Thursday, February 16, 2006

In Defense of Ideology and the Ideologue—

So many of the ‘progressive’, or the intellegencia of modernity of science and reason, have recoiled, and then begun stringent defense, in a shocked frenzy, when presented with the concept of an ideologically governed society. They respond with a gasp of horror and incredulity that any person would be foolish enough to govern anything with something as dogmatic as an ideology.

Yet for all this hype they go on in the delusion, and it is a very serious, albeit an implicit, one, that it’s possible to actually be free of ideology through a strict allegiance to science and logic.

They pretend in their 'world of make-believe' that it’s actually possible to be a ‘realist’ without an all-encompassing, beyond human, grasp on reality. They fail to see that once science, or logic, or ration, are applied to a macro view, of any significance, to the world in a manner that such information rendered as useful and relevant in the context of significant issues, that they go no further toward a correct view than many a dogma heeding religion has ever been. They fail to see that the very dogma that ration and logic and science can ever be successfully applied to humanity to solve, or approach solving, the ills of mankind is one of the worst dogmas that can be held to.

The sheer egotism and narcissistic nature inherent in an IDEOLOGY that holds that man can ever apply science and reason in a sufficient manner to solve more problems than it creates is the most sorry view for it is among the ultimate of contradictions.

It’s an ideology that doesn’t simply hold all other ideologies in scorn it holds itself in a kind of subconscious scorn. Maybe even not even a self-aware scorn.

A house divided…

What then of an ideology divided? One not even willing to come to grips with it’s own existence as an ideology?

Can we say MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN? Can anyone read the writing on the wall?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Response to the Third point from the Article by Sam Harris

Refutation of point #3

Point number three in bold, as originaly presented at --

"3. Religion is our only source of morality. Without it, we would be plunged into a secular moral chaos.

This concern is so widespread that I have responded to it at some length. A version of this response will soon be published in the magazine Free Inquiry ( as “The Myth of Secular Moral Chaos.”

One cannot criticize religious dogmatism for long without encountering the following claim, advanced as though it were a self-evident fact of nature: there is no secular basis for morality. Raping and killing children can only be really wrong, the thinking goes, if there is a God who says it is. Otherwise, right and wrong would be mere matters of social construction, and any society will be at liberty to decide that raping and killing children is actually a wholesome form of family fun. In the absence of God, John Wayne Gacy would be a better person than Albert Schweitzer, if only more people agreed with him.

It is simply amazing how widespread this fear of secular moral chaos is, given how many misconceptions about morality and human nature are required to set it whirling in a person’s brain. There is undoubtedly much to be said against the spurious linkage between faith and morality, but the following three points should suffice.

If a book like the bible were the only reliable blueprint for human decency that we have, it would be impossible (both practically and logically) to criticize it in moral terms. But it is extraordinarily easy to criticize the morality one finds in bible, as most of it is simply odious and incompatible with a civil society.

The notion that the bible is a perfect guide to morality is really quite amazing, given the contents of the book. Human sacrifice, genocide, slaveholding, and misogyny are consistently celebrated. Of course, God’s counsel to parents is refreshingly straightforward: whenever children get out of line, we should beat them with a rod (Proverbs 13: 24, 20:30, and 23:13-14). If they are shameless enough to talk back to us, we should kill them (Exodus 21:15, Leviticus 20:9, Deuteronomy 21:18-21, Mark.7:9-13 and Matthew 15:4-7). We must also stone people to death for heresy, adultery, homosexuality, working on the Sabbath, worshipping graven images, practicing sorcery, and for a wide variety of other imaginary crimes. Most Christians imagine that Jesus did away with all this barbarism and delivered a doctrine of pure love and toleration. He didn’t (Matthew 5:18-19, Luke 16:17, 2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 20-21, John 7:19). Anyone who believes that Jesus only taught the Golden Rule and love of one’s neighbor should go back and read the New Testament. And pay particular attention to the morality that will be on display if he ever returns to Earth trailing clouds of glory (e.g. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, 2:8; Hebrews 10:28-29; 2 Peter 3:7; and all of Revelation). It is not an accident that St. Thomas Aquinas thought heretics should be killed and that St. Augustine thought they should be tortured. (Ask yourself, what are the chances that these good doctors of the Church hadn’t read the New Testament closely enough to discover the error of their ways?) As a source of objective morality, the bible is one of the worst books we have. It might have been the very worst, in fact, if we didn’t also happen to have the Koran.

It is important to point out that we decide what is good in the Good Book. We read the Golden and Rule and judge it to be a brilliant distillation of many of our ethical impulses; we read that a woman found not to be a virgin on her wedding night should be stoned to death, and we (if we are civilized) decide that this is the most vile lunacy imaginable. Our own ethical intuitions are, therefore, primary. So the choice before us is simple: we can either have a 21st century conversation about ethics—availing ourselves of all the arguments and scientific insights that have accumulated in the last 2,000 years of human discourse—or we can confine ourselves to a first century conversation as it is preserved in the bible.

If religion were necessary for morality, there should some evidence that atheists are less moral than believers. But evidence for this is in short supply, and there is much evidence to the contrary.

People of faith regularly allege that atheism is responsible for some of the most appalling crimes of the 20th century. Are atheists really less moral than believers? While it is true that the regimes of Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot were irreligious to varying degrees, they were not especially rational. In fact, their public pronouncements were little more than litanies of delusion--delusions about race, economics, national identity, the march of history or the moral dangers of intellectualism. In many respects, religion was directly culpable even here. Consider the Holocaust: the anti-Semitism that built the Nazi crematoria brick by brick was a direct inheritance from medieval Christianity. For centuries, Christian Europeans had viewed the Jews as the worst species of heretics and attributed every societal ill to their continued presence among the faithful. While the hatred of Jews in Germany expressed itself in a predominately secular way, its roots were undoubtedly religious—and the explicitly religious demonization of the Jews of Europe continued throughout the period. (The Vatican itself perpetuated the blood libel in its newspapers as late as 1914.) Auschwitz, the gulag and the killing fields are not examples of what happens when people become too critical of unjustified beliefs; to the contrary, these horrors testify to the dangers of not thinking critically enough about specific secular ideologies. Needless to say, a rational argument against religious faith is not an argument for the blind embrace of atheism as a dogma. The problem that the atheist exposes is none other than the problem of dogma itself--of which every religion has more than its fair share. I know of no society in recorded history that ever suffered because its people became too reasonable.

According the United Nations’ Human Development Report (2005), the most atheistic societies--countries like Norway, Iceland, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United Kingdom—are actually the healthiest, as indicated by measures of life expectancy, adult literacy, per capita income, educational attainment, gender equality, homicide rate and infant mortality. Conversely, the 50 nations now ranked lowest by the U.N. in terms of human development are unwaveringly religious. Of course, correlational data of this sort do not resolve questions of causality—belief in God may lead to societal dysfunction; societal dysfunction may foster a belief in God; each factor may enable the other; or both may spring from some deeper source of mischief. Leaving aside the issue of cause and effect, these facts prove that atheism is perfectly compatible with the basic aspirations of a civil society; they also prove, conclusively, that religious faith does nothing to ensure a society’s health.

If religion really provided the only conceivable, objective basis for morality, it should be impossible to posit a non-theistic, objective basis for morality. But it is not impossible; it is rather easy.

Clearly, we can think of objective sources of moral order that do not require the existence of a law-giving God. In “The End of Faith,” I argued that questions of morality are really questions about happiness and suffering. If there are objectively better and worse ways to live so as to maximize happiness in this world, these would be objective moral truths worth knowing. Whether we will ever be in a position to discover these truths and agree about them cannot be known in advance (and this is the case for all questions of scientific fact). But if there are psychophysical laws that underwrite human well-being—and why wouldn’t there be?—then these laws are potentially discoverable. Knowledge of these laws would provide an enduring basis for an objective morality. In the meantime, everything about human experience suggests that love is better than hate for the purposes of living happily in this world. This is an objective claim about the human mind, the dynamics of social relations, and the moral order of our world. While we do not have anything like a final, scientific approach to maximizing human happiness, it seems safe to say that raping and killing children will not be one of its primary constituents.

One of the greatest challenges facing civilization in the 21st century is for human beings to learn to speak about their deepest personal concerns--about ethics, spiritual experience and the inevitability of human suffering--in ways that are not flagrantly irrational. Nothing stands in the way of this project more than the respect we accord religious faith. Incompatible religious doctrines have balkanized our world into separate moral communities, and these divisions have become a continuous source of human conflict. The idea that there is a necessary link between religious faith and morality is one of the principal myths keeping religion in good standing among otherwise reasonable men and women. And yet, it is a myth that is easily dispelled."

I already posted my answer here to the point #1. As I don't see the point #2 as having been a viable response to atheism initially, I don't see any need to defend it.

"3. Religion is our only source of morality. Without it, we would be plunged into a secular moral chaos."

to which the response are, to put them concisely--

*The Bible is not solid in it's application of principles (i.e. "thou shalt not kill"---"spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.) Thusly demonstrating the fluidity and unpredictable direction of dogmas and their seeming inadequacy.

*Moral depravity in the shallow atheistic entities is either a result of their shallow take on atheism---followed by insane tangential takes OR that their depravity stems merely FROM the pent up errors of the old dogmatic, theistic world view.

*The ‘healthiest’ nations on earth currently appear to be those most ready to reject dogmatic theistic stances.

*Morality isn't that hard to come to, in some acceptable form, when you just seriously think about it and try to come to the best means for the preservation of society and the pursuit of happiness. Essentially 'It's not like we're going to come to the conclusion of 'let's go rape and kill’’

If any of you take issue with these three seeming mainstays of the argument provided in the article please give elaborate on why they are unfair or inaccurate.

In response to the first sub-point, that I extracted and put in bold above after the first asterisk, from the third point he was responding to in the--


In this argument he is making the assumption that dogmas are inherently based on something akin to the Bible. Some text that is terribly stiff and uncoordinated in giving clear answers. Seeming deficiencies place things, such as the Bible, in the area of being terribly counter productive to producing a moral, functioning society.

This argument presents a couple of major problems. First off he is assuming that something like the Bible is proving it's impotence in moral guidance for the mere fact that it seems, in his view, to present so many scenarios that run against his logical paradigm.

In other words, they are seemingly counter-intuitive. "Don't kill" to be heard one moment coming from the God and the next "Commit complete genocide." Or the Prince of Peace saying that he didn't come to bring "peace, but a sword."

But if we were to look at the current scientific text books of today their message, to the uninitiated, is beginning to seem rather counter intuitive. Quantum mechanics setting up a system in which something can be in two places at once, something arriving somewhere before it leaves, seemingly unconnected particles at any distance apart in the known universe maintain perfect harmony in their vibrations and movements, even when those movements are altered by only a single one of the pair.

So this whole claim to the plausibility of the likes of the Bible bringing a superior order and morality to the world as being nil is shown to be overly simplistic in it's approach and application. If you want the Bible judged thusly in the light recent scientific discoveries then there'll be the same problem brought to bear when you claim ration and logic to be superior, or even equivalent, means of endowing man with morality that will ensure his progression and/or survival.

Another point touching on this accusation against the likes of the Bible--You are assuming that dogma must be centered in closed entities. Like many in the religious world you too think of things like revelation as out of date, the only difference between you and them is that you hold it's not happened. The dogma I hold to is centered on revelation from God. This gets beyond the problems of the contradictions. I’ll elaborate on how.

Just as the constants of the universe change under higher energy states so too may many moral items. You think taking the path of post-modern humanism and your intellect will see you through these currently unforeseeable factors that, for whatever reason, cannot enter your current equations for explaining our current state and trajectory.

I simply propose that there are things that cannot be perceived by us, and that, oft times, the best choice can be found in tapping the capacity to see what only can be granted to humanity by an omniscient Being. A being that knows the rates of change of the moral universe when it goes through quantum changes, changes not necessarily discernable to us, that make those things that were constants consistently fluid.

So this whole argument against the likes of the Bible is based on erroneous assumptions as to what theism must consist of.


Secondly the point of the misappropriated force behind the likes of Hitler, Mao, Stalin etc.. If it was merely not sufficient rational how then can one be certain that their take of atheism, and it's corresponding views, is more rational than the other ones in all aspects that could lead to the same horrible results?

The inability to arrive at the apex of rationality means that humans are forever subjected to the possibility of thinking they are rational when they are not. Even the most brilliant and careful of minds are not immune to losing a sufficient grasp on logic and ration to enable them to commit horrendous mistakes on the same scale as those carried out by the heretofore mentioned despots and populations.

One but needs look at the scare tactics of the anti-DDT campaign. Certainly the chemical was over used but even despite some degree of immunity developed by some strains of insects to it even a minimal use of it over the past thirty years would have saved many more children’s lives from the likes of Malaria than any of the numbers of Jews that could have been saved had the whole of the holocaust been avoided. Yet the simple fact that one did not need to construct death camps to carry out this infanticide did not stop a great many in the scientific and secular political communities from taking horrendous choices, and remaining with those choices, even after the infanticide that's ensued has been horrendous. So what is it that can make the 'rational' anti-theist so certain that his rational is sufficient to avoid perpetrating the same endgame as Mao with his tens of millions dead?

And to counter the whole idea of it (atrocities) simply being a hold over of theistic flaws is to think that utter disconnect from theism frees man kind from their human tendencies (be they a theist or an atheist or agnostic). A great many of the current Russian generation had the privilege of being utterly cut off from any theistic teachings, yet there are a great many there that hold the "final solution" against the likes of the Chechen Muslims to be the very same "final solution" proffered by Hitler against the Jews. So how long must the anti-theistic program be positioned over a people before they will be free from humanistic tendencies?


On to the Third point--The claim that the 'healthiest' of nations today are those that are seemingly the most free from theistic thought. First off one could very tenably question the status of 'healthy' when it comes to any of the mentioned nations. They are all on an irreversible demographic implosion that could have the likes of Germany an Islamic state in less than five decades.

Like a rose stem cut from the plant, pruned of all unsightly parts, and placed in an optimum solution of chemicals. These nations give the appearance of good times for the moment. Their strength presently focused in producing the external appearances loved by the superficial world. Yet no one is willing to look at the fact that they are set to go to the refuse pile in the course of the next few decades. Their cultures will be over run. The economic transitions have no means of being anything enviable. They've bought into the demands of the 'rational' humanist community not realizing how shortsighted and incorrect their guesses were. They enjoy, like the rose, this moment of never before achieved glory and splendor, yet just as the rose's disconnect has already essentially doomed it so to is Europe's only hope to have some merciful hand try and educe the growth of roots and facilitate the eventual creation of a weak and fragile plant, only a remnant of the greatness it had with the bush. And that's all assuming it receives such mercy. Not many roses ever do.

Aside from the whole question as to the 'healthiness' of these nations there runs the problem of cause and effect.

The author here is assuming that the current favorable statistics are a result of their relative independence from theistic thought. This is utterly ignoring the heritage, and societal inertia, brought on by past institutions and conditions. There are a great many things to suggest that the current advancement of science since the Renaissance and the Age of Reason has run parallel to the western traditional theologies. The Judeo-Christian tradition, mixed with the preservative aspects of the Caliphate, has been the primary enabler for the advancement of scientific and academic thought to its current point. Many try to overly emphasize the tensions between various branches of these traditions with certain scientific or rational thinkers. These often have been of no greater magnitude than those experienced within the scientific community itself, on the level of the magnitude of disagreement. One but need look at the tension in the scientific world around Super-string Theory to see evidences for this.

So this insistence on claiming the current prosperity and position of these various nations mentioned on their continued falling away from any real form of spirituality or theism is a rather rash, and not terribly rational view, when one considers anything approaching a truly macro view on the subject.


On the final point--Essentially that of presenting the problem of obtaining a plan for reaching a reasonably optimum happiness for society, and implementing such, as being a simple matter for the rational minds of the world if the rest of the world were to follow their reasoning.

Their reasoning currently in the case of the family, and what it does or doesn't need or what it should or shouldn't consist of, is to expect society to accept a new paradigm against the prevailing one that has brought humanity to the point it's at now. One may argue such a point is terribly deficient, and I would agree that the current state is not optimum, but to assume that the alteration of just a portion of the most central unit of society throughout the ages will land us in a situation and to an end any less deadly than that granted the likes of the Spartans. Spartan society saw it as perfectly logical to throw off the edge of cliffs those offspring that seemed obvious drags on the optimum progression of the gene pool. We mock the absurdity and depravity of ideas of things such as eugenics in movies like GATACA yet we are encouraged to practice a form of such in the mode of encouraging the members of our society most likely to be irresponsible in the raising of children to execute their fetuses and cut off their genes from the gene pool in the name of population control and personal rights.

So we are not likely to encourage the raping of women but we hold states like those in Scandinavia to be so progressive when we all are aware of the slave trade that's grown out of their 'relaxed' views of sexual morality. Do we think it's just coincidence that Europe is both hooked on the prime tenants of the "sexual revolution" AND on an industry that encourages the exploitation of women from poor neighboring nations and the execution of any fetuses that might interrupt with their purpose as virtual sex slaves? But we surely are encouraging, through these rationally liberated views of the sexual aspects of our beings, something of which "raping and killing children will not be one of its primary constituents." rather a side constituent we simply side step and find some other item on which to place the blame for the sex trade and those who suffer and/or die from it.

So I'm curious. After such a long-winded response in the middle of so many "hooray for our ‘rational’ side" comments if anyone will read this, or if anyone will truly try to rationally respond to these points. Or will they just take the convenient path of dismissal through some means they can conceive of being sufficiently rational, never mind their own incapacity to truly grasp ration sufficiently to ever know such? I encourage anyone to demonstrate where he or she believes my rational is inferior to that of the article or otherwise faulty.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Ummahist Entity

With the chaos incited by the Fanatical Muslims one wonders if they weren't looking for an excuse to initiate violence against the western world.

So I tell you a new theory to mirror that held by much of the ignorant and paranoid portions of the Muslim world, the Ummah.

The Ummahist Entity

The Ummah, the archtype and whole aim of the Islamic world, their equivilant of the Zion of the Judeo-Christian world, is the goal of an overlording group of Muslim clerics. They are the ones actualy controling the press in Europe and initiating the publication of these cartoons to inflame their mindless folowers to overcome, and enslave or destroy, the whole of the western world.



Initial response

This is the begining of a response to the attempt to give apologetics for anti-theism as presented here--

The first point I will respond to as given here--

"1. Just because you haven’t seen God, doesn’t mean He doesn’t exist. Atheism, therefore, is as much an act of faith as theism is.

Bertrand Russell demolished this fallacy nearly a century ago with his famous teapot argument. As his response appears to me to be perfect, I simply offer it here:

Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.

If a valid retort to Russell has ever seen the light of day, I’m not aware of it. As I tried to make clear in my essay, the atheist is not in the business of making claims on insufficient evidence, he merely resists such claims whenever they appear on the lips of the faithful. I don’t think it can be pointed out too often that the faithful do this as well. Every Christian knows what it is like to find the claims of Muslims—that the Holy Koran is the perfect word of God, that Muhammad flew to heaven on a winged horse, etc.—to be utterly incredible. Everyone who is not a Mormon knows at a glance that Mormonism is bogus. And everyone of every religious denomination knows what it is like not to believe in Zeus. Everyone has rejected an infinite number of spurious claims about God. The atheist rejects infinity plus one.

My response

Your arguments have only the chance of being nigh to tenable if someone tends along the lines of the agnostic. For to go along the lines of atheism there is an inherent dogma. But even agnosticism has a dogma, that being the dogma that all other dogmas are bad save the dogma that all other dogmas are bad.

But lets take this apart point by point--

1- teapot

Well you have a problem. God has a few differences from the unperceivable teapot. Take the following as an example of such. In LDS(Mormon) theology there's the fact that God has been very consistent in what he's revealed to different and separated, yet chronologically contemporary, nations (ala Book of Mormon visitation of Christ and the Biblical revelation of Christ). Aside from even that you have to deal with, despite discrepancies that can easily be accounted to human induced transmission errors through the ages, the many similar strains touching upon God found throughout the ages from sources without the needed links to the disparate other accounts through the ages.

Take, for instance, the common complaint against Christendom as to messianic figures existing far earlier in pagan traditions. Such anti-Christian apologetics attempts to prove that this is proof that the Christian story is simply a conglomerate and kind of alteration of earlier ideas. Yet if one views the whole idea of Christ from the view point of having set points throughout our protology in which a sufficiently full disclosure of a Messiah is repeatedly dispensed by God, corrupted by men and later redispensed by God to a later receptive generation then one sees a very plausible explanation for the similarities found linking most of the worlds significant theological traditions. An explanation with as much, if not MORE, plausibility than that presented by the ‘rational’ anti-theists.

The teapot has no such connection. To further demonstrate such—

Once it was viewed that the terribly complex process of metallurgy had to have been happen-stance-ly observed and acted upon by one fortunate group, and then gradually, would come improvement and disseminated from an initial area out to all the world. Yet the best evidence we yet have has metallurgy simultaneously appearing all over the world. The problem is that this couldn't have been the product of dissemination from a single location because every location that it is found to have produced metallurgy at this moment in time developed a form of metallurgical modus operandi distinctly different from the other locations. The Mid-East had the forge as it's medium. In China it's the cast. In India wootz steel's production seems almost more akin to an expanded bread baking than the forges or furnaces of the Mid-East or China, respectively. In the Americas they (Olmec) figured out how to properly mingle Platinum Group Metals in alloyswithout ever coming close to reaching the melting points of such.

To the issue of the teapot and showing the correlation between it and the advent of metallurgy. Now, if we could isolate the very likely situation in which several different nations from the past, unconnected to each other, but living at the same time period, and each nation had members that testified, or noticeable remnants of such testifying, that they had been witnesses to said teapot in a time and place, or had knowledge of it being set in some course that would land it to the approximate position as previously stated, and if these testimonies, adjusted for the invariable change that comes from the passing of time and human errors in transmission, correlated to a strong degree then you’d have, while not easily quantifiable, evidence more concrete than that of the mere teapot.

Thursday, February 02, 2006 no means impossible

It is by no means improbable that some future text-book, for the use of generations yet unborn, will contain a question something like this: What historical American of the nineteenth century has exerted the most powerful influence upon the destinies of his countrymen? And it is by no means impossible that the answer to that interrogatory may be thus written: Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet."

--Josiah Quincy Adams

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Times of Genocide

How do we define race? Could the mere family unit constitute a kind of race? Would not then the destruction of the family unit be a form of genocide? I mean if you destroy a family, and hence it's capacity for a lasting legacy, a chance to raise up a whole endless fount of posterity under the name and legacy of that family then haven't you destroyed a race? Doesn't every family have the capacity to, in theory, become a race unto itself? Then what of the practices of abortion? What of rendering the view of 'family' beyond the realm of even the possibility of self-sufficient procreation, or procreation beyond the bounds of the family? Are not all these forms of a more subtle genocide?

What if we define race as a group that have a common past or future? All aborted would then constitute an inevitable genocide executed.

With simple actions echoing throughout this world for all eternity what is to be said of these, seemingly relatively small, rips in the overriding cognitive fabric of humanity? Do we think we can justify such under the determination to have, and exercise "choice" even when it destroys the capacity of other beings to have such? Apparently some do. There will be hell to pay. Some time all these actions, whether done by pornographers, whoremongers, warmongers or just your average citizen in their shallow pursuit of 'self-fulfillment' or relatively instant self-gratification or evasion of responsibility for previous actions, be they mistakes, or not.