|The three ingrained beliefs of anthropism, according to Ernst Haeckel (1899), one: anthropocentrism, belief that man is the preordained center of the universe; two: anthropomorphism, belief that man’s shape is the ideal perfect form and or fashioned in the image of god; three: anthropolatrism, belief that main has personal immortality, and or that the universe operates on man’s acts via some type of moral restitution principle, as conceptualized by soul or equivalent, e.g. karma (or spirit).|
“Anthropism is that powerful and world-wide group of erroneous opinions which opposes the human organism to the whole of the rest of nature, and represents it to be the preordained end of the organic creation, an entity essentially distinct from it, a godlike being.”
The first two are fairly standard; the third, however, is more complex, being that Haeckel does not rightly deny the existence of the soul, but later supposedly develops some type of monism-based soul crystal theory.I. The anthropocentric dogma culminates in the idea that man is the preordained center and aim of all terrestrial life—or, in a wider sense, of the whole universe. As this error is extremely conducive to man's interest, and as it is intimately connected with the creation-myth of the three great Mediterranean religions, and with the dogmas of the Mosaic, Christian, and Mohammedan theologies, it still dominates the greater part of the civilized world.
II. The anthropomorphic dogma is likewise connected with the creation-myth of the three aforesaid religions, and of many others. It likens the creation and control of the world by God to the artificial creation of a talented engineer or mechanic, and to the administration of a wise ruler. God, as creator, sustainer, and ruler of the world, is thus represented after a purely human fashion in his thought and work. Hence it follows, in turn, that man is godlike. "God made man to His own image and likeness." The older, naive mythology is pure "homotheism," attributing human shape, flesh, and blood to the gods. It is more intelligible than the modern mystic theosophy that adores a personal god as an invisible—properly speaking, gaseous—being, yet makes him think, speak, and act in human fashion; it gives us the paradoxical picture of a "gaseous vertebrate."
III. The anthropolatric dogma naturally results from this comparison of the activity of god and man; it ends in the apotheosis of the human organism. A further result is the belief in the personal immortality of the soul, and the dualistic dogma of the twofold nature of man, whose "immortal soul" is conceived as but the temporary inhabitant of the mortal frame. Thus these three anthropistic dogmas, variously adapted to the respective professions of the different religions, came at length to be vested with a i extraordinary importance, and proved the source of the most dangerous errors. The anthropistic view of the world which springs from them is in irreconcilable opposition to our monistic system; indeed, it is at once disproved by our new cosmological perspective.
“When physics and chemistry have entered on the description, sociology disappears from the scene, it is an ‘anthropism’.”
“When physics and chemistry have entered on their description of the perceptible, life disappears from the scene, and consequently death. Both are anthropisms.”
“Our sixteenth-century Fernel viewed the body as a tenement for faculties. One faculty was that which actuated the various bodily movements. Then came Descartes with is robot [see: Cartesian automata], a mechanism actuating itself. Such too had been Descartes’ thought with respect to the motions of the macrocosm. For Kepler still, a century later than Fernel, each planet was ridden by an angel. Then later with the ‘reign of law’ that guidance became a ‘force’, e.g. gravitational. Today that ‘force’ has in turn disappeared. There remains a curvature of space. The human mind looking at nature has had to dehumanize its point of view—it has, using Samuel Alexander’s word, to ‘deanthropize' itself. It has to dispense with ‘causation’, which is regarded as an anthropism, but is yet a final cause. It is more faithful to William of Occam.”