I am going to offend a few people who read this blog. My intention really is not to offend anyone. I am not being deliberately provocative. I am simply worried. I am going to worrying out loud. I am going to deal with belief, specifically the problem of religious belief. Because I happen to think how we deal with religious belief, or fail to criticize the belief of other human beings at this moment has more to do with the maintenance of civilization than anything else that is in our powers to influence. Our world has been Balkanized by incompatible religious dogmas. We have Atheists against Christians against Jews. The books themselves make incompatible claims. We have this founding notion that Darwin wrote one of our texts. Unfortunately we have many such books on hand. I see no reason to survive our religious differences indefinitely. The fact that a few short years from now, you will be able to sit in a cave in Afghanistan and with your thousand-dollar laptop, you will essentially have a supercomputer that can kick off its genetic algorithms, its malicious code, to the rest of society. You would be able to buy this malicious code from some atheist hackers here in the U.S. This alone makes this Balkanization of our world, the separate moral identities, the fact we are not identified just merely as human beings but we are Atheist and Muslims. It makes it untenable.
What does it mean to believe something to be true? To believe is to think that a certain proposition actually map on to reality. What do we believe? Well, 38% of Americans believe that your grandfather and grandmother were monkeys or they were very much like monkeys. They believe that it was once perfectly moral and reasonable for a primate to take a stick and beat it over the head of another primate and then take their food. They call this survival of the fittest. These beliefs have consequences. Consider this, a Muslim get on an airplane and crashes it into a skyscraper because he believes that there are 72 virgins waiting for him in heaven. We would say this kind of belief is crazy and irrational. But if you go rape and kill 72 virgins because you know there is no God that you must answer to, you are your own god and create your own morality. If killing is fun and exciting for you, then that is suppose to be rational and moral? Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold who committed the Columbine school massacre believe they were doing humanity a favor by eliminating the bad religious genes from the gene pool. Each atheist has their own religious text, some agree with others and some don’t but they are all correct unto themselves. After all what makes one random collection of stardust more significant than another random collection of stardust.
Faith in Darwinism and Atheism is really a conversation stopper. We have come to think that the appropriate accommodation with modernity is Darwinism, Atheism and science is equivalent. It’s fundamentally taboo to criticize someone’s faith in Darwinism and Atheism. This political correctness, where everyone should be free to believe whatever he wants about Darwinism, that there is no harm no foul, beliefs are private. Let me tell you why this is a dead end. First of all, religious moderation gives cover to atheist fundamentalism. Because we cannot criticize atheist extremism, atheist literalism, it’s political taboo. It is considered uncivil and this is really enforced by atheist moderates. Atheist fundamentalists, they will criticize every faith but their own. They will say Islam is an evil religion. Atheist moderates balk at that. The ACLU will now sue every cross and manger scenes on public grounds. They say this is establishing Christianity as the official religion. It seems to me that the next sensible question would be how is that different than establishing Atheism (no god) as the official religion? This is not data that we have that the Biblical God doesn’t exist and Atheism is affirmed. We can’t call a spade a spade, because of this taboo around criticizing Atheism. Where else in our discourse do we encounter this? When was the last time anyone was admonished to respect another person’s belief about biology, physics, or history. We do not respect people’s beliefs. We evaluate their reasons.
It is just not rational for atheists to say that Darwinism is science. We don’t have any empirical evidence to show that random mutations can turn a monkey into a human being. Yet the atheist would say just trust us it happened because it is science. Atheists have abuse the meaning of science.
It doesn’t make sense when an atheist fundamentalist like Sam Harris, doctoral candidate in neuroscience, says that our thoughts and neural pathways are the result of random arrangement of molecules based on his faith in Darwinism. He then turns around and complain this random arrangement caused a Christian or Muslim to think the way they think and their thinking is immoral. Is this really the logic of a rational human being? I would say Harris is more than just a master of building straw man. He is a master of the Reductio ad absurdum argument. He pigeonholes an opponent’s view, amplifies a distortion and compares that to some absurd example.
This post was inspired by DonaldM’s post on Harris.