Saturday, July 21, 2007

Spineless pushovers

Shalini tells it like it is. The war
is not about one issue or another. It is not about young earth creationism, ID, evolution, climate change, stem cell research, marijuana or the latest hot-button issue. These are merely battles in the course of the real war -- the war between rationalism and superstition. In this war, only one side will be the winner. There is no room for appeasers, and the superstitious, at least, will have none of this cowardly garbage.
Preach on, sister!

5 comments:

  1. The logic is appropriate, an atheist can't, no, shouldn't leave much room for hope.

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  2. I meant hope as in hope that there is a god and thus everything that entails him existing.

    Any takers?

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  3. The point is not to destroy "hope" but just to speak the truth.

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  4. What's funny is that naive atheists always set up these false dichotomies---"Rationality and Superstition", wow---without ever bothering to justify the "set up," or without examining the consequences of a strong atheist position. While we agree that there are no good grounds--rational grounds---for religious belief, there are no good grounds for other sorts of beliefs. Many people assume that "Justice" or beauty "exists," or even Freedom, and yet could not really point to them, or prove that these concepts exist in some objective fashion. A person's awe at viewing Yosemite valley may be a type of religion--who is to say that is incorrect, or irrational? Religious faith, whether we agree with it or not, is not simply a matter of finding the right clues or evidence, and then deciding on faith: indeed the whole point is faith when little or no evidence exists which could support faith. And as Pascal said, if you are mistaken (you have faith, and "God" does not exist---a definite possibility), you have not really lost anything.

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  5. Phritz

    ...without examining the consequences of a strong atheist position.

    The strong atheist position is itself usually a consequence of the evidence of our senses evaluated under metaphysical naturalism. It's hard to understand what you mean by examining the consequences of the statement that no God exists.

    [T]here are no good grounds for other sorts of beliefs. Many people assume that "Justice" or beauty "exists," or even Freedom, and yet could not really point to them, or prove that these concepts exist in some objective fashion.

    As you note, it is not necessary to be able to point to something to have rational grounds to believe it exists. I think, however, that the belief that justice or beauty actually exist—at least some constructions of those terms—are equally philosophically problematic. My personal hobbyhorse is to argue against objective ethical truths.

    A person's awe at viewing Yosemite valley may be a type of religion--who is to say that is incorrect, or irrational?

    I think you are defining "religion" here in an over-broad manner. Very few terms in any natural language are absolutely univocal. I, for instance, religiously brush my teeth every evening; am I then as irrational as a Muslim who blows himself up with the certainty that he'll be greeted in Paradise by 72 virgins?

    It is banal to notice that there are some outlying usages of a term that fall outside the underlying concept under discussion, and uncharitable to construct a rebuttal on such a basis.

    [T]he whole point is faith when little or no evidence exists which could support faith.

    This is precisely the underlying concept under discussion: belief in objective truth without evidence. It is a red herring and a fallacy of equivocation to argue that the criticism of religion doesn't apply to 'awe at Yosemite' therefore it doesn't apply to belief in objective truth without evidence.

    And as Pascal said, if you are mistaken (you have faith, and "God" does not exist---a definite possibility), you have not really lost anything.

    See my latest post Pascal's Wager.

    ReplyDelete

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