Evolving: Can Enlightenment Save the Planet?
New age guru Andrew Cohen’s magazine,
What Is Enlightenment?,
offers a route to planetary salvation based in the evolution of “higher
consciousness.” But an analysis of Cohen’s dualist philosophy suggests
we’d be better off sticking with mainstream
science to avoid global catastrophe.
The Specter of Brain
Those of the New Age persuasion often suppose that reductionist science
threatens what makes us most human, the immaterial soul or spirit, and what
makes life most meaningful, the existence of a transcendent non-physical
realm. To escape the perils of materialism and mechanism, they take
refuge in the pseudo-science of paranormal and occult phenomena. But
we needn't resort to pseudo-science or deny our physical nature to defend
humanity or find meaning in life. This appeared in
Free Inquiry, May-June, 2006.
The Specter of Scientism
Lerner and other spiritual progressives see the West in thrall to the
worldview of scientism, which marginalizes all values but capitalist
consumerism. To counter scientism and ground progressive values, Lerner says
we must access intuitive spiritual knowledge, which reveals an ethical
dimension at the heart of reality. But we need not resort to a questionable
epistemology or claim that values are fundamental in nature to ground
progressivism, which is a political, not metaphysical, project. A
thorough-going naturalism, based in science, offers significant resources in
the quest for a humane and equitable planetary culture.
Center for Naturalism