dominated by the notion that all human life is sacred and that everything possible must be done to ensure that all humans born survive for as long as they can. This doctrine of the sacredness of all human life comes from the religious belief that each human animal has an immortal soul, distinct from, but of equal value to, any other human soul. The methods used to keep humans alive and ward off death, are the result of empirical discovery, experiment and experience which have nothing to do with revealed religion and everything to do with the achievements of the evolving human mind and its ability to understand how the body and the universe at large, work. According to Hart, the scientific measures used to keep humans alive and save lives is a eugenics in reverse, which is unnaturally increasing the number of individuals which if left to nature alone, would not have survived to reproduce. "Ironically, we are using the intellectual capacity that made us great in order to destroy that capacity itself." Indeed, human quality, despite, or even because of, the advance of technics, seems to be in decline. Even without the IQ findings which seem to point to a decline in average intelligence, a look at the mass of one's fellow human beings is a depressing sight, for the appearance is surely one of low intelligence, and low will to life. A policy of eugenics is necessary to redress the policy of reverse eugenics which man has been practising with increasing success for the last hundred years at least. The pattern of present births is the pattern of future populations. How strange that people, so blithely prepared to accept the stock-piling of nuclear weapons and the the financial encouragement to have children among those who otherwise might not be able to afford to have them, are so horrified by the idea that an element of selection should take place in which children should be born. One of the major objections to eugenics however, is not mentioned by the writer and that is a weak point in his argument. It is simply- Who decides? The peril of any system of eugenics is that a ruling elite will select not on the basis of objective criteria of excellence (however they are based, and that is no easy question) but in their own interests. Nightmare visions of evil clones out of Mordor may bring a smile to some lips, but this fear needs to be well answered before large numbers of people will accept eugenics as a necessary principle. But the writer's point that we are in effect operating a universal system of reverse eugenics today, helping millions upon millions to survive (for what? Simply to say that have lived on earth? Even if all other species of animal on this planet have to die out first?) is a very important one and needs to be stressed at every opportunity. The worship of the sacredness of all individual human life at the expense of the quality of human life and the existence of other life forms has reached such ludicrous dimensions that it threatens to destroy us all. In the meantime the quality of the average human being is declining so rapidly we may expect within a hundred years that human beings are genetically incapable of maintaining any advanced form of civilization. In other words, we are beginning a process of reverse evolution and the "missing link" may belong to the future as well as to the past. The break-down of national barriers and the common acceptance of dysgenic practices points in this direction. A radical change in outlook is called for. As Mr. Hart concludes, "The cause of our suffering is within us. The source of our salvation is also within us."

Dominic Hampshire

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