Intelligent Design

Why Are Materialists Such Pollyannas? 

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In a recent exchange with Seversky I summarized his view of the Holocaust as follows:  “I personally disagree with the slaughter of every single Jew and homosexual, but that is just my view and if someone has a different view I cannot say their view is objectively bad and mine is objectively good. The only thing that matters is who is stronger.”  Sev responded:

Essentially right. I don’t believe there are any objective moral standards against which all other moralities can be measured. The moral code that will ultimately prevail will be the one that offers the broadest guarantees and protections to the greatest numbers of people. Extreme exclusivist ideologies or theologies are ultimately doomed in the same way that the Nazis were.

I would like to focus on this statement:  “The moral code that will ultimately prevail will be the one that offers the broadest guarantees and protections to the greatest numbers of people.”

No, if the only thing that matters is who is stronger, there is no meaningful moral code.  There are only the strong and the weak.  And the former impose their views on the latter without regard to “guarantees and protections.”  Sev writes as if there were some sort of necessary relationship between strength and benevolence.  What an odd thing to say.  History is one long lesson that the opposite is usually the case.

Sev continues:  “No matter how good [the Nazi] army was they were never going defeat the overwhelming numbers brought against them. That was always going to be their downfall”

The outcome of the war in Europe was a near run thing, especially in 1940.  Germany’s defeat appears inevitable only in retrospect.  But set that aside for a moment.  Over the course of 75 years, the Soviets killed tens of millions of their own people.  Yet the communists were never more than a tiny fraction of the population.  The same is even more true of Maoist China.  Yet, Sev writes as if there were some sort of necessary relationship between the number of people who do not wish to be killed or oppressed (always a large majority) and the chance that their views on the matter will prevail.  For hundreds of years the Roman Empire saw a tiny fraction of the population enslave large majorities of the rest of population.  Again, history is one long lesson that Sev’s view is false.  Throughout recorded history, it has usually been the case that ruthless minorities have oppressed weak majorities.

In summary, Sev is wrong when he says the Holocaust was not objectively evil.  If it was not, the word “evil” has no real meaning.  He is also wrong when he says that systems that offer the greatest protections for the most people will inevitably prevail.  He is also wrong when he says that majorities will always prevail over oppressive minorities.

These are not close questions.  As is so often the case, the real issue here is not the facts of the matter.  That Sev has failed to learn the overwhelming lessons of history is not really up for serious debate.  No, the far more interesting question is the psychology of the matter –Why would anyone in their right mind would hold such views?

Of course, Sev is not alone.  Many times we have seen materialists take to these pages to express their Whiggish view of history, as if the ratcheted progression from barbarism to liberal democracy was somehow inevitable and irreversible.  Why do they do it?  When it comes to history, why do materialists often make Pollyanna look like Eeyore?

The answer lies in the dissonance caused by their belief in a nihilistic absence of objective morality where there is no justice in any meaningful sense and the weak inevitably succumb to the strong.  They live on the edge of the abyss.  But they cannot allow themselves to believe they live on the edge of the abyss or that the abyss even exists.  Their psychological well being completely depends on pretending their views do not lead to a nihilistic law of the jungle, because strength will always be used for good.  Every time you see a materialist express his Whiggism, you can be sure he is simply averting his gaze from the abyss while pretending it does not exist.  I suppose it helps them sleep at night, but as Sev has demonstrated for us, as is often the case with those who deny reality, it causes them to say some insanely stupid things.

Not only are they Pollyannas, their refusal to face the ineluctable conclusions that follow from their premises makes them, as I have previously discussed, simpering cowards.

35 Replies to “Why Are Materialists Such Pollyannas? 

  1. 1
    Mung says:

    The majority isn’t always right.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Why Are Materialists Such Pollyannas?

    Pollyanna
    noun
    1.
    an excessively or blindly optimistic person.

    I have no idea.

    As you pointed out Mr. Arrington, they certainly have no reason, nor any hope, to be excessively optimistic or even to be reasonably optimistic.

    “If atheism is true, it is far from being good news. Learning that we’re alone in the universe, that no one hears or answers our prayers, that humanity is entirely the product of random events, that we have no more intrinsic dignity than non-human and even non-animate clumps of matter, that we face certain annihilation in death, that our sufferings are ultimately pointless, that our lives and loves do not at all matter in a larger sense, that those who commit horrific evils and elude human punishment get away with their crimes scot free — all of this (and much more) is utterly tragic.”
    ~Damon Linker – ‘Must Atheists Be Nihilists?’

    There is simply no way to derive any true meaning, purpose, and value for life without God. Dr. Craig makes this point clear in the following article and video:

    The Absurdity of Life without God – William Lane Craig
    Conclusion
    Now I want to make it clear that I have not yet shown biblical Christianity to be true. But what I have done is clearly spell out the alternatives. If God does not exist, then life is futile. If the God of the Bible does exist, then life is meaningful. Only the second of these two alternatives enables us to live happily and consistently. Therefore, it seems to me that even if the evidence for these two options were absolutely equal, a rational person ought to choose biblical Christianity. It seems to me positively irrational to prefer death, futility, and destruction to life, meaningfulness, and happiness. As Pascal said, we have nothing to lose and infinity to gain.
    http://www.reasonablefaith.org.....ithout-god

    The absurdity of life without God by William Lane Craig – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWRoJ9myovY

    Moreover, although atheists may pretend, on the surface, that their lives are so much better without God, the fact of the matter is that beneath that facade, the lack of any ultimate meaning, purpose, and value in their lives takes a heavy toll on their personal lives

    Atheism and health
    A meta-analysis of all studies, both published and unpublished, relating to religious involvement and longevity was carried out in 2000. Forty-two studies were included, involving some 126,000 subjects. Active religious involvement increased the chance of living longer by some 29%, and participation in public religious practices, such as church attendance, increased the chance of living longer by 43%.[4][5]
    http://www.conservapedia.com/Atheism_and_health

    “, I maintain that whatever else faith may be, it cannot be a delusion.
    The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best-kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally. If the findings of the huge volume of research on this topic had gone in the opposite direction and it had been found that religion damages your mental health, it would have been front-page news in every newspaper in the land.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – preface

    “In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life; higher self-esteem; better adaptation to bereavement; greater social support and less loneliness; lower rates of depression and faster recovery from depression; lower rates of suicide and fewer positive attitudes towards suicide; less anxiety; less psychosis and fewer psychotic tendencies; lower rates of alcohol and drug use and abuse; less delinquency and criminal activity; greater marital stability and satisfaction… We concluded that for the vast majority of people the apparent benefits of devout belief and practice probably outweigh the risks.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – page 100
    https://books.google.com/books?id=PREdCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA100#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Of supplemental note,

    As you did in this post, Mr. Arrington you have become fairly adept at spotting logical contradictions in the Atheist’s arguments.

    Most people try to avoid any logical contradictions in their arguments like the plague. In fact, Wigner stated this was a “miracle that the human mind can string a thousand arguments together without getting itself into contradictions”

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: ,,certainly it is hard to believe that our reasoning power was brought, by Darwin’s process of natural selection, to the perfection which it seems to possess.,,,
    It is difficult to avoid the impression that a miracle confronts us here, quite comparable in its striking nature to the miracle that the human mind can string a thousand arguments together without getting itself into contradictions, or to the two miracles of the existence of laws of nature and of the human mind’s capacity to divine them.,,,
    The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

    And although most people certainly try to avoid logical contradictions in their arguments like the plague, so as to prevent their arguments from being refuted, Atheists are notorious for getting themselves into contradictions. It is almost as if atheists pride themselves on the logical contradictions in their arguments.

    Moreover, even when the contradictions in their arguments are pointed out to them, some times repeatedly pointed out, they usually never acknowledge their mistake and simply move on to another argument that inevitably contains yet another contradiction or perhaps just an unsupported assertion.

    This is bizarre that they would repeatedly do this. Why would anyone be so bent on such a irrational hatred towards God as to constantly make such fools of themselves in debates? (not to mention compromising the length and health of their earthly lives)

    When Atheists Are Angry at God – 2011
    Excerpt: I’ve never been angry at unicorns. It’s unlikely you’ve ever been angry at unicorns either.,, The one social group that takes exception to this rule is atheists. They claim to believe that God does not exist and yet, according to empirical studies, tend to be the people most angry at him.
    http://www.firstthings.com/ont.....gry-at-god

    Study explores whether atheism is rooted in reason or emotion – Jan. 2015
    Excerpt: “A new set of studies in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology finds that atheists and agnostics report anger toward God either in the past or anger focused on a hypothetical image of what they imagine God must be like. Julie Exline, a psychologist at Case Western Reserve University and the lead author of this recent study, has examined other data on this subject with identical results. Exline explains that her interest was first piqued when an early study of anger toward God revealed a counterintuitive finding: Those who reported no belief in God reported more grudges toward him than believers.”
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....r-emotion/

  3. 3
    Barry Arrington says:

    BA:

    It is almost as if atheists pride themselves on the logical contradictions in their arguments.

    Yes, Whitman is their man:

    Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.

    Walt Whitman

    But in a way it all makes sense. Sev admits that in his view the only thing that matters is who is stronger, not truth, not logic, not beauty, not morality. When the only thing that matters is the strong prevailing over the weak, why should they care if they contradict themselves so long as they win in the end. And they are winning. Every time the liberal fascists impose their will on us it becomes more clear.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    “Whitman is their man”

    Then again, Whitman perhaps went a contradiction to far for atheists with this poem

    Miracles
    Walt Whitman, 1819 – 1892

    Why, who makes much of a miracle?
    As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,
    Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
    Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
    Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the
    water,
    Or stand under trees in the woods,
    Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night
    with any one I love,
    Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
    Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
    Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer
    forenoon,
    Or animals feeding in the fields,
    Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
    Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so
    quiet and bright,
    Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;
    These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
    The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.

    To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
    Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
    Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the
    same,
    Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.

    To me the sea is a continual miracle,
    The fishes that swim—the rocks—the motion of the waves—the
    ships with men in them,
    What stranger miracles are there?

    On the other hand, since atheists live in a fantasy-land where everything, including sense of self and free will, becomes merely a materialistic illusion,,,

    Atheistic Materialism/Naturalism – Where All of Reality Becomes an Illusion – video
    https://youtu.be/At6YNLBa2p0

    ,,since atheists live in a fantasy-land where everything, including sense of self and free will, becomes merely a materialistic illusion, I think Poe may be more to their liking

    Edgar Allan Poe ~ A Dream Within A Dream, Poem with text
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5eSttc7ZPA

  5. 5
    News says:

    I have seen the letter that Canada’s Prime Minister sent to the Cabinet, September 10, 1939, stating that Hitler had invaded Poland and the country was then officially at war with Germany. At the time, my father was in an officers’ training course, destined for the Royal Air Force (because many people suspected, for whatever reason, that Hitler would ignore promises if violence achieved his ends).

    Barry Arrington writes,

    When the only thing that matters is the strong prevailing over the weak, why should they care if they contradict themselves so long as they win in the end. And they are winning. Every time the liberal fascists impose their will on us it becomes more clear.

    But isn’t that what Nietzsche taught? Violence is its own logic and needs no other. Many people, now as always, simply do not see what the triumph of such views will will mean for their own lives.

    Don’t think you can live in peace when there is no peace. When global rage bunnies rule, that will not happen for you.

  6. 6
    harry says:

    BA @3,

    Citing Whitman:

    Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.

    In some cases that could be followed with

    My name is Legion, for we are many.

    I just noticed Dean_from_Ohio had the same thought @5.

    Great minds think alike. ;o)

  7. 7
    harry says:

    BA77 @2

    I’ve never been angry at unicorns. It’s unlikely you’ve ever been angry at unicorns either.,, The one social group that takes exception to this rule is atheists. They claim to believe that God does not exist and yet, according to empirical studies, tend to be the people most angry at him. … Those who reported no belief in God reported more grudges toward him than believers.

    Even though I was a teenager and a complete heathen at the time, and didn’t really care one way or the other, I had a similar thought about my militantly atheistic philosophy professor who hated a God he insisted wasn’t there. Even as a dumb kid it occurred to me that the professor “doth protest too much, methinks.”

  8. 8
    jdk says:

    Atheists are angry at God, because he doesn’t exist. I think what atheists are angry at (if they are in fact angry about this at all) is the believers in God who come across as self-righteous holders of the only truth, and at attempts to establish religiously-based beliefs as social policy.

  9. 9
    rvb8 says:

    This silly assumption that atheists are angry at God is oxymoronic. I’m an atheist, proudly so, since I came out of the closet, and felt the wroth of ‘loved ones’, and so called, ‘loving’ Christians. I’m not angry at God, and the atheists you mention, I would hazard, are in the extreme mnority.
    No! As an atheist, I feel the topic o God (except in the historic, and cultural sense) is a barren field. Full of argument and contradiction, and a part of the youth of our species, long since past its ‘use by’, date.
    I am however also not a Pollyanna. It seems that overt, and unwarranted optimism is the furtile (futile?) ground of the religious, and their utopian ideas of death, and a patently fictional afterlife. Hitchens described Christianity as nothing more than a ‘death cult’; is he wrong?
    I could be wrong, of coure. I hope I am, facing God at judgement, I would have many scathing questions for Him to answer. The most pertinent would be, ‘why death?’ Or, ‘you made immortal angels, wasn’t that enough company?’ Or, ‘all this misery, to what end exactly?’ etc etc. As you can see, this God chap, has a lot to answer for.
    So, to summarise; not angry at God, but fuming at the idea of God, and all of the suffering that that idea has brought humanity.

  10. 10
    harry says:

    jdk @9

    Atheists are angry at God, because he doesn’t exist.

    Like a kid being angry at Santa after finding out there is no Santa Claus?

    I think what atheists are angry at … is the believers in God who come across as self-righteous holders of the only truth …

    In so far as the truth cannot contradict itself there can only be one truth. One either possesses some of that one truth, or one doesn’t. If I have some portion of that truth and you have another, what each of us possesses shouldn’t contradict what the other possesses. Whether or not you or I come across as self-righteous when we assert the truth we possess, has nothing to do with whether what we assert is true. Look past the self-righteousness if it is there, and objectively consider the truth.

    and at attempts to establish religiously-based beliefs as social policy.

    I don’t know any Christians who want anything like a theocracy. Most just want morals that we all agree on to be enforced by law, like prohibitions of murder, theft, perjury, sexual assault and so on. That such prohibitions happen to agree with our religious beliefs doesn’t mean they aren’t legitimate, and in no way constitutes a theocracy. Sharia law implements a theocracy. America was founded upon freedom of religion and in opposition to theocracy, or both temporal and religious authority being exercised by the state.

    Nobody I know is in favor of laws forcing everyone to attend Church on Sunday or anything like that. I do know many people who want the resumption of the enforcement of laws against the murder of the innocent child in the womb. Those who object to that resumption will just have to get used to the basic idea of civilization: Murder is wrong. Nobody right to arbitrarily take the life of an innocent human being.

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    rvb8 claims:

    I’m not angry at God, and the atheists you mention, I would hazard, are in the extreme mnority.

    And yet further down he honestly states:

    facing God at judgement, I would have many scathing questions for Him to answer. The most pertinent would be, ‘why death?’ Or, ‘you made immortal angels, wasn’t that enough company?’ Or, ‘all this misery, to what end exactly?’ etc etc. As you can see, this God chap, has a lot to answer for.
    So, to summarise; not angry at God, but fuming at the idea of God, and all of the suffering that that idea has brought humanity.

    And there you have it folks. An atheist claiming the he is not angry at God that he says he does not believe in, he is merely fuming at the ‘idea of God’ that he claims he doesn’t believe in.

    Apparently it is left to the reader to separate the white ‘anger’ from the rice ‘fuming’ in his statement.

    And notice, no scientific evidence, just the usual Theologically based ‘argument from evil’ in his anger towards the God that he claims not to believe it.

    Contradictions, thy name is atheism.

    “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”
    – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

    also see

    Hijacking Theism: How the Problem of Evil Assumes the Existence of God (Paul Rezkalla)

    “The strength of materialism is that it obviates the problem of evil altogether. God need not be reconciled with evil, because neither exists. Therefore the problem of evil is no problem at all.,,, And of course since there is no evil, the materialist must, ironically, not use evil to justify atheism. The problem of evil presupposes the existence of an objective evil-the very thing the materialist seems to deny. The argument (from Theodicy) that led to materialism is exhausted just when it is needed most. In other words, the problem of evil is only generated by the prior claims that evil exists. One cannot then conclude, with Dawkins, that there is ‘no evil and no good’ in the universe.,,,
    The fact that evolution’s acceptance hinges on a theological position would, for many, be enough to expel it from science. But evolution’s reliance on metaphysics is not its worst failing. Evolution’s real problem is not its metaphysics but its denial of its metaphysics.,,,
    Cornelius Hunter – Darwin’s God – pg. 154 & 159

    The Problem of Evil by Benjamin D. Wiker – April 2009
    Excerpt: We still want to cry, Job-like, to those inscrutable depths, “Who are you to orchestrate everything around us puny and pitiable creatures, leaving us shuddering in the darkness, ignorant, blasted, and buffeted? It‘s all well and good to say, ‘Trust me! It‘ll all be made right in the end,‘ while you float unscathed above it all. Grinding poverty, hunger, thirst, frustration, rejection, toil, death of our loved ones, blood-sweating anxiety, excruciating pain, humiliation, torture, and finally a twisted and miserable annihilation — that‘s the meal we‘re served! You‘d sing a different tune if you were one of us and got a taste of your own medicine.”
    What could we say against these depths if the answer we received was not an argument but an incarnation, a full and free submission by God to the very evils about which we complain? This submission would be a kind of token, a sign that evil is very real indeed, bringing the incarnate God blood-sweating anxiety, excruciating pain, humiliation, torture, and finally a twisted and miserable annihilation on the cross. As real as such evil is, however, the resurrection reveals that it is somehow mysteriously comprehended within the divine plan.
    With the Incarnation, the reality of evil is absorbed into the deity, not dissolved into thin air, because God freely tastes the bitterness of the medicine as wounded healer, not distant doctor. Further, given the drastic nature of this solution, we begin to recognize that God takes the problem of evil more seriously than we could ever have taken it ourselves. ,,,
    http://www.crisismagazine.com/.....em-of-evil

    of supplemental note:

    The Moral Impact Of Darwinism On Society – Dr. Phil Fernandes – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcQfwICe2Og

  12. 12
    Bob O'H says:

    No, if the only thing that matters is who is stronger, there is no meaningful moral code.

    Barry – when you write “meaningful” here, what do you mean? I can imagine all sorts of answers, some of which make this correct, some don’t.

  13. 13

    IMO atheists that argue here have virtually no capacity for honest, rational, internal reflection. As Mr. Arrington has pointed out many times, they often say the most absurd things in an attempt to string phrases together that serve as an emotional bulwark between them and the nihilistic madness of their philosophy.

    For example, rvb8 said:

    This silly assumption that atheists are angry at God is oxymoronic. I’m an atheist, proudly so, since I came out of the closet, and felt the wroth of ‘loved ones’, and so called, ‘loving’ Christians. I’m not angry at God, and the atheists you mention, I would hazard, are in the extreme mnority.

    Obviously, rvb8 didn’t even try to look up any information on the matter of atheists being angry at god. References to studies that showed this to be true came up on my first google attempt. He doesn’t even bother trying to inform his opinion, he just clusily blurts out his unsupported confidence that this is an “oxymoronic” assumption.

    No! As an atheist, I feel the topic o God (except in the historic, and cultural sense) is a barren field. Full of argument and contradiction, and a part of the youth of our species, long since past its ‘use by’, date.

    This part of rvb8’s post demonstrates clearly the sort of typical, unexamined perspective you often get from atheists/materialists. If rvb8 was rationally consistent, he would realize that under his philosphy, there is no significant difference between theism and atheism; they are both materially-produced aspects of brain chemistries selected for by evolutionary processes. Nothing more, nothing less. They will last as long as nature allows. If being an atheist was an evolutionary advantage, there would be more atheists. Rvb8 argues as if whether or not an idea is “true” matters with regard to its evolutionary usefulness.

    I am however also not a Pollyanna. It seems that overt, and unwarranted optimism is the furtile (futile?) ground of the religious, and their utopian ideas of death, and a patently fictional afterlife. Hitchens described Christianity as nothing more than a ‘death cult’; is he wrong?

    Here, rvb8 argues as if such concerns should matter when, under atheism/materialism, all that matters is if a worldview (as a function of brain chemistries) aids in the success of one group of organisms over competing organisms. If, as Seversky begrudgingly admits, power is what makes any view and behavior moral, what are rvb8 and Hitchen’s complaining about? It’s like complaining that shark have teeth or that dogs group up in packs under the dominance of an alpha male. It would obviously be that theism held an evolutionary adavantage, and it will continue to exist as such until it no longer confers an advantage.

    I could be wrong, of coure. I hope I am, facing God at judgement, I would have many scathing questions for Him to answer. The most pertinent would be, ‘why death?’ Or, ‘you made immortal angels, wasn’t that enough company?’ Or, ‘all this misery, to what end exactly?’ etc etc. As you can see, this God chap, has a lot to answer for.

    I’ll leave it to the reader to reconcile rvb8’s insistence that he/she “is not mad at god” and the above commentary.

    So, to summarise; not angry at God, but fuming at the idea of God, and all of the suffering that that idea has brought humanity.

    Of course, rvb8 completely ignores all of the suffering the idea of god has alleviated throughout history (whether or not a god actually exists). Of course, all rvb8 can be doing here is “fuming” at a collective, evolution-produced brain chemistry that was obviously selected because it provided some kind of evolutionary advantage. One might as well “fume” that evolution produced the illusion of self-awareness, empathy, conscience, etc. because of the pain and suffering those things us.

    But, rvb8 doesn’t internally reflect on any of this before typing forth a string of words and phrases that, like a mystical incantation, soothes his ruffled cognitive dissonances and prevents him from having to critically consider the absurdity of his/her position.

  14. 14
    Barry Arrington says:

    Atheist Seversky:

    The moral code that will ultimately prevail will be the one that offers the broadest guarantees and protections to the greatest numbers of people.

    Atheist rvb8:

    It seems that overt, and unwarranted optimism is the furtile (futile?) ground of the religious, and their utopian ideas of death, and a patently fictional afterlife.

    That would be funny if it were not so tragic.

    Hitchens described Christianity as nothing more than a ‘death cult’; is he wrong?

    Yes, he was wrong.

  15. 15
    Mung says:

    Why would anyone be proud to be an atheist?

    Atheists are by their own admission ignorant. Ignorant about God. Perhaps humility, not pride, is the proper attitude.

  16. 16
    Mung says:

    Atheists are angry at God, because he doesn’t exist. I think what atheists are angry at (if they are in fact angry about this at all) is the believers in God who come across as self-righteous holders of the only truth, and at attempts to establish religiously-based beliefs as social policy.

    What I don’t get is the atheist concern for truth. I don’t deny it’s there mind you, but where does that come from?

    It’s like the atheist concern for good. It’s there. I don’t deny that. They hate it when others take on a “better than thou” attitude. But where does that concern come from.

    Same question about who “ought” to determine social policy and what that policy “ought” to be.

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    WJM as to:

    One might as well “fume” that evolution produced the illusion of self-awareness, empathy, conscience, etc. because of the pain and suffering those things (bring) us.

    Exactly, it would be so much easier to be a philosophical zombie in this world of heartache.

    Philosophical Zombies – cartoon
    http://existentialcomics.com/comic/11

    Exactly what was the survival advantage for natural selection of selecting the additional property of subjective consciousness? Subjective consciousness which allows me to feel so much pain, when being a sufficiently advanced mindless automaton would have done just as well, if not better, towards surviving?

    David Chalmers on Consciousness (Descartes, Philosophical Zombies and the Hard Problem) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK1Yo6VbRoo

    Scientific Peer Review is in Trouble: From Medical Science to Darwinism – Mike Keas – October 10, 2012
    Excerpt: Survival is all that matters on evolutionary naturalism. Our evolving brains are more likely to give us useful fictions that promote survival rather than the truth about reality. Thus evolutionary naturalism undermines all rationality (including confidence in science itself). Renown philosopher Alvin Plantinga has argued against naturalism in this way (summary of that argument is linked on the site:).
    Or, if your short on time and patience to grasp Plantinga’s nuanced argument, see if you can digest this thought from evolutionary cognitive psychologist Steve Pinker, who baldly states:
    “Our brains are shaped for fitness, not for truth; sometimes the truth is adaptive, sometimes it is not.”
    Steven Pinker, evolutionary cognitive psychologist, How the Mind Works (W.W. Norton, 1997), p. 305.
    http://blogs.christianpost.com.....ism-12421/

    of related interest to Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism:

    Quote: “In evolutionary games we put truth (true perception) on the stage and it dies. And in genetic algorithms it (true perception) never gets on the stage”
    Donald Hoffman PhD. – Consciousness and The Interface Theory of Perception – 7:19 to 9:20 minute mark – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=dqDP34a-epI#t=439

    Donald Hoffman: Do we see reality as it is? – Video – 9:59 minute mark
    Quote: “fitness does depend on reality as it is, yes.,,, Fitness is not the same thing as reality as it is, and it is fitness, and not reality as it is, that figures centrally in the equations of evolution. So, in my lab, we have run hundreds of thousands of evolutionary game simulations with lots of different randomly chosen worlds and organisms that compete for resources in those worlds. Some of the organisms see all of the reality. Others see just part of the reality. And some see none of the reality. Only fitness. Who wins? Well I hate to break it to you but perception of reality goes extinct. In almost every simulation, organisms that see none of reality, but are just tuned to fitness, drive to extinction that perceive reality as it is. So the bottom line is, evolution does not favor veridical, or accurate perceptions. Those (accurate) perceptions of reality go extinct. Now this is a bit stunning. How can it be that not seeing the world accurately gives us a survival advantage?”
    https://youtu.be/oYp5XuGYqqY?t=601

    The Evolutionary Argument Against Reality – April 2016
    The cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman uses evolutionary game theory to show that our perceptions of an independent reality must be illusions.
    Excerpt: “The classic argument is that those of our ancestors who saw more accurately had a competitive advantage over those who saw less accurately and thus were more likely to pass on their genes that coded for those more accurate perceptions, so after thousands of generations we can be quite confident that we’re the offspring of those who saw accurately, and so we see accurately. That sounds very plausible. But I think it is utterly false. It misunderstands the fundamental fact about evolution, which is that it’s about fitness functions — mathematical functions that describe how well a given strategy achieves the goals of survival and reproduction. The mathematical physicist Chetan Prakash proved a theorem that I devised that says: According to evolution by natural selection, an organism that sees reality as it is will never be more fit than an organism of equal complexity that sees none of reality but is just tuned to fitness. Never.”
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/20160421-the-evolutionary-argument-against-reality/

  18. 18
    Mung says:

    What William said.

  19. 19
    john_a_designer says:

    WJM:

    If rvb8 was rationally consistent, he would realize that under his philosophy, there is no significant difference between theism and atheism; they are both materially-produced aspects of brain chemistries selected for by evolutionary processes. Nothing more, nothing less. They will last as long as nature allows. If being an atheist was an evolutionary advantage, there would be more atheists. Rvb8 argues as if whether or not an idea is “true” matters with regard to its evolutionary usefulness.

    Excellent, insightful point, WJM. The only thing that I would add is that internet atheist like Rvb8 don’t feel much need to be rationally consistent because they smugly believe that they are more rational than anyone else. Their so-called reasoning amounts to little more than throwing mud and manure against the wall and hoping something sticks. (Of course, something always does stick but it is about as meaningful as mud and manure on a wall.)

    I don’t engage these “people”* anymore because they don’t give me any true reason to change my mind. To do so they would need to begin by demonstrating that they have a basis for truth and reason. I don’t not see how any atheistic world view (materialism, physicalism, naturalism) can or could provide a sufficient basis for truth and reason.

    In other words, to convince me or anyone that their world view is true the atheist has to establish an epistemological basis for truth itself. This they consistently fail to do.

    *(footnote) with a user name like Rvb8 one has to wonder is we are dealing with a real person or some kind of internet “bot”.

  20. 20
    Axel says:

    ‘I would have many scathing questions for Him to answer.’

    You won’t be able to say you weren’t warned by rvb8, God, and didn’t have time to think up some answers he would find acceptable. Even so there’s no point in risking getting hooked on tranquillisers in the meantime.

  21. 21
    Axel says:

    ‘It’s like the atheist concern for good. It’s there. I don’t deny that. They hate it when others take on a “better than thou” attitude. But where does that concern come from.’

    To find the answers to your questions, esteemed Mung, place 500 milligrams of glycophosphatebycarbonate in a pipette and mix vigorously with a soupcon of nitricoligopolysaturate (one nanogram – be careful not to confuse with a mammogram) will suffice. Then wait approximately a gazillion aeons, and I think you’ll find your answer.

    I remembered Sherlock Holmes’ wise words, and have tried everything else, so that’s got to be it. QED.

  22. 22
    Rationalitys bane says:

    Barry, “In summary, Sev is wrong when he says the Holocaust was not objectively evil.”

    Is it possible for you to link Sev’s comment that claims this. What I remember him saying is that the holocaust was not objectively immoral. Which, if morality is not objective, is a statement of fact. The fact that the vast majority of people share the same moral belief that it was wrong does not make it objectively wrong.

    It has been mentioned here more than once that a majority view does not make it right. And I agree with this. In the sixties the majority of whites in the south believed that segregation was good. Before this century, the majority of people believed that same sex marriage was wrong. I personally believe that both of these attitudes were wrong. The fact that the majority of people now agree with me doesn’t make my view right or wrong. It just points to the subjective nature of morality.

    Even if objective morality exists, of what value is it when history has shown that it is impossible to discern, objectively, what are objective morals and what are subjective morals. Even the “thou shall not kill” moral command is not an absolute. Wars justify it all the time. Even in the US, the death penalty is still seen by many to be morally acceptable, even though it is nothing more than state sanctioned lynch mob mentality.

  23. 23
    Axel says:

    ‘Exactly, it would be so much easier to be a philosophical zombie in this world of heartache.’

    I wish I were a pair of ragged claws scuttling across the floors of silent seas, BA77 – as long as I didn’t have to meet T S Eliot, whose idea it was in the first place.

  24. 24
    harry says:

    Rationalitys bane @ 23,

    Either there is a God Who created the Universe and us, or there isn’t.

    If there is then there is also an objective morality based on the truth about the divine nature and human nature that has either been revealed to humanity by God, or it hasn’t.

    If it has been revealed to humanity than we are either aware of that revelation or we are not.

    If we are not aware of it then either that is the fault of those who are aware of it and were responsible to inform others of it, or it is our own fault. (Although everyone should live according to whatever light they have received, even if that doesn’t include divine revelation, and should live according to the light that is built into every human being.)

    Those at fault, whether that be those who were aware of divine revelation and didn’t fulfill their responsibility to share it, or those who remained willfully ignorant or just ignored the light that is within every human being, will eventually be held accountable.

    We are all in the same boat: We will be held accountable. One can conclude there is no God and just not worry about morality, but doing that is more irrational now than it has ever been before, considering the discoveries of modern science, of which the theists/Christians who post here will be happy to inform you.

  25. 25
    jdk says:

    RB writes,

    Even if objective morality exists, of what value is it when history has shown that it is impossible to discern, objectively, what are objective morals and what are subjective morals

    This is an important point: given that the historical evidence shows that what is considered moral changes over time and cultures, what mechanism can anyone offer to objectively ascertain what those objective morals might be.

    Even when X says that Y is objectively moral, or not, there is nothing X can point to to convince us that this is not just a subjective opinion X has.

  26. 26
    Rationalitys bane says:

    Harry, “Either there is a God Who created the Universe and us, or there isn’t.

    If there is then there is also an objective morality based on the truth about the divine nature and human nature that has either been revealed to humanity by God, or it hasn’t.”

    Why can’t there be a God who created the universe but left morality subjective? Or do you preclude this as a possibility? And if so, why?

    We are all in the same boat: We will be held accountable.”

    I agree that we are held accountable to family, friends, our community and society as a whole. But the idea that we will be held accountable to a god is an unsubstantiated belief.

    One can conclude there is no God and just not worry about morality, …”

    One does not follow from the other.

    …but doing that is more irrational now than it has ever been before, considering the discoveries of modern science, of which the theists/Christians who post here will be happy to inform you.”

    I would welcome some OPs here that reference science to prove that god and objective morality exist. So far, I have not seen any. So far all I have seen are anecdotal accounts of NDE, unsupported extrapolations from quantum physics, unsupported claims about IS and OUGHT, references to long dead phylosophers, and bald assertions.

  27. 27
    jdk says:

    RB says,

    I would welcome some OPs here that reference science to prove that god and objective morality exist. So far, I have not seen any. So far all I have seen are anecdotal accounts of NDE, unsupported extrapolations from quantum physics, unsupported claims about IS and OUGHT, references to long dead philosophers, and bald assertions.

    Good list. I’ll add seemingly logical arguments where the conclusions are buried in the premises; where assumptions are taken as “self-evident” when that is not so; or where ideas that we know, or think we know, apply to this world are assumed to apply to whatever metaphysical world might be beyond this world, even if it would be impossible to know if those are true or not.

  28. 28

    Good list.

    Are you ready to step out from behind the protection of not wanting to discuss physical evidence?

    If so, then do you yet understand that to organize the heterogeneous cell requires the physical capacity to specify objects among alternatives?

  29. 29
    bornagain77 says:

    Rationalitys bane and jdk insist there is no evidence for God or for objective morality.

    I hold that Rationalitys bane and jdk, and all other atheists, live in blatant denial of their very own ‘predisposition to believe in God’ that they were born with, and also live in denial of the evidence that is staring them right in the face (Romans 1:20).

    For example, in the following studies it was found that people are born with the predisposition to believe in God and also that professional scientists cannot rid themselves of that inborn belief that ‘natural phenomena exist for a purpose’

    Children are born believers in God, academic claims – 24 Nov 2008
    Excerpt: “Dr Justin Barrett, a senior researcher at the University of Oxford’s Centre for Anthropology and Mind, claims that young people have a predisposition to believe in a supreme being because they assume that everything in the world was created with a purpose.”
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new.....laims.html

    Design Thinking Is Hardwired in the Human Brain. How Come? – October 17, 2012
    Excerpt: “Even Professional Scientists Are Compelled to See Purpose in Nature, Psychologists Find.” The article describes a test by Boston University’s psychology department, in which researchers found that “despite years of scientific training, even professional chemists, geologists, and physicists from major universities such as Harvard, MIT, and Yale cannot escape a deep-seated belief that natural phenomena exist for a purpose” ,,,
    Most interesting, though, are the questions begged by this research. One is whether it is even possible to purge teleology from explanation.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....65381.html

    It is simply impossible to do science without assuming teleology/purpose on some level. The very words that scientists are forced to use reveals this fact. In the following article, Stephen Talbott points out that it is impossible to describe the complexities of biological life without illegitimately using language that implies agency, cognition, and purposiveness:

    The ‘Mental Cell’: Let’s Loosen Up Biological Thinking! – Stephen L. Talbott – September 9, 2014
    Excerpt: Many biologists are content to dismiss the problem with hand-waving: “When we wield the language of agency, we are speaking metaphorically, and we could just as well, if less conveniently, abandon the metaphors”.
    Yet no scientist or philosopher has shown how this shift of language could be effected. And the fact of the matter is just obvious: the biologist who is not investigating how the organism achieves something in a well-directed way is not yet doing biology, as opposed to physics or chemistry. Is this in turn just hand-waving? Let the reader inclined to think so take up a challenge: pose a single topic for biological research, doing so in language that avoids all implication of agency, cognition, and purposiveness1.
    One reason this cannot be done is clear enough: molecular biology — the discipline that was finally going to reduce life unreservedly to mindless mechanism — is now posing its own severe challenges. In this era of Big Data, the message from every side concerns previously unimagined complexity, incessant cross-talk and intertwining pathways, wildly unexpected genomic performances, dynamic conformational changes involving proteins and their cooperative or antagonistic binding partners, pervasive multifunctionality, intricately directed behavior somehow arising from the interaction of countless players in interpenetrating networks, and opposite effects by the same molecules in slightly different contexts. The picture at the molecular level begins to look as lively and organic — and thoughtful — as life itself.
    http://natureinstitute.org/txt.....ell_23.htm

    In the following article, a working biologist agrees with Talbott’s assessment and states “in our work, we biologists use words that imply intentionality, functionality, strategy, and design in biology–we simply cannot avoid them.”:

    Life, Purpose, Mind: Where the Machine Metaphor Fails – Ann Gauger – June 2011
    Excerpt: I’m a working biologist, on bacterial regulation (transcription and translation and protein stability) through signalling molecules, ,,, I can confirm the following points as realities: we lack adequate conceptual categories for what we are seeing in the biological world; with many additional genomes sequenced annually, we have much more data than we know what to do with (and making sense of it has become the current challenge); cells are staggeringly chock full of sophisticated technologies, which are exquisitely integrated; life is not dominated by a single technology, but rather a composite of many; and yet life is more than the sum of its parts; in our work, we biologists use words that imply intentionality, functionality, strategy, and design in biology–we simply cannot avoid them.
    Furthermore, I suggest that to maintain that all of biology is solely a product of selection and genetic decay and time requires a metaphysical conviction that isn’t troubled by the evidence. Alternatively, it could be the view of someone who is unfamiliar with the evidence, for one reason or another. But for those who will consider the evidence that is so obvious throughout biology, I suggest it’s high time we moved on. – Matthew
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....nt-8858161

    Also of note:

    The formal Darwinism project – June 2015
    Excerpt: Today, as molecular biologists choose to call some of their discoveries ‘mechanisms’, and ascribe ‘functions’ to enzymes, they use purposive language and so they also adopt the design approach. It is arguably impossible to undertake work in many areas of biology without doing so: purpose in explanations has great power, and attempts to do without it in ethology,,, have long ago been abandoned as unworkable.
    of note: *Ethology is the scientific and objective study of animal behaviour
    per – scientiasalon

    This improper use of ‘agency’ is also found throughout physics. For instance, as C S Lewis pointed out, it is impossible to describe actions in physics without improperly invoking agent causality:

    “to say that a stone falls to earth because it’s obeying a law, makes it a man and even a citizen”
    – CS Lewis

    “In the whole history of the universe the laws of nature have never produced, (i.e. caused), a single event.”
    C.S. Lewis – doodle video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_20yiBQAIlk

    That Darwinists live in blatant denial of the design they see first hand in life is also made abundantly clear by Darwinists themselves. Richard Dawkins himself stated:

    “Yet the living results of natural selection overwhelmingly impress us with the appearance of design as if by a master watchmaker, impress us with the illusion of design and planning.”
    Richard Dawkins – “The Blind Watchmaker” – 1986 – page 21
    quoted from this video – Michael Behe – Life Reeks Of Design – 2010 – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hdh-YcNYThY

    Richards Dawkins is far from the only prominent atheist who seems to be afflicted with the mental illness of seeing the ‘illusion of design’ pervasively throughout life. The well known atheist Francis Crick, co-discoverer of DNA, seems to have been particularly haunted by this illusion of seeing design everywhere he looked in molecular biology:

    “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.”
    Francis Crick – What Mad Pursuit – p. 138 (1990)

    “Organisms appear as if they had been designed to perform in an astonishingly efficient way, and the human mind therefore finds it hard to accept that there need be no Designer to achieve this”
    Francis Crick – What Mad Pursuit – p. 30

    Yet, despite the fact that, according to many leading atheists themselves, life gives the overwhelming ‘appearance’ of having been designed for a purpose, all the purported scientific evidence, that is suppose to demonstrate for us how this overwhelming appearance of design in life came to be by Darwinian processes, turns out, itself, to be ‘illusory’.

    Franklin M. Harold, whom I believe is also an atheist, calls Darwinian accounts ‘a variety of wishful speculations’. Specifically he states:

    “,,,we must concede that there are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations.”
    Franklin M. Harold,* 2001. The way of the cell: molecules, organisms and the order of life, Oxford University Press, New York, p. 205.
    *Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry, Colorado State University, USA

    In fact, one of the main themes of many of Michael Behe’s talks is that all ‘grand Darwinian claims rest on undisciplined imagination’:

    “Grand Darwinian claims rest on undisciplined imagination”
    Dr. Michael Behe – 29:24 mark of this following video
    Evidence of Design from Biology. A Presentation by Dr. Michael Behe – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....fM#t=1762s

    Darwinists simply have no empirical evidence whatsoever, not even one code, that Darwinian processes can produce the ‘appearance of design’ that they themselves are seeing pervasively throughout life:

    The Law of Physicodynamic Incompleteness – David L. Abel
    Excerpt: “If decision-node programming selections are made randomly or by law rather than with purposeful intent, no non-trivial (sophisticated) function will spontaneously arise.”
    If only one exception to this null hypothesis were published, the hypothesis would be falsified. Falsification would require an experiment devoid of behind-the-scenes steering. Any artificial selection hidden in the experimental design would disqualify the experimental falsification. After ten years of continual republication of the null hypothesis with appeals for falsification, no falsification has been provided.
    The time has come to extend this null hypothesis into a formal scientific prediction:
    “No non trivial algorithmic/computational utility will ever arise from chance and/or necessity alone.”
    https://www.academia.edu/Documents/in/The_Law_of_Physicodynamic_Incompleteness

    “Darwinism provided an explanation for the appearance of design, and argued that there is no Designer — or, if you will, the designer is natural selection. If that’s out of the way — if that just does not explain the evidence — then the flip side of that is, well, things appear designed because they are designed.”
    Richard Sternberg – Living Waters documentary

    That objective morality exists is also made evident by atheists themselves. NO sane person on earth, including atheists, live their lives as if objective morality did not exist. Even Dawkins himself admits that life would be ‘intolerable’ for him if he lived his life according to his professed atheistic beliefs:

    Who wrote Richard Dawkins’s new book? – October 28, 2006
    Excerpt:
    Dawkins: What I do know is that what it feels like to me, and I think to all of us, we don’t feel determined. We feel like blaming people for what they do or giving people the credit for what they do. We feel like admiring people for what they do.,,,
    Manzari: But do you personally see that as an inconsistency in your views?
    Dawkins: I sort of do. Yes. But it is an inconsistency that we sort of have to live with otherwise life would be intolerable.
    per Evolution News and Views

  30. 30
    harry says:

    Rationalitys ban @ 27,

    First, what BA77 said @30. ;o)

    Why can’t there be a God who created the universe but left morality subjective?

    A deistic god may have done just that. But the Christian God’s revelation to us makes clear that that is not the case. So the question becomes whether it is reasonable to believe in the Christian God. Before you dismiss that, forget all your preconceived ideas about Christianity for a minute and consider the possibility that the primary reality is a “Who” not a “what,” who brought the Universe and the living things within it into being, and who continually holds the Universe and us in existence, and does so purposefully. And — this is the intriguing part — became one of us, assuming our human nature, and walked among us teaching us by His life and words just what His purposes are.

    I don’t see how any rational creature would not be interested in checking out such a wildly beautiful and interesting claim. What if it turns out that belief in this is not just reasonable, but that the evidence for it is quite compelling? What if it becomes obvious that it is true?

    What if the whole story of His purposes turns out to be extremely good news that gives life deep meaning and purpose and assures one of eternal joy at the bargain price of obedience and loyalty to the true God during only a fleeting earthly life which will be over before we know it? What if the alternative is eternal misery? How could anybody not want to check this out? How could they not feel obliged to check it out?

  31. 31
    Mung says:

    Upright BiPed:

    If so, then do you yet understand that to organize the heterogeneous cell requires the physical capacity to specify objects among alternatives?

    You mean it’s not just a bag of chemicals?

    The cell can’t just produce proteins and enzymes willy-nilly and hope for the best?

    Sheesh. I bet you’re on this semiosis thing again. Don’t you ever tire of it?

    😉

  32. 32
    Barry Arrington says:

    Barry: “In summary, Sev is wrong when he says the Holocaust was not objectively evil.”

    Rationalitys bane: “Is it possible for you to link Sev’s comment that claims this.”

    Ummm, did you read the first two sentences of the OP? If you had, you would have found this:

    Barry summarizing Sev’s position: “I personally disagree with the slaughter of every single Jew and homosexual, but that is just my view and if someone has a different view I cannot say their view is objectively bad and mine is objectively good. The only thing that matters is who is stronger.” Sev responded:

    Sev agreeing the summary is accurate: “Essentially right.”

  33. 33
    Seversky says:

    This is part of the post to which Barry is referring:

    Close, but I would say that ultimately the stronger is the side that has the greatest number of supporters. That is how the Nazis were beaten. They had what even their enemies conceded was the best army in the world at that time. But their exclusivist ideology concerning an Aryan master-race and the atrocious behavior they believed it justified turned most of the rest of the world against them. No matter how good their army was they were never going defeat the overwhelming numbers brought against them. That was always going to be their downfall.

    It comes down to this, Sev. You are saying “I personally disagree with the slaughter of every single Jew and homosexual, but that is just my view and if someone has a different view I cannot say their view is objectively bad and mine is objectively good. The only thing that matters is who is stronger.”

    Essentially right. I don’t believe there are any objective moral standards against which all other moralities can be measured. The moral code that will ultimately prevail will be the one that offers the broadest guarantees and protections to the greatest numbers of people. Extreme exclusivist ideologies or theologies are ultimately doomed in the same way that the Nazis were.

    In other words, what matters who is stronger in the sense that there is strength in numbers. The Nazis proved to be the stronger in the early stages of WWII but they way they behaved in so doing roused most of the rest of the world to move against them. Ultimately, they were vastly outnumbered and that’s why they were defeated.

  34. 34

    Why Are Materialists Such Pollyannas? Because they are delusional.

  35. 35
    Autodidaktos says:

    “Why Are Materialists Such Pollyannas? Because they are delusional.”

    A delusion is a false personal belief that is not subject to reason or contradictory evidence and is not explained by a person’s usual cultural and religious concepts. However, materialism is a belief which is grounded in some concepts held to within popular culture, and therefore is better described as a superstition.

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