[FoRK] Nietzsche's Severe Rationalism

Dr. Ernie Prabhakar <drernie at radicalcentrism.org> on Tue Jan 29 12:36:22 PST 2008

Hi all,

Sorry to beat the dead horse, but I've wondered about this as well,
and was glad to see a more learned man than I exploring how Nietzsche
would have responded the "new atheists."

-- Ernie P.

[waiting for the replies to claim that Nietzsche, along with Hitler  
and Stalin, was a closet theist... :-]

> Along with ignoring the French Revolution, one of the most telling
> features of the new books on atheism is their consistent refusal to
> engage Nietzsche, who, if read correctly, ought to make atheists
> squirm far more than he has ever caused discomfit to believers.
> First, he turned the critical methods of the Enlightenment against
> their inventors and showed that Enlightened faith in progress was
> just as illusory as belief in an afterlife. Second, he demanded that
> a critical philosophy stop pretending to be a substitute religion
> (he shrewdly called Hegelian idealism “insidious theology”). Third,
> he insisted on the indissoluble bond between Christian doctrine and
> Christian morality and poured contempt on novelists like George
> Eliot for supposing otherwise...

> If nature trumps knowledge at every turn, then science loses its
> point, and the essentially moral nature entailed in the search for
> truth is gone, along with the concept of truth itself:
>> Thus the question “Why science?” leads back to the moral problem:
>> Why have morality at all when life, nature, and history are “not
>> moral”? No doubt, those who are truthful in that audacious and
>> ultimate sense that is presupposed by the faith in science thus
>> affirm another world than the world of life, nature, and history;
>> and insofar as they affirm this “other world”—look, must they not
>> by that same token negate its counterpart, this world, our world?—
>> But you will have gathered what I am driving at, namely, that it is
>> still a metaphysical faith upon which our faith in science rests—
>> that even we seekers after knowledge today, we godless anti-
>> metaphysicians, still take our fire, too, from the flame lit by a
>> faith that is thousands of years old, that Christian faith which
>> was also the faith of Plato, that God is the truth, that truth is
>> divine. (Nietzsche’s emphases)

>> The biblical prohibition “Thou shalt not kill” is a piece of
>> naïveté compared with the seriousness of Life’s own “Thou shalt
>> not” issued to decadence: “Thou shalt not procreate!”—Life itself
>> recognizes no solidarity, no “equal right,” between the healthy and
>> the degenerate parts of an organism. . . . Sympathy for the
>> decadents, equal rights for the ill-constituted—that would be the
>> profoundest immorality, that would be anti-nature itself as morality!

More information about the FoRK mailing list