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Thursday, December 06, 2007


Stephen Sparrow

Pullman said, "it [Christianity] doesn’t gel at all with the more convincing account that is given by Darwinian evolution "

Well if Mr Pullman attempts to understand the Bible the way he reads a newspaper or a phone book, I'm not surprised he considers Darwin to be "the authority".

If he really opened his eyes he would discover allusions as well as direct references to the capacity of nature to evolve in sources as diverse as Genesis, Gospel of St John, St Augustine, Isaiah, Psalms, Dante's Divine Comedy, Pascal's Pensees and Teilhard de Chardin: to say nothing of Jean Baptist Lamark's publication of a theory of evolution sixty years before Darwin published The Origin of Species, and those references are only a cursory roundup of sources. Darwin's contemporary Wallace noted in his findings on evolution, and in which he described the mechanism of change as "Survival of The Fittest", that Darwin's theory could not account for human culture and the use of symbols. Darwin was moved to rebuke him by saying if you go down this path you will murder the child (evolution by natural selection) that we are trying to promote.

Darwin's theory of Natural Selection collapses totally when arraigned against Supernatural Selection.

Pullman is merely another sceptic in the same order of those whom Chesterton once ridiculed as being not sceptical enough. In other words a true sceptic should be sceptical of his own scepticism. Pullman opining reminds me of somebody drunk who claims they're sober. The sober person can spot an inebriate a mile off in much the same way that the believer knows about belief, since the unbeliever cannot understand what it is that he refuses to believe. The unbeliever and the drunk are similar in that each is muddled and unsure of his own ground.

Dear oh dear, poor Mr Pullman.


I am not really to interested in poring through the whole Pullman trilogy,
but as I found myself trapped inside a library last night for a few hours I first picked up Gibbon's Decline and Fall OTRE. Then I thought, no I think I'll look up this Pullman fellow. I was able to find 'The Amber Spyglass' on the self and so I perused the last few chapters.

The book ends on a nostalgic note that I didn't expect. Lyra is tucked safley back at Oxford, the Magisterium has undergone some sort of liberization so that the Dons of Oxford can study to their heart content once more, but the words that ring in
Lyras ears are 'we must build the republic of heaven' not somewhere in the great beyond, but here and now.

What stikes one immediately is the nostalgia for the
idea of the republic of heaven that was the great project
of the twenty century. The nostalgia for Stalin, and Hitler,
and Mao and Pol Pot and for the GULAG.

Does not the Magisterium described in Pullman's work not really represent those great machines of modern idealism that crushed so many bones and trampled so many lives. The great project of scientific materialism failed but mostly it failed Pullman and his fellow travelers. One senses that the anger that Pullman directs toward the Church (and more properly against John Paul the Great, in particular) is an anger toward those that failed the cause, yea, the cause of the republic of heaven, but not of heaven, the republic of communism. In that parallel universe of communism we find that God is dead. Marx killed him and Nitzche spread the news.

Does Pullman recognize his part in killing God? In bringing about the great republic of death? Probably. But it is so much easier to curse God than it is to admit your own sins.

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