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The Empty Dogma Of The Radical Humanist

The idea of today's neuroscientists and radical secularists that human beings are nothing more than cell matter is not only arrogant, it is a theory that is self-defeating to the core.

Atheist Richard Dawkins and bus campaign creator Ariane Sherine in London
Atheist Richard Dawkins and bus campaign creator Ariane Sherine in London
Santiago Montenegro


BOGOTA — Are science and philosophy the new dogma of our age? Remember that dogma itself was what science was purported to have overthrown when it was cloaked in the garb of religion. But these days, some of the world's great scientists, philosophers and psychologists are offering a worldview more regressive than even the infernal visions of Dante back in the 14th century.

Like Dante, they see a universe with a clearly defined and definitive order in which humans are rendered helpless. But they go even further. The scientists of today tell us that humans aren't actual subjects, that we are merely objects without free will.

Dante expand=1] envisioned a universe in which every living thing had its place, role and inevitable destiny in a strictly hierarchical setting. At its summit was the Great Ordainer, God, and below were the saints and angels, then monarchs, noblemen and traders. Below these came women, followed by the lower classes, slaves, animals, then plants and inanimate objects or natural elements.

Such conceptions evolved in leaps and bounds over the next 500 years, and our vision of humanity even more. From beings shaped by an impenetrable resolve, humans have become the center and masters of their actions, creators of laws and norms to govern their conduct.

This was the apotheosis of the individual and his autonomy, which prompted Immanuel Kant to postulate the idea of heteronomy to designate anyone controlled not by his will, but by outside forces and determinations.

Two centuries later, many neuroscientists, evolutionary biologists, psychologists, physicians and philosophers — and their popularizing disseminators such as Richard Dawkins and Steven Pinker — are saying that the mind and everything it permits are just cells, chemical elements and atoms, ordered in complex forms that will one day be definitively explained by the natural sciences, physics in particular.

There is, they say, no dichotomy between subject and object. All things and all human beings and their minds are just objects. Living material is, fundamentally, akin to dead matter, and therefore nobody has free will or autonomy, nor are there subjects that can "have" and "enjoy" them.

Everything we do, they argue, is but a dream or illusion.

The consequences of this vision of the universe are terrifying. If there is no will, autonomy or liberty, then there can be no blame or merit, no justice, no rights.

By this logic, Mother Teresa was no saint, and terrorists and drug traffickers commit no crimes. For there are simply neither saints nor sinners.

In Dante's world, where God ordered everything, there were nonetheless pockets of autonomy — for Abelard and Eloïse, for example, who disobeyed for loving and earned themselves a terrible punishment.

It may be that in describing a world of mindless illusion, modern thinkers are showing the weaknesses of their own arguments. Because if everything is object and material, one may legitimately ask who — or what — is dreaming or deluding itself? Perhaps the greatest proof of the existence of humans as subjects is precisely our existence as thinking beings. It wasn't enough to declare that God was dead: Certain thinkers in their presumption and arrogance are now telling us that we, as human beings, do not exist either.

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Look At This Crap! The "Enshittification" Theory Of Why The Internet Is Broken

The term was coined by journalist Cory Doctorow to explain the fatal drift of major Internet platforms: if they were ever useful and user-friendly, they will inevitably end up being odious.

A photo of hands holding onto a smartphone

A person holding their smartphone

Gilles Lambert/ZUMA
Manuel Ligero


The universe tends toward chaos. Ultimately, everything degenerates. These immutable laws are even more true of the Internet.

In the case of media platforms, everything you once thought was a good service will, sooner or later, disgust you. This trend has been given a name: enshittification. The term was coined by Canadian blogger and journalist Cory Doctorow to explain the inevitable drift of technological giants toward... well.

The explanation is in line with the most basic tenets of Marxism. All digital companies have investors (essentially the bourgeoisie, people who don't perform any work and take the lion's share of the profits), and these investors want to see the percentage of their gains grow year after year. This pushes companies to make decisions that affect the service they provide to their customers. Although they don't do it unwillingly, quite the opposite.

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Annoying customers is just another part of the business plan. Look at Netflix, for example. The streaming giant has long been riddling how to monetize shared Netflix accounts. Option 1: adding a premium option to its regular price. Next, it asked for verification through text messages. After that, it considered raising the total subscription price. It also mulled adding advertising to the mix, and so on. These endless maneuvers irritated its audience, even as the company has been unable to decide which way it wants to go. So, slowly but surely, we see it drifting toward enshittification.

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