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The octopus and I

December 15, 2009

Rushdoony’s The One and the Many is not one of the ten most accessible books I’ve ever read, but it will probably turn out to be one of the ten most important. This is because Rushdoony’s discussion of the continuity of being is essential to the recognition and interpretation of the ideas that frame all of the information surrounding us.

The dominant pagan paradigm explaining the existence of the universe is one of “undivided and continuous being” (p. 39).

The creation of any new aspect of being is thus not a creation out of nothing, but a creation out of being, in short, a process of being. This conception of being in process, when seen in its cosmic aspect, can be either static or dynamic, the framework of reference being history. (Loc. cit.)

The process of being is embraced in our post-modern jurisprudence:

This same concept of history was read into American history by the U. S. Supreme Court under Oliver Wendell Holmes, whose concept of the law saw law as the dominant mores of the people; truth, therefore, was pragmatic, democratic, and relative. Basic to this position was an acceptance of evolutionary thought, and evolution is simply a modern application of the concept of the continuity of being to the problem of origins. (p. 61)

Grounded in evolution (pardon the oxymoron), the notion of continuity of being represents the principle that all life exists on one continuum, and thus no species, including man, can claim any superiority, since there is no hierarchy. Life just happens in one big-happy-relative flow. This line of thought is of course designed to obviate God by placing his image bearer on a par with a mollusk.

A news story appeared today that should provide great encouragement for evolutionists. Scientists have noted intelligent behavior in octopuses, the first intelligent behavior ever noted in invertebrates. If the continuum of life advocates were correct, then the fact that octopuses would carry coconut shells across the sea bottom to construct shelters would give me the hope that I, too, could lead a successful and intellectually credible life without a spine. This would resolve nearly all of my pain issues. Reductio ad absurdum should, after all, work both ways.

Note: Citations refer to The One and the Many, Ross House Books, 2007.

One Comment
  1. Vic permalink
    December 15, 2009 9:39 am

    Rushdoony’s observations remind me of how Woodrow Wilson adopted the German philosophy of the 19th century that held that “timeless principles” were appropriate for their time, but they naturally change into new timeless principles as time goes on.

    Which raises the spectre that belief in evolution will evolve into disbelief.

    As for the octopus observation, I see another example of rediscovery of what was long known. I remember divers in Southern California in the 1970s talking about how octopuses liked to collect rocks. It was one of those interesting things people just knew from seeing it.

    As an aside, don’t ants gather materials to make homes too? Maybe someone should do an experiment.

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