Category: philosophy

Who Should Have the Right to Vote?

Who Should Have the Right to Vote?:

philosophycorner:

Everyone shouldn’t have the right to vote. There’s that one controversial opening sentence that some say is required to draw a reader in. Yet there’s nothing at all controversial about that statement. From an ethical point of view, it’s a true statement once one considers the dangers of allowing anyone to vote. There are glaring issues in continuing to bestow this right on anyone who is 18 or older.

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philosophycorner: Disclaimer: None of the exam…

philosophycorner:

Disclaimer: None of the examples I use are my own personal views of any one person or group.

I don’t consider his examples of hate speech to be hate speech. Censoring a Bible verse that promotes anti-Semitism is not the same as censoring a living, breathing individual saying, like one person I got banned from Tumblr, “put Jews in ovens.” Verses promoting hatred against Jews, Christians, practitioners of other religions, homosexuals, and women are often overlooked because religious people, especially in the West, tend to be pacifist moderates – and thank goodness! The hate speech I have in mind is the hate speech of the alt-right, White supremacists who have turned their hate speech into hate crimes.

When a little boy is lynched, in the modern day, there’s a problem. When these same White supremacists become police officers and cut the life of Trayvon Martin short, there’s a problem. When these same officers are choking and shooting Blacks and getting away with it, there’s a problem. The hate speech of the alt-right and a huge number of Trump supporters has translated into hate crimes: beatings, lynchings, shootings, and even a case in where a crazed driver mowed down some 20 people, injuring 19 of them and killing one. Unless we focus on extremists, the hate speech of the religious is more so an annoyance that their religion doesn’t prove itself true by winning everyone over; the mere fact that other religions exist is irritating to some Christians and sometimes that’ll lead to derisive speech against Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and so on.

That doesn’t, however, translate to a Christian murdering a huge number of Muslims or Hindus or what have you. Sure (!), it’s happened, most recently in Norway. In such cases, it’s best to consider the kind of speech being used. “I hate Jews because they crucified our Lord and Savior” is a far cry from “I hate Jews and they should be put in ovens.” “I hate Muslims because to them Jesus is a mere prophet that’s inferior to Muhammad” is a far cry from “I hate Muslims and I think we should murder them where they stand.” As with anything, there’s nuance; there are degrees. People like dichotomies and binaries and Hitchens, for all the talk of small prefrontal lobes and the idiocy of our species, falls into the same trap of making this a black and white issue. It’s not!

The gray areas are there! How many of us, in general, speak to the air when we’re angry and say “oooohhhh, I could kill someone right now!” Does this qualify as hate speech? Not necessarily, especially since it’s directed at no one in particular. And how many of us actually go out and kill someone because we’re angry? Now, if you go to church and are made to feel vile because they talk about the lifestyles of a homosexual or a promiscuous individual, and you then get so angry that you talk about killing Christians, now we have a problem! So before you even have the chance to hurt one of the congregants, you should either be hit with a fine or put in jail for, at the very least, a misdemeanor. When you have Bible Belt Christians threatening to put a shot in me if I ever step foot in their state, that’s dangerous hate speech against atheists. When you have a politician or public figure fueling hate against a religious or ethnic group, you have an individual who is attempting to incite violence against a group of people.

Joshua Feuerstein, for instance, is on record saying that BLM protestors should be filled with lead because, to his small mind, they’re a threat to police. Protesting police brutality isn’t a protest against police; it isn’t a call to arms against the police. It isn’t even a call to arms against racist officers. It’s a call for departments in every state to screen their would-be officers; it’s a call for stricter background checks and more important, it’s a call to acquit these officers should they abuse the power of their badge!

There’s no hate in that, but there’s certainly hate in asking people to fill BLM protestors with lead. Joshua Feuerstein, for that reason and a host of others (e.g., letting his kids handle firearms), should already be serving the minimum sentence for a felony, a full seven years. That kind of hate speech, especially when you have millions of subscribers who admire you, is unacceptable! Hate speech, like pretty much anything, has degrees of severity. It can be as minor as “I hate so and so sports player for hurting my team’s chances and I’d kick him right in the ACL if I could!” to “I hate so and so group of people and I’d love to watch them suffocate.” The former is minor and is that sort of heat-of-the-moment thing you find when people are watching sports events; the latter is repulsive and should be prosecuted the same way a crime should. We shouldn’t wait for someone to be injured or murdered to take action.

The US, at the moment, is filled with hate against minorities and women. The ICE is snatching up immigrants while they’re trying to make a living for their families. They’re not doing anything wrong and here they are being treated like animals. This is all because of an Administration that has declared war on everything the Left stands for. Religious freedom only matters for Christians; human rights belongs only to citizens and men – and at this (!), not even all men, but White men; even children’s rights are being violated as there’s been an assault on education in inner cities.

Speaking about Mexicans, women, Blacks, and Muslims in such generalities has fueled much of the hatred we see. We are literally in a time in where Trump supporters think the country belongs solely to them and not also to people who stand for everything they’re against. Enough is enough! This video isn’t a defense of free speech. It’s tip toeing around what severe hate speech looks like. “Hasidic Jews look funny” is anti-Semitic no doubt, but it’s not hate speech. All freedoms have limits and that’s been lost when it comes to freedom of speech, so as long as people are free to say whatever manner of violence they think, they’ll act on those thoughts as well. And if that’s a rod for my own back, it’s only because I’m dumb enough to be a hypocrite and speak in a violent and hateful manner about a given group. That’ll be my own fault. But aside from racists, who have drawn first blood for centuries, I have never incited hatred against a group; nor have I called for the injury or deaths of groups I disagree with. People lack nuance and any defense of free speech that defends hate speech proves that.

A Word on Debates and…Digging

I have to say a word on debates, since some people simply aren’t getting it. I am decided on the god question. I know that there are no gods. In other words, no gods exist. There’s simply no debate to be had. My reasoning is fleshed out in a number of posts and a book, so if you want to know why I boast such certainty, consult those posts or consult my book. If you aren’t convinced, it is likely that your illiteracy is a hindrance; that’s certainly likelier than my reasoning being wrong. As a former believer, this is a question I considered closely and at one point, a question I wanted answered differently. So there’s a lot that’s been said about my transition from desiring one answer and accepting the contrary, i.e., desiring for a god to exist and accepting that there aren’t any.

Illiteracy is a major issue and I see it time and again. The fact is that complex arguments aren’t easily understood. This generation wants answers in a microwave. A question like this has a slow-cooked answer. One has to, in other words, delve deeply into history, science, philosophy, and other fields, and that’s an endeavor few people will make time for; it’s also an endeavor few will devote themselves to. It takes a lot of reading, a lot of questioning, a lot of burrowing into one rabbit hole after another, consulting one expert after another. It’s simply not a simple solve. To adequately answer the question of whether there’s a god, you need to ask whether there’s space for the supernatural in our universe. That question approaches the nature of reality, our apprehension of reality, and whether the human mind is adequate enough to arrive at an answer. 

It takes quite a bit of digging and it’s the sort of digging everyone simply isn’t inherently capable of. It’s clear to me that some people have too poor an IQ and RQ to even grasp the concepts in these fields fully. Put simply, science and philosophy tend to go over some people’s heads, and I’d be lying to say that I have confidence that anyone can understand the relevant subject matter fully enough to apprehend the consequences and entailments of what they come to know. Perhaps the big questions require a sizable intellect, and illiteracy and the lack of raw potential simply close some people off from being able to understand the answers.

I’ve delved deeply for close to seven years now. This isn’t some attempt at ego-stroking because I really couldn’t care less about knowing more than the next person; maturity does that. There are things of greater importance than having more knowledge than someone, knowing more facts than someone. Yet the fact is that I have delved deeper than most people care to, and this has been made painfully apparent in one debate after another, so excuse me if I have come to the conclusion that there are no worthy opponents. 

Here’s the crux! It’s not simply about people’s inferior or lack of knowledge of the relevant topics, it’s that the most eager are simply on the wrong side. What they’re defending isn’t even tenable. It’s not as though we’re sitting down to have a debate about the Copenhagen interpretation versus the Everettian. We are literally debating evolution (science) and creationism (pseudo-science); we are debating the veracity of Catholic “miracles,” which are all demonstrable malarkey and manage to remain unexplained, in some cases, because experts aren’t allowed to study the purported miracle. They often can’t date the relic and consider its chemistry. Or we’re debating whether a given god exists. None of these positions are tenable; they simply don’t come close to being supported by evidence. It’s literally like trying to debate the “merits” of racism; there are no merits! You’re wrong! Want to persist in bullheaded belief? Have at it! But let’s not pretend that you can even defend such a patently ridiculous point of view. 

I’ve matured enough to state it plainly: you’re wrong! And I’m not going to give undue broadcast to your nonsense point of view. It doesn’t deserve a stage with true, more robust views. The question of whether a child-murdering, rape-approving, human sacrificing, genocidal war god exists isn’t a philosophical question. Theists often try to conflate this ridiculous deity with philosophical concepts, but any honest consideration will see how divergent the concepts are. You can’t even begin to argue that such a deity is perfectly moral and just. You can’t even begin to argue that a clumsy deity is omniscient, that such a powerless deity is omnipotent. 

An omniscient deity would think of a better way than human sacrifice to save humanity; such a deity would foresee every possible road of ruin and prevent them from taking shape. The so-called god of the philosophers simply isn’t the Judeo-Christian god, and is, at bottom, a fancy of human idealization. The concept is nothing more than humanity writ large, a purely human ideal in where a human person exceeds all of his limitations. Where humans are limited in knowledge, power, presence, control, lawful and moral judgment, time, and so on, the god of the philosophers is unlimited in every category, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, sovereign, just, omnibenevolent, timeless, and so on. The narrative of how anthropology subsumes theology has somehow been lost in Westernized philosophy of religion and has convinced legions of fools that they are somehow studying a higher concept that might exist within and beyond the universe. No! You are studying your basest vanity and conceit.

Religion is pure fiction; faith is nonsense that I’ll no longer entertain in dead-end debates with obstinate fools. There are a long list of such fools touting unearned certainty in one false view after another. It’s an absolute bore. Never mind the very public chagrin such people are made to suffer. And that’s the part I really don’t understand. The interlocutors that message me sometimes are like people with no fighting experience asking to fight with a trained MMA fighter in a world where there’s no such thing as luck. In other words, in the past, I might have indulged you and allowed you to step foot in the ring knowing full-well the embarrassment you’d suffer shortly after. Now it makes no sense. There’s nothing entertaining about a fight I know I’ll win, hence why my debates are philosophical in nature. 

We can debate actual science and philosophy. Challenge my philosophy of mind! Call my portrait of naturalism incomplete. Try to make me abandon the Everettian interpretation of quantum mechanics. Try to convince me that there isn’t life on other planets. These are discussions I’m willing to have. But discussions on whether your pet theory god exists? I’ve moved well beyond that question. Never mind that it’s a question you can ask yourself and answer for yourself should you dare to dig. 

Go dig! I can do the digging for you and throw you down the hole and the sheer depth of the drop will prove enough to scare you. Make your own hole and go at your own pace. Trust me, its better than me hoisting you in at breakneck speeds.

The Theist Paradox

Every now and again you get a theist who touts his love for philosophy whilst simultaneously making apparent his disdain for truth. Theists are often occupied with the question of whether it is reasonable to believe in god. The philosophical question would instead focus on whether a claim or set of claims is true. So any lover of philosophy would ask whether theism is true rather than whether one is, colloquially speaking, justified in believing in god. Justified, in the sense in which it was just used, isn’t meant to invoke philosophical justification. It’s more to invoke the sense of whether someone has the right to believe in god. Of course one has the right and is therefore, justified in that sense, but one will never find philosophical justification.

Theism is simply false. The theist claims to love philosophy, but shuns truth for sake of belief or they pretend as though what they believe is true. Yet they don’t concern themselves with grounds for this truth claim. Truth claims rest on knowledge and therefore, one has to show that theism is ceteris paribus justified true belief. Unfortunately, this can’t be demonstrated. Theists have misused philosophy to try to offer so-called logical proofs, but a logical proof isn’t axiomatic. It doesn’t, in other words, stand on its own. An argument can be valid but not sound; never mind the false assumption that we can leap from conception to reality, i.e., that just because we can conceive of the greatest conceivable being, it necessarily exists. Theism is an exercise in creating one’s own reasonability. There’s no philosophical concern with whether its a reasonability that can withstand scrutiny. 

The reasonability is often one that is found adequate by the in-group, namely the theists. They’re not concerned with whether outsiders find their belief reasonable. Reasonability, philosophically speaking, would most certainly impose such concern. When I express a view, I’m not worried about whether the group I identify with finds my view reasonable. In fact, I want my view to be considered reasonable by people who don’t agree with me. I want the panpsychist to approach my physicalist philosophy of mind and find it reasonable – reasonable enough to subscribe to. This is precisely the issue with theism, especially Christianity.

Christianity has underhandedly divorced itself from the supposedly rich philosophical tradition its adherents boast about. It has removed itself from talk of truth claims and reasonability proper and justification. It has taken the form of what it was originally intended to be: faith, blind adherence. Objective reasonability and truth was never its primary concern. Its concern was in-group reasonability and the semblance of or passing off as truth.Therein lies the paradox, a theist who claims to love philosophy actually despises the enterprise. If truth were truly his concern, he would attend to Christianity in the manner in which he attends to any other claim or set of claims. He wouldn’t treat it with undue favoritism.

Christian Inconsistency and Christianity’s Tru…

When briefly discussing the abortion issue with a friend today, a glaring inconsistency in Christian thought became apparent. After an atheist confronts a Christian with the Problem of Evil, specifically the gratuitous amount of evil and suffering there is in the world, a Christian usually turns to the so-called free will defense. God gave humans free will, so it’s not his fault when a serial killer chooses to murder x amount of people. Setting aside that that doesn’t address evil and suffering that isn’t human-driven, an inconsistency becomes apparent if one opens discussions on other topics.

Take, for instance, abortion and euthanasia. Those on the side of choice will defend a woman’s right to choose and a person’s choice to die, but Christians very often oppose choice in these cases. They are basically going against god’s supposed decision to give us free will. They’re also forgetting a hallmark of their theology, namely humanity’s fall from grace. They are suddenly forgetting that humans are supposedly sinners and that they’ll often make choices that god finds reprehensible. Christians are essentially giving themselves an authority greater than the authority they themselves assign to god! God can’t do anything to overturn our free will; sure, he wants all men to be saved, but he can’t make you accept Christ. Christians, however, can force a woman to keep an unwanted pregnancy. Or they can force a terminally ill individual to continue leading a life they would much rather surrender. Perhaps this is because god is simply an idealization, a projection, an admission of their own basest cruelty and thirst to manipulate and control. God is made in man’s image.

This makes for a glaring inconsistency in the thought of most Christians. Abortion and euthanasia shouldn’t be vehemently opposed given the notion that we have free will, a will that isn’t even subordinate to god’s own will. Aside from being a glaring inconsistency, this showcases what Christianity is truly about: control. Christianity is a religion that has been jury-rigged for centuries with the primary goal being control over a person’s life: a person’s thoughts, actions, manner of speaking, and so on. Christians may act as though we have free will, but ultimately, Christians adhere to a religion that tells them what they can and cannot think, say, or do. In some denominations, the music you listen to, the way you dress, whether or not you can wear jewelry or get tattoos, and even who you can associate with are all determined by what the denomination deems acceptable.

The so-called liberal Christian might at this point chime in, but liberal Christianity is itself a modern invention borne out of sheer necessity, an attempt to secure a reversal of the religion’s demonstrable decline. That said, there are liberal Christians who are still vehemently opposed to choice as it concerns abortion and euthanasia. Ultimately, a Christian can’t conveniently recall free will when it benefits their argument and discard it when they want to maintain control over another person’s decisions or the manner in which an individual leads his/her life. Free will explains evil, but a woman can’t abort, a terminally ill individual can’t choose to die, and a homosexual can’t choose to love a partner of the same sex. Which is it? 

The free will defense is itself an attempt to control someone’s thinking. It is a way of pretending to solve a problem that simply is without a solution that is reconcilable to Christian theology. On naturalism, death, disease, and all manner of what we call evil are unfortunate occurrences explainable by a number of naturally occurring factors like natural disasters, genetic predispositions, neurophysical abnormalities or anomalies, and so on. On Christianity, part of the problem is explained by humanity’s god-given free will and in fact, because of the Fall, the very existence of evil is the fault of the first man. The pretense of a solution is merely a means to control the thinking of believers in doubt; that is essentially what apologetics is in a nutshell: the equivalent of alternative facts and fake news designed specifically to create a narrative capable of (perhaps) temporarily extinguishing doubt and retaining control over such believers. At bottom, Christianity is designed specifically to control people and Christians, who are themselves under this dogmatic control, try their darnedest to control the lives of others and even the decisions they make, and this is made apparent in their views on abortion and euthanasia.

If I am free to be an atheist because god can’t make me be a Christian, then women are free to choose and terminally ill individuals can make the choice to end their own lives. You have no say over that per your own beliefs. Will you admit that consistency is really your concern? Will you admit that your endgame is control over other people? 

Refuting Plantinga’s “Victorious” Ontological Argument

Refuting Plantinga’s “Victorious” Ontological Argument:

As sort of a reply to the article I posted earlier, I have decided to present Chapter 4 of my book Philosophical Atheism in full. Plantinga’s version of the Ontological Argument is seen as the most updated and formidable. It also makes use of the clause in Nagasawa’s article, namely that since it’s possible that god is necessary, it follows that he is necessary. In my book I explain why I’m extremely skeptical of that clause because I see the leap from logically conceivable to logically possible as flawed; moreover, I see the jump from logically possible to logically probable as flawed, and therefore, see the leap from logically probable to actual as flawed. Never mind that the necessity of such a being is without warrant. Despite the supposed strength of Plantinga’s argument, it is irreparably more flawed than its predecessors. Please read below to find out why.

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Is there definitive proof of the existence of God?By Yujin…

Is there definitive proof of the existence of God?

By Yujin Nagasawa

When Kurt Gödel, one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century, died in 1978 he left mysterious notes filled with logical symbols. Towards the end of his life a rumour circulated that this enigmatic genius was engaged in a secret project that was not directly relevant to his usual mathematical work. According to the rumour, he had tried to develop a logical proof of the existence of God. The notes that Gödel left, which were published a decade after his death, confirmed that the rumour was indeed correct. Gödel had invented a version of the so-called modal ontological argument for God’s existence.

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On Non-Fallacious Arguments

philosophycorner:

Philosophy is really about nuance. If you failed to understand nuances, you’ll likely fail to understand subtle differences between one view and another. This understanding is required to see that some otherwise fallacious arguments are not actually fallacious; in other words, there are, for instance, non-fallacious ad hominem arguments. I’ll give an example of such an argument prior to talking about a particular kind of argument that’s surprisingly common; it’s also effective, but overlooked because it’s considered fallacious.

An example of a non-fallacious ad hominem argument is when you point to someone’s lack of expertise or acumen on a topic or in a technical field. Again, nuance is required because such an argument can also be fallacious. There are, however, cases in where the argument is effective. Let’s say you need an appendectomy. We can all agree that no one would consider getting one from someone who isn’t a surgeon unless in a rare case like finding yourself in a precarious situation in where there are no available medical professionals, e.g., during the zombie apocalypse. So when someone says x person can’t speak on y field because he doesn’t have the qualifications, I consider this an effective argument unless the individual on the receiving end of this non-fallacious ad hominem can prove otherwise. Perhaps the individual has acquired a level of expertise or, at the very least, can prove themselves adept without having attended college or having more traditional experience in the field in question.

An argument along these lines that I see quite often is an argument from ignorance that isn’t fallacious. A fallacious argument from ignorance is, for example, an argument from personal incredulity. It’s not enough that you don’t have enough information, that you are not familiar with enough evidence or proof. That’s pretty much your problem and is no argument against something you refuse to accept as fact. There are, however, cases in where collectively we don’t have enough information – cases in where we don’t have enough evidence or proof. So when people say that they’re not willing to write off alien life, some of them employ non-fallacious arguments from ignorance. In this particular case, we don’t have enough information; we don’t have enough evidence for or against. Sure, we have the statistical likelihood that there’s life elsewhere in the universe, i.e., Drake Equation; we, however, do not have solid evidence. Moreover, we aren’t even familiar with the various combinations of parameters that could result in life. In fact, the assumption that only Earth-like parameters result in life, e.g., the importance of liquid water, may be what’s holding us back.

As with all things in philosophy, even the identification of fallacies requires an understanding of subtleties. There’s quite a difference between “you’re wrong, you moron!” and “I doubt your conclusion because you have no relevant qualifications in this particular discipline.” There’s quite a difference between “you’re wrong because I haven’t come across evidence to support your conclusion” and “we don’t know enough or haven’t acquired enough evidence to draw a conclusion on this matter.” The key with a non-fallacious argument from ignorance is that this claim of ignorance has to be true not just of you but also of everyone else. It has to be a demonstrable collective ignorance rather than just your ignorance.

Table of Contents For My New Book!

The book will be titled Ending the Abortion Debate: On the Issues That Truly Matter. The table of contents is as follows:

Introduction

Chapter 1: Notable Statistics on Abortion

Chapter 2: Elaborating on Reasons

Chapter 3: What Can Be Done

Chapter 4: Why the Debate is Irrelevant

Conclusion

Bonus Chapter!

The bonus chapter will elaborate on the reasons why I wouldn’t grant legal rights to fetuses and why I’m not pro-abortion. It will include statistics and elaboration on the adverse effects having an abortion can have on women.

As stated, this book will be shorter than my previous one. I’m looking at about 150 pages. The introduction and most of the first chapter are already done. I can’t promise a time table just yet, but I’m looking to be done by early next year at best. Stay tuned!

Updates on Book Projects!

It has been a while since I’ve updated you all on my current book projects. One of those projects, a polemical piece against the Abrahamic religions, has been shelved completely. While that is unfortunate and if my lack of activity on this blog is any indication, I am no longer interested in focusing time and attention on the Abrahamic religions – at least not to the point of writing another book about them. I am comfortably in a post-theistic phase in where those religions are in the rearview and will only be discussed insofar as their abuses and falsehoods require opposition. I will, in other words, speak on these religions when need be. I will no longer focus undue time and attention on them.

My book on the abortion debate is still a work in progress. Aside from work and a loss in the family, there was also the problem of not being able to sketch out a general outline for this book. It will be formatted quite differently from my previous book and is far more focused. There are so many arguments for god! There is, in this current project, only one point I’m looking to convince my readers of and it is that that has led to the difficulty of being unable to map out a skeleton, if you will. Thankfully, that is no longer a problem and so, I should begin writing a draft this weekend! The book is going to be about 150 – 200 pages in length. It’ll be shorter than the last book and also cheaper because of that. 

For anyone out of the loop, the book will be written with the intention of ending the abortion debate for good. I know I know, hard to do! However, I strongly believe I have the most viable solution available to us and I think that that solution will call attention to problems far bigger than philosophical questions about the ethics of abortion and whether or not a fetus is a person. The solution requires quite a bigger scope and a lot of manpower that will include both pro-lifers and pro-choicers. The book is meant to end a needless, redundant debate. It is meant to build a bridge between two sides that currently disagree and form an allegiance that will relieve women and their families. The solution itself is admittedly not novel, but it is worth repeating and arguing for. And for novelties sake, there will be a bonus chapter at the end of the book that I won’t spoil here.

Feel free to inquire about my project as I work on it. I will think of new projects for the future, but for now, one is more than enough. This is a real issue that deserves our focus and for the time being, my full attention. Tirades against the Abrahamic religions are unfortunately so last year for me. I have no need to continue such a project and I deeply apologize to anyone that was looking forward to it. Fret not! There are plenty of atheist authors who aren’t in a post-theistic phase who have no trouble writing polemically. There’s the late Christopher Hitchens. But there’s also John Loftus, Richard Carrier, among others.