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People’s Choice Awards: Our most read stories November 2013


(Top three in January (here), February here), March here), April (here), May (here), June here, July here, August here, September here, October here.)

Most of the discussions in November seemed to have revolved around rationality in argument. Then suddenly they didn’t:

1. kairosfocus: “Understanding self-evidence (with a bit of help from Aquinas . . . )”:

MORAL YARDSTICK 1: it is Self-Evidently True that it would be wrong to kidnap, torture, rape and murder a child. With corollary, that if such is in progress we are duty-bound to intervene to save the child from the monster.

It will be observed that essentially no-one dares to explicitly deny this, or its direct corollary. That is because such denial would put one in the category of supporting a blatant monster like Nero. Instead, the tendency is to try to push this into the world of tastes, preferences, feelings and community views.

In short, to turn ethical questions into sentimental ones, and award ourselves a god star for fine feelings, while denying the core of ethics, that we live in a meaningful universe.

2. Barry Arrington: “Materialist Derangement Syndrome on Display”:

Mark keeps asking over and over for someone to demonstrate to him why a self-evident truth is true, when he has been told over and over again that self-evident truths cannot be demonstrated – self-evident principles are not conclusions that one reasons to; they are premises upon which all reasoning is based.

Mark, maybe you will finally get it if you ponder these questions. What kind of absurdity would result from denying that:


That a proposition cannot be both true and false at the same time and in the same sense …

Oh dear. Many current forms of economics result from denying that 2+2=4 and their propounders are praised for their fine feelings.

Will materialists not just say that we have evolved in such a way as to believe that 2+2=4 is self-evident? Indeed, some would go so far as to see such rigidity as a limitation of our evolution, a prejudice that gets in the way of attention to matters better suited to a highly evolved primate. For example, understanding the needs of those of our fellows who just do not see 2 + 2 that way. Science must evolve!, some will say. Ultimately, except for those poor souls afflicted with mental or neurological distress, rationality is a choice.

Lastly, sure enough, guy publishes book on the Third Reich thinkers’ well-known affection for Darwinism and … whoa! He just picked up Darwin’s followers’ baby dolly and dropped it. Out of the carriage. So:

3. News: “The unauthorized history of Hitler as a Darwinist”:

This should pretty much end the discussion but won’t because the issue isn’t about the massive evidence that Nazis were social Darwinists but about defending Darwin’s sacred name from the sacrilegious facts.

Note: Weikart explains how he first got involved with this matter here:

Actually, at first, he wasn’t interested. While living in Germany some years ago to improve his German, he was mainly interested in the nineteenth century. He doubted that he would uncover anything new about the Third Reich. For one thing, in his view, it was an overworked field. But then he discovered one neglected point:

[A]s I investigated the history of evolutionary ethics in pre-World War I Germany, I noticed—to my surprise—remarkable similarities between the ideas of those promoting evolutionary ethics and Hitler’s worldview. This discovery (which happened around 1995) led me to investigate Hitler’s worldview more closely, and this research convinced me that I had found something important to say about Hitler’s ideology.

One wonders if Weikart will ever be forgiven for documenting it so carefully, in the faces of all those who want to explain it away.

Nah. Someone will be rewarded for writing a book attacking him. Guess he now knows why no one wanted to touch the nuclear dolly.

Relax, Weikart. There would be no way of stating the facts that Darwin’s followers could accept. You just have to go on believing that 2 + 2 = 4 and that the Nazis were telling the truth about their affection for Darwinism (of course, because they had no reason to lie).

– O’Leary for News

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