Tag Archives: atheism

Why you ultimately can’t be allowed to believe whatever you want without criticism

“Why you ultimately can’t be allowed to believe whatever you want without facing criticism.”

(I’ll be paraphrasing Sam Harris here.)

I just want to contradict part of a common hippy logic that we should be allowed to believe in fantasies if they make us happy, or if we are weak and need them to survive. It often goes that they think that anyone who is invested in crapping on their fantasies is an a-hole. Undoubtably there are a-holes, but I think many of us do it benignly because we recognize the danger of bad ideas and if you will be living in the same society as everyone else, then your beliefs and their potential consequences are not an entirely private matter. If you’re going to vote, then it’s not just about you anymore, and you need to grow up and enter the arguments and face the music that you don’t want to hear. Most atheists do not enjoy inflicting emotional distress by telling vulnerable Christians that there is no Santa Clause, but there’s a kind of moral responsibility that can’t be ignored.

If each of us lived apart in our own prison cells, then there would be no harm in believing whatever we want. But there is obvious potential harm from letting someone live within fantasies which we can liken to having a bugged operating system. You never know when the vulnerability will be exploited. The people will also vote and if they don’t know what they are doing then their actions will affect everyone else. Often there doesn’t seem to be any immediate harm in letting someone believe a falsehood (such as that the Earth is flat.) However, since you can never be sure of what the future holds lies are not good in the long-term even if they’re convenient. Because a flaw that seemed harmless can suddenly become significant when the world changes, such as when scientists made findings in STEM cell research, and then the religious conservatives turned reactionary and slowed down science because no one fixed their religious operating system.

Christians would be much better of believing there isn’t such a being, and you’ll be able to see a much more complicated world. Unfortunately, their belief system makes it so that you can discover there really isn’t any debate. Because you simply aren’t going to convince someone that has convinced themself that everything you say that is contrary to their conviction is part of a coverup–as with every argument you’ll have with a flat-earther.

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Armored Skeptic has Stopped Being a Skeptic

This isn’t the first time Creationist Cat has demolished the hypocrisy of the alt-right, and as usual he’s right. “You vote Republican you get religion. You get worse outcomes for science, education and the environment. Indeed it’s that simple.”

Continue reading Armored Skeptic has Stopped Being a Skeptic

Christopher Hitchens destroys Zen Buddhism and Shinto

At 5:40 Christopher Hitchens destroys Zen Buddhism and Shinto. He names a mind-glowingly thoughtless action by Buddhists, which he calls a contemplative nonsense, and then says, ““The sleep of reason brings forth monsters–and that’s Buddhism–the faith everyone goes to once they’ve exhausted Buddhism.Continue reading Christopher Hitchens destroys Zen Buddhism and Shinto

Creationist Cat’s creator on racism

I don’t have much to say right now, but I think I need to follow his example. I really hate the alt-right, and that includes the racists. What he said around 54 mins was great about how these guys who go to so called “white identitarian” meetings aren’t bringing any new ideas and 30 years ago they would have just been straight up KKK.

 

He made a point that TF stopped calling himself a skeptic. I looked into that and liked what TF said about how Youtube is an attention economy. He described how we are in a race between education and catastrophic, and the frustration of seeing his academic channel eclipsed by Alex Jones’:

To be honest I don’t watch his channel because I find his thick British accent hard to understand. It always sounds so slurred, and I guess I’m not interested enough in watching science videos over debates, but if I were younger maybe I would. Back in the day all of his anti-feminist videos that he used to make kind of made me also assume at a glance that his channel was as anti-intellectual as some of the alt-right ones were.

The New Yorker: A summary of the long history of hostility towards atheists. 

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/10/29/why-are-americans-still-uncomfortable-with-atheism

This is a fairly good summary of the long history of hostility towards atheists.  (I guess the author is a theist who likes Grey because he’s probably critical or hostile toward new atheists, and I can probably dismiss that.  There are wishy washy atheists like Dave Rubin who will side with theists for dumb reasons, or lie if it brings them money. ) I’m interested in valid criticism of new atheists,  not crazy or emotional arguments from theists who hypocritically refuse to reconsider their beliefs while harboring deep hostilities and prejudices toward outsiders

Kyle Kulinski is too soft on Russia

Kyle Kulinski is a progressive Democrat who runs a political channel on Youtube called “Secular Talk” where he gives his opinions on current news and political rhetoric. I sometimes tune into his channel and agree for a while, but except when he takes a utopian position on how we should speak kindly with dictators.

“Female Trump Voters Say Silly Things on CNN”

At 12 minutes in Kyle Kulinski says he wants to have a good relationship with Russia “to prevent world war 3.” I see this as a slippery slope, and find it rather disgusting. No matter what happens, there would still be a red telephone, just as there always has been. We can afford to take more confrontational stances than we already have, and to not appease thuggish dictators with gentle rhetoric without causing another Cuban Missile crisis.

Liberal democracies shouldn’t get along with Putin, anymore than liberal citizens should get along with fascists. I want condemnation of Putin, and I feel proud when my leaders do it. Furthermore, I consider it necessary and useful for America to lay out our ideological opposition to totalitarianism all the time, because our country believes in democracy and self-determination. It is in also in America’s geopolitical best interest to speak that way, as a voice of moral clarity, and then to strive for a liberal world order.

Appeasement can be just as dangerous of a slippery slope as saber-rattling. Our politicians can manage to criticize Russia or North Korea honestly, and even put sanctions on them without worrying that it’s going to bring about a war. Russia deserves to be credited with some trust; after all, they did possess enough rationality to not start WW3 during or since the cold war!) Kulinski doesn’t have to be so dogmatic about pacifism. He is free to position himself as an isolationist who opposes American intervention abroad, and who still expects his leaders to stand up for democracy abroad by criticizing Russia–which is the minimum liberal politicians can do.

While Kulinski has not been consistent about standing up for liberty throughout the word, he has been consistent over time about taking a cultural relativist position on liberty. I mean to say that he has been too willing to compromise his “liberal” principles for my liking, like when he had to attack Christopher Hitchens, (something I’ve already rambled about earlier.)  At one point in the video titled “What’s Your Take On Christopher Hitchens?,” he accused Hitchens of “losing his mind near the end and siding with the Neo-cons,” which he emphasized as though it were a swear word. To me it sounded almost like an ad-hominem attack, and like something you’d say to appeal to partisan viewers. (The fair thing to do would be to approach Hitchens’s position in the spirit of charity, avoid cheap attacks on his association, and to more directly attack his position.)

It’s very difficult to argue against Hitchen’s idealism. You can oppose the war in Iraq for many pragmatic reasons, but Hitchens’ position is the more moral one because its foundation is universal liberalism, which Kulinski still hasn’t realized.

Sorry Kulinski, but the best interests of America’s citizens requires moral idealism, and not just fluid diplomacy and free markets. If you want there to be good countries even if America falls then you have to fight for democracy everywhere you can. I say this under the presumption that “the veil of ignorance” should be a principle guide for how all citizens on Earth consider politics.

Outgrowing Sam Harris

I’m writing this for a lot of reasons, but one of them is that I don’t agree with most of Sam Harris’s fans that Islam is the largest immediate threat to the USA. The context is that right now thr [Russian] Christian white supremacist party is trying to dismantle democracy and to increase their long-term control over 3 branches of government, and are a much bigger threat than the 2 percent who are Muslims in the USA. I think Sam needs to focus on the real elephant in the room, and wait a few years before he spends most of his time attacking Muslims again. We can handle a 1% increase in Muslims if we can just save this republic and either reform or marginalize the GOP.

I think his center-left fans have largely left him to focus their resources on economic issues and opposing Russia/China, (which realistically requires retrenchment from the Middle East.) Meanwhile his circle of friends has become mainly conservatives from the “intellectual dark web,” and over time many of his fans became racist conservatives. For that reason I can no longer stand most of his fans (which includes people on the /samharris/ sub,) because I disagree too much about the best strategy for fixing the USA by popularizing enlightenment ideas.

Sam Harris’s laser-like focus on Islamists, and the vicious SJW versus anti-SJW fights on social media sites have clouded many atheists’ judgement about the most pressing dangers in the country. (For now I’ll let you imagine which problems are being neglected.)

 

 

….I think he is distracted, and distracts others by talking about the wrong things at the wrong time. He does oppose Trump the person, but he doesn’t disagree much on his general policy of limiting immigration. Too many immigrants can be a problem (illegal or Muslim), but there really aren’t that many in the population, and it’s not nearly as big a problem as the kind of conspiracy thinking that has become mainstream in conservative circles.

He also doesn’t really criticize the military-industrial complex, and hasn’t faced the reaity that it’s no longer 2002 and the unipolar world is no more because Russia and China are emergent militant powers. American influence and power has declined in the Middle-East since the Hitchens era when neocons could afford to intervene anywhere, and it’s too idealistic to continue to talk about nation-building and leading the fight against jihadists in every new country that needs help. (Right now we are fighting for limited gains in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Yemen and Libya,) while own infrastructure crumbles.

 

I also don’t think he’s a jackass, just misguided. I think Hitchens with his more political background would have had to concede by now that we need to put the war on terror on the backburner and fix our democracy. To this day Sam Harris would still rather vote for Hillary Clinton than Bernie Sanders or someone who wants to focus on the economy. Just like Hitchens in the years of abundance, he said in 2016 that he’s a single issue voter for the war on terror. Hypothetically, unemployment could hit 30% with no wage increases, and Christian Nazis could takeover the GOP, but meanwhile Sam Harris would still be talking about voting for whoever will fight Islam.