"It seems to me that to organize on the basis of feeding people or righting social injustice and all that is very valuable. But to rally people around the idea of modernism, modernity, or something is simply silly. I mean, I don't know what kind of a cause that is, to be up to date. I think it ultimately leads to fashion and snobbery and I'm against it."
Jack Levine: January 3, 1915 – November 8, 2010
I went back to using Google as a search engine for a while and have noticed that whenever I'm looking up anything current in the news the top of the search is mostly from dishonest right-wing, Republican megaphones of the media. I don't remember noticing that before. It seems strange to me that a niche market company like FOX should swamp other networks if the search is based on actual trust in them. Is FOX Googlebombing its websites in the way Dan Savage did for his definition of "Santorum"? I can imagine some billionaires putting money into an effort to do that. We know other people do that kind of thing because they openly organize their efforts, it would be silly to believe other groups aren't doing that without the public announcements. If Google can't make its system immune to that kind of manipulation, what good is it? If there is a better search engine that is more immune from the kind of bending and twisting that Google is obviously vulnerable to I'd like to know what it is.
I can't claim that I'm reluctant to beat up on Jerry Coyne just because so many other aggressive atheists have also denied that free will and free thought are possible. I'm not reluctant because, as is typical of that genera of academic ideologues, he is a bullying jerk, one of the bigger ones of those. Even other atheists of his school of ideology and even his bullying style have commented on what a jerk he is. If I can find the citation I will identify the science blogger who noted "he's twelve". Materialists, especially those wedding it to scientism, are some of the most aggressive bullies in academia.
But to the point you raise in the same style, look at those quotes in that piece from four years ago. As an attempt to force you to think about the consequences of what Coyne - and just about every ideological atheist - says on these topics. I'll break them down separately.
Almost all of us agree that we’re meat automatons in the sense that all our actions are predetermined by the laws of physics as mediated through our genes and environments and expressed in brains.
This is a typical though somewhat vulgar expression of the allowable view of human minds and lives under any scheme of materialism, whether you call it that or "naturalism" or "physicalism" depending on how you want to disguise your adherence to the ideology of materialism. People and our minds must be the product of the physical body, usually concentrating on the brain, and our thoughts, all of them, are the product of physical causation and nothing more. Being a geneticist and a Darwinian fundamentalist, Coyne gives this the biological twist though he, as all materialists, ultimately looks to physics for the ultimate validation of his religion. We differ in how we interpret that fact vis-à-vis “free will and “moral responsibility,” though many of us seem to think that the truth of determinism should be quietly shelved for the good of the masses. Starting with the universal claim of materialists that his ideology is a matter of "fact" instead of his ideological preference, when it is not a fact, he accuses his fellow materialists of wanting to deny or, for the time being, set aside "the truth of determinism" "for the good of the masses".
I will start with the point I emphasized in the post to start with, Coyne, having set up a totally deterministic mind, in which all of our thoughts are the mere working out of the chemistry and physics present in our brains when we have those thoughts, having impeached the character of our minds into something we have no control over, he wants to claim the status of "truth" for his own ideology encapsulated into the word "determinism". Well, his determinism would have to be merely the working out of the chemistry in his own brain, the product of the same brain that produces his personality and his preferences. Under his own framing, his determinism isn't truth, it's merely the expression of his brain's preference. His claim that it is truth is also the mere expression of his preferences, it's nothing anyone else needs to regard as true - under his model anyone denying its "truth" is also expressing the mere preference produced by their brain.
Under his model of the mind, nothing, no idea ever expressed, no sensation ever felt, nothing can escape the crude, brute fact of its being just what happens when chemicals combine under rigid physical law, it cannot have any transcendent character as being "true" or false for that matter, it is just what is just as iron will rust when exposed to oxygen or an acid molecule will react when in contact with a base one. For him to claim the category of "truth" for his ideological preferences is, however, self-contradictory, if such a thing as coherence or contradiction is even possible under his ideology, which I doubt. I do think he would be hard put to maintain his self-image as one who is in the know if he were to really apply his ideological program to his own brain-only mind, which I'm sure he wouldn't like. If there is something I have come to believe about materialists, it is that their real concern isn't the truth, it is their own self-regard and their own insistence on their own status in society and, especially the academia they live in.
And now we can concentrate on that typical materialist-atheist label for the overwhelming majority of the human species, we "masses" of "meat automatons" which are to be managed by those who are in the know - or whose chemical components compel them to bully us. The 20th century, with its many experiments of atheists with political power, in the Soviet Union, China, The German "Democratic" Republic, Romania, Albania, Cambodia, etc. which were all run by dictatorships anti-religious and atheist under an explicitly materialist-atheist ideology and in other dictatorships run by anti-religious though less overtly atheist dictators, Mussolini, the Nazis, the Calles dictatorship in Mexico.... shows what happens when people are seen as "meat automatons" and any congregation of them seen as mere "masses". That degrading phrase "the masses" in all its variations should have been scrapped as definitively as eugenics should have been in the aftershocks of those dictatorships. It is a symptom of the continuing influence of the ideology all of them sprang from in academia that it persists and is so often used. Marxism and fascism both flourish among academics. In the English speaking world fascism is especially influential now, for example, under the names "federalism" and "originalism" in the United States The neo-Republicanfascism which is on full display this year is an expression of thinking about Black people, Latinos, Middle-Easterners and other people in the same terms, as undifferentiated masses inferior to those who consider them as such. It regards people in a scheme of value and industrial utility or as disposable.
The conceit of academic Marxists that their ideology was the polar opposite of fascism was always a lie because they shared the same degraded view of humanity as objects the products of and the subjects of material forces which were expressed in societies and nations. Whatever differences they may have had in some expressions didn't mitigate the fact that when you see people as objects you will treat them like objects, assigning value to them and disposing of those who don't suit your plans.
That materialist view of human beings is what marks both of those ideological systems as at odds with with democracy which cannot exist if people are convinced that people are material objects, the product of a set of peculiar physical forces without an ability to know what is true and what is false, unable to choose to do to other people what they would have them do to them and, I would argue far more, to treat people who are a burden to them as well as the Mosaic Law tradition commands. I think it requires that most people in any society believe that is a command from God in order for them to really apply it in their daily and political lives.
Democracy in the modern conception of the word, requires all of those things. It is no mere accident that the overwhelming majority of those who effectively agitated for abolition, for equal rights and for full civil rights and economic democracy have come from that religious tradition. I don't think democracy can happen anywhere where those ideas are not held by an effective majority of people, no matter what the local expression of them comes from. I am utterly convinced that is impossible under materialism and atheism. Observing the thinking and behavior of atheists with political power in the last century has convinced me of that. Observing the destruction of American democracy under elite materialism of the ubiquitous vulgar variety, even among those who profess to be Christians, has done nothing to disconfirm that. The vulgar materialism of the prosperity gospel isn't that much different from the elite academic atheism, when you strip the frills and furbelows from both.
When an academic mockingly proposes not shelving their deterministic view of humanity, you'd better get ready for lots of people to get killed.
Let's look at that second section from Coyne's diatribe which I addressed.
Second, I don’t see why on Earth he uses the word “free”? Why are people “free” if their actions are determined? The phrase “Brains are automatic, but people are free” may sound appealing, but it seems to lack content.
Here Coyne is in a swivet because he realizes that if freedom were real his materialism could not be. That has been the academic program of a huge number of materialists in biology, especially in the alleged behavioral scientists, and among other academic materialists. Whole fields of what get called science are based in denying things that would endanger materialism. I have come to believe that pretty much all of "cognative science" isn't just, as someone said, to overcome John Searle's Chinese Box disconfirmation of "hard artificial intelligence" it is part of the atheist inquisition to suppress any idea which would invalidate materialism. Here I will agree with Coyne, in so far as he is addressing the position of his fellow materialists, any of them who claim that freedom is compatible with materialism are merely stopping their application of it at a point before Coyne chooses to. They want to stop before it destroys freedom, he wants to stop before it destroys the truth of all intellectual distinction. Why he's willing to go so dangerously past the point of destroying freedom is given away in the rest of that paragraph.
We can consider them free if somehow helps us psychologically in assigning responsibility, but we can also assign responsibility if we consider ourselves “unfree” in the deterministic sense. If you committed a crime, you are responsible for that crime, whether or not you had a choice to do it. You have to be punished for societal protection and deterrence of yourself and others.
Going from where he does, immediately to the punishment of crime is kind of bizarre. There are a lot of other places he could have taken it. I will point out that his logic of assigning punishment to people who can't help themselves for how they act would mean that society could imprison or execute the mentally ill, even young children who commit a crime. Why not, if that's the case, if people are mere "meat automatons" and objects? Though how you determine what is a crime and what isn't becomes a question. It's been the practice of governments in the control of atheists to make enormous ranges of behaviors, expressions of thought illegal "for societal and protection" and "deterrence" and for them to be punished by death or its equivalent. Slave labor death camps are a common thing among materialist governments, both Marxist and fascist, just one of the overwhelming commonalities which swamp the merely theoretical economic differences among them.
That the real lesson of modern democracy is that it is the only safe alternative to materialist governance. And that includes both the vulgar materialism of current capitalism and the more pretentious theoretical materialism of fascism-Marxism. The extent to which the present danger to American democracy flows from the customs and habits of thought among those of the old confederacy and those places which have bought the places where movie induced legends of American frontier expansionism (Lebensraum, American style) are prevalent are worth considering. Those who murdered the native population and those who held Africans in slavery - as well as those on "free soil" who practiced wage slavery - were used to thinking and treating people as if they are material objects and their habits of thought are promoted by the media in American culture. That is the most basic distinction which separates democracy from oppression. Donald Trump and many of his supporters think of speak of and treat more than half of the population as objects, women. That consideration has to become central to our political and legal thinking or democracy will die. Vulgar oppression is not much different from pretentious oppression, to those oppressed.
Anthony Weiner is such a jerk that he should be sentenced to a lifetime ban from using the internet, cameras, anything that can type out a message, .... I'd ban him from using the U.S. Mail. I'd ban him from having anything to do with anyone under the age of 21. If he had any sense of decency or responsibility he'd find a cloistered monastery and spend the rest of his life in total and obscure silence. I hope this entire pathetic saga of e-mails has shown anyone who could possibly be the focus of a hacking that they should always assume they will be hacked and the maximum of what anyone could find on any device they use to access the internet is a potential problem. I hope if Hillary Clinton wins the election that she have strict rules against using e-mail or any other easily hacked or otherwise problematic communications device. While I would wish that Huma Abedin, who seems to have been the soul of discretion and judgement, could escape the consequences of her estranged husband's irresponsibility I wouldn't count on it. She should seek employment elsewhere. That jerk she's married to is going to be nothing but trouble for a Hillary Clinton administration. It sort of makes me glad to have had something more personally compelling to think about today that I'm just catching up to that stupidity. If James Comey holds onto whatever it was they found on that device they got from Weiner and keeps this "story" or, rather, the one his vagueness fueled, he should be investigated for politicizing the FBI.
She died of a rare condition called "almost a hundred". Wanda Dollard: Corner Gas Update: I had to go have some tests done today so my mortality is on my mind. I'm in that age cohort. And I just wanted to push Simps and the Eschatots' buttons. And they got pushed. Those guys are such jack asses. Update 2: Simps is such an officious little meter maid of typos on my blog, he should never have let me know they annoy him as much as they do. I'd return the favor, only it would mean I'd have to read his stuff. He copies so much it's like a continuous experience of deja vu. Hey, Simps, you'd find it a lot easier to catch Duncan in his typos, he doesn't write much.
One thing I find really funny is how it seems to be becoming fashionable among groovy, bloggy atheists to lament the deaths of pop stars in their late 60s, 70s, .... and I just stumbled across one who is railing because someone who is 98 died. It seemed to start earlier this year when David Bowie died just before his three score and ten were up. And that was a life spent in the world of pop music, not known for its strict adherence to healthy living. Didn't anyone tell them that people died and, you know, old people dying is a thing? And 69 is old, not to mention 98. Hey, groovy geezers, it's going to happen to you, too. Face it.
Yeah, you can tell how well religion "keeps the proles in line" by the activities of The Southern Christian Leadership Conference, The Reverend Martin Luther King jr., Diane Nash, The Reverend Jesse Jackson, The Reverend Al Sharpton, Father Daniel Berrigan, Sr. Ita Ford, Sr. Maura Clarke, Sr. Dorothy Kazel, Jean Donovan, Archbishop Oscar Romero, Ceasar Chavez, Dorothy Day, Peter Maurin, the Six Jesuit intellectuals martyred for their role in resisting the El Savadoran fascist government, Penny Lernoux, Fr. Ernesto Cardinal, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The students of the White Rose society, the Tappen brothers, the Lane Theological Seminarian-abolitionists, Dom Helder Camara, virtually everyone who's ever been involved with Maryknoll, Pax Christi, The American Friends Service Commitee, virtually the entire United Church of Christ and so many others ..... And that's just off the top of my head. I could probably fill a double page if I took a few hours. It doesn't count all of the huge numbers of unknown people who resisted slavery, chattel and wage, who agitated for the extension of democratic rights, who agitated to feed people, get people healthcare, etc. but whose names aren't recorded. And, of course, you can see how well atheism freed the people in the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, etc. Those "proles" living under atheism are sure free and rebellious, aren't they. For an ignorant atheist like you to make that claim is what I've come to see as typical of the ignorance, the dishonesty, the lying and the conceit of atheists. I didn't think that of atheists before I started reading them in large numbers online, I think it would have to be the honest conclusion that those are typical of atheism for anyone who has engaged and read lots of them, unfiltered, unedited and uninhibited since the likes of Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens unleashed the atheist fad fifteen or so years ago. That's one of the reasons I have every confidence the fad, if not past its sell-by, will be before long. Atheism is both an intellectual dead end and its own worst enemy. There are atheists who aren't assholes, but they would seem to be a small minority. I haven't met many of them online. Materialism is quite comfortable with oppression, that's no surprise as materialism denies everything necessary to assert the reality of equal rights. Atheist government is characteristically and massively oppressive. There are no more oppressed and cowed people than those who live under the atheist regimes of the 20th century.
There is no rational case to be made that with such views as the Cato Institute's Ilya Shapiro's being mouthed by senior Republican senators, that a Republican majority Senate could block, not only Barack Obama's nomination to the Supreme Court but, literally, every Democratic nominee, even if it meant the Supreme Court became extinct, that the Republican mainstream in the United States is not a fully fledged fascist party. We don't have to ask if it could happen here because it might very well happen here, if not by Donald Trump winning the presidency then by Republicans retaining control of the Senate. It is one of the most annoying things to hear media liberals talk about the Republican Party 2016 in terms of decency, the fact is anyone who was decent left that abomination long ago, a few stragglers leaving it now, perhaps, excepted. With the practice and now the advocacy for the position that they can kill the Supreme Court unless Republicans are making nominations to it, they have ripped up their oath to protect and defend the Constitution in favor of installing a de-facto one-Republicanfascist-party state. “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.” The leadership of the Republican Party has already made themselves the domestic enemies of Constitutional government. Where's the friggin' free press on that clear and present and active danger to our country? Our media are worse than useless, they are collaborators.
The increasingly unhinged blogging of Jerry Coyne is at odds with his professional work in biology. Whereas his blogging is frequently a semi-obscene screed of bigotry and irrationality, seemingly a Chick publication dropped here from an alternate universe, Coyne manages to keep his lid on when he has professional credibility at stake. Coyne's complete oeuvre could serve as a definition of the compartmentalization he and his cult followers are always going on about in relation to religious scientists.
But this is a post about politics and why, despite all my inclinations to ignore it, there is, actually, a huge problem with the ideology of atheism that could lead a reasonable person to wonder if they should vote for an atheist. And it is what many atheists, themselves, say that provides the reasonable reservation.
Now, having pointed out that atheists are a covered class under U.S. civil rights laws, and that they have been since the mid 1960s, one of the favorite whines of the new atheists are surveys which show that a majority of people questioned say they wouldn't vote for an atheist for president. That issue was the one I wrote about the first time I ever wrote a critique of the new atheists, before I started using that phrase. I pointed out several things, among those that atheists were hardly alone, identifying other groups which would not be able to win the presidency, including members of a number of other, religious minorities. I also pointed out that voters were not bound by the constitutional "no religious test" clause and could and did vote on the basis of a religious test quite often. I also pointed out that if atheists wanted to change their situation it depended on the opinion of the religious majority and that blanket ridicule was hardly a proven method of winning friends, not to mention the votes of strangers. I'll note in passing that I've read atheists who have said they'd never vote for a Biblical fundamentalist to absolutely no objection. I'm not sure I would either. Needless to say, these points were hardly well accepted among the atheists in the audience. But if it's OK to set a religious test that would rule out voting for a Biblical fundamentalist, why isn't it all right to set one up that rules out voting for an atheist? [Note, I will not be holding my breath waiting for the answer to that question, it's been ten years since I first asked atheists that one.]
Since then I've gained more and more experience with the new atheism and the scientism and materialism that, in fact, comprise the secular religion of just about all atheists I'm aware of. While I still stand by the points I first made more than five [now ten] years ago, I think there is something more basic to the ideology of modern atheism that might reasonably make people in a democracy reluctant to vote for anyone holding those ideas.
In each and every case, when materialism considers questions of free will and related concepts, the result is, inevitably, the assertion that they are delusions, the products of imagination. For a bunch who typically consider themselves to be "free thinkers" the belief in the biological determinism of our thinking is remarkably freely expressed among materialists. Their belief in their own ability to transcend their biological programming in their thought is, apparently, the result of compartmentalization, making an exemption for themselves and their beliefs that have been noted by others before now*. And, as is true with free will, there are frequent denials of the existence of inherent rights, the right to justice (in its biblical sense), equality and a host of other ideas which, while science is incompetent to find them, history and the first and most basic of all sources of evidence, our experience, are more than adequate to locate them and defend them. I'll say again, those are not things that these materialists are generally willing to do without themselves, even as they deny their reality.
Of course, these atheists "know" that free will doesn't exist because "science" tells them so. Their "science" which is, as the product of their very biologically programmed brains, presumably as subject to the conditions of that determination as the belief in free will or God, for that matter, cannot escape the same impeachment of its reality as the belief in free will, inherent rights and other, presumed, mental products of biological chemistry. Though that doesn't seem to enter into it for the materialist mind, yet another carved out exception**. Which brings us back to Jerry Coyne and one of his recent posts about these issues.
Almost all of us agree that we’re meat automatons in the sense that all our actions are predetermined by the laws of physics as mediated through our genes and environments and expressed in brains. We differ in how we interpret that fact vis-à-vis “free will and “moral responsibility,” though many of us seem to think that the truth of determinism should be quietly shelved for the good of the masses.
Considering the central place that the belief in determinism holds in the blood baths of the 20th century, genocide, racial enslavement, gender oppression ... the belief in biological determinism should not be merely shelved out of niceness, it should be subject to THE HIGHEST level of skepticism. Any alleged science which leads to determinism should be subject to the very highest levels of review, by the most DISINTERESTED scientists, possible. [ Obviously any scientist with an ideological devotion to materialism cannot be relied on to be objective about the possibility that determinism is an ideological delusion.] In fact, that history makes the consideration of these issues far too important to leave to the scientists. When we mere lay folk have been the victims of scientific assertions of biological determinism, that gives us the right to make a direct critique of the idea on the basis of our experience.
If free will exists, as I freely say it does, there is an aspect of it that would make any scientist purporting to say anything about it on the basis of science, open to that highest skepticism. The claim to have discovered anything about it, even its non-existence with science is fundamentally irrational. Free will, in order to be free, would have to exist independent of causality. If it was the product of causation it would be determined and not free. Despite that concept being repugnant to materialism as well as scientism, the concept of free will requires its independence of causality to be taken into account in the fantastic claims about it made by scientists. Science, being absolutely dependent on casual relationships, it could not find free will if it searched for it for an eternity.
Fortunately there are far superior methods of determining the truth and reality of free will available. The history of societies and countries which assume the existence of free will and other ideas that give these materialists the screaming fantods, their relative freedom of oppression and freedom from violence, as opposed to those which assume that human beings are "meat robots", as a far more impressive and far more definitive experiment in the existence of free will and rights than plugging a tiny number of subjects into an fMRI machine could produce.
One of the foremost assertions of the validity of science is that "science works", meaning that science produces useful things we consider to be of benefit to the world. Well, in human experience, free will, inherent rights, etc. have a far more certain validity because they work and determinism doesn't. The enormous differences in real world results of the belief in determinism and the belief in free will constitute far more powerful evidence than the products of contemporary science which produces the denial of free will.
Consider this paragraph from Coyne's post: Second, I don’t see why on Earth he uses the word “free”? Why are people “free” if their actions are determined? The phrase “Brains are automatic, but people are free” may sound appealing, but it seems to lack content. We can consider them free if somehow helps us psychologically in assigning responsibility, but we can also assign responsibility if we consider ourselves “unfree” in the deterministic sense. If you committed a crime, you are responsible for that crime, whether or not you had a choice to do it. You have to be punished for societal protection and deterrence of yourself and others.
You would have to be either entirely ignorant of recent history or an irrationally credulous member of a scientistic cult for that to not raise all kinds of red flags. Of course, Coyne, given his faith in determinism, would question the existence of freedom, every determinist eventually does when these questions are pressed. Determinism is nothing less than the complete denial of the basis of democracy, egalitarian democracy and the once strong ideology of liberalism***.
The more genteel of determinists will come up with some artificial substitute, utilitarianism or aesthetic preference or something merely to be preferred to mitigate the real meaning of their denial of freedom. But these stop gaps will always have the same quality, of being merely something that they "help us psychologically", as if that will prevent the bloodshed and the horrible oppression that have characterized every single officially materialist, officially atheistic government that has existed. Not one of their proposed substitutes is any less vulnerable to denial than any religious assertions of morality and their preceding ideological basis will lead towards nihilism because science can't produce morality.
It is especially telling that Coyne chooses to focus on the desire to punish crime "for societal protection" instead of some more benign aspect of government for the creation of what he obviously believes is merely a necessary, what I assert would be very easily rejected, myth. Presumably the crimes that Coyne would care about and which will incur punishment, could be no less arbitrary based in nothing more solid than his "necessary myth", temporary preference. How can science devise a code of civil law? Scientism would have to hold that those laws would be without real existence or meaning. Given his deep hatred of religion, I wouldn't expect expressions suspected as betraying religiosity could escape being criminal, eventually, in a government ruled by his preferences. Of course, it would be "for societal protection". That frequently mythical virtue is always given as an excuse for official depravity. It must be noted that, as bad as other governments have been at consistent application of legal codes, officially atheist governments have shown far less interest in abiding by their own laws.
Atheism, when based in materialism, has a history of denying freedom and with that comes a denial of rights, a denial of equality, and eventually risks the whole host of historical and political evils that come with the denial of those moral concepts. The major backing that racial, sexual, class and other forms of societal and political oppression have in the modern period taken on the form of science. It took the witness to the biologically based genocides of Hitler to shock Western societies out of the deterministic "science" of eugenics. And, as the memory of that fades, eugenics, by other names, is reemerging and has gained a strong foothold among people with greater influence****. Science - for "science" is what is commonly taken by scientists and other people to be science at any given time - has more than matched primitive excuses for the objectification of people, removed inhibitions to people being used and disposed of that are found in religions and philosophies. The very habit of science treats what it looks in that way, it objectifies even the organisms it looks at. Science can assert the reliability of its objectification with the prestige and authority it has, on the absolute foundation of materialism. It can assert knowledge instead of mere belief, in the popular imagination of certain knowledge. [See update below]. And it matches the resulting brutality of that objectification with increased efficiency in methodology. Science is efficacious in achieving ends.
. I have not encountered many atheists who were not materialists, whether conscious of that or not, I have never met one who was not a true believer in scientism. If anyone has examples of atheists who are not infected with those anti-liberal, anti-democratic ideologies I'd like to read them. If some materialist has come up with a plausible argument for the real existence of freedom and inherent rights and equality I'd like to read them because I don't believe that valid materialist explanations of them can exist. I've looked and haven't found any who come up with something strong enough to counter the very strong force of selfishness.
I have no faith in the political or social efficacy of utilitarianism or the other proposed imaginary or post-post modern style arguments for the mitigation of the brutality of materialist scientism. I think people believing that other people are "meat automatons" or bags of chemical reactions, or any other form of objectification is an open invitation for them to try to use people as brutally as they do animals. And that they can do so with impunity if they are not stopped. That has been the history of atheism with political power, those experiments have been run. I believe that much of the crime and brutality of life in the United States is based in that kind of objectification, even among those who profess religion.
If I'm skeptical of the good intentions of someone who begins by professing a belief that people are imbued with a spark of divinity, that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent rights, having looked closely at the history and contemporary culture of atheism for the past five years, I'm far more skeptical of people who believe that people are merely objects, I don't believe that they are inclined, by their ideology, to see it as absolutely wrong to exploit, hurt or even kill human beings on the basis or utility or in furtherance of their personal (or ideological) desires. I absolutely believe that any society which regards people as "meat automatons" will eventually turn into a horrific, oppressive blood bath such as those which history provides as the clearest and most soberly real warnings.
Many people who read this will be deeply offended and angry. I am sorry that that will be the case. If I didn't believe that I was morally required to regard their feelings I probably would have said much of this in that original post linked to above. I don't see how any scientistic materialists could complain that, in response to one of their own, I have now said it. They don't have a right to my silence on these issues, especially when Coyne and many others makes these arguments in the very real, very dangerous realm of politics.
I am sure many will point to this or that atheist who demonstrated great benevolence and kindness. And I acknowledge that suchindividuals are there. Though I don't believe that their benevolence and kindness are the products of their materialism or their scientism. That isn't possible because neither provides the moral compass necessary to stick to those inclinations. I could speculate on where they developed the habits of thought and action that allow them to overcome, at least sometimes, the brutality of materialism but that's something they might best tell us, just as a religious scientist is the only reliable source of information as to their mental habits.
But I have no faith in the abilities of large numbers of materialists to compartmentalize their materialist faith from the selfish desires we all have. History gives overwhelming evidence that selfish desire is only sometimes overcome by societies. And, as said, the history of atheistic governments gives overwhelming reasons to suspect that a country governed by materialism will always revert to brutality, it will deny the basic rights of other living beings as desired. Most brutally of all, those societies have been able to commit enormous slaughters on the basis of managerial efficiency. There is no evidence in the history of atheistic governments and groups that reason is anything like an adequate deterrent to committing evil. In their most developed forms, scientistic materialism will deny that moral categories are more than illusions.
The litany of crimes of that kind by Christian governments are undeniably a part of history, though, these days they are often exaggerated in anti-religious invective. Of course any crimes that were committed are an undeniable evil and must be remembered and condemned. But those crimes are of a distinctly different character from those of atheistic governments. The Gospel of Jesus forbids the violence and pillage that has often been done in his name, whereas materialism and science do not provide that kind of legal prohibition. Materialism and science can't tell that it is immoral to attempt a genocide. The resultant lack of hypocrisy by atheistic governments in their slaughter and oppression, due to that lack of discrepancy between profession and act, though, is hardly to be praised. Mass murder is entirely consonant with materialist atheism even as it is entirely incompatible with any religion that maintains it is a sin to kill.
I believe that it is only a morality which absolutely holds all people as being inherently endowed with rights and free will and which explicitly holds that fact requires justice be done is an absolute moral obligation ON PAIN OF REAL CONSEQUENCES, which will keep individuals, alone or in groups, from treating other people as animals are universally treated by people. Without that moral force people will consider themselves as allowed to exploit and destroy without considering the questions of equal rights. Nothing short of that will work, it is hardly guaranteed to work even when it is present. And one of the most important of all those moral positions is the absolute belief in equality. It is also an absolute moral duty of government to not selectively shield some favored members of society from the consequences of their actions, making others pay and suffer the consequences of their greed and folly. People have equal, inherent rights. That is an idea you could never derive from materialism or science, Coyne provides no convincing case for holding powerful people responsible for their "crimes" without it, no materialistic system of thought could.
I believe that the history of peoples' treatment of other people and animals are far superior ways of knowing the fact that people have free will and rights than the highly vague, very poorly founded and very conveniently asserted "findings" of "brain science" in this matter. But that's an issue for another day.
*To plead the organic causation of a religious state of mind, then, in refutation of its claim to possess superior spiritual value, is quite illogical and arbitrary, unless one has already worked out in advance some psycho-physical theory connecting spiritual values in general with determinate sorts of physiological change. Otherwise none of our thoughts and feelings, not even our scientific doctrines, not even our DIS-beliefs, could retain any value as revelations of the truth, for every one of them without exception flows from the state of its possessor's body at the time.
It is needless to say that medical materialism draws in point of fact no such sweeping skeptical conclusion. It is sure, just as every simple man is sure, that some states of mind are inwardly superior to others, and reveal to us more truth, and in this it simply makes use of an ordinary spiritual judgment. It has no physiological theory of the production of these its favorite states, by which it may accredit them; and its attempt to discredit the states which it dislikes, by vaguely associating them with nerves and liver, and connecting them with names connoting bodily affliction, is altogether illogical and inconsistent.
William James: The Varieties of Religious Experience, Lecture 1. Religion and Neurology
In the opinion of many thinkers, human freedom is closely connected with human rationality. If we were deterministic beings, what would validate the claim that our utterance constituted rational discourse? Would not the sounds issuing from our mouths, or the marks we made on paper, be simply the actions of automata? All proponents of deterministic theories, whether social and economic (Marx), or sexual(Freud), or genetic (Dawkins and E.O. Wilson), need a covert disclaimer on their own behalf, excepting their own contribution from reductive dismissal.
John Polkinghorne: Science and Religion
** The existence of these exceptions to what is taken as rigidly established reality is remarkable in itself as they would seem to be first degree relatives of the religiously proposed "exceptions" such as miracles which are rejected as an unallowable exception of "physical law". I've wondered about the relationship of the existence of routinely allowed outliers in scientific data to proposed miraculous events, but these huge exceptions in materialist scientism, automatically asserted according to subject matter and the individuals holding ideologies, are far more serious violations of their assertions of "law".
*** Marilynne Robinson has made a very persuasive argument that, despite widespread current belief, liberalism was a development from religion and not the so-called enlightenment.
**** It was, in fact, The New Republic, the pseudo-liberal magazine, which infamously promoted The Bell Curve. Coyne frequently writes anti-religious invective for it, these days. Though somewhat more decorously than he does for his blog.
Update 2016 When A Sockpuppet Pulls Memes Out Of Their Pocket
I hate to tell you but when someone uses the word "meme" it's really a sign of ignorance and superstition posing as sciency sophistication. The 1976 invention of memes is mostly useful for demonstrating how an essentially irrational, illogical and self-refuting idea can be adopted by a bunch of college educated people who accepted it on the authority of such people as its inventor, Richard Dawkins and such dolts as Susan Blackmore and Daniel Dennett. I never see someone use it without realizing my opinion of their intelligence has declined.
If "memes" were a thing, among other consequences would be the impossibility of ever having an view of physical (or any other) reality which was not thoroughly infected with them and, most logically, which would be nothing but a competing meme adopted, not on its adherence to evidence(which would also consist of memes) or resulting by testing. No aspect of our mind could possibly escape them to produce an objective view of anything. Our meme infected brains wouldn't be able to separate out or, possibly, address anything but these cultural viruses. Our minds would be, at every level, unreliable. That would include the thinking that comprises "memes" in any of our minds as well as the pseudo-scientific ideological program which they were invented to prop up evo-psy as certainly as the epicycles of the Ptolemaic system were necessary to keep that model of the universe from sinking. Only the Ptolemaic epicycles were consistent with basic intellectual integrity in a way that memes can't be.
It's fun to try to think your way out of those materialist mazes, about the only thing which biological determinism can come up with, only if you are honest and rigorous, you'll find its impossible to do it because those deterministic entities would have to also comprise any means of escape you could think up. The concept of freedom is not possible in any system of physical determinism, freedom is a concept which is only compatible with the mind being non-material and non-determined. Atheism, if it is also materialistic, will inevitably deny the possibility of freedom of thought and will, eventually, devolve into some anti-democratic ideology. That is unless you merely choose not to be honest or rigorous about the inevitable consequences of your faith.
This morning's e-mail has a link from a pretty stupid blog commentator to a story at The Guardian that shows, among other things, that folks at that august publication don't know crap about theology. The claim comes in the headline to a piece about the comic hate-monger, Jack Chick by Sam Thielman. The claim is, brace yourself, that Jack Chick's hate spewing comics put him in the running to be, "the most widely read theologian in human history". The story attributes that quote to Daniel Raeburn, a writer for The Newyorker whose cv, in so far as I can piece it together doesn't lead me to believe he has any idea what theology is. He would seem to specialize in the world of cheezy comics, which will get you considered as a kind of intellectual in the stupidity our culture is nourished from, these days.
I have been aware of Jack Chick since I was a kid when some Catholic hater stuck some of his hate material under the windshield wipers in cars parked at our local Catholic church. I've read things about him and looked at his hate-tracts and puddles of paranoia in ink on cheap paper, from time to time, in the intervening years as he continued and progressed in his psychotic lunacy and suspect I might have been more aware of him than the moron who sent me that link. I never recall ever hearing him accused of being a theologian until yesterday. I would suspect that if you polled every person who has ever received a degree in theology from an accredited institution if they considered Jack Chick a theologian you would either get unanimous judgement that he wasn't or one so small that it would virtually be the same thing. Jack Chick was a theologian in about the same way that people who man the most extreme creationist venues could be called biologists, geologists and physicists. Except that some of them actually have credentials from accredited universities in STEM subjects.
Actually, considering the stuff that gets considered to be serious science these days, multi-verse theory, the Just-so stories of Sociobiology and evo-psy (which nurtured and rewarded Kevin MacDonald's blatant anti-Semitism as science, not that removed from the world of Jack Chick) some of the most outlandish ideas of so-called science and its extension into "cognitive science" ... I would say that some topics in science, these days, has more in common with the mind of Jack Chick than any current theologian I'm aware of. And unlike the atheists, I've actually read some theologians.
I must say that this past two years of the election season has made for a steady decline in my regard for the world of magazine journalism and, even more so, webazine journalism. I'd like Daniel Raeburn to list the works of theology he's read in the past ten years.
I mentioned Jack Chick's outfit in several posts over the years. Never positively and never as anything remotely to do with theology. This one, for example.
The increasingly unhinged blogging of Jerry Coyne is at odds with his professional work in biology. Whereas his blogging is frequently a semi-obscene screed of bigotry and irrationality, seemingly a Chick publication dropped here from an alternate universe, Coyne manages to keep his lid on when he has professional credibility at stake. Coyne's complete oeuvre could serve as a definition of the compartmentalization he and his cult followers are always going on about in relation to religious scientists.
But this is a post about politics and why, despite all my inclinations to ignore it, there is, actually, a huge problem with the ideology of atheism that could lead a reasonable person to wonder if they should vote for an atheist. And it is what many atheists, themselves, say that provides the reasonable reservation....
2 comments: steve simelsOctober 26, 2016 at 1:33 PM "New York City should finally scrape out the sewer that is always just under the surface of its politics and media and finances, the breeding ground for people like Cohn and Giuliani and Donald Trump." Get back to me when you Maine hicks apologize for electing Paul LePage, asshole. Seriously -- the guy's named after a brand of airplane glue. The Thought CriminalOctober 26, 2016 at 1:58 PM You are such a good example of what I'm talking about. Thanks for another easy post.
Note that first link was a response to Simps, the "Drooling Fool" which he obviously forgot. I think if he had what you need to lose to become senile I'd suspect that was what it was. Only I don't think he's got an attention span that long.
In the mean time, I would like a listing of his posts slamming his idea of the center of the universe which has inflicted Cohn, Giuliani, Trump and who knows how many other volcanoes of venom on the world. New York City is unusual, even by big city standards, for inflicting long standing evil in the country and the world. Look at how long it took them to disbar Roy Cohn and the cowards had to wait till he was on his deathbed to do it. Though that scene in Angels in America was quite satisfying. Meryl Streep as Ethel Rosenberg, Al Pacino, some of the best acting America has ever produced. Too bad I can't believe she was innocent, anymore.
Update 2: I would like to be able to assume that anyone who reads what I've written would know that I am absolutely opposed to capital punishment, especially someone like Stupy Simels with whom I've argued on that point as recently as August 29th, but apparently his short term memory has already gone. That the Rosenbergs, guilty as we now must conclude they were, should not have been executed and that they were railroaded to their death, is also something that Stupy knows I hold. For example, here's just one of the things I said about that:
Those anti-democratic ideologies, all of them materialist ideologies, dominated and wasted the time and meager resources and the sacred honor of the left. They had no legitimate claim on those, they used the tales of their victimization by J. Edgar Hoover, Joseph McCarthy, etc. to gull the left into destroying itself on their behalf. I will say in passing that I am really angry with the credibility wasted on such things as the Rosenbergs, sold to and by the left as innocent martyrs in ten-thousand rehashings of their case, only to find out that Julius Rosenberg, certainly and Ethel Rosenberg almost certainly were, indeed, atomic spies for Stalin. The time and loss of credibility for the left, claiming their total innocence would have been better spent on opposing the death penalty, the only real wrong done to them.
I could have added that the Rosenbergs who could have very likely saved their lives by admitting that they were involved with an attempt to give the bomb to a dictator who was, if anything, a far more accomplished mass murderer than Hitler but were ordered by their Communist bosses to not confess, were stupid to not save themselves by telling the truth. They obviously cared more about their red-fascist cult than they did about their sons or the truth.
As for "everyone in the world wants to go to New York City". I can assure you there are far more millions of people, billions of people who would never want to live there and many who don't have any inclination to visit it. There are a few pictures there I'd like to see or see again, fewer musical events I'd like to hear but other than that nothing could entice me to go back. I'd rather live in Augusta Maine, one of the most hideous towns in my state and I don't care if I never see that again, either.
Rudy Giuliani is in the running as the biggest liar of the Trump campaign, maybe even bigger than the big psychopath, himself. I say that after hearing the video of him accusing Hillary Clinton of being the biggest criminal who has run for president the other day. He knows that she's been more investigated than any other presidential candidate in the history of the presidency, investigated by her Republican opponents spending more than fifty million dollars, having billionaires and millionaires spending huge amounts of money in private hit attempts and she has not been credibly shown to have committed a crime which a credible prosecutor has pursued or, I'd argue, even non-credible ones such as the Republican hit-man Ken Starr. Rudy Giuliani is about a low as it gets, not because he's as big a liar as Jones or Savage or Limbaugh or Hannity but because he's a lawyer who knows that what he's saying is an enormous lie. He has no integrity, no sense of decency, no honesty, no morals. He should be relegated to an anechoic chamber with a dead mic, never to be heard of again. Instead he's all over the media because he's been the mayor of New York City and it doesn't matter how low one of them goes, the media will still give them time to lie. New York City should finally scrape out the sewer that is always just under the surface of its politics and media and finances, the breeding ground for people like Cohn and Giuliani and Donald Trump.
An your or so ago I got off the phone with a friend who is a state politician. He says one of the best things the Hillary Clinton campaign is doing is sharing resources with candidates all down the ticket, something he had criticized Barack Obama's two campaigns for not doing. One of those many virtues I noted Barack Obama had didn't include him caring very much about state and local offices, apart from those being held or sought by people he knew.
If Hillary Clinton wins the election one of the things I hope is revived is something like the 50-State-Strategy of Howard Dean when he was the head of the Democratic National Committee. The Obama administration did a lot of really stupid things the first two years they were in office, neglecting party building was one of the stupidest. I believed at the time and still believe that it was a result of the arrogance of the president and, especially, his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel and his media guy, David Axelrod. I think one of the problems with the Obama administration was that way too many of those the president listened to had little to no experience, understanding of, or interest in large swaths of the country and no ability to understand more than a small part of the potential that lay in those places. I think Hillary Clinton, from her time in Arkansas and her time campaigning in and representing rural areas of New York State might be far less likely to make those same mistakes.
I hope a President Hillary Clinton doesn't appoint anyone as bad as the self-centered, egotistical, small-minded and vindictive Rahm Emanuel to anything important. I used to admire how he handled dopey journalists who said stupid things but that was about his best quality and it doesn't go far. I think we will long be suffering under his influence in the Obama administration. I don't think he did an awful lot to supplement the areas of Barack Obama's thinking that could have used expanding.
If we are so lucky as to see Donald Trump defeated and the Republicans made to pay a severe penalty for their promotion of fascism we can't let his percentage of the popular vote not serve as a serious warning of how dangerously close we've come to allowing a fascist strongman to take the presidency. With everything that has come out of his mouth and the mouths of his surrogates this election cycle, there is no mistaking what a vote for him means, that a dangerously large percentage of the American People are prepared to vote for someone like him.
We already knew there were places in the country prepared to vote for fascist demagogues. Seats in the House and the Senate, Governor-ships, statehouses and courts are already staffed with people as bad or, all too imaginably, worse than Donald Trump. Michigan, Wisconsin, Maine, etc. should have served as a warning before Trump even made noises about running for President and the warning has gone unheeded.
We have had a serious undermining of the most basic concepts of democracy in this country, not only among those parts of the population who get their ersatz information from FOX, CNN and hate talk cable and radio, but also among the more elite segments. There is no mistaking the pro-Republican messaging of NPR and allegedly up-market venues of print media. The moronic Brian McGrory of the Boston Globe, once a major voice of intellectual liberalism, was on the radio after the Vice Presidential debate singing the praises of Mike Pence, a governor so bad that even the members of his own party were eager to be rid of him.
The undermining of democracy in the United States among the college educated is, I believe, largely due to the ideological program of materialism. You've heard me on that over and over again. I think that immediately for some, gradually for many more, that program has eroded the concepts of human beings, our minds, our possibilities, the possibilities of our fellow humans to act for the common good with some reliability. It has eroded a view of human beings sufficiently generous to elevate our motives or to trust the motives of other people. It has presented people as masses to be channeled or those parts of the population that would resist channeling to be marginalized or, in the worst cases, to be destroyed. That is certainly not a style of thinking that is exclusive to academic materialism, it has been the predominant thinking just about anywhere where it is impossible for The People to maintain a representative democracy in a decent society. Democracy has certainly been the exception than the rule, as such it is necessary to cultivate the necessary prerequisites for it to happen. Materialism, both in the vulgar form and its pretentious academic form, undermines those.
Our mid-brow media have certainly swallowed the line of bilge I'm talking about and it has exercised its influence to produce the situation we are in now. IT DIDN'T COME FROM NOWHERE. As I will never stop pointing out, Donald Trump is a creation of the free press relieved of any obligation to serve the interests of The People in exercising their right to make informed votes. The media certainly created Mike Pence, who had a talk show and many other of the worst of those who were elected to office in the United States.
In my worst fears, this election might only delay outright, overt fascism by a few years. If something isn't done to turn around the conditions in the media, in the economy, in the world that have created this rolling crisis for American democracy, we will face a likely more effective fascist challenge within a decade. We got here with the theories, slogans and bromides that have allowed the media to lie us into this crisis, just allowing those to go unchallenged will guarantee that the next time will come and it will likely have learned enough not to have their candidate be as big a pile of garbage that it was easy to expose him.
And who knows, maybe we won't be lucky this time.
Update: Obviously I was criticizing the mid-brow media, which you like to imagine yourself to be a part of. No, your brow doesn't get that far up. You only repeat what the mid-brows say and it's generally not the higher mid-brow range you graze on.
I can't think of a word for the practice of incoherently throwing terms like "Occam's razor" or "fallacy" or, the favorite one "evidence" into what passes as argument online but there should be one. I've had all three of those thrown at me by people who, no doubt, thought their incoherent use of the term was like some magic charm that meant "I win" when it was a sign to anyone who knew what those meant that the person using them was, not only an idiot, but a pretentious idiot. I blame Martin Gardner and his buddies for a lot of it, originally. Though Carl Sagan is probably a more direct venue for older dolts among these dreary be-knights of malapropism. Among the younger ones? Something tells me that Penn Jillette or Bill Maher might be their models of usage. Definitely someone on TV or whatever has taken its place. If something isn't done there will have to be new entries in the dictionary,
fallacy, n. A word meaning "I don't like what you said but I don't know how to refute it".
evidence, n. A word meaning a statement that agrees with what the user want to be real.
Occam's razor, meaningless expletive. a noise thrown at random into an argument that can mean pretty much whatever the person who threw it in wants it to mean but only on the occasion used.
I suspect the dulling of Occam's razor flows from some idiot at Newsweek who long ago said Gardner used Occam's razor like a switchblade. Well, no, he didn't, though it should be remembered that switchblades were a popular weapon among thugs*. Gardner was not infrequently a dishonest phony who depended on the prejudice and ignorance of his audience. And their fear. A lot of what he wrote was bullying that was most effective among insecure people who were afraid other people would find out how ignorant they really were, and how little they actually knew about mathematics - thus his popularity among magazine and features writers. That's the crowd who continue to grind the term down to a meaningless and dull slogan that couldn't be useful to pick your teeth with. * When he knew someone had caught him in a lie or a lapse Gardner could certainly act like a thug, as pretty much are Penn Jillette and Bill Maher. Sagan was notably not thuggish but he was often way too full of himself.
It could come to be seen as the first real watershed moments of the Hillary Clinton presidency when, during the last debate, the only woman of the three people who spoke during the debate, SHE drew a clear line that those like the two old men who demonstrated that they had no clue what they were talking about were not going to get to decide for women what was the best thing to do with their own bodies. That they clearly had no idea what the basis of such a decision to have a late state abortion was couldn't have been clearer. Chris Wallace didn't and no one with an ounce of intelligence would think Donald Trump either knew or could begin to understand what a woman is such a situation would experience or what would inform her decision.
That moment must have resonated like few others in the entire history of presidential campaigns with scores of millions of women, to actually have a woman say that women's' bodies were their own and there was no legitimate interest of the government that could overcome her right to decide what she was going to do with her body, especially when facing the kinds of circumstances described. Or as the great Samantha Bee put it:
Hillary Clinton did more for the rights of women in that moment than could ever be said. Slapping down the ignorance of both Donald Trump and Chris Wallace, pushing anti-choice myths for the lowest of political purposes. Hillary Clinton did that declaring women had a right to own the most direct, inalienable aspect of our physical being in this world, their own bodies and that men didn't have the right to override their decisions about that.
If the government can't regulate the use of the money and mouths of two idiots to promote, on nationwide TV, a myth designed to deprive women of their most basic right to determine the course of their own bodies then it certainly doesn't have any business trying to regulate what a woman does with her uterus which impacts the rights of no other people. You can understand why the slave-holders who wrote the Bill of Rights wouldn't have wanted to put FREEDOM OF BODILY OWNERSHIP in that document, it would have made them poor as their slaves owned their own bodies and the product of the labor they performed with it. It's certainly way past time that slave-holders' lapse in the logic of freedom was amended, once and for all. And women, especially in the wake of this year of the ultra-male-chauvinist-pig will probably be the ones to do that.
The situation that Samantha Bee investigates in that video has got to be changed. There is no way that the entirely male, U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops, just about none of whom has any medical training, if any of them do, has any business being involved in health care decisions of that kind. No woman should have the Catholic Bishops making those kinds of decisions, even life or death decisions, with no alternative available in their area. The Catholic Bishops have no right to deny women the right to medical treatments necessary to save their health and their lives, the regulation of the commerce of health care certainly gives the government the responsibility to prevent them from risking the health, the lives and the rights of women. If they want to restrict the medical activities of Catholic institutions, they could do that, but they, then, can't be allowed to run major hospitals, especially those that are the only alternative in any area. Of course, if governments on the local, state and national levels did the responsible thing and took medical care out of private hands, this wouldn't have been able to become a problem, though I doubt you could really trust politicians, especially male politicians, to behave any better.
Update: Yeah, Simps, get back to me when St. Atheist Hospitals are as common as those with religious names.
It was interesting to, again, listen to Walter Brueggemann's presentation of the Biblical view of reality as a radical alternative to the common, materialistic-capitalist way of reality in the context of the election year we've been in.
His view of the scriptures couldn't possibly be more of a contrast to that of Jerry Falwell jr. and the other alleged Christians who are supporting that one-man Babylon, the would-be Pharoh or Ceasar, Donald Trump. I think that, much as we might like to think that Donald Trump and the Republican Party are totally different from the mainstream "left", they're actually not as different from each other as they would like to think. The use of anxiety and anxiety about scarcity is hardly an unknown tactic of the materialist "left". That's especially true of those who consider pleasure a commodity that can be limited by meanies who would restrict them based on the harm they cause other people. The kind of "leftist" who thinks its some kind of virtue to be in favor of the sex industries, the drug and liquor industries operating for their maximum profit. How the appalling attitude Donald Trump expresses about women and their bodies turns into a virtue when articulated by an officially designated "leftist" as a matter of "liberty" and, in its stupidest and most willfully blind articulation "agency" is worth thinking about.
Brueggmann noting the failure of the Churches to understand the ironic content of the narratives about Solomon is worth listening for and its only one of the things that become visible when you take a more complex and critical look at the scriptures. As I said, the problem for most atheists isn't that religion is naive or simplistic, it's that it's way too complex for them to even begin to address it.
Steve Simels is a lying asshole who libels me several times a week on Duncan Black's blog and I have absolutely no expectation that he will ever change or that Duncan would ban him for being a liar because apparently that doesn't bother Duncan. If he never mentioned me, ever again, I can guarantee you I would never mention him, ever again or likely Duncan or his blog. I'D LOVE TO NEVER MENTION HIM AGAIN. But that's up to him and the guy who sponsors his lying. As it is, I don't think that lies ignored are innocuous so I respond to them. Update: Uh, if you looked it up you'd see the deadline to register to vote in Pennsylvania was October 11, I think Duncan was just joshin' you guys. If it was an excuse for not writing something it was pretty silly for him to come up with something you could see was bogus with a quick google search. Though since his regulars still believe what Simple Simels says that's a level of fact-checking beyond their capacity.
“I hope you don’t have friends who recommend Ayn Rand to you. The fiction of Ayn Rand is as low as you can get re fiction. I hope you picked it up off the floor of the subway and threw it in the nearest garbage pail. She makes Mickey Spillane look like Dostoevsky.” "Well poor old Jack [Kennedy]. I hope he gets elected. I think King Kong would be better than Nixon. We didn't see any of it [presumably the famous debate], having no television, but one night I listened for a spell on the radio when we had company who must hear it. Fortunately the company soon left to seek out a television so we went to bed. "
The attempt among Republicans and in the media to pretend that what Donald Trump is doing is not part of mainstream Republican dirty politics can't be allowed to pass into the common wisdom. The Republican politicians who have been part of his putrid campaign disprove that. Chris Christie, Mike Pence, Rudy Giuliani, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell,.... Republican governors, House members Senators, sitting and retired, major Republican figures in the party apparatus, all of them endorsed Donald Trump, many of them have said or excused things as awful as what Donald Trump and his surrogates have said in this campaign, many of them have said similarly irresponsible or just plain rotten things in their own campaigns and in claims made on cabloid and during the Sunday morning lie fest.
The Republicans of 2016 are a party which has increasingly used exactly the kind of Trumpian language and lies to whip up their base which, by design, includes blatant and flagrant racists, white supremacists, ethnic bigots, misogynists, LGBT bashers, etc. The fact is the people Trump spoke to were members of the intentionally built Republican coalition from well before Trump, some of them courted by Republicans going back even before Richard Nixon's infamous Southern Strategy to mine Southern racists who left the Democratic Party when it pushed through the Voting Rights and Civil Rights acts. Before that the Republican Party, the party of bankers and business executives, harnessed various other paranoids, bigots, imperialists and crazy people. In the Truman period and on into the 1960s Democrats tried to include some of them, as well, but in the 60s the Democrats decided to leave that aside and try to move into a new and better future, Republicans opted to try to maintain the receding past. And with a succession of presidential wins and, especially, Supreme Court appointments, the Republicans have been increasingly successful in assembling their coalition, appealing to the worst in people through the mass media that, in its degraded American form, is so good for appealing to the worst instead of anything better.
The Republican Party and its media megaphone can't be allowed to continue to pretend that they didn't create Donald Trump - literally create him as a public persona - and the conditions that allowed him to win the nomination of the Republican Party. Look at the field of Republican candidates who had any chance of winning the nomination, Cruz, Rubio, Kasich. It is so telling of how truly awful a field it was that John Kasich was presented as the "reasonable moderate" when he was, in fact, a truly horrible right-wing governor of Ohio, one whose anti-women policies, alone, marked him as typical of the extreme contemporary Republican party. And, by and large, the Republican-friendly media allowed him to lie about that though it was certainly known to be a lie.
Donald Trump in all his putrid awfulness is mainstream Republican, he will get a majority of the Republican vote in this election, if he were to win the Republican defections will be very few and mostly by people belonging to the ethnic and other groups he has targeted. It took the infamous Boy on the Bus tape to get only some of them to abandon Trump because they worried he could cost them their elections. If he won the Kelly Ayotts would mend bridges just as such former critics as Chris Christie and, yes, Paul LePage did when it was clear he would win the nomination. Considering what Republicans other than Trump have been doing and saying for a generation, you have to wonder why those who decided Trump was too much didn't leave before. It's not as if their leadership in the Congress, in governorships, within Republican presidential administrations, their surrogates on TV haven't said the same or worse than Donald Trump has. If the infamous tape hadn't surfaced. they wouldn't have tried to pretend they didn't support him and what he stands for.
The Republican Party which has so endangered the democracy of the United States can't be allowed to pretend they didn't do what they did. If Trump hadn't won the nomination of their party, it is a sure bet someone as bad though not as colorful or undisciplined would have been their nominee. If we dodge the Trump bullet, the Cruz or Kasich bullets, and others as bad, are still in the gun, which one will be fired in four years is the only question. And, one thing you can bet on, they likely won't have a sleazy sex tell-all tape to sink their prospects. They are all Trump style people, they just lack the show-biz glitz and outsider status. If Trump were a real insider the media would cover for him. And if not them, lest it be forgotten, there is still Jeb Bush. I'm sure, for example, that any of them would appoint people to the court as bad as anyone Trump would appoint. And the media would support that choice.
This election has been exhausting but unless, by some miracle, the Republicans aren't mortally wounded, their coalition of racists, misogynists, sleazy billionaires and other businessmen, etc. will reform and present exactly the same danger that Donald Trump merely embodies in one easy target. They will still pose exactly the same danger to democracy and to the world, only in a more easily sold wrapper. We can't allow that to happen. This has to be made to stick to them. They've earned it over the last century.
Hate Update: Ha, look at the time stamps. I posted my piece about 23 minutes before Duncan posted his. I'd guess he didn't read it before he wrote what he did and I don't expect to find anything at E-ton so I certainly don't go looking for ideas there. If we arrived at similar places about the malignant character of the Republican Party after Trump, that's not shocking, it's the history of the modern Republican Party.