Friday, November 5, 2010

Examining Atheist Propaganda: the site

 One finds a certain kind of thinking among atheists, and the same phenomenon among Christian apologists. People who don't have the background and don't understand the issue trying to comment on philosophies that are way over their heads. That is to be expected. If a great philosopher says something anyone who comments is of necessity of less stature than the great philosopher. Yet the attitude one takes toward these figures, the great philosophers, makes all the difference. A Christian apologists who regards William Lane Craig on a par with Plato and who fawns over Craig's every word, trying to represent Craig's view and getting it wrong is still not as odious as some hateful atheist who is trying to tear down something he doesn't understand. The guy trying to represent a view he admires, even if he doesn't understand it totally, is still humble about it and thus less obnoxious than a hate group groupie trying to tear down a great man he can't phantom, just to do his bit for the ideology so the hate movement will flourish.

Such a would be demolition expert is the guy who does the blog I quoted form last time, the "" Here is a superficial thinker (Francois Tremblay) who doesn't understand the things he's trying to destroy, but he's willing to stop at nothing to destroy them. This is another one that tries to use a blog as a stationary website, like I do with the Religious a prori. In the coming week I'll be taking a lot at several aspects of this site. I guess its the hate group hot spot for the week. It's not very hateful. It really doesn't come on as a big hate group thing. He's not calling them names or burning crosses of any kind, it's more subtle and there more sinister. He pretends to understand the things he's trying to destroy. If he really understood them he wouldn't be trying to destroy them, he wouldn't be so flippant and superficial. First let's examine the site in general, then I'll deal with an article in which the true ignorance of the site is exposed. is propaganda. It's not thinking, it's not understanding, it's propaganda. Like all propaganda the first victim is the truth.The first thing one meets is "strong atheism explained." The fact that they cover intolerance with an official designation such as "strong atheism" rather than "stupid intolerant atheism" speaks volumes:

Strong Atheism is the proposition that we should not suspend judgment about the non-existence of a god or gods. More extensively, it is a positive position against theistic values, semantics and anti-materialism, a rational inquiry in the nature of religious thought, a new way of thinking about religious and spiritual issues.

 In other words, we are not going to think we are going to react with knee jerk speak and no understanding. That would be ok if they were opposing war or doing something laudable but what they are really doing is try to destroy thinking about positions that require a lot of thought. They are propagandizing against intellectual matters that should be reserved for philosophers. The article that I'm going to critique is against Paltinga's view of proper basicality. That is a philosophical position not a political policy. So they are using a lynch mob mentality to deal with a matter that demands academic freedom and real education and deep thought. there's something unholy about that.

 The proof of what I say is in their use of complexity as the exigence (the thing that needs changing). The argument against Plantinga that he makes over and over boils down to "his ideas are so complex, you can't accept anything that's complex." I'll get to that next time.

What's obvious enough today is that despite fundamental disagreements, common sceptics and theists have a certain number of things in common that would threaten to cast constructive philosophy and science into minority support. This website, while host to many different viewpoints, aims to provide a rational alternative to such positions by making a case for what we can broadly call "constructive naturalism", including metaphysical realism, materialism, scientific inquiry, and moral objectivity.

 "minority support?" What I think he's saying is that if we allow Christian thinkers to do their thinking and teach it in universities then a group that is currently the minority we hate will become the majority and we will be the minority. We must stop this at all costs." Now the things he's advocating metaphysical realism, materialism, scientific inquiry, moral objectivity are philosophical positions themselves and deserve the same allowance that all philosophy deserves, or the same academic freedom. Just as communists hid behind the constitution so these intolerant anti-intellectuals hide behind what they would destroy, academic freedom. They deserve academic freedom but they are intolerant. Moral objectivity is the philosophy of Know-nothing Ayn Rand who didn't understand the basics of ethical thinking. metaphysical realism assumes we know everything and there's more we don't know about reality that we ca learn. Materialism is basically the same thing as metaphysical realism. Of the atheists hitch hikes on the coat tails of science, pretending that scinece is really atheist enforcement.

This statement in the reference to "minority support" which he defines as a evil that must be stopped (within the context of the statement) is a pretense because theism is in the majority in philosophy now. If "minority support" is a problem it's atheism that has minority support.

Is-Ought Dictonomy

David Hume had an argument that has been called "Hume's Fork." It says "you cant' derive an ought from an is.  But Tremblay has decided that you can. the reason is obvious, he can't argue fairly he can't hope to beat moral arguments, atheism can't manufacture an ought so he just assume is = ought. The major atheist thinker, the philosopher atheists most admire (Hume) says he's wrong, I suspect he doesn't understand enough about philosophy to even know this.

The is-ought false dichotomy is the widespread idea that moral statements (oughts) are somehow of a different nature than ontological statements (is). This leads to the conclusion that morality cannot be objective, and that there is no moral standard.
Right away we see that he is propagating the know nothing's misconceptions (the know nothing = Rand). He's speaking as though it's a  fallacy to distinguish ought form is but Hume says it is the opposite, it's a fallacy not to distinguish. Most philosophical thinkers agree and text books on moral philosophy make that assumption as a basic. This group of atheist propagandists are totally distorting accepted norms of thought in Western culture merely becuase they can't beat Christian moral philosophy. What he's doing is on a par with telling us that evil has always been accepted as good. The assertion that morality cannot be objective is just a given fact that all people instinctively know, except atheist who are so mixed up their fear of subjectivity with the certainty of moral thnking and have anxiety about the subjective, because they propagate the lie that their bigoted garbage is "objective." It's about as objective as a Fata Morgana.

Note the role reversal. Atheism has always been criticized for being "subjective" and "relative" in morality. That used to be Schaffer and the religious right's major criticism of all of liberalism. Atheists were arguing for relativism, even my sociology professors argued for relativism in morality. While fundies and evangelicals made a big thing out "objective morality." Moral absolutes, that is objective moral motions, were the province of the fundamentalist.  In this guy's world good is evil and evil is good. The relativist becomes the objectivist and the absolutist becomes the relativist. His reasoning is vintage Rand (the great Know nothing).

In short, we can refute the is-ought false dichotomy in this way:
(1) Actions have consequences.
(2) These consequences are within the province of causality, since they are material.
(3) Therefore, the relation between actions and consequences is objective.
(1), (2) and (3) are the basis and justification of moral objectivity.

The basic mistake he makes up in that syllogism is he doesn't' apply a moral dimension. The simple minded can't understand how to think abstractly, they are screwed with all definitions because they abhor education until they have produced a situation where abstract thought is a no-no because it's not literal and in front of your face. In their literalistic version of ontology the only choices are literalistic materialism or supernatural (which is a straw man version of Christian thought based upon other worlds and things from DC comics). Since they can't understand that abstraction is not the Platonic realm and is not necessarily super natural, not necessarily outside your head, they abhor thinking abstractly so they can't figure out that the moral dimension doesn't have to be a real dimension where things are. It's a dimension  in your head. These are people who have such little experience actually thinking they can't relate to what real thought is about.

Thus, they abhor the concept of the moral dimension becasue they think it means God and heaven and other realms, the SN, so they reduce everything to the literal. Not being very bright they think of hard concrete in front of your face and literal as going together and as the only alternatives to belief in God. That's why he thinks that consequences are all physical and moral consequences are just out of the question.

Therefore, the relation between actions and consequences is objective.

He thinks "objective" means literal, physical, in front of your face. He can't understand the concept of something that is both objective and in your head (abstract). There is abstract objectivity. Physical consequences are not moral consequences and nothing he has said demonstrates deriving an ought from an is.The fact of something being dos not give it an ought. He asserts there is no moral overtone that's why his take on the moral lacks a moral dimension. Thus he has no basis upon which to mount a "should."

Is there a means to study morality detached from personal feeling, desires or whims? Yes, if we consider it to be a subset of causality. Using (3), we can then examine what kind of actions produce what kind of consequences. If we eat and drink proper foods and in moderate quantity, we will survive. This particular study is the field of nutrition. Using this scientific basis, we can deduce which actions are propensive to one’s life as regards to eating (and accomplishing other goals, such as gaining or losing weight), and which ones are not.
The idea of morality being understood through "fine feelings" or emotions has a long history in Western thought. It goes back to the Greeks, it has a major life in the romantics, especially Roseau, and thinkers like Fichte (good old Johanne Gottlieb).   This guy wants to write them off because they might lend support to belief in God and because Christians are always talking about experiences. Like that Christian Roseau,(wink-- practically a televangelist). This guy is so well read. He wants to reduce morality to scientific quantification, every single major moral theorist in history has opposed this garbage. Schweitzer completely debuncked it (see Philosophy of Civilization). (On Amazon). No major thinker supports it. Reducing morality to nutrition is idiotic. Just considering the meaning of the terms "Is" and "ought" we can see there's a distinction. To blur that distinction is stupidity.

In debate we had a kind of argument called "should/would." that means the team is arguing that our plan will not be adopted becuase some group doesn't like it. We say "that is should/would," meaning, the issue "they will not do X" is not important in debate we must assume that the proposal has feiot power, or the assumption that it would be adopted, or there's no debate. We assume they will do it if the judge votes for it, we must discuss should we do it?" Anyone who can't see the distinction is not fit for secondary education. The reductionists, however, reduce ought to is and ignore the obviuos distinction. If we used their logic then we would have to prove not only that the status quo should adopt our plan, whatever that may be, but that they will adopt it. If they are going to adopt it why debate it? The whole idea of saying "we should do X" becomes "we are doing X." How can we have meaningful change in  a world where what we are doing and what we should do are the same thing?

Let's apply this to politics. We should get out  of the war. That becomes are out of the war. So now we have to say "we are out of the war" when we are not. Of course we know if we are in a war, but the difference becomes unimportant. We are in a war, we cant' change it, there's no "should' should is would so we just can't fight it. This is while idea is just control. The reductionist wants to control your life. This is the insidious nature of Ayn Rand, she really wanted to control people and atheist who think like her also want to control people. Even if this guy hasn't thought it out that far, he's still obviously mixed up.

This sort of thinking that some atheists spread is nothing short of total evil. It sets up the justification of any garbage nonsense one wishes.

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