A Remarkable Schoolboy Recitation of Scientific Psychology that Needs a Wee Bit of Updating

February 21, 2010

Now I spent a lot of time reading Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and many scholastic thinkers, and I’ve learned a lot from them, but it’s remarkable to hear someone quote from them as if there were no, um, advances in knowledge about psychology, sexuality, or other matters over the past 800 years or so. (“The only intelligible end of the reproductive organ is reproduction, and insofar as the organ is utilized toward that end, it is a rational human act, a free act, an act of the free will, the rational appetite. Insofar as the sexual organ is utilized for instrumental reasons, it’s not an intelligible act, but rather a purely animalistic act.” Um, right. The part on the extraction of the intelligible species would have gotten an “A” in a history of philosophy class, or at least a “B,” but the study of perception and thought has come a long way since St. Thomas’s wonderful “On the Unity of the Intellect Against the Averroists.”)

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Jude February 22, 2010 at 12:44 am

After watching the video, I went to Sorba’s blog, and it appears that his understanding of evolution is about as deep as his understanding of sexuality and natural rights. According to Sorba “With all our technology, our understanding, our progress, our super-computers and lifetimes of work, we cannot even come close to creating anything anywhere near as complex as an earthworm. Yet these super complex organisms, with more complex parts than any super-computer, supposedly came together by chance, without anything intelligent guiding their way.”

This gives the reader the impression that Sorba has never read anything on evolution by natural selection. The earthworm did not come together “by chance”, but rather over the course of millions of years of evolutionary whittling by random mutation and natural selection. Indeed, Sorba’s understanding of evolution seem to have not surpassed William Paley’s.

Greg N. February 22, 2010 at 8:15 am

Each and every one of his “arguments” in that anti-evolution rant has been considered and dismissed time and again.

But if that’s not enough, take a look at the end of that post where Sorba cites his source for his dismissal of Darwin (and thus all modern biology). The source? Rick Santorum. Where do they find these imbeciles?

Louis B. February 22, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Now I spent a lot of time reading Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and many scholastic thinkers, and I’ve learned a lot from them, but it’s remarkable to hear someone quote from them as if there were no, um, advances in knowledge about psychology, sexuality, or other matters over the past 800 years or so.

Is this really the issue, as opposed to the existence of a sect of young Republicans whose passion is finding arguments against homosexuality?

Tom Palmer February 22, 2010 at 7:07 pm

Well, it certainly is an issue. They claim “scientific” arguments about why homosexuality is contrary to nature and should be suppressed. There are not only holes in the argument (like the moral leap from claiming that something is “unnatural” to claiming it should be suppressed by force), but the alleged scientific basis for their claims is flimsy.

They do offer an argument and it’s worth at least a little time to refute it. So, yes, “the issue” is the arguments they offer, and not their motivations.

Brian N. February 22, 2010 at 9:05 pm

It is very much worthwhile, in further drawing out what a rancid twit Sorba is, to point out that the natural law, which Aquinas and the other scholastics developed from classical philosophy, is very much a distinct doctrine/set of concepts from natural rights, which differs radically both in consideration and foundational assumptions. Sorba has clearly conflated the two.

Kevin R. February 23, 2010 at 1:33 pm

I actually feel kinda bad for this guy. It seems obvious to me that he is looking through philosophical history to find reasons why gays are bad as opposed to actually seeing that liberty requires toleration. It makes me wonder if he is gay himself but is so conflicted about it that he has outbursts like he did.

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