The Progressive Diminishment of Man – New English Review

Rebecca Bynum has some marvelous insights on scientism’s impulse to abolish humanity from among humanity:

One might recall the great glee with which Jane Goodall’s discovery of the tool-making and using of chimpanzees was greeted (wild chimps were observed stripping the leaves from twigs in order to use them to fish for termites). This was due not to the fact that it raised chimpanzees in our estimation, but rather because it lowered man. Louis Leakey exclaimed, “Now we must redefine tool, redefine Man, or accept chimpanzees as humans.” One more supposedly unique human attribute was knocked off the list, and we could no longer claim to be the only tool making and using animal.

[From The Progressive Diminishment of Man – New English Review]


It may be argued that what man believes himself to be determines not only his conduct, but the substance of what he feels is possible, thus determining the scope of art and culture. The ostensible purpose of science is to serve man through the ever-expanding knowledge of facts, and yet as science has ascended, many scientists have mounted a purposeful attack on the ancient concept of man in order to diminish him in his own estimation. The feeling among scientists seems to be that man does not deserve a privileged place in the universe.

As good as her analysis is, though, it sounds eerily familiar.

HT: Bradford

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1 thought on “The Progressive Diminishment of Man – New English Review

  1. The feeling among scientists seems to be that man does not deserve a privileged place in the universe.

    All of the hard work these scientists have done throughout history to advance the state of mankind, and for what? Their great minds, powered by their prestigious PhD’s, have enabled them to discover the secrets of the universe – and the secret is that they’re no more special than a mud puddle or a rusty door hinge? The secret is that the rational mind is no more valuable or special than the irrational mind? Talk about shooting yourself in the foot!

    Why would anyone care to value what these non-great, non-special, non-valuable lumps of matter and energy have to say?

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