Darwinist rhetorical tactics Logic and First Principles of right reason Selective Hyperskepticism

WJM on the truth denialism issue

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WJM, of course, often puts up gems well worth headlining and pondering.

Here, he tackles truth denialism in reply to KS in the is nothing certain thread:

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>>I’ve never understood what Keiths point is in making this argument. So there is some technical chance that god or aliens or demons are deceiving us into believing false propositions. So what?

What difference in day to day life would it make to keep reminding oneself that there is a technical possibility that they are in error about anything they think?

People still have to act as if they are certain about all sorts of things. People still have to argue as they know some things are true. Keith is as operationally certain of the validity of his argument as anyone else is certain of anything else. That he admits to some technical possibility that he might be in error doesn’t change the certainty about which he makes his case.

What interests me is that what amounts to nothing more, really, than some technical possibility that is utterly impractical in every-day life is so important to Keiths and others of his ilk. Their clamor against self-evident truths, the principles of logic and absolute certainty on any matter signifies something, but not a meaningful argument about how people actually must behave and think in the real world.

What’s become clear to me is that these are expressions of something more fundamental to their psyche – what I call a “truth denialism”, which rests entirely on being convinced that a thing is possible. For example, regardless of the overwhelming appearance of design in biology, it is possible that chance and natural law could have generated the appearance of design. That possibility of “deception” or “error” about the appearance of a thing is enough for them to deny the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Even though they employ their free will and use it as if it is autonomous, and even though their actions and arguments require the assumption that it exists; it is possible that it is simply the happenstance product of interacting molecules that determine thought and action.

Even though every moment of their existence and word they use to argue screams otherwise – screams for libertarian free will, for objective morality, for the absolute validity of the principles of logic – they insist that the bare possibility that those things are not true or absolutely valid justifies their denialist perspective, even though such a perspective is ultimately self-defeating and self-referentially incoherent.

Post-modernists have built entire philosophies and terminologies dedicated to the capacity to obfuscate, redefine and deny truth. KN called using classical logic to demonstrate the incoherent nature of “other forms of rationality” (such as, something being deemed rational because it simply conforms to a cultural norm) normative violence. IOW, it was oppressive (his word) to deny the validity of “other forms of rationality” because they were not rational according to logic.

IMO, Keiths et al use “bare possibility” as a means to justify their intellectual aversion to truth, because truth inexorably leads to god. They wish to deny god, and so they must avoid truth; avoiding truth means clinging to possibilities, terminologies, interpretations and philosophies that deny truth or redefines it.

What can logic prove to those who deny truth exists? What can logic prove to those who deny that logical principles are binding? What can logic prove to those who deny “I exist”, or “causation exists”, or “error exists” or “A=A” are necessarily true propositions?

There’s simply no argument that can penetrate such a wall of denial based entirely on “possibility”. Nor should we be able to breach their self-imposed lunacy. Free will, among other things, is the capacity to deny anything, even to the point of insanity and evil. All we can do is recognize it and point it out; there is no “convincing” them otherwise. It’s their choice.>>

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We need to ask, what is driving this. END

9 Replies to “WJM on the truth denialism issue

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Indeed another gem from WJM

  2. 2
    Barry Arrington says:

    Well said WJM. And I would again highlight that it is not a coincidence that there is a near one-to-one correspondence between those who employ such denialism and those who refuse to say it is evil to kill little boys and girls, chop their tiny bodies into pieces and sell the pieces like so much meat in the marketplace. The irony, of course, is that while KN blithers about non-existent “normative violence,” his and Keiths’ antics further a mindset that enables real, actual violence again these little boys and girls.

    WJM, there is indeed a point to Keiths’ project. The point is the attempted removal of all barriers to assertion of the autonomous will.

  3. 3
    bFast says:

    WJM’s post was truly thoughtful. I appreciate his term “operationally certain”. I think that if the line of reasoning that has dominated this thread for the last few posts is to come to some end, the concept of “operational certainty”, rather than some ethereal “absolute certainty” needs to dominate.

    I loved this statement:

    [R]egardless of the overwhelming appearance of design in biology, it is possible that chance and natural law could have generated the appearance of design. That possibility of “deception” or “error” about the appearance of a thing is enough for them to deny the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

    It hits the nail right on the proverbial head — and maintains the central focus of UD.

    Another paragraph is profound:

    IMO, Keiths et al use “bare possibility” as a means to justify their intellectual aversion to truth, because truth inexorably leads to god. They wish to deny god, and so they must avoid truth; avoiding truth means clinging to possibilities, terminologies, interpretations and philosophies that deny truth or redefines it.

    ID = designer. The designer of ID must be outside of the universe, as the universe is designed. Therefore ID = A singular (only one big bang) supernatural (outside of the universe) intelligence.

    If absolute, or even operational, truth is wedged in, the whole lie of naturalism is laid bare.

  4. 4
    awstar says:

    We need to ask, what is driving this?

    Perhaps we’re getting to see first hand what it means for God to harden a man’s heart.
    He just lets the desires of a man’s heart have their way, in spite of the mind’s awareness of resulting consequences that can’t be good. Therefore, a better question to ask is “What is God up to?”

  5. 5

    BA said:

    WJM, there is indeed a point to Keiths’ project. The point is the attempted removal of all barriers to assertion of the autonomous will.

    … while fooling themselves that no such autonomous will exists. That way, in their minds, there is no god, no truth, no absolute morality, no necessary consequences, so anything that is done can simply be shrugged away as the happenstance product of interacting molecules.

    Chopping up babies to sell on the market? That’s just the way tne nature ball bounces.

  6. 6
    Andre says:

    WJM

    As a former atheist myself I know what they are going through but of course in their minds I could be uncertain..
    .

  7. 7
    Mung says:

    If chopping up unborn babies and selling the parts were evil, God would not permit it. Therefore God does not exist. QED.

  8. 8
    Seversky says:

    William J Murray @ 5

    Chopping up babies to sell on the market? That’s just the way tne nature ball bounces

    Alinsky would be proud.

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:

    Seversky, the worst holocaust in history is ongoing, and some of its ugliness has been recently exposed. Our reaction at this moment of painful truth reveals much. KF

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