Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sufficient pause

I like Stephen Law; he's a bright guy and speaks directly and plainly. But I think he gives too much credit to theistard William Hawthorne, treating Hawthorne's pathetic excuse for argument with something less than outright derision and contempt. Hawthorne argues that
if many extremely brilliant people have thought about p carefully, subjected p to rigorous logical analysis, and have come to believe that p, this should give us reason to refrain from lazily dismissing p as childish or delusional. A more thorough investigation would be called for.
Well duh. This argument is positively retarded in its triviality. We shouldn't even lazily dismiss the Flying Spaghetti Monster without some sort of investigation.

Implicit in Hawthorne's ridiculous excuse for an argument is that this sort of lazy, superficial dismissal is prevalent enough to notice and actually argue in philosophical terminology. This assumption is so false-to-fact that one must suspect Hawthorne of either traumatic brain injury our outright dishonesty.

It's always meta-this and meta-that with these retards "brilliant people". "We can't be certain!" (No, but we can be extremely confident.) "Theism isn't logically impossible!" (Just ridiculously inconsistent with the actual facts.) "There are other ways of knowing!" (Perhaps, but making shit up and calling it true does not rise to the level of an epistemology.) But when they get down to making an actual case, these supposed "rigorous logical analys[es]*" turn out to be at best a sham and at worst a lie, nothing but more or less clever attempts to clothe egregious bullshit and wildly implausible assumptions in the most obfuscatory philosophical terminology.

*And notice how they always talk about other people's "rigorous logical analys[es]" but never actually present an analysis? Somehow these analyses are always another hand-wave away.

It irritates me no end to give retards like Hawthorne even the standing to appear in the arena of reasoned debate. Without exception, they lack the competence and/or the intellectual good faith to actually engage in reasoned analysis. Thousands of years of engaging with the lies, bullshit, stupidity and outright evil of theism is sufficient pause to justify treating this form of stupidity and mendacity with nothing but mockery and moral condemnation.


  1. Also missing with the descriptions of "rigorous logical analysis" are justifications for both why these people should be considered "extremely brilliant" and whether this brilliance is suited for this logical analysis. Too often in theist arguments they simply get any old guy with some alphabets after their name who happens to believe their crap to show off as validation. "Look, he's smart and he agrees with us so you should, too". Doesn't matter what those alphabets are for.

  2. PhillyChief: No argument there.

  3. Yep, you can be "extremely brilliant" and still wrong about all sorts of stuff. That's the tricky thing about intelligence: yes, it can help to overcome irrational preconceived dogmas, but it can just as easily serve to armour-plate those dogmas.

    Some of the cleverest philosophy in history has been done by churchmen trying to make a coherent picture out of the scribblings of the Bible combined with the Vatican's political imperatives.

  4. I have to disagree a bit, but not with your primary argument. I think when a majority of people do believe X on faith (i.e., with no evidence or even in the face of contradictory evidence), it does warrant discussion, research, and investigation. However, not discussion, research, and investigation as to the truth value of a nonsensical belief, such as belief in a deity or unicorn, but rather psychologically try to figure out why something like this would be believed by a majority.

    I mean, there are "simple" answers, and then there are the real answers, and these may overlap.

    There is obviously some need that such fabrication fills, or one could say that it has some (psychological?) function, and I think that warrants study, but not the study, though, that Hawthorne implies.

  5. Will eat for food - moi.

    Stay on groovin' safari,


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