Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

On The Reason Fascism is Inherent in the Progressive Project


In a prior post about climate alarmism, Seversky asked:

Do we really need to wait until Florida or the Netherlands disappear beneath the waves before we admit there might be a problem here?

I responded:

Assume for the sake of argument (1) global warming is happening; (2) the cost of trying to stop it is 10 times the cost of allowing Florida and the Netherlands to go under.  Sev, should we pay that cost even though it is 10X the cost of doing nothing?

Daniel King responded by mocking me, and I responded to him as follows:

I asked you to assume 10X for the sake of argument.  You are unwilling to do so. I am not surprised.  Progressives are so utterly certain of their own brilliance and rectitude, they never even consider opening their minds to consider a problem from a different perspective.  That is why progressives are natural authoritarians.  They believe that because they are so much smarter and morally superior to everyone else, no one can disagree with them in good faith, and it follows that anyone who does disagree with them is evil, not merely mistaken, and must be crushed by any means necessary.

And KF added:

Do you care to expand [this], or would others want to, in the context of the cluster of polarised, scientific issue- tinged debates that now seem to be a major part of public issues and policy trends?

For instance in origins science debates, we have on longstanding record, Mr Dawkins on his view of those who object to his evolutionary materialism, that they are ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked. This view seems to drive much of the tone of debate.

One thing that pricks at my thoughts is the Marxist base-superstructure view, on which any existing frame of thought, authority and governance until the Marxists [whether classic class warfare or the Frankfurt School cultural identity variant makes little difference] showed up.

Thus there is an underlying assumption of monopoly of legitimacy in leadership in thought, issues, policy and politics.

Where, we can clearly see how progressivism — in the sense used in recent decades — is deeply influenced by Marxism.

Echoes of Fascist, Nietzschean superman beyond-law political messiahs who come to rescue the mass victim group in the face of allegedly unprecedented crisis and threat also seem to be there in the above. But then, Fascism was in many respects Marxism 2.0.

This is key KF.  We err when we think of fascism, communism, Marxism, and progressivism as being different things.  They are not.  They are different versions of the same thing.  We especially err when we think of a fascist like Hitler and a communist like Stalin as being somehow polar opposites (with one on the “right” and one of the “left”).  Hitler and Stalin had far more in common than otherwise, and a political analysis that perceives them as opposites is deeply flawed.

If all of these things are versions of the same thing, what thing is that?  That thing is materialist metaphysics applied to politics.  Just as in the origins debate, the materialism is accepted as a matter of blind faith in the teeth of the evidence to the contrary.  And once the materialist underpinnings are established, everything else follows as a matter of simple logic.  It does not matter, for example, that the peppered moth story provides absolutely zero support for the theory.  It is nevertheless considered powerful evidence for the theory.  Because if materialism is true, a materialist account of origins must necessarily also be true and any “evidence” (even non-evidence as in the case of the moths) is sufficient to support it.

You are also correct that Dawkins’ “ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked” comment is of a piece with the self-righteous, smug, and condescending style of modern progressive political rhetoric.

[As an aside, note that it is not only conservatives who believe progressives are smug and condescending.  Even thoughtful progressives recognize and deplore this tendency among their brethren.  Witness uber-progressive Emmett Rensin’s article in the leftist rag Vox:  “The Smug Style in American Liberalism,” (with the word “liberal” standing in for “progressive;” the words are often used interchangeably).  http://www.vox.com/2016/4/21/11451378/smug-american-liberalism ]

Dawkins is completely, utterly and irrevocably convinced beyond any shadow of a doubt that materialism is true, and therefore a materialist account of origins must also be true.  And because he is such a rabidly-devoted true believer, he is literally unable to understand how anyone could possibly disagree with him in good faith.  It follows that to him those who disagree with him cannot possibly do so in good faith.  Not only does it not occur to him that they might be correct (not possible), but also it does not occur to him that they might be merely mistaken.  Oh no.  For true believes like Dawkins, only those who are morally perverse or  intellectually infirm can possibly disagree with him.

We see the same phenomenon at work in progressive political rhetoric.  Here is an actual exchange from a recent Facebook debate I had with one of my progressive friends (yes, I do have such):

Progressive Friend:

One can’t just stand there and not vote, or not feed a starving child or adult, or not save a drug addict from getting creamed by a bus.  One should not stand by and watch people prosper at the cost of old people dying or children going into anaphylactic shock or dying from diabetes or whatever.

My response:

If conservatives don’t want to add another 10 trillion dollars to the debt and/or raise taxes to a confiscatory level, they affirmatively want to kill people.  It couldn’t possibly be the case that conservatives want to maintain an adequate social safety net while at the same time not killing our economy with confiscatory taxes and smothering regulations. No, this is not about the inevitable trade-offs when infinite needs meet finite resources. This is about good, loving, kind virtuous people (liberals) and evil, bigoted, hateful people who want to kill old people and children (conservatives).

Progressive Friend:

“This is about good, loving, kind virtuous people (liberals) and evil, bigoted, hateful people who want to kill old people and children (conservatives).” Correct

To be clear, that last comment from my progressive friend was probably meant in jest.  Nevertheless, it demonstrates the attitude I am talking about, if in an extreme way.  Progressives are so convinced they are morally and intellectually superior, it is difficult for them to conceive that anyone might possibly disagree with them in good faith.  Only evil and/or stupid people can disagree with them.

It follows that when one’s opponents are, by definition, evil and/or stupid, one need not treat them with respect and dignity.  Such must be crushed by the mailed fist and the booted heel – which is why progressivism so often walks hand-in-hand with fascist/authoritarian tactics.

But haven’t progressives such as the ACLU often championed freedom?  Yes, they have when to do so predominantly furthered progressive interests.  But this was a tactical, not a philosophical stance, as demonstrated by Maud Dib’s dictum:

When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles.



F/N, OT: For the interested, U2 is now initially complete: http://pm101bootcamp.blogspot.com/2016/12/pm101-u2-project-initiation-and-start-up.html KF PS: DfO, you may find the Tasmanian Govt's initiative and resources on PM very useful and open for use: http://www.egovernment.tas.gov.au/project_management Note their free guidelines PDF and oodles of templates. I was just looking at Steering Committee stuff, nice, well thought-through. (I like the Australians for a lot of things linked to Government.) kairosfocus
F/N: Pulling all of this back to focal matters from OP, we need to do a major sustainability analysis of our civilisation and its business as usual, thence, where it is likely to end up; in my view Plato nailed the key issues with evolutionary materialism 2350+ years ago. Alcibiades alone is enough to give us second thoughts, same for the way Athens collapsed through the Peloponnessian war. That points to a reformation programme, or better, movement. In that, I have come to think an adapted version of the seven mountains framework is useful. And yes, I will pull ideas, mod, tinker, adapt if I think that will help. KF PS, here are thoughts http://kairosfocus.blogspot.com/2016/10/a-collapse-of-leadership-as-sophia.html kairosfocus
PS: I like the way the DSDM people are talking, i/l/o the iron triangle: https://www.agilebusiness.org/content/fundamentals-0 -- though, I suggest acceptable quality is best viewed as a threshold, and the issue of "generations" of product to incrementally extend scope of outputs is always there. The MOSCOW prioritisation is much more memorable than prosaic lists A,B, C. This feeds into a possibilities tradeoff frontier on affordability vs performance- beyond- a- threshold framework that I intend to bring up later: performance and affordability being balanced scorecard assessments; e.g. higher ultimate cost but easier entry and wealth generation allow higher affordability. Likewise, performance has to be weighted across features, reliability, maintainability, etc. This is the cost-effectiveness tradeoff, value for money issue. Thanks. (And my problem is, I cannot find any one synthesis out there that does what I need. And, there are too many nooks and crannies of memory, scars from battles past, experiences, observations, analyses etc that are feeding my intuitions to start with a rigid syllabus first approach.) kairosfocus
FG, I hear you. I always favoured evolutionary spirals in any case. PMI's PMBOK guide has useful materials and tools, but I don't buy the overall package deal including the PMP framework. The less rigid, interactive, iterative approaches in my view face a pivotal issue: they require a high trust environment with trustworthiness to back it. When your baseline challenge is to break through business as usual, through finding a critical mass to back a creative, more sustainable alternative in a low trust environment, the issues are of a different order. But, there is a volcano disaster to recover from, and we need good governance breakthroughs with a programme of strategic breakthrough projects. To get there, we need to get a significant number to see things in a new way and to have tools and a vision of a feasible way to the future. Tough challenge. That's why a bootcamp approach. KF kairosfocus
KF, Not a fan of PMI either. A few years ago my company forced all the project managers to obtain PMP certifications, but it really didn't make people better project managers, if anything the opposite. Interesting stuff about PRINCE2, which at least in USA IT circles I don't think has taken much of a hold. But again waterfall approaches aren't really promoted anymore at least in non-government circles. Another interesting UK methodology is DSDM - again more an of an agile approach, but geared to the issues of large enterprises. Never got to use it but it always looked promising and pragmatic. Good luck with your training, not easy stuff to teach and impart. Fordgreen
JAD, not nice at all. BA seems to have a sobering point. I think we should recall one definition of fanaticism: zeal blended with contempt for those who differ. The latter is generally driven by some perception that they are inferior, stupid, mad or evil. Ironically, it is the progressives who most boast of their egalitarianism who now need to think about what they imply by how they treat others now. KF kairosfocus
FG, I will indeed be training people (as I did years ago) and it is a way to put an alternative on the table that forces a shift in how the matter is handled at policy level. No, I am not competing with a global market. Adapt the wheel, don't re-invent it. DfO: PMI is fine but not well suited to our needs, there is a PRINCE2 system, and this is meant to be an orientation for those not necessarily going for certification, who want to work with projects in a general context of development and management of the project cycle . . . that raises a raft of governance and policy issues. If I had my druthers -- not likely -- every civil servant here would be frog marched through some level of a workshop like this. (But then, that would make me a little too close to being a Fascist!) I like the PMBOK as a reference work, but somehow not the system. I find the Axelos framework more relevant to our education system and needs. Where there is an issue is two things, one there is need for a "bootcamp" at the bottom. Two, there is need for adapters that bridge to national development programmes and major donor agencies and their approaches, in this case primarily DFID of UK Govt and the EU. That is, a part of the issue is project cycle management i/l/o sustainable development themes and logframe linked challenges multiplied by the linked issue of working with development agencies. I am in part writing to open up some minds by demonstrating what is possible and present. And, to help some very frustrated good people who need to understand the resistance to change they are facing. Then, to help put on the table some ways to deal with the problems. KF kairosfocus
KF, I think I might be missing something - why is it that you are writing a guide to project management in the first place? Are you going to be training others, or do you have specific projects you need to oversee? Not really clear on what is your purpose or goal. And what unique perspective are you trying to bring out about project management? (after all the business world is already over-saturated with books, materials, tools, methodologies etc). Fordgreen
Is Barry exaggerating about secular progressive fascism? Consider the following incident. A few weeks ago Buzzfeed published what can only be described as a hit piece against HGTV Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines because they were “Christians who attend a church where the pastor teaches biblical doctrine… [which states] that homosexual conduct is a sin.” They were not using their show to promote their religious beliefs and they have yet to state publicly what they personally believe. It was then purely a fallacious attack of guilt by association. http://www.dailywire.com/news/11263/buzzfeeds-attack-christian-hgtv-couple-frank-camp Here is some refreshing news. A lesbian journalist/ talk show host has come to their defense. http://video.foxnews.com/v/5246945331001/?playlist_id=938973798001#sp=show-clips Growing up in the sixties I remember the so called sexual revolution very well. At the time there was what I call the tacit libertarian agreement which states that “any sexual activity between consenting adults is permitted as long as it doesn’t cause harm to (or is forced on) others.” While I don’t completely agree with that morally, I do agree that the government should not be micromanaging the personal morality of its citizens. I’d rather have the authorities focusing on serious crime and social problems. The neo-fascists, however, don’t agree with any kind of tolerance. In the name of “social justice” and “inclusiveness” (which they have defined) they demand the approval and affirmation of their sexual conduct from everyone. If you don’t agree with them they will attack you and try to destroy your reputation-- even sue you or try to force your employer to fire you. That is anything but a tolerant and inclusive society. That is fascism. That's what Tammy Bruce calls it. john_a_designer
FG, Ponder TRIZ -- Russian acronym, "treez" -- as an engine of technological evolution by design through inventive problem solving. Indeed, this points to the issue of the significance of embedded information in systems -- where, "systems" implies that overall performance is highly dependent on an information-rich specific interactive configuration of components . . . the island of function in a configuration space issue. Thence also, what happens when one ignorantly reorders, picks and chooses at whim etc in an attempt to adapt or apply. There may be some redundancy that allows you to get away with that for a while, but then one hits a wall, like the we got away with burning through one O-ring again and again on the solid rocket boosters for the space shuttle, starting with Launch no 2; there was a second O-ring after all. So, proper redesign to address rotation of the joints under pressure was not prioritised, even through the potential failure was criticality 1 . . . loss of vehicle and crew. Then, on a certain sadly fateful cold January day in 1986, the envelope was pushed too far, and horrifically, boom. KF PS: I am leading Unit 2 -- even more, WIP than U1! -- with a video on that specific case. Where, I am finding it necessary to actually develop these two units before creating more than a bare bones outline -- a rapid spiral, sprint-like development cycle where we can see a general direction but need to actually get hands dirty to see the way forward more clearly. And, where feedback from people actually engaged out there and frustrated by BAU roadblocks and hit-men is turning out to be an important input in the development cycle. I am finding, there is too much need for synthesis from diverse and even disparate directions, so I am having to ride a migraine- inducing creative mindstorm to get enough pulled together to see more clearly where and how this needs to go. Such is life, it seems. kairosfocus
Daniel King responded by mocking me...
I mocked you? I hardly ever come here. When did I do that terrible thing? Daniel King
KF, Yes, many of the major maturity models such as CMMI and PMI have also incorporated agile/lean principles. And where I worked (major American corporation) we often mixed waterfall techniques with agile quite successfully. Our experience was that once teams had tried agile they never wanted to revert back to traditional methods; if practiced correctly it was much more than a methodology but a true paradigm shift in how development was approached and practiced. And now the big new thing is Devops which is an evolution (can I say that word!) of agile. Fordgreen
WJM, a point. KF kairosfocus
FG, There is actually an Agile version of PRINCE2. Which latter started out in the IT world and spread out from there. Agile is interesting, but would not be a good fit here; where PRINCE2 is being adopted. But yup, Agile is very interesting, scrum too. KF kairosfocus
Seversky@7: "Personally, I would say that, given the choices you provide, we should go for the less expensive option. The question is, are preventative measures really likely to cost more than coping with a catastrophe after it has occurred?" The thing that frustrates me is that the alarmist side does not even attempt cost benefit analysis. For example, they claim that droughts can reduce crop yields, while ignoring that CO2 increases crop yields. Crop yields are way up over the last century -- there is yet no direct evidence that warming so far has caused any crop yield reduction, although it is possible technology has merely outpaced losses due to warming so far, and will eventually be overwhelmed. What evidence is there that any catastrophe will occur? There is no statistically significant trend in drought, no trend in flooding, no trend in tornadoes, and no trend in tropical storms worldwide. The present represents the longest recorded period with no category 3 or greater hurricanes making landfall in North America. All belief that catastrophe will occur is based on computer models, not evidence. Even the EPA's website says that scientists only have "medium" confidence that storms will be worse with warming. The only "catastrophe" with actual evidence to support it is sea level rise affecting coastal regions, but that will occur in such slow motion that it's not going to kill anyone. And sea level rise has been occurring for the past 12,000 years, including pre AGW, and there is yet no sign of the rate accelerating. It's unclear what percentage of current sea level rise would have occurred anyway due to the pre-existing natural trend. Besides sea level rise, the only observable result that agrees with computer models is an increase in average precipitation levels. It's hard to say how the warmists can predict both increased precipitation and increased drought. I guess they are saying that drought will increase in some places, and decrease in others. The computer models themselves are at such a coarse resolution that they have no ability to simulate regional variation, so at best claims that certain regions will be worse or better off with warming are completely unfounded speculation. The computer models can't physically simulate El Nino, oceanic cycles, clouds, storms, etc. Let me ask you a question -- how do scientists know that the current specific temperature of the planet is optimal for life and humanity? I think we can all agree that colder is infinitely worse, such as during the last ice age when mile thick glacial ice covered the present locations of Chicago and New York. So if you were trying to decide an optimal temperature, we know that there would be a curve where cold is bad, and life gets better with increased temperature up to a certain inflection point, where further warming makes it get worse. How do we know we are at that point? We know that in the peak of the last interglacial, temperatures were around 3 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. In prehistoric times, it has been 5 degrees warmer or more, with no ice at the poles. None of those previous warm periods resulted in runaway warming, or mass extinctions. Yet scientists are saying we need to limit temperature to 2 degrees above pre-industrial. Maybe they are saying that the warming is going to be "too fast" for the planet to handle. A 2 degree temperature difference is equivalent to moving poleward around 300 miles, or up in elevation around 600 feet. Are we saying that animals won't be able to move fast enough to adjust to that? How did animal and plant species survive the 7 degree swing in temperature at the end of each interglacial? These are all questions I would like to ask a climate scientist... NetResearchMan
Seversky said:
But if I ever found compelling evidence of the existence of some supreme being or intelligence I would be fascinated and have no difficulty abandoning atheism.
You say that as if you have some sort of top-down, supernatural control over what the chemistry and physics in your body produces as thoughts and beliefs. According to atheistic materialism, you'll believe whatever physics and chemistry dictates, whether there is any evidence supporting it or not. William J Murray
I can give several reasons why I am a Christian-theist. Here very succinctly is a short list of five. Christian theism provides:
-1. An ultimate explanation for existence. Why does anything at all exist? -2. An explanation for the nature of existence. Why does the universe appear to exhibit teleology-- or design and purpose? -3. A sufficient foundation for truth, knowledge and meaning. -4. A sufficient foundation for moral values and duties. -5. An ultimate solution for mankind’s moral and spiritual crisis.
I can support each one of these reasons, as others have done, with number of very compelling arguments. While there are a number of other reasons I could list, I think these five are the best. No one can absolutely prove their world view is true, because every world view begins with some unprovable assumptions. However, it is possible to evaluate a world view. abductively based upon its explanatory scope and power. (Abductive reasoning is popularly known as inference to the best explanation.) https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/abduction/ From what I have seen atheistic naturalists have not been able to match theism’s explanatory scope and power. However, maybe one or two of our atheist interlocutors would like to try to prove me wrong. Game on. Now is your chance to step up and give it a try. john_a_designer
KF said:
I suggest that both Brexit and Trump won because of disaffected mainly white working class voters, a warning. For brexit, it is when I saw Labour strongholds going Brexit that I knew, uh oh; this is a new world. Trump is underscoring that. Now Italy has joined the list it looks like. KF
I disagree. I think that both Brexit and Trump won because there are now more avenues of news and factual information, whereas before the population only had what amounts to globalist/marxist propaganda, which totally ignored the consequences marxist/globalist policies. I think good people of all races and all classes recognize the threat to western civilization which mass immigration - especially refugee immigration - poses. Leftists wish to paint everyone who resists unchecked immigration and open borders as racists or xenophobes, which culturally shames them into silence for the sake of cultural equivalence. Look at what happened to Geert Wilders. This works well into the marxist plan of generating civil unrest: importing millions who have no intention of adopting the cultural values of western countries. The official plan of the Muslim Brotherhood fits hand-in-glove with the marxist progressive agenda for civil unrest so they can impose a top-down totalitarian order for the sake of "safety", even while everyone actually becomes less and less safe. William J Murray
Fordgreen @ 24: Thanks for sharing that information. Very interesting. Truth Will Set You Free
JAD @ 22: "Notice how David smuggled faith into his world view without calling it that." Atheism is a faith-based philosophical worldview. Its most outspoken and devout adherents express unyielding (and often fanatical) faith in unseen, unproven, and unprovable theories. Truth Will Set You Free
KF, I looked at your PM primer since because of my career it's a field I'm very familiar with. Are you familiar with agile development? In the IT software development world (where I worked before retiring) it has become the dominant model, not just for the technical aspects of development, but project management too. And others are applying the techniques to non-software applications too (look up Wikispeed). You might find it interesting. Fordgreen
JAD, The matter is far worse, as it is long since shown that atheistical naturalism -- evolutionary materialism dressed up in a lab coat -- fatally undermines rationality. J B S Haldane, for instance, long since remarked:
"It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” ["When I am dead," in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. Cf. here on (and esp here) on the self-refutation by self-falsifying self referential incoherence and on linked amorality.]
Thus, it is necessarily self-falsifying. (Cf 14 above.) KF PS: Next Unit now in progress (likely, several extensions across today): http://pm101bootcamp.blogspot.com/2016/12/pm101-u2-project-initiation-and-start-up.html kairosfocus
Seversky @ 7 wrote:
It seems to me that both sides are guilty, at one time or another, of a lack of humility, of overstating their case, of making unwarranted claims of certainty, of condemning opponents as foolish, ignorant, insane or evil and so on.
Maybe I am wrong but this seems to me like a disingenuous pseudo-humility move which is little more than pretension and posturing.
If I advocate methodological naturalism and materialism it’s not because I think they are some sort of Absolute Truth…
Yep, what gets offered with the right hand gets taken back by the left. (Confirming that all this is really just pretension and posturing.) I don’t know anyone here on the ID/theist side who has claimed he has the absolute truth. What we do believe is that we are able to use logic reason and the evidence to discover true facts about the world and our existence. In other words, there is real truth out there to be known and discovered. I also think that most of us also reject the idea of absolute proof, except maybe in mathematics and logic. In all other fieldss of inquiry (like science, history or philosophy etc.) everything is open revision and/or reexamination.
but because I believe they are the most effective approach we have found so far to trying to explain and understand the world in which we find ourselves.
So your beliefs trumps my beliefs. Your welcome to your personal opinions but opinions are not arguments-- they are just opinions.
One further question. As an atheist I find it hard to imagine anything that could convert me to some sort of religious belief.
That is your problem, not ours-- is it not?
But if I ever found compelling evidence of the existence of some supreme being or intelligence I would be fascinated and have no difficulty abandoning atheism.
The evidence is out there but you need to take an honest look.
Could believers here even imagine under any circumstances the possibility of giving up their faith in the face of a lack of any evidence for it?
Well, I disagree there is a lack of evidence. However, I’ve been asked something like this before. Indeed, I had this brief on-line exchange in 2013 with someone who identified himself as David P. He asked me if I would consider a world view that actively disagreed with my current Christian world view. Since David had already identified his own world view as naturalism, I told him that if he could prove to me “that naturalism was true, I would.” He replied, “If that is your condition, you are essentially saying “no”, because naturalism cannot be proven.” I responded by asking him, “So, on what basis are you warranted in believing in it?” That question prompted the following dialogue:
David wrote: “Believing that naturalism cannot be proven? Because we can only perceive a tiny part of the entire system. We may one day be able to formulate naturalistic theories that explain beautifully all that we perceive, but we cannot prove that that is all there is.” I asked: “So then, you accept naturalism by faith… Correct?” David replied: “I accept naturalism as a working assumption because of the evidence that it helps drive us to understand reality in a way that allows us to make increasingly better predictions. Also, the evidence that so many phenomena attributed to supernatural causes have turned out to have natural causes.”
Notice how David smuggled faith into his world view without calling it that. What I mean is that he is actually acting on the biblical definition of faith and he doesn’t even realize it. Let me prove it to you. Hebrews 11:3 says: “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” Someone committed, like David, to naturalism is actually just modifying the verse so that it reads: “By faith we understand that the universe was formed [by some kind of mindless natural process], so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” Frankly if someone is going to ask me to accept atheistic naturalism by faith I am going to respond: Thanks but no thanks. john_a_designer
BO'H: If Mr Trump is being regarded as mainstream for the "right" -- a much less well defined category than the left in political thought -- that suggests a need to rethink. I suggest that the agit prop tactice developed by the Communists and adapted by the nazis then diffused far and wide, are now all too common, and are implicated in teh ongoing disintegration of our civilisation. That disintegration is in large part driven by evolutionary materialism and its undermining of values, where the focal issue is that the le4ft has monopolised major institutions. I suggest that both Brexit and Trump won because of disaffected mainly white working class voters, a warning. For brexit, it is when I saw Labour strongholds going Brexit that I knew, uh oh; this is a new world. Trump is underscoring that. Now Italy has joined the list it looks like. KF kairosfocus
Barry @ 3 - Indeed, but is this sort of dismissiveness mainstream on the right too? Look at the way Trump deals with people he disagrees with, for example. And I'm afraid you come across as being dismissive too, e.g. your comment at 9 (and indeed the OP). You clearly think you're right, but so, I'm sure, do the smug liberals. Bob O'H
DfO, headaches yes [one hovers just now hope it does not pop up full blown . . . a race to the bed, basically], popping a major fuse, no. God bless, KF kairosfocus
Seversky As an atheist I find it hard to imagine anything that could convert me to some sort of religious belief. I totally understand. To have a complete belief system based only on whether the universe generator is stupid or intelligent, and to have everything riding on it being the former, must be a very unconsciously frightening mental state, considering that you HAVE to believe in your eventual obliteration. And to get past this irrational fear of meat puppethood would be to confront it head on. You even have a fellow traveler in Thomas Nagel who as much as he sees the conundrum materialists are in, still DOES NOT WANT the intelligent creation generator, and admits it. He feels this way on a very personal level, or rather said this 4 years ago. I think Nagel is in a transition, maybe like what Anthony Flew negotiated late in life, and for which Flew was accused of being senile. This kind of transition is very difficult for most people, I had to go through it as a former atheist myself. In my case I was already backed into a corner before considering the obvious, that my view of myself and other human beings had to be false at the very core. I have no firm idea where Nagel is headed now despite my speculating. He has been in contact with Doug Axe and others with DI. I sent him a highly researched book a couple of years ago to help him across the divide, this one, based on clinical modelling: https://www.amazon.com/review/R93YN1VTGE33U OK my challenge to Seversky: order this book now and report back to us on your reading of it. It will probably be difficult reading for you even it being all about science. NON-REDUCTIONIST science in case you have never considered such. groovamos
PPPS: Nancy Pearcey has something more to add:
A major way to test a philosophy or worldview is to ask: Is it logically consistent? Internal contradictions are fatal to any worldview because contradictory statements are necessarily false. “This circle is square” is contradictory, so it has to be false. An especially damaging form of contradiction is self-referential absurdity — which means a theory sets up a definition of truth that it itself fails to meet. Therefore it refutes itself . . . . An example of self-referential absurdity is a theory called evolutionary epistemology, a naturalistic approach that applies evolution to the process of knowing. The theory proposes that the human mind is a product of natural selection. The implication is that the ideas in our minds were selected for their survival value, not for their truth-value. But what if we apply that theory to itself? Then it, too, was selected for survival, not truth — which discredits its own claim to truth. Evolutionary epistemology commits suicide. Astonishingly, many prominent thinkers have embraced the theory without detecting the logical contradiction. Philosopher John Gray writes, “If Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true,… the human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth.” What is the contradiction in that statement? Gray has essentially said, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it “serves evolutionary success, not truth.” In other words, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it is not true. Self-referential absurdity is akin to the well-known liar’s paradox: “This statement is a lie.” If the statement is true, then (as it says) it is not true, but a lie. Another example comes from Francis Crick. In The Astonishing Hypothesis, he writes, “Our highly developed brains, after all, were not evolved under the pressure of discovering scientific truths but only to enable us to be clever enough to survive.” But that means Crick’s own theory is not a “scientific truth.” Applied to itself, the theory commits suicide. Of course, the sheer pressure to survive is likely to produce some correct ideas. A zebra that thinks lions are friendly will not live long. But false ideas may be useful for survival. Evolutionists admit as much: Eric Baum says, “Sometimes you are more likely to survive and propagate if you believe a falsehood than if you believe the truth.” Steven Pinker writes, “Our brains were shaped for fitness, not for truth. Sometimes the truth is adaptive, but sometimes it is not.” The upshot is that survival is no guarantee of truth. If survival is the only standard, we can never know which ideas are true and which are adaptive but false. To make the dilemma even more puzzling, evolutionists tell us that natural selection has produced all sorts of false concepts in the human mind. Many evolutionary materialists maintain that free will is an illusion, consciousness is an illusion, even our sense of self is an illusion — and that all these false ideas were selected for their survival value.
[--> that is, responsible, rational freedom is undermined. Cf here William Provine in his 1998 U Tenn Darwin Day keynote:
Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent . . . . The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will [--> without responsible freedom, mind, reason and morality alike disintegrate into grand delusion, hence self-referential incoherence and self-refutation. But that does not make such fallacies any less effective in the hands of clever manipulators] . . . [1998 Darwin Day Keynote Address, U of Tenn -- and yes, that is significant i/l/o the Scopes Trial, 1925]
So how can we know whether the theory of evolution itself is one of those false ideas? The theory undercuts itself. A few thinkers, to their credit, recognize the problem. Literary critic Leon Wieseltier writes, “If reason is a product of natural selection, then how much confidence can we have in a rational argument for natural selection? … Evolutionary biology cannot invoke the power of reason even as it destroys it.” On a similar note, philosopher Thomas Nagel asks, “Is the [evolutionary] hypothesis really compatible with the continued confidence in reason as a source of knowledge?” His answer is no: “I have to be able to believe … that I follow the rules of logic because they are correct — not merely because I am biologically programmed to do so.” Hence, “insofar as the evolutionary hypothesis itself depends on reason, it would be self-undermining.” [ENV excerpt, Finding Truth (David C. Cook, 2015) by Nancy Pearcey.]
PPS: GUN, it is also worth going back to Plato himself on the issue of implied amorality:
Ath [in The Laws, Bk X 2,350+ ya]. . . .[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical "material" elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . [such that] all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only [ --> that is, evolutionary materialism is ancient and would trace all things to blind chance and mechanical necessity] . . . . [Thus, they hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.-
[ --> Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT, leading to an effectively arbitrary foundation only for morality, ethics and law: accident of personal preference, the ebbs and flows of power politics, accidents of history and and the shifting sands of manipulated community opinion driven by "winds and waves of doctrine and the cunning craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming . . . " cf a video on Plato's parable of the cave; from the perspective of pondering who set up the manipulative shadow-shows, why.]
These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might,
[ --> Evolutionary materialism -- having no IS that can properly ground OUGHT -- leads to the promotion of amorality on which the only basis for "OUGHT" is seen to be might (and manipulation: might in "spin") . . . ]
and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [ --> Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality "naturally" leads to continual contentions and power struggles influenced by that amorality at the hands of ruthless power hungry nihilistic agendas], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is,to live in real dominion over others [ --> such amoral and/or nihilistic factions, if they gain power, "naturally" tend towards ruthless abuse and arbitrariness . . . they have not learned the habits nor accepted the principles of mutual respect, justice, fairness and keeping the civil peace of justice, so they will want to deceive, manipulate and crush -- as the consistent history of radical revolutions over the past 250 years so plainly shows again and again], and not in legal subjection to them [--> nihilistic will to power not the spirit of justice and lawfulness].
--> Further substantiation. Ask yourself, what world-root level IS is there in the world as conceived per evo mat, that can inherently ground OUGHT, thus moral government and responsible freedom, apart from the nihilism of might and manipulation making 'right'? kairosfocus
PS: GUN, here is a very relevant annotated clip -- it's not a baseless smear to say evolutionary materialist scientism is a self-falsifying and amoral system IF THAT IS DEMONSTRATED:
. . . to put a correct view of the universe into people's heads [==> as in, "we" have cornered the market on truth, warrant and knowledge] we must first get an incorrect view out [--> as in, if you disagree with "us" of the secularist elite you are wrong, irrational and so dangerous you must be stopped, even at the price of manipulative indoctrination of hoi polloi] . . . the problem is to get them [= hoi polloi] to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations,
[ --> as in, to think in terms of ethical theism is to be delusional, justifying "our" elitist and establishment-controlling interventions of power to "fix" the widespread mental disease]
and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth
[--> NB: this is a knowledge claim about knowledge and its possible sources, i.e. it is a claim in philosophy not science; it is thus self-refuting]
. . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists [--> "we" are the dominant elites], it is self-evident
[--> actually, science and its knowledge claims are plainly not immediately and necessarily true on pain of absurdity, to one who understands them; this is another logical error, begging the question , confused for real self-evidence; whereby a claim shows itself not just true but true on pain of patent absurdity if one tries to deny it . . . and in fact it is evolutionary materialism that is readily shown to be self-refuting]
that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality [--> = all of reality to the evolutionary materialist], and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test [--> i.e. an assertion that tellingly reveals a hostile mindset, not a warranted claim] . . . . It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us [= the evo-mat establishment] to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [--> another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute [--> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door . . . [--> irreconcilable hostility to ethical theism, already caricatured as believing delusionally in imaginary demons]. [Lewontin, Billions and billions of Demons, NYRB Jan 1997,cf. here. And, if you imagine this is "quote-mined" I invite you to read the fuller annotated citation here.]
--> I put it to you, sir, that the matter stands demonstrated to responsible warrant. kairosfocus
BA, Chilling. BO'H: For cause, AP's journalism style guide urges against using the stolen and twisted word, fundamentalism. Originally, this stood for one adhering to historic, orthodox Christian faith in the face of heresies -- yes, demonstrably so -- of modernist theological progressivism. Mix in a little Mencken, toss in a bit of fundy yahoos putting on a Scopes Trial and a shamelessly slanderous movie, Inherit the Wind, spread the term around to speak of terrorists. Then bring it back reeking of taint and plaster it on those who dare to question big-P Progress dressed up in a lab coat. In short, stereotyping, scapegoating and targetting all lurking in one word. Please, drop it. PAV & DfO: Yup. Sadly. Sev: I think there is unfinished business elsewhere at UD, but truth is, right now I am fighting a migraine episode occasioned by a creative synthesis mindstorm I have been cultivating for a week to try to pull this together -- it requires pulling on a lot of nooks and crannies of edu, experience and thought into a more or less unified whole: http://pm101bootcamp.blogspot.com/2016/12/pm101-u1-project-management-what-why.html It turns out, the discussion there is closely related, note the discussion on unhealthy organisation culture. Here is a clip:
. . . Given that there are Idea- and- Implementer hit-men (as opposed to responsible, reasonable critics) out there [= TROLLS!] gunning for those who dare to challenge business as usual, all five factors are important to build a sound critical mass for change. The fewer of these factors that are in place, the less likely will it be that even a first class idea not sponsored by the dominant faction makes it through to the point of success. Where, in an organisation with an institutional culture dominated by irresponsible behaviour, a climate of intimidation/ bullying and ruthless office politics, business as usual is very likely indeed to be on an ill-advised march of folly. Ironically, such an organisation is exactly the sort that most urgently needs healthy innovation. So, a culture of marches of folly, in the end indicts the top leadership of an organisation as utterly failing in their stewardship. But, in many cases, utterly cynical and manipulative, highly machiavellian looter leadership is busily planning its "golden parachute" escape strategy. (Indeed, in the Acts 27 case, the sailors, on a ruse of putting out anchors from the bows, were trying to abandon the passengers to their fate; this was spotted and stopped through intervention of the apostle Paul. [By this time, Centurion Julius had learned -- at sobering cost -- whose counsel was likely to be sound and trustworthy.]) . . . . unhealthy organisations are very common. They can be readily recognised by how quickly they habitually push sound but politically incorrect ideas and their would-be implementers to the fringes; promoting polarisation, hostility, stereotyping, scape-goating and targetting. It is then a simple step to send out the career-busting hit-men to keep such undesirables out or to drive them out.
Ask yourself, what happens when unhealthy organisations following cultural marxist patterns, and pushing agit prop in a lab coat, with utterly amoral evolutionary materialist worldviews begin to dominate media, education, policy discussions and cultural agendas. If you don't hear the ghosts of Socrates and Alcibiades warning you don't go down that road, something is wrong. GUN: I suggest to you that evolutionary materialism dressed up in the lab coat leads to self-falsifying incoherence and utter breakdown. I will append on that as this is already a complex post. KF kairosfocus
I’m not clear on is what you and KF and others mean by “progressivism”.
Then you educate yourself before commenting in a thread about topics you don't understand. Educating you on commonly understood political terms is not our job. But I will point you in the right direction. Start here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000W917ZG/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1 Barry Arrington
GUN @ 8: Apples and Oranges. If one actually demonstrates that a group is prone to stay really stupid things, as I did in the article your cite (see https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/being-an-atheist-makes-you-stupid/ ), one is making a demonstration. Contrast that to the naked prejudice and animus on display in the Vox article I cited above. You tried a a tu quoque turnaround gotcha. Happily for me, you failed. Barry Arrington
It follows that when one’s opponents are, by definition, evil and/or stupid, one need not treat them with respect and dignity.
Yes, it’s unfortunately a common sentiment, as seen in articles like “Being an Atheist Makes You Stupid”. But in the case of Dawkins, he actually explicitly states that his opponents are probably NOT wicked, stupid, or insane: “You are probably not stupid, insane or wicked; and ignorance is no crime…” goodusername
Assume for the sake of argument (1) global warming is happening; (2) the cost of trying to stop it is 10 times the cost of allowing Florida and the Netherlands to go under. Sev, should we pay that cost even though it is 10X the cost of doing nothing?
This is a bit like the moral conundrum of whether to divert a trolley to kill only one person rather than let it hit five. There is no right solution. Personally, I would say that, given the choices you provide, we should go for the less expensive option. The question is, are preventative measures really likely to cost more than coping with a catastrophe after it has occurred? It is hard to imagine that preventing Hitler and the Nazis seizing power in Germany would have been more expensive than fighting a world war to remove them from power after they had achieved it. Another point I'm not clear on is what you and KF and others mean by "progressivism". A lot of the complaints seem to be more about the smug and contemptuous attitudes and the unwarranted certainty you see in those with whom you disagree on politics and religion. It's more like a convenient label for demonizing those with whom you disagree than a coherent political ideology. It seems to me that both sides are guilty, at one time or another, of a lack of humility, of overstating their case, of making unwarranted claims of certainty, of condemning opponents as foolish, ignorant, insane or evil and so on. If I advocate methodological naturalism and materialism it's not because I think they are some sort of Absolute Truth but because I believe they are the most effective approach we have found so far to trying to explain and understand the world in which we find ourselves. One further question. As an atheist I find it hard to imagine anything that could convert me to some sort of religious belief. But if I ever found compelling evidence of the existence of some supreme being or intelligence I would be fascinated and have no difficulty abandoning atheism. Could believers here even imagine under any circumstances the possibility of giving up their faith in the face of a lack of any evidence for it? Seversky
Bob O'H: [OT]: You never gave an example of a 'non-designed' object, which made any discussion impossible. If you're interested in my take on ID, and how it can identify designed objects from those that are not, you can visit this post from a couple years back, and look at the entries from #86 on, especially #s 86-88. PaV
When I was a teenager back in the 60's, all we heard from the Liberals/Progressives/Leftists was this criticism of American foreign power: "Might makes right!" This, of course, was not limited just to the federal government, but spilled over to all institutions, governmental structures, and corporate entities that resisted their ideology. It is abundantly clear that the Left has simply, and arrogantly, turned this all around. For them, "Right is might!" They are the brilliant ones, the scientific ones, the learned ones; and the hoi polloi are to be discounted and ignored. So, our children have to eat what Michele Obama says they ought to eat. New Yorkers can't be given large cola drinks. Second-hand smoke is deadly, so must be banned, etc., etc. It is all based on pride: you know, the sin of Satan--the one who knew more than God. The Left is convinced that they know more than God, so they feel entitled to shove things down people's throats. It will be interesting to see what this recent election will bring about. Perhaps, if all succeeds--as it should--the Left, the Emperor, will be shown to have 'no clothes.' Maybe, then, we can get back to common sense. PaV
Bob, The point you make is fair to an extent. But, as the Vox article points out, on the left smugness, self-righteousness and condescension are not on the fringe. They are the attitudes of the mainstream left. Barry Arrington
Barry, is this really a problem of liberalism, or is it one of fundamentalism? Is it that any reasonably sized social movement will have adherents that, well, go too far? When you write this:
Nevertheless, it demonstrates the attitude I am talking about, if in an extreme way. Progressives are so convinced they are morally and intellectually superior, it is difficult for them to conceive that anyone might possibly disagree with them in good faith. Only evil and/or stupid people can disagree with them.
Aren't there people on the political right who say very similar things about progressives? I certainly don't want to defend fundamentalists who don't respect people they argue with, but I worry that it's too easy to condemn a whole group of people for the excesses of a few, and it's something I feel neither side should do. Otherwise what hope do we have to work together? Bob O'H
"Progressives are so convinced they are morally and intellectually superior, it is difficult for them to conceive that anyone might possibly disagree with them in good faith." True indeed. This cannot end well. "Only evil and/or stupid people can disagree with them." Most leftists are atheists who don't believe in objective evil. They just think we are stupid. Again, this cannot end well. Something to ponder: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." -- John F. Kennedy (1962) Truth Will Set You Free

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