Illustration of Sir Isaac Newton‘Beyond Scientism’ and Other Poetry by C.B. Anderson The Society August 14, 2019 Culture, Poetry 13 Comments Beyond Scientism Old wives’ tales, humble kin of ancient lore, Like road signs carved in stone are durable. Traditionists are deemed incurable By bright authorities who can’t ignore A single variance with “fact,” yet Science Is but a construct based upon the shared Beliefs of narrow thinkers unprepared To entertain a whisper of defiance Toward what is now their lawful paradigm. The world runs deeper than its strict description And frequently defies complete decryption In terms of numbers, matter, space or time. Ideas seem to fall out of the blue, And everything beneath the sun is new. First published in Mortal Soup and the Blue Yonder, reprinted in Anima The Search for Higher Intelligence From mouths of babes, regurgitated milk And little else. Impoverished tonsured monks With honeyed tonsils utter prayers to bilk The tithing fold. A scientist debunks Old myths, yet offers nothing to replace Them with but mechanistic tales first told By Isaac Newton. Bent on keeping pace, Our public servants gild the bull they’ve sold. Deprived of wisdom, people often settle For stony intellect or mordant wit, But when the tea-leaves meet the boiling kettle, These lesser assets assay counterfeit. The major lesson narrow thinkers teach Is how much thought evades their ingrown reach. First published in Sonneto Poesia Ye of Complicated Faith Do not begrudge an ass his quaint belief Or scorn the glass that darkly clouds his eyes, Lest you yourself seem like a petty thief Of scrapings from the thumbnails of the wise. Give way to every pilgrim—be the last. Look down while all the others fix their gaze Upon a brimming wilderness so vast They cannot see the distance for the haze. The Holy Writ, no simple monolith, Is part True Word and part apocrypha; And pray two grains of salt be taken with It—one from Asia, one from Africa. Your business is God—mind your own. Shut up And wait until you thirst, then fill your cup. First published in The Eclectic Muse. C. B. Anderson was the longtime gardener for the PBS television series, The Victory Garden. Hundreds of his poems have appeared in scores of print and electronic journals out of North America, Great Britain, Ireland, Austria, Australia and India. His collection, Mortal Soup and the Blue Yonder was published in 2013 by White Violet Press. Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 13 Responses Steve Shaffer August 14, 2019 Nice work, well said. Specifically I like this: Science Is but a construct based upon the shared Beliefs of narrow thinkers unprepared To entertain a whisper of defiance Here’s a potentially interesting post about this same subject (scientism): https://christianity2020.com/2019/08/11/i-am-i-said/ Reply C.B. Anderson August 14, 2019 Steve, well, yes. Scientism, you see, is a religion to which atheists adhere — it’s all they’ve got. Reply Leo Zoutewelle August 14, 2019 CB: Most interesting. Well worth reading! Thanks, Leo Reply C.B. Anderson August 14, 2019 Leo, you are most welcome. Reply Denise Sobilo August 14, 2019 C.B. You remarked in your comment to me that “you have given me cause to try harder when it comes to my own inadequate verses.” Being new to this site and therefore unfamiliar with its poets, I quite naturally looked up some of your work. Far from inadequate, I should say. A natural progression in these three poems: the recognition of the limitations of science; the search for a higher intelligence; and the finding of it in man’s humility before God. Reply C.B. Anderson August 14, 2019 Denise, I thank you for your interest in my work. What I did not quite manage to say in my comment on your poems is that I find my own narratives too straightforward. Yours are just as lucid, and they are syntonic with the highest ideals of logophilia, but they are oblique. This is something I don’t yet know how to do, which is why your poems impressed me so much. I know I’ve written a few good poems, because readers and editors tell me so, but I don’t think I’ve ever written anything that even approaches your uncanny style. The “natural progression” you mention is due to Evan Mantyk’s arrangement of them on the page. These poems were selected by Evan from my two published books, and beyond having written them I take no responsibility or credit for how they appear here. Reply Denise Sobilo August 15, 2019 But also perhaps a natural progression in the thoughts/philosophy of the poet which underlie his creative process. Maybe what you are sensing in my poetry is my attempt to find or construct a metaphysical conceit, some relationship that is not readily apparent between the subject of the poem and its imaginative, symbolic expression. If so, then I will take it that I have been successful in my efforts. I do also believe that poetry should be logical and lucid and not obscure and irrational, so you have picked up on that as well. Plus the fact that the reader should be imaginatively engaged in order to decipher what I am saying and not be given the power-points, outline and final exam questions for the course. C.B. Anderson August 15, 2019 Oddly enough, Denise, I am here responding to your response to my response to your initial response. I think you have it just right. The “metaphysical conceit” of which you write is spot on. Dylan Thomas did this sometimes (see his “A refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London”) And of course, nobody should get all the answers to the test ahead of time. Like almost everything else, poetry is work on both the giving and the receiving end. Reply David Watt August 15, 2019 C.B., Apposite lines such as ‘Lest you yourself seem like a petty thief Of scrapings from the thumbnails of the wise’ make your poems distinctive and entertaining. Reply C.B. Anderson August 15, 2019 Thanks, David. Sometimes I just can’t seem to help myself. I often bend and stretch to find solutions to the metrical and rhyme scheme to which I’ve committed myself. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Reply Paul August 16, 2019 Very interesting and well-crafted work. Takes me a bit of time to fully digest them and get the full feel and brunt of your sharp wit. “Our public servants gild the bull they’ve sold” – and “They cannot see the distance for the haze” – are well-conceived and poignant. Great work for a model of how to do it. Thanks for these, and for your comments in general (and in specific.) Reply C.B. Anderson August 16, 2019 Ich kann nicht anders, Paul. Reply Paul August 17, 2019 Gesundheit, C.B. 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