28/CHRONICLES OF CULTUREnits stylistic playfulness—as an evolutionarynadaptation that maintains “socialnreality” but provides no access tontruth.nFor more than a decade Lanham hasntried to demonstrate that the Westernnhumanist tradition, because of the “stupidity”nof Aristotle and Thomas More,nhas left play and game and consciousnstylistics out of its sense of humannmotive. Thus, the only salvation fornany of us is to make style the subject ofnfreshman composition courses, thenngradually of all the curriculum, andnfinally the center of civilized activity.nLanham is driven by a messianic determinationnto bring us all out of “Eden”n(the world of those who share Aristode’snerroneous notion that “people alwaysndo things for practical purposes”) andninto “Post-Darwinia,” where everyonenis devoted to “rhetoric for the sake of thencontest, argument for the pleasures ofncontention.” According to Lanham, wenmust stamp out all Edenic concern fornclarity and begin “making up ‘reality”‘nby “speaking for fun,” “for the hell ofnit,” “talking just to keep the socialndrama going.”nLanham is very good at pegging thencurrent scandals of academia: the gulfnbetween literary study and composition;nthe irrelevance of graduate training innthe humanities to the teaching assignmentsnthat follow in basic writing andngeneral education; the exploitation ofnill-equipped and underpaid graduatenstudents and younger faculty, left tonface an overwhelming literacy crisisn(brought on by neglect of the highnschools and by a changing, multilingualnpopulace) while the older facultynpursue research-oriented career gamesnin their mature but increasingly irrelevantndiscipline. His arguments for dealingnwith these scandals through integrationnof rhetorical, literary, andnprofessional studies—in something likenthe old lit/comp classes, but informednby greater emphasis on stylistic expressionnand understanding—are appealingnand convincing, and his program atnUCLA seems to be working. But othersn—such as James Billington and WaynenBooth—have pointed out these samenscandals and made promising suggestionsnbased on very different views ofnhuman motive.nBesides, Lanham’s own dichotomynbetween purpose and play, betweennEden and Post-Darwinia is false and (innits evaluative purposiveness) selfdefeating.nIt is hard to imagine purelynEdenic people (simplistic, stodgy, andnnaively convinced they possess an “independentnontological security guaran-.nteed by God”) who always do things fornentirely purposive reasons rather thannfor competition or stylistic display. It isnharder still to imagine why anyonenshould praise Post-Darwinians whonspend “a lot of time . . . acting for thensake of acting,” or “just screwingnaround.” How can such a reductionistnvision of humanity—bleak and trivialn—ever overcome the problems of illiteracynor provide a surer basis for humanism?nCertainly few will be impressednby Lanham’s misguidednapplication of his theory to Aristotle’snRhetoric and More’s Utopia—worksnthat are more self-consciously stylisticnthan Lanham will allow.nLanham’s revision of modern humanisticncurricula could only institutionalizensuch misreadings of the classics.nAnd though Lanham claims to bena post-Darwinian, it is unclear how hisnall-out attack on the prevailingn”Clarity-Brevity-Sincerity School” ofncomposition would foster the survival ofnthe species. No doubt humanists shouldndevote more unashamed attention tonstyle as intrinsically valuable, but as anfriend in technical writing pointed outnto me, “If your Volkswagen stalls at thentop of Teton Pass at 30 below and younreach in the jockeybox for your manual,nit better be clear, brief, and sincere.”nEugene England is professor of Englishnat Brigham Young University.nScientism’s SinsnWolfgang Smith: Cosmos and Transcendence:nBreaking Through thenBarrier of Scientistic BeUef; SherwoodnSugden; La Salle, IL.nFew theologians have influenced thenspiritual life of the West as profoundlynas the lay physicist Galileo Galilei whennhe successfully challenged the Church’sngeocentric world view. Though the Copernicanndoctrine he championed wasnoriginally discovered by a devout Christian,nGalileo redefined it within anmechanistic world view which exilednnnGod to the periphery. Shaped in succeedingncenturies by thinkers from Descartesnto Laplace to Bertrand Russell,nthis new ideology not only made thenplace of Deity dubious, it also reducednthe human mind and all it apprehendsn—morality, beauty, truth—to subjectivenillusion. How, after all, could reasonnor the soul fit in a universe wherenall reality was material, kinetic, ornmathematical?nBut now another lay physicist, WolfgangnSmith, is vigorously challengingnthe new orthodoxies ushered in by Galileo.nSmith regards the scientific revolutionninitiated by the Tuscan astronomernnot as a period of enlightenmentnand progress, but as a 350 year detour.nBy repudiating not only the Ptolemaicncosmography but all of the metaphysicalntraditions informing “the notion ofncosmic theophany,” modern scientismncreated insuperable dilemmas. The radicalnbifurcation of the mental and thenmaterial universes has not only madenknowledge and meaningful choicenseem impossible in everyday life, it hasnalso failed the test of scientific applicationnin recent years. Clearly, the argumentsnfor returning to the central premisesnof Christian thought arencompelling, though it is ironic that nownonly laymen like Smith seem to care.nWhile professional philosophers arenbusy playing with semiotics and theologiansnare distributing political manifestosnand automatic weapons, it is left tonan amateur — a mathematician — tondefend the foundations of Westernnthought.nInevitably the amateurism shows. Innoudining and defending his position.nSmith is too eager to confound all foes:nNewtonianism, Darwinism, Freudianism,nJungianism, and humanism allnreceive their lashes in turn. But Smithnhas taken on too many opponents tonunderstand them all well. Especiallynweak are the links he posits between keynfigures. Newton, after all, despisednDescartes and all other mechanists, andnmost Victorians viewed Darwinism notnas an outgrowth but as a repudiation ofnthe Newtonian outlook. Good metaphysicsnshould help us make more carefulndistinctions. But overzealousnessndraws Smith away from his invinciblenfirst principles into fruitless quibblesnover minor points—Darwinian interpretationsnof fetal whale teeth, Freud’snviews on female urination, or Jung’sndreams about dwarfs. Anyone whonwants to restore man to a place “a littlenlower than the angels” might spend lessntime wrestling in the mud with fossilhuntersnand psychoanalysts. ccn