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It's a Miraculous Life

So says Wendell Berry as he gives the metaphorical finger to E.O. Wilson and all philosophical materialists.




In the pictured book, Berry takes Wilson and his reductionistic tendencies to the whipping post: ". . .[H]e cannot suspect, the possibility that relgious faith may be a way of knowing things that cannot otherwise be known." J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis said the same thing of myth. Wilson, in his book, Consilience, wants to make every human endeavor subservient to science and conform to the scientific method as a way of understanding all things.

A minor problem, perhaps, is the tendency of materialism to objectify the world, dividing it from the "objective observer" who studies it. The world thus becomes "the environment," a word which Mr. Wilson uses repeatedly when speaking of conservation, and which means "surroundings," a place that one is in but not of. The question raised by this objectifying procedure and its vocabulary is whether the problems of conservation can be accurately defined by an objective observer who observes at an intellectual remove, forgetting that he eats, drinks, and breathes the so-called environment.


In all, Berry maintains, in this book-length essay, that life is too complex, too varied, and too wonder-full to be reduced to a formula, observation, or theory. He isn't anti-science, just anti-scientism. This is another fine addition to my growing Berry library.





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