Good morning, class, and welcome back to World History 301. Today we are studying Chapter 66, which relates to a particularly curious time in world history – a period which has come to be known as the “Postmodern Dark Ages.”
This period began toward the end of the 20th century AD and lasted through much of the 21st century. The strange thing about this period was this: it came at the end of an era where knowledge and discovery had accelerated far beyond anything previously experienced in human history. And yet it was characterized by some of the greatest blindness and ignorance ever seen in this world.
So how could there be so much knowledge and yet so much blindness? Because most people believed only what was popular or convenient to believe, and were not motivated to find out what was actually true.
During this era there were unprecedented advances in technology and communication; and yet at the same time there was an epidemic of false information and false science being presented and accepted as true. This was because much of the work of journalists and scientists was not geared toward investigating what was actually true, but toward trying to validate what people wanted to be true.
The first and greatest example of this was the so-called “scientific theory” of evolution. This was the belief that life on earth had gradually created itself, over billions of years, with no guidance from any kind of intelligence. First popularized in the mid-19th century, this was not based on any actual scientific knowledge, but rather on the philosophical rejection of a transcendent Creator.
By the time of the Postmodern Dark Ages, scientific knowledge – particularly regarding the incredible complexity of life – had destroyed any possibility that this “theory” might be found to be true. Yet it was treated by most of Western society as if it were hard, firmly proven fact that only highly ignorant or misguided people would question.
With much of humanity convinced that there was no being or law higher than itself, people increasingly believed that objective reality could be overridden by popular vote or by influential “experts.” Thus more and more people believed things that anyone could have known to be utterly false; indeed, it came to be considered socially unacceptable to question these things at all.
In the Postmodern Dark Ages, for example, people believed that it was perfectly normal and healthy to be sexually attracted to members of one’s own sex, or – later in the period – even to children. They were convinced that it was not desirable, or even possible, for someone to stop having such attractions, in spite of the fact that many people had indisputably done so, and were far better off for it.
They believed that marriage could be whatever someone wanted it to be. Two men, two women, three people, close relatives – any arrangement was considered to be as valuable as a traditional marriage (which, paradoxically, was no longer really considered valuable at all).
They believed that a man who “felt” like a woman really was a woman, and thus had to be treated as one. They believed that his body would become a woman’s if it was just altered to look like one.
They believed that an unborn child was not a “person,” and thus could be killed in the womb just so the responsibilities of raising it could be avoided.
These were just some of the obvious falsehoods that were popularly believed, in spite of all evidence. But there were more and more as time went on, in the areas of science, history, social issues, and so on. People who didn’t buy the falsehoods became increasingly rare, and often couldn’t even give good reasons for their opposition. There was also increased intolerance and persecution toward them over time. As a result, many people simply gave in to the popular viewpoints, despite the fact that they should have known better.
So how did the period called the Postmodern Dark Ages end? What did it lead to?
Well… that’s a lesson for another time.
This article originally appeared at American Clarion.
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