Intelligent Design

Quote of the Day

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The opinions that are held with passion are always those for which no good ground exists; indeed the passion is the measure of the holders lack of rational conviction. Opinions in politics and religion are almost always held passionately.

Bertrand Russell, Skeptical Essays

Have you ever engaged with a Darwinist on the Internet who did not hold his views with a religious fervor?  Neither have I.  The Darwinists who frequent these pages might object that their views fall within neither of Russell’s categories, politics and religion.  Nonsense.  Darwinian true believers are just that — believers.  Darwinism is the creation myth of metaphysical materialism, as has often been noted.  Yet the zeal with which Darwinian views are advanced is inversely proportional to evidence that supports those views.  Lots of zeal; not much evidence.  Russell’s aphorism reminded me of several of the commenters here.

 

10 Replies to “Quote of the Day

  1. 1

    Bertrand Russell’s quote is pure rubbish. It could easily be turned against today’s a/mats (some of the most passionate philosophical advocates in the world), but that would give the quote legitimacy it doesn’t deserve. Russell should have known better.

  2. 2
    ronvanwegen says:

    “The opinions that are held with passion are always those for which no good ground exists…”

    You should never say always!

    Better: “The opinions that are held with passion are often those for which no good ground exists…”

    Also, you should never say never!

  3. 3
    J-Mac says:

    “rvb8: I also wish there to be no God for the simple reason that I have no wish to be survile, to anyone, or anything.

    I have a really hard time classifying this kind of belief mixed with self-denial…Can someone help me please?

    I’ve always suspected people like rvb8 existed…I just didn’t believe someone would publicly admit it without any kind of restraint…

  4. 4
    News says:

    “The opinions that are held with passion are always those for which no good ground exists…” This is characteristic of Russell as a modernist intellectual snob.

    How about: “The opinions that are held with passion [that nuclear proliferation/the rise of Islamism/wars on free speech pose a danger] are always those for which no good ground exists…” Would Russell agree?

    In the end, no fool like an intellectual snob.

  5. 5
    daveS says:

    I think that Russell’s statement is too broad, but I would agree that the opinions that are held with passion are sometimes those for which no good ground exists.

    I don’t know that this is very useful as a diagnostic for groundless opinions, though.

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    DS,

    we largely agree.

    I would suggest instead, that issues that affect us, our worldviews, our ethical views and hopes for the future, those we care about, etc will have a component that is deeply felt.

    A better approach is to recognise that our felt responses are no better than the facts, logic, prudence and ethics behind our perceptions, expectations and judgements.

    So, to the worldview foundations we must go, as always.

    KF

  7. 7
    Origenes says:

    Russell holds that it is irrational not to ground things. Unless of course when it doesn’t suit his preferred world view.

    In the Copleston-Russell debate Russell refused to admit that there must be a ground for the universe — this is 1948, so before the Big Bang became widely accepted.

    Russell: I should say that the universe is just there, and that’s all.

    No ground, no explanation for the universe. It “is just there.” *poof*.

    Why? Because he could not allow Copleston to present his cosmological argument.

  8. 8
    daveS says:

    KF,

    I certainly agree with you regarding the passion with which one holds views.

    Regarding:

    So, to the worldview foundations we must go, as always.

    Well, perhaps if all else fails. Debating worldview foundations is a daunting task. I prefer to go to the “next floor below”, to extend the metaphor, if that’s possible.

    I ran across this passage a few months ago in an obituary for David Lewis, which resonated with me:

    Like Quine, Lewis rejected the idea of first philosophy. The philosopher begins in the middle of things; his task is not to justify science and common sense, but to bring rigour and system to our evolving doctrine.

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, every one of the things Lewis mentioned is foundational, starting with logic and its authority in argument, including justification of knowledge claims and identifying what rigour and system are. KF

  10. 10
    daveS says:

    KF,

    … including justification of knowledge claims …

    Note that this is one foundational matter which the author states is not the task of the philosopher (per Quine & Lewis).

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