Blog Archives

Bbb..but.. He Didn’t Do It In The Name Of Atheism!.. So No Count..

image

Just saw some guy at the combox of some obscure blog arguing that religion is more dangerous than atheism because — get this! — nobody kills in the name of atheism! The guy thusly proceeded to commit intellectual seppuku then and there by claiming that if anything, Stallin’s mass murder had more of a religious tonality to it, since Stallin was seen by everyone around him to be godlike! So it’s actually an example of religion doing evil! Funny that. Echoing, of course, an argument from the Hitch — although I heard the Hitch say it of Kim Jong Ill not Stallin, but tomeyto tomahto.

If we needed any more evidence that gnu-atheists will readily eschew reason in favor of their own ideological dogmas, this argument from the Hitch, and by extension, the mid-wits that have been smugly bandying it about, will be as good as any. It’s even demonstrably true that the knowledge these people have of that which they expend great effort to criticize (Christianity) barely even rises to the level of Narnia.

Stallin’s drenching of the Russian landscape with the blood of millions can only be because he wanted power, an end he happily worked towards by exploiting the fact that he was seen by everyone as some god-figure —  therefore, checkmate, religion! Checkmate I say!

..is what they keep saying. The silly, silly fools.

While the premise is true, the conclusion is not, and is in fact silly, if not outright stupid.

Stallin (Mao, or even Hitler) purged religion because he knew he could only be seen as a god to everyone else if there was none other that existed. Because the first step to becoming god is to get rid of him — Stallin, Hitler and Mao, were cognizant of this. So his atheism can hardly be said to be incidental.

It’s somewhat tangential to the issue, but it’s also quite amusing how easily gnus are able to channel Sherlock when it comes to someone like Breivik, connecting in the most inane and acrobatic way possible his Christianity to his mass-murder. Yet, like what happened recently, when it’s an atheist who does the murdering, suddenly they’re all unable and/or unwilling to either connect the dots or acknowledge there are any dots to connect in the first place.

Of course atheism by itself isn’t sufficient to drive someone to murder, which is why the often-used canard is that nobody kills in the name of atheism. And this is true — for who could kill in the name of a belief that god doesn’t exist? I submit nobody can. However, the belief on which someone’s atheism might be predicated could, as it were, lead someone to think human life to be worth bupkis. And that this is so unfathomable for gnu-atheists is what is so mind-boggling. Philosophically reflective atheists of the past like Nietzsche, Camus and Voltaire knew, and often wrote about, the dark implications of denying that objective moral standards exist, which can only be had on some form of theism. But the intellectual feather-weights of today, who annoyingly (and ironically) refer to themselves as ‘brights’, believe removing religion will turn the world into a land of bunnies and candy.

And they call us superstitious!

Picture, if you will, someone who believes, as Richard Dawkins does, that there is no good, and there is no evil, and that we are all merely bags of flesh who, in Dick’s own words, ‘dance to it’s [DNA’s] music.’

Done?

Now, do you think that someone who literally believes all that can somehow manage to believe human life to be worth more than jackshit?!

Advertisements

Atheist Ex-Pastor Unsuccessfully Debunks God Experiences

image

People often think that if someone — a scientist, perhaps — is able to adequately explain the manner by which particular mental states occur in the brain, then they’ve successfully called into question whether those mental states are objectively what we suppose them to be, if not outright proven they aren’t. They can’t be real, apparently, because they were the result of such and such neurons firing, or because of such and such materialistic explanations of how similar mental states occur. This is wrong-headed, of course, as it commits the genetic fallacy. Needless to say, what makes it doubly annoying is the fact that the people who make these logical fallacies claim to have lost their faith as a result of ‘rigorous thinking’.

So this atheist ex-pastor who wrote this blog post a friend of mine shared on fb is claiming, among other things, that the experience of the holy spirit — any ‘God experience,’ in fact — is merely a series of neurological  events in the brain that’s been set off by some manner of hypnosis. This makes him conclude that it’s all superstitious foolery. I mean, it can’t be real — how can it be? — since we’ve got an adequate, step-by-step, causal account (from the words spoken by the evangelist to the very experience itself of the audience member) of how the experience came to be.

The problem here is that I can use that same kind reductionism and tell this guy he doesn’t actually love anyone; “Look, you don’t really love your wife — those are just the neurons firing!”

“Also, no, you’re not hungry — that is, again, just these other set of neurons firing!”

And reductio ad absurdum.

Of course, the more reflective will say, ah, but those neurons firing just is what we call love. Or those other neurons firing just is what we call hunger. But so can the silly chap who says he just experienced the holy spirit; he can likewise say that those neurons firing just is what happens when you experience the holy spirit!

I don’t even for one nano-second doubt that most, if not the overwhelming majority, of these claims to have experienced the holy spirit are nothing but a result of some kind of group hypnosis. I myself am skeptical of a lot of these claims. I think evangelists like Benny Hinn are frauds, and the people epileptically flailing-about around his pulpit have been duped, pretty much in the covert manner this ex-pastor describes. But to claim to have ‘debunked’ all ‘God experiences’ because you were able to give an account of how other experiences that can be mistaken for the genuine one can occur is just shoddy reasoning. Nobody but the sufficiently unintelligent is of the mind that people aren’t capable of being misled. And that people can be misled is the trite conclusion of this ex-pastor’s kilometric blog post.

‘No Good Arguments For God’, Says Jerry Coyne. Let’s See.

Jerry

Jerry Coyne, respected biologist, responding to a one Fr. Aidan, says:

“If you think there is a supernatural ‘being,’ first give me convincing evidence that it exists. And that evidence cannot be your personal revelation, or that of earlier theologians, but must be something that nearly all rational, objective, and skeptical observers would agree on. If you adduce Scripture as your evidence, then you’re also adducing the very kind of god you reject. Until you give me evidence as strong as that which I’d give you if you asked for evidence for evolution, I needn’t engage you or take your arguments for god seriously.”

 

O.K., Coyne. As you wish:

Firstly I’ll note with amusement that right-off the bat you misrepresent what our foremost theologians do. They do not, at least when arguing with your kind, cite personal revelation or scripture as evidence for theism. Remember, it’s you who prats on about there being no good arguments for theism, yet you show us that you are simply mostly unaware of them, or maybe pretend they either don’t exist or are unaware of them, as evidenced by what you imply most apologists do.

Convincing evidence that ‘a supernatural being’ (aka “God”) exists are the following: 1, The Cosmological Argument, 2, The Moral Argument, and 3, The Historicity of the man Jesus.

As far as I can gather, most of the rebuttals to these arguments are themselves unconvincing. For instance, one of the most popular objections to the cosmological argument is that it raises the question ‘who created God?’ That is of course not a serious objection as it is to wholly misunderstand the argument it attempts to rebut. Another objection to the cosmological argument is that the universe is simply a ‘brute fact.’ But that’s just to avoid the question and is no different from saying the universe just exists ‘magically’. In the case of the moral argument, one of the best objections that people from the new atheist cabal can give is that morality is an evolutionarily helpful illusion. Fine. It’s either an illusion or it is not. If it’s not an illusion, then some form of theism must be true (needs unpacking, but not here). So people can hardly be faulted for wanting to affirm morality to be objective, in fact Sam Harris, failingly, tries to do it all the time. On the historicity of Jesus, there have been many counter-hypotheses to the resurrection, some more unconvincing than others, like Jesus had a twin, or that the apostles — and hundreds of other people a lot of whom were previously skeptics — collectively hallucinated seeing Jesus. Of course, none of these are convincing. The only way they may seem more convincing is if, as Craig argues, one assumes naturalism from the onset. But if we don’t engage in the fallacious practice of begging the question, then the resurrection hypothesis clearly becomes the most explanatorily powerful given the background evidence (like Jesus’s prescient claims about himself, and so on).

Sure, some, mostly philosophers, do engage these arguments seriously. But you do not. And so do most others like you. So, unfortunately for you, Fr. Aidan Kimel is right: you don’t engage with the best arguments. I doubt it can even be said that you engage with any of the moderately intelligent ones, much less the best ones. In fact you, on one occasion, have made the very unintelligent (to put it mildly) remark that there are no arguments for God’s existence “that aren’t taken up and refuted in [the book] The God Delusion.” You actually seriously meant that Richar Dawkins’s book has ‘refuted’ all the arguments for the existence of God, which is, if you’ll excuse me, downright stupid (more about this and why below).

First of all, Dawkins never addresses the contingency part of the cosmological argument, except in an absolutely puerile manner. He mentions Aquinas’s 3rd way, yet demonstrates that he does not know what Aquinas even means as evidenced by the fact that he believes Aquinas was trying to show the universe had a beginning — Aquinas argues that it’s impossible to show the universe had a beginning! Dawkins even makes, perhaps even popularized, the ‘who created God’ objection, which is, as I soften say, not even a sightly serious objection to the cosmological argument, since the argument isn’t that ‘everything has a cause’, rather it’s that everything ‘contingent’ (or that had a beginning) has a cause. It simply beggars belief that someone who clearly does not have an atom of knowledge about the argument he is criticizing has been able to successfully refute it.

Dawkins, who you say wrote this book that had successfully refuted ‘all the arguments for the existence of God’ at one point even said: “No one has given any reason to think that the First Cause is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good, etc”, which is, again, to show a complete bankruptcy of knowledge about the argument he attempts to refute. Aquinas, whom Dawkins is targeting, spends hundreds of pages exfoliating on this and getting those very characteristics of God from his first-cause argument. Other theologians like William Lane Craig, Samuel Clark, and Leibniz do the same thing. So to say that none of it had been done is simply wrong and shows that Dawkins — and, by extension, you — have zero idea, and have never actually read about the writers and theologians you both expend large amounts of energy criticizing. So addressing the best arguments for theism is something neither you nor Dawkins, or anyone like both of you for that matter, seem to do, or even want to do, or even will be doing in the future.

Contra the Moral argument, Dawkins,  about whom you rather remarkably said had successfully refuted all the arguments for theism in existence, refreshingly admits that on atheism “there is at bottom no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference..We are machines for propagating DNA.. It is every living object’s sole reason for being.”

Well, good luck with that. If that’s the case then religion isn’t the evil you claim it is, because,  remember, as per Dawkins, “there is no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference.. We are machines for propagating DNA“!

I can go on about this book. But that, above, should suffice to show that Dawkins has not, like you claim, ‘refuted all arguments for God’s existence’. It should suffice to show that he (and you) do not understand, much less have successfully refuted, all, or even any, of the arguments for God’s existence. What he — you — was able to refute, and what Fr. Aidan claims you (and he) — and the likes of you and he — attempt to refute, are the strawman versions for the arguments for God’s existence, and not the arguments themselves.

So Fr. Aidan, 1, you 0.

Look, Jerry, clearly you’re an accomplished scientist. Evidence matters to you, I get it. But what’s also clear is that the evidence on this occasion is that when it comes to ‘tackling’ the arguments for God’s existence, you do not know what the hell you’re talking about.

Intelligent People Sometimes Say The Darndest Things!

alex

Just read this NYtimes article and decided to do some shot-gun philosophy.

The NYTimes describes Alex Rosenberg’s book The Atheist’s Guide To Reality as resting on three fundamental principles, one of which is that physics tells “the whole truth about reality.”

I’ll say that again: Alex Rosenberg claims that ‘physics tells the whole truth about reality‘.

Let’s take the statement “physics tells the whole truth about reality,” unpack it, and ask whether it’s a claim that physics, as a branch of science, can make. Can we use ‘physics’ to confirm that the proposition that “physics is the whole truth about reality” is true? No, it doesn’t seem we can. Physics is, from wiki, the study of matter and its motion through space and time. So physics, as conventionally defined, seems to presuppose, rather than establish, that these stuff — matter, motion, space, time — are all that exist. In other words, to confirm whether what physics presupposes does not exist does not in fact exist, we’ll have to go beyond physics.

Therefore the proposition that “physics is the whole truth about reality” is a proposition the truth of which can neither be confirmed nor denied by ‘physics’.

So if the proposition that “physics tells the whole truth about reality” is true, then it’s also false, since if the proposition that “physics tells the whole truth about reality” is true, this would entail another truth, which is that that very statement is true without physics being able to tell us that it is!

Therefore the statement “physics tells the whole truth about reality” is self-refuting.

Therefore physics does not tell us the whole truth about reality.

Therefore Alex Rosenberg is a smart man who’s said a really dumb thing.

Andy Is A Mensch.

Image

My agnostic friend Andy, whom I’ve informally debated recently regarding matters of religion, is a mensch.

Here’s a nice article of his that I’ve read where, I’m happy to say in small part because of our previous discussions, he seems to have more than slightly altered his view on Christians.

It’s definitely worth a read:

http://freethinking.me/essays/hide-and-seek/

excerpt:

The camper is content to select one side and entrench himself there, but the true seeker does not allow himself to be trapped, and is willing to reconsider and doubt whatever is his current position. A true seeker is not attached to labels but is relentless in his pursuit of truth. In the end, I do not aim to be a staunch defender of theism, atheism, agnosticism or whatever. I only aim for the truth, whatever it is, and wherever it may bring me.

 

It’ll be a long-shot, but hopefully, in a few years time, Andy will be writing a testimony akin to that of sci-fi author John C Wright, below:

 

Rest assured, I take the logical process of philosophy very seriously, and I am impatient with anyone who is not a rigorous and trained thinker. Reason is the tool men use to determine if their statements about reality are valid: there is no other. Those who do not or cannot reason are little better than slaves, because their lives are controlled by the ideas of other men, ideas they have not examined.

To my surprise and alarm, I found that, step by step, logic drove me to conclusions no modern philosophy shared, but only this ancient and (as I saw it then) corrupt and superstitious foolery called the Church. Each time I followed the argument fearlessly where it lead, it kept leading me, one remorseless rational step at a time, to a position the Church had been maintaining for more than a thousand years. That haunted me.

Second, I began to notice how shallow, either simply optimistic or simply pessimistic, other philosophies and views of life were.

The public conduct of my fellow atheists was so lacking in sobriety and gravity that I began to wonder why, if we atheists had a hammerlock on truth, so much of what we said was pointless or naive. I remember listening to a fellow atheist telling me how wonderful the world would be once religion was swept into the dustbin of history, and I realized the chap knew nothing about history. If atheism solved all human woe, then the Soviet Union would have been an empire of joy and dancing bunnies, instead of the land of corpses.

I would listen to my fellow atheists, and they would sound as innocent of any notion of what real human life was like as the Man from Mars who has never met human beings or even heard clear rumors of them. Then I would read something written by Christian men of letters, Tolkien, Lewis, or G.K. Chesterton, and see a solid understanding of the joys and woes of human life. They were mature men.

I would look at the rigorous logic of St. Thomas Aquinas, the complexity and thoroughness of his reasoning, and compare that to the scattered and mentally incoherent sentimentality of some poseur like Nietzsche or Sartre. I can tell the difference between a rigorous argument and shrill psychological flatulence. I can see the difference between a dwarf and a giant. (bit.ly/1kXSEI6)

Steven Pinker Argues Science Makes Belief In God Obsolete.

download

I must respond to this batshit.

Steven Pinker says science makes belief in God ‘obsolete’ because… well, let’s hear it from him:

“Traditionally, a belief in God was attractive because it promised to explain the deepest puzzles about origins. Where did the world come from? What is the basis of life? How can the mind arise from the body? Why should anyone be moral? Yet over the millennia, there has been an inexorable trend: the deeper we probe these questions, and the more we learn about the world in which we live, the less reason there is to believe in God.”

O.K., then, Mr. Pinker, let’s get back to those questions you imply science has now answered, or is at least, by your lights, close to answering, thusly making belief in God obsolete:

1. Where did the world [universe] come from?

In Pinker’s view there are 3 possibilties: 1, from nothing, 2, it’s a brute fact, and finally, 3, “beats me!”.

We couldn’t have possibly come from nothing because if we did, then anything can come from nothing, which is absurd. There isn’t anything in ‘nothing’ that would make it produce any specific thing, because prior to producing it, there wasn’t anything! So Scrap that.

Saying the universe is simply a brute fact is no different from saying ‘it’s just magic!’ The guy pulling a rabbit out of a hat will make just as much sense explaining the trick away by saying “it’s just a brute fact that I can pull rabbits out of hats!”

Saying you don’t bloody know where the universe came from is at least a respectable answer — but then we’re left with zero answers to the question you imply science has already answered!

2. How can mind arise from body?

Pinker doesn’t know, but he’ll happily issue a promissory note that science will one day be able to tell us, despite that his buddies Alex Rosenberg, the Churchlands, and Dennett are quite explicit about the answer. And it is that mind does not, in fact, exist — it’s an illusion. Seriously, that’s what they think — it’s what they’re left to think, actually, for how else do you get ‘mind’ from the inanimate except by explaining it away, which seems to be their wont whenever the target explanandum seems, in principle, to be beyond science’s reach. Of course, the problem here is that an illusion presupposes a (wait for it…) MIND to perceive it. So, essentially, to them (Pinker’s buddies, and perhaps to Pinker himself), we have a mind that perceives the illusion of a mind, and maybe another mind that perceives the illusion of a mind perceiving the illusion of a mind, and another mind.. ad infinitum. Or, in a nutshell, the answer they give amounts to illogical, self-referential drivel.

3. Why should anyone be moral?

Pinker is a naturalist, so to him morality is merely the sentimental predispositions humans have acquired that are the residue of evolutionary processes. In other words, we feel this way because feeling this way on the aggregate helps our species flourish. Or, in more other words, eating babies only seems morally reprehensible because if we kept eating babies — by golly — we wouldn’t have been able to be around for this long as a species! In more, more other words, nothing is really right or wrong, all that matters is what will make us survive! Or, in more, more, more other words, morality is just another illusion.

So, to recap:

Where did the universe come from? It either came from nothing, or it’s just magic — or we’ll never know.

How can mind arise from body? Mind is just an illusion, really.

Why should anyone be moral? Nothing, at bottom, really, as morality is just another illusion.

Profound Mr. Pinker. How very profound.

If there’s anything to take from all this, from the patently ridiculous answers Pinker, or the rest of gnu atheists, give to these questions about which people have pondered for millennia, it’s that, well, 1, Pinker is a real clever-silly, and, 2, there are a great many things that seem to be way beyond science’s scope.

War And The Fallenness Of Man

Image

Over a million videos of the Syrian civil war have been uploaded to youtube, and they are getting hundreds of millions of views. I’ve seen a couple of them and they are extremely graphic — ‘extremely’ even seems too effete a word to describe just how graphic they can be. If you have the stomach for it, in this video is an already half-dead Syrian rebel being mercilessly shot over and over again by a sniper. Some gun-fights, such as this one, show the combatants only a few feet apart. Other videos show innocent civilians, some of whom are even children, being mowed down by machine guns.

The situation in Syria is not an atom short of hellish. We’d like to think these images of death would be forever carved in the memory of those who’ve seen them, as though they were too horrid and abominable to fail to be so; as though these people, dreadfully vitiated as they were in these final moments, had been taken by some great and unnatural evil — an evil so monstrous and unnatural that it behooves only in the worst of nightmares.

But what’s arguably just as sad, if not even sadder — as it is perhaps a worse evil — is the reality that for most of us none of it will be; most of us will forget this. We will make the customary affectations of empathy and moral outrage, then we will give ourselves congratulatory pats on the back for doing so. Then we will do nothing; we will forget about it and get on with our lives.

Those who think the Christian notion of the fallenness of man to be silly have either been too inoculated by feel-good ideas like those of Steven Pinker, or are completely unaware of the history and nature of man.

Sam Harris Awarding Money To Anyone Who Refutes His Thesis That’s Already Been Refuted Since 1739.

Sam 2

Money, and, perhaps, fame, to the one who refutes, to Sam’s satisfaction, his contention that Science can determine moral values.

Really; Sam’s giving 2 thousand dollars to the winning essay — and, interestingly, 20 thousand dollars (inclusive of the matching pledge of one of his generous readers) to the essay that succeeds in changing his mind. Needless to say, changing his mind, or at least getting him to admit his mind had been changed, would be considerably more difficult then actually refuting his thesis — something which had been, as it were, refuted since 1739.

A few months ago, I entertained the thought of submitting one. The effort to do so, however, eventually seemed of scant worth, considering what would presumably be a large number of submissions unequivocally harping on the very argument I intended to make — indeed, the same argument, I think, everyone’s been making — against Sam’s thouroughly absurd thesis.

Sam is wrong; science does not — cannot ever — have the ability to determine moral values for precisely the reasons laid out by David Hume more than 200 years ago in A Treatise Of Human Nature.:

“In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remarked, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary ways of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when all of a sudden I am surprised to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation, ’tis necessary that it should be observed and explained; and at the same time that a reason should be given; for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it. But as authors do not commonly use this precaution, I shall presume to recommend it to the readers; and am persuaded, that this small attention would subvert all the vulgar systems of morality, and let us see, that the distinction of vice and virtue is not founded merely on the relations of objects, nor is perceived by reason.”

Or, in short, Mr. Hume, in a rather overly verbose manner (as chaps of his time were wont to conduct themselves) is simply saying that one cannot derive an ought from an is; you cannot infer what ought to be from what is; or, if you like: since science merely describes what is, then it can hardly be able to tell us what ought to be.

Of course, that, above, should have been the whole story. Sadly, it isn’t for Harris.

Surprisingly competently, Sam realizes that moral goodness is a concept so amorphous as to be indeterminable (after all, people can’t always agree on what is good) so he substitutes (human) ‘well-being’ for ‘good’ because — or so we are told by him — ‘well-being’ as a metric succeeds in doing two things that can seemingly bridge Hume’s famous (or perhaps infamous) is-ought chasm: 1, it is something for which there can in principle be an objective unit of measurement, and 2, it proffers to actions a goal or purpose.

The obvious problem here is that well-being is, contrary to Sam’s claims, rather like moral goodness in that it is also objectively indeterminable. I mean, what is it? Sam simply puts the problem another step back, actually. How can we all even agree on what ‘well-being’ is?
Dahmer’s well-being, for instance, was predicated on the sodomization of young boys’ corpses. What would Sam’s answer be to this, one wonders. Dahmer was wrong because sodomizing corpses can hardly be said to add to someone’s well-being? But yes it can — people like Dahmer exist. Sure, we can cheerily rejoice in the fact that more people are of the opinion that sodomizing corpses reduces rather than increases ones well-being. But, on naturalism, that’s just an opinion, really — one that is, luckily, ascendant in society, but one that is an opinion no less.

Of course, Sam will argue that humans have evolved in such and such a way that makes us repelled by the sight of corpses, and therefore moreso with the prospect of having sex with them, making our collective anti corpse-sodomizing sentiments not merely an opinion but one for which a socio-biological component exists. Of course he’ll think this socio-biological underpinning furnishes us with a standard against which the morality of actions can be measured. But he’ll be wrong; for one can simply say that Dahmer was being unfashionable, or that Dahmer simply chose not to go with the flow, so to speak.

Swrong with that?

What, on naturalism, makes Sam able to say: “No, sodomizing corpses, bad!”, “Yes, well-being, good!”

Nothing, it seems.

Of course, this all poses zero problems for the theist who holds God to be good’s ontological base. After all, if the Christian God exists, then the universe was imbued with ‘oughts’ upon its very creation. Therefore theism furnishes us with a solid foundation for moral values and duties, while atheism, not so much.

 

Responding to Arbourist the Happy Abortionist Part Deux

images

Responding to Arbourist the Happy Abortionist in a post for content’s sake. Her response was to my post here.

“Wow, my very own post. I appreciate the vitriol and furious whinging going on all for me benefit. Thank you.”

Vitriol and furious whinging? Feminists love bandying about their collection of victim cards, no? You aren’t seriously taking this all personally, are you?

“You seem not to realize that using violence is almost exclusively in the realm of men. It’s all fine and well to faff on about some specific case of women behaving badly, but it is certainly not the standard for society.”

You seem not to realize that none of what you say here seems an objective reaction to anything I’ve said. Let me remind you that you were admonishing me for ‘condoning violence’ against women, despite that you would do or condone the same on men. Of course, to save face, you deny this (and have in fact denied this). Your initial response to my previous post, however, can reasonably be construed to mean exactly that. But more to the point, you seem not aware that what you said is profoundly misandristic (violence is exclusively in the realm of men?), at least if we were to adopt the conventional feminist ‘I-am-woman-hear-me-roar’ metric for ascertaining mysogyny. See, feminists were just recently aghast by the study (which you’ve no doubt heard about) that seemed to show significant differences between the wiring of male and female brains. It reinforces stereotypes, they say — you know, like that galactically ridiculous stereotype that men are different from women [*nudge-nudge, wink-wink*]. Feminists will have none of that, see. Yet, here we are, hearing, from a feminist of the same cabal no less, that men are in fact significantly different from women. Feminist seem to be inordinately inclined to bandy about ‘differences’ that seem to point to them having some moral advantage — yet when it can only succeed in doing the opposite, they are apparently nonexistent. But, hey, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

“Wow, you had better call in the MRA’s and MGTOW’s to fight this feminist revolution. Feeling all oppressed while being the dominant class in society is hard work, mostcertainly.”

Of course this is another one of your attempts to bait me into responding in a manner that concedes a false premise, but hey, why not let’s give it some thought: why is it that to you men seem the ‘dominant class’? You’d think if there were no significant differences between the sexes, then thousands of years of evolution would have ironed that out, no?

“Well, violence would certainly be decreased if men would stop killing each other no? But we certainly can’t have that, much better to blame women for the problems of men. You certainly have that talent down cold.”

Let me remind you again that I was referring to a specific case where violence was clearly being done on men. But, as per the usual feminist rhetoric, you completely gloss over this fact, going on a weird tangent claiming men are violent to each other anyway, as if any of this makes an iota of sense.

“I don’t recall supporting the women’s actions on the video. But if you’d like to erroneously attribute things to me that I didn’t say, do be my guest.”

So I say in no ambiguous terms that the men would have been morally justified in physically retaliating against the women who were behaving rabidly against them and you retort by accusing me of condoning violence, and I’m supposed to take that as you NOT supporting the women’s actions in the video. The principle of charity hardly means I have to accept your post hoc rationalizations and/or your backpedalling to save face.

“Sorry to interrupt your fetus-worship but again, mischaracterizing what I say doesn’t make your argument any stronger. Fetuses are not sentient during much of their development, giving them more rights than women is quite asinine.”

I wonder why you always think your moving the goalposts would simply pass by me unnoticed. ‘Sentience’ is merely the minimum requirement for someone to be able to drive and vote, something you say fetuses cannot do and therefore can be killed. Do I really have to quote what you said?

O.K., here’s you (emphasis added): “Let me know when fetuses start acting like full members of society, fetal voting rights, fetal driving age etc.”

If you’re now serious about making ‘sentience’ the minimum criteria for having the right to live, then I’m content to point you to our previous discussion where I’ve dismantled this argument, and from which you have unfortunately learned nothing.

In any case, thanks Arbourist, for upping my daily readership from 5 to 6.

No, seriously.

Why Disasters — like typhoons, say — Happen.

Typhoon Haiyan

There is much nonsense about all this being evidence of God’s non-existence to be heard from one side to numb the skull and to make one epileptically flail about. Where was God, they ask, when it all happened, or why wasn’t he around? Why is it that they require God to attend to their moment to moment happiness like some genie in a lamp as though everyone ought to be in a state of eternal bliss if He existed is my question.

The other side fares no better, unfortunately. One hears a lot — a rather fortunate lot — insensitively extolling God’s love for them, evidenced apparently by the fact that they were spared! God must not have loved those who were killed, is what’s being unwittingly said. While there are those who, in Pat Robertson-esque fashion, claim it all to be divine retribution of some sort, which makes one wonder what exactly these victims did, or why exactly they deserved to die, or, more importantly, why exactly they deserved to die in such a horrible manner. I mean, the Canaanites, on whom God exacted divine justice according to scripture, only beheaded their own children as a sacrifice to their gods — mundane stuff, I know!

Why do these things — these horrible, horrible things — happen, anyway?

Theologically speaking, it’s just that they do. The world is the way it is, operating with regularity. Typhoons, earthquakes, fires, and what have you, are really just products of the world’s — actually, universe’s — regularity. Things bump into each other, and that’s all well and fine, until people get in between those which bump into each other and end up, well, dead, in the process.

If the world didn’t operate with regularity, then guess what? Morality becomes impossible. How so? Think of it this way: moral decision-making requires weighing options and choosing that which produces the best (read:the most moral) outcome. Thusly, if the world operated non-regularly, then there’s no point in deciding anything. I mean, what’s the point in doing good if it ends up making people the worst for it; what’s the point in helping if by doing so you’re actually, um, not helping, as will be the case in a world operating less than rationally.

In other words, stuff (or shit, if you prefer) just happens because that’s how it must be. That’s all; that’s it. It is certainly the more theologically parsimonious explanation compared to the nuttier ones above. And that stuff of this sort happens is hardly evidence for God’s non-existence, as the atheist keeps (rather stupidly, in my opinion) claiming.