Outgrowing logic

Scientists can’t do logic. Especially not atheist ex-scientists:

Thankfully, though, the farther this book gets from God, the better it gets. A chapter on the increasing niceness of humanity is neatly presented, contrasting popular support for attacking enemy civilians in the Second World War with condemnation of even accidental civilian casualties in the two Gulf wars. By the time we get to part two, which focuses on his first passion of evolution, the bitterness has evaporated. Instead we have delight at the way a cheetah can accelerate faster than a Tesla and five pages on what goes on with a chameleon’s tongue. The skin of an octopus, we learn, changes colour according to the same principles as a TV screen, to the extent that if we could hook an octopus brain to a computer, “we could play Charlie Chaplin movies on its skin”.

We hear about goosebumps being a leftover from the days we were hairier, and about the recurrent laryngeal nerve, which loops down into the chest of a mammal, then loops back up to where it is needed, in the throat. In a giraffe it is metres longer than it would need to be if the damn creatures had been designed properly. In other words, it offers irrefutable proof that they, like us, evolved from something else.

It should be noted that almost none of this is new, and especially not for the readers of Dawkins. The laryngeal-nerve stuff, for example, is lifted almost wholesale from his 2009 book The Greatest Show on Earth. For the earlier, more cantankerous anti-religious stuff, you might as well just read The God Delusion, where you’ll find most of the same arguments, and usually with the same examples too.

It’s rather amusing the way scientists attempt to convey a permanent status on themselves. For example, no one describes me as “a chart-topping techno band member” because my band no longer records music or hits the Billboard club charts. But Richard Dawkins’s most recent science paper is nearly as old as Welcome to My Mind.

Anyhow, scientist or ex-scientist, logic has always been well beyond Richard Dawkins. Consider the logic of his 2009 argument about the giraffe in syllogistic form.

Major premise: That which is designed is perfectly efficient.
Minor premise: The giraffe’s recurrent laryngeal nerve is not perfectly efficient.
Conclusion: The giraffe was not designed.

As I pointed out when he first wrote The Greatest Show on Earth, this logic is not merely based on a false major premise, but the false premise requires almost complete ignorance about engineering and design. No one who has ever seen a prototype computer board would fall for such nonsense, and indeed, the core concept that underlies this false logic is obviously ridiculous from a philosophical perspective, as it could be used to logically disprove the existence of the material world.

Major premise: That which is not its Platonic Form does not exist.
Minor premise: The world is not ideal (i.e. we can imagine a more perfect world)
Conclusion: The world does not exist.

It’s the reverse ontological argument for the nonexistence of God, the universe, and everything. And then, of course, even if we ignore the incorrect initial logic and simply grant the assumption that the giraffe was not designed, that does not mean that the giraffe must have evolved, much less that the giraffe evolved by natural selection as per Darwin by way of Mendel.


Another atheist shooter

Interesting that the low-status atheist angle doesn’t seem to come up often amidst all the theatrics and diagnostics that have been performed over the years concerning mass shooters. Notice the patch on the right side of the Dayton shooter’s chest.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that says Against all Gods. The primary pattern to be recognized here is low-status white male atheist. Perhaps they make the best wind-up toys.


“The best blogger”

This is very flattering, particularly as the designation comes from an intellectual for whom I have a considerable amount of respect, and to whom I really should link more often:

Blogs are clearly on the way out, and many of the best bloggers have gone – but let’s just express our opinion on who is – overall – the best blogger… Leaving-out myself (!) and also my co-bloggers at Albion Awakening and Junior Ganymede (because we are really the best ? – then who do you think is the best?

My vote goes to Vox Day (Theodore Beale) – whose blog is quite remarkable in terms of posting very frequently, across a wide range, and with great ‘originality’ – in the sense that he is so inventive and so good at discovering, elaborating and refining ideas.

Read the rest of it there. And also read this post, which should demonstrate why I have a high opinion of Prof. Charlton’s perspicacity beyond his excellent taste in bloggers.

What makes modern people ‘naturally’ disbelieve in God?

(My answer; speaking from the experience of several decades of living as an atheist…)

The fact that all modern public discourse excludes the divine.

As a modern child grows up, he becomes socialised, he becomes trained in modern public discourse of many kinds: school work, everything to do with the mass media, sports, pastimes, hobbies… and all of these exclude the divine.

It Just Isn’t There. The lexicon of objects that function in the system  exclude the divine; the causality of the system excludes the divine.

As the child reaches adolescence – these modes of thought become more dominant, and they become habitual to the extent of being simply taken for granted; and eventually they become so habitual as to be extremely difficult to break out from.

Culture matters and the globos know it. That’s why they have been relentlessly campaigning to force Christianity out of the public spaces, by hook, crook, and Christmas carol, for generations.


He’s not wrong

Richard Dawkins appears to be rethinking the consequences of his decades-long assault on Christianity.

Listening to the lovely bells of Winchester, one of our great mediaeval cathedrals. So much nicer than the aggressive-sounding “Allahu Akhbar.” Or is that just my cultural upbringing?

To paraphrase my previous assertion, never bring a philosophy to a religious war.


No problem, Sam

Sam Harris never thinks anything through:

“Alt-right: You can’t keep blaming us for our ancestors crimes against other people
Also Alt-right: We are just as responsible for our ancestors accomplishments as they are

You can’t have it both ways.”

Absolutely. Stop blaming us for our ancestors’ crimes against other people. We are not responsible for our ancestors’ accomplishments, only for our own accomplishments and our own crimes.

Now will you stop? Yeah, I didn’t think so.


Genetically inferior

More scientific evidence in support of my original hypothesis that atheism is a form of mental abnormality that results in spiritual insensitivity is accumulating:

Left-handed people are more likely to be atheists, a study has found, as it says belief is passed on genetically.  The study suggests that religious people have fewer genetic mutations and are therefore less likely to be left handed or have conditions such as autism or schizophrenia.

British academic Edward Dutton, a professor at Oulu University, Finland, said that in pre-industrial times religiosity was passed on like other genetic attributes because it was associated with greater stability, mental health and better social behaviour. But modern science means many people who would not previously have survived are making it to adulthood and reproducing – leading to a greater incidence of atheism.

Lack of belief in God is connected to genetic mutations which cause attributes such as left-handedness or autism, the paper argues.

This would also put Bruce Charlton’s Mouse Utopia observations into context, as atheism appears to be one aspect of the nihilistic despair that is a consequence of the increased prevalence of genetic inferiority that results from easier circumstances.


Mailvox: feel the rage

GW wonders about the socio-sexuality of skepticism:

Perhaps you haven’t been following the debacle between the YouTube race realists and the skeptic community, but I would love to hear your view on the main instigator of it, Kraut and Tea. His infantile attacks on imagined ghosts of the Alt-Right, blatant hypocrisy in regards to the principles of not deplatforming or doxxing people, and smug overestimation of his level of expertise in biology and statistics seem like classic symptoms of a Gamma’s wounded ego. That he also refuses to silence his tongue when thoroughly outmatched is just more proof of his status.

It makes me think the “online skeptic” nowadays is predisposed towards being Gamma. What else can explain their lack of conviction? Their unwillingness to argue the believer or race realist in good faith?

There is no question that the average “internet atheist” is a Gamma. More than a few are Omegas. Both scientific studies that looked into my original hypothesis about atheism being a consequence of being on the autism spectrum found correlations between an inability to make social connections and an inability to feel spiritual connections.

This sort of aggressive atheist are akin to the blind man who not only insists that everyone else is lying about their ability “to see”, but also that they are inferior to him due to their inability to come to terms with their blindness. And then proceeds to try to poke out their eyes.

I have no intrinsic problem with people who don’t believe what I do about God or anything else. But I utterly despise those who first proclaim that religion is a crutch, then promptly attempt to kick out that crutch from others who are reliant upon it. They are nasty little creatures.


Morality is objective

Again and again, we see that the rationales and justifications offered by atheists for their disbelief simply don’t stand up to even cursory philosophical analysis. (This is not to say their disbelief is not genuine, merely that its cause is seldom rooted in the explanations provided.) While on the emotional side, atheism may be little more than social autism, on the intellectual side, it appears to be primarily a combination of historical and philosophical ignorance.

Consider the following exchange:

AB: some people, psychopaths especially have no capacity for moral reasoning and no moral agency.

VD: Of course they do, if you define morality correctly. The fact that psychopaths have no EMPATHY does not mean they have no moral agency, because morality does not depend upon empathy.

AB: I think understand what you are saying but I simply cannot grok the idea fully as I cannot see morality as objective.

This is little more than a failure to understand what morality is, because while the existence of God is nominally disputable, the objectivity of morality is not, and more importantly, cannot be disputed.

The definitions of morality refer us to the definition of moral, which is given a follows:

  1. of, relating to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong;
  2. expressing or conveying truths or counsel as to right conduct, as a speaker or a literary work.
  3. founded on the fundamental principles of right conduct rather than on legalities, enactment, or custom.
  4. capable of conforming to the rules of right conduct: a moral being.
  5. conforming to the rules of right conduct

Now, if “the fundamental principles of right conduct” are not mere legalities, enactment, or custom, then they must be objective, for the obvious reason that if the standard for right conduct is subjective, then no such standard exists, not being a fundamental principle. Morality not only is not subjective, it cannot be subjective, because a subjective fundamental principle is both an oxymoron and an actual contradiction in terms.

A psychopath has both a capacity for moral reasoning and moral agency because he is capable of conforming to the rules of right conduct even if he does not feel any empathy for others. He can even conform to the Golden Rule; even a psychopath knows how he prefers to be treated himself.

AB’s fundamental mistake is that he confuses the concept of a personal ethos with morality. But a personal ethos is an ersatz morality and is no more a system of universally applicable rules than a preference for calling pass plays over running plays or playing man-to-man defense instead of zone are official NFL rules.


Mailvox: atheists always bait-and-switch

Mr. Rational demonstrates why no one trusts atheists, including their fellow atheists:

You’re playing semantic games here by deliberately selecting a nonsensical phrase, Vox.  “The Significance of Human Existence” makes perfect sense, and yes, random events in human history are perfectly understandable in that context.

This is another example of your need to have a First Cause for everything.  It’s just a more advanced version of the animism of savages.  You can’t not see intent and agency in everything because it makes you insecure, and like the left’s search for racism in society what you need to find will be found… somehow.

E.O. Wilson is one of the greatest minds of our age, and you reduce yourself to paraphrasing his book title in a silly fashion.  Talk about ankle-biting.

This is simply embarrassing for Mr. Rational. It would appear that the sight of “one of the greatest minds of our age” being caught out has triggered him. Badly. That “silly fashion” of which he complains is the most generous interpretation of Wilson’s title possible; the alternative is that Wilson is every bit as dishonest as the Richard Dawkins and Sam Harrises of the world.

I am not playing a semantic game. I am observing that there is ABSOLUTELY NO DEFINITION of the term “meaning” that allows E.O. Wilson to be considered simultaneously a) philosophically competent and  b) intellectually honest. As another commenter has already noted, Wilson’s book was not titled The Significance of Human Existence, but rather, The Meaning of Human Existence. A second bait-and-switch is not going to justify the first.

Also notice how the triggered little gamma male immediately leaps to making the philosophy personal. He cannot accept that “one of the greatest minds of our age” is either incorrect or lying, and that fact that I am the one who caught him out only makes his acceptance of that easily observably fact all the more difficult. Unlike both Wilson and Mr. Rational, I am perfectly willing to contemplate the possibility that there is neither intent nor agency in human existence, it is only that unlike them, I am sufficiently competent to understand and accept the logical consequences of that lack of meaning.

You’re too short for this ride, Mr. Rational. I will not again be rescuing your very stupid, very dishonest comments from the spam where they clearly belong, and will henceforth spam them. Since there is neither meaning nor significance in that decision, he really has no grounds for complaint. And even if he did, well, what could that possibly matter?

Groggy thinks I made a mistake.

Vox, carefully parsing the dictionary definitions above which you provided, “what actually is” is not a valid definition to extract.

what is intended to be, or actually is, expressed or indicated; signification; import

It does NOT say that meaning can be “what actually is”.

It says that meaning can be:

  1. what is intended to be expressed or indicated
  2. what actually is expressed or indicated
I actually share Groggy’s interpretation, but as I mentioned above, I felt that it was best to be generous and give Mr. Wilson’s defenders the maximum amount of rope with which to hang the man. Rather than being able to quibble over the parsing of the definition, his defenders are forced to either admit to his error, admit to his dishonesty, or commit their own intellectual sins.

Two American badasses

Compare and contrast the brave behavior of these two gentlemen to the cowardly performance of the Las Vegas Police Department:

Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, was leaving First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs after he opened fire on parishioners during mass when Stephen Willeford, 55, confronted him. Texas Department of Public Safety Regional Director Freeman Martin said Willeford, a keen biker, had ‘grabbed his rifle and engaged the suspect.’

A local resident told DailyMail.com that Willeford, who attends a different church, was first alerted to the shooting when his daughter called him saying there was a man in body armor gunning down church goers. He grabbed his gun and bravely headed down to confront the killer.

The local said that while Willeford has no military experience, he is an excellent shot, and when he came face to face with Kelley, he didn’t hesitate; he shot in between Kelley’s body armor, hitting him in his side. The 26-year-old had dropped his Ruger assault rifle and climbed in an SUV to flee the scene.

He said that Kelley had taken a hostage in the passenger seat as he fled. But another local resident, Johnnie Langendorff, who had witnessed the confrontation refused to let the shooter get away. Both he and Willeford, a local plumber, jumped in his truck and gave chase.

In a Facebook post, Langendorff’s girlfriend Summer Caddel described how the pair had ‘jumped in my boyfriend’s truck and they chased that sick b*****d down in pursuit until the cops could catch up. He was able to run the shooter off of the road on 539!’

Langendorff told KSAT 12 that he’d been speeding at 95mph, while on the phone to dispatch, while Willeford kept his rifle trained on the gunman’s car. As they approached a sharp curve in the road, near the 307 and 539, he said Kelley appeared to lose control and his car swerved off the road. ‘That’s when I put the truck in park,’ he said. ‘The other gentleman jumped out, and had his rifle on him. He didn’t move after that.’

And let’s not hear any more about how atheists are so persecuted in America, or how amazingly moral they are, when they are shooting up schools and churches and universities. No wonder they are the most distrusted group in the country.