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7443 RE: 7410-Zombies : Desmangles comments further on Corbett's post

From: "Desmangles, Leslie" <Leslie.Desmangles@trincoll.edu>

In a March 21 post, Bob Corbett wrote, 

"The question of (the existence of) zombies reminds me of various claimed
supernatural phenomena in many religions. We of the western scientific and
relatively skeptical culture (but not very skeptical about the magic and
myth of science) like to name it all in scientific explanations."

These comments are correct. The argument about the existence of zombies is
analogous to those proffered as proof for the existence of God. That God
exists or doesn't exist is a matter of faith; both are assumptions that
cannot be scientifically proved or disproved. The ultimate affirmation of
God's existence or non-existence can only be measured by the believers' or
the non-believers' "yardsticks", that is, the recognition that God is an
active or inactive agent in their lives. The same can be said of the
existence of zombies. Their existence as well as the threat that they pose
to some, or even the fascination of them for others, may never be
substantiated objectively, except in the faith of the believers. 

In the same post, Corbett goes on to affirm that 

"the attractive thing about the Davis-like analysis of zombification is that
it doesn't rely on a contravention of laws of nature, but provides for us an
ethno-botanical explanation."

It is often the case that one accounts for the existence of God through the
argument by design. In other words, one can argue that God exists because
the world exists and because the universe appears to operate according to
certain immutable laws that seem to be part of a grand cosmic masterplan
that could only be designed by some supreme Intelligence. Because the
existence of zombies obviously defy that masterplan, we find it necessary to
provide a scientific (in this case ethno-botanical) explanation for their
existence. But the belief in the existence of zombies, as all religious
beliefs, defies all rational and scientific explanations. Belief is beyond
falsity and has always claimed immunity to critical and empirical analysis.
But it also holds the power to affect the believer in the most profound
manner; it can have quite a dramatic effect in the creative mind and life of
the faithful. 

I think that the same can be said of political ideology or certain concepts
of  nationalism. They too can transform people in most active and profound
ways, yet remain in the realm of blind conviction. Political ideology too
can ultimately defy objective, scientific proofs.  

Leslie G. Desmangles
Trinity College
Department of Religion and
International Studies Program
Hartford, CT 06106
(860) 297-2407 desk
(860) 297-5358 fax