Saturday, October 29, 2016

Hate Mail - Atheists Are Among Those Who Most Strongly Deny That Freedom Is More Than A Delusion And Without Freedom Democracy Must Also Be A Delusion

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.

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