Robert Tulip wrote:
Thanks, interesting discussion. The disdain and censorship shown by atheists towards Acharya clearly involves a psychological complex. I suspect that this complex involves deeply seated cultural assumptions that people struggle to articulate or own, but which prove decisive in determining prejudiced emotional reactions such as rejection and derision.
The case of Richard Dawkins is interesting. I have read most of his books and have learned a lot from him. However, he is very arrogant, seemingly holding a dismissive attitude towards all ancient thought. He assumes the truth of the linear hypothesis of cultural and scientific progress from primitive superstition to modern enlightenment. All thought from before Descartes etc is dismissed by this prejudice as benighted by superstition. This is the general attitude of atheism, that religious thought including all mythology is false consciousness.
So, when Acharya S comes along and says that ancient mythology has a rational basis in empirical observation of the stars, atheists naturally react with emotional fury. Their agenda is to say mythology is worthless except as children's fables, but Acharya is saying, as I read her work, that the cyclic model of time in ancient thought is highly informative.
That's right. The whole MP is based on taking the astrotheological allegories as informative and to appreciate them for what they are. It seems that giving any sort of appreciation towards the mythologies cuts into some peoples anti-theistic agendas. That's why some of the same type of people in question don't like Joseph Campbell either and constantly seek to refute the mono myth idea.
This is a good point, although I dispute a generality among atheists in this matter, and raises some serious questions about modern education. Outside of a tip of the hat maybe to Democritus, the library at Alexandria, and some of Aristotle, many atheists are immersed in the advancing sciences since 1600 and Descartes and the building sophistication of the scientific method. They are dazzled by that narrative as they should be and as I am. But it so defines their sense of order and semblance of optimal human existential reality, that they resort to assumptions that prior to this modern age going back to the inception of homo sapiens 100,000 to 200,000 years ago, the human condition floundered in a chronic chaotic ocean of superstition and social darkness, only worthy of occasional points of study.
People like Acharya and others advance scholarship that there is a thread of continuity in the ingenious way people observed the natural world in a pre-scientific setting, and set about to create fictions and metaphors that artistically express the profundity of the world around them with its nurturing or devastating natural cycles. My favorite example is the obvious influence of the Hermetic tradition on nascent Christianity in the opening of the Lord's Prayer.
Our Father, which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done,
in earth as it is in heaven.
As Hermes Trismegetus states and many other before no doubt, "as above, so below". It expresses the ages-old yearning that the perceived perfection of the heavens come to be completely mirrored on terra firma
When confronted with even mountain ranges of evidence of the syncretic thread that confirms the hypothesis of astrotheology, some atheists and many others are almost convulsive in approbation. They will either burst with accusations of denial of the validity of the evidence (desperate arguments about the applicability of secondary evidence or contorted interpretations of primary evidence of their own), or rabid red herrings and straw men. The hypothesis runs contrary to their world views in any historical setting and must be derided, ad hominems
galore, at all costs.
Among all too many of us, even those of us with advanced education, atheist and theist alike, we have not been sufficiently grounded in the liberal arts, or at an early enough age, to be able to sufficiently critically evaluate new information about culture and history. The same could be said for the physical sciences. Incomplete education and an over-emphasis on "specialty based" education leads to subjectivity and bias.
I was almost never an above average student. But perhaps I was fortunate enough to select a field of study that was a fulcrum for both the physical sciences and the humanities that it expanded my horizons of curiosity across a broad spectrum. I was one of the lucky ones. We need more luck like that in a society where so many of the best resourced among us find advantage in exploiting our ignorance and narrow opinion.