A Critique of the Alt-Right’s Racial Constructivism

According to the Alt-Right, civilization is fundamentally an “ethno-state,” or what I call a racial construct. But I find the group is poor at elaborating on the concept, choosing to rail against the excessive failures and double standards of the left instead of putting forth positive arguments in the doctrine’s development and defense.

My take is that the Alt-Right is making an ontological claim. Its members are talking about the being of a civilization, how it’s constituted, specifically how it is grounded in race.

What does that mean? That’s the question. Well, in my experience, the Alt-Right uses “civilization” broadly, interchanging it with “society” or “culture” — I will from this point do so too. Furthermore, race also is hardly ever defined.

However, given Alt-Right gurus Jared Taylor and Richard Spencer’s insistence on the significance of biological differences between whites and non-whites, their promotion of “race realism,” I think it’s fair to think the Alt-Race is referring to physical genes. Furthermore, it seems the Alt-Right believes these genes play a substantial role in influencing the development of a civilization, and the variations in genes between races correspondingly and overwhelmingly account for the variations between civilizations.

As Samuel Francis proclaimed at the first American Renaissance conference in 1994 in Atlanta:

…The civilization that we as whites created in Europe and America could not have developed apart from the genetic endowments of the creating people, nor is there any reason to believe that the civilization can be successfully transmitted to a different people. If the people or race that created and sustained the civilization of the West should die, then the civilization also will die.

So, it’s not enough to say whites built Western civilization in the sense that a long time ago whites started Western civilization — that the West originates with white people — even though many Alt-Righties imprecisely articulate their view as such. Rather, for the Alt-Right, whites perpetuate, maintain, and define Western civilization. They’re necessary, but more importantly, essential to it. Borrowing from Aristotle, whites and whiteness are the efficient and formal causes of Western civilization; taking the Alt-Right’s “race realism” also on board, the West is ultimately a function of white genes, which serve as the material and first causes of Western civilization. There then seems to be a radical materialism and determinism afoot in Alt-Right thinking: At ontological rock bottom, Western civilization is composed of white genes that determine fundamentally what it is.

As a matter of putting together a comprehensive ideology, this materialistic determinism, or racial constructivism, isn’t surprising. This thesis, the position that material factors, such as genes, determine culture, rests on materialist ontological assumptions, i.e. that matter is the fundamental substance of reality. Materialism of this sort goes hand-in-hand with positivism, the belief in and treatment of all legitimate knowledge claims as being scientific or empirically verifiable in nature. And there is evidence that positivism, and thus materialism, is prevalent among the Alt-Right.

For starters, the group likes to cite science…a lot. This penchant is fine in the domains of academic research and even political debate. But the Alt-Right’s fondness for empiricism isn’t just rigorously referring to observable data to buttress an argument for certain public policy proposals. Rather, the observable data is the argument. Its followers act as if pointing to disparities in average IQ or other measurable variances between different racial populations, i.e. being a “realist about race,” is some sort of intellectual showstopper. Further argumentation or supplementary theorizing aren’t seen as required. The hardline stance on immigration and white nationalism supposedly follow. Game, set, match: It’s total vindication of the Alt-Right worldview.

However, invoking studies in genetics and evolutionary psychology does not a cogent socio-political theory make. Scientific findings are not themselves a philosophy, let alone a compelling one. Best I can tell, the Alt-Right shows no understanding of such a difference, preferring to see what its devotees want to see in “science” and inferring what isn’t there to be inferred to rationalize sacrosanct ideological commitments.

Even more telling is the Alt-Right’s misunderstanding of the “all men are created equal” clause of the Declaration of Independence. Alt-Righties don’t like how the phrase has been used to justify numerous egalitarian schemes. They find equality to be “a dangerous myth” and rightly recognize physical or empirically verifiable equality is vacuous. We are and never will be equal, collectively or individually, in that above sense. But they then reject equality wholesale, including the kind of equality Thomas Jefferson was clearly writing about in the context of the famous document’s text. He’s positing on behalf of the Founders a normative equality of persons founded in Christian metaphysics (H/T to the Maverick Philosopher, Bill Vallicella, and his posts rebutting the Alt-Right in this regard): As persons created in the image of God, we all have inherent dignity and value and are equal as rights possessors regardless of our physical, empirical inequality. The fact the Alt-Right equivocates physical, observable equality with metaphysical and normative equality, denying the existence of equality in all its forms “for the same reason it rejects the ideas of unicorns and leprechauns,” once again illustrates a pronounced tendency toward positivism, with materialism in tow.

As an ideological manifestation of both secular ideologies — or at least it’s plausible to think so based on the group’s discourse — the Alt-Right’s apparent racial constructivism inherits their weaknesses. To wit: The immaterial aspects of culture don’t seem reducible to raw matter. So it’s unclear how culture and civilization, these “extended phenotypes,” arise or emerge from it. People’s physiological hardware is amenable to scientific description; their traditions, creeds, and values remain elusive to biology, chemistry, and physics. I can think of how this is the case in three respects.

First of all, whatever kind of thing culture is, it’s necessarily unlike what is typically observed in the natural world, and its total comprehension can’t be gained by studying it as such. For example, the norm of tolerance for divergent opinion cannot be boiled out of a test tube. Likewise, the Bushido code is not found under some discreet rock on a backwater island in the Pacific. Beliefs, values, and shared history, the elements of culture, aren’t like objects of physical universe, static and measurable like the hardness of diamond or the melting point of steel. This is because these aspects of culture are not just out there to be perceived or discovered in the entirety of themselves.

Rather, there is a phenomenal and dynamic component in the formation of culture. Civilization fundamentally is an outgrowth of subjectivity, a reflection of whom a people is billowing through time from the perspective of the first-person plural personal pronoun “we.” This is seen via how beliefs and customs are transmitted and perpetuated between generations. They are inherited not via genes, but often by first-hand experience and rites of passage. Furthermore, the unique development of a civilization is mediated through contingent geographies, resources, events, and interactions with people of differing cultures. For examples: Would Vietnamese cuisine boast the bánh mì without the colonial French and their baguettes; would we venerate Leonidas and his 300 Spartans at Thermopylae if it weren’t for the invading Persians and the hilly, narrow coastline of Greece?

Devoted to its materialism and positivism, the Alt-Right doesn’t appreciate the essential roles that human agency and subjectivity have in shaping a society and how contingent that society is. Culture and the state are viewed falsely as just other objective features of the natural universe: “Existential entity[ies],” independent of and uninfluenced by other objects like geography, resources, and other peoples, i.e. unmediated, which can be adequately understood through the lens of science like the genes of which they are supposed mere extensions. The inherently permeable first-person ontology of culture hasn’t stopped the Alt-Right from trying to grasp and explain the whole of culture in rigid third-person terms and derive the qualitative characteristics of civilization from its supposed quantitative biological underpinnings:

Next comes the following claim by the alt-righter: these biological facts about one’s race go on to influence, outright determine, or, more poetically, flavor the sort of civilization that a race will establish.[1] Thus the high-IQ race that is characteristically deferent and non-confrontational race will establish a peculiar and unique sort of civilization and the low-IQ race that is characteristically brutish, violent and present-thinking will establish a peculiar and unique sort of civilization. The alt-righter might additionally—and very plausibly—claim that a low-IQ race that is characteristically brutish, violent, and present-thinking will not—and perhaps cannot—establish the sort of civilization that the high-IQ, deferent and non-confrontational race can establish (and vice versa).

Now, if there really are racial differences in intelligence, personality, temperament, and so forth—and there is overwhelming evidence that there are such differences between the races—and these differences contribute to (or give a flavor to, or determine, etc.) the sort of civilization that a race will create, then it is not implausible at all to suggest that Western civilization—by which we mean European civilization—can only be fully and genuinely carried on by people of European biological stock (just as, say, Jewish civilization can only be genuinely or fully carried on by people of Jewish stock). Other races that have some biological similarity to people of European stock may carry European civilization forward to some extent—we could say not genuinely (as do, for example, the Japanese, to some extent, in their appreciation of classical music). But the differences between the race groups will inevitably result in differences in the way that European civilization can be carried out, just as we would expect Europeans (that is, people of European biological stock) to be able to carry on with Japanese civilization in a limited manner but never genuinely.

It’s also a strong reason to doubt their prognostications, like the one above, about race and civilization.

The second way that cultural beliefs, values, and traditions don’t reduce to matter is the fact they exhibit a mass intentionality – they’re about something. They’re object-directed. The Western belief in free expression is about its object, free expression. Widespread admiration for Shakespeare is directed toward a particular English playwright. It’s irrelevant if the object is abstract or real, a true or false proposition. What matters is culture necessarily has content.

Moreover, unique cultures have unique content. Mexicans celebrate Cinco de Mayo; Indians observe the Kumbh Mela; Jews have Rosh Hashanah. Western people believe in the separation of church and state; Muslims often don’t recognize a distinction between their religious and political institutions.

This is all obvious enough, but it’s far from obvious that the Alt-Right’s racial constructivism can make sense of it. Which genes exactly determine which beliefs, practices, and traditions? Is the Ramayana or something like it, as well as a receptiveness for such an epic, spelled out in nucleotides of Indian DNA? What does this genetic coding look like? Sanskrit?

Under materialism, matter isn’t about or object-directed in the manner that beliefs and works of art are about or object-directed. Matter is just matter. Alleles, genes, molecules, atoms, or whatever, no matter how tiny they’re sliced, don’t “contain” — in any apparent sense of the word — the themes and meanings conveyed in a particular work of art or belief; they neither are identical to those themes and meanings nor of the feeling of admiration shared by those who “get” what that work of art or belief is about and extol it as part of their culture. To imply genes determine and are about not only cultural content, but also unique cultural content, as Francis did in Atlanta, and the Alt-Right does in general, is seemingly to cavort with the nonsensical.

Lastly, the third manner in which culture is non-materialistic is it’s prescriptive and proscriptive. For every society, certain ideals and actions ought to be favored and done, and some other ideals and acts ought not be favored and done. Free speech, for example, is viewed in Western cultures as conducive to human prospering and pursued, while ritual child sacrifice is not and faces severe social ostracism and legal prohibition. In other words, cultures deal in values – what ought be the case.

It is then unclear how the Alt-Right accounts for values and their obligatory force, given the group’s materialism and positivism. They only permit a descriptive view of the world. So where do the cultural prescriptiveness and proscriptiveness come from? How does the Alt-Right, assuming moral realism, derive what ought be from what is within its analysis of society? What’s the source of the good within cultures?

Genes? As in the genes that are adapted for group survival and thriving? But that raises the question about why ought any group survive, let alone thrive. What’s good about those genes that seemingly promote such ends? I’m sure “digging deeper” with smaller subdivisions of matter within genes wouldn’t yield better answers. Again, what’s good about those molecules, atoms, subatomic particles, etc. that make up these genes? Are they themselves the good? That can’t be right, because matter is always being replaced at the littlest levels. What’s currently there is the latest in a long line of parts, doing its time before it’s supplanted and so forth. Surely, the good, if it exists, must be longer-lasting than that, correct? Anyway, the point is these Moorean “open” questions can be asked ad infinitum of proponents of the Alt-Right, who will struggle to provide a satisfactory answer. Guilty of the naturalistic fallacy, they will be unable to account for values and the normative character of culture.

Faced with these objections, I’m sure there are those on the Alt-Right who will insist that the group’s philosophy relies neither on materialism nor positivism. In its defense, they’ll say the Alt-Right merely recognizes that the Amazonian tribesman, for instance, likely is incapable of assimilating and perpetuating Western civilization. These apologists will note should enough of these tribesmen be transplanted to a Western metropolis such as  Chicago, the Windy City would cease to exist as we know it. And they’d be right.

However, what is it about these tribesmen that make them unable to adapt to the part and parcel of Western urban life? The generations of living a tribal existence in the Amazon? Or ultimately their lower average IQ rooted in genes shaped by natural selection?

It’s here where the Alt-Right, flourishing with memes and identity politics, intellectually flounders, and it’s here where we must part ways.

Jan Sobieski IV

For Jan Sobieski IV, the West is on the precipice of ruin again. With interests in journalism and philosophy, he’s a millennial convinced we’re living in another Vienna, 1683. Sobieski IV aspires to help lead the pivotal charge for Western civilization against those seeking to overrun or open her gates—these days, they’re one and the same, deserving nothing but the fury of the winged hussar reborn.

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211 Comments

  1. Without a doubt one of best done Alt-Right critiques I’ve read. Well considered, and I think you put your finger on something I’d not managed to figure out in my own personal reflections on the subject – the ontological aspect of Alt-Right thought which is seemingly contradicted by their naturalistic-materialism (and perhaps to a lesser degree their positivist bent).

    You did a yeoman’s work here exposing the internal tension of the Alt-Right’s apparently self-contradictory, inconsistent, and therefore self-defeating worldview.

    Kudos!

  2. You attribute to Francis the bizarre idea that the genes of a group “determine” a “unique culture”. Based on other things you say, it seems “determine” here means being sufficient all by itself. But Francis just doesn’t say anything like that in the quotation from him; he just says that whiteness (and so perhaps certain genes) are necessary or essential for our culture. I’m not aware of any prominent alt rightist saying anything like this, or anything that implies anything like it. What people like us do say, instead, is that genes and race and evolution are (at least) very important culturally; this is not to suggest that everything about culture can be reduced to genes or biology or anything “material”. Genes cause brains, and brains cause thoughts and valuations, regardless of whether thoughts and valuations are reducible to anything or whether they’re material or immaterial, etc. I have the ‘alt right’ beliefs you don’t like, and I reject materialism and positivism and naturalism. Is this incoherent somehow? In fact lots of alt rightists are Christians or, at least, religious; so this seems to rest on a badly mistaken description of what most of the group thinks.

  3. “As persons created in the image of God, we all have inherent dignity and value and are equal…”

    That’s a non-stupid notion of equality requiring a certain kind of theism. But many on the alt right are atheists or agnostics, or theists of a different kind; they think the non-stupid notion has no application to the actual world. It doesn’t follow that they’re misunderstanding anything. (There are reasonable atheists.)

    “…the Alt-Right equivocates physical, observable equality with metaphysical and normative equality.”

    People like me would say that “normative equality” might be real but has no political implications contrary to “alt right” beliefs; that’s not equivocal. (Seems to me “normative equality” or basic equal rights doesn’t even rule out slavery without lots of additional assumptions.)

    • Seems to me “normative equality” or basic equal rights doesn’t even rule out slavery…

      It follows directly from the nature of persons. As spiritual animals created in the image of God we are equal as persons and you don’t treat persons as property, ego slavery is ruled out.

    • I don’t know. Maybe someone with more knowledge of Locke can tackle this one, but if I were to take a crack at it, is it possible Locke meant “God’s property” metaphorically?

  4. The fact the Alt-Right equivocates physical, observable equality with metaphysical and normative equality, denying the existence of equality in all its forms…

    I think you are adding something to point 7 that Vox Day did not say. He explicitly says that “human equality does not exist in any observable scientific, legal, material, intellectual, sexual, or spiritual form.” These are all observable and physical; the metaphysical and normative are never discussed. It is unclear if any equivocation is happening here. Secondly, Vox Day identifies Christianity as one of the three pillars of Western civilization, thus giving evidence against materialism and positivism. If anything it’s ambiguous as I suppose Christianity could be seen only for its utility as a kind of “culture Christianity”, but I have independent reasons to doubt this.

    The main Alt Right point is essentially that politics is downhill from culture which is downhill from identity and that ethnicity is a much stronger foundation for a lasting identity that mere opinion (i.e ideology), which can change on a whim. I think there is much truth to this incite at least as a descriptive matter. Where I see ambiguity is the Alt Right claim that ethnicity > religion > ideology. If this is taken as merely descriptive, then it may accurate; maybe ethic identities are much stronger than religious ones throughout the modern world. However, if it’s taken as normative then it is highly problematic and irrational. To give value to some temporal ethnicity above God is a form of idolatry. Again, it’s unclear to me what exactly the Alt Right is saying here.

    You have presented a good critique of some Alt Right points of view or least shown that there is much left unexamined in Alt Right thought. For example, in this particular critique Maverick Philosopher accepts all four Alt Right points “with qualifications”. It may be these important qualifications where traditional Christians must part ways with the Alt Right. It will be interesting to see how the movement develops, but I agree that a materialist, positivist or atheist Alt Right is a dead end.

  5. Here’s one way to explain the problem with the idea that normative/metaphysical equality directly implies that slavery is wrong. Equality of persons-qua-persons seems to imply that we shouldn’t treat people as objects, e.g., “property” (in some sense). But actual slave owners knew their chattels were persons, agents, etc. They weren’t thinking “This African has no subjectivity; he’s just like a fork or a shoe”. But they didn’t think that being a person or agent implies having the same degree of autonomy or all the same rights as anyone else. It seems most slave owners in the US thought of slaves as something like employees, something like children. This is consistent with normative equality of some kind, equal basic rights of some kind. We could say that this so-called “slavery” isn’t real slavery, because slaves aren’t really treated as “property”. Or we could say that slavery and treating people as property is consistent with normative equality. Another way to approach the problem: if equality does rule out slavery, why doesn’t it rule out having a butler or paying a barista to make your coffee at Starbucks? Not obvious. (Of course, much historical slavery is objectionable for other reasons. But then so is Starbucks.)

    • But they didn’t think that being a person or agent implies having the same degree of autonomy or all the same rights as anyone else.

      Whether or not slave owners thought this is irrelevant. People are often irrational. People pervert the natural law all the time. How people behaved in the past isn’t going to answer the question whether or not persons should be treated as property.

  6. Locke aside, it seems clear enough that _if_ God exists then human persons (and maybe others, such as angels or dolphins) are His property. And this is how Abrahamic theists traditionally characterize our relationship to him. How could we _not_belong as “property” to the ultimate power that created us and everything else, the power we depend on from one second to the next for our very being, the power that will judge us for our choices? And yet, if any familiar form of theism is true, God did create real _persons_ among other things, and it’s not wrong for Him to treat these persons as His property. This is another reason to doubt that equality of persons-qua-persons directly implies the wrongness of slavery; after all, if God is a person too then surely each one of us must be morally or “politically” equal in _that_ respect to God, even though it would be absurd to think we must therefore have the same autonomy or the same rights as God.

    • if God is a person too then surely each one of us must be morally or “politically” equal in _that_ respect to God, even though it would be absurd to think we must therefore have the same autonomy or the same rights as God.

      When we speak of God as He, Father or as a Person, these are anthropomorphic terms and taken as a kind of analogy. We don’t literally mean that God is male for example. Simply put, God is not a being among beings, but Being itself, so I don’t think it’s accurate to say God is a person just like us.

    • “How could we _not_belong as “property” to the ultimate power that created us and everything else, the power we depend on from one second to the next for our very being, the power that will judge us for our choices?”

      I created my son, but I still morally can’t do anything I want with him. He is not my property to do with as I please. A theist might argue the same, though this could limit omnipotence, so I don’t know if it would be orthodox. Ir seems like you could argue, in a way reminiscent of the Euthyphro, that once created the creature has certain rights that God himself cannot violate – and that enslaving the creature is a violation of its rights.

  7. I don’t think that it “follows” that you can’t use people as property from the idea we are created in god’s image. It’s better said that this moral prohibition is grounded in it

    Aside from that, I share the concerns that this blogpost, though interesting, attributes claims to the altright that they don’t seem to take.

    • Did you mean to say it does not follow that you can’t use people as property from the idea that we are created in Gods image or am I missing something? So it’s more accurate to say the prohibition of slavery is grounded in the fact we are created in Gods image?

  8. “For starters, the group likes to cite science…a lot. This penchant is fine in the domains of academic research and even political debate. But the Alt-Right’s fondness for empiricism isn’t just rigorously referring to observable data to buttress an argument for certain public policy proposals. Rather, the observable data is the argument. Its followers act as if pointing to disparities in average IQ or other measurable variances between different racial populations, i.e. being a “realist about race,” is some sort of intellectual showstopper. Further argumentation or supplementary theorizing aren’t seen as required. The hardline stance on immigration and white nationalism supposedly follow. Game, set, match: It’s total vindication of the Alt-Right worldview.”

    OK, here’s some further argumentation of the kind you seem to want:

    It’s not _good_ to bring in large numbers of groups to your society who have significantly lower average IQs (and all that comes along with that) and who are more criminally prone, more violent, etc, because doing so will make your society less functional in terms of more welfare dependence, higher rates of crime, higher rates of child illegitimacy etc. 

    I hope that clears things up for you.

    • “It’s not _good_ to bring in large numbers of groups to your society who have significantly lower average IQs (and all that comes along with that) and who are more criminally prone, more violent, etc, because doing so will make your society less functional in terms of more welfare dependence, higher rates of crime, higher rates of child illegitimacy etc.”

      I’m in agreement with this to a large extent (I don’t see how IQ [“and that comes along with that”] has any bearing here). It’s stunningly stupid to import many people who are more “criminally prone, more violent, etc.” into your country for the reasons you list.

      But what does this have to do with race? I don’t see this reasoning as unique to the Alt-Right.

    • “I don’t see this reasoning as unique to the Alt-Right.”

      Well, as matter of policy, this kind thing actually is unique, or close to it, with that alt-right. Most “conservatives” have no problem admitting non-whites into the country. That’s because conservatives don’t seem to believe that race is causally responsible for the problems. Conservatives seem to be, at best, skeptical, as you are when you ask “But what does this have to do with race?”.

      Non-whites have lower Qs. Having lower IQs is correlated with higher criminality, violence, and family instability. That’s what it has to do with race and IQ. (There are other reasons to keep non-whites out as well.)

  9. “In its defense, they’ll say the Alt-Right merely recognizes that the Amazonian tribesman, for instance, likely is incapable of assimilating and perpetuating Western civilization. These apologists will note should enough of these tribesmen be transplanted to a Western metropolis such as  Chicago, the Windy City would cease to exist as we know it. And they’d be right.”

    Cool, it sounds like you agree with us then. Unless you want Chicago to cease to exist as we know it. But you obviously don’t want that, right? As a “conservative”, you presumably don’t want a quintessential American city like Chicago, with all it’s attendant culture, history, tradition, and beauty, to cease to exist as we know it and be turned into something alien.

    But for some reason you have more questions.

    “However, what is it about these tribesmen that make them unable to adapt to the part and parcel of Western urban life? The generations of living a tribal existence in the Amazon? Or ultimately their lower average IQ rooted in genes shaped by natural selection?”

    Large enclaves of non-whites now live in white countries where they consistently don’t assimilate and don’t acquire the IQs of whites, so why does it even matter whether we can answer these questions or not? (And we can answer them, by the way. And the answer is that it’s probably genes.) If some bad dudes wanted to come into your house and stay with your family, you wouldn’t let your decision on whether to let them in turn on whether you understood whether their bad behavior was a product of their genes or their environment. You’d just keep them out. (And I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t make you a materialist or a positivist either.)

    • “Cool, it sounds like you agree with us then. Unless you want Chicago to cease to exist as we know it. But you obviously don’t want that, right? As a “conservative”, you presumably don’t want a quintessential American city like Chicago, with all it’s attendant culture, history, tradition, and beauty, to cease to exist as we know it and be turned into something alien.

      But for some reason you have more questions.”

      My take is this: As a matter of public policy when it comes to immigration, the Alt-Right is right, but for false, perhaps foreboding reasons. For instance, your emphasis on “non-whites” living in “white” countries seems misguided to me. What does their non-whiteness or physical phenotype have to do with their ability to become socialized, productive citizens of Western countries? Isn’t it their Islamic values and traditions they take with them and secular Europe’s unwillingness to force assimilation that’s motivated in their own cultural self-hatred a significant reason we get Rotherham sex slavery, mass rapes in Scandinavia, and Jihadi attacks like Nice and Manchester? As the Islamic world is impoverished, depraved, and backward, I bemoan the Islamization of European civilization like you do.

      I’m just wary of the Alt-Right’s tribalism, their abstraction of everyone being a token of a certain type that comes at the expense of our personhood, and their gestures toward and sometimes direct invocations of biology as having some type of significant role in the formation and perpetuation of culture.

      I understand your pragmatism and impatience for my ruminating about a possible ontology of the Alt-Right. But being philosophically inclined, everything, including the Alt-Right’s worldview, is grist for the my humble philosopher’s mill and must be dragged before the tribunal of reason. That’s just who I am. Anyway, this wouldn’t be much of a philosophy blog if we didn’t do a little philosophy, though, as a group here at RC, we recognize the need to engage in polemics and other facets of ideological war as well.

    • I appreciate your intellectual curiosity and think you are sincere. I too am interested in exploring the philosophical side of these issues. If I seem impatient, it’s probably because, at this point, as our civilization is being destroyed right in front of us, it does seem infuriatingly absurd to be investing energy in abstract, intellectual debates. But here we are.

      You ask:

      “What does their non-whiteness or physical phenotype have to do with their ability to become socialized, productive citizens of Western countries? Isn’t it their Islamic values and traditions they take with them [?]”

      Would you ask this question about why women can’t become good soldiers? Or why you don’t see large numbers of women in engineering jobs? Or why women are better suited for homemaking and raising small children than men? Do you think the behavioral patterns that women demonstrate are simply a matter of “feminine values and traditions” in some way that is importantly divorced from their biology? I take it that you don’t. You presumably believe that a very important part of the reason why our societies have the feminine values and traditions that they have comes from the biological structure of human females, including the structures and functioning of their brains. You’re presumably not a tabula rasa theorist about sex.

      So, why be a tabula rasa theorist about race? It seems inconsistent, no? If the cause of feminine behavior is largely attributable to biology, why would the cause of, say, African behavior not be largely attributable to biology? Why should we think that obvious patterns of behavior that correlate with race around the world are not largely caused by the biological structures involved? Again, why accept the biological part of the explanation in the case of women but not in the case of race?

      There is, by the way, a lot more to the alt-right than issues of race. Even when it comes to the topic of race, there’s significantly more to the question than what we’ve been discussing. For example, it’s more than just that people of different races are prone to different types of behavioral patterns. There is also the inherently tribalistic nature of human beings, something that is overwhelmingly obvious from empirical observation. Human beings, perhaps with the exception of whites, have deep and strong racial in-group preferences. This alone, regardless of things like IQ, makes multi-racial societies an idiotic idea.

      The alt-right isn’t denying anyone’s “personhood”. To the contrary, the alt-right is pushing for the basic conditions that human beings (in a real, not idealized, sense) require to have happy, flourishing lives. It’s pushing for conditions of natural order and hierarchy; where healthy families thrive in healthy communities of similar and like-minded people, where there’s high social trust, law and order, and peace and quiet; where beauty and achievement are celebrated, and ugliness and evil are hated; where white civilization stops shamefully and tragically wasting its talents, time, and energy squabbling and groveling before non-whites, and, instead, focuses on pushing forward to explore the universe, unlock the secrets of nature, and further philosophical wisdom.

      The alt-right is a movement fecund with nascent philosophical ideas and themes to be elucidated and explored. It’s also the only movement that seems to recognize what is required for the continued existence of western – i.e., white – civilization.

    • “Non-whites have lower Qs. Having lower IQs is correlated with higher criminality, violence, and family instability. That’s what it has to do with race and IQ. (There are other reasons to keep non-whites out as well.)”

      What about Chinese and other Asians, (they have higher IQs than whites) and East Indians? So you have no problem with them coming en masse? But they would bring lots of elements of non- Western Civ. Is that ok?

    • No, Viking, I’m not OK with that. As I said (in the comment that you are responding to), there’s more to the race issue than just cognitive differences such as IQ.

    • Schopenhammer,

      You leverage the the reality of sex and its implications for behavior as analogous to race and its supposed implications for Western civilization:

      “Would you ask this question about why women can’t become good soldiers? Or why you don’t see large numbers of women in engineering jobs? Or why women are better suited for homemaking and raising small children than men? Do you think the behavioral patterns that women demonstrate are simply a matter of “feminine values and traditions” in some way that is importantly divorced from their biology? I take it that you don’t. You presumably believe that a very important part of the reason why our societies have the feminine values and traditions that they have comes from the biological structure of human females, including the structures and functioning of their brains. You’re presumably not a tabula rasa theorist about sex.

      So, why be a tabula rasa theorist about race? It seems inconsistent, no? If the cause of feminine behavior is largely attributable to biology, why would the cause of, say, African behavior not be largely attributable to biology? Why should we think that obvious patterns of behavior that correlate with race around the world are not largely caused by the biological structures involved? Again, why accept the biological part of the explanation in the case of women but not in the case of race?”

      This is fair to ask. It’s true that I recognize biology plays a significant role in what women and men are interested in and what they’re adept for. Gender differences are in part rooted in sex. So why not race, if it’s real too? Why be what you call a “tabula rasa theorist” about sex and not race?

      Well, suppose that it is true that the differences in behavior between races are grounded in a significant way in hard biology like they are between the sexes. But then why does white nationalism follow from this? Why ought nation states be ethno-states? The broad conclusions of the Alt-Right don’t follow even if its “race realism” or a modest biological determinism is true.

      Even more so, however, I don’t think culture is tantamount to “behavior.” Sure, behavior takes part or is found in culture/civilization, but I contend there is more essentially to it than that. As argued in the OP, there are inherently phenomenal, subjective, normative and intentional aspects of what can be broadly called culture, of which I’m skeptical can be accounted for by evolutionary psychology or genetics. So I don’t see how the Alt-Right justifiably can relate differences in race (like in behavior, which are empirically accessible) as essential to differences in culture (which aren’t just mere differences in behavior, and as such, these fundamental aspects of culture aren’t empirically accessible like behavior is). It’s this mistake, coupled with the tendency to insist on its applicability for politics, is why I describe the Alt-Right as positivist, even though many of members its members individually don’t identify as positivists.

      “There is, by the way, a lot more to the alt-right than issues of race. Even when it comes to the topic of race, there’s significantly more to the question than what we’ve been discussing. For example, it’s more than just that people of different races are prone to different types of behavioral patterns. There is also the inherently tribalistic nature of human beings, something that is overwhelmingly obvious from empirical observation. Human beings, perhaps with the exception of whites, have deep and strong racial in-group preferences. This alone, regardless of things like IQ, makes multi-racial societies an idiotic idea.”

      ^^^ This is something I overlooked in the Alt-Right: The whole identity –> culture –> politics thesis. I acknowledge there is a strong tribalistic tendency, i.e. in-group vs out-group bias, in humans and there probably is some type of evolutionary basis for this. However, I don’t see that this solely occurs along or ends with racial lines, or racial identification is the strongest way we identify. But even if this all is the case, it doesn’t follow that we ought to embrace it. The urge for revenge, to get even could probably be linked to some underlying evolutionary psychology shaped by natural selection (Revenge, I think we can agree, isn’t a good to be pursued). But just because something is natural in this sense and deeply ingrained, it does not follow that it ought be promoted and accepted.

      You claim that “multi-racial societies” are an “idiotic idea.” It’s true that different races with different values and traditions don’t make good bed fellows, and the EU’s open borders “diversity” initiatives, which opened the floodgates to Islamic peoples who have been in conflict with the West pretty much right after Muhammad’s death to present day, are indeed “idiotic,” perhaps “suicidal.” But there is no shortage of polities, that, during their coalescing into political states, didn’t have the luxury of being so isolated that they could have been ethically or racially homogeneous, e.g. South Africa, Nigeria, the former Yugoslavia, Brazil, and yes, the United States. So what can be done to promote unity and social cohesion in countries like these?

      Yours and the Alt-Right’s solution is tribalism along racial lines. This seems counterproductive and would result in social strife and domination. Moreover, even in European societies prior to self-inflicted wounds of “diversity” and “Inclusion,” there still were plenty of intra-European conflicts and bloodshed between whites even inside ethnically “pure” states, e.g. Protestants vs Catholics in France. There is no guarantee what the Alt-Right envisions would actualize the idealism expressed in your platitudes of your second to last paragraph. In fact, the historical record amply suggests otherwise. To ironically claim that the Alt-Right “is pushing for the basic conditions that human beings (in a real, not idealized, sense) require to have happy, flourishing lives…” frankly comes off as utopian as any thoroughbred Marxist and stupendously naive. The Alt-Right denies the view we are persons equal in dignity — an idea that has been foundational for Western civilization — fetishizes hierarchy, pining for a return to the sort of class divisions found in societies prior to the Enlightenment, and fancies itself as saving the West. This seems oddly enough a retrograde and progressive worldview, featuring both delusions of rejuvenation but ambitions for supersession of our civilization.

      Am I missing something?

    • Jan, yes, I think you are missing several things. But I have no expectation to convince you of this. It seems that there is some invisible, impassable chasm between the alt-right and “conservatives”. So, I almost certainly won’t persuade you of much, although perhaps the general alt-right position will be clearer to you. And maybe there is even some open-minded and currently undecided philosopher who will read this (although I think that we can confidently say that the probability of this is approximately zero).

      You ask how the alt-right gets from race realism to ethnonationalism. I certainly won’t try to speak for the alt-right as a whole, but here’s one way to think about it: nations are social ecosystems for people. When the ecosystem doesn’t properly support and nurture its inhabitants, they suffer or, at least, don’t flourish. Multiracial social ecosystems are dysfunctional for several reasons. Because of the link between race and culture, they naturally lead to high levels of multiculturalism, which naturally causes conflict, resentment, and distrust, not the unity and cohesion required for a healthy, functioning social ecosystem. You can see evidence of this very clearly in white countries that have imported lots of non-whites. In addition, the very existence of white people itself is now in danger from this practice, as non-whites are rapidly out-breeding whites in their own countries. So, white nationalism is not only sensible for the flourishing of white people, but for their very survival as a race.

      You say that this kind of view  is “counterproductive and would result in social strife and domination”. Preserving western civilization – i.e., white civilization – is counterproductive? Preventing the extinction of white people is to promote “social strife and domination”? Isn’t it just the opposite?

      You claim that the idea of ethnonationalism for whites “frankly comes off as utopian as any thoroughbred Marxist and stupendously naïve”. But it’s your claim that is, frankly, bizarre. Ethnonationalism has been the obvious, default position of human beings for, as far as we can tell, the entirety of human history, and still is, with the exception of a handful of white countries in the last fifty years, whose rulers have, against the will of most of their people, forced multiracial, multicultural polices on them. Ethnonationalism probably seemed so _obvious_ to most people that nobody really thought it required much of a philosophical defense. It’s really multiracialism and multiculturalism that require a heavy-duty philosophical defense if they are to be taken seriously. And given the observable empirical evidence showing how problematic multiracial and multicultural societies are, I don’t see what kind of plausible philosophical defense would conclude that we should be forced to live that way.

      You are right that racial homogeneity is not a sufficient condition for flourishing. Homogeneous, white countries would still have conflict and, unfortunately, presumably even wars from time to time. But the positive conditions and activities I describe for white countries that you call the “idealism expressed in your platitudes” are things that white countries have _actually_ had and done. Again, the alt-right position has history and empirical evidence on its side. 

      I’m not going address your charge that the alt-right denies that people are “equal in dignity”. I don’t understand why you say this or even what it’s supposed to mean, really. As to the charge that the alt-right says or requires that culture be reducible to evolutionary psychology or biology, I don’t think that the alt-right says or requires that it be reducible in the way you have in mind, which seems to be a kind of _conceptual_ reduction where the concepts that we use to understand culture are reducible to the concepts we use in evolutionary psychology or biology. If that’s what you are saying, I agree with you that such a reduction is very implausible. I think the idea is, instead, that biology plays a large and important causal role in producing the behavior and other things upon which the rest at least supervenes, even if one realm can’t be conceptualized or understood in terms of the other.

  10. Jacques, Urban, and Catholic Hulk,

    Your criticisms are well-taken, and I think I have to revise my thinking here and o. Though I think there still are positivist and materialist assumptions lurking within some segments of the Alt-Right. I think this is exemplified in Alt-Right members’ interpretation of “all men are created equal clause” and rejection of equality, though yes, Urban, Vox Day makes no mention of normative and metaphysical equality in Point 7. But I’ll try to elaborate and respond where I think I still have bone of contention when I have more time in the next couple days. That includes you too, Schopenhammer.

    • No, Viking, I’m not OK with that. As I said (in the comment that you are responding to), there’s more to the race issue than just cognitive differences such as IQ.

      Right, but can you be sure the benefits of an infusion of higher IQ Asians will not outweigh the costs of the other cultural differences they bring? What’s better – a population of whites with a lower average IQ or a mixed population of whites and Asians with a higher average IQ? I think I would vote for the latter. But perhaps I am biased since I love spicy Hunan.

  11. Good post. I agree that there is a definite scientistic tendency running through the alt-right’s discourse on race. And there doesn’t seem to be any coherent moral framework there, either. Sometimes they just sound like edgy amoralists to me, at least with respect to non-whites (glib pronouncements like “they have to go back” strike me in this way.) Other times they seem to endorse some kind of Nietzschean perfectionist consequentialism. Still other times just straight-up utilitarianism.

    Anyway, this video by a former philosophy professor might be of interest. He critiques the concept of whiteness (and of blackness and ‘people of color’) from a different angle.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nP8FOZGWSa0

    Actually, I’d recommend checking out his other videos too. I think it’s the kind of stuff RC readers would appreciate.

  12. Hey Aristotelianism is Unstoppable,

    Thank you. The video is great, and I’m largely in agreement with Philosopher Errant.

    Since you and I agree here there is a latent scientism in the Alt-Right’s discourse, may I ask where you have exactly detected it? I’m curious to see your examples, you have them. I have the impression based on witnessing it in the far-flung corners of my internet browsing, so it’s hard to retrace my steps and find them again.

  13. Interestingly enough, I find this article to show both what is right and what is wrong with contemporary conservatism. That’s just my personal position, which tends to agree with some positions the alt-right is known to espouse, while whole-heartedly rejecting others. I think it is important to note that many alt-righters are social Darwinists, not inspired primarily by Christian tradition, nor interested in a reactionism that eliminates the whole of the liberal movement. Instead, they want to go back to a state-of-nature Nietzschean (as the above poster correctly identifies) struggle.

    However, the so-called “constitutional” conservatives or mainstream conservatives seem to want to go back to Lockean classical liberalism and preserve the essence of the Enlightenment.

    My personal proclivity is to reject the essence of the Enlightenment and modernity. If I understand you two correctly, Jacques seems to be suggesting that people are not equal, so racial hierarchy is justified. Jan seems to be suggesting racial hierarchy is not justified because people are equal. My position is different than both of these. I agree with Jacques that “all men are created equal” is bogus. However, it doesn’t necessarily follow that a natural hierarchy exists based upon race, even if the IQ claims of the “race realists” are true, which many have expressly denied. Jan is right that the sort of equality Locke is talking about has little to do with things like IQ.

    Ultimately, for me, natural inequalities of an evaluative sort are primarily related to God’s will and intentions. Some individuals are “ranked” differently than others because God has particular intentions for those individuals. It does not map neatly onto what is normally conceived of as “race.” I fully agree that we are “God’s property” and not “persons” as Kant thought we were. But there is no ontological superiority to being white vs. any other color. The only way to convince me otherwise is to suggest that God has made some decree suggesting such a hierarchy, and that seems incorrect, given that most creationist scientists have concluded that Adam and Eve were probably medium skinned. Hence, we’re all variations on a middle-skinned “race.”

    • A man with an IQ of 120 can be a radiologist, a man with an IQ of 80 cannot, so he becomes a truck driver. A radiologist has a much higher income, will be considered to have higher social status among friends, family, potential romantic interests, etc. The hierarchies that play out in proportion to differential IQ are obviously social/cultural/economic in nature, not ontological. We can debate why they exist, whether it’s good or bad for them to exist, but we cannot debate that they exist.

      But I submit that one of the worst evils in our society is that the secular belief system attributes ontological superiority to having a high IQ. Simultaneously, secular society rejects any ontological superiority to being white vs. any other color. The alt-right, or at least the Christian alt-right, of course rejects the idea that there is ontological superiority for any reason, as it’s in obvious contradiction to scripture.

      The reality is that whites have a superior IQ to blacks (in the general sense, like how not all men are taller than all women, but men have superior height to women). To the alt-right this presents no problem, as it rejects ontological superiority out of hand. It’s a rational explanation for why we observe more white than black radiologists, but it means nothing otherwise. To the secularists this presents a huge problem. They are required to at the same time to attribute and not attribute ontological superiority to whites over blacks.

      One cannot argue that whites and blacks have in general the same IQ. As much as one might wish to believe the sky is pink the weight of reality will win the fight. So to solve the problem they have faith in the idea that the difference is in no way whatsoever intrinsic. If this was a private matter, well no big deal. But they are quite zealous in their beliefs, and very preachy. They go around forcing everyone to profess the same belief, accuse people of heresy if they don’t, make life difficult for anyone who doesn’t want to go along.

      If it were just this one issue then maybe it would just be annoying. But they’re just as zealous about every difference between races that has any meaningful affect on social/cultural/economic hierarchy. Combine this with the belief in equality-as-eschaton, and you get the vile bands of pests and moral busybodies we call the far left, hunting down all the witchcraft that necessarily exists and causes the different hierarchical outcomes between races.

      The real problem with the non-Christian alt-right is not that they understand there is no such thing as witchcraft, but that they buy into the idea of ontological superiority of high IQ. This locks them into buying into the ontological superiority of whites over blacks, which sets them apart from both Christians and Seculars (ie basically everyone else), who reject that notion. This is part of the reason why the alt-right is hopeless without Christianity (and I’ll note here that at least Vox Day, who is kind of the central philosopher of the movement, has said Western Civilization stands on three separate pillars, the Western peoples, the Christian religion, and the Greco-Roman legacy).

  14. Pooh Bear,

    In my estimation, it’s perfectly consistent to recognize that we’re metaphysically and normatively equal as persons and rights-possessors but empirically recognize there are major differences between us collectively and individually. I’m saying as individual persons, we’re equal. We all have inherent dignity and value, and this fact must not be run roughshod over when we generalize about ourselves as groups. So are certain groups better at certain things? Most definitely. Are certain races, like blacks, more socially dysfunctional than others? Obviously. But I don’t think blacks’ dysfunction is a function of their being black or an outgrowth of what makes them fundamentally black — that, as a matter of their nature, they’re inherently dysfunctional. That is my position.

    As I understand it, whether it exists metaphysically or not, the Alt-Right rejects equality wholesale. We are not fundamentally persons, but members of a tribe, instantiations of variable racial types. So it’s hard to see why we have individual worth when the metaphysically grounding for our inherent value is gone, and following from this, cultural and social life is to be understood and ordered according to tribal interests and empirically-verfied differences between groups.

    • I think you’re right about what at least some of the alt-right people believe.

      My position is that terms like “rights” and “dignity” are unhelpful terms because they don’t really mean anything substantive. Generally it’s used to mean something like the following: humans have some property P such that P is inherently valuable in all possible worlds. That means if you just think of humanity apart from God, humans are still just as valuable as they would be otherwise. Furthermore, morality is generally so grounded and rooted in the notions of rights and dignity that even God is thought subject to them, hence why the problem of evil holds such force for so many. I don’t think we have any substantive claims on God due to our inherent dependency and His inherent independence.

      By contrast, I think that human value means being the subject of intentions of God (that is, He has some plans or intentions for us.) Then the question becomes, does God have the same thoughts and intentions for all? I don’t think so, hence why I think we are not metaphysically equal as persons. We probably do all have some “base” value; that is to say, God probably has some minimal set of intentions for all of us. I do not think, though, that God values all people equally. It doesn’t seem scriptural nor rational to think that.

      I agree with much of what you say about race. Being a member of any particular “race” does not, we both agree, in itself, convey any morally evaluative implications. I further agree with you that the alt-right seems to reject this. I think that inequalities come about with respect to God’s plans or intentions for us, and I don’t think that God’s plans are qualitatively different for people simply by virtue of their color. In that sense, the “races” are “equal.” God did/does have a few limited preferences for tribe, however, (Hebrews over Canaanites, etc.) but these are most likely brought about because of rewards/punishments for human actions, not inherent features in those folks. I also think they are generalizations, as some Hebrews devalue themselves through improper activity (i.e., King Manasseh) and some Canaanites could improve themselves through good activity (i.e., Uriah the Hittite).

      The primary classifications by which persons’ inequalities are most obviously manifest are with respect to their individual morality. This is why God grants differential eschatological statuses to humans. That’s not the only way in which inequalities come to exist, but it is the clearest case.

      On a more practical level, I think the alt-right is correct that there is a cultural war against all things considered White/European. They are, however, wrong to respond to this by doubling down on a White supremecist attitude. If the White/European heritage is so good, why not share it with everyone and allow others to participate in the fruits of it and the future formations of the culture that is its progeny? Instead, some of the alt-right thinks that there is something inherently bad about the other “races” and inherently non-participatory. Racial segregation is not the answer, but it probably looks like it to those who have no God, but still are queasy about the left.

    • I love it when the skills I picked up during my zany post-modernist college days come in handy.

      When you say blacks are dysfunctional you’re making a normative value judgement about their behavior. You correctly observe that certain tendencies produce undesireable outcomes in the context of the modern day United States, but if we took a time machine back to sub-Saharan Africa circa 1500 bc, the positive utility and functionality of those tendencies would be obvious. It would have to be, it’s the only way the tendencies could exist to begin with.

      The solution to your problem is not to have faith in the idea that the tendencies are not in any way intrinsic, the solution is to stop with the normative value judgments. Once you stop putting behavioral tendencies on an ethnocentric ontological hierarchy, you no longer have to rationalize why that doesn’t imply ontological inequality between whites and blacks.

    • rcglinksi,

      When I say dysfunctional, I’m referring to high rates of out-of-wedlock births, criminality, and distaste for education. I don’t see distaste for education as having an analogue in ancient sub-Saharan Africa, but I can’t see how you would attribute positive utility to the other two pathologies in that context at all. Murder disrupts the civil order universally. And in brutal ancient times, progeny raised by their parents had a high likelihood of dying to begin with; progeny severed from their parents would almost certainly perish — hence, why marriage as an institution developed in the first place. In a period of little affluence and short lifespans, your children, i.e. the next generation, were your most prized possession. Surely, this was recognized in Mesopotamia, Europe, and also sub-Saharan Africa.

      Furthermore, I’m not a multiculturalist. Clearly, not all cultures are equally beneficial for human flourishing (see mutilation, genital, in your nearest encyclopedia of Middle Eastern indigenous practices). But as I don’t relate race essentially to culture, I don’t see how I face the difficulty you seem to be ascribing to me.

    • @Jan

      The keystone is the fact that you care at all. Blacks in America have behavioral tendencies. Those tendencies have some negative consequences in context. The only justifiable reason to care why is to figure out how to change them for the better. You have asserted, as far as I can tell, an affirmative belief that the tendencies are cultural as opposed to biological. But you seem to have not done so for the only justifiable reason of trying to change them. Instead you seem to have made that assertion to comport with the required beliefs of the secular religion that rules America. If you’d like to explain why you believe the different behaviors are most certainly cultural and most certainly not biological, with the sort of scientific backing that such a grand claim necessarily requires, I’m all ears. But until that happens, I’m going to believe you live in fear of the witchunters.

    • rcglinski,

      Yes, I think black social pathologies are primarily accounted for culturally, not biologically. But as to how this means I “live in fear of the witchunters” and believe it on the grounds that I’m trying to “comport with the required beliefs of the secular religion that rules America,” I don’t know where you’re getting that from. I’m no friend, serf, or “cuck” who kowtows to the left.

      As for evidence of culture, not biology as culprit, try Thomas Sowell, who notes Jim Crow, sharecropping, and slavery did not break apart the black family; instead he notices a correlation between the Great Society with the rising rate of out of wedlock births. Growing up with or without you biological parents is the greatest indicator of financial independence, criminality, etc. This suggests there is strong cultural component to black dysfunction. Furthermore, I don’t see why the burden of proof is on me here either. Surely, you too have to explain why you believe the different behaviors are most certainly biological and most certainly not not cultural — that is if this is your position.

      At any rate, I find your comment bizarre. You assert that “[t]he only justifiable reason to care why is to figure out how to change them for the better.” (Or maybe it’s because I’m interested in the truth and the pursuit thereof. This isn’t to say I’m callous toward the problems of black America, but as a conservative, I don’t find the large-scale, centralized social engineering of a population for their greater good attractive). But if the different behaviors are biological in nature — as I’m inferring this is what you believe — then what can be done “to change them for the better”? Genetic engineering? Even if that was feasible, that doesn’t negate the moral implications of doing so. Where does that leave us?

      It’s one thing to believe that race is real. That, there are empirically significant biological differences between various populations. It’s another to conclude — illicitly, I believe — that from racial differences in average IQ, behavior, and even temperament that white nationalism, the proclamations about “blood and soil,” and the repudiation of anything associated with the Enlightenment, including the influence of the Christian Imago Dei and its elevation of humans as being inherently equal as dignified persons, as justified. Although not all members of the Alt-Right are racists or neo-Nazis, it’s disconcerting that racists and neo-Nazis are at home in the Alt-Right. Prima facie, it’s not irrational or being a sell-out for modern liberalism to view the group with unease.

    • @JSIV

      Sowell’s formulation is misguided. Jim Crow did not cause black pathology, black pathology caused Jim Crow:

      http://thosewhocansee.blogspot.com/2017/07/segregation-our-most-cherished-myths.html

      Rural, ie low-IQ blacks, spend the first two decades after the civil war as subsistence farmers. Jim Crow laws and other segregation laws were enacted starting in 1890 as a way of responding to the challenge that their enhanced levels of criminality and lack of conscientiousness required.

      As for an a priori case, all human traits are heritable, and traits like intelligence, conscientiousness and civility (especially non-violence) are highly heritable. At an individual level, one’s intelligence etc. is a combination of genetic likelihood and for lack of a better word randomness (unless your parents hit you in the head with a hammer when you’re 3, environment can lower adult intelligence, it can’t raise it). On the group level randomness balances itself out and differences are essentially 100% genetic (minus any hammers to the side of the head).

      If you’d like to read an in depth analysis of the IQ issue specifically read below. The other traits follow the same pattern.

      https://jaymans.wordpress.com/jaymans-race-inheritance-and-iq-f-a-q-f-r-b/

      Re: third paragraph. I stand corrected. Generally speaking “welfare state” policies are actually a practically vindictive and harmful policy given black tendencies, regardless of cause. And as such there is plenty of reason to care beyond changing them. And “genetic engineering?” Yes, of course. Pain and suffering exist so that we can know that something is wrong and do something about it. God has afforded that freedom to man and we are obliged to exercise it as best we can. Genetic engineers might make mistakes, surgeons might make mistakes, this condemns neither genetic engineering nor surgery.

      On the fourth paragraph, the truth of Imago Dei cannot logically necessitate building a Tower of Babel. As to how to reconcile that contradiction, I’m not with the white nationalists so much as I appreciate their willingness to recognize the logical impossibility and try to offer a solution, as flawed as it might be.

    • @JSIV

      Sowell’s formulation is misguided. Jim Crow did not cause black pathology, black pathology caused Jim Crow:

      http://thosewhocansee.blogspot.com/2017/07/segregation-our-most-cherished-myths.html

      Rural, ie low-IQ blacks, spend the first two decades after the civil war as subsistence farmers. Jim Crow laws and other segregation laws were enacted starting in 1890 as a way of responding to the challenge that their enhanced levels of criminality and lack of conscientiousness required.

      As for an a priori case, all human traits are heritable, and traits like intelligence, conscientiousness and civility (especially non-violence) are highly heritable. At an individual level, one’s intelligence etc. is a combination of genetic likelihood and for lack of a better word randomness (unless your parents hit you in the head with a hammer when you’re 3, environment can lower adult intelligence, it can’t raise it). On the group level randomness balances itself out and differences are essentially 100% genetic (minus any hammers to the side of the head).

      If you’d like to read an in depth analysis of the IQ issue specifically read below. The other traits follow the same pattern.

      https://jaymans.wordpress.com/jaymans-race-inheritance-and-iq-f-a-q-f-r-b/

      Re: third paragraph. I stand corrected. Generally speaking “welfare state” policies are actually a practically vindictive and harmful policy given black tendencies, regardless of cause. And as such there is plenty of reason to care beyond changing them. And “genetic engineering?” Yes, of course. Pain and suffering exist so that we can know that something is wrong and do something about it. God has afforded that freedom to man and we are obliged to exercise it as best we can. Genetic engineers might make mistakes, surgeons might make mistakes, this condemns neither genetic engineering nor surgery.

      On the fourth paragraph, the truth of Imago Dei cannot logically necessitate building a Tower of Babel. As to how to reconcile that contradiction, I’m not with the white nationalists so much as I appreciate their willingness to recognize the logical impossibility and try to offer a solution, as flawed as it might be.

  15. “Jacques seems to be suggesting that people are not equal, so racial hierarchy is justified”.

    Just to be clear, I’m certainly not defending a natural racial hierarchy that would warrant slavery. I don’t even claim there is a natural racial hierarchy. I was only arguing that the principle of metaphysical equality is not a good reason by itself for disagreeing with the alt right (since it can’t even rule out race-based slavery). Whites tend to be far better than blacks at lots of things that whites value, like philosophy, but whites are uniquely bad at some things, and blacks have some talents that whites often lack. Plausibly whites or caucasians are the most impressive race overall, if we have to rank them, but I don’t much care. Most on the alt right simply want us whites to be left alone–not killed and raped by immigrants, replaced in our homelands or mixed into extinction, not shamed for the achievements of our ancestors that make others feel inferior, etc.

    • It seems to me there’s got to be more reason to value certain things than just “I’m a white person. We value this stuff.” Can’t you ask the question, what sort of things SHOULD be valued? If you can answer that and you still come up with “white values,” how is that different than a natural hierarchy?

    • @Pooh Bear

      The alt-right response is you should value your people, your religion, your culture and traditions, your health, prosperity and safety. I will let you be the arbiter of whether these are “white values.” I don’t think they imply a natural hierarchy because the values as stated are universal.

    • So then look at the next part of the issue. Does that put us back at a natural hierarchy? Basically the question is this: is being non-white, say black for instance, a bad-making feature of a person?

  16. “The alt-right is a movement fecund with nascent philosophical ideas and themes to be elucidated and explored. It’s also the only movement that seems to recognize what is required for the continued existence of western – i.e., white – civilization.”

    This seems so funny. Western Civilization just in the last 150 years has given us two world wars, the holocaust, Marxism, (Stalinism, the Great Purge, the killing fields,) post modern nihilism, obesity and depression epidemics, feminism, transgenderism, and thermonuclear weapons that will most likely be used at some point in the not too distant future with cataclysm consequences. Bravo western civ!

    Not that it has not produced amazing things, too.
    But as far as I can tell, it’s pretty much a wash so far.

    • “This seems so funny.”

      It seems funny that I think we should preserve our culture? You think white culture doesn’t deserve to exist?

  17. Viking: You have a good objection:

    “I created my son, but I still morally can’t do anything I want with him… You could argue… that once created the creature has certain rights that God himself cannot violate – and that enslaving the creature is a violation of its rights.”

    Here’s how I’d reply: (1) For you and your son, the property claim seems false but maybe that’s only because (a) you didn’t really create your son but rather God did, or (b) even if you did, you may not have the right to do just anything to him because you’re not morally perfect and omniscient. (2) I agree that (possibly) we have rights that God can’t violate, but even under what we call “slavery” in the US the “slaves” were thought to have rights that their “masters” couldn’t violate; so we could be slaves in that sense regardless of having such rights.

    • “It seems funny that I think we should preserve our culture? You think white culture doesn’t deserve to exist?”

      Maybe not. The jury is still out. Much of it doesn’t. I mentioned many of it’s toxic fruits. If it all goes up in a mushroom cloud, then perhaps the savages, though not noble, had a wisdom that we did not.

    • The jury is still out on whether white culture deserves to exist? Yeah, I’m not really sure how to continue a conversation here. Those sound like fighting words to me.

    • (“1) For you and your son, the property claim seems false but maybe that’s only because (a) you didn’t really create your son but rather God did, or (b) even if you did, you may not have the right to do just anything to him because you’re not morally perfect and omniscient. (2) I agree that (possibly) we have rights that God can’t violate, but even under what we call “slavery” in the US the “slaves” were thought to have rights that their “masters” couldn’t violate; so we could be slaves in that sense regardless of having such rights.”

      Jacques,

      The father/son example was more an analogy of God/creature than an argument in itself. So with respect to (b), I would argue that the fact that God is morally perfect, omniscient and omnipotent, is the very reason why He would recognize and respect that He does not have the right to do just anything to the humans he created, and I think still remain within the orthodoxy of Abrahamic theism.

      With respect to (2), the mere fact the slavemasters recognized some rights of slaves and violated others does not entail they did not have these other rights that were violated. Having a set of rights alone is obviously not sufficient for them being recognized or respected.

  18. “The jury is still out on whether white culture deserves to exist? Yeah, I’m not really sure how to continue a conversation here. Those sound like fighting words to me.”

    Go ahead, Schopenhammer, I’ll be your Huckleberry. 

    Maybe you can’t continue the conversation because the question as posed is just nonsensical. Does white culture “deserve” to exist?  I don’t know. Do Penguins “deserve” to exist? Does Cubism “deserve” to exist? The Macarena? Do you deserve to exist? What did you do to merit your earthly incarnation?

    The only sense I can make of your question is whether white culture/western civilization has produced more good things than bad, or more good than other cultures. And we cannot really know the answer to that question until the dusk of history – only then does the owl of Minerva spread its wings, to use a nice image from Hegel.

    • I think Viking is touching on the right kinds of points, which this conversation has largely glossed over thus far, which is grounding these “oughts” metaphysically. Christian theism has the resources to do this, other systems not so much.

      A minor quibble with one point Viking made:

      “So with respect to (b), I would argue that the fact that God is morally perfect, omniscient and omnipotent, is the very reason why He would recognize and respect that He does not have the right to do just anything to the humans he created, and I think still remain within the orthodoxy of Abrahamic theism.”

      I think the kind of God Christian theism represents (the God of the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and God and Father of Jesus Christ) *does* have the right to do just anything He wants to the humans He created, yet because He is morally perfect and pure and holy, holy, holy, His divine intentions and purposes are always aligned with His moral perfections, so He can’t and won’t do anything contrary to His perfection.

      This may be what Viking meant in an economy of words anyway, or something like it.

    • “The only sense I can make of your question is whether white culture/western civilization has produced more good things than bad, or more good than other cultures. ”

      That’s not the issue I’m concerned with here. I’m talking about whites preserving their culture. It’s obviously something many of us want to do. It seems good for us, at least. The earlier comments that you replied to were written to Jan, who I take is in agreement with me about wanting to preserve white culture. (He would probably say it’s western civilization, not necessarily white.) I was also assuming that Jan agrees with me that it’s morally permissible for us to do that.

      If you deny that it’s morally permissible for us to preserve our culture (by doing things like restricting immigration into white countries), there is no point in us having a conversation. I would classify you as morally deranged.

  19. God “*does* have the right to do just anything He wants to the humans He created, yet because He is morally perfect and pure and holy, holy, holy, His divine intentions and purposes are always aligned with His moral perfections, so He can’t and won’t do anything contrary to His perfection.

    This may be what Viking meant in an economy of words anyway, or something like it.”

    No, Euthyphro, I think meant what I said. Yaweh would have no more right to rape Leda than Zeus did. The fact that he always respects rights is what makes him morally perfect.

    • Umm..nope. That would ground God’s morality in somerhing outside Himself, like there’s some standard “out there” that God needs to live up to to make Him perfect. Wrong.

  20. “Umm..nope. That would ground God’s morality in somerhing outside Himself, like there’s some standard “out there” that God needs to live up to to make Him perfect. Wrong.”

    God can’t violate the laws of logic, according to Augustine and Aquinas, and most orthodox theologians, so there is some standard “out there” that God needs to live up to to make him perfect. I regard basic moral truths as a priori, necessary conceptual truths, that are independent. If that is not orthodox, I don’t particularly care. Do you have anything here besides mere dogmatic assertion?

    • You must not have considered the subject very much from a Christian theistic viewpoint. On Christian theism there’s God, and there’s His creation. The “laws of logic” then, can only emanate from God and not exist as some outside “other” that stands as an ultimate standard the God of Christian theism must live up to. On Christian theism God is ultimate, on your system something else (in this case the laws of logic) are more ultimate than God, the ultimate-ultimate if you will. Fail.

  21. “That’s not the issue I’m concerned with here. I’m talking about whites preserving their culture. It’s obviously something many of us want to do. It seems good for us, at least.”

    Schopenhammer,

    Global multiculturalism “seems” good to globalists too and they want to preserve and encourage globalism. Communism “seems” good to communists. So what? If you are going to do anything besides merely assert your preferences about what “seems” good to you, and actually engage in rational discourse- isn’t that what this forum is all about, ideally? –  then the points I raised are exactly the kind of issues you would need to think about if you are going to argue that “preserving white culture” or at least western civilization (WC), is better than transitioning to a mixed culture, either of race or tradition. You have given no good reason, regarding the question I asked you before, why preserving WC is better than, say, transitioning to a nation with a mixed culture with higher IQ (assuming we could raise the average IQ of the nation by admitting more high IQ Asians). You were particularly concerned about the social pathologies generated by lower IQ immigrants and I was interested in whether you would trade off a predominantly WC for a higher IQ mixed nation.”  I guess your answer is no, though I see no reason why. This question is of particular interest to me since I live in Silicon Valley which has come to be a kind of microcosm of this not so hypothetical scenario.

    Also, you seem to just ignore the many evils (listed in a prior post) WC has unleashed upon the world. In particular, I think the existence of thermonuclear weapons is the greatest danger posed to mankind, and that it is highly likely they will be used in the next fifty to a hundred years. So what is so great about WC compared to say, rural Confucian Chinese culture or Cherokee culture?  

    • No non-white sinks to such “objectivity”. Whites like “viking” are not _better_ for being “objective”.

    • OK, Viking, I’m going to try really hard to “actually engage in rational discourse” and not use the sophomoric move where I “merely assert [my] preferences about what “seems” good to [me]”, as I was obviously doing last time. Thanks for calling me out. It seems that you have really nailed the alt-right here with your objections, and it must be amusing to watch us just flailing around in the face of this take-down. But, probably just so I can practice the skills of rational debate, let me see if I can respond.

      One of your points seems to be that, if our goal is to have high-IQ, high-achieving societies, it would seem that we would actually want non-whites with _higher_ IQs than whites (e.g., Asians) in our countries rather than keeping our countries white. You seem to be frustrated that I haven’t acknowledged this important challenge. (Actually, I immediately acknowledged it when you first said it several comments ago and I referred you back to where I had already said things relevant to this concern. But you never seemed to have read or acknowledged that.) Ethnonationalism is a view that supports racial integrity and homogeneity for all races regardless of their levels of achievement and intellectual skill. It’s about providing distinct racial/cultural groups a social and political home that provides the conditions for flourishing. White culture obviously doesn’t need Asians to flourish. And whites won’t flourish if a higher-IQ group is taking all the spots in their elite universities or all the highest-level jobs. Whites will not be in charge of their culture in such a case. And strong human in-group preferences (which is what I mentioned previously and you ignored) will lead to significant tension, resentment, and other problems in a society of that sort. Also, whites obviously won’t flourish if they are bred into non-existence by becoming half-Asians. 

      You also say some things that make it sound like you think maybe it’s not morally permissible for whites to preserve their culture because other cultures are better. I don’t see how other cultures being better would imply that white culture shouldn’t exist. Do you think it’s plausible that it’s only morally permissible for a culture to preserve itself if there are no better cultures in the world? I’d love to hear a defense of this if this kind of hyperbolic, genocidal, racial/cultural supremacism that you seem to have in mind. It sounds morally absurd. 

      Your other idea seems to be that it’s not morally permissible for whites to preserve their cultures because white culture isn’t, or might not be, overall good in the sense that it has “produced more good things than bad” or that it will do so in the long run. Well, what if you thought that your mother might not be overall good in that sense? Perhaps she’s kind of a nasty person more than she is nice. Wouldn’t it still be morally permissible for you to save her from a burning building? It seems as though the relationship she has to you makes it morally permissible, and presumably even morally _required_, that you save her. The case of our culture seems analogous. Even if white culture weren’t overall good, or even if we were pretty sure it wasn’t, it seems as thought it would still be morally permissible to try to preserve it. In fact, as in the case of your mom, it seems as though we’d be morally _required_ to try to preserve it. 

      Perhaps it would not be morally permissible if we knew that white people were going to do something so extremely terrible that it completely swamped the goodness of their existence. But as you acknowledge, we don’t know that this is going to happen. And we do know that white people could produce things of tremendous benefit in the future as well. (For example, if cosmic or planetary events threaten the existence of a habitable environment on Earth, white people could well be essential in producing science and technology that solves the problems.) And what about the other races? They too could produce things of tremendous damage. Is it morally impermissible for the Asians, the Indians, and the Arabs to preserve their cultures because they might cause tremendous damage in the future? This seems to be an overly risk-adverse morality

    • That’s an odd litany of random slogans. Jacques, how would a mixed culture of higher IQ Chinese or other Asians and whites (my hypothetical example) threaten your family more than a lower IQ population of just whites? – given that all the social pathologies correlate with lower IQ?

      Don’t you need objectivity to assess the dangers to you or your family accurately? Making a mistake could be fatal.

    • From a statistical point of view there are probably two or three hundred dangers to you and your family on the list before being being raped or killed by an immigrant or black or terrorist. Why are you so obsessed over this danger?

      Oops, sorry being overly objective, I guess.

  22. CRD says,”You must not have considered the subject very much from a Christian theistic viewpoint.”

    Augustine and Aquinas are Christian theists, and their theological credentials are probably more impressive than yours. They, along with most Christian theologians, think God cannot violate the laws of logic or mathematics God cannot make modus ponens invalid or 1 + 1 equal 3. So God must conform to these laws, and there are standards that even God must follow. Similarly, and for the same reasons, God cannot make sexually molesting infants a good thing. In the literature there is lots of back and forth about whether this limits God’s omnipotence, etc. etc. So feel free to choose a side, but its not true that there is any settled “Christian theistic viewpoint” on the matter as you seem to think.

    • Sorry, I thought based on your blustering you cared about logic, apparently I was mistaken. I guess we could go back and forth appealing to authorities, but that’s a tiresome game and I figured pointing to what the Bible actually sets forth about the God of Christian theism, then making a simple logical conclusion about Him vs. His creation might cause you to actually wrestle with the point on your own, but instead you choose to punt.

      That’s okay, I’m used to dealing with intellectually lazy people. Plus most folks don’t care very much about what the Bible actually says, and what kind of God it actually sets forth, preferring their foggy ideas and self-made idols instead.

      I’ve already covered the ground you seem hopelessly confused about, so we’re just going in circles. Cheers!

    • so you want to be objective now. I thought objectivity was death? -)

      Below are the percentages and rankings of dangers to you and your family. So a rational person, not a phobic one, will adjust his priorities to the relative probabilities of risk. The definition of a phobia (is the Left correct that people like you are   ……phobics?) is prioritizing a relatively low risk danger to the top of the list of things to fear. You seem to spend a lot of time writing and thinking about the dangers of being killed and enslaved by another culture. That is pretty silly. From an objective point of view, if you are mostly concerned about the life and well being of your family, then the smartest thing you could do, based on the list below, is spend the time you take ranting about the death of WC on the internet, in a gym instead, or jogging, or walking. You seem to be pretty stressed out about this. Stress is a killer. Spend more quality time with your kids. And if you are concerned about the life, health and well being of others, and you like advocating positions on the internet, then pick a cause below – there are 14 higher on the list than homicide – and advocate for healthier lifestyles. By the way, being enslaved isn’t even on the list. 🙂

      1. Diseases of the heart
      28.5
      2. Malignant tumors
      22.8
      3. Cerebrovascular diseases
      6.7
      4. Chronic lower respiratory diseases
      5.1
      5. Accidents (unintentional injuries)
      4.4
      6. Diabetes mellitus
      3.0
      7. Influenza and pneumonia
      2.7
      8. Alzheimer’s disease
      2.4
      9. Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis
      1.7
      10. Septicemia (blood poisoning)
      1.4
      11. Suicide
      1.3
      12. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis
      1.1
      13. Primary hypertension and hypertensive renal disease
      0.8
      14. Parkinson’s disease (tied)
      0.7
      15. Homicide (tied)
      0.7

    • “Objectively this is irrational: mortal danger 1 is for now more likely than 2; so do nothing to about 2.”

      Spoken like a true phobic. Hypertension is a lot more likely to kill you than being enslaved and killed by immigrants. How much time do you spend worrying about and preventing hypertension?

  23. “That’s okay, I’m used to dealing with intellectually lazy people. Plus most folks don’t care very much about what the Bible actually says, and what kind of God it actually sets forth, preferring their foggy ideas and self-made idols instead.” – CRD

    Ha. “You are confused. Read the Bible.” Brilliant. You sound just like poor Euthyphro, schlepping away from the porch of the King Archon – without a clue to what just happened to him..

    • And for any who are interested in the point Viking is apparently too dense to grasp, here’s the deal: ultimately the God of Christian theism (Who happens to be the real and only God) *is the standard of what is good*. There is nothing higher than God that we could point to and say, “God, in order to be good, must be/do that” (which is what Viking dogmatically stipulates). The God of Christian theism is, by definition, the highest possible good. Therefore, anything He does is by definition good. Moreover there’s no higher court of appeal than the most-high Himself. Thus to appeal to some impersonal laws which allegedly exist outside of and independent of God (such as the laws of logic) as a standard that God must live up to is manifestly illogical, irrational, and absurd. Of course this doesn’t bother people who don’t care about such things, but to thinking people a self-contradicting and internally inconsistent worldview should be viewed as untenable, and summarily abandonded.

      Now one could argue, as some slandarously accuse, that this means that God could command child rape, genocide, holocausts or any number of such things. However, the God of Christian theism could not have done so, for then God would have a different nature then the one He actually has. A *different God* could command those things, but *the God of Christian theism* (Who happens to be the real God) cannot do so.

      As for Viking’s fascination with Euthyphro, whom he’s referenced several times here, I recommend the following resource for any who are interested in further reading:

      https://frame-poythress.org/euthyphro-hume-and-the-biblical-god/

  24. Schopenhammer, based on a quick read of your “Ok Viking” response you seem to be playing fast and loose with the terms. You originally took issue with me when I said, “The jury is still out on whether white culture deserves to exist?” Now you are arguing that it is “morally permissible” to preserve WC. That is a different issue. All these are different:

    1) It is morally permissible to preserve WC
    2) WC deserves to be preserved.
    2) We should preserve WC

    I’ll try to address some of the details of your response later.

  25. CRD, amid your usual repetitions, dogmatic assertions and ad hominems you managed to say something relatively intelligent: “Now one could argue,… that this means that God could command child rape, genocide, holocausts or any number of such things. However, the God of Christian theism could not have done so, for then God would have a different nature then the one He actually has. A *different God* could command those things, but *the God of Christian theism* (Who happens to be the real God) cannot do so.” —-How do you know which of the two possible Gods you mention is morally better? There are lots of conceptions of God that are possible to worship. Obviously you choose the God who does not rape etc. over the one who does. On what basis do you make your choice to worship the non-raping God over the raping one?

    • One actually exists (is true) and one doesn’t (is false). Worship of false gods is forbidden by the One true God.

  26. “One actually exists (is true) and one doesn’t (is false). Worship of false gods is forbidden by the One true God.”

    How do you know the rapist God (Omni-Zeus or whatever) does not exist and the non – rapist God (Yaweh or whatever) does exist? Mere arbirtrary assertion? Going along with the herd? – by use of independent standards of moral judgement and reason? – or by arguing in a circle – “I know my god exists by using standards that are guaranteed to be right by my god”???

    • Lots of reasons, and by many lines of evidence, but I suppose at bottom it would be because of the impossibility of the contrary. No other conception of Deity (or philosophical system) can give a cogent, coherent account for the type of reality we live in and experience other than the type of Deity (and philosophical system) presented by Christian theism, a.k.a. The God of the Bible and Christianity.

      As you’re no doubt aware presenting a formal argument for the existence of just about anything, including things we take for granted, may get us into deep waters. Even obvious truths can be hard to prove. Take proving the existence of an external world, or the reality of time. 

      But if you’re genuinely interested in the subject I’d be glad to dialogue with you further.

  27. Viking: Of course I never said that “objectivity is death”. I said that _your_ objectivity in _this_ context is death. Which I think you’d have to recognize if you were honestly aspiring to objectivity: faced with a bunch of thugs trying to kill you and your family, your will to live should prevent you from wondering “Do I deserve to survive?” or “Is my family really objectively valuable enough that I should be protecting them?” The normal and right response is to defend yourself, not to “objectively” assess the value of your continued existence, or your family’s, or your nation’s, etc. When whites face replacement and dispossession in their homelands, that just is in itself a mortal threat to them and everything they value. (Would you like to be a Cherokee, or a Mayan, or a Palestinian? Why not?) If you disagree then you are indeed “morally deranged” as Schopenhammer earlier thought you might be.

  28. A few thoughts about the good old “phobic” card–no shitlib leaves the house without it–I imagine your “objective” responses to other cases:

    Viking: “Why quit smoking? You’re only 25, and right now you’re more likely to die of x,y, z… Why be so smoke-phobic”

    Viking: “Sure, the government just released all serial killers and MS13 members into the general population, but you personally are more likely to be harmed by a venomous snake bite. Statistics prove it! Don’t be so violent-criminal-phobic…”

    Viking: “I agree that in 100 years global warming might be really bad, but did you know that right now Islamic terrorism is a bigger risk to you? So who cares about global warming? Don’t be climate-phobic!”

    • Jacques says: “Viking: “Why quit smoking? You’re only 25, and right now you’re more likely to die of x,y, z… Why be so smoke-phobic”

      That’s actually pretty good reasoning. If you are 25 and smoke, and you have five other bad habits that are more likely to kill you, then you should focus a lot more on the other five habits. That’s why smoking cigarettes at A.A. meetings and rehab centers is very popular and not that irrational.

      How stupid is the diabetic, alcoholic, heroin addict, who obsessively worries about his smoking habit?

  29. Schopenhammer, here are some responses.

    “Whites won’t flourish if a higher-IQ group is taking all the spots in their elite universities or all the highest-level jobs.”

    —— Not necessarily true. Blacks and Hispanics are economically a lot better off in white elite cultures. Why can’t whites be better off in Asian elite cultures?

    “And strong human in-group preferences (which is what I mentioned previously and you ignored) will lead to significant tension, resentment, and other problems in a society of that sort.”

    —– Not necessarily true. Whites and Asians exist really peacefully in the heart of Silicon Valley – have for thirty, forty years. Some of the lowest crime in the country, lowest mortality, highest per capita income. Etc. etc. Humans have instinctual in -group preferences, but they also have instincts for openness, agreeableness, adventurousness. Why let one set of instincts predominate over the other?

    3) “You also say some things that make it sound like you think maybe it’s not morally permissible for whites to preserve their culture because other cultures are better. I don’t see how other cultures being better would imply that white culture shouldn’t exist.”

    —— I said I have not seen any reasons from you why WC “deserves” to exist (your word) over any other cultures. I did not say WC should not exist. I asked you for reasons why it should. So far you have not given any. It’s morally permissible for me to do a somersault right now. That does not mean I should.

    “ The case of our culture seems analogous.” (mother in a burning building).

    —–That is a terrible analogy. First, you are trying to make the case for some kind of blind kin loyalty. The bonds of loyalty to my mother are a lot stronger than any loyalty to my “white culture.” The latter just seems so strange and absurd to me – but assuming I should have some loyalty to it, it should certainly not be blind – just like loyalty to some of my kin is not blind. If I see a culture that seems to have a much better way of doing things, and can contribute these, then I would be all for mixing it.

    ‘Perhaps it would not be morally permissible if we knew that white people were going to do something so extremely terrible that it completely swamped the goodness of their existence. But as you acknowledge, we don’t know that this is going to happen.’

    —– Modern industrial technological western civilization has produced some rather extremely devastating environmental damage to the planet already. So it has happened. The Cherokee and Vietnamese Mung (for example)  cultures have not done that. A highly civilized western culture produced the extremely terrible holocaust and two world wars. That’s a lot of swamp to wade through to get to the good stuff. So I ask you again, what is so good about white culture that makes it necessary to exert the effort to keep it “pure”?

    • Viking of Intellectual Charity and Wisdom:

      “That is a terrible analogy. First, you are trying to make the case for some kind of blind kin loyalty.”

      Now, that’s how to do philosophy: an insulting dismissal followed up by a uncharitable and unwarranted interpretation. You’re really making fools of us right-wingers here.

      And your loyalty to your mother sounds so strange and absurd. If there were a better mother in the burning building – maybe a cool, Asian one – you should just save her. You should be happy to make the world a better place.

  30. Or we could imagine this historical vignette:

    Viking: “Hey Native American tribes circa 1700! You might wonder whether there’d be any downside to having millions of European Christians come on over here and do their thang. Well, I’m happy to tell you that you’re actually more likely right now to be harmed by a buffalo stampede or a tornado or, for that matter, each other. I have the stats guys! So don’t ‘obsess’ about pale faces. Don’t be Rayciss-n-shit. Just chill and get over your Euro-phobias.”

    If only Viking could have a time machine to go give a similar speech to the pre-Islamic Persians and the Canaanites and the San and the Australian Aborigines and the various subject peoples of the Ottoman Empire, etc. Little did _those_ guys know how groovy it could all be once they got over their “phobias” and “obsessions” (and “racism” and all the rest of it)…

    • Viking: “Hey Native American tribes circa 1700! You might wonder whether there’d be any downside to having millions of European Christians come on over here and do their thang. Well, I’m happy to tell you that you’re actually more likely right now to be harmed by a buffalo stampede or a tornado or, for that matter, each other. I have the stats guys! So don’t ‘obsess’ about pale faces. Don’t be Rayciss-n-shit. Just chill and get over your Euro-phobias.”

      So why does White Culture which committed such genocide deserve to be preserved? Rah Rah white culture! 

      That is so funny. I can do that too. “Those dirty little Mexicans with their superior fire power, ships, and diseases are done gonna kill all us white folk. Let’s go help Prezident Trump build up that thar wall!” says the depressed obese opioid addict.

      But seriously, yes if Pocohantus is in fact busy dodging other lethal dangers, then it would just be stupid for her to risk being killed by sitting around obsessing over a possible one in the future.

  31. Anyway, I hope (but doubt) you can see the point. Objectively speaking–if you do care about that–the evidence of all history and common sense is that being race-replaced and culturally dispossessed is (almost certainly) likely to lead to Very Bad Things for whites. I’d suggest The History of the World as some rational basis for this fear. (Again, why don’t you want to be a Cherokee these days?) True, it just could be that hyper-tension is a higher risk for me personally this week, but an objective rational thinker doesn’t _have_ to be so myopic. It _can_ be rational to value the lives of your children and grand-children and the heritage of your ancestors, and even the welfare of co-ethnics you don’t know personally. I know that sounds pretty crazy and “phobic”, but think it over.

  32. Jacques writes: “Viking: “Sure, the government just released all serial killers and MS13 members into the general population, but you personally are more likely to be harmed by a venomous snake bite. Statistics prove it! Don’t be so violent-criminal-phobic…”

    That’s pretty good reasoning too. If you have twenty dangers that are much more likely to kill you – and that require a good deal of work and time to protect yourself from – (like all the health issues on the list), then it’s pretty stupid to spend that time obsessing over 21st on the list.

  33. Jacques writes:”Viking: “I agree that in 100 years global warming might be really bad, but did you know that right now Islamic terrorism is a bigger risk to you? So who cares about global warming? Don’t be climate-phobic!” —————– This is so funny! Are you projecting onto me your shadow of some stereotypical liberal enemy/nemesis? – or “shitlib” as you so eloquently put it?

    If Islamic Terrorism were a bigger risk to me right now than global warming then I would prioritize my fears/actions accordingly. If terrorism was first on the list and global warming 21st, and my priorities were the “safety and health of me and my family” as you said, then it would be stupid and obsessive to spend most of my time thinking about, writing about, and fearing the dangers of global warming (which I don’t by the way).

  34. CRD writes: “No other conception of Deity (or philosophical system) can give a cogent, coherent account for the type of reality we live in and experience other than the type of Deity (and philosophical system) presented by Christian theism, a.k.a. The God of the Bible and Christianity….But if you’re genuinely interested in the subject I’d be glad to dialogue with you further.”

    Excellent! I sure would. So you are saying you can derive the existence of an all good creator of the universe, as opposed to a flawed and partly evil creator (like Zeus who rapes humans) from the type of reality we live in as you perceive it? That would be quite a feat. To save time, the cosmological and teleological arguments can’t do that. But maybe you have something new!

    • I’m saying I can share the reasoning and lines of evidence that satisfy me, although whether or not you’d find the information satisfactorily persuasive is unknowable to me.

    • Let’s begin then, shall we?

      It’s important to have reasonable expectations regarding evidence for God. If the God of Christian theism exists, then He’s not directly detectable. God is not an empirical object. God is imperceptible to the five senses. The public evidence for God involves inferring God’s existence from His effects and/or His explanatory power. 

      That’s not an unusual concept. For instance, the past is not directly detectable. At present, the past is imperceptible to the five senses. In some cases we have audio and visual records of the past. Even that’s one step removed from the object. In most other cases, we infer the past from trace evidence. We infer the past from the residual effect of the past on the present. Likewise, we may infer abstract objects (e.g. numbers, possible worlds) based on their indispensable explanatory value. So the kinds of evidence for God are not unique to classical theism. There are analogous topics where we resort to the same kinds of evidence.

      To take a specific example, interpreting a murder scene is an exercise in historical reconstruction. A homicide detective may have to determine the cause of death. Was it natural causes? Was it accidental? Or was it murder? A clever killer will attempt to conceal the true cause. A homicide detective must be alert to subtle clues of intelligent agency. 

      Of course, God is able to make His existence more explicit via an audible voice or miracles. Indeed, many people say they’ve witnessed that. But that’s by no means a universal experience. 

      That should be enough to roughly frame up the issue initially before moving into various reasons and lines of evidence for the God of Christian theism.

  35. Jacques says “Anyway, I hope (but doubt) you can see the point. Objectively speaking–if you do care about that–the evidence of all history and common sense is that being race-replaced and culturally dispossessed is (almost certainly) likely to lead to Very Bad Things for whites.”

    — All of history does not show that. And recent history shows the desire for ethnic/racial purity to be a REAL DANGER in modern times (Hitler/Milosevic, etc.) Japan= ethnic/racial purity = death.

    Jacques, did you take my advice and for a brisk walk today?

    • “Viking: “prioritizing” concern 1 over concern 2 doesn’t mean that caring about 2 is “phobic”

      If the safety of you and your family is your primary concern as you said, and you spend most of your time thinking and writing about danger 21 on the list, then that is irrational.

      Let me help you out a little. Why don’t you just ditch the safety of your family argument and try another one. Maybe you can say exactly why white culture should persist, other than because you want your progeny to persist (which any old irrational tyrant could argue.)

    • Jacques wrote: “The Hitler thing is juvenile. Does Stalin show that having government is a “REAL DANGER”?

      Then apply the same standard to yourself, hypocrite. Does the present state of immigration etc. show that that whites, including your family, will be violently displaced, raped and killed by immigrants?

      So funny. You get to argue that encouraging racial mixing leads to disaster; but I don’t get to argue that encouraging racial purity can lead to disaster.

  36. “That should be enough to roughly frame up the issue initially before moving into various reasons and lines of evidence for the God of Christian theism.” –CRD

    CRD, it took you about three hundred words to say your argument for Christian theism is based on inferences from facts. What inferences from what facts?? And why can’t I infer a god that is both good and evil from those facts?

    • Well, apparently you could have saved yourself some excess verbiage in your last reply by just typing “#sneering contempt”.

      I thought you mentioned you were genuinely interested in further dialogue on the subject of the God of Christian theism, so I was taking the time to tee up the discussion.

      I’ll continue, and will work to address your latest question specifically.

  37. “And your loyalty to your mother sounds so strange and absurd. If there were a better mother in the burning building – maybe a cool, Asian one – you should just save her. You should be happy to make the world a better place.” – Schopenhammer.

    The proper analogy with my loyalty to white culture vs other cultures would be I like to spend time with my mother and owe her many things, but I am no obsequious mama’s boy (are you?), and want to form relationships with other women who are different from my mother.and who enrich my life, even if that requires not spending as much time with my mom as she would like. Do you still live at home Schopenhammer? 🙂

  38. “Wrong. The Japanese need to reproduce. Immigration will destroy Japan not save it” – Urban II

    Could change it. But that could be good. It is in many ways an inverted, sick, nihilistic, collectivist culture. Needs infusion of new blood.

    • A culture or civilization has a threshold of change before that change becomes destructive; there must be some foundation, shared history, shared tradition or shared ancestry. For example, did Spanish immigration change or destroy Aztec civilization?

  39. “A culture or civilization has a threshold of change before that change becomes destructive; there must be some foundation, shared history, shared tradition or shared ancestry.”- Urban II

    Japan is far from reaching that threshold. It is an insular, inbred, static, stale, collectivist, racist culture whose economy will quickly die if it does not open itself up to more immigration.

    • It will quickly die if the Japanese do not reproduce. Did Spanish immigration save Aztec civilization? No. What you got was New Spain.

  40. ‘I thought you mentioned you were genuinely interested in further dialogue on the subject of the God of Christian theism, so I was taking the time to tee up the discussion”.- CRD

    Well, I have learned in discussing theological topics like this that the degree of clarity and likelihood of anything interesting and convincing be said, is inversely proportional to the number of words it takes to say it. The noise over signal ratio increases with the amount of verbiage. All I am asking his how can you infer from facts about the world, the existence of an all good creator as opposed to a creator who is not all good?

    • OK, I’ll play along, let’s see how few words I can use:

      “Evil is a privation of good, therefore the existence of a maximally perfect Being such as the God of Christian theism would by necessity select for a Creator Who is all good.”

      To spare verbiage I left out how I infer this from the facts about the world, because I figured you were bright enough to connect the dots, but I can fill in the gaps if you’d like.

  41. Admins – I have a comment awaiting moderation in response to an inquiry by Jacques, could it be released? The 2nd can be deleted, the link I pasted remains broken, weirdly.

  42. “Evil is a privation of good, therefore the existence of a maximally perfect Being such as the God of Christian theism would by necessity select for a Creator Who is all good.” – “To spare verbiage I left out how I infer this from the facts about the world, because I figured you were bright enough to connect the dots, but I can fill in the gaps if you’d like.” – CRD

    So you are just assuming Neo-Platonist metaphysics. But that is circular: “An all good being shines forth and gradually fades and the fading is what we call evil, etc. 1) But that is merely assuming what you are trying to prove, that God is an all good being that shines forth. 2) Also, if God is infinite and omnipresent, his light (good) should fill all being and not fade. 3) Why can’t the first/cause creator be all evil, and the fading of evil be good? Or why can’t it be partially good and evil? – These are pretty standard objections to neo-Platonism (a pagan metaphysics btw). I thought you would be bright enough to know these 😉 See I can do that, too.

    • Actually I’m utilizing deductive logic in light of the God of Christian theism’s self-revelation as contained in His Scriptures, the Holy Bible. You asked a question, and specifically requested a brief response, so I tried to accommodate.

      It’s an old hat, but we can explore the Cartesian demon thought experiment if you’d like, yet be warned that cuts both ways. I suppose if your particular brand of skepticism runs far enough afield you can doubt most any proposition, but even that’s okay with me because such an outcome will serve to demonstrate to the reasonable reader the utter unreasonableness of unbelief.

      Descartes, here we come!

    • Hi Jacques, even though the hyperlink doesn’t work, if you copy and paste the entire link into your browser the .pdf article will open. It’s essentially an interaction of the authors of the originally linked article with the most salient criticisms received. Well worth reading as it serves to reinforce the conclusions of the original piece under cross-examination.

      For further reading I recommend How Logic Depends on God by Vern Poythress. In fact I recommend *anything* written by Poythress, but I’m quite a fan and so am not unbiased.

      Cheers!

  43. “Actually I’m utilizing deductive logic in light of the God of Christian theism’s self-revelation as contained in His Scriptures, the Holy Bible. You asked a question, and specifically requested a brief response, so I tried to accommodate.” – CRD

    I knew this move was coming – appealing to Scripture (a circular argument to prove Christian theism – the Christian all good God must exist because, well, the BIble says so, and how do I know the Bible is right about this?, – well, because it is inspired by the Christian God, of course!). CRD, do you have ANY intellectual integrity or honesty? I assume you are smart enough to know what you are doing. In your Nov. 14 post you said you were going to give an argument based on an *inference* from facts about the world, just like a detective infers “who done it” from the facts he observes about the crime scene. Well, where is this inference? You then gave the neo-platonist view that evil is a privation of the shining forth of the good from God, and you just avoided the three objections I gave, and changed your argument to “the Bible says so.” I guess you consider yourself a philosopher, so you should see that this move is not very convincing, right? To escape from the Euthyphro dilemma, you were going to give a rational argument that the creator of the universe must be all good, rather than part good, part evil. So where is your rational argument? Let me once again clarify the issue for you in this way: How do you know that the actual creator of the universe is not part good and part evil? and that his evil part inspired the scriptures to fool gullible people like you that he is all – good?

    • I’ve been busy with travel recently, and with Thanksgiving coming up, well, I’ll continue being busier than usual, but I’ll work to carry on the dialogue, such as it is.

      The Cartesian demon response will address one of your issues, and I’ll deal with the Euthyphro dilemma as well. You may not like the responses, but c’est la vie.

      As for appealing to Scripture, not to cut to the chase but the God of Christian theism is the ultimate authority, and the Bible is His self-revelation to man, so there’s no higher court of appeals. At some point, as you must surely realize, all arguments become circular because of ultimate authorities. So gullible or not, circular arguments are unavoidable at some point for everyone, even for you.

      Anyway, I’ll continue…

    • I suppose by now anyone bothering to follow my exchange with Viking should have noticed there are two competing worldviews on display, the believing worldview of *Christian theism*, and the unbelieving worldview of *other-than-Christian-theism*.

      Everything, every argument, every purported fact, and every proposition set forth thus far has been interpreted (or re-interpreted) in unbelief by Viking’s allegedly autonomous reasoning. This is no suprise to the Christian theist because it can be no other way in God’s world. The heavens declare the God of the Bible and His presence is pervasive and inescapable, yet fallen man in his unbelief suppresses the truth of God and exchanges truth of the Creator Who is blessed forever for a lie. Men in their unbelief are sinfully unwilling to acknowledge God and bow the knee to His authority, because in their fallen state they believe themselves to be the ultimate authority, or else some idol they’ve fashioned from the created order.

      I say these things not to bash Viking, but just to point out who’s really reasoning in a circle. “Appeals to the Bible? Circular argumentation! That doesn’t prove anything about God! Lines of evidence outside the Bible? There are lots of explanations for that! That doesn’t prove anything about God!” So conveniently for unbelief nothing proves anything about God, because unbelief resists the knowledge of God because of the nature of unbelief.

      Viking seems to enjoy playing “gotcha” and “I knew this was coming”, which is all well and good, but tiresome. I also had a strong suspicion where our discussion was headed when it began, but I’m always hopeful in encounters like this that God might be gracious and open the eyes of my interlocutors, or possibly someone following may be helped, but in the end I do it as a service to the God of Christian theism Who commands His people to be always ready with an answer for the hope that is within us.

      My worldview even accounts for Viking’s disdain of the truth of God, and his hostility toward Him. I wonder if Viking’s worldview can account for it? I’d venture not, not at least without secretly borrowing from my worldview. Viking’s hand is in the Christian theist’s worldview cookie jar, but he doesn’t want anyone to notice.

      I plan to take up his challenges on what I take to be the Cartesian demon/evil god and Euthyphro dilemma, but I wonder if Viking might accept a more modest challenge from me?

      From within Viking’s unbelieving *other-than-Christian-theism* worldview, can he give a cogent reasoned explanation for we he believes his toothpaste will squeeze out of its tube tomorrow morning when he goes to brush his teeth, assuming of course that he holds such a belief, and that he brushes his teeth daily?

    • Okay, first the Euthyphro dilemma, which I suppose most here are acquainted with, but I’ll re-cap just in case. For the Christian theist it’s basically a false dilemma dependent on *Plato’s own particular definition of “good”*.

      To see the fallacy behind Euthyphro’s dilemma, we should consider what we mean when we call some­thing “good.” In the Euthyphro dialogue, Plato *as­sumes* the very thing he needs to prove in that he *assumes* “good” to be an abstract and independent state, a quality that is either inherent in something or else not at all present.

      For the dilemma to work as Plato describes it, the concept “good” must be defined to:

      (i.) exist outside of the concept “God,” and

      (ii.) exist at a rank either above or below him.

      This is where the dilemma seems to arise, if “good” exists at a higher level than God, it limits his power (i.e., the first horn), whereas if it exists beneath God it would be an arbi­trary product of his will and would also be inappli­cable to God himself (i.e., the second horn). This two-pronged definition of “good” is the only one that can produce a dilemma like Euthyphro’s.

      If we define “good” differently than Plato does (as Christian theism does) then Euthyphro’s dilemma must be seen as false. The common conception of “good” is not the ab­stract and independent state that Plato imagined it to be, and it’s certainly not the conception set forth in the Bible.

      Christian theists don’t pursue a set of “good” actions that define our moral system. Instead, the basis for Christian morality is *love of God and neighbor*. This is a very different conception of “good” from what Plato assumed, and it is one that does not fit with Euthyphro’s dilemma. The Christian conception of “good” sees it as both an *objective* and a *normative* idea.

      It describes something *objective* because it tells us that the “good” person is living in harmony with how God intended for him or her to live, by loving God with all one’s heart, soul, mind, and strength and loving one’s neighbor as oneself, and it is *normative* because this is the way we ought to live in God’s world.

      If we conceive of “good” as having an objective element, as describing how someone is, in addition to its normative element, then Euthyphro’s dilemma becomes irrelevant. Euthyphro’s dilemma depends on there being exactly two alternatives – that either God’s actions flow from the concept of “good” or that “good” comes from God. But when we approach Euthyphro’s dilemma with a different conception of “good”, such as the definition used by Christian theists, the dilemma falls apart.

  44. You will just _need_ something some day. It just will happen. Maybe it will really be there? But this is beyond reason/unreason. Don’t exalt your own brain; use it to learn why you shouldn’t.

    • It’s so funny when people retreat to skepticism when their arguments fail. Ok Jacques, thanks for telling me I should be skeptical about the arguments for your silly tribalism.

  45. “The Cartesian demon response will address one of your issues, and I’ll deal with the Euthyphro dilemma as well. As for appealing to Scripture, not to cut to the chase but the God of Christian theism is the ultimate authority, and the Bible is His self-revelation to man, so there’s no higher court of appeals. At some point, as you must surely realize, all arguments become circular because of ultimate authorities. So gullible or not, circular arguments are unavoidable at some point for everyone, even for you.” CRD

    There was only one issue – the Euthyphro dilemma pertaining to the true an the good – which you tried to solve by saying the creator is the Christian theist god Yaweh, and he is all good and true, so when he creates moral good and logical truth, it is not arbitrary; it really is true and good. But that response assumes that you know the creator actually is the true and good Christian theist god Yaweh, and not some other being – a Manichaen, part good, part evil, being or some mischievous Loki or mega-Zeus who enjoys deceiving humans with faulty notions of the good and true. Then you said on Nov, 14 that you could infer Yaweh (good christian god) from facts about the world, like a detective who looks at the crime scene and draws the conclusion about who did it. So it is pretty disappointing that you now just say, “well just look in the Bible, you will find the answer there.” You seem to have falsely advertised a rational argument and then just appealed to the Bible whose truth you justify by a circular argument. If you had just said the “Bible says so” at the start, that would have been the end of the discussion, and saved a lot of time for both us. I guess you thought you had to at least make an attempt at some intellectual justification for your belief, because you consider yourself a philosopher, but when it gets right down to it your position really is no more sophisticated than the average Joe who goes to the neighborhood church on weekends, and would say, “because he Bible says so” to the question I posed you (and this is not, by the way, a criticism of average Joe).

    I noticed below that despite your skepticism about knowledge (all reasoning is circular, etc.), that you just cannot seem to be fully satisfied with your fideistic retreat and you still want to play the reasoning game to put some glow of intellectual justification on your belief, and you go on to attempt to resolve the Euthyphro dilemma by showing it is a false dilemma. Ok, cool. I’ll be your Huckleberry, I guess. But, if I use reasoning to show your reasoning about the Euthyphro is bad, are you going to pull the “all reasoning is circular, just read the Bible” move again?

    • I’m not skeptical about knowledge, I’m just stating the obvious that at some point all arguments become circular because of ultimate authorities. You come with your unbelieving presuppositions, and I come with my believing presuppositions, and all the arguments are filtered through our respective worldviews. It’s probably easier for me to see because I’ve stood in your place. I’ve been down all those dead-end streets, materialism, intellectualism, hedonism, cynicism.

      I even know why you mock and revile me and hold my views in contempt, it’s because in your fallen state you hate the God of Christian theism. You might think there are other reasons or causes, but at bottom there’s no denying the truth.

      Your condition, like mine used to be, is judicially imposed ( inflicted) by the God of Christian theism because of fallen man’s rebellion against Him. People often think Christians are interested in only eschatalogical judgement and salvation, meaning seeing lost sinners being saved from eternal perdition in hell. And that’s part of it to be sure, but here and now Christians are interested in the temporal salvation of a restored humanity in the church, the Kingdom of God on earth where people are returned to their proper functioning and are able to think and reason and live according to the truth instead of according to the lie.

      Your reasoning, your thinking is futile and self-contradictory and self-defeating, but you’re blind to it, like mine used to be. You think you’re doing pretty well for yourself, you think your thinking is fine, in fact you seem pretty cocksure that your reasoning and thinking is way better than that of a gullible religious rube like me. And that’s fine, I don’t take offense because I can’t expect anything different from unbelieving thought.

      But I know you can’t give a reasoned, coherent, cogent account of the kind of world we live in, because you’re without an apologetic.

      I’ll take up your evil god argument next. You trade in equivocations, and it’s good to be able to point these out to those who might be following along, plus it’s good to not let you off the hook so that you don’t become wise in your own eyes when you’ve denied the very source of wisdom.

    • It’s both funny and ironic that Viking accuses me of skepticism after he’s played the “evil god” card, LOL!. Some people are shamelessly incorrigible. Shall we unmask the skeptic?

      Even though Viking hasn’t bothered to set forth an actual argument, preferring instead to play the role of needling philosopher (or village atheist), as a humble service to the readership of Rightly Considered I’ll do the spadework of setting forth his objection for him.

      The gist of his argument (again really just a complaint at this point), as I construe it, is that since the world contains both good and evil, the evidence doesn’t select for a *good Creator* rather than an *evil Creator*, or a partly good/partly evil Creator.

      For example explanations to account for why a *good Creator* allows evil can be mirrored by explanations to account for why an *evil Creator* allows good. In addition, one can invoke divine inscrutability or “mystery” for the designs of an *evil God* just as one can invoke inscrutability/mystery for the designs of a *good God*, thus mimicking skeptical theism. 

      It should be noted that even if the argument was successful, it would be an argument for atheism, it would just be a different form of theism. It would create a stalemate between prima facie evidence for a *benevolent God’s* existence and prima facie evidence for a *malevolent God’s* existence. 

      And as I’ve hinted at in prior comments, this objection is just a variation on the Cartesian demon thought experiment. An undetectable, universal, global malevelent delusion.

      Even if we can’t disprove something like this, so what? Why should we take that any more seriously than other ingenious, but fanciful thought-experiments? Humans have the ability to concoct imaginary intellectual traps. Even if we can’t escape from imaginary traps of our own devising, there’s no reason to think it’s true. It’s just cleverness. So what is there to disprove? 

      And if, ad arguendo, it *were true*, isn’t there something incoherent about fretting over the possibility of a global delusion? I mean, if there really were a global delusion, how would we even be cognizant of that spectral possibility? How would we have the objectivity to step outside the delusion in order to consider it from an outsider’s perspective? 

      Isn’t the point of the evil god/Cartesian demon hypothetical to raise doubts about what we think we know or can prove? But that’s paradoxical, for if the evil god/Cartesian demon actually existed, we’d be incapable of resisting the delusive beliefs he implants in us. So there’s something incoherent about the hypothetical. The evil god/Cartesian demon won’t allow us to doubt the global illusion. Won’t allow us to suspect his sinister designs, behind-the-scenes. 

      If it’s legitimate for anti-theists like Viking to play the evil God card, why can’t Christians play the Last Thursdayism card when atheists appeal to “empirical evidence” for evolution, or global warming, or the “oppression” of homosexuals in church history? When you exercise the nuclear option in philosophy (i.e. global skepticism), you’re stuck with mutually assured destruction. 

      Another problem is whether evil is strictly the opposite of good. One doesn’t have to buy into the whole privative theory of evil to appreciate that evil is parasitic on good. So the notion that if there can be a maximally good being, there can be a maximally evil being is not self-evident. Viking needs to show how good and evil can truly mirror each other. For Viking’s argument to get off the ground, he must take the preliminary step of showing that good and evil are relevantly symmetrical, so that you can have “maximal” representatives of each. But if evil is parasitic on good, then the comparison is equivocal.

      So radical skepticism, a lack of arguing in good faith, and trading in equivocations are Viking’s calling cards. Nice.

    • Oops! Noticed a typo, this sentence should have read:

      “It should be noted that even if the argument was successful, it would *not* be an argument for atheism, it would just be a different form of theism.

  46. Viking: Try again. Do you try to understand what people say before objecting? The comments of mine that you’re having a good laugh about very obviously have nothing to do with my arguments for “silly tribalism”. They have to do with your objections to Christianity or theism–where you charge theists with “circular” reasoning without apparently recognizing that your own reasoning is (necessarily) just as “circular” at this level anyone else’s.

    You’ve gone full berserker, it seems.

    I said I was referring to a “deeper epistemic point” that CRD was making–not my argument about nationalism, but rather his argument for Christianity. (Maybe you’ve noticed CRD isn’t defending “tribalism”.)

    I said it was about “the inevitability of faith”. (I guess you somehow took that to mean “faith in tribalism” or something? But that would be absurd given the other things I said. I’m guessing you just “argue” without reading what your opponents had to say.)

    I said you should reflect further on skepticism before “faulting Christians” (and not “tribalists” or “tribalist Christians” or whatever).

    Finally, it was _you_ who “retreated to skepticism” as some kind of strategy (in your exchange with CRD). Certainly I’m not advocating skepticism; I’m telling you that _if_ you want to be skeptical, you need to go further and recognize (like Hume, Pascal, Wittgenstein, Nietzsche) that consistent skepticism is unanswerable. (There is no rational answer to the question of how you can rationally believe that your own faculties are reliable. Think of the problem of induction as an illustration.) And, therefore, everyone necessarily has faith in something–e.g., their own rational faculties. But this is incoherent unless that faith is also assumed to have some ultimate grounding outside the human subject; therefore, theism is actually more rationally coherent than any alternative. (And this is the “deeper epistemic point” I attributed to CRD. Is that still “so funny” now that I’ve spelled it out for you as explicitly as possible?)

    • Jacques says,

      “Finally, it was _you_ who “retreated to skepticism” as some kind of strategy (in your exchange with CRD).”

      No I did not. I was arguing from CRD’s perspective. I think the existence of tables and rocks and my body and unassailable truths of logic are a lot more likely and certain than the existence of any powerful spiritual being. But CRD thinks there is such a being, so how can he be sure this powerful being of his is not deceiving him? If I believed such a being existed, I would have doubts.

  47. Jacques says;” I’m telling you that _if_ you want to be skeptical, you need to go further and recognize (like Hume, Pascal, Wittgenstein, Nietzsche) that consistent skepticism is unanswerable.”

    That would be like me saying, if you found a flaw (say circularity) in one of my arguments against tribalism, “hey you are skeptical of my argument against tribalism, well, consistent skepticism is unanswerable, so there. – you have to be skeptical of your own premises, so it’s a wash.” There is no good reason why, if I am going to be skeptical of a particular argument, (in this case CRD’s argument that God is all good because the Bible says so, and I know the Bible is true because it is inspired by God – boiler plate petitio principi), I must thereby adopt “consistent” or global skepticism. That would be like arguing, you can’t really criticize somebody’s faith in the flying spaghetti monster, because, after all, nobody can TRULY know anything and your anti-spaghetti monster stance requires premises that in the end you can’t justify “all the way down.”

    “Think of the problem of induction as an illustration.) And, therefore, everyone necessarily has faith in something–e.g., their own rational faculties.”

    A better way to say what you are trying to say (since the term “faith” is ambiguous) is that you cannot give rational arguments for your axioms of logic, you just have to accept them and if you tried to justify them, your arguments would be circular too, just like CRD’s, so there!

    Yes, it is true that I cannot rationally justify the law of non-contradiction or modus ponens or any of the other axioms of logic, since one would be using them, to try to justify them. So they have to be accepted as self-evidently true or a priori. I guess you would like to derive from that fact, the conclusion that therefore CRD or you can just as reasonably argue that Christian theism is equally self evident to you. But it would be rather absurd to think the law of non-contradiction is no more self evidently true than Christian Theism which is a whole body of metaphyscial claims doctrine and dogma developed after countless councils, edicts, wars, arguments

    But this is incoherent unless that faith is also assumed to have some ultimate grounding outside the human subject; therefore, theism is actually more rationally coherent than any alternative” – Jacques

    • …to continue my thought since I submitted it before I was finished:

      It would be rather absurd to think the law of non-contradiction is no more self evidently true than Christian Theism which is a whole body of metaphysical claims doctrine and dogma developed after countless councils, edicts, wars, arguments etc.- not very self-evident. It is also absurd to think the existence of material objects is no more evident than the existence of a Christian God, since people all over the world believe in material objects, and a minority of them believe in a Christian God.

      Also, you don’t seem to be following the dialectic here. I did not question theism. CRD said he was going to give a rational argument to show that the creator was all good, as opposed to indifferent, or partially bad. But in the end he defaulted to “read the Bible.” Do you have a rational argument that the creator is all good, as opposed to indifferent or partly bad? Or are you going to retreat to the “self-evidence” of scripture, too?

      “But this is incoherent unless that faith is also assumed to have some ultimate grounding outside the human subject; therefore, theism is actually more rationally coherent than any alternative” – Jacques

      I do think some truths have grounding outside the human subject. They are a priori, necessarily true independently of human subjects. Why is that incoherent? CRD or you might say you need some first cause to ground their truth, but that is just pushing the problem back a step. So why not just get rid of the middle man?

  48. “From within Viking’s unbelieving *other-than-Christian-theism* worldview, can he give a cogent reasoned explanation for we he believes his toothpaste will squeeze out of its tube tomorrow morning when he goes to brush his teeth, assuming of course that he holds such a belief, and that he brushes his teeth daily?” – CRD

    This is so funny. “You cannot give an unassailable argument that there are material objects and regularities in nature, therefore my belief that the Creator is all good is more warranted than your belief that the Creator might not be all good.” – Brilliant!

    And do I really need to address all the standard preachy stuff?

  49. Wow, CRD, I have looked through all the red herrings and the preachy stuff and still see no good reason to believe that the Creator is all good as opposed to evil or partially evil, or indifferent. You are not being a good little detective. But I will address this:

    “I’m not skeptical about knowledge, I’m just stating the obvious that at some point all arguments become circular because of ultimate authorities.”

    That is skeptical, and a nice little escape clause for you. Whenever you give a circular argument (by which you can prove anything), you can just say “heck, all arguments become circular ultimately.”

    If you have a logic that can prove anything, there can be no knowledge. (Do I have to explain why?)

    Zeus exists! How do you know? Homer wrote books saying he does! How do you know his books are true? He was inspired by Zeus!

    Oops, looks like I can do that too.

    Seriously though, I respond to the “all arguments require ultimate authorities” in my response to Jacques.

  50. CRD writes:

    “Christian theists don’t pursue a set of “good” actions that define our moral system. Instead, the basis for Christian morality is *love of God and neighbor*. This is a very different conception of “good” from what Plato assumed, and it is one that does not fit with Euthyphro’s dilemma. ”

    Your description of the dilemma is rough around the edges, but it will do. Unfortunately, you have not shown it is a false dilemma.

    Oh, and Plato (Socrates, whatever) does not assume any specific conception of the good. He grasps one of the horns because the other one (number 1 below) makes no sense – because it is arbitrary. I know you say it follows from his good nature, but unfortunately you have not been able to show this.

    So the dilemma is:

    1. An action is good because God commands it is. Or
    2. God commands an action because it is good.

    You can fill in the meaning of “good” with any specific conception of good and the dilemma remains.

    1. Love of God and neighbor is good because God commands it (arbitrary). Or
    2. God commands loving God and neighbor because it is good.

    Nice try, but the dilemma remains. 🙁

  51. Viking: I don’t think you’ve understood the nature of my argument. For example, you say:

    “It would be rather absurd to think the law of non-contradiction is no more self evidently true than Christian Theism which is a whole body of metaphysical claims doctrine and dogma developed after countless councils, edicts, wars, arguments etc.- not very self-evident. It is also absurd to think the existence of material objects is no more evident than the existence of a Christian God, since people all over the world believe in material objects, and a minority of them believe in a Christian God.”

    Absurd to whom? This has not seemed absurd to geniuses like Descartes or Aquinas. (I don’t think it would have seemed absurd to Plato either.) Even if “people all over the world” believe in something or don’t, that may have little epistemic significance; maybe most people haven’t seriously considered the metaphysical preconditions for their own beliefs to have epistemic significance. And, in any case, I’m pretty sure that only “a minority of them” have been atheists, for whatever that is worth. But, more importantly, I myself never _said_ that beliefs about logic or the existence of material objects are “no more self-evidently true” or “no more evident” than Christian theism. At least, I don’t think I ever said anything like that; if I did, I must have misspoken. (Do you find any evidence in my comments that I was thinking something like this?)

    Rather, my view is that unless some form of theism is in your belief system somewhere, you can’t achieve philosophical reflective equilibrium. You can’t explain coherently on the basis of your own beliefs how you’d be entitled epistemically to hold those beliefs or regard your faculties as reliable (including the faculties that enable you to wonder whether you’re entitled). You can say “This is a necessary a priori truth; it’s self-evidently true” but once you think more seriously about your situation you realize that this comes down to you relying on some (quite possibly) fallible and limited intuition. Now the question is why you should regard your intuitions as having any kind of reliable connection with truth? It’s not an idle or empty question. We know human intuitions are very often wrong, even when it comes to seemingly “necessary a priori truths” or even when it comes to merely conceptualizing “necessity” or “a priority” or “truth”, for that matter. Unless there is more to be said about your situation, pointing to the property of obviousness-to-me and then just insisting that this is a proper basis for beliefs is no different in principle from the Bible-thumper or Koran-thumper who just points to the Holy Word and insists that _that_ is a proper basis for his beliefs.

    By contrast, the theist has an overall system such that, if that system were largely true, it would also be true that he himself can rationally regard the system as true, rationally regard the faculties that enable him to regard it as true as reliable faculties, etc. Conceptually, there is only one (conceivable) entity that could put humans into a mental position that would enable them not only to have true and rational beliefs but _also_ enable them to have true and rational meta-level beliefs about the truth and rationality of their own beliefs. If we don’t believe that there is such being then, regardless of what seems obvious (or true or rational) to you and I, serious skeptical questioning leaves us unable to explain to ourselves why what seems obvious (or true or rational) to us should be believed to have any epistemic significance. (And, moreover, unable to explain why we’d be able to correctly interpret or intuit its significance even if it does have significance.)

    Now, of course, there is “circularity” at this level. But, as we agree, that’s true for all belief systems. I’m saying there is a crucial difference in this case: this kind of circularity, and no other kind, makes it possible to have rational coherence–not a non-circular argument, but a coherent system–even in the face of skeptical concerns about the reliability of our faculties. But the non-theist can’t do this. (Also notice that I did not say that “Christian theism” is the key here, just “theism”. Arguments for one specific kind of theism come later, but may be fairly strong given the various converging lines of evidence that people like CRD offer… I have no opinion about that, and I’m not a Christian myself.)

    So my point really had nothing to do with appealing to the supposed obviousness of theism from the perspective of “most people” or any one person who hasn’t yet carried out a thorough skeptical-epistemological evaluation of his own mental position. It also has nothing to do with the (debatable) idea that the truth of theism is more or less evident than any other theory.

    • Jacques writes: “We know human intuitions are very often wrong, even when it comes to seemingly “necessary a priori truths” or even when it comes to merely conceptualizing “necessity” or “a priority” or “truth”, for that matter. Unless there is more to be said about your situation, pointing to the property of obviousness-to-me and then just insisting that this is a proper basis for beliefs is no different in principle from the Bible-thumper or Koran-thumper who just points to the Holy Word and insists that _that_ is a proper basis for his beliefs.”

      CRD said he was going to actually give an argument, like a detective that infers Christian theism from evidence in the universe (which can then provide a ground for reasoning, morality, etc.) Arguments require basic belief in the rules of logic. So if CRD wants to reason to God, then he is trusting his faculties and the rules of logic and inference to get there. So even he must think they are more basic. But given the discussion, it really looks like you and he are merely fideists -the basic rules of logic must be infused and grounded by God – a claim which you cannot prove with human reason reason because that is not good enough) – so you just have to have faith. As I said to CRD, I wished he had just said at the beginning that the was a fideist, and not wasted my time, and acted like he was going to give a reasoned argument.

      Hey, have you ever wondered why there were not missionaries spreading the word that A=A, or that you must believe in the disjunctive syllogism? 😉

    • Jacques says: “By contrast, the theist has an overall system such that, * if that system were largely true*, it would also be true that he himself can rationally regard the system as true”

      How would you know that? -(the antecedent in asteriks)? Isn’t that the whole question?

      If it is ok for a system to be self-validating, then why not the basic system of deductive and inductive reasoning? Your argument is very much like the First Cause argument. There must be a first cause to ground the truths of logic, etc. The first cause needs no grounding. Why not just say the laws of logic need no grounding, and cut out the unnecessary metaphysical middle man?

  52. To be clear, I’m not defining “Christian theism” in your bizarrely complicated way. A Christian does _not_ need to have opinions about 700 fine points of Catholic doctrine developed after “countless” arguments, councils, wars, etc. A 10 year old who knows nothing about (almost all) that can be a Christian (or more to the point, a theist). Imagine if I defined belief in material objects so that knowledge of differential calculus and Newton’s laws was part of its content. Then I argue that the claim that there are material objects is “not very self-evident”. What a load of crap. But, again, I never suggested that theism is self-evident or anything close to that. Two strawmen for the price of one!

    • Jacques writes: “But, again, I never suggested that theism is self-evident or anything close to that.”

      Sure you did, and you just said it again in your immediately prior post:

      “pointing to the property of obviousness-to-me and then just insisting that this is a proper basis for beliefs is no different in principle from the Bible-thumper or Koran-thumper who just points to the Holy Word and insists that _that_ is a proper basis for his beliefs.”

      So the “obviousness to me” of say the reasoning of modus ponens is “no different in principe” from the Bible thumper.

      That is what you just said.

    • “To be clear, I’m not defining “Christian theism” in your bizarrely complicated way. A Christian does _not_ need to have opinions about 700 fine points of Catholic doctrine developed after “countless” arguments, councils, wars, etc. ” — Jacques

      To be a Christian, you have to believe Jesus is your savior and that Jesus is God and man (lots of schisms and councils on that), and that humans are fallen and need redemption through Christ. That’s a whole lot doctrine.

      That is as obvious as modus ponens, and the basic rules of inductive logic, etc? 🙂

  53. Viking opines: “I do think some truths have grounding outside the human subject. They are a priori, necessarily true independently of human subjects. Why is that incoherent?”

    Umm…are you seriously asking this question? What is your account of these a priori, necessary and independent “truths”? They just “are”?

    • Viking – since you seem to think (for reasons unexplained) that true knowledge is possible, and that things like “good” and “evil” actually exist, and apparently that your noetic equipment is relaible and up to the task, I’ll give you some things to think about.

      As I’ve mentioned previously, I believe *only* Christian theism makes sense of the kind of reality we experience, and to go a step further I believe denying/rejecting Christian theism destroys the very possibilty of rationally, coherently knowing anything at all. It’s epistemic suicide.

      You’ve berated/taunted me in several of your responses for not providing the arguments I mentioned earlier in our exchange, but of course I’ve been responding to *other* village atheist objections you keep throwing out, and, well, commenting here is not my full time job so…here we go!

      i.) The ontology of the universe is such that either (a) unity is ultimate and not plurality, or (b) plurality is ultimate and not unity, or (c) unity and plurality are co-ultimate.

      ii.) If unity is ultimate and not plurality, then even partial knowledge is impossible.

      iii.) If plurality is ultimate and not unity, then even partial knowledge is impossible.

      iv) Knowledge is *not* impossible, therefore the ontology of the universe must be such that unity and plurality are co-ultimate.

      v.) *Only* Christian theism posits an ontology in which unity and plurality are co-ultimate (vis a vis Trinitarianism), therefore Christian theism is the case.

    • As an anti-theist Viking it follows that he thinks man is the ultimate reference point, but Christian theism holds that the God of the Holy Bible is the ultimate reference point, not man. So for Viking, when man therefore cannot know *everything*, it follows that *nothing* can be known. All things being related (due to the interrelatedness of the universe), all things must be exhaustively known, or nothing can be known.

      On Christian theism comprehensive knowledge is found in the omniscient Triune One true and living God.

      i). If no one has *comprehensive* knowledge of the universe, then no one can have *any* knowledge of the universe.

      ii.) Only the omnisicient God of Christian theism can have comprehensive knowledge of the universe.

      iii.) We have *some* knowledge of the universe, therefore the God of Christian theism exists.

    • They are a lot more self evident than Christian Theism. That is why there are no missionaries preaching the validity of disjunctive syllogism.

  54. As I’ve mentioned before, Viking enjoys attacking Christian theism by secretly having his hand in the Christian theist’s cookie jar. He secretly camps within the Christian theist’s worldview, while denying it. He’s like a man who stands on a street corner denying there’s such a thing as air, while depending on the very thing he denies.

    Viking seems to like science, which is a good thing, I like it too. Yet science is built on the principle of the uniformity of nature. Viking notably sidestepped my humble challenge to explain why he might believe his toothpaste would squeeze out of its tube tomorrow morning when he brushes his teeth. If he were being consistent and honest within the confines of *his* actual worldview instead of secretly borrowing from mine, he would be forced to reply, “I don’t know if it will squeeze out tomorrow, I’ll need to wait and see and observe if it happens.” But he doesn’t argue in good faith, so he avoids biting the bullet.

    Viking can’t prove the uniformity of nature on which both he and the scientific method itself depend, he just takes it forgranted, takes it on faith. It just “is” like so many other things in his experience for which he cannot give a reasoned, cogent, coherent account.

    But for me, the existence of the God of Christian theism as Creator and the conception of His divine counsel as controlling all things within His created order is the *only* valid presupposition which can account for the uniformity of nature, the edifice upon which science itself and the scientific method stand and are made possible.

    i.) If Christian theism is false, then the uniformity of nature cannot be accounted for.

    ii.) If the uniformity of nature cannot be accounted for, then beliefs based on inductive reasoning are unwarranted.

    iii.) Beliefs based on inductive reasoning are warranted.

    iv.) Therefore, Christian theism is true.

    • “You cannot prove your tooth paste will squeeze out tomorrow, therefore the Christian truine omni-god who sacrificed his son for man’s redemption, exists!” — That’s quite an argument CRD. Shall we amend the text books and add it to the classics? -cosmological, teleological, ontological, toothpaste arguments?

      “i.) If Christian theism is false, then the uniformity of nature cannot be accounted for”

      A believer in Moloch, Brahman, Kali, Allah, the indifferent god of Deism, etc. etc. could make the same argument, and derive the appropriate conclusion.

      Basically your argument is: You have confidence or “faith” in induction and the basic principles of reason, and I have faith in the Christian truine omni-god who sacrificed his son/self for man’s redemption. So we are
      somehow equivalent in the epistemological foundations for our beliefs. Well, that is simple absurd. My expectation the world will exist tomorrow with pretty much the same regularities, is a lot more obvious than the belief in the existence of the Christian triune omni-god, or in Moloch or Allah.

      BTW, Christian theism does not guarantee the regularities of nature, since armeggedon and resurrection are looming, right? Could happen any day. 🙂

    • Viking swings, and misses again! “Basically your argument is: You have confidence or “faith” in induction and the basic principles of reason, and I have faith in the Christian truine omni-god who sacrificed his son/self for man’s redemption. So we are
      somehow equivalent in the epistemological foundations for our beliefs. Well, that is simple absurd.”

      This would be funny if both I and Jacques hadn’t so methodically and frequently and patiently worked to disabuse you of this bizarre line of reasoning, but now it’s just sad – bordering on concerning. Are you really *still* failing to grasp the rudimentary point so badly this far into the game? Are you actually *trying* to misunderstand and argue in bad faith? It’s the most charitable conclusion I can currently reach.

      If my argument were the weird, mangled absurdity you somehow managed string together above, then I would be the first to agree with your conclusion.

      But it’s simply not.

      Try again.

    • “i.) If Christian theism is false, then the uniformity of nature cannot be accounted for.” — CRD

      If it is true, it cannot be accounted for either. I mentioned armegeddon, resurrection.

      Do you believe in miracles? I assume you do. Miracles violate the uniformity of nature.

      How can you be sure of the uniformity of nature, if you believe an OMNIPOTENT being exists?

  55. Earlier Viking asserted (sans argument) that there are some truths just “out there”, independently. Somehow. Of course in his defense, as an anti-theist there’s not much raw material for Viking to work with.

    If the God of Christian theism is left out of the picture, it’s up to the human mind (or nothing) to furnish the unity required to bind together the diversity of our factual existence. So the only alternative to thinking of the God of Christian theism as the ultimate source of the unity of human experience as it is furnished by laws or universals is to think that the unity rests in a void.

    So in this case there can be no object-object relation, no subject-object relation, and not subject-subject relation, reducing human experience to an absurdity.

    i.) The possibility of human knowledge and communication depends on (a) the world exhibiting a coherent, relational structure and (b) human minds possessing a common conceptual scheme which properly reflects that structure, and thus allows for correspondence between the way the world is and the way we *think* it is.

    ii.) Only the divine mind of the Creator God of Christian theism can guarantee (a) and (b).

    iii.) Human knowledge and communication is possible.

    iv.) Therefore the Creator God of Christian theism exists.

    • Viking opines: “A believer in Moloch, Brahman, Kali, Allah, the indifferent god of Deism, etc. etc. could make the same argument, and derive the appropriate conclusion.”

      Great! Care to share an argument from within any of those worldviews? You can pick any you like, or you can use your own worldview. Thus far we’ve seen lots of assertions in search of an argument from you, but sadly not much else.

      And come to think of it (thanks for reminding me) *can* you give a cogent, reasoned response as to why you think your toothpaste will squeeze out of its tube tomorrow morning? Your ridicule notwithstanding, I notice you still haven’t even so much as tried.

      Wonder why? Hmmmm…

  56. CRD writes: “As I’ve mentioned before, Viking enjoys attacking Christian theism by secretly having his hand in the Christian theist’s cookie jar. He secretly camps within the Christian theist’s worldview, while denying it. He’s like a man who stands on a street corner denying there’s such a thing as air, while depending on the very thing he denies.”

    I find this hilarious since I was just going to say the same thing about you. Your basic position is that truth and morality must have a grounding in God. There are two possibilities, then, “in making your case.” You can use reasoning and argumentation to show that fact (to someone who does not believe) or you can just say that is what you believe, and have done with it. You chose the first option – remember? – you were going to be Sherlock Holmes and make inferences from observed facts, etc. to Christian theism. But it turns out that was all really a sham all along, since, according to you, you need to believe in God to infuse your reasoning with truth to get to that conclusion. But certainly you should have expected someone who does not believe, in the first place, is not going to accept that slippery move, right? Maybe that’s why you include all the preachy stuff to give your arguments some compensating rhetorical, emotional power?

    Basically you are entangled in the old Cartesian circle. You can’t do any valid reasoning without God (evil demon), but here is a proof for God! Great now, I know God exists and guarantees my reasoning – oops, except for the fact that my human reasoning to prove God could be flawed to begin with.

    You are a mere fideist. Why didn’t you just say that at the start?

    • Viking opines: “But it turns out that was all really a sham all along, since, according to you, you need to believe in God to infuse your reasoning with truth to get to that conclusion.”

      Sorry, I assumed you knew some basic facts about the worldview you are rejecting, and had taken the time to actually try to understand the opposing viewpoint, my mistake.

      For your education, it’s a fundamental teaching of the Bible that man needs God to redeem him from his fallen (sinful) condition in order to be restored to a proper functioning condition. This includes man’s fallen, corrupted reasoning powers.

      It’s also humorous, yet unsurprising, that you keep using well-poisoning terms like “mere fideist” in an attempt to make your points more pungeant, while accusing me of being “preachy” when I bother to explain things from within my worldview, even though you apparently know nothing about the Chrisitan worldview.

      “Show me evidence for God! There’s not any! Tell me why you believe *that*! Your reasons are laughably stupid!”

      Nice exchange, and one in keeping with your original claim that you were “genuinely interested” in having such an exchange, but all these posts later and anyone bothering to follow along would be forced to conclude you were never “genuinely interested” in anything but having a good laugh and taking potshots.

      Yep, been there, done that, got the tee shirt. But don’t feel too badly for me; this is the way practically all these discussions play out because all the “facts”, all the “arguments”, all the “propositions” are interpreted and re-interpreted through the believing worldview (Christian theism) or an unbelieving worldview (other-than-Christian-theism). It’s just the way things work in God’s world currently.

      Ironically after all this time you still seem oblivious to the fact that you’re a prime example of the pot calling the kettle black. You’re at least as much of a fideist as the most backwater religionist imaginable (the kind you believe includes Bible-believing Christians), as Jacques has rightly pointed out. You just take it on faith that things like the laws of logic are “there” and your noetic equipment is reliable for no reason for which you can give an account from within your worldview, yet you shrug your shoulders and make fun of the *only* worldview that *can* give a proper account. Odd that, don’t you think?

  57. Viking, I really don’t know what to say at this point; you seem to be misunderstanding something very obvious–in fact a matter of elementary logic, which you seem to care about. I’m going to paste your last comment and intersperse a few further comments of mine in the hope that just maybe we can agree on the _logic_ of the disagreement. Okay, first you quote me:

    “I never suggested that theism is self-evident or anything close to that.”

    Then you say:

    “Sure you did, and you just said it again in your immediately prior post”

    And the quotation that you take to mean “theism is self-evident” or something to that effect is this:

    “pointing to the property of obviousness-to-me and then just insisting that this is a proper basis for beliefs is no different in principle from the Bible-thumper or Koran-thumper who just points to the Holy Word and insists that _that_ is a proper basis for his beliefs.”

    What I am saying here can be rephrased like this: the _mere fact_ that a proposition p seems self-evident to subject S (e.g., Viking) is equally open to skepticism regardless of whether p has to do with logic or some theistic text. For example, if _all_ you’re claiming is that logical truths are true because they seem self-evident or obvious to you then (I argue) your position is no different epistemically than the simple-minded Bible thumper’s position. He just points to different things that seem obvious (to him).

    And saying _that_ is not logically equivalent to saying that theism is self-evident, or that it’s _as_ self-evident as the laws of logic, or anything like that. Rather, my claim is that in the absence of deeper skeptical-epistemological reflection none of these appeals to apparent self-evidence or subjective obviousness will allow for rational reflective equilibrium. (As I think is also very clear from what I said in the rest of that post.)

    You continue, summarizing:

    “So the ‘obviousness to me’ of say the reasoning of modus ponens is ‘no different in principle’ from the Bible thumper. That is what you just said.”

    Yes, I did say _that_ and (again) the point was that these are no different in principle _with respect to the possibility of unanswerable skeptical doubt_ unless the subject reflects further and finds a grounding for the epistemic significance he assigns to the property of seeming-obviousness.

    And that point just has nothing to do with the bizarre idea that theism is self-evident. I would agree to this: some people take theism to be self-evident, just as most people take the validity of modus ponens to be self-evident. Again, this is _not_ to say that (1) theism is self-evident or that (2) theism is just as self-evident as something else… or, more to the point, that it would still seem to be self-evident or something that can be reasonably accepted once the subject carries out a further skeptical-epistemological assessment. I’d also agree to this: if someone reflects with great care and honesty and intensity he’ll eventually find that theism is self-evident in the sense of being a necessary presupposition for believing that his own epistemic judgments are coherent. But this has nothing to do with what just seems obvious to you, or most people, etc.

    • “What I am saying here can be rephrased like this: the _mere fact_ that a proposition p seems self-evident to subject S (e.g., Viking) is equally open to skepticism regardless of whether p has to do with logic or some theistic text. For example, if _all_ you’re claiming is that logical truths are true because they seem self-evident or obvious to you then (I argue) your position is no different epistemically than the simple-minded Bible thumper’s position. He just points to different things that seem obvious (to him)” — Jacques

      Sorry, don’t agree. They are not in principle the same. When it comes to a priori self foundational axioms of logic , all one can say is they are a priori, and self evident (how can you give a justification for axioms?) and if you don’t see it, well, then your rational faculty is not working and walk away What else could you possibly do? (And, you could check your belief against others to some degree. – and as I said before, everyone implicitly believes in induction and the laws of logic, even some intelligent animals). In the case of the Bible thumper you can give lots of arguments against claims in the Bible, – how they contradict other things he knows, etc. How do you show an internal contradiction in the principle of identity?

      Now, if you find my “intuitionism” with respect to a priori truths flawed, feel free to give another foundational theory. But if you simply posit a Christian Deity on the basis of faith to provide a foundation for knowledge, as CRD does, and say my faith in reason is somehow the same sort of leap as his faith in a very particular conception of a metaphysical deity, well, that is quite a stretch.

  58. “Hey, have you ever wondered why there were not missionaries spreading the word that A=A, or that you must believe in the disjunctive syllogism?”

    Well, Catholics are often accused of believing logical contradictions (in believing the trinity doctrine). And there have been schools of Buddhism that reject standard western logic; they believe (it seems) that some propositions are both true and false, others neither true nor false. In fact a reasonable interpretation of much Buddhist thought is that the fundamental rules of logic are not ultimate; enlightenment or ultimate reality transcends duality or discursive reason. And, of course, lots of 20th century scientists and philosophers have said roughly similar ‘anti-logical’ things about the ultimate nature of physical reality.

    So I don’t know: it might actually be a real task to convince some people that they have to believe in these rules of logic that you like so much.

    But why is this relevant? The kind of self-evidence or obviousness that matters here is not measured by what most people intuitively regard as obvious. Maybe these Buddhists or physicists are all just stupid, or maybe they’re right and the majority who think A=A is 100% certain across all of reality are wrong.

    Who cares? I never appealed to the masses or tradition or anything like that. Rather I argued that if you engage in sufficiently rigorous philosophical reflection you can eventually find a good argument for theism (as the only escape from skepticism). But this is something that almost no one ever does–you yourself seem not to understand the nature of the reflective thinking that I’m proposing, and I assume you have some terminal degree in the subject. You seem to be simply ignoring the nature of the arguments you’re criticizing (which I suppose is why you think I’m a ‘fideist’).

  59. “They are a lot more self evident than Christian Theism. That is why there are no missionaries preaching the validity of disjunctive syllogism.”

    Translation: “They are a lot more self-evident, right now, to someone on the internet who calls himself ‘Viking’.” Of course, disjunctive syllogism is tricky for some 7 year olds or people with mental deficits, and Christian theism was just as (seemingly) self-evident to geniuses like Descartes and Aquinas _after_ they engaged in profound philosophical reflection.

    So why is any of this important? Why should you or anyone else care about what _seems_ more or less self-evident to you, right in this moment, while you are ignoring various lines argument that might change your epistemic assessments? That’s the real issue, which I can only infer at this point you aren’t able to understand or else you’re being dishonest.

    “That is as obvious as modus ponens, and the basic rules of inductive logic, etc?”

    Well, that’s a question for someone I guess. But I’ve already answered it several times: No, basic Christian beliefs are _not_ as obvious (to me, or to many other people) as beliefs about logic. On the other hand, I’m arguing that if you do some serious philosophy you might end up believing that these things are all obvious or self-evident, for reasons that most people never explore. But I already said all that many times, and never said the thing you keep attributing to me.

    I give up: if you care about logic and arguments, you can read various earlier arguments to understand the nature of the reflective thinking that I’m proposing (which CRD has also explicitly and logically laid out). If you care about that kind of thing. But at this point I find that hard to believe. I think I’m done; I’ve already explained my position and you clearly don’t read what I say with charity or philosophical ability. It’s been mildly enlightening, I guess, to realize just how obtuse and dishonest academics can be–you must be some kind of academic–when it comes to unfashionable positions; your response to these measured and subtle arguments in defense of theism is even stupider than your off-the-rack objections to traditional beliefs about nations and national identity (or so-called “tribalism”).

    CRD: The arguments for Christianity from the preconditions for knowledge and communication are fascinating. I’ve been toying with roughly similar intuitions for a long time myself but I don’t know this area very well. Can you recommend good readings (either contemporary or older)?

    • “and Christian theism was just as (seemingly) self-evident to geniuses like Descartes and Aquinas _after_ they engaged in profound philosophical reflection.” – Jacques

      That’s dumb. If it is self evident, you don’t need to engage in profound philosophical reflection. For Descartes, the IDEA of God was self evident, but he had to usher some pretty sophisticated philosophical arguments to prove God actually existed. Better go back and study, the Meditations.

      No profound philosophical reflection is required to figure out that if the stone is either in the cave or the hole in the ground, and it’s not in the cave, then it must be in …..tada!

    • “Of course, disjunctive syllogism is tricky for some 7 year olds or people with mental deficits,”

      It’s tricky for a rock, too. So what? Think how tricky “the Christian triune omnigod, who sent his son who is both God and man, to be sacrificed to redeem fallen man” is to a seven year old. 🙂

    • “But I’ve already answered it several times: No, basic Christian beliefs are _not_ as obvious (to me, or to many other people) as beliefs about logic. On the other hand, I’m arguing that if you do some serious philosophy you might end up believing that these things are all obvious or self-evident, for reasons that most people never explore.” _ Jacques

      Oxymoron. I guess you don’t understand what “self evident” means in the context of the study of epistemology when it is used in conjunction with a priori, as I used it. If you have to do some “SERIOUS PHILOSOPHY” to believe it, it is, by definition NOT self evident. Capice?

      (Are you being willfully dense and dishonest, or do you really not understand this?) – See – I can do that rhetorical flourish, too.)

    • ” No, basic Christian beliefs are _not_ as obvious (to me, or to many other people) as beliefs about logic. On the other hand, I’m arguing that if you do some serious philosophy you might end up believing that these things are all obvious or self-evident, for reasons that most people never explore.” Jacques

      I have explored them, and the religious argument for the foundation for truths of logic and morality always ends up where it has right here;

      1) Either you have to start out with belief in Christian Theism as more foundational and obvious and self evident than the truths of logic/reason, after all you are trying to put them on a foundation, so the belief in God is more basic.

      2) Or you start out using logic, reason etc. as more obvious, self-evident and foundational and use it to prove belief in Christian Theism.

      If you do 1, you are a fideist. Ok cool. Then you have to admit you cannot give any arguments for your foundation. Then stop arguing.

      If you do 2, and you then use the Christian Theism you have derived from reasoning to provide a foundation for your reasoning to prove Christian Theism, well, then you have the Cartesian circle. CRD says it’s okay to argue in a circle, (the Bible says God is good, and the Bible is true because it is the word of God), because “ultimately” even you Viking have to rely on an authority that you cannot justify without circularity – principles of inductive and deductive reasoning. So CRD is putting the authority of principles of reasoning on the same epistemological level as belief in Christian Theism.

      So, either you are a fideist or you ARE saying Christian Theism has equal epistemological authority to the principles of reasoning.

  60. I kind of like the fact that Viking’s ur-argument is a smiley emoticon paired with pretending to miss the point. The ur-argument goes something like this: “I’m a smug little fucker, and right now my peer group of other smug unthinking ideologues have all the power; we’re all just really enjoying our power to ignore what other people say or distort the shit out of every argument for bad old ideas we think are yucky.”

    It’s a good enactment of the real situation, and a good indirect argument for the alt right. We see how little it matters what reasons are given; the only thing to do with people like Viking is to exclude them from positions of authority in the universities and, if necessary, physically remove them from our societies 🙂

    Then we can have decency and peace and, in the universities, we can have real rational discussion about things that matter once again. It’s a shame and I wish it weren’t so. But the left have proven by now that they’re simply not interested in fair and reasoned discussion; they just want to stamp that boot on human faces for as long as they can. (The boot has a retarded little smiley face on the bottom.) I imagine Viking gets a small and petty sadistic pleasure from ridiculing Christians and then pretending to misunderstand their arguments. Probably he’s not one of those leftists in a position to exercise his anti-Christian anti-Western hatred on a larger scale, but the psychological type is obviously a major problem for normal people. We seem to be on our way to a reckoning though. Cheer up normal people! This won’t last much longer.

    • Should add: I’m a somewhat impartial observer here. I’m not a Christian, and I never was. And I tend to side with the old Left on economics.

    • Wow, that is quite a projection of your demons, Jacques.

      Should add: I am not even a leftist. In fact, I am a Trump supporter, and I hope that the leftist scum were not in the universities too! But I am not an obsessive white tribalist like you.

      I do get some pleasure from this, but mostly I like to learn things in the context of an interesting dialectic. Pretty slim pickins’ ’round here though. I asked CRD to give me a good argument that God is good, and he ends up appealing to the authority of the Bible, and then says it’s okay to argue in circles, after all I have to appeal to some authority too – like the validity of reasoning – well duh – that’s what an argument is. Then when I mention self evident a priori axioms of basic reasoning, you chime in with your “after profound and hard philosophical reflection, many people find Christianity “self-evident” – which is a complete oxymoron. Maybe it would have been better for you to have simply been an impartial ” observer,” no?

  61. “If you simply posit a Christian deity on the basis of faith…”

    Well, I certainly don’t do _that_ since (as I said a number of times) I am not even a Christian! You’re either incredibly stupid or incredibly lazy. Read the arguments and actually think before “arguing” back against things I never even hinted at. I am saying such en entity can be _rationally_ posited in order to have reflective equilibrium wrt the same _intuitions_ that you keep citing. Like Descartes did, for example. I am _also_ an intuitionist; I just value rational coherence as well. You still haven’t understood the argument.

    • “I am saying such en entity can be _rationally_ posited in order to have reflective equilibrium wrt the same _intuitions_ that you keep citing. Like Descartes did, for example.” – Jacques

      That does not even make sense. Descartes did not have rational equilibrium. He just argued in a circle.

      1. God exists (he gives various deductive “proofs” like God had to cause my idea of God, in Med. 1).

      2. I know my proofs are correct, because I clearly and distinctly perceive them to be correct.

      3. And I know my clear and distinct reasoning is correct because God exists an guarantees it.

      You can’t “rationally posit” Christian Theism, or anything else, without giving rational arguments for it, and those stand or fall on their own. I guess you think those arguments become stronger because the God which you have just rationally posited comes back around and infuses your premises with some kind of divine spirit?:-)

  62. If you think it’s “dumb” to relativize self-evidence to a particular thinker and body of evidence you don’t understand the concept. No proposition is intrinsically self-evident. It has that property only for someone in relation to his intelligence, education, etc. In fact that should be self-evident to a philosopher. After you study philosophy for 20 years it may seem self-evident that contradictions imply everything; I assure you that wasn’t self-evident to me when I was 10. Descartes thought theism was necessary a priori after thinking long and hard, but he didn’t think that when he first meditated. You think he was lying? Or dumb? You have a poor grasp of these concepts you’re relying on.

    • ” If you think it’s “dumb” to relativize self-evidence to a particular thinker and body of evidence you don’t understand the concept. No proposition is intrinsically self-evident. It has that property only for someone in relation to his intelligence, education, etc.” – Jacques

      Yes, I think it is dumb and I do understand the concept. I don’t think Descartes or Einstein would say their conclusions about God or the Theory of Relativity, respectively are “self evident” even if it were obvious to them. I think they would say you really have to think hard and go through a long process of reasoning to get there. You are simply misusing the term as it is normally used in discussions of epistemology and axiomatic foundations. Truths can be necessary and a priori without being self evident, like some complicated math proof. But in the sense, I was using the term, in speaking about basic truths of logic, these truths have the objective necessary feature of being a priori, and the objective feature of being simple enough for persons
      with normal rational faculties (not rocks or people in comas) to see as self -evident. Obviously “evident” is an epistemological term, and any such has to be defined relative to a knower, but that does not mean self-evident truths do not have objective features. Christian Theism does not have the objective features of a priority or axiomatic simplicity. Hence no missionaries for modus ponens.

  63. “I guess you don’t understand what “self evident” means in the context of the study of epistemology when it is used in conjunction with a priori, as I used it. If you have to do some “SERIOUS PHILOSOPHY” to believe it, it is, by definition NOT self evident.”

    p is self-evident iff understanding or reflecting on p is enough all by itself to make it evident (to someone) that p is true. That’s actually what everyone always means in saying something is self-evident. So the property is relative to some person’s capacity for understanding or reflection. If God exists, every mathematical truth is self-evidently true for Him. Of course, it doesn’t follow that every mathematical truth has the same status for any arbitrary human mathematician, let alone an Amazonian tribesman who never learned algebra. Serious philosophy or serious math (for example) might well be necessary in order to be able to understand the proposition or derive its truth from what you understand.

    Think of the example that (p and not-p) implies q for any proposition q. Someone who’s taken some logic class might come to understand that, just given the meaning of the statement, it’s true; other people might not be so sure. Students often tell me they’re sure that can’t be right.

    What would you call the property that the statement has for the person with logic training, and not for some others, if not “self-evidence”? (And what could “necessary a priori” mean here, if not also something that is relative to the conceptual and rational capacities of a given thinker?) Well, who knows. Maybe you should enlighten me: just what exactly does it mean, if not what I said above? It doesn’t mean that understanding is enough for full justification? Or it does mean that, but there’s no implication that, therefore, self-evidence is relative to capacities for understanding and rational reflection?

    • Hi Jacques, here’s another recommended resource with various links to additional resources which argue for Christian theism as being the precondition for knowledge.

      Although a bit dated, the original post itself along with the comments section are both particularly helpful and instructive. I’d encourage you to read through both sections in their entirety. It looks like one of the links (the first “book” mentioned) is broken, but the others work.

      As the article points out early on: “The only *proof* of the Christian position is that unless its truth is presupposed there is *no possibility of proving anything at all.*”

      A bold claim to be sure, but one that’s ultimately irrefutable apart from accepting incoherence, irrationality, and absurdity, which seems a high price for a man to pay for in order to retain his alleged autonomy instead of bowing the knee to his Maker.

    • “p is self-evident iff understanding or reflecting on p is enough all by itself to make it evident (to someone) that p is true. That’s actually what everyone always means in saying something is self-evident.”

      That’s not how I have seen it used. My use is: “their truth cannot be demonstrated through any kind of reasoning, axiomatic” – See IEP, Thomas Reid

      In my prior posts I conjoined, “a priori”, “axiomatic” with my use of self evidence.

      That is an objective property of axiomatic truths – you cannot use deduction to support them. Descartes’ arguments, Einstein’s arguments are not in that sense self -evident. In that sense, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity (if true) would not be self-evident – even unto God.

  64. Viking. Another thing that becomes clear if not self-evident when you think more seriously is that anyone who fails to respect theism as a deep intellectual tradition is objectively on the side of the left. The only real division is Leftism versus trancendentalism. Even if you like Trump. Without Tradition you have no solid basis for resisting. The contempt you feel for religion ia the same that more consistent leftists feel for everything you value (and logically enough given your common presuppositions).

    But anyway: tell me how a proposition can be intrinsically self-evident, and how you inferred that I posit a Christian God as a matter of unreasoned faith. I’m curious.

    • You are projecting again. I don’t feel contempt for religion. I simply think it is based on faith, not reason. As I said, I have nothing to say against fideism. If people have faith, and it helps them through life, and it does not hurt anyone else, then good for them.

      But when you (or people) try to give rational arguments for theism, then you have stepped into the thunderdome of reason, and implicitly accept the rules, and you can’t leave yourself an escape clause when your reasoning goes sour, and say, “the Bible says so.” That’s a game of heads I win, tails you lose.

  65. “Viking opines: “A believer in Moloch, Brahman, Kali, Allah, the indifferent god of Deism, etc. etc. could make the same argument, and derive the appropriate conclusion.”
    Great! Care to share an argument from within any of those worldviews? You can pick any you like, or you can use your own worldview. Thus far we’ve seen lots of assertions in search of an argument from you, but sadly not much else. ” – CRD

    Sure just pick any of the above. How about Allah?

    1)The possibility of human knowledge and communication depends on
    (a) the world exhibiting a coherent, relational structure and
    (b) human minds possessing a common conceptual scheme which properly reflects that structure, and thus allows for correspondence between the way the world is and the way we *think* it is.
    ii.) Only the divine mind of Allah can guarantee (a) and (b).
    iii.) Human knowledge and communication is possible.
    iv.) Therefore Allah exists.

    • Viking swings and misses again. There’s no joy in Mudville tonight.

      Nice try, but it fails.

      According to Islamic teaching Allah is a unitarian deity, and therefore is unable to sufficiently explain the co-ultimacy of unity and plurality, as the true God of Christian theism can (as a Triune Being). If Allah (or any other deity) is discounted as possessing the necessary conditions for *any* of the syllogisms I briefly sketched above, then he necessarily fails as a candidate for *all* the others as well.

      Care to try again?

  66. CRD writes:

    “i.) If Christian theism is false, then the uniformity of nature cannot be accounted for.”

    Hey CRD, you did not respond to my refutation of your first premise above.

    Since you believe in the authority of the Bible, and its stories, God intervenes and circumvents the regularity of the laws of nature all the time. Miracles violate the regularities of nature. Sin cleansing floods, parting of seas, water into wine, Resurrection, the apocalypse etc. According to Christianity, the jig is up any time, and I cannot know if tomorrow will exist to squeeze toothpaste out of the tube. If an omnipotent being exists, who has the power to violate nature at any time, and who is going to end the world at some point, then one cannot truly know anything about tomorrow. So I would argue that:

    If Christianity is TRUE, then the uniformity of nature cannot be accounted for.

    There goes your silly toothpaste argument.

    • Hi Viking, I’d be glad to continue your education about the Christian theistic worldview. I’ll disabuse you of your incorrect notions about miracles next.

      Cheers!

  67. |According to Islamic teaching Allah is a unitarian deity, and therefore is unable to sufficiently explain the co-ultimacy of unity and plurality, as the true God of Christian theism can (as a Triune Being). If Allah (or any other deity) is discounted as possessing the necessary conditions for *any* of the syllogisms I briefly sketched above, then he necessarily fails as a candidate for *all* the others as well.”

    This is so funny. “Co-ultimacy of unity and plurality.” Hopelessly vague. I don’t see any co-ultimacy of unity and plurality, whatever that means. Things hold together and fall apart. (Actually things are falling apart more than holding together as the universe expands.) You need the “Mystery” of the trinity (Kierkegaard calls it absurd) to explain that? Wow. That’s quite a leap of logic, or should I say absurd illogic?

    Easy. Allah (unity) created the world with the present laws of nature, and entropy is winding it down (plurality). Makes as much sense, actually more, than a “paradox” (trinity).

    Study up on Taoism (Yin/Yang), Hinduism, etc. etc. Lots of explanations of unity and plurality that make as much sense as a paradoxical trinity.

    • I should have put the first paragraph in quotation marks, and attributed it to CRD. Here it is with corrections:

      “According to Islamic teaching Allah is a unitarian deity, and therefore is unable to sufficiently explain the co-ultimacy of unity and plurality, as the true God of Christian theism can (as a Triune Being). If Allah (or any other deity) is discounted as possessing the necessary conditions for *any* of the syllogisms I briefly sketched above, then he necessarily fails as a candidate for *all* the others as well.” — CRD

      This is so funny. “Co-ultimacy of unity and plurality.” Hopelessly vague. I don’t see any co-ultimacy of unity and plurality, whatever that means. Things hold together and fall apart. (Actually things are falling apart more than holding together as the universe expands.) You need the “Mystery” of the trinity (Kierkegaard calls it absurd) to explain that? Wow. That’s quite a leap of logic, or should I say absurd illogic?

      Easy. Allah (unity) created the world with the present laws of nature, and entropy is winding it down (plurality). Makes as much sense, actually more, than a “paradox” (trinity).

      Study up on Taoism (Yin/Yang), Hinduism, etc. etc. Lots of explanations of unity and plurality that make as much sense as a paradoxical trinity.

    • Hi Viking, as I mentioned earlier I’ll gladly continue explaining things for you, but *spoiler alert*, those other worldviews can’t provide an account any better than yours, so it’s Christian theism or bust!

  68. “Hi Viking, I’d be glad to continue your education about the Christian theistic worldview. I’ll disabuse you of your incorrect notions about miracles next.” – CRD

    Can’t wait to see your argument: “God guarantees the regularity of the laws of nature, except when he wants to violate them.” 🙂

  69. “Hi Viking, as I mentioned earlier I’ll gladly continue explaining things for you, but *spoiler alert*, those other worldviews can’t provide an account any better than yours, so it’s Christian theism or bust!” CRD

    It’s very odd that you seek to explain what you think is some kind of mystery or problem – the “Co-ultimacy of unity and plurality.” with the even greater mystery of the Trinity. Are you aware that when you are trying to explain something, it’s sort of necessary to make the explanans less mysterious than the explanandum? That’s kind of the point of what an explanation is.

    But then again – the “Co-ultimacy of unity and plurality” is hopelessly vague, and sounds like some Deepak Chopra new age metaphysical bullshit that is completely open-ended and ambiguous. Perhaps you should make the problem you are trying to explain more precise before you explain how the MYSTERY of the Trinity solves it?

  70. Thanks for the encouragement, Viking. Your attitude of open-minded inquiry and willingness to carefully consider opposing viewpoints is exemplary. I’m sure everyone is as impressed with your rigor as I am. Kudos to you, sir!

    • I didn’t know my job was to encourage you, CRD. And I am VERY open to inquiry. But you have not given any arguments that might be interesting to think about at any interesting level. At least Jacques and I had an interesting exchange about whether the property of claims being self evident is subjective or objective. I asked you how you knew the Creator was good, thinking you might be able to derive this property perhaps like W.L. Craig tries to derive the omnipotence and personhood of God from the act of creation – using reason, not scripture, but then you just appealed to scripture, which from a rational perspective is circular. But you dismissed that problem with the canard that all reasoning is ultimately circular, citing the problem of induction. But by that “logic” ANY view is just as reasonable as any other, since it can be supported circularly. You then said that God guarantees the regularities of nature, and made a big deal that I cannot know if my toothpaste will squeeze out of the tube tomorrow without God guaranteeing it. But you forgot that God is omnipotent and can do anything including ending the world AT ANY TIME, and doing miracles which violate the laws of nature, and undermine this regularity. So if God exists, I cannot be sure about my toothpaste or that tomorrow will even exist, If this discourages you, I am sorry. I am actually not adverse to religious points of view. But I thought we were going to do philosophy rather than just rely on scripture, which is not very convincing to someone who is not a believer to begin with, Good luck!

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