Update: When I saw the quote originally posted here, I researched it and found an attribution to a source. (The Birth Control Review of 1933-34). It turns out that attribution was mistaken. For posting an inaccurate quotation I apologize. That said, the general views expressed in the quotation were in fact held by Margaret Sanger. I replace the original post with this from Jonah Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism”:
Margaret Sanger, whose American Birth Control League became Planned Parenthood, was the founding mother of the birth-control movement. She is today considered a liberal saint, a founder of modern feminism, and one of the leading lights of the Progressive pantheon. Gloria Feldt of Planned Parenthood proclaims, “I stand by Margaret Sanger’s side,” leading “the organization that carries on Sanger’s legacy.” Planned Parenthood’s first black president, Faye Wattleton — Ms. magazine’s “Woman of the Year” in 1989 — said that she was “proud” to be “walking in the footsteps of Margaret Sanger.” Planned Parenthood gives out annual Maggie Awards to individuals and organizations who advance Sanger’s cause. Recipients are a Who’s Who of liberal icons, from the novelist John Irving to the producers of NBC’s West Wing. What Sanger’s liberal admirers are eager to downplay is that she was a thoroughgoing racist who subscribed completely to the views of E. A. Ross and other “raceologists.” Indeed, she made many of them seem tame.
Sanger was born into a poor family of eleven children in Corning, New York, in 1879. In 1902 she received her degree as a registered nurse. In 1911 she moved to New York City, where she fell in with the transatlantic bohemian avant-garde of the burgeoning fascist moment. “Our living-room,” she wrote in her autobiography, “became a gathering place where liberals, anarchists, Socialists and I.W.W.’s could meet.” A member of the Women’s Committee of the New York Socialist Party, she participated in all the usual protests and demonstrations. In 1912 she started writing what amounted to a sex-advice column for the New York Call, dubbed “What Every Girl Should Know.” The overriding theme of her columns was the importance of contraception.
A disciple of the anarchist Emma Goldman — another eugenicist — Sanger became the nation’s first “birth control martyr” when she was arrested for handing out condoms in 1917. In order to escape a subsequent arrest for violating obscenity laws, she went to England, where she fell under the thrall of Havelock Ellis, a sex theorist and ardent advocate of forced sterilization. She also had an affair with H. G. Wells, the self-avowed champion of “liberal fascism.” Her marriage fell apart early, and one of her children — whom she admitted to neglecting — died of pneumonia at age four. Indeed, she always acknowledged that she wasn’t right for family life, admitting she was not a “fit person for love or home or children or anything which needs attention or consideration.”
Under the banner of “reproductive freedom,” Sanger subscribed to nearly all of the eugenic views discussed above. She sought to ban reproduction of the unfit and regulate reproduction for everybody else. She scoffed at the soft approach of the “positive” eugenicists, deriding it as mere “cradle competition” between the fit and the unfit. “More children from the fit, less from the unfit — that is the chief issue of birth control,” she frankly wrote in her 1922 book The Pivot of Civilization. (The book featured an introduction by Wells, in which he proclaimed, “We want fewer and better children…and we cannot make the social life and the world-peace we are determined to make, with the ill-bred, ill-trained swarms of inferior citizens that you inflict on us.” Two civilizations were at war: that of progress and that which sought a world “swamped by an indiscriminate torrent of progeny.”
A fair-minded person cannot read Sanger’s books, articles, and pamphlets today without finding similarities not only to Nazi eugenics but to the dark dystopias of the feminist imagination found in such allegories as Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale. As editor of The Birth Control Review, Sanger regularly published the sort of hard racists we normally associate with Goebbels or Himmler. Indeed, after she resigned as editor, The Birth Control Review ran articles by people who worked for Goebbels and Himmler. For example, when the Nazi eugenics program was first getting wide attention, The Birth Control Review was quick to cast the Nazis in a positive light, giving over its pages for an article titled “Eugenic Sterilization: An Urgent Need,” by Ernst Rüdin, Hitler’s director of sterilization and a founder of the Nazi Society for Racial Hygiene. In 1926 Sanger proudly gave a speech to a KKK rally in Silver Lake, New Jersey.
One of Sanger’s closest friends and influential colleagues was the white supremacist Lothrop Stoddard, author of The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy. In the book he offered his solution for the threat posed by the darker races: “Just as we isolate bacterial invasions, and starve out the bacteria, by limiting the area and amount of their food supply, so we can compel an inferior race to remain in its native habitat.” When the book came out, Sanger was sufficiently impressed to invite him to join the board of directors of the American Birth Control League.
Sanger’s genius was to advance Ross’s campaign for social control by hitching the racist-eugenic campaign to sexual pleasure and female liberation. In her “Code to Stop Overproduction of Children,” published in 1934, she decreed that “no woman shall have a legal right to bear a child without a permit…no permit shall be valid for more than one child.”47 But Sanger couched this fascistic agenda in the argument that “liberated” women wouldn’t mind such measures because they don’t really want large families in the first place. In a trope that would be echoed by later feminists such as Betty Friedan, she argued that motherhood itself was a socially imposed constraint on the liberty of women. It was a form of what Marxists called false consciousness to want a large family.
Sanger believed — prophetically enough — that if women conceived of sex as first and foremost a pleasurable experience rather than a procreative act, they would embrace birth control as a necessary tool for their own personal gratification. She brilliantly used the language of liberation to convince women they weren’t going along with a collectivist scheme but were in fact “speaking truth to power,” as it were. This was the identical trick the Nazis pulled off. They took a radical Nietzschean doctrine of individual will and made it into a trendy dogma of middle-class conformity. This trick remains the core of much faddish “individualism” among rebellious conformists on the American cultural left today. Nonetheless, Sanger’s analysis was surely correct, and led directly to the widespread feminist association of sex with political rebellion. Sanger in effect “bought off” women (and grateful men) by offering tolerance for promiscuity in return for compliance with her eugenic schemes.
In 1939 Sanger created the above-mentioned “Negro Project,” which aimed to get blacks to adopt birth control. Through the Birth Control Federation, she hired black ministers (including the Reverend Adam Clayton Powell Sr.), doctors, and other leaders to help pare down the supposedly surplus black population. The project’s racist intent is beyond doubt. “The mass of significant Negroes,” read the project’s report, “still breed carelessly and disastrously, with the result that the increase among Negroes…is [in] that portion of the population least intelligent and fit.” Sanger’s intent is shocking today, but she recognized its extreme radicalism even then. “We do not want word to go out,” she wrote to a colleague, “that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”
It is possible that Sanger didn’t really want to “exterminate” the Negro population so much as merely limit its growth. Still, many in the black community saw it that way and remained rightly suspicious of the Progressives’ motives. It wasn’t difficult to see that middle-class whites who consistently spoke of “race suicide” at the hands of dark, subhuman savages might not have the best interests of blacks in mind. This skepticism persisted within the black community for decades. Someone who saw the relationship between abortion and race from a less trusting perspective telegrammed Congress in 1977 to tell them that abortion amounted to “genocide against the black race.” And he added, in block letters, “AS A MATTER OF CONSCIENCE I MUST OPPOSE THE USE OF FEDERAL FUNDS FOR A POLICY OF KILLING INFANTS.” This was Jesse Jackson, who changed his position when he decided to seek the Democratic nomination.
Just a few years ago, the racial eugenic “bonus” of abortion rights was something one could only admit among those fully committed to the cause, and even then in politically correct whispers. No more. Increasingly, this argument is acceptable on the left, as are arguments in favor of eugenics generally.
In 2005 the acclaimed University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt broke the taboo with his critical and commercial hit Freakonomics (co-written with Stephen Dubner). The most sensational chapter in the book updated a paper Levitt had written in 1999 which argued that abortion cuts crime. “Legalized abortion led to less unwantedness; unwantedness leads to high crime; legalized abortion, therefore, led to less crime.” Freakonomics excised all references to race and never connected the facts that because the aborted fetuses were disproportionately black and blacks disproportionately contribute to the crime rate, reducing the size of the black population reduces crime. Yet the press coverage acknowledged this and didn’t seem to mind.
In 2005 William Bennett, a committed pro-lifer, invoked the Levitt argument in order to denounce eugenic thinking. “I do know that it’s true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could — if that were your sole purpose — you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.” What seemed to offend liberals most was that Bennett had accidentally borrowed some conventional liberal logic to make a conservative point, and, as with the social Darwinists of yore, that makes liberals quite cross. According to the New York Times’s Bob Herbert, Bennett believed “exterminating blacks would be a most effective crime-fighting tool.” Various liberal spokesmen, including Terry McAuliffe, the former head of the Democratic National Committee, said Bennett wanted to exterminate “black babies.” Juan Williams proclaimed that Bennett’s remarks speak “to a deeply racist mindset.”
In one sense, this is a pretty amazing turnaround. After all, when liberals advocate them, we are usually told that abortions do not kill “babies.” Rather, they remove mere agglomerations of cells and tissue or “uterine contents.” If hypothetical abortions committed for allegedly conservative ends are infanticide, how can actual abortions performed for liberal ends not be?
Some liberals are honest about this. In 1992 Nicholas Von Hoffman argued in the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Free cheap abortion is a policy of social defense. To save ourselves from being murdered in our beds and raped on the streets, we should do everything possible to encourage pregnant women who don’t want the baby and will not take care of it to get rid of the thing before it turns into a monster… At their demonstration, the anti-abortionists parade around with pictures of dead and dismembered fetuses. The pro-abortionists should meet these displays with some of their own: pictures of the victims of the unaborted — murder victims, rape victims, mutilation victims — pictures to remind us that the fight for abortion is but part of the larger struggle for safe homes and safe streets.
Later that same year, the White House received a letter from the Roe v. Wade co-counsel Ron Weddington, urging the new president-elect to rush RU-486 — the morning-after pill — to the market as quickly as possible. Weddington’s argument was refreshingly honest:
[Y]ou can start immediately to eliminate the barely educated, unhealthy and poor segment of our country. No, I’m not advocating some sort of mass extinction of these unfortunate people. Crime, drugs and disease are already doing that. The problem is that their numbers are not only replaced but increased by the birth of millions of babies to people who can’t afford to have babies. There, I’ve said it. It’s what we all know is true, but we only whisper it, because as liberals who believe in individual rights, we view any program which might treat the disadvantaged as discriminatory, mean-spirited and… well… so Republican.
[G]overnment is also going to have to provide vasectomies, tubal ligations and abortions. . , . There have been about 30 million abortions in this country since Roe v. Wade. Think of all the poverty, crime and misery . . . and then add 30 million unwanted babies to the scenario. We lost a lot of ground during the Reagan-Bush religious orgy. We don’t have a lot of time left.
How, exactly, is this substantively different from Margaret Sanger’s self-described “religion of birth control,” which would, she wrote, “ease the financial load of caring for with public funds . . . children destined to become a burden to themselves, to their family, and ultimately to the nation”?
The issue here is not the explicit intent of liberals or the rationalizations they invoke to deceive themselves about the nature of abortion. Rather, it is to illustrate that even when motives and arguments change, the substance of the policy remains in its effects. After the Holocaust discredited eugenics per se, neither the eugenicists nor their ideas disappeared. Rather, they went to ground in fields like family planning and demography and in political movements such as feminism. Indeed, in a certain sense Planned Parenthood is today more eugenic than Sanger intended. Sanger, after all, despised abortion. She denounced it as “barbaric” and called abortionists “bloodsucking men with M.D. after their names.” Abortion resulted in “an outrageous slaughter” and “the killing of babies,” which even the degenerate offspring of the unfit did not deserve.
So forget about intent: Look at results. Abortion ends more black lives than heart disease, cancer, accidents, AIDS, and violent crime combined. African Americans constitute little more than 12 percent of the population but have more than a third (37 percent) of abortions. That rate has held relatively constant, though in some regions the numbers are much starker; in Mississippi, black women receive some 72 percent of all abortions, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Nationwide, 512 out of every 1,000 black pregnancies end in an abortion. Revealingly enough, roughly 80 percent of Planned Parenthood’s abortion centers are in or near minority communities. Liberalism today condemns a Bill Bennett who speculates about the effects of killing unborn black children; but it also celebrates the actual killing of unborn black children, and condemns him for opposing it.
Of course, orthodox eugenics also aimed at the “feebleminded” and “useless bread gobblers” — which included everyone from the mentally retarded to an uneducated and malnourished underclass to recidivist criminals. When it comes to today’s “feebleminded,” influential voices on the left now advocate the killing of “defectives” at the beginning of life and at the end of life. Chief among them is Peter Singer, widely hailed as the most important living philosopher and the world’s leading ethicist. Professor Singer, who teaches at Princeton, argues that unwanted or disabled babies should be killed in the name of “compassion.” He also argues that the elderly and other drags on society should be put down when their lives are no longer worth living.
Singer doesn’t hide behind code words and euphemisms in his belief that killing babies isn’t always wrong, as one can deduce from his essay titled “Killing Babies Isn’t Always Wrong” (nor is he a lone voice in the wilderness; his views are popular or respected in many academic circles). But that hasn’t caused the Left to ostracize him in the slightest (save in Germany, where people still have a visceral sense of where such logic takes you). Of course, not all or even most liberals agree with Singer’s prescriptions, but nor do they condemn him as they do, say, a William Bennett. Perhaps they recognize in him a kindred spirit.
174 Replies to “Posted Without Commentary”
From Martin Luther’s On the Jews and Their Lies:
Of course Luther’s anti-semitism is irrelevant to assessments of contemporary Lutheranism — but if that’s so, then why isn’t Sanger’s racism irrelevant to assessments of reproductive rights?
One possible difference: The notion of “planned parenthood” follows quite naturally from the philosophical underpinnings behind eugenics. The same cannot be said about Luther’s racist views and the philosophical underpinnings of the Reformation.
All men and women are created equal (with equal propensity toward violence or racism), but all philosophies are not.
KN (and BA):
Antisemitism — despite some very stringent rebukes to such even in the New Testament (try things like that the holy olive tree supports you and not you wild olive branches the tree . . . ) — is one of the deep rooted problems of our civilisation.
And, sadly, not just our own civilisation.
That Luther indulged is a shame not only for Lutheranism, but for all of us. Even more sadly, it seems to be an unfinished challenge, especially now that there is an utterly irresponsible but widespread rhetoric of Israel running an alleged Apartheid state.
One of the sins of Christendom/Western Civilisation that I think Bernard Lewis (and yes, I am quite aware of his ethnicity) provides a good balance to:
I have long since concluded that the mark of greatness in a civilisation is not perfection [there are none who could meet that test, as we will learn if we look in the depths of our own hearts], but instead openness to genuine reform.
Sadly, in the case of Germany and of Lutheranism, to great shame, it took unspeakable horrors for the evil of racism to be seen for what it is, especially when multiplied by the notions of the fittest surviving as predators on the less fit. I need not more than allude to Herr Schicklegruber’s remarks on Foxes and geese and cats and mice in Mein Kampf.
Unfortunately, in the case of Sanger et al, they were caught up in the wave of enthusiasm for Eugenics, which flew the flag of applied evolutionary science, through the self direction of human evolution. So, the vision at the heart of her movement was to suppress the breeding of those she saw as less fit, which swept the educated elites of the day and was taken far and wide as practically axiomatic.
Not all that flies the flag of being the consensus of the scientific and educated elites, is sound.
In the aftermath of WW II, there seemed to be some recoiling, but unfortunately much of the movement went underground and relabelled itself.
As we speak, some of it is actually re-emerging.
I would be a lot more comfortable with your parallel KN, if there were clear signs that all traces of eugenics were exposed, identified as evil to be turned from decisively, then rooted out and removed.
That has not happened, and too often I see a tendency to want to cover up the truth about Eugenics and its links to both racism and genocide. I need not elaborate on its roots in evolutionary ideology dressed up in the lab coat, just point out that they are plainly, demonstrably, irrefutably there.
If you doubt me, cf this picture of the logo from the 2nd Int’l Congress on Eugenics. (I have long since given up on thinking that mere reasoned words will suffice for things like this. Look at the logo, look at the slogan that gives a definition, look at the claimed roots, and the claimed triumphant synthesis. Then ponder, long and hard.)
However, I am left to be concerned not only about he manipulation of perceptions on rights that have led to the death of 53 millions in abortion clinics etc in forty years, but also the sometimes remarked on troubling disproportion of my race in the statistics. I am even more troubled by the general erosion of the understanding of rights, starting with the very first one, the ground for all other rights: life.
And, I am troubled that much of this is associated with manipulation of perceptions of science and what it tells us about our roots and our basic nature.
So, I do think that there are some serious issues to be thought through, complex troubling and emotionally charged issues.
And, I do not think moral equivalency or turnabout accusation tactics are going to help.
One thing that I make no secret deeply disturbs me in this general context, is the following from prof William Provine at the Darwin Day celebration in U Tenn, 1998:
I know, I know, Provine tried to put a brave face on and turn that to his rhetorical advantage, but without freedom to choose, we do not have the capacity to choose the right, and we do not have the minds to know and follow the sound to the true and the right. This opens the door wide to outright nihilism and its notorious view that might and manipulation make ‘right.’
And, it undermines the very foundations of morality, the very grounds on which we look at antisemitic racism — for just one example — and say, this is evil.
This, it seems to me is a major, clear and present danger to our civilisation, and too many are blind to it; are in denial and are dismissive or even abusive when others point it out.
That is why the IOSE has in it this unit.
I am sure that some things are wrong, and it gives me a basis for saying that any worldview that undermines that knowledge is itself wrong and potentially utterly destructive.
For, sadly, it opens the doors wide to the ruthless, manipulative cynical and conscience benumbed misanthropes among us.
Since when is misplaced zealotry the moral equivalent of willful murder. The hot-blooded resolve to drive Jews out of the temple or burn their books cannot compare with the cold-blooded act of tearing millions of human beings limb from limb or scalding them to death.
I am astonished that a person of your obvious parts would respond to the challenge of the OP with a casual dismissal that is just this side of a simplistic tu quoque argument.
I make no excuse for Luther’s anti-Semitism. I am appalled by it. Still, he lived half a millennium ago, and as you rightly say his views are not relevant to assessments of contemporary Lutheranism.
You’re a smart guy. I’m sure you can tell me the difference — insofar as assessments of the organizations they founded go – between the noxious spewings of a man who died 500 years ago and the noxious spewings of a woman who was active in her organization within living memory (See JW’s post @ 5).
You can also tell me the difference between an organization that has repeatedly repudiated its founder’s racism and an organization that leads a movement that last year killed black unborn babies far out of proportion to blacks’ representation in the population.
Here’s a question for your KN. Do you believe it was a statistical anomaly that the horrors perpetrated on woman and babies at Dr. Gosnell’s clinic were perpetrated almost exclusively on black people?
No, I believe that the poor, immigrants, and otherwise marginalized people are far more vulnerable to the depredations of the wicked. (And I also think that the legacy of racism in this country is largely responsible for the correlation between race and poverty, as there is also between also race, poverty, and incarceration.) And there’s rarely any public outcry over what happens to poor people, particularly poor people of color, and particularly poor women of color — which is part of why Gosnell was able to get away with it for so long. In the United States, the super-affluent and the middle-class have their defenders — the media, the politicians — but below the poverty line, you’re an outcast, an untouchable, and not enough people care about what happens to you, and very few with the power to do anything about it, because the powerful are usually not interested in doing anything for the powerless.
But Gosnell is irrelevant to the discussion of Planned Parenthood, because what Gosnell did was illegal under existing laws — as is eugenics — and what Planned Parenthood does is not. Discuss the ethics and politics of abortion, if you wish, but bringing in eugenics and Gosnell’s clinic just muddies the waters.
I think you mean reproductive rights. It’s irresponsible of you not to apply the Orwellian gloss here. People don’t work hard to coin phrases intended couch calloused endorsement of mass murder in faux-libertarian language, just to have such language ignored. Stick with the correct terminology and you’ll avoid causing offense, particularly to individuals who have to make hard, personal choices about who lives and who dies. Reproductive rights assures that poor lifestyle choices don’t lead to personal responsibility, which would be devastating to the moral evolution of modern consequence-free lifestyles.
KN, I wish this would have been posted after Stephen Meyer’s forthcoming book had been published. As you know Stephen Meyer’s forthcoming book is going to be mainly on the inability of Darwinian processes to explain body plan morphogenesis in the Cambrian Explosion. You may well ask, “What does the inability of Darwinian processes to explain body plan morphogenesis in the Cambrian Explosion have to do with abortion?” Well I’m glad you asked KN. The inability of Darwinian processes to explain body plan morphogenesis not only extends to changes in body plans but also applies to the how any individual body plan is formed, including how each unique human individual is formed in the womb. The shape of any particular body simply cannot be derived by reference to physical/chemical processes but must be derived by reference to transcendent information which is beyond the capacity of material processes to generate. I’m sure this ‘little fact’ as well as many other precious gems will come out much more clearly in Meyer’s forthcoming book in June:
As for now, all I can do is point out evidence that a fetus is in fact ‘human’ from as early as the baby is able to express itself:
Also of note:
Also of note to the reality of the ‘soul’ which I know you don’t subscribe to KN:
Verse and music:
Also posted without citation.
Hm, according to plannedparenthood “Blacks, soldiers, and Jews are a menace to the race” is a fabricated quote.
In answer to your question, the big difference between the two examples you cite is that the Lutheran Church has repeatedly disowned and repudiated Luther’s anti-semitism (see here for examples), whereas even today, there’s disturbing evidence suggesting that Planned Parenthood may be targeting the unborn children of minorities for destruction by abortion. If that’s not racism, I don’t know what is.
According to a recent Life News report by Steven Ertelt entitled, 79% of Planned Parenthood Abortion Clinics Target Blacks, Hispanics (October 16, 2012):
From a recent online article by Abort73.com entitled, Abortion and race:
And if you think that poverty accounts for the higher abortion rates among minorities, think again. A recent Guttmacher publication entitled, Abortion and Women of Color: The Bigger Picture (Guttmacher Policy Review, Summer 2008, Volume 11, Number 3) by Susan A. Cohen acknowledges: “At every income level, black women have higher abortion rates than whites or Hispanics, except for women below the poverty line, where Hispanic women have slightly higher rates than black women.” Clearly income doesn’t explain the difference in abortion rates.
The same publication goes on to claim: “Black and Hispanic women have much higher abortion rates than white women—because they have much higher rates of unintended pregnancy.” But if you look at the chart it uses to back up its claim, a different story emerges: according to its own figures, the unintended pregnancy rate is 2.80 times higher for black women than it is for white women, but the abortion rate for black women is 4.55 times higher.
However, according to a study entitled, Unintended pregnancy in the United States: incidence and disparities, 2006, by Lawrence B. Finer and Mia R. Zolna (Contraception, Volume 84, Issue 5, Pages 478-485, November 2011), there isn’t such a big difference between racial groups in the percentage of unintended pregnancies, anyway: 40% percent of pregnancies among white women, 67% among blacks and 53% among Hispanics are unintended. That’s a difference of just 67.5%. The report also shows that even among unintended pregnancies, the percentage ending in abortion is higher for black women (52%) than for white non-Hispanic women (39%) or Hispanic white women (38%).
In any case, the hidden assumption that a group having X times more unintended pregnancies than other groups will necessarily have X times more abortions is a fallacious one. According to the study cited above, about 43% of all unintended pregnancies in the U.S. end in abortion, and the percentage varies most widely according to marital status (61% for never married women, 22% for currently married women) and religion (32% for Evangelical Protestants, 51% for non-religious women). Among age groups, it’s lowest for 18-19 year-old women (35%) and highest for 35-39 year-old women (56%). It’s also anomalously high for women with some college or an associate degree (56%), compared with 49% for college graduates, 40% for high school graduates and 32% for women who never graduated from high school.
In short: the Planned Parenthood myths that higher abortion rates among minorities are due to high rates of unintended pregnancy or reduced access to contraception crumble when you examine them. And the location of Planned Parenthood facilities in areas where minorities live is surely no accident.
But of course, you won’t hear about all this in today’s mainstream media. That’s because 97% of elite journalists are pro-choice, according to an article by Rich Noyes entitled, Marching for Life in the Face of a Pro-Abortion Media (January 25, 2013):
It’s high time someone exposed this wickedness. I’m glad Barry Arrington took the time and trouble to expose it on this Website.
Well this is not really origin stuff but indeed the legacy of abortion origins comes from people who believed in controlling who gets born.
Its fine to comment on foreigners as its the right of the native people, however it shows a hostility that can be further seen as a hostility to dignity of mankind and so easily translates into aborting mankind.
i do think abortion is based on denying humanity to the fetus and not agreeing it has it and then killing these days.
However this woman seems quite ugly and being the posterboy for feminism and abortion and birth control says it all.
by the way martin luther was the greatest man in human history, changing mankind for the better, and any comments on his nations issues with Jews is fair and square.
If a little rough well everyone was rough and tough back then.
In context his comments are fair even if wrong.
Just have a fair trial.
Trying to say the great Protestent leader was immoral or wrong on these matters is unlikely to be persuasive to people back then or today once the facts are known about problems between different people groups.
Reagan once said BOMBING will start on the soviet union but one understood it was just anger upon complaints sincerely believed in.
Chance, I temporarily lost my head, so I appreciate the pointed rebuke. As I reread my words, I now realize, with regret, that there is no excuse for my reckless foray into the human rights arena. As everyone knows, the Declaration of Independence was meant to liberate humans from the arduous task of managing their sexual instincts or exercising self control in any fashion. What good is personal freedom if we cannot fornicate with anyone, or anything, at any age, at any time, in any way, under any circumstances, and for any reason–with no consequences? What good is reproductive freedom if we cannot kill those infernal products of conception that such freedom provides? What good is settled law if we must continue to entertain irksome questions about justice and constitutional warrant? What good does it do to conceive the “faux-libertarian language” if we must endure inflammatory references from partisan reactionaries about “unborn children” or tolerate mindless questions about those images of a baby sucking its thumb in the mother’s womb. It is time to re-establish the proper priorities and acknowledge the most important right of all–the right to not be offended. Surely, it is a far greater crime to disturb the peace of a liberal by showing him a picture of a dismembered baby than to disturb the peace of a baby by tearing her apart piece by piece.
It is my understanding that Luther was not an anti-Semite. He wanted them driven out because of their religion, not because of their ethnicity (i.e. their ‘lies’, not their genes). He wanted them converted, and thought they would do so in light of his reformation, but they would not. Hence, Luther was not racist. It’s just that he did not subscribe to the concept of freedom of religion, apparently.
I have no citation. I only remember reading this from a Christian Jew who posted a review to Luther’s little book on amazon. I seem to remember him as an admirer of Luther. Thus, if what I say is true, Luther would not have been an advocate of having this man driven out of Germany. He would have bid him welcome and rejoiced with him that he had escaped the lies of his kinsmen.
But I’m open to learning more. If you could provide a quote from Luther’s book showing that he wanted them driven out purely because of their ethnicity, then I will consider him a racist too. But not until then.
I have no interest in showing that Luther was racist or that he wasn’t. I have no horse in that race. The opinions of Martin Luther mean nothing to me. I brought it up because I know that many of you think that Luther is an admirable figure, even if you repudiate his beliefs.
Likewise, one might reasonably believe that organizations like Planned Parenthood do more good in the world than harm, regardless of the beliefs of its founder. What Sanger herself believed doesn’t really matter to me in the slightest, and it certainly doesn’t affect how much money I donate to Planned Parenthood each month.
Stephen, you’re a credit to contemporary wisdom. I’m glad you paddled yourself into the calm, warm waters of subjective morality. Nobody likes a partisan anti-choice religious nut case. It’s not like people are going to modify their behavior just because a few million babies die. Besides, unwanted pregnancies make for unattractive bikini lines. More personal discretion means fewer drunk and uninhibited hotties at last call. Welcome aboard.
Chance, I think you have put your finger on the critical difference between pie-in-the-sky morality and the more practical standard of contemporary norms. The cultural zeitgeist has taught us that nothing in life is more important than the tingling of nerve ends.
Every man who is trying to make sense of his sexuality must learn to avoid irrelevant questions such as, “how can I donate myself in a spirit of self-sacrificial love?”–or “How can I build a loving, intimate relationship through mutual self giving?” — and focus on the really important question: “Is she hot?”
Similarly, the woman must avoid over-intellectualizing with questions like, “How can I cooperate with God in the creation of new life,”– or “What is the true purpose of sex?”– and pose the challenge that really matters: “Did you bring protection?”
Most important, all parties must eschew the problem of demographic chaos and cultural survival. When aging liberals wonder about the absence of young citizens contributing to the social security fund, it is bad form to say, “What did you expect? You killed them all?”
If abortion is murder and becomes so under law, doesn’t that mean we will be — and rightfully should be — prosecuting the women who have them for capital murder, rather than counseling them the way that the Christian therapeutic community does today?
If so, fine. We will at least be logically consistent at law, notwithstanding how distasteful doing so might be. But if not, then why not? If abortion is murder, please explain how every woman who has one is not as culpable as Andrea Yates.
Personally, I think very few Christians who wave the bloody shirt on this issue have thought through the implications at law if they succeed. Historically, reckoning the beginning of human life at conception rather than birth is as novel an idea as homosexual marriage.
I believe that most young women who have abortions are both ignorant of what they are doing and emotionally compromised to the point where that cannot think straight. Among other things, their boyfriends often pressure them to end their pregnancy and secular institutions, like Planned Parenthood, routinely lie to them about fetal development. Under those circumstances, the young woman’s decision to abort is not made with full knowledge or full consent of the will.
With doctors, counselors, legislators, and judges, however, it is a different story. They are morally obliged to know what the science of embryology has to say about the matter and to act on what they know. From a technical perspective, there might be some scientists who approve of abortion, but that simply means that they are questioning the value of human the life at that stage. None of them question the scientific fact that human life begins at conception.
If, then, the woman’s health is not in danger, which is almost always the case, educated adults are morally bound to defend the baby’s right to live. If, on the other hand, they procure abortion or provide one, they should, indeed, be put in jail. Of course, that will never happen in a culture of death like ours.
KN, I would have bet a $1,000 that you would defend Planned Parenthood. Is there a single instance where you do not toe the line in the faculty lounge? Does it not bother you to be so utterly conventional? Do you even realize that you are utterly conventional?
I see UD approach to scholarship extends beyond science. Unless you have a citation for this quote?
So do you believe other murderers should not have to face trial for murder if they are ignorant about what they are doing and emotionally compromised?
I always understood that ignorance of the law was no excuse.
That’s pretty good, considering that you have no idea who I am, what degrees I do or don’t have, my actual rank or position, what school I teach at, what professors here believe, or, really, much of anything about the US academia in 2013 — all I’ve seen here is just the usual, stereotypical far-right culture-war fantasies that you use to invent what you don’t know. If I’m “utterly conventional”, well, I’m surely not the only one here — tu quoque, Mr. Arrington, tu quoque.
As quotes @11 and 12 indicate, there is more than a little doubt that Margaret Sanger ever said anything of the sort. Does Barry Arrington have a verifiable source for the quote he posted? Did he check before posting?
If not, and the quote is a fake, then perhaps an apology to Ms Sanger’s memory might be in order.
Stephen @19, that comment’s a hard act to follow. Well said. 😉
By definition, murder is the willful taking of another life. If someone who takes another person’s life doesn’t know that he/she is taking a life, then that would not seem to constitute a willful act of murder. By contrast, anyone who knows that he/she is taking a life by procuring an abortion is, indeed, committing murder and should be punished for it, even if that person is emotionally compromised, but perhaps not as severely as the cold-blooded doctor who does it for money and is not emotionally compromised.
That is still true if it is a law that someone could reasonably be expected to know. Alas, there is no law against killing babies, so there is no law to be ignorant about. If, indeed, the state did recognize the act of abortion as murder, as it should, then even young skulls full of mush would get the message and come to recognize that babies are real humans that deserve to live.
I would have made the same bet as Barry, but after reading KN’s answer, I will now give ten to one odds.
And exactly why, since you portray yourself to be knowledgeable about ‘science’, is Darwinism to be considered science?
Macroevolution, microevolution and chemistry: the devil is in the details – Dr. V. J. Torley – February 27, 2013
Excerpt: After all, mathematics, scientific laws and observed processes are supposed to form the basis of all scientific explanation. If none of these provides support for Darwinian macroevolution, then why on earth should we accept it? Indeed, why does macroevolution belong in the province of science at all, if its scientific basis cannot be demonstrated?
“nobody to date has yet found a demarcation criterion according to which Darwin can be described as scientific” – Imre Lakatos (November 9, 1922 – February 2, 1974) a philosopher of mathematics and science, quote as stated in 1973 LSE Scientific Method Lecture
“On the other hand, I disagree that Darwin’s theory is as `solid as any explanation in science.; Disagree? I regard the claim as preposterous. Quantum electrodynamics is accurate to thirteen or so decimal places; so, too, general relativity. A leaf trembling in the wrong way would suffice to shatter either theory. What can Darwinian theory offer in comparison?”
(Berlinski, D., “A Scientific Scandal?: David Berlinski & Critics,” Commentary, July 8, 2003)
“In discussions with biologists I met large difficulties when they apply the concept of ‘natural selection’ in a rather wide field, without being able to estimate the probability of the occurrence in a empirically given time of just those events, which have been important for the biological evolution. Treating the empirical time scale of the evolution theoretically as infinity they have then an easy game, apparently to avoid the concept of purposesiveness. While they pretend to stay in this way completely ‘scientific’ and ‘rational,’ they become actually very irrational, particularly because they use the word ‘chance’, not any longer combined with estimations of a mathematically defined probability, in its application to very rare single events more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle.’” Wolfgang Pauli (pp. 27-28) –
I think — as fair comment — that you have painted with a broad, tainted brush and have indulged in poisonous and ill founded stereotyping along the lines of Dawkins’ “ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked.”
On evidence currently in hand, the specific words above may indeed be incorrectly attributed to Ms Sanger. That is an error if that is borne out.
That said, it is plain that Sanger and her Birth Control League, along with a great many others, were caught up in the Eugenics scheme of thought, which had swept the elite culture by riding on a tide of Darwinist thought and wearing the lab coat of science. There is no doubt whatsoever as to the meaning and implications of the logo of the Eugenics congress, as linked already. History, grim history, answers to that.
Eugenics as a project has been indelibly stained with undermining the moral dignity of human life, thus it undermines rights and justice, starting with the first right, life. It is equally stained with racism, and there is no doubt — just consult the underlying rationale of Eugenics laws, immigration restrictions, institutional practices and the like — that all but upper class nordics and the close like were deemed increasingly unworthy.
A classic, horrific statement comes from Justice Holmes in a 1927 decision (tellingly, just one year after Scopes, and in the same decade in which Bryan had tried to take up the thankless task of trying to warn about the menace of Darwinism — with particular reference to social, moral and international concerns — as the title of one of his books put it).
Let me cite Holmes, giving a yardstick on the temper of the times and the colouring that should guide our understanding of what influential people of that era and surrounding decades meant when they spoke or wrote on eugenics-tinged topics:
I have no doubt that many direct statements of Sanger, her associates, the publications of institutions she set up her books and the like take on much the same colour as the above.
So, per fair comment: the time for strawman tactics, broadbrush scapegoating and cynically snide dismissive rhetoric is over.
That is, on the wider subject you would sweep away with a rhetorical flourish, kindly show us, where functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information have routinely — or even just plausibly per clear observation — been shown to come about by blind chance and mechanical necessity.
I think on further fair comment, neither you nor your ilk can do so, whilst, there is abundant, easily observable evidence that shows that such is routinely produced by design. So, on well recognised inductive principles, we are well within our epistemic rights to hold that such FSCO/I is an empirically reliable sign of design. Never mind how such discomforts a priori materialists and fellow travellers.
If you wish to challenge this in the context of the world of cell based life, the 6,000 word Darwinism essay challenge stands open, and all you need to do is to address how blind chance and necessity per empirically warranted discussion, accounts for origin of life in Darwin’s warm pond or the like, and for subsequent origin of body plans. Just give the survey, and you can link sources in substantiation, but you need to actually make a good summing up.
Let’s say that the fact that in a little over a week the challenge will stand unanswered for seven months, is itself — real or perceived problems with the cite you used as a hook to hang your rhetoric from notwithstanding — a demonstration of the irresponsibility of your broad brush dismissal above.
So, let’s get back on track.
There may indeed be a problem with the above cite and its attribution. If so, it is a lesson to us all to be careful on documentation. But that in no wise clears the abortion movement of its patent bloodguilt [bloodguilt can be forgiven, but must be repented of], nor does it sweep away the taint of eugenics or the history of darwinism and its links to eugenics and things worse than that. we need to get off rhetorical high horses, drop the talking point games, learn some sober lessons and seek to heal and reform our civilisation before it is too late.
Do you people have no integrity whatsoever?
The quote in the OP is false!
Is this one of these “fake but accurate” situations? “That is an error if that is borne out.” Does this mean “Upps”?
PS: Bryan on The Menace of Darwinism, courtesy Web Archive. And BTW, I think in today’s terms he — the stereotypical “Fundamentalist” — would probably best be classified as some sort of Old Earth Creationist, maybe even a theistic evolutionist who believed in God’s intervention to create the distinctive Imago Dei in man.
You are indulging the same poisonous broadbrush stereotyping game that I just corrected.
There may indeed be a problem with the particular cite, which may well have been used in innocence, to be corrected on showing that to be so.
(Currently being checked out, status as of now: likely incorrect as a specific cite, but unfortunately too close to home as a summary of general sentiments promoted at the time by Sanger and many others of her ilk influenced by Darwinism, social darwinism [with Darwin the first social darwinist per chs 5 – 7 of his Descent of Man . . . ], eugenics as applied science that allegedly was the self direction of human evolution that harmonised many scientific fields and more.)
The underlying issues and concerns on eugenics, racism and worse, much worse, still apply.
THAT is what we need to primarily deal with, and face squarely and soberly. The time for gotcha rhetoric games is long past.
Do you know how many times I’ve asked myself that question about Darwinists as I was discovering, piece by piece, that the whole theory is built on deception?
The quote is false. I see you are now trying to smear Sanger by suggesting she might have agreed with the false quote. That is despicable. Have you no sense of shame at all?
Pray tell Mr. Fox, exactly what atheistic moral precept was broken to invoke such moral outrage from you?
The irony is breathtaking. I hope Barry has the decency to admit his error and apologise appropriately. Let’s see whathappens.
I agree with Alan Fox. If the quote is falsely attributed to Margeret Sanger a rectification is necessary.
What makes you think I’m an atheist? Creationists certainly can’t claim any moral superiority when it comes to facts and honesty in presenting them. The quote is false. You can confirm this for yourself. If you are content with this sort of misrepresentation as demonstrated in the OP, you are hardly likely to grasp why I should be so disappointed.
Every post I’ve ever read of your on UD. If you are not a Darwinian materialist, and state so right now, I will gladly retract my statement. But as of now my question still stands, exactly what atheistic moral precept was broken to invoke such moral outrage from you? I
I’m agnostic, Phil. And the quote is still false. Have you a comment on the fact that the quote in the OP is false?
Hmm an agnostic that defends Darwinian materialism tooth and nail??? Strange sort that is.,,, Okie Dokie Mr. Fox what agnostic moral precept was broken to invoke such moral outrage from you?
The quote in the OP is still false.
I’m unaware of any invented agnostic morality. I am happy to live in a society that grants equal rights to all its citizens and where freedom of expression is safeguarded. Rights entail responsibility in not infringing the rights of others. In this case in not infringing the right of Margaret Sanger not to have words falsely attributed to her.
You (or any other ID friendly commenter) have yet to express any disquiet over the false quote.
Said the person who doesn’t have any integrity whatsoever…
I’m afraid you’re missing the point, Alan. Because we don’t believe in God, we’re not permitted to complain about the lack of integrity when people who do believe in God say things that are false. Only people who believe in God have any Objective Moral Compass to begin with, so they’re the only ones who are permitted to call Barry out on his unintentional mendacity.
(I say unintentional because I’m willing to give Barry this much credit: I believe that when he saw the quote, because it aligned with his beliefs about eugenics and Planned Parenthood, it didn’t occur to him that the quote could be a fabrication. I don’t believe Barry would have posted a quote that he himself knew to be false.)
Nor are we permitted to complain when Kairosfocus ‘doubles down’ on the mendacity, by saying that even if the quote is false, she would have agreed with it. In order to complain about Kairosfocus’ response, we’d have to have some Objective Moral Compass, and since we don’t believe in God, we don’t have one — not really.
I trust I’ve made everything perfectly clear.
Does Joe Gallien want to express ay opinion over the false attribution?
Oops excuse typo
Does Joe Gallien want to express any opinion over the false attribution?
Is it false, Alan? Good luck proving that.
How about these:
You see Mr. Fox, as a Christian Theist, I know, where my moral precepts come from but you, as an atheist or even as an agnostic, have no moral basis in which to appeal to so as to declare that anything is right or wrong. This is all highly ironic that you would express moral outrage on abortion OP. You intuitively know that it is wrong to misrepresent somebody, you want with all you moral fiber to declare it wrong (albeit for morally questionable motives), but you do not have the moral resources within your worldview to tell anyone why it is wrong to do as such (such as you do not have the moral resources to declare why taking life or defending life may be right or wrong). For you see Mr. Fox, only Theism can provide a coherent basis for objective morality.,,,
I think Peter Williams’ version of the moral argument is very impressive in the following video,,
Thus every time you express moral outrage Mr. Fox you are in fact offering evidence for the necessity of God. And if you were to be honest with yourself (which is a morally good thing to do) and you followed this line of logic out to its completion, you would see that all men have fallen short of the moral perfection of God (have sinned), and you would begin to understand why God’s propitiation through Christ was necessary for our salvation.
Music and verse:
Nice job Barry- this post has Lizzie all in a tither…
Perhaps Lizzie thinks that only she and her ilk can be mistaken, radically or not…
A well-thought-out, well-researched, and well-written criticism of something Barry wrote counts as a “tither” — at least, if it’s written by a woman. (After all, men are never “all in a tither”, are they?)
And Kantian Naturalist is all in a tither- and what did Barry write that Lizzie responded to? How was it well researched?
F/N (attn AF et al who wish to accuse me of merely “smearing”): I here cite from the BCR, October 1926, when we have been assured Ms Sanger had editorial control of what was her advocacy publication bearing a title usually used with Journals:
1] P. 2: Margaret Sanger, >>President>>
2] P. 3, “Some reasons for Birth Control”
(I The unfit are increasing rapidly and their care and the protection of the public from them are costing the states one-third of their income
The outlook for civilization is bad if it continues to breed from its worst stock>>
–> Given the general context, that is pregnant with sobering meaning.
–> And even the word “stock” and the term “breed” have a significant colouring here; the context is, that we are like animals, and there is a subtle degradation of the significance of ethical issues connected to our status as human beings.
–> In short,there is a subtle influence of evolutionary materialism dressed in the lab coat here, and it reduces people to little more than cattle to be controlled and manipulated for their own good by there evolutionary betters, who proved it by rising to the top.
3] P 5, Italian labour is cited as a source of excess, undesirable population from France to London to Australia.
4] P. 7, an address by Ms Sanger, “The Function of Sterilization”
>>The question of race betterment is one of immediate concern, and I am glad to say that the United States Government has already taken certain steps to control the quality of our population through the drastic immigration laws.
There is a quota law by which only so many people from each country are allowed to enter our shores each month. It is the latest method adopted by our government to solve the population problem. Most people are convinced that this policy is right, and agree that we should slow down on the number as well as the kind of immigrants coming here.
But . . . we make no attempt to discourage or to cut down the rapid multiplication of the unfit and the undesirable at home . . . . The American public is taxed, heavily taxed, to maintain an increasing race of morons, which threatens the very foundation of our civilization.>>
–> the Eugenics context is plain, as is the characteristic racist theme of the threat of the tide of the inferior who breed at rates well above their superiors. [This can be found for instance in Darwin’s Descent of Man, Chs 5 – 7. I need not mention who else echoes it. It was the context of consensus at the time, and it was heavily tainted with racism, Darwin for example was concerned abo0ut Saxons, Irish and Scots.]
–> Again, the evolutionary cream has risen to the top but fails to breed in proportion, so controls must be put in place to preserve the cream from the swamping out by the inferior but rapidly breeding immigrant and native masses.
–> including, of course the iconic examples, the morons, imbeciles etc.
6] In that context, I add this from her interactions with Blacks.
>> “We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” [Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, North Hampton, Massachusetts. Also described in Linda Gordon’s Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America . New York: Grossman Publishers, 1976.] >>
–> This is of course from Margaret Sanger’s December 19, 1939 letter to Dr. Clarence Gamble, 255 Adams Street, Milton, Massachusetts.
–> I think we need to ask, if there is any doubt that Ms Sanger et al would have seen blacks as by and large overwhelmingly inferior?
–> In that context, Dr Torley’s remarks at 13 above take on a pointed relevance that we need to think about very carefully indeed. This issue, sadly, is not quite dead.
–> In short,there are some very troubling issues that need to be faced fair and square and resolved on the merits, not the rhetorical stunts such as we have been seeing.
That should be enough to give some reasons for my highlighting the context of eugenics, its links to class prejudice and race prejudice, and that this was the atmosphere in which the movement led by Ms Sanger breathed.
Again, we need to soberly and frankly face some very serious science in society issues connected to the rise of Darwinism as a dominant “scientific” view. Which, plainly, we have not adequately done to date.
Dr Liddle has posted a link to an archive of Margaret Sanger’s writings. This should provide quote-miners with plenty of stuff to quote out of context without having to make anything up.
PS at Kairosfocus. It is not clear which bits of your latest comment purport to have been written or spoken by Margaret Sanger. Can you not use blockquotes or cites?
And the OP quote is still false.
Thanks to Phil for fulfilling KN’s prophecy! 🙂
F/N 2: Given the likely rhetorical games at TSZ and elsewhere, I must again underscore, that I do not endorse the cite in the OP as specifically correct and documented.
It is likely not to be a correct cite, at this time.
An error, to be corrected if a proper citation cannot be found.
However, at the same time, it is plain and easily documented, that the underlying issues raised in the statement, are far too close to the truth for comfort. The educated elites of our world, in the name of science, were caught up in a tidal wave of eugenics thinking and related notions. They thought it was scientific, they were grievously wrong, and it led to horrific consequences and to long delays in correcting such wrongs.
I have therefore said and to this day maintain, that there is well grounded reason to be concerned about the eugenics influences, the underlying social darwinism, and other themes that rode the tidal wave of the rise of darwinism from 1858 – 9 on.
That can be massively documented, and far and wide from country after country, influential person after influential person. Including, Ms Sanger. AF’s snide suggestion that to point this out is a “smear” is a turnabout false accusation, which is a very serious thing indeed.
And yet, he is dancing wrong but strong.
Let me ask, is there a post over at TSZ where there is a serious attempt to correct him? Any more than there was a serious attempt to correct OM’s snide insinuation by invidious association that I am like a Nazi, or RH’s attempt to compare me to the Taliban?
Or, was there a post that indulged enabling behaviour, pretending not to understand what I was complaining of?
Obviously, the latter.
TSZ, pull up your socks, man!
Now, in the case of Ms Sanger, there is adequate evidence to warrant that she was involved in eugenics thinking and was a eugenics activist, with the onward implication of the views targetting the perceived native and immigrant inferiors, not just the hagiographic portrait of a heroic pioneer in the liberation of women by helping them free themselves of the burden of over many unwanted children.
There have always been such problems and it is legitimate to be concerned. [My Mom, for instance worked with public health education in Jamaica for many years and was involved in reasonable birth control approaches and education, indeed she authored one of the most successful pamphlets used for such — a comic book. But there was no eugenics in that book or in her work. None. Full stop.]
But the resort to eugenics is not a good answer to a real problem, and the ghosts of 53 million unborn children just in the USA from the past 40 years, cry out for justice.
The global numbers I have seen are so shocking that I cannot believe them yet.
My main concern is thus the far broader one of origins science in society and the various forms of social darwinism, associated eugenics and the wider issue of ideological evolutionary materialism dressed up in the lab coat that undermines the worldview foundations of reasoning, rationality, objective knowledge and morality. In particular, I have long highlighted the concerns raised by Plato in The Laws Bk X.
Let me cite his warning, yet again:
Can we not at least take the concern seriously and seek to address it fair and square?
if Plato and many others are wrong to be concerned on the issues just cited, why, and what is the better answer, on what grounds? Do, let us know.
I find, as fair comment, that too many are in denial and/or are being willfully blind and benumbed to a serious sobering issue that frankly threatens our civilisation.
That is what we need to address, and whatever errors BA may have raised in failing to fully check up on the cite, which as of now does not seem to have a specific primary source, we should not allow a tempest in a teacup to distract us from what is primary.
Let’s take the cite as incorrect as to the precise wording and lacking in source.
Would that make a dime’s worth of difference tothe concerns on the intertwining of ms Sanger’s movement with Eugenics and the like, or to the later rise of mass abortion as a major means of “birth control” or to the current Gosnell abortionist homicide case and the suspicious silence of the major media outlets for too long, or to the implications of a culture of blood-guilt, or to the issue of the undermining of reason, objectivity of knowledge, morality and the grounds of rights starting with the right to life connected to the rise of evolutionary materialism dressed up in the holy lab coat????
If that is what is in the stakes then why the over-wrought rhetoric on a relatively minor error, when something is massively wrong with our civilisation all around us?
Something is wrong, deeply and troublingly wrong and needs to be faced.
Now, before it is too late.
AF: You are joking, I have used more than adequate citation marks >> CITE >> as well as “CITE” and given page references to a specific linked document. You can easily link and read at the page references. I have alluded to other documents up to and including Darwin’s Descent of man. I have earlier specifically cited an infamous US Supreme Court Justice’s ruling, on three generations of imbeciles. Your remark is out of order. KF
The book “Women and the New Race” is in the archive but I can’t see your alleged quote there. As for your second alleged quote, I am sure it is a compilation, rather like cutting words out of the paper to make a ransom note.
KF I was specifically referring to comment 56. Why do you not use blockquotes if you are quoting Sanger and why not include citations. The primary sources are available.
Very interesting–and telling–thread. Alan, thanks for all you are doing here.
Just want to quote from comment 14:
Posted without comment.
Rectification would be up to the required standard of this excellent web site!
Mr. Fox, KN did not have a prophecy. He merely stated the obvious facts as they are. Did he provide a moral basis from naturalism? No! It is impossible to do so because appealing to material/natural basis for morality is absurd. For instance, a rock, or any other material object, could care less if you bash another person’s head in with it! Only in the fantasy land of atheistic Darwinism is this obvious point of morality so hotly contested. Yet, in irony of ironies, Darwinists, despite having no discernible moral basis for deriving an objective moral basis, are among the most blatantly moral people in the world when it comes to condemning other people’s moral behavior when it contradicts their own subjective morality they personally choose to adhere to. For instance,,,
As to what a ‘fulfilled prophecy’ actually is Mr. Fox, that would be something like this:
So my question still stands Mr. Fox,,
What is your point Bornagain77? Theists don’t have to cite atheists correctly, because atheists have no metaphysical right to object??
Box, I did not say that Theists don’t have to cite atheists correctly, I only want to know what objective moral basis in atheism invokes such moral outrage from atheists. It is a simple question actually! ,,, I just find it very strange that on a abortion thread, no less, atheists, ignoring the deaths of 50 million unborn babies in America, would have such a moral fit over something that is, relatively speaking, far less horrendous than 50 million abortions.
AF: You are being evasive, of a case where I have used reasonable styles of citation, with specific page references in particular documents. You are finding ways of evading addressing the plain facts and context there for all to see. KF
Box, I am sure that a check is going on behind the scenes. I am expressing my own opinion as at present, that the particular cite is probably not a true record of something said in so many words. Howbeit, while there is all of this back forth on that, the truth is it can be abundantly documented that there is a problem of eugenics and linked themes and issues with Ms Sanger and her movement along with a great many of the influential elites across the world. Up tot he 60’s and 70’s there were traces of the problem and I have seen people today with lingering traces. One example is the 11+ exam based on Sir Cyril Burt’s education research questionable praxis that alleged to show that IQ was predominantly genetic and that post primary schooling should separate cream from dross. KF
I commend Barry for being man enough to admit error. Pity he couldn’t leave it at that.
LT: You know that is the statement of an individual commenter, where there was already more than enough response above. The gotcha games continue. KF
Apologies to Box in overlooking you as the only pro-ID commenter willing to express disquiet.
…if Plato and many others are wrong to be concerned on the issues just cited,…/blockquote>
Weren’t Plato and other Greek philosophers in favour of infanticide for sickly and “deformed” new-borns?
Ok wait- MEN conceive of sex as first and foremost a pleasurable experience rather than a procreative act. Unless of course your last name is “Duggar”.
That seems to be the entire issue- very few people seem to conceive of sex as first and foremost a procreative act.
pdf of the original letter
from which KF gets his “We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”
Read in context, the quote becomes less scary!
I don’t believe so. The Spartans practiced selective infanticide, but it wasn’t an Athenian practice, so far as I know — and Socrates and Plato were Athenian citizens. (Aristotle wasn’t technically an Athenian citizen, though he lived and taught in Athens for most of his life.)
However, Plato does explicitly commend selective abortion amongst the guardians of the ideal city in Republic. So there, the big question would be, how seriously is the ideal city supposed to be taken?
On my reading, I think that we should take Plato at his word when he introduces the ideal city as an analogy or model for the ideal soul, so as a rough guide-line, we should interpret Republic as a psychological theory rather than as a political theory as much as possible, even when Plato touches on what might be called “political psychology” — how different kinds of political organization are correlated with different kinds of psychological organization, e.g. when he describes how chaotic and disorganized is the soul of the democratic citizen. (Plato’s political theory, in his Laws, is very different from what’s in Republic — and Republic fits in nicely with the concern in moral and political psychology in Symposium, likely written around the same time, if it’s read as an analogy for the mind rather than as a straight-up political treatise.)
There’s another reading of Republic, which I also like, according to which Plato is basically setting up one huge reductio ad absurdum, of the sort, “if we really wanted to eliminate all social strife, completely and permanently, here are all the things we’d have to do” — culminating, in Book 9 (I think) with the suggestion that one would have to completely destroy the family by taking all children away from their parents and beginning a new city with just the children and the philosophers, entirely from scratch. Only by completely destroying the family would be possible to eliminate all social pathologies. I believe that on this point Plato displays tremendous insight.
BA: Okay, I see you have not been able to find a root source, which is consistent with my findings and evidently those of others. The underlying concern regarding the rise and prominence of eugenics and linked ills, including with Ms Sanger — gotchas and dismissals notwithstanding, still obtains and is in fact a far more serious — and evidently unacknowledged — problem. Let us hope that there will be a willingness to face and deal with that problem and its lingering legacies down to today. KF
AF: Still playing at evasions and side-steps? You are plainly failing to read the letter in its wider context [which inter alia is reflected in Ms Sanger’s writings as cited (with much more there to be drawn on) . . . think about what in such a mindset is cued up by speaking of “ignorance” and “superstitons” of a population widely perceived as inferior and showing signs of being a more primitive and inferior race — are you really thinking about what you are implying?], of the impact of eugenics, a dominant system of thought in the name of “science.” KF
I can see that eliminating families would eliminate social pathologies in those families. So eugenics starts with Plato, then?
BTW, I was browsing Sanger’s writings on the archive and came across a passage referring to Plato and infant exposure. Sorry that I did not check for evidence.
I think your own prejudices are distorting your view of history.
This is slander, speaking falsely in disregard to duties of care to the truth and fairness, given the above thread:
I put it to you that if you are willing to do such, then your declared concerns about what is evidently an innocent error that on being checked behind the scenes was admitted and withdrawn, and which it has been indicated step by step across the day [as that process proceeded], the progress of that background checking so that it was identified as uncertain then likely in error then accepted as in error are a front for something else.
Especially, when such a misrepresentation is multiplied by your evasiveness and unwillingness to face a much more serious underlying issue; which is the true problem that the cite was in error about.
Oh, no. It was a Spartan practice for quite a while before Plato wrote Republic. And I would surmise that infanticide was practiced for hundreds of thousands of years before that, in many cultures. What’s historically novel is the Christian idea that each and every individual human life is of infinite value, and even that idea took a long time to come into its modern form.
What on Earth are you on about now, G. I commended Barry for correcting and apologising, though I don’t commend him for quoting Jonah Goldberg’s character assassination of the brave pioneer that Sanger was.
Not in Ancient Egypt, interestingly. Thank God we now have sex education, birth control and a social security system that supports women who wish to bear and raise children. (Well, in some countries, we do!)
As you saw, across today, the likelihood of an error in a cite taken it seems from secondary sources, was checked up and corrected.
The underlying concern, the role of eugenics and linked issues in the work of Sanger among many others, is most definitely a legitimate problem, and one that needs to be squarely faced.
You have seen on one side a check-up and correction as the evidence came in on balance. On the other, refusal to accept or acknowledge tha there is a real problem. Tha tis revealing.
So I am not concerned with alleged parallels with “fake but accurate,” which IIRC was put up in a case where it was neither true nor legitimate.
(FYI: Mr Bush did his National Guard service in aircraft that were — by today’s standards — dangerous and had a horrific crash and fatality rate comparable to what is making the Indian Air Force retire the Mig 21 now. In addition, he was flying COMBAT AIR PATROLS in the Cold war era, less than a decade after the Cold War nearly went white hot over Cuba, and in the general neighbourhod of Cuba. Other circumstances alluded to in the faked letters were evidently not true. And BTW, to be a fighter pilot,itself answers decisively in the negative to many of the widely circulated snide accusations made against Mr Bush. So, I would retire the “fake but accurate” rhetoric.)
I think there are some pretty serious issues ont eh table regarding science ands society on the table including eugenics, “the self-direction of human evolution,” that need to be faced.
I see above, scant sign that this is being done by those ever so eager to pounce on and make the most of an admitted error, which speaks volumes.
I think, on balance that you have come across as a fairly serious person over time, could you please help us all face the serious matters that lie beneath the issues and concerns?
Maybe, the new clip by BA can help us focus. I snip a key part, without necessarily endorsing all that is in the clip, which makes some pretty disturbing reasding:
There are serious issues to be addressed. It is regrettable that BA made an error in a citation, but debating that error does not make the real issue go away.
It is that issue that I think I need to highlight, having duly noted across the course of the day, progress in recognising and warranting that the citation was credibly erroneous. However, the underlying concerns are NOT an error.
They need to be faced.
PS: I seem to have garbled a paragraph to AF, let me clean up a bit:
AF: you are now clearly an irresponsible person. You know I directly cited your personal attack by direct implication, as the immediate step to stating that that behaviour was unacceptable. I suggest you start from comment 35 addressed to you directly. Go down in succession to 64 where Box picked up one of my remarks on the likelihood that the cite was an error, and so forth. Then, note that across today you have manged to never soberly acknowledge and discuss that here is a serious problem regarding eugenics that needs to be addressed on its merits. The underlying very real issue and concern. Then look at your attempt to imply that the only ID supportive person with concerns was Box. I hope you will at length be able to at least admit that you have misrepresented the truth, not about a mistaken cite from 80 years ago in documents hard to track down and confirm, but here and now in thread. KF
I’m puzzled why you think eugenics is a problem today. No-one, so far as I am aware, of any political influence or standing is advocating a eugenics program. We all agree, don’t we, that attempting to control other people’s fertility and rights to raise children would be abhorrent.
Took me about 30 seconds with a Google search!
KF at 72:
No gotcha games at all. Byers flagrantly says that Luther’s virulent anti-semitism is “fair and square,” if “a little rough and tough,” and no one makes a peep.
On this thread of moral huffery. Not a peep. So, there’s no gotcha, there’s only what is. As long as we’re criticizing the words and views of people, it should be only fair to bring in the words and views of a regular commenter here.
I will be the first — apparently, sadly, tellingly — to have to denounce Byers’ views as morally wicked.
Please do better.
Here’s a fun fact: Sanger was in favor of birth control in part because it would reduce abortions. Source: Woman and the New Race, 1920. X. Contraceptives or Abortion?. Anyone here care to comment?
There are several issues at hand here:
– sexual freedom
Of course I do agree that all these issues are to be taken serious, but I cannot relate to the view that these issues are all necessarily intertwined.
To be clear, Margaret Sanger and her racist and eugenic ideals are simply repulsive.
Isn’t it better to prevent the breeding of undesirables than to be forced to dispose of their offspring? It seems like a rather pragmatic solution. The holocaust could have been prevented with the similar administration of such a practicality.
With you, re the support of women who wish to bear and raise children, Renard, but ‘Thank God we now have sex education and birth control?!?!’
Thank the Devil! There are more schoolgirl pregnancies in the UK now than ever! Goodness knows what the abortion rate is, or to what extent they are pressured to undergo one.
To my mind, the Catholic proscription of birth control qua contraception is, at best, a disproportionate burden in relation to other matters. But abortion? Never!
Proscribing contraception seems to me rather like requiring clergy to be celibate, but not take a vow of poverty. Christ said the first was not attainable by everyone, yet his teachings concerning the desirability of poverty on the part of his followers are pretty uniform. How much more so, clergy?
It seems that deceitfulness is the middle name of the campaigning atheist. They trumpet about a womans’ right over her own body! Pardon me, but she’s brought into sentience someone else’s poor wee body. ‘She wasn’t afraid of the bull, but she’s afraid of the calf’, as the Irish say.
The homosexual lobby rave on about diversity (heterogeneity), rainbows and the like, yet if they had their way, rainbows would be just one colour; at least, they would, if they were honest enough to be consistent, instead of claiming to be champions of both homogeneity and heterogeneity. But it shows the kind of fascistic double-speak they are capable of, as they demonize their critics. Oh, the irony!
They want to have their bread and eat it, and everyone else’s too, in their drive for young children to be given a very strange kind of sex education. Yet their lobby consists of, yes, an educated elite, of high status, very wealthy and powerful individuals.
So much so that, Cameron was going to slip through a bill categorising sex education under the rubric of ‘science’, in order to be able to make it unlawful for parents to withdraw their children from the classes – all without going through any form of parliamentary scrutiny whatsoever simply bypassing the democratic process. Maybe they’ve got their way.
One particularly sad aspect of all this is that most homosexuals seem to be just quiet, gentle souls, who want to be left to get on with their lives. Rather like the rest of us do! Without their coercive, political ministrations in government, particularly re our education system.
Here is some lateral thinking that bears out Sanger’s view that birth control and sex education would reduce the demand for abortion.
Dr. Torley commented on this issue:
Check your facts, Axel!
Au contraire, mon pote!
And is there any justification for preventing them getting on with their lives?
Chance Ratcliff at 93 🙂 , You have a way of cutting to the chase!
Mr. Fox you ask:
In regards to homosexuals, and that is a mighty fine moral stand you take. So in regards to unborn babies might I ask, using the same fine moral stand you take for homosexuals:
I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; and consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics. He is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do. For myself, as no doubt for most of my friends, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom. The supporters of this system claimed that it embodied the meaning – the Christian meaning, they insisted – of the world. There was one admirably simple method of confuting these people and justifying ourselves in our erotic revolt: we would deny that the world had any meaning whatever.
Prevention of unwanted pregnancy is the key to avoiding, or at least minimising the demand for abortion, whether legal or not.
Mr. Fox, So it seems consequence free sex is the key justification for you that guides you to allow people to “get on with their lives”, and it is not the inherent worth and dignity of a person made in the image of God that gives you this moral justification to demand respect for people whether they be homosexuals or unborn babies.,,, But seeing that your morality is subjective and not objective, would you object to something like say bestiality?
Peter Singer, professor of bioethics at Princeton University, doesn’t object:
Australia Awards Infanticide Backer Peter Singer Its Highest Honor – 2012
Excerpt: Singer is best known for advocating the ethical propriety of infanticide. But that isn’t nearly the limit of his odious advocacy. Here is a partial list of some other notable Singer bon mots:
– Singer supports using cognitively disabled people in medical experiments instead of animals that have a higher “quality of life.”
– Singer does not believe humans reach “full moral status” until after the age of two. Singer supports non-voluntary euthanasia of human “non-persons.”
– Singer has defended bestiality.
– Singer started the “Great Ape Project” that would establish a “community of equals” among humans, gorillas, bonobos, chimpanzees, and orangutans.
– Singer supports health-care rationing based on “quality of life.”
– Singer has questioned whether “the continuance of our species is justifiable,” since it will result in suffering.
– Singer believes “speciesism” — viewing humans as having greater value than animals — is akin to racism.
Mr. Fox (or KN),
I have a bit of a dilemma that perhaps you could help me with. If one holds that there are no true objective moral values and meanings in the world, but only subjective ones, just how does one derive value for a person from such a atheistic philosophy that maintains transcendent values are illusory?
i.e. exactly how is value derived for a person in atheism? But in Theism, particularly Christianity, I have no trouble whatsoever figuring out how much humans are worth, since infinite Almighty God, in whose image we are made, has personally shown us how much we mean to him:
notes to the effect of how much we each mean to God:
Verse and music:
Hi Alan Fox,
Regarding British teenage pregnancy rates, I have been doing some checking, and here’s what I’ve found. There have been falls in pregnancy rates in the last few years, but they remained stubbornly high for 40 years before that. See Underage conceptions and abortions in England and Wales 1969-2009: the role of public policy by Professor David Paton (Education and Health, Vol.30, No. 2, 2012, pp. 22-24). The article concluded:
The more recent statistics which you quote are summarized in a report entitled, Conceptions in England and Wales, 2011 by the Office of National Statistics. Among other things, it shows the following:
* The under 18 conception rate for 2011 is the lowest since 1969, at 30.9 conceptions per thousand women aged 15–17.
* The ONS report cherry-picks its base year in the graph in Figure 2 (1990). The fall in teen pregnancy rates looks impressive until you realize that the rate in 1990 was relatively high – see Professor Paton’s report.
* The graph in Figure 3 is more honest – it goes all the way back to 1975. What it shows is that after years of hovering at or above 40 per 1000, conception rates for women aged 15-17 suddenly started to drop steadily from 2007 onwards. Now they’re down to about 30 per 1000.
* The under 16 conception rate has decreased over the last decade, from 8.0 conceptions per thousand girls aged 13–15 in 2001 to 6.1 in 2011 despite small rises in some years. However, if you go back to 1969, it was 6.9 per thousand girls, so if you compare 6.9 to 6.1, that’s not such a big improvement.
* The percentage of under-16 pregnancies terminated by abortion rose from a little over 50% in 1991 to 60% in 2011. But in recent years there has been a slight fall, from 63% in 2010 to 60% in 2011.
The report mentions three possible causes of the decline in teen pregnancies:
* the programs invested in by successive governments (for example sex and relationships education, improved access to contraceptives and contraceptive publicity);
* a shift in aspirations of young women towards education; and
* the increased media awareness of young people and the perception of stigma associated with being a teenage mother.
The first has been going on for 40 years, so I’m more inclined to favor the second and third explanations.
Hope that helps.
By the way, here are some resources for Margaret Sanger:
http://www.gutenberg.org/files.....1689-h.htm (Chapter 4 is pretty awful)
Got to go. Have a good day.
You’d have to convince me that you’re even so much as sincere in posing this “dilemma” before you’ll get much of a response from me.
LT: Did you take time to see and adjust your remarks for the fact that the question was seriously taken up at 4 above, just for starters? And, that there was significant and sober onward discussion? Nope, that is obvious. You picked up an isolated remark that you could use to play your habitual gotcha game. Telling. KF
PS: Mr Byers, do you see what ill-judged and questionable remarks lead to? I ask you to reflect carefully in future. Do, think three times before hitting Send. It is quite evident that while Luther was a great and pivotal person who triggered much good, he was deeply flawed and said and did other things that we should learn from to avoid, not to emulate.
But KN, does not sincerity require mutual love and respect between people? Exactly how are those moral qualities derived in the dog eat dog world of survival of the fittest?
Unfettered Darwinism/Atheism simply devolves into might makes right:
So, is it okay to publish a “fake but accurate” forgery, if one believes it furthers of a good cause?
Let me take a pause.
The first pivotal issue with eugenics and linked issues has to do with lessons to be learned on how science, education and elites can become caught up in wrong, leading to enormous pressure to conform to wrong thought by many influential persons and groups to be right and progressive.
That itself shows what has happened, so what can happen.
So, there is a big lesson there for how society can go very wrong, imagining that a new darkness is light.
That itself would be a salutary corrective to some dangerous trends of our day that fly the flags of “Science” and ‘Progress.”
The consensus dressed in the lab coat can be wrong, destructively wrong. Horrifically wrong.
That alone, should give us pause.
If you doubt me, look, long and hard at the logo for the 2nd eugenics congress.
Notice, how it few the flags of science and progress.
Then ask, for how many current things something like that is or could be going on today?
You, and your friends at TSZ etc will find that a useful exercise.
And pretences that you can revisionise history and distance science from eugenics and linked horrors, should stand exposed for what they are.
Attempts to forget bitter but inconvenient lessons from a grim past.
A past that is not quite dead, as even that attempt to deep six the truth about the past shows so plainly.
And, I recall from readings of works written at the time, 80 – 90 years ago, that questioners and objectors — many of whom were coming from an explicitly Christian or ethical base or were representing despised minorities, were pilloried for being ignorant, stupid, anti-progress fools or the like. For instance, it should be noted that the book at the crux of the Scopes trial, A Civic Biology — as the title hints — advocated eugenics in the name of science. (One of the people who objected was a certain G K Chesterton, who wrote a significant work against eugenics, identifying potential dangers and ethical hazards.)
Second, there are several serious current science in society issues that are a direct legacy of the eugenics movement and related issues, INCLUDING racism and its consequences. One example is the role too often played in recent decades by IQ tests and their near kin, with troubling implications on the issue of education access and approaches, etc.
Third, despite Ms Sanger’s actual objection to abortion, the eugenics movement and its stress on overpopulation etc, multiplied by the general undermining of morality tied to evolutionary materialism have had a lot to do with the degradation of our ability to think straight on the value of the lives of the unborn. The global toll dwarfs the 53 millions in the US since 1973, and is connected to sex selection abortions, and to demographic collapse in many countries.
Collapse of public thinking and values on sexual morality are decisively undermining family, and the threat is now an existential one.
One faced by people whose minds, hearts and consciences in too many cases have been benumbed.
And we could go on and on.
I will just add, that the rise of evolutionary materialism dressed in a lab coat — how dare you challenge “science” — as a dominant ideology (even with many who are nominally nor adherents: aggressive ideologues push that they will only accept something not operationally different) has serious consequences in our civilisation at large.
Until there is a serious and sober response, I think it is necessary to highlight the refusal to face the relevant past and its current consequences.
And, above, your track record across the day has not been anywhere near good enough, up to and including willfully careless slander that to this time you have not acknowledged or taken back. That, too underscores just how relevant these concerns are.
Please do better next time.
Claudius: slander, corrected before you chose to indulge. Think about that, and about what you just revealed about yourself. KF
Box: The issues you list at 92 was it, ideally and abstractly analysed, are not inevitably logically and causally intertwined. As historic fact, however, they were and are, leading to horrors we need to learn from, lest something as bad happens again. I think you will find the concerns by Plato 2350 years ago, highly relevant, cf, here. KF
Bornagain77, if I thought for a moment that you were sincerely interested in having a discussion about how I understand the compatibility of evolutionary naturalism and objective morality, I’d be willing to indulge you. You could begin by reading the articles I linked to here.
AF: One last thing, nope the issue was to look up originals, e.g. PP is just as much a secondary source as any other current one; one that misleadingly skirted the underlying major issue of Sanger’s entanglement in eugenics and related issues, much less the consequences down to today. And that on a day when, frankly more time was diverted to deal with this than was really necessary, had there been a reasonable approach on your side. KF
Since I can point to history to make my case, I think I understand it much more clearly than you imagine you understand it:
The Moral Impact Of Darwinism On Society – Dr. Phil Fernandes – video
And have you read Flanagan’s article? Or de Waal’s Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved? Or is just listening to one side of the debate all you need in order to know that you’re right and that anyone who disagrees with you must be wrong?
KN: Kindly explain to us in outline how objective first principles of right reason and first principles of morality that are binding on all, objectively grounded, are established on a naturalistic frame. In short, justify to us the naturalistic IS that objectively grounds OUGHT; bearing in mind our previous exchanges on why a worldview inevitably has a foundation, whether or not it acknowledges it. E.g. rafts under continual reconstruction sit in seas that provide support. KF
Kairosfocus, if you take the time to read Flanagan’s article (linked to here or de Waal’s writings on bonobos, or “What Rationality Adds to Biological Morality” (Waller, 1997, Biology and Philosophy), or really anything at all written by any one of hundreds of philosophers and scientists, then we can begin having a serious discussion. I’m not going to educate you, or anyone else here. I have my own students already. And I’m not going to repeat anything I’ve already said about why I think “Hume’s Guillotine” is not a serious problem and why I think that worldviews do not need foundations. If you didn’t seriously engage with what I’d said on previous occasions, why would I bother trying again?
KN: In short, impasse. I think that it is going to boil down to, your view will imply subjectivism or some species of relativism, or else it will point to the need for an objective ground. Unless one has a root IS that inherently entails OUGHT and not just I got the power to compel, then that will result. I would say that the implications of the chain from A to why A, B; thence why B, C etc lead straight to foundations, For infinite regress cannot be traversed from infinite depth to where we are by us, and going in circles begs questions. Something that is a cluster of first plausibles sustained on comparative difficulties is what we need to fill the bill. And one of the requisites is IS that grounds OUGHT. Multiply by necessary being, root of being and ordering mind behind an intelligible, mathematically embedded cosmos, and more. Them mix in our own reason, and ask for its grounds. And, the conclusion that we are creatures of the true Living God, creator of a cosmos organised for life, and with us as creatures, makes a lot of sense and takes a lot of beating. As a Christian, I also bring to bear the Logos who dwelt among us and who in fulfillment of prophecies made centuries before, is our Lord and crucified, risen Saviour, cf, here on for a 101. That, is where I stand, and in a nutshell why. KF
PS: If one ties morality to shame/honour, one implies radical cultural relativism and invites the domination of the benumbed and ruthless per Plato’s warning as I have often cited. I do not know if you agree with this, but it is where Flanagan begins. This for instance then invites manipulation and moral inversion, darkness for light, calling evil good games that are self-refuting and utterly destructive. Never forget that the cross outside a city wall, arrived at by dirty power games and a morally corrupt cynical governor who assumed he knew the answer to “what is truth” (but didn’t) is the ultimate rebuttal: the shame that reflected injustice and guilt on the part of those involved in injustice through abuse of power and influence. That was Friday, but Sunday was a-coming, with the ultimate reversal of fortunes. And so, with due respect, Flanagan is failing at the starting gate. But then, our intellectual culture has by and large forgotten the lesson of the cross and the empty tomb backed up by the descent of the Spirit on the weak, who confound the strong with the foolishness and weakness of God that is wiser and mightier than men. For, our ways and our thoughts are not his, as high as the heavens are above the earth, so are his ways and thoughts higher than ours.
PPS: I hardly think that your claim that I did not seriously engage with your arguments last time is a fair characterisation. We disagreed, that is quite different from I did not treat what you said seriously.
I’m just wondering how the “rules of right reason” apply to a post that seemed to be making an argument about the merits of an organisation today based on the personal beliefs of an individual who founded it a long time ago and who is now dead. Surely whatever Margaret Sanger’s opinions really were, they have no relevance to a discussion about the organisation at it exists today? That’s the same as saying we should view the Catholic Church based on ….. (pick any of a number of morally repugnant views expressed by a pope over the last 2,000 years).
I’m sorry to hard on about this. But are none of the authors of thus blog appalled (or at least embarrassed) but this post and subsequent actions?
The extreme confirmation bias required to put it up without doing any reasonable fact checking? The bizarre attempt to pain the original as “fake but accurate”?
OK, I accept that and I apologize for the mischaracterization. I do recall we got to a point where we disagreed quite sharply about how to cash out, non-metaphorically, the “sea” on which Neurath’s “raft” is floating, and the conversation reached an impasse at that point.
As for Flanagan: yes, his starting-point is Greek ethics, not Christian or Kantian ethics, and here he alludes to Williams’ excellent Shame and Necessity — which in turn builds on earlier work by Nietzsche and also by E. R. Dodds, The Greeks and the Irrational. Dodds nicely contrasts “honor/shame” systems with “guilt/innocence” systems, and Williams, like Dodds, is interested in the honor/shame system. And Flanagan, like Williams, would also stress, I believe, that Plato and Aristotle had a honor/shame ethics. (Plato’s critique of the Sophists is that they abandoned honor and shame, and that they tended to produce youth who found honor and shame in the wrong things. He does not criticize the honor/shame ethical framework as such — his account of the virtues presupposes it.)
So, you’re right that Flanagan is beginning at a very different starting-point — basically, Flanagan (like Williams, and many others) is taking the view that Aristotelian ethics can (i) offer all the objectivity we really need and (ii) be separated from Aristotelian metaphysics. (MacIntyre takes a similar approach in After Virtue and Dependent Rational Animals, though I don’t share his anti-modernism or his neo-Thomism.)
Barry Arrington is the blog owner. Check out the bottom of the screen: he’s the president of Uncommon Descent, Inc. Dembski hasn’t posted here in months, and not on a regular basis in (maybe) years.
kairosfocus @ 111
I note the false and defamatory forgery still appears on the mobile version of the Uncommon Descent website; that would make it libel, not slander.
I also notice you neglected to answer the question: Is it okay to publish a “fake but accurate” forgery, if one believes it furthers a good cause?
The replacement extract from Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism” utterly fails to justify the claim of the original forgery that Sanger was racist. The only significant quote linking Sanger to racism is blatantly false — the quote about “The mass of significant Negroes still breed carelessly …” was *not* a report of the Negro Project, but an article in The Birth Control Review June 1932 by Dr. W. E. Burghardt DuBois, a *black man*, sociologist and founder of the NAACP.
5for, WD400 & Claudius:
Why do you -persist in mischaracterisations and snide insinuations? The above sounds much like, a refusal to take the matter on balance and hoping for a gotcha to score talking points.
The matters at stake, past and present, regarding the Birth Control League, Planned Parenthood and the wider issues of eugenics, its legacy, evolutionary materialism and more, are far too serious for such irresponsible behaviour.
I refer you to the original post as updated and the thread above as requiring due diligence to actually read before making further irresponsible statements.
I will however note for the onlooker (it being obvious that those who are playing gotcha games will not show any more responsiveness to serious matters than was evident across yesterday, which speaks saddening volumes on what is going wrong).
1 –> It is clear that Mr Arrington made an honest mistake, trusting a secondary source, which did not accurately cite a source it referenced. The underlying problem of eugenics advocacy and linked concerns, was however all too much a problem with the founding of the Birth Control League, and it remains a problem with Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry. In addition, whatever is happening with the mobile version of UD — I didn’t even know such existed — is obviously a technical issue to be fixed, not defamation. Over the top insinuations need to be corrected.
2 –> A fair reading of the above will see that, across yesterday, following up from overnight remarks by some observers — thank you for pointing that out — it was recognised that there was need to check for original sources. Where it was quite evident that PP, a secondary source, in its rebuttal was not responding appropriately to the underlying root concern but trying to brush it aside as if it were of no consequence. That was done, in stages across the day. As that was done, it was clearly indicated with increasing certainty, that there was something wrong with the cite, and that it needed correction.
3 –> Let me cite from 31 above, where at 5:16 am blog time, it was indicated that something was likely wrong:
4 –> Obviously, I could not speak as the author of the post, but indicated that there was a problem that was by implication under investigation and was subject to correction on confirmation of a suspected problem, or if there was not a problem — plainly the less likely outcome even then — the original source would need to be cited. However, the underlying issue of the role of eugenics etc. riding on the coat-tails of the rise of Darwinism and associated evolutionary materialism and its effects on ethics and more, was and remains the real issue. Which I plainly indicated and which it is clear that to this day, there is an utter unwillingness to face on the part of too many.
6 –> As for Mr DuBois et al, cited as though that would suffice to overturn the point on the problem of eugenics and other origins science in society issues [cf. here on], has it dawned on you that we are discussing here what, up to about 1945, was the DOMINANT view among educated elites across the world (I can see clear signs of it in Churchill’s writings, for just one instance — a man I deeply admire as a pivotal and positive figure in C20 history, warts and all . . . ), and which had lingering direct effects right up to the 1970’s – 90’s? (I here particularly but not exclusively speak of the effects on directly observed or experienced education policy in my region, which, tell the truth, have not wholly dissipated. To this day, we suffer the consequences of Sir Cyril Burt’s poor research — actually, outright cooking of results with evidently faked statistics and named collaborators who may not have existed may be a more blunt description . . . — which underlay the 11+ post primary exams that decided one’s fate on what was in effect intended as an IQ test that would decide one’s educational future. The presumption on Burt’s claimed findings, was that IQ is a product of genes and the few best needed to be creamed off and given the best resources, consigning the remainder to in effect, whatever they could manage with their hands and genetically determined limited wits. That was embedded in the HMG 1944 education policy paper — was it a green paper, I forget now, and that was duly exported to the colonies as received scientific wisdom. In the 1990’s, most teachers and parents in the Caribbean were utterly unaware of the underlying problems, but had been subjected to decades of the institutionalisation of class and race prejudice; yes, right here in a region that is predominantly African and South Asian in descent. It’s hard to buck a system backed up by Big-S “Science” as ever so many mainipulators and deceivers know to this day. The taken-in and the fellow traveller “useful gullible” usually have not got a clue as to what sort of wicked schemes and false enlightenment they are serving and wonder why those silly radicals are making so much noise, after all it is all the settled consensus that only the ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked challenge, isn’t it. No wonder Marcus Mosiah Garvey said the immortal words: “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds,” and yes Bob Marley was QUOTING Garvey in the well-known song. Sadly, to this day, some of that mentality still obtains, never mind that with computer technology we now have in hand the vital resources that could allow us to carry forward on Bloom’s two sigma findings, that with appropriate learning approaches over 90% of children can master key skills in appropriately designed and carried out individualised units of study. Cf. my discussions in my personal blog here on. The effect of this — in a sketchy nutshell, is that those with the resources to get intensive tutoring on a paid private basis were able to game the system, so that it perpetuated socio-economic class divisions. Schooling is broken and needs to be fixed, seriously fixed. And one first step is to realise that “bright/dunce” is OFTEN not genetically stamped and unalterable. Yes, there are those with severe challenges, but they are a limited number, and the rise of powerful multimedia IT at affordable rates increasingly allows help for even those. And yes, I know there is also a need for counselling and support, etc. I am giving only a rough sketch here.)
5 –> Across the day, as source checking proceeded, it was evident that the cite was inaccurate. That is why at some point the thread owner and blog owner withdrew it and apologised openly:
6 –> That should be quite clear enough, save to those who have an axe to grind and hope to use it to chop away at UD and to attack and denigrate or demonise people rather than deal with serious issues soberly.
7 –> I should add, that there were at least two attributions that had to be searched, one in the window given and one in an earlier window.
8 –> Also, I note that none of the objectors above has acknowledged the force of the following citations and comments from BCR, October 1926, which first appeared at 56 above. there was a silly evasion about how the things were cited [AF, FYI, they were cited that way — and ,a href = “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-English_usage_of_quotation_marks#Overview”>is it not the case that in French cite marks often use something like >> CITE>> (I have adjusted for the effect of using the less than sign in a blog that references HTML technology . . . ] — in part to make it easy to do what I am now doing, citing as a block]:
9 –> What about that 1939 letter cite? Cf 56 above and onward discussion. You will see — on a fair reading in light of the above and many other things of that order — that the underlying context of eugenics seeps out from the words, properly noted in context. remember, the prejudices of the day were being reinforced by claimed science.
10 –> Indeed, this overall matter is a capital case study on how origins science can go horrifically wrong, with devastating consequences, and how that wrong can become embedded in the mindset of an age as well as how hard it is to correct it. And, long after it has been corrected on the merits, it will linger in pockets, as a rhetorically convenient tool, or even as outdated thinking. (That old saying about how many people never really rethink what they have acquired as mental furniture by their mid 20’s, is sadly all too apt.)
I hope this should be enough for the fair-minded to see for themselves what has been happening across the past couple of days, and that it will help us all to look seriously and critically at the historical, socio-cultural, scientific, policy and general legacy of the rise of darwinism and evolutionary materialism, and the lessons to be learned from things like eugenics and the otehr things that went with it.
One final note, I can notice that across the day, none of the objectors in thread ever gave evidence of seriously engaging with the issue of how eugenics was seen as a culmination of many fields of science, how it led to policy: “eugenics is the self-direction of human evolution” and how that led to terrible consequences, as a sobering object lesson of what can happen when science goes wrong but is seized upon as a policy driver.
Indeed, one of the serious points implied here, is that the appeal to science and to scientific consensus is a species of appeal to authority. No authority is better than its facts, evidence, reasoning, arguments and assumptions. So, instead of playing the science consensus card and using that as a substitute for actually thinking responsibly on the merits, we need to be a lot more disce4rning in what we accept or reject and why.
I think that lesson is a lot closer to home here and now than many would want to admit.
KN: Thank you for your responsible attitude, both on substance and on the rhetorical games being played with the blog by too many objectors. I think you will see that we disagree on substance, and I have outlined why I think the shame/honour approach fails; with particular reference to a pivotal historical case of the appeal to ultimate shame that failed. Failed by exposing the sordid and cynical abuse of power and disregard for the duties of care to do justice, by allegedly honourable and distinguished elites. Pilate’s “What is truth” is such an epitaph for those elites and for those who would follow in their train. KF
F/N: G K Chesterton on Eugenics and other evils, c. 1912 – 22.
First, from the introduction by the author:
>> Though most of the conclusions, especially towards the end, are conceived with reference to recent events, the actual bulk of preliminary notes about the science of Eugenics were written before the war. It was a time when this theme was the topic of the hour; when eugenic babies (not visibly very distinguishable from other babies) sprawled all over the illustrated papers; when the evolutionary fancy of Nietzsche was the new cry among the intellectuals; and when Mr. Bernard Shaw and others were considering the idea that to breed a man like a cart-horse was the true way to attain that higher civilisation, of intellectual magnanimity and sympathetic insight, which may be found in cart-horses. It may therefore appear that I took the opinion too controversially, and it seems to me that I sometimes took it too seriously. But the criticism of Eugenics soon expanded of itself into a more general criticism of a modern craze for scientific officialism and strict social organisation.
And then the hour came when I felt, not without relief, that I might well fling all my notes into the fire. The fire was a very big one, and was burning up bigger things than such pedantic quackeries. [–> WW I] And, anyhow, the issue itself was being settled in a very different style. Scientific officialism and organisation in the State which had specialised in them, had gone to war with the older culture of Christendom. Either Prussianism would win and the protest would be hopeless, or Prussianism would lose and the protest would be needless. As the war advanced from poison gas to piracy against neutrals, it grew more and more plain that the scientifically organised State was not increasing in popularity. Whatever happened, no Englishmen would ever again go nosing round the stinks of that low laboratory. So I thought all I had written irrelevant, and put it out of my mind.
I am greatly grieved to say that it is not irrelevant. It has gradually grown apparent, to my astounded gaze, that the ruling classes in England are still proceeding on the assumption that Prussia is a pattern for the whole world. [–> It didn’t start with Herr Schicklegruber, former corporal on the Western Front; try out what the Prussians did to Belgium (as in “the rape of . . . “) and earlier in Namibia, and what King Leopold of Belgium et al did in Zaire, is not without relevance . . . ] If parts of my book are nearly nine years old, most of their principles and proceedings are a great deal older. They can offer us nothing but the same stuffy science, the same bullying bureaucracy and the same terrorism by tenth-rate professors that have led the German Empire to its recent conspicuous triumph. For that reason, three years after the war with Prussia, I collect and publish these papers. >>
Next, a few snippets:
>> The wisest thing in the world is to cry out before you are hurt. It is no good to cry out after you are hurt; especially after you are mortally hurt. People talk about the impatience of the populace; but sound historians know that most tyrannies have been possible because men moved too late. It is often essential to resist a tyranny before it exists. It is no answer to say, with a distant optimism, that the scheme is only in the air. A blow from a hatchet can only be parried while it is in the air.
There exists to-day a scheme of action, a school of thought, as collective and unmistakable as any of those by whose grouping alone we can make any outline of history. It is as firm a fact as the Oxford Movement, or the Puritans of the Long Parliament; or the Jansenists; or the Jesuits. It is a thing that can be pointed out; it is a thing that can be discussed; and it is a thing that can still be destroyed. It is called for convenience “Eugenics”; and that it ought to be destroyed I propose to prove in the pages that follow. I know that it means very different things to different people; but that is only because evil always takes advantage of ambiguity. I know it is praised with high professions of idealism and benevolence; with silver-tongued rhetoric about purer motherhood and a happier posterity. But that is only because evil is always flattered, as the Furies were called “The Gracious Ones.” I know that it numbers many disciples whose intentions are entirely innocent and humane; and who would be sincerely astonished at my describing it as I do. But that is only because evil always wins through the strength of its splendid dupes; and there has in all ages been a disastrous alliance between abnormal innocence and abnormal sin. Of these who are deceived I shall speak of course as we all do of such instruments; judging them by the good they think they are doing, and not by the evil which they really do. But Eugenics itself does exist for those who have sense enough to see that ideas exist; and Eugenics itself, in large quantities or small, coming quickly or coming slowly, urged from good motives or bad, applied to a thousand people or applied to three, Eugenics itself is a thing no more to be bargained about than poisoning . . . .
Far into the unfathomable past of our race we find the assumption that the founding of a family is the personal adventure of a free man. Before slavery sank slowly out of sight under the new climate of Christianity, it may or may not be true that slaves were in some sense bred like cattle, valued as a promising stock for labour. If it was so it was so in a much looser and vaguer sense than the breeding of the Eugenists; and such modern philosophers read into the old paganism a fantastic pride and cruelty which are wholly modern. It may be, however, that pagan slaves had some shadow of the blessings of the Eugenist’s care. It is quite certain that the pagan freemen would have killed the first man that suggested it. I mean suggested it seriously; for Plato was only a Bernard Shaw who unfortunately made his jokes in Greek. [–> KN, sounds familiar?] Among free men, the law, more often the creed, most commonly of all the custom, have laid all sorts of restrictions on sex for this reason or that. But law and creed and custom have never concentrated heavily except upon fixing and keeping the family when once it had been made. The act of founding the family, I repeat, was an individual adventure outside the frontiers of the State. Our first forgotten ancestors left this tradition behind them; and our own latest fathers and mothers a few years ago would have thought us lunatics to be discussing it. The shortest general definition of Eugenics on its practical side is that it does, in a more or less degree, propose to control some families at least as if they were families of pagan slaves. I shall discuss later the question of the people to whom this pressure may be applied; and the much more puzzling question of what people will apply it. But it is to be applied at the very least by somebody to somebody, and that on certain calculations about breeding which are affirmed to be demonstrable. So much for the subject itself. I say that this thing exists. I define it as closely as matters involving moral evidence can be defined; I call it Eugenics . . . .
When Sir Oliver Lodge spoke of the methods “of the stud-farm” many Eugenists exclaimed against the crudity of the suggestion. Yet long before that one of the ablest champions in the other interest had written “What nonsense this education is! Who could educate a racehorse or a greyhound?” Which most certainly either means nothing, or the human stud-farm. [–> Cf my remarks on implications for education policy] Or again, when I spoke of people “being married forcibly by the police,” another distinguished Eugenist almost achieved high spirits in his hearty assurance that no such thing had ever come into their heads. Yet a few days after I saw a Eugenist pronouncement, to the effect that the State ought to extend its powers in this area. The State can only be that corporation which men permit to employ compulsion; and this area can only be the area of sexual selection. [–> Darwin’s second main mechanism for evolution, latched upon by eugenicists up to and including he man who most sincerely and ruthlessly tried the experiment twenty years after GKC published . . . ] I mean somewhat more than an idle jest when I say that the policeman will generally be found in that area. But I willingly admit that the policeman who looks after weddings will be like the policeman who looks after wedding-presents. He will be in plain clothes . . . .
people say of Eugenics, “After all, whenever we discourage a schoolboy from marrying a mad negress with a hump back, we are really Eugenists.” [–> Notice the double shadow that lurks there . . . ] Again one can only answer, “Confine yourselves strictly to such schoolboys as are naturally attracted to hump-backed negresses; and you may exult in the title of Eugenist, all the more proudly because that distinction will be rare.” But surely anyone’s common-sense must tell him that if Eugenics dealt only with such extravagant cases, it would be called common-sense—and not Eugenics. The human race has excluded such absurdities for unknown ages; and has never yet called it Eugenics . . . .
people will say “So far from aiming at slavery, the Eugenists are seeking true liberty; liberty from disease and degeneracy, etc.” Or they will say “We can assure Mr. Chesterton that the Eugenists have no intention of segregating the harmless; justice and mercy are the very motto of——” etc. To this kind of thing perhaps the shortest answer is this. Many of those who speak thus are agnostic or generally unsympathetic to official religion. Suppose one of them said “The Church of England is full of hypocrisy.” What would he think of me if I answered, “I assure you that hypocrisy is condemned by every form of Christianity; and is particularly repudiated in the Prayer Book”? [–> a very familiar context and issue] Suppose he said that the Church of Rome had been guilty of great cruelties. What would he think of me if I answered, “The Church is expressly bound to meekness and charity; and therefore cannot be cruel”? This kind of people need not detain us long. Then there are others whom I may call the Precedenters; who flourish particularly in Parliament. They are best represented by the solemn official who said the other day that he could not understand the clamour against the Feeble-Minded Bill, as it only extended the principles of the old Lunacy Laws. To which again one can only answer “Quite so. It only extends the principles of the Lunacy Laws to persons without a trace of lunacy.” [–> Notice the issue of the slippery slope and the hidden agenda] This lucid politician finds an old law, let us say, about keeping lepers in quarantine. He simply alters the word “lepers” to “long-nosed people,” and says blandly that the principle is the same . . . .
there is undoubtedly an enormous mass of sensible, rather thoughtless people, whose rooted sentiment it is that any deep change in our society must be in some way infinitely distant. They cannot believe that men in hats and coats like themselves can be preparing a revolution; all their Victorian philosophy has taught them that such transformations are always slow. Therefore, when I speak of Eugenic legislation, or the coming of the Eugenic State, they think of it as something like The Time Machine or Looking Backward: a thing that, good or bad, will have to fit itself to their great-great-great-grandchild, who may be very different and may like it; and who in any case is rather a distant relative. To all this I have, to begin with, a very short and simple answer. The Eugenic State has begun. The first of the Eugenic Laws has already been adopted by the Government of this country; and passed with the applause of both parties through the dominant House of Parliament. [–> That is, in the UK c. 1912 . . . ] This first Eugenic Law clears the ground and may be said to proclaim negative Eugenics; but it cannot be defended, and nobody has attempted to defend it, except on the Eugenic theory. I will call it the Feeble-Minded Bill both for brevity and because the description is strictly accurate. It is, quite simply and literally, a Bill for incarcerating as madmen those whom no doctor will consent to call mad. It is enough if some doctor or other may happen to call them weak-minded. [–> Sounds familiar?] Since there is scarcely any human being to whom this term has not been conversationally applied by his own friends and relatives on some occasion or other (unless his friends and relatives have been lamentably lacking in spirit), it can be clearly seen that this law, like the early Christian Church (to which, however, it presents points of dissimilarity), is a net drawing in of all kinds. It must not be supposed that we have a stricter definition incorporated in the Bill. Indeed, the first definition of “feeble-minded” in the Bill was much looser and vaguer than the phrase “feeble-minded” itself. It is a piece of yawning idiocy about “persons who though capable of earning their living under favourable circumstances” (as if anyone could earn his living if circumstances were directly unfavourable to his doing so), are nevertheless “incapable of managing their affairs with proper prudence”; which is exactly what all the world and his wife are saying about their neighbours all over this planet. But as an incapacity for any kind of thought is now regarded as statesmanship, there is nothing so very novel about such slovenly drafting. What is novel and what is vital is this: that the defence of this crazy Coercion Act is a Eugenic defence. It is not only openly said, it is eagerly urged, that the aim of the measure is to prevent any person whom these propagandists do not happen to think intelligent from having any wife or children. [–> creeping tyranny] Every tramp who is sulky, every labourer who is shy, every rustic who is eccentric, can quite easily be brought under such conditions as were designed for homicidal maniacs. That is the situation; and that is the point. England has forgotten the Feudal State; it is in the last anarchy of the Industrial State; there is much in Mr. Belloc’s theory that it is approaching the Servile State; it cannot at present get at the Distributive State; it has almost certainly missed the Socialist State. But we are already under the Eugenist State; and nothing remains to us but rebellion . . . [and much more] >>
(And yes, I cite like this so that he can clip and run that readeth.)
I hope that we will wake up and learn form a grim lesson of history before we pay the price of those who refuse to learn from history: being doomed to repeat its worst chapters.
F/N 2: a lecture worth pondering:
>> Eugenics and Other Evils
By Dale Ahlquist
Eugenics is a nice-sounding word, combining as it does the Greek words for “good” and “birth.” And Francis Galton, who made up the word and the idea, proposed Eugenics “for the betterment of mankind.” But that’s as far as the nice-sounding stuff goes. The actual definition is rather horrible: the controlled and selective breeding of the human race. Galton based his ideas on the theories of his cousin: Charles Darwin. By the beginning of the 20th century, when Darwin’s theory was safely embraced by the scientific establishment, Eugenics was getting good press. The New York Times gave it constant and positive coverage. Luther Burbank and other scientists promoted Eugenics. George Bernard Shaw said that nothing but a Eugenic religion could save civilization.
Only one writer wrote a book against Eugenics. G.K. Chesterton. Eugenics and Other Evils may be his most prophetic book.
Eugenics led directly to the birth control movement. All the same players were involved, such as Margaret Sanger, who was a member of the American Eugenics Society and was the editor of the Birth Control Review. The primary philosophy was trumpeted on the cover of the Birth Control Review: “More Children for the Fit. Less for the Unfit.” She made it clear whom she considered unfit:. “Hebrews, Slavs, Catholics, and Negroes.” [–> it is there, I do not vouch for its accuracy as a cite . . . ] She set up her Birth Control clinics only in their neighborhoods. She openly advocated the idea that such people should apply for official permission to have babies “as immigrants have to apply for visas.”
Why don’t we hear of this connection between Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, and Eugenics?
Two words: Adolf Hitler. He officially instituted Eugenics, leading an entire country in carrying out its principles, not only to breed what he believed to be a superior race but to eliminate everyone whom he considered to be inferior. Where did Hitler find early support for his Eugenic ideas? From Margaret Sanger and her circle. Eugenic Scientists from Nazi Germany wrote articles for Sanger’s Birth Control Review, and members of Sanger’s American Birth Control League visited Nazi Germany, sat in on sessions of the Supreme Eugenics Court, and returned with glowing reports of how the Sterilization Law was “weeding out the worst strains in the Germanic stock in a scientific and truly humanitarian way.”
After World War II, when the world learned of the horrors of the Holocaust and the death camps, the term Eugenics was utterly discredited. Margaret Sanger was quick to distance herself from Eugenics and began to emphasize Birth Control as supposedly a feminist issue. We don’t hear about Eugenics at all any more.
But unfortunately, the philosophy behind Eugenics is with us still. Generally speaking, all of the original arguments in favor of Eugenics have become the same arguments in favor of birth control, abortion, euthanasia, and even cloning.
Chesterton understood this. But he understood it in 1910 (which is when he started writing this book, which was not published till 1922). As with so many other things, Chesterton saw exactly what we see. Only he saw it long before it happened.
Eugenics, like abortion, bases all its benefits on denying an entire class of humans their humanity. With eugenics it was the “unfit,” which usually meant the poor, the weak, or simply the ethnic-types who were just having too many children. With abortion, there is a perceived benefit to someone by eliminating the weakest and most defenseless of humans: the unborn. As Chesterton says with chilling accuracy: “They seek his life in order to take it away.”
Eugenics and abortion is about the tyranny of the elite deciding who shall live and who shall die. And if it’s about the elite, it’s about money. It was the Rockefellers and the Carnegies and other capitalist lords who funded eugenics research in the early 20th century. They went on to be major supporters of Planned Parenthood. Chesterton says that wealth, and the social science supported by wealth tries inhuman experiments, and when they fail, they try even more inhuman experiments. They are inhuman because they are godless. But they are godless because they don’t want to face how inhuman they are. The wealthy industrialist became agnostic, says Chesterton, “not so much because he did not know where he was, as because he wanted to forget. Many of the rich took to scepticism exactly as the poor took to drink; because it was a way out.”
Eugenics is also about the tyranny of science. Forget the tired old argument about religion persecuting science. Chesterton points out the obvious fact that in the modern world, it is the quite the other way around.
The thing that really is trying to tyrannize through government is Science. The thing that really does use the secular arm is Science. And the creed that really is levying tithes and capturing schools, the creed that really is enforced by fine and imprisonment, the creed that really is proclaimed not in sermons but in statutes, and spread not by pilgrims but by policemen – that creed is the great but disputed system of thought which began with Evolution and has ended in Eugenics. Materialism is really our established Church; for the Government will really help it to persecute its heretics.
Chesterton says the problem with official science is that it steadily becomes more official while it becomes less scientific. “The man in the street,” he says, “must be wholly at the mercy of an academic priesthood.” If people who care about traditional truths attempt to object to eugenics or birth control or cloning, they are barraged with what Chesterton calls “the same stuffy science, the same bullying bureaucracy, and the same terrorism by tenth-rate professors.”
[Note: A recent edition of Eugenics and Other Evils from Inkling Books, reveals this “terrorism by tenth-rate professors.” Editor Michael Perry has added articles and excerpts from Francis Galton, from the American Eugenics Association, from the Birth Control Review and other proponents of Eugenics. The early writers reveal their atrocious ideas, the later writers recognize Chesterton’s book as an obstacle to their implementing their ideas.] >>
I hope this will be enough to give some pause to those who are so hot to defend what they plainly do not understand.
You appear not to grasp the problem on the table. Morality cannot simply be grounded in claims of objectivity. It is the source of that objectivity that must be explained. Only God can be the source. This point will become clear to you if you make an honest attempt to probe the subject matter.
Others have suggested possible sources such as evolution, reason, conscience, nature, pragmatism, sentiment, and culture. Indeed, you have tried your hand at defending first evolution, then pragmatism, and then culture as possible sources, alternating between them, subjectivizing them, or even throwing them all into the same mix.
You will recall your earlier attempt to ground morality in cultural norms, a claim that is easily refuted, as our interactions have made clear. Nothing in Flanagan’s piece (or any other writer that you have cited) resolves your difficulty. The task here is very simple: Identify the source for morality and then make your case.
F/N: It seems that someone above needs reminding that eugenics and social darwinism are INHERENTLY racist. They also need to realise that when in 56 I clipped on rejection of Italians as undesirable, this has to do with racism between European tribes — “race” being used to distinguish Saxon [English], Celt [Irish} and Scot, or Germans and Poles or other slavs, etc etc. Italians faced a double prejudice, also being targetted for Catholicism as well. The remarks in the 1939 letter that speak of needing to make religious appeals to Negros, and alluding to ignorance and superstition need to be understood in the light of the common theme of the time that Blacks were a particularly inferior race. Remember, it is only post WW II that serious progress was made against racism, after the impact of the holocaust began to hit home. And even then, a lot of Eugenics simply went underground, it was not rooted out and exposed then destroyed as had been Nazism. The problem is the Eugenics and the linked Darwinist ideas, multiplied by the swelling tide of evolutionary materialism that undermined morality and the doctrine that would otherwise have been able to stand up to them: that all of us are created equally in God’s image and are endowed by our common Lord with unalienable rights, indeed, we are of one blood, one common family. So, the sins of racially tinged oppression and injustice must be repented of and the laws and institutions that give social force to such, should be reformed. But, that is hard. Very hard. KF
A few responses to StephenB’s 131:
(1) as I’ve said on numerous occasions since joining this forum, I think that a crucial distinction must be made between objective and absolute. The thesis I’m defending is that evolutionary naturalism is consistent with the objectivity of ethical norms, not with the absoluteness of those norms. With this distinction in place, there’s no tension between affirming the objectivity of ethical norms, on the one hand, and their malleability and contingency, on the other. If you insist on calling my view “relativistic,” OK — I shan’t grumble over that — but objective and relative are not contraries.
(2) On consistency: I’m pushing for the weak claim that evolutionary naturalism does not undermine objective ethics, not for the stronger claim that ethics can be derived from, analyzed into, or explained in terms of, evolutionary naturalism. On the contrary: I think that normative or prescriptive claims cannot be reduced to empirical descriptions and explanations. But what one can do is explain the process whereby we became the sorts of beings who make normative claims.
(3) One interesting result of taking evolution seriously is that the very notion of “the origin” is called into question. Everything that is part of life, history, and becoming does not have any single origin or source, but many, and those influences interact in many different ways, at different spatial and temporal scales. So on evolutionary-naturalistic terms, some dimensions of ethical life have evolutionary antecedents in primate sociality, and some have older antecedents, and some are, of course, uniquely human. There’s a very deep convergence between what evolution reveals about biological phenomena and the kind of thinking about social phenomena that Nietzsche and Foucault called “genealogy”.
(4) To a considerable degree, I regard discursive norms — both ethical norms and epistemic norms — as modulations and refinements of biological norms. And one reason why I am so critical of the Epicurean, causal-mechanical conception of nature is because that conception of nature is a conception of nature as normless. On that conception, the emergence of norms and values is utterly inexplicable. So I reject that conception, and instead have something much like “natural teleology”. (I didn’t like Nagel’s book because I thought it was a bad book, not because I disagreed with his position.)
I’d just as soon UD not allow this kind of madness to continue here.
That it was “the common theme of the time  that Blacks were a particularly inferior race” does not make it okay to use faked evidence of the most offensive kind to smear someone as a racist, does it?
It’s an objective fact that people have subjective, malleable norms.
William: whether my view is “madness” depends on whether I’m entitled to make a distinction between “objective” and “absolute” such that “objective” neither entails, nor is entailed by, “absolute”.
Clearly, if “objectivity” means “absoluteness”, or entails it (or is entailed by it), then it would be absurd to hold, as I do, that “objective” and “relative” are not contraries — since “relative” and “absolute” clearly are contraries.
CentralScrutinizer: it’s true that our ethical (and epistemic) norms are malleable, but not subjective — I say that because, on the best sense I can affix to the notions of “subjective” and of “norms,” a “subjective norm” is deeply incoherent — along the lines of a square circle, though not as obviously incoherent. There are a lot of subtle distinctions at play here that need to be made in order to attain a sufficient degree of understanding.
why are you trying to imply that I am using “faked” evidence?
Are you so desperate that you have to throw out false assertions in the teeth of open, easily accessible evident facts?
Do you understand what is being suggested in a eugenics context when you are speaking of needing to have effective spokesmen to appeal to the ignorance and superstition of a target ethnic group for eugenics methods?
To try to suppress the likely — anticipated! — reaction that you are trying to eliminate the target group from the human gene pool?
Come on man, think. Think straight.
And, remember, In speaking of racism as an inherent part of eugenics, I by no means am confining myself to the particular form of racism that is an obsession today. Racismn against Italians, Irish, Poles or the like is just as much racism as any other. Indeed, it could easily be more deadly, as happened with the Poles from 1939 on.
The basic fact is that MS was involved in the Eugenics movement, which is inherently racist. Her major publication is full of and brimming over with eugenically and racially loaded remarks on that, with all sorts of implications.
Remarks I have cited examples of, taken direct from her regular publication, of an organisation of which she was president, indeed some came from one of her speeches.
Now, the obvious thing is to simply acknowledge and face that, it was the temper of the times; only corrected at horrific cost after the 2nd World War. Churchill was caught up in the same, for crying out loud, indeed he seems to have supported the feebleminded bill that Chesterton castigated.
Let me clip for you, Wikipedia on Sanger and race:
Notice, this is the exact cite I have used, and how Wikipedia begins by baldly acknowledging the point.
Your accusation is false, and willfully sustained in the teeth of adequate contrary evidence.
That tells us a lot, and none of it good.
Cho man, pull up your socks.
CS: First, the difference between views on core morality is less than many think, and second descriptions of moral opinions does not answer tot he IS-OUGHT gap. KF
I don’t think you understand the very distinctions that you are trying to make. The counterpoise to objective morality (outside the human) is subjective morality (inside the human), just as the counterpoise to absolute morality (no exceptions) is relative morality (depending on the situation or person). In each case, the first element is unchanging and the second element is always changing. Absolute morality emphasizes the changing and non-negotiable nature of the principle, which is the natural moral law. Objective morality, on the other hand, weighs that same unchanging principle against the changing circumstances in which it is applied. In neither case is the principle itself malleable or contingent. If objective morality was changeable, it could not be binding, which means that it would not be morality at all – merely custom.
The truly sophisticated distinction to be made, then, is the difference between the unchanging principles of morality, which are absolute, objective (and universal) and the application of those principles, which vary with the situation and can be frustratingly difficult to analyze. Because you try to compromise (and thereby destroy) the principle by subjecting it to change, you miss the deeper analysis of its application. Indeed, you don’t even consider the application because you reject the principle that informs it. As a result, you overcomplicate something that is relatively simple—the natural moral law, and oversimplify something that is extremely complicated–the task of applying it. Most people make appropriate distinctions in context in order to clarify and argue. You make inappropriate distinctions out of context in order to obfuscate and evade. As a result, you fail to make the truly important distinctions.
Meanwhile, the point at issue remains unaddressed. Who or what, if not God, can provide the source for morality? Try to provide a rational defense for your answer.
How can a plurality of subjective ethical viewpoints result in objective ethical norms? It may make no sense for ethical norms to be subjective, but does this necessarily make them objective? Even if a norm can be objective (e.g. objectively, an average of the various subjective viewpoints), this objectivity doesn’t translate automatically to that which has been normalized does it? How does that work?
You might as well just wave your hands and claim that objective ethics are “emergent.”
Here is the fake evidence I’m referring to, which is *still visible* on the Uncommon Descent mobile site today. This quote smears Sanders as a racist motivated by vile and ignorant bigotry, yet it is a complete forgery.
Alleged links between Sanders, eugenics and racism do not justify publishing this “fake but accurate” quote, do they?
The answer, of course, is no. That is my point.
So why are we being treated to these “guilt by association” comments painting Sanders as a racist? It’s not to justify the use of the “fake but accurate” quote, is it?
The characterization of “objective” as “outside the human” and of “subjective” as “inside the human” won’t do just as it stands, but with a bit of clarification, it might.
What “objective” has to mean here is something like “true or false independent of what any particular person believes to be the case”. But there can be all sort of objective truths about human beings — psychology, sociology, anthropology, and so on. Now, those are objective descriptive truths, discovered through empirical research. But what makes them true is just how human beings really are.
The way is now clear to recognizing objective prescriptive truths — truths about what one ought to do and believe. What makes those true — what they correspond to — are also features of human nature. We can get the normative facts right, or we can get them wrong. What these facts are facts about, in my somewhat Aristotelian view, are facts what human capacities need to be cultivated in order for human beings to flourish and live well.
One way of appreciating why objective and relative are not contraries is by noticing the parallel with scientific theories. Of course our scientific theories are objective — they are not the imposition of merely subjective whims — but they are not absolute, precisely because they are subject to change. Some empirical theories are refuted; others are modified. So it is with ethical frameworks — some ethical frameworks are refuted, others are modified.
The difference lies in the truth-makers — our scientific theories are true (or false) with respect to how well they describe how the world (including ourselves) really is; our ethical systems are true (or false) with respect to how well those norms permit or inhibit the cultivation of human capacities.
I can work with that definition as well as my own. It doesn’t matter. The point is that God is the only possible source for objective morality as you define it or as I define it. If God is its source, then it does not evolve. In other words, your attempt to make objective morality changeable by pitting it against absolute truth doesn’t work for reasons already indicated.
If, therefore, you want to argue that objective morality is, or can be, malleable, you must identify some source for objective morality other than God and explain why it is, indeed, malleable. I have already done part of the work for you by providing some of those alleged sources, such as evolution, reason, conscience, nature, pragmatism, sentiment, and culture. All you have to do is pick one from the list and argue for it.
Did you take time to read the updated OP?
You will have seen that BA made an error which he admitted and corrected, with an apology:
Your sustained accusation of using faked evidence directed to me, joined to the insinuation of thinking such justified suggests willful and malicious intent on my part as well as that of the wider UD contributors, and this sustained accusation was made by you considerably after the error had been checked up and corrected.
I do not think that is fair (especially given the easily accessible record; just scroll up . . . ), and you need to take it back.
As to the mobile version, which I was not even aware of previously, the answer is obvious given the above: there is a technical problem.
If it is not a refresh problem on the part of a proxy, it means there is a disconnect between the versions that does not automatically update the mobile version. If the latter is the case, it is yet another instance of a “bug/feature.”
I know for a fact that the matter is being looked into and given what you can see in the updated OP, is clearly inadvertent. Had you simply notified that in the mobile version, there is a problem, that would have been one thing. But that is not what you did, and it is not what you did in an exchange with me, where I am not the thread owner and have never used the relevant cite.
Remember, when you do something like picking up a characteristic phrase “first principles of right reason” that I used above and then try to cast it in my teeth as though I am responsible for a SMEAR, that is a very serious personally directed false accusation indeed. That is not right, it is not fair, it is not just, it is telling.
You are speaking above as though you can freely suggest or ascribe the worst motives to any and anyone associated with UD; which suggests a degree of polarisation and well poisoning that I think you need to do something about. It has led you into slander.
PLEASE, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
As matters stand, there is abundant and decisive evidence that the elites of the world were swept up in a tide of eugenics thinking, then “the consensus” of big-S Science.
This system of thought was rooted in Darwinism, and was a major manifestation of social darwinism. It was conceived as “the self-direction of human evolution,” with intent to prune the species of inferior varieties, indeed it directly compared us to the breeding of domestic animals. Which BTW, is directly traceable to Origin.
The racism and class-based elitism are blatant and inherent.
That was thought to be objectively justified, almost self-evident, by those caught up in the tide. It was only broken by the revelation of the horrors of the holocaust — and the implications and moral hazards implied by the notions had been on the table since Chs 5 – 7 of Darwin’s Descent of Man, c 1870. H G wells warned of it in two very popular novels, at the turn of C20, War of the Worlds and Time Machine. The first deals with slaughter of alleged inferiors, right in the opening words, the latter is about eugenics on steroids, with the descendants of the upper classes reduced to being sheep bred for slaughter by descendants of the lower classes. Chesterton stood up and roundly denounced it. Only to be derided and dismissed. The massacres in Namibia, in Zaire and the rape of Belgium etc warned by example. None of that was enough to wake up the world’s elites’ slumbering consciences.
It took the undeniable shock of the holocaust.
Subsequently, instead of being utterly rooted out, renounced and reformed from by returning the world of thought and morality to a sounder foundation, and consigning eugenics and its fellow travellers to the ash heap of history, eugenics largely went underground, switching labels and arguments. Its influence is still at work, and crops up from time to time.
Ms Sanger was caught up in this tide, and this is deeply embedded in her work and the associated documentation.
That I have pointed out.
It was challenged, and adequate, direct documentation was provided. There was only evasion in reply. Multiplied by sustained accusations.
That is not good enough, by a very long shot.
And it should be utterly obvious from a scroll-up (due diligence before making strongly adverse comments . . . ) that I and others involved with UD checked up on the cite which BA had used, and on checking original references, concluded that it was not an accurate cite, on the balance of evidence. Thus the corrective update and apology by the blog owner.
However, it is equally the case that the suggestion in PP’s rebuttal [a SECONDARY SOURCE], is not so. Sanger was clearly caught up in eugenics, which was inherently racist. That needs to be frankly faced and dealt with.
We need to face the broader issue of such institutionalised scientific consensuses that have been so disastrously erroneous and destructive, and we need to seriously adjust our attitude to dissent in science as a result.
Being against the Big S Science of a given day does not automatically translate into being against genuine scientific progress, and is not inevitably driven by “ignorance, stupidity, insanity, or wickedness.” (Indeed, if there was less of hagiography and myth making on Galileo and others, many of the same lessons would come out.)
I hope this lesson is taken to heart, and it needs to be embedded into school curricula as an important facet of science in society education.
We also need to look at the implications of evolutionary materialism and linked agendas that are rampant in our day.
In that context, I think that we also need to revisit a lot of the way that the inference to design has been marginalised, denigrated and demonised in the name of defending Big-S Science from alleged threats to the consensus.
PS: I suggest that you look here on, on what the first principles of right reason — as SB and I have championed in and around UD — are about.
This is as good a time as any to rehearse my objections to the idea of “first principles of right reason”. These principles are defined as:
I think that Agrippa’s Trilemma is not so easily avoided. What the above does is this: it grants Agrippa’s argument for the first two horns of the Trilemma (circularity and infinite regress) but seeks to avoid the third horn. I think that the third horn is not so easily avoided.
The problem here can be seen quite clearly in the alternative to the first two horns: the appeal to “first plausibles’ that are reasonable”. But in appealing to the reasonability of the first principles, you’re appealing to something that hasn’t yet been established: the criteria of reasonability. For if the criteria have not been established, how can one determine whether or not the “first plausibles” are reasonable? The question has just been pushed back one more step, and we must again face one of the other two horns.
The only way to avoid those horns — and this is indeed the step taken above — is to identify the first principles as a “faith-point”. But this is a much larger concession than seems to be recognized here, for it basically accepts that one cannot show that the first principles are not mere dogmatisms imposed by an arbitrary act of will. Hence the third horn of the Trilemma undermines reasonability just as much as the first two.
KN: Nope, we are simply using common sense and seeking a credible worldview foundation, not a regress of proofs. If one rejects common sense as a basis for discussion, he rejects the life of reason, so he is a late non-starter. That is also why warrant is used and not “proof” in the discussion. And, you will see that the worldviews foundation is addressed on comparative difficulties, which escapes question-begging. That is in fact why there are three alternatives, not two; the Agrippa “trilemma” as stated fails because it tries to reduce the third to the second, and in so doing misrepresents what is going on: inference to best explanation as warrant as opposed to proof. An arbitrary stop-point [as opposed to one maintained in part on self-evident first principles of right reason and in part on comparative difficulties] is an obvious case of question-begging. KF
I realize that you don’t accept the rules of logic and reason as valid standards for apprehending reality, analyzing data, or interpreting evidence. What I want to know is this: What standard or standards you would you put in the place of logic and reason?
Meanwhile, my earlier question persists: What, in your judgment, is the source of morality? If not from God, then what?
This will serve double-duty as a response to both Kairosfocus and StephenB, on why I don’t think foundationalism works as a response to Agrippa’s Trilemma.
Briefly, the Trilemma states that there are three approaches to justification: either (1) our beliefs are justified by other beliefs, in an infinite regress (“infinitism”) or (2) our beliefs are justified by being part of a vast, self-supporting network of beliefs (“coherentism”) or (3) our beliefs are justified by a privileged class of self-evident beliefs (“foundationalism”).
Kairosofocus and StephenB both acknowledge that coherentism is open to the vicious-circle objection, and that infinitism is open to the infinite regress objection. (Historically, no one has defended infinitism, though I just learned earlier today that there is one person, a professor at Rutgers, who has taken up the gauntlet.) Coherentism has its able-bodied defenders, both past and present, but there are serious problems in making it work. I’ll bypass both of those and move on to foundationalism.
The foundationalist claims that both the infinite regress and the vicious circle can be avoided by appealing to self-evident beliefs — beliefs that don’t derive their warrant from any other beliefs, because they are intrinsically warranted. But I don’t think this works as well as KF and SB believe it does.
The problem with appealing to “self-evident principles” or “self-justifying beliefs” is this: here one would still need to show that they are warranted by some set of criteria, and those criteria would themselves need to be established. (This pushes the foundationalist onto one of the other two horns of the Trilemma.) In order for the stopping-point to be reasonable and not merely arbitrary, there need to be some criteria already up and running for making that assessment — how else are we to tell whether our stopping-point is arbitrary or not? It is this threat — that our stopping-point might be arbitrary, for all we know — that constitutes the third horn of the Trilemma.
So the Trilemma, fully spelled out is: either (1) infinite regress or (2) vicious circle or (3) arbitrariness. Now, of course, the Trilemma was intended to be an argument for skepticism — it’s supposed to show that justification is impossible, hence knowledge is impossible. And it should be evident to all concerned that I am not a skeptic. But I also think that the Trilemma cannot be evaded by taking hold of any one of the horns. Skepticism cannot be avoided by coherentism or by foundationalism. (It might, just possibly, be successfully avoided by a nuanced synthesis of the two, what Susan Haack calls “foundherentism”. I’m intrigued by what little I know of her view, but I don’t know it well enough to defend it here.)
I wouldn’t say that morality has “a source”. I wouldn’t even say that we can talk intelligently about a single unitary phenomena, “morality.” I think we would have to talk about the various different origins of various different ethical practices, principles, and capacities.
KN: While you have provided a summary of a fairly common view that would dismiss such first principles, it dismisses the context that shows us why they are indeed just that. We do not come upon reasoning as something new, strange, alien, dubious and never before seen and suspect, we routinely reason as a basic part of our existence, and do so as a basis for living thinking and communicating. That is a given, a reality of existence that we seek to understand. The issue is, what underpins reasoning as the core first plausibles by which it works, the primitives so to speak. When we look at that we see there are indeed principles that we find undeniable or find the denial lands in immediate absurdity that undermines the project of reason. Without which, we literally cannot live. So, we find such principles self evident: either we accept them or else we abandon that without which we cannot live. “Self-evident” is just a label, but the reality is there before the label. And any philosophy that rejects such is in the position that it is expressed by reasoned communication, and implies the principles it would deny. It is incoherent. Fancy-dress folly in short. KF
If all we have to rely on is ourselves with all of our limitations (especially if purely random causes are ultimately responsible for our very being) then skepticism would seem an entirely reasonable position to adopt. I suspect most naturalists who reject skepticism do so because they don’t particularly like its implications more so than because they find it logically untenable.
Apart from God and some form(s) of Revelation, I see no real way to escape an epistemic morass, no matter how much bubble gum and baling wire you employ to try to hold your particular -ism together.
I agree with the letter but not with the spirit. 🙂
Even us pragmatic naturalists, reprobates though we may be, acknowledge the reality of the space of reasons — that we are rational animals, able to engage in practices of reflection and revision of our beliefs and behaviors, able to discern both cognitive errors and affective blockages, and so on.
Where we really disagree, though, is about how to conceive of the relation between norm-governed practices and principles. On your view, I take it, the principles have some sort of priority, and the practices are justified (or not) in light of those principles. On my view, the principles are just explications of what is already implicitly at work within the epistemic and moral practices themselves.
So we can appeal to various principles as tools for articulating what it is that we are committed to, and hence they are valuable tools for critically reflecting on and revising those practices, but they cannot endow our practices with any more authority than those practices already and implicitly have, nor can the principles explain just why it is that the practices have any implicit authority.
In other words, we agree on the ‘givenness’ of the space of reasons, but the game of giving and asking for reasons is not underpinned by any principles. The principles just allow us to say what it is that we are doing when we reason.
It should be obvious that a skeptic could no more be a naturalist than a theist.
It seems just as obvious to me that a naturalist would be a skeptic. Of course, I’m not opposed to the notion that being a naturalist is self-referentially incoherent. 🙂
Well said, Phinehas. Revelation is true because revelation says it’s true. There’s obviously no epistemic morass there. Only those who use their random molecules to try to figure out why or if something is true are mired in epistemic morass.
Lastyearon, when you put it that way, I must admit that you have a very good point!
Not quite. If there is an omniscient God, then by definition, He knows what is true. If this same God is omnipotent, it seems plausible to me that He would have the ability to communicate what is true in a reliable enough fashion. In this manner, He could lift even fallible human beings from an epistemic swamp that they could never escape on their own, no matter how hard they pull on their own philosophical bootstraps.
In saying this, I am not making a claim that any particular revelation is true (whether supported internally or externally). Instead, I am pointing out the unavoidable futility of philosophical bootstrapping apart from some kind of external, transcendent revelation.
Even so, you seem blissfully unaware that, “my philosophy is true because I say it is true,” is precisely the crumbling foundation on which you stand in order to make your objections about revelation.
(I know I shouldn’t feed the troll, but sometimes I just can’t help myself.)
KN: actually, principles implicitly embedded in a domain of praxis are just as real and effective as those same principles articulated in explicit statements. Knowing the hard way that 7 + 7 . . . + 7 nine times over is 63, is just as real as knowing that 7 * 9 = 63. KF
LYO: A revelation from God would be true not because of a say-so, but because the character of God and his ability to communicate same. One would come to trust a candidate to be such in the context of experience and evidence providing warrant; in particular, one’s view of the trustworthiness of God is dramatically boosted by live answers to prayer . . . and if t were not for a miracle of guidance, I literally would not be here to type this. In the case of the Christian faith (likely the relevant case) you can have a look here. KF
StephenB and Dr. Torley, I think you guys may appreciate this:
Pro-Life Ethics MP3 Audio by Scott Klusendorf
In this audio, bio-ethicist Scott Klusendorf presents a talk at a Gordon College convocation, receiving a standing ovation for his pro-life case. For more pro-life resources, go here.
A self-evident principle is warranted precisely because it is self-evident. That Jupiter cannot exist and not exist at the same time is a practical application of the self-evident truth that nothing at all can exist and not exist at the same time. You have it exactly backwards. We do not reason our way TO first principles, we reason our way FROM them. Rationality is a choice. You reject reason’s rues because you choose to be irrational.
Agrippa’s Trilemma is total nonsense. It assumes the very same rules of reason that it denies. Notice the “either-or” formulation, which presupposes the Law of Non-Contradiction. — “Thou art fled to brutish beasts and men have lost their reason.”
In 1998, a man married his horse with which he had maintained a long-term emotional and sexual relationship. Is this a good thing, a bad thing, or a morally neutral thing?
Good points just above.
I add, that one of the gifts by which God would lift us out of the epistemic morass, is the gift of accuracy of perception and capacity to reason accurately. Plantinga has said much the same.
Where also, of course, one of the key deliverances of said senses and common sense reasoning in light of self-evident first principles, is that there is adequate evidence — we know or can and should know — that would show us that (a) the world has a divine author, and (b) that we are morally governed creatures under that author, thus owe duties of care to him and to one another.
Of course, on the whole, we cannot have general absolute certainty resting on ourselves.
But one of the very first common sense based self-evident truths is a surprising implication of the fact and undeniable reality of error.
Namely, as Josiah Royce and Elton Trueblood would point out: Error exists.
This is an uncontroversial fact, reinforced for all of us by those X-marks in school.
However, symbolise it as E, and we see that E and NOT_E are exhaustive and deny each other. They are obviously not vacuous references, so one or the other MUST be in error. So, E is undeniably true.
Truth exists as that which accurately refers to reality. It is knowable in at least some cases, and here to the point of being undeniably certain. Knowledge exists as warranted, credible truth. Indeed, I often call this WCT no 1.
Onward, any scheme of thinking that denies or undermines such established points — guide-star points of light in our firmament of knowledge — will thus reveal itself to be fundamentally and irretrievably erroneous. Systems that deny objective and even certain truth and/or objective and even certain knowledge, therefore are rooted in fundamental error. Sadly, their name is legion, involving e.g. any species of radical relativism or subjectivism.
I think John Locke, in sect. 5 of his intro to his essay on human understanding, had somewhat to say to us in our day that we ought to heed:
I think we would do well to ponder such counsels.
Well pointed out, as usual.
I would add, that we start with and from common sense day to day reasoning, and on inquiring reflection are led to see the implicit first principles that underlie such as the foundation.
We discover that they are undeniable on pain of immediate, patent absurdity, or are inescapable [as you showed just above].
We then have a choice, (a) to recognise what common sense tells us in no uncertain terms, or (b) to deny that and flee to the province of absurdity. That ever so many in our day would rather do (b) than (a) speaks utter volumes about where our civilisation has now reached and how deep and — absent a miracle of restoration — just how clearly mortal the wounds are. Let those of us who believe in miracles, pray for one.
The alternative is a horror of barbarities beyond description; the shadows of which loom already out of the fog.
(As just one example, the Gosnell case is a wake-up call, as here we have the implications of devaluation of life working out on the ground. remember how, a few months back, the proposition was put that to murder an innocent child was a self-evident case of that which is utterly wrong? This is the reality, live and direct, and so clear that too many of the media houses would have passed by in silence rather than headline and have to face where we have reached. The tendency in the ongoing case of the horror in Boston this Monday just past, to project preferred bogeymen and scapegoats, without any reasonable evidence, also points beyond to the likely fate of those who will try to stand against the tide, if the course is not turned around with the greatest urgency. As to the notion that anything could “justify” setting bombs to murder people going about the normal affairs of life, in order to grab headlines and frightening footage the better to spread a climate of fear [multiplied by rejoicing in the murder and in the reaction of horror, in certain parts of the world . . . ], that kind of sheer nihilism itself speaks volumes.)
Said the man who makes his case against the self-evident and necessary nature of the Law of Identity and the Law of Non-Contradiction.
KN keeps using the the “dirt” (foundation) of the self-evident first principles of right reason to build upon and argue his case against them; as the punchline goes – “Get your own dirt.”
What makes you think I’m a man?
If it makes you feel any better, I do not think that you are a man.
So it is impossible for anyone to be both a skeptic and a naturalist at the same time? Notice how KN appeals to the same Laws of Identity and Non-Contradiction that he denies. Remarkable!
I don’t know why you’re getting on my case. I agree with you: Since He’s omnipotent and omniscient, what He says is true, because He says so. There’s no good reason to second guess Him using our molecules.
Kairosfocus, I agree with you too, except I’m not a Christian. So I know your God is false, because my omniscient and omnipotent God told me. And I don’t use my random molecules to second guess him.
You had me chuckling.
First, we are primarily discussing the generic God of the philosophers, the one who is the necessary being and ground of existence in light of S5’s possible-actual principle. Or, at least the concept of cause and dependence of being similar to a match stick, leading to the contrasted case of a candidate being without such dependence on enabling causal factors, which must therefore either be impossible or actual.
By virtue of the essential properties of being God, such a being would both know the truth and be able to adequately communicate it (and back it up with enough warrant that we would be responsible to respond appropriately to the evidence).
While onward we may want to discuss theological and religious traditions, that is another matter. One of further warrant, and on that, it is not a matter of cynical “sez who” or “what is truth.” We are responsible to respond appropriately to the truth we do know or should know based on what is accessible to us.
(In my tradition, that is spoken of as judgement based on light. And in case you are interested in the relevant evidence, there is a 101 here. Methinks the ghost of a certain Pontius Pilate may have somewhat to advise you on that matter, regarding “what is truth.”)
PS: I notice there seems to have been an almost cartoonish quiet “tippy-toeing” away — I almost hear the tinkly piano music as that happens — on the part of those who were so hot to accuse of slander, fraud and fakery etc. No one has even updated us on whether the oh so awful mobile site that was nefariously keeping the alleged fakery going has been fixed. It makes me wonder . . .
PS: Did it escape your notice, in a forum of this kind, that sometimes people respond intermittently because they have income to earn, children to raise, and family and community obligations to fulfil? Trying to make argumentative capital out of such appears to me like cheap rhetorical point-scoring at the level of a moustache-twirling pantomime villain.
1. The offensive forgery still appears on the mobile Uncommon Descent site – 8.00PM 21 April 2013 Australian Eastern Standard Time.
2. The retraction claimed the original forgery accurately represented the “general views” of Sanger – relying on yet another false citation slurring Sanger as a racist, as noted @ 126, and implying that use of the original “fake but accurate” quote was okay.
But using “fake but accurate” quotes is not okay, is it?
3. There followed numerous discursions about how Sanger really was a racial bigot based on her links to eugenics. Didn’t anyone realise that this gives the appearance of justifying and excusing the use of the original “fake but accurate” quote?
But using “fake but accurate” quotes is not okay, is it?
4. Yes, Sanger was as racist, I suppose, as most educated people were in those days. This did not prevent Martin Luther King Junior stating in 1966 “Words are inadequate for me to say how honored I was to be the recipient of the Margaret Sanger Award. This award will remain among my most cherished possessions.”
But this is irrelevant to my point, which is, and always was, that using “fake but accurate” quotes is not okay.
1] Has it escaped you that you have a responsibility to respond with fairness and not persist in implied accusations?
2] I know that the mobile site has been under investigations towards correction if there is still a problem. Given the above plain explanation, retraction and apology, I would think that the obvious conclusion is that if the Mobile site is still incorrect, there is an underlying technical problem.
3] The “fake but accurate” talking point from 2004 was neither, there is no proper parallel or immoral equivalency.
4] It has evidently escaped your notice that there is warrant as summarised for the concern that there was indeed a problem of adherence to eugenics on Ms Sanger’s part and that it is legitimate to point this out.
5] And yes, racism (and the implications of eugenics) were a widespread problem up to the 1960’s and beyond, whatever Mr King may or may not have said. (Indeed, you just committed a fallacy of irrelevant appeal to authority — here, to try to create a halo effect.)
The bottom-line is that you have some serious accusations and insinuations to acknowledge and withdraw, but plainly no intention to do so. We take due note of that sad fact, for future reference.
Good day, sir.
1. We all have a responsibility to respond with fairness and not persist in implied accusations.
2. The offensive, defamatory forgery has now been visible for five days on the mobile site – many would agree that fairness and a determination not to persist in false accusations would make fixing it a top priority.
3. Your point 3 is not comprehensible and I have no idea what you’re referring to that happened in 2004.
4. In the context of a thread that slurs Sanger as a racist with two fake citations – one of which has been withdrawn (albeit still visible for some readers), the other of which remains unacknowledged and uncorrected – one should, in my view, refrain from continuing to blacken Sanger’s name because that creates the impression that one is persisting with a false accusation by excusing and justifying the original fakery.
That’s just my view; yours, you say, is different.
5. Preposterous. Dr King stated he received the award in Sanger’s name with pride. This goes directly to the point that it is clearly unfair and inappropriate to denigrate Sanger as a racial bigot.
Good day to you.
It has absolutely no bearing on the matter of whether or not Sanger as a was a racial bigot, and whether or not the quotes attributed to Sanger (accurate or not) are a fair representation of Sanger’s actual views. Because a black man – even a famous one – accepts an award “with pride” that bears the name of some other individual doesn’t mean the name on the award is not the name of a racial bigot.
Dr. King simply might not have known about the true views of Dr. Sanger. Dr. Sanger and her cronies had an entire disinformation campaign that recruited ministers of many black churches into her cause by use of propaganda and spin.
Many are pained when their heroes – such as Darwin and Sanger – are outed as racial bigots, and attempt a form of apologetics by claiming that “most intellectuals” at the time were racists. Yes, they were – and, thanks to Darwin, their racist views and programs were given the authoritative veneer of science and the intellectual high ground.
You might keep that in mind when atheists attempt to use science to give them and their nihilistic views and programs the supposed intellectual high ground and the authoritative veneer of science in other matters. The persecution of religious beliefs, for example, by atheists under the veneer of science is no different from the persecution of other races and those who vary from the norm physically/mentally in pursuit of some sort of Darwinian concept of “fitness”.