Tom Pittman's WebLog

2013 May 7 -- Post-Modernism, the New Dark Ages

The so-called "dark ages" a thousand years ago were characterized by the vast majority of the population being illiterate and barely able to sustain themselves while paying high taxes to their feudal lords. For a couple decades now I've been saying they are coming again, but I did not realize how close. The high taxes part started with the Bush deficit, and the people elected Obama on promises of "more of the same" (he called it "change" but he also promised not to raise our taxes, "not one dime," which is sort of true when you realize 6950 dimes is "not one dime"). Anyway, the people I know and see at church every week are struggling, sometimes juggling two jobs to make ends meet. Part of the blame for that also lies with the current Prez, because his flagship unAffordable Health Catastrophe is already causing small business employers to lay people off or cut their hours, so to duck under the penalty tax wire. "Not one dime."

But what is attracting my attention today is the effect on literacy that post-modern philosophy is having. If there is no such thing as "truth" then there is no need to read or write about it. Science -- the kind Galileo and Newton and Bacon gave us -- depends on things being absolutely true, and we must submit to that external reality in order to discover how the world works, thereby to manufacture things that actually work. It's a supremely Christian attitude towards knowledge, which is why modern science was invented in Christian Europe and nowhere else in the world ever. And it is why modern science is dying. America leads the world in self-esteem, but ranks dead last in math and science education.

Thirty years ago I was deeply impressed by Francis Shaeffer's How Should We Then Live? in which he points out how arts and literature reflect the philosophy of the people. But I was a technologist -- still am, but unpaid -- with no time to look beyond technology for reading matter or entertainment. So I largely missed the transition. Now it's starting to nibble away at the technology that has been my bread and butter. One of the library movies I checked out this week was a pseudo-thriller about a guy who discovers he's number four on somebody's hit list. It wasn't until I got into it that I realized it's another X-Men knock-off. Mission Impossible in its heyday was a good adrenaline flick, but the activities (while improbable) were at least scientifically credible. Nobody cares about science any more, so they bring in things that are scientifically impossible, and surround it with some pseudo-scientific babble about evolution (which no good Darwinist would consider credible, let alone a scientist), and call it good. As that writer for one TV series said, "That's one of the wonderful things about sci-fi is that there are no guidelines, or like structures that you get stuck into, it's sci-fi, it's make-believe, you can do whatever you want, because who's to say it can't work?" Nobody knows nor cares about science.

When I was in high school, the classes were graded for the mainstream edu-factory drones, so I had a lot of free time. My name got me assigned a seat near the rear, so I brought a sci-fi novel to class and read it while everybody else pretended to pay attention to the teacher. I read every sci-fi in the school library, then I went through every one in the public library. I went to college in Berkeley, so I actually had to work a little, and my reading was limited to class materials. Then I went to work in computer technology, and never had time to read another novel for forty years. Now that "It's the economy stupid" has caught up to me, I have more time to think about politics and fiction (they turn out to be closely related ;-)

Anyway, here I am reading sci-fi again -- I already completely scoured the sci-fi collection at the local library -- and am discovering that they have pretty much abandonned what the critics now call "hard sci-fi" (emphasis on "science") and have turned to X-men style "fantasy". There's even a new genre category label "speculative fiction" to cover their deviation from science. Nobody knows nor cares about science any more.


Fantasy: Post-Christian Fiction
The Problem with Romance Fiction
For links to other posts in this fantasy thread, see Fantasy vs the Truth

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