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Posts Tagged ‘Humanism’

Recently I was in a discussion about morality in which someone suggested that morality can indeed be scientific. I reminded the person of Hume’s Guillotine, which eviscerates the idea of secular ethics. Hume’s Guillotine basically states that a person cannot derive values from facts alone, only other facts. To derive values, one must first arbitrarily adopt an over-arching moral framework, and then evaluate the facts in light of the framework.

Still, the person persisted and linked to a commentary by someone claiming that systems of morality can be rationally evaluated using Game Theory, such as the famous test Prisoner’s Dilemma. In Prisoner’s Dilemma a situation is introduced where two prisoners are taken together in relation to the same crime. Both have to decide whether to testify against the other. If A testifies against B, and vice versa, both get two years. If neither A nor B testifies against each other, both only get one year. But if A testifies against B and B stays silent, A goes free and B gets three years. Interesting to think about.

Prisoner’s dilemma itself is an amoral, arbitrary test. It can be used to observe and quantify a set of results but does not clarify morality, nor make predictive results for a previously untested population, especially when a new version of the dilemma is rolled out with different trade-offs.

The article they linked to was posted at Scientific American, at the url:  http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/game-theory-and-the-golden-punishment-rule/

Here is why the article’s conclusions are non sequitur logic fallacies:

Testing a given moral framework would necessitate adjusting the dilemma itself to be in line with that framework. What’s good and bad would be different so the system of justice and types of payoffs involved would be different.

Even if the system of justice & payoffs remained situationally the same across the different moral frameworks being evaluated, the moral interpretation of whatever result was produced – what would be considered a good outcome and what would be considered a bad outcome – would also need to be changed to be evaluated according to the given moral framework being considered.

For example, if a moral framework valued telling the truth and punishing criminal behavior, then two people covering up the wrongdoing and therefore serving minimal time would be considered a ~negative~ outcome.

But if someone had Humanist values – the ideas that truth is secondary to manipulating outcomes and that crimes should only be punished if the perpetrator gets caught – then covering up the wrongdoing and serving minimal time for it would be considered a ~positive~ outcome.

Because of these differences it’s impossible to dispassionately ~morally~ evaluate the outcomes of disparate moral frameworks. They will always be evaluated according to whatever happens to be the moral framework of the person doing the evaluating.

This exposes the main non sequitur logic fallacy with rationalism itself. Rationalism pretends to be scientific and objective, but it ~assumes~ it’s own subjective morality as much as any other arbitrary moral framework. And because the scientific method is limited to the realm of facts, the moral conclusions reached are ~not~ scientific at all but purely philosophical.

Yet rationalists try to sell their moral conclusions as somehow being scientific, just like the article we’re discussing is trying to do.

Rationalists pretend all morality is relative, yet what they value is whatever leads to their own empowerment over others and personal enrichment. So their morality is that it’s moral to subjugate others and live off the efforts of others. Their morality boils down to: themselves as gods.

This is why every attempt to “scientifically” create a utopia by rationally manipulating people – such as in game theory – has wound up empowering and enriching the endeavor’s leaders while subjugating and impoverishing everyone else involved.

It’s sad but not surprising that such a commentary would be posted by Scientific American.   Much of the scientific establishment in the West is guilty of confusing arbitrary secular ethics with science, and for the same reasons- They are trying to help usher in that utopia they think we’re always on the verge of but which, sadly, we will never realize because of mankind’s selfish nature.  Hopefully one day they will become scientific enough to actually see that morality and science are separate entities.

In the meantime, when it comes to applied Prisoner’s Dilemma, the test subject is always the prisoner.

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Religious neutrality in politics is a myth the humanists try to impose on Christians, while they themselves are never neutral.” Tim Price

Some of my own thoughts on the recent SCOTUS declaration of marriage redefinition-

There is no such thing as Secularism unless you define Secularism as Universalism (acceptance of all religions) because even Humanists effectively worship humanity and Metaphysical Naturalists effectively worship the cosmos. And Universalism itself is not religiously neutral.  It blesses those religions which are Universal and condemns those which claim exclusivity.

In legislating fundamental marriage redefinition & dilution from the bench, SCOTUS was establishing a government religious standard grounded in Humanism which all must follow or be prosecuted under law, just as private (non-government) businesses like Arlene’s Flowers and Sweet Cakes By Melissa have been prosecuted within the last couple years.

This topic was not forced on America by conservatives or conservatism but by progressives. If they throw religious issues into the limelight – and they seem bent on doing so – it is their moralizing which necessitates addressing how we as conservatives arrive at a response.  We’re not the ones dragging religion into the public sphere, they are. Perhaps we should be messaging that, instead of agreeing with the non sequitur logic fallacy that somehow when conservatives speak regarding values it is religious, but when Humanists do it is not.

If you push them for the source of their ideology they’ll eventually wind up at Marx, Engels, Nietzsche and Hegel. If we conservatives are pushed we wind up at Locke, De Montesquieu, Aquinas and Moses. Both sets of philosophers – theirs and ours – are working from inherently religious world views. Modern Humanism is based in the faith of Metaphysical Naturalism – blind faith in a random, self-generating universe, and in random, self-aggregating, self-improving life. Such faith informs the holder’s beliefs regarding origins, their daily decision making and their thoughts on morality.  That is the very essence of a religion.  What they worship is what they believe to be the highest known cause and the highest known life form.  Therefore it’s non sequitur to call our faith religious and theirs non-religious, for their world view effectively does worship mankind and nature.

If we play along and try to accept their religious suppositions in discourse then, what we’re in effect saying is that their religious viewpoint is acceptable for public discussion (deemed “secular”) and ours is not, and so they automatically win any discussion by default before it begins.

That’s why trying to say we should be “secular” in politics is a misnomer, it just declares their religious viewpoint to be supreme.

Tragically we’ve been thoroughly conditioned to keep thinking in terms of secularism by our experiences in law and political discourse, and by our education in public schools – because education as well is an inherently religious exercise.

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Recently progressive comedian Bill Maher expressed the view that progressives have won the culture war, and took the same opportunity to refer to the Bible as a “dumb book”:

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/05/23/bill-maher-tells-twitter-liberals-to-calm-down-the-culture-war-is-over-and-we-won/

Here’s the reality:  Judeo Christian values have been winning the culture wars for 2,000 years and show no sign of stopping.

The Christian church is, “an anvil that has worn out many hammers,” and Judeo Christian values (the Ten Commandments) are the basis of the modern Western understanding of ethics and law.  If you don’t believe that, try going out and killing someone in the U.S. for any reason other than self defense.

The Roman Empire tried to redefine marriage.  It didn’t last.  I mean the Roman Empire.

Every generation rejects the values of previous generations and thinks, “Ah, this time, we’ve finally gotten it right!”  But the only consistent value systems that have lasted over centuries are systems directly tied to major world religions or religious philosophies.  And only one of those value systems gave birth to the highest level of individual liberty and prosperity in the history of the world.  It eliminated slavery.  It gave women power to vote and represent themselves legally.  It wound up saving Europe and the world from expansionist tyrannies on three separate occasions.

I’m not talking about enlightenment Humanism – on the contrary, Humanism originally sought to eliminate some “races” through eugenics and to this day tries to divide people into arbitrary groups, plundering one for the profit of another, but really taking the money to enrich it’s own leaders.

No, what led directly to a 5,000 year leap was the idea of constitutional republic grounded in Judeo Christian values.  It was Christians who believed that God is separate from creation and that nature could be looked at and studied objectively apart from myth.  It was Christians who popularized the radical idea that secular governments should not impose a state religion.  It was Christians who led the effort to abolish slavery.  It was Christians who won women the right to vote (the fight was led by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union).  And it was Christians who led the civil rights struggle of the 50’s and 60’s.

Everywhere Humanism and subsequent collectivism has been tried, it has led to servitude and poverty.  Individualism and Judeo Christian values have led to freedom and prosperity.  Most people who grow up in the U.S. simply cannot appreciate how special and rare this is in the history of the world.

Sadly, progressives like Maher want to muzzle free speech and attack people who don’t agree with them.  They have declared war on America and American values.  They want to enforce collectivism and uniformity of thought under the threat of law.  They want to put their fellow citizens in tyranny under social planners that wield the atheist equivalent of “Divine Right of Kings”.

They are the ones trying to drag this country backwards.

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