Wednesday, August 11, 2010

That's a wrap

Today's thoughts:

It's definitely time to wrap up this whole determinism thing, but before I leave it I just wanted to pitch some quotes by a smarter man than I, Richard Taylor. These are from his article "Freedom, Determinism and Fate".

"Every single philosophical argument against the teaching of [determinism] rests upon the assumption that we are free to pursue and realise various alternative possibilities - the very thing, of course, that is at issue."

Translation: Every argument against determinism is necessarily based on determinism being untrue to begin with.

"Metaphysics and logic are weak indeed in the face of an opinion nourished by invincible pride, and most men would sooner lose their very souls than be divested of that dignity which they imagine rests upon their freedom of will"

Translation: Arguments against determinism come from our enormous pride in our free will, NOT from logic or science.

So there. It's an excellent article but I can't find any free links to it.

The second point I wish to address arose from listening to Tim Minchin's song "Ten Foot Cock and a Few Hundred Virgins". While a brilliant song (so, so brilliant) the thing he says at the start really irritates me. More so because I would have expected more from him, of all people. Basically, he rather patronisingly suggests any "religious people" leave the room because it is about "anal sex and God". Which it is (God bless it).

What pisses me off is the self-satisfied tone of his voice which is matched by the laughter, or snicker, of the audience. This is what being a smug atheist is all about - lumping all religious people together as a bunch of fucking retards. I think I've made it fairly clear on this blog that I dislike religion a lot, and that I will actively try and limit it's impact on society. Furthermore, I think that remaining religious shows a lack of critical thought and a wanton suspension of evidence. But that doesn't make them lesser people or even less intelligent. They're lying to themselves and ignoring empirical evidence, for the most part more than atheists. But that doesn't make atheists innocent of this kind of delusion, simply innocent of it with regard to religion. This is where I get infuriated with their self-aggrandising arrogance and in-jokes.

That said, there ARE such people out there who are stupid, loud, proselytising, arrogant, deluded, violent and most of all hateful. And believe me, given the chance I would curb-stomp those motherfuckers into next week.

And it will be glorious.

Secondly, we're really not going to make friends this way. Really. Atheism as a movement is a lot like feminism - the only way it's going to succeed is by converting (deliberately bad word choice) the opposition. Religious people are already defensive in the face of unbelief - I know this first-hand because I was one of them. It's disproportionate and I really have not been able to explain why. The obstructively cynical would say it's because they know deep down they're wrong, but fuck those people.

The point is, people like music despite how glaringly insipid/crass/tasteless it might appear to the rest of us, but shoving those facts in their face won't change their minds. Justin Bieber is a prime example of this (not that I'm comparing religious types to impressionable hysterics with unhealthy perceptions of love) (/hypocrisy). So let's be a bit nicer, a bit less hypocritical and we'll all reap the benefits as people open themselves to rationalism and respect for people as people.

Good night!

TL;DR - Arguments against determinism are based on unsound argument and monstrous arrogance, rather than good logic/science. Also, atheists shouldn't act like they're inherently superior to theists, just because they've freed themselves from one more delusion.

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