Sunday, May 20, 2007

This is precisely the problem

PJ's recent reply to me on her post regarding atheist incivility perfectly exhibits the vacuousness, hypocrisy and blatant double standards of the religious believers' insistence on "civility". My comment asserted:
[T]here's really no other conclusion than to call belief that intelligent design is legitimate science prima facie evidence of irrationality.
Her reply:
In your opinion, sir, which I do not and will not accept. ...

If you wish to comment on my blog, you must accept the following premise:

I am just as rational in my acceptance of God and/or Intelligent Design as you are in your denial of same.
Curious. I was unaware that rationality was a matter of opinion or could be established by fiat. I was naively under the impression that truth was established by evidence and logical argumentation, that a dialectic between opposing points of view was a productive means to discover the truth, and that rationality entailed believing the truth on the basis of evidence and logical argumentation. Silly me.

Merely questioning contradicting a Christian's assertions of truth—of scientific truth—appears to constitute incivility. Another commenter concludes that atheists "attack" believers usually in disregard of intellectual integrity; this comment—perhaps unsurprisingly—passes without objection. I'm guessing, however, that PJ does not consider postmodernist epistemic relativism in general a viable philosophy.

(She also asserts, rather amusingly, that I have "come into [her] cybernetic living room." This metaphor seems a trifle inapt: I don't know what her living room is like, but my living room is most assuredly not on display to (potentially) a hundred million people on the Internet. When I criticize someone publicly by name (as she has done me) I do not plead privacy to escape criticism.)

I think Hitchens is on to something: Religion really does poison everything.

1 comment:

  1. The full text of my comments on Hubris: Overbearing Pride or Presumption; Arrogance:

    First comment

    Reviewing a review seems like a pointless exercise and obviously does nothing to establish the credibility of the book in question. Why not review the reviews of the reviews? Viz. and to wit:

    Whowhee! I don't think that I can find a shovel big enough to handle all of this manure...

    If evolution is fact, then pure evidence would be demonstrable and obvious; lies, tricks, distortions, failed experiments, tortured data, falsified images, yada yada yada, would not be necessary.

    My cousin has a very high IQ and she's an idiot.

    (In all fairness, the reviewer, Jimho N'Krumah, is hardly a paragon of restrained civility.)

    At the end of the day, truth is an affirmative defense against incivility as well as libel. Evolution is is one of the most well-evidenced scientific theories. Intelligent design is trivially false when stated scientifically; when stated metaphysically it is a transparently dishonest attempt to cloak religious proselytization in the language of science to make an end run around the First Amendment.

    As such there's really no other conclusion than to call belief that intelligent design is legitimate science prima facie evidence of irrationality.

    Second comment
    Your criticism of the scientific information is even more puzzling. If you could not read the study, how do you know that it makes sweeping (presumably unsubstantiated) generalizations or does not provide a definition of "religious conservative"?

    Your objection to the study seems to be only on the basis that it draws a conclusion you disagree with.

    Furthermore, you seem to be confused about the nature of science: It is precisely the business of science to make sweeping generalizations—the more universal the better—and substantiate them according to the evidence.

    Third comment

    BTW: In the spirit of intellectual integrity, I would note that rootietoot's comment describes not her experience, but rather a conclusion based on unspecified experiences. And apparently we're to take her academic upbringing as establishing some sort of authority for her conclusions in the complete absence of any description of the underlying experience.


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