Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's alive!! Again.

Dinesh D'Souza. That's all the introduction I need.
Still, I was very surprised to see a man who has devoted decades to formulating some very controversial views run so desperately away from them. This was precisely what Singer did when I debated him on December 3
That couldn't possibly be because you don't understand the nuances of his regard for those views, could it? You know, like presenting ideas as philosophical and logical imperatives in one respect while also acknowledging the problems that would exist in fully applying those ideas. Same reason why Descartes didn't go around acting as if he were nothing more than a disembodied consciousness in a hallucinatory world. You can present an idea, support it, show why it is good in some respects, and still not fully support its actual application in current social contexts.
Singer’s atheism, I suggested, is the primary foundation of his advocacy of infanticide, euthanasia, and animal rights.
Animal rights? What the hell does that have to do with the other two? And: infanticide is an iffy subject, for reasons that Singer delves into, and euthanasia is not a bad thing. When it is actually a bad thing, it is called murder (or it involves some complex manipulation of the euthanised). Alright?
Somewhat to my surprise, Singer announced to the largely Christian audience that he was not there to debate his views on infanticide and euthanasia. Rather, he said, he had come to debate whether God existed or not.
Heaven forbid that someone address the actual debate topic.
I countered that the existence of pain and suffering raised no questions about the existence of God, only about the nature of God.
That's true. And if that nature is too different from the Christian conception of God, which is the image that 1/3 of the world have of one, than you're left dealing with deistic wisps of a phantom of a god that is usually only supported who want to feign a legitimate position in debate, but don't actually care about in real life, because the existence of such an entity is essentially irrelevant to us.
Imagine if I had a father whom I always considered to be kind, generous, and loving. Then I encounter a tragedy and my father does not help. It would make no sense for me to say, “Since you have acted contrary to my previous assessment of your character, therefore I conclude that you do not exist.”
I swear that you are retarded on purpose. Of course you would not conclude that because:
1. You have given those qualities to your father yourself due to your observation of his behavior as an existent thing. It is a trait that he has. The example you give would put those observed traits into question. Whereas for God, it is not so much a simple observed trait as a hypothetical defining aspect.
2. You actually know that your father exists and can observe him and his behavior. You cannot do the same thing for God, even though his work should be seen anywhere and everywhere. He can only be trivially thought to exist if reality as we know conforms to the traits that we attribute with him, and, since it does not, that is one defining characteristic that needs to be discarded.
Basically, a have a bauble that is green. It turns blue. But the bauble still exists, even if my color assessment is wrong. This same thing could be true for God, but we do not know, because we cannot observe him. So, instead we say that an analog to God, call it a zephyr, exists with the observable trait that there is a cold breeze. Since we cannot check it any other way, and there its ability to be known by us is entirely contingent upon the presence of its defining traits, when there is no cold breeze, a zephyr cannot be said to exist. See?
Here, after all, is a man who has publicly said that even infants have no rights for some 27 days after they are born. According to Singer, these infants can be killed during that time if they are felt to be an inconvenience or burden to their parents or society.
If only your mother had agreed with him. Wikipedia will help Singer defend himself here: "Singer argues that infants similarly lack essential characteristics of personhood - "rationality, autonomy, and self-consciousness" [23]- and therefore "[s]imply killing an infant is never equivalent to killing a person."" Considering that he is a philosopher, that kind of thinking isn't really uncommon. That said, I sort of agree, but I think that infants are enough of a person (in that they are least minorly functional cognitively) to warrant basic rights, including protections against killing (save euthanasia if prognosis demands it, and the parents consent to it).
I proposed the topic, “Can We Have Morality Without God?” Here, I thought, was a direct opportunity to link God with morality and to show what happens when a thinker like Singer seeks to formulate an entirely secular morality
Sounds familiar...
Yet once again Singer began his speech by announcing that he had no intention of defending his positions on the taking of human life. In fact, he said that people who had come to hear him defend such positions could leave and go home. Singer argued that even if his views were terrible, it would not follow that atheism was terrible.
Wow. You are a dumbass, Dinesh. Ever occur to you that debating your own personal philosophies have nothing to do with the debate topic? Or that it would take for bloody ever for him to defend his positions to a greater degree than he has already done when he first presented them? A debate is by no means about trying to go through one another's autobiography and bringing up stuff you think you can score points with. It is about discussing the topic at hand.
Osama Bin Laden is a Muslim, and his views can be considered dangerous, but it doesn’t follow that Islam itself is dangerous. Having compared himself to Bin Laden, Singer did not seem to be off to a very good start.
Eeek. Faux pas. He shouldn't have tried to argued that not all Muslims are dangerous either, because that might lose him points with people who are going dogmatically agree with Dinesh anyway (oh, nevermind).
This time I refused to play Singer’s game and permit him to duck his outrageous views. “Peter Singer is reluctant, perhaps understandably, to discuss his positions,” I began. “Therefore it will be my task to discuss them.”
I anoint "The Biggest Douche in the Universe". Enjoy the prestige.
But the values of America and Europe—even secular values—are decisively shaped by Christianity.
Sure they are. Shaped by the parts of Christianity that happened to coincide with common sense and human empathetic reasoning. Everything else kind of got pushed into the corner though...
Many of the new atheists, I suggested, want to get rid of Christianity but keep core Christian values
You gonna take credit for "thou shalt not kill" now, or do you not want to make the true levels of your idiocy that explicit?
He is an honest atheist in that he recognizes that you can’t have Christian morality without its transcendent foundation. I identified Singer with the philosopher Nietzsche’s project to go beyond the “death of God” and eradicate all Christian values—including equal dignity and the preciousness of human life—from the West.
Oh. "Preciousness of human life" is what you are calling it? How about "the necessity of other human life to exist in order for individual human lives to continue"? Because that's where your idea of "preciousness" comes from, and why you feel free to do whatever the hell you like to anything that isn't human (or to other humans, but that's aside the issue of principles and into hypocrisy). Oh, and if by "equal dignity" you mean "equal rights", the Greeks beat you to the punch, and you Christians lost your way incredibly from the monasteries in which this practiced (and almost the only place it was practiced until the Enlightenment).
Specifically, the Communist regimes of Stalin, Mao, and the Nazi regime provide the clearest indication of what truly God-free societies look like.
Shut the hell up already.
Singer has vociferously protested the equation of his views with those of the Nazis, and I said he was right to make this distinction. After all, I pointed out, the Nazis favored state-sponsored genocide while Singer advocated free market homicide.
Ooooooo. Burn. Funny, that Dinesh supports both forms: in the form wars, death penalties, and murder in self-defense (which, albeit, very few would argue against).
Instead, Singer went right back to the problem of pain and suffering. A just and compassionate God, he said, would never permit such disasters as earthquakes, hurricanes and cancer. Consequently there is no good God presiding over human affairs. Therefore if we are going to have morality we will have to develop morality without God.
Not much to disagree with there.
I regard Singer and Christopher Hitchens as two of the most effective advocates of atheism in the United States, and perhaps anywhere
Only because they are the only ones willing to debate you...
I like to debate these men in order to show that theism in general, and Christianity in particular, can withstand the best that the opposition has to offer.
Ahahahahahaha. You can withstand us, but we sure can't stand you!
Dawkins, however, has shown himself to be a coward by refusing to defend his aggressively-articulated views in open debate. And now Singer has twice shown up at debates with his running shoes on. So with Dawkins hiding under his desk and Singer sprinting for cover, is modern atheism losing its nerve?
Dinesh retains the title I just recently gave to him, and is now striving to become Heavy Weight Wrestling Champion of the World. Seriously, you are not worth anyone's time Dinesh, and 60-something Dawkins can't go around debating chickenhawks like yourself every time you want to go up on stage and try to spout random garbage to please your masters. Grow up or shut up, please.

4 comments:

pboyfloyd said...

This is typical D'Souza. Won't debate the question yet thinks that he has won.

I don't know who's supposed to decide who wins but they don't seem to notice either because this it typical religious 'ends justify the means' stuff.

Asylum Seeker said...

Thing is...I probably shouldn't even have made this post, because the points he made, and my rebuttals for them, are almost the exact same as the original post he made when debating Singer the first time. And, here he is, bringing it up proudly, and reiterating the fact that he is disturbed that Peter Singer wants to actually debate the issues, instead of arguing on behalf of each of the propositions in his books.

And, the thing about debates is that "winning" has quite a few definitions. Who made the best case for the argument is distinct from whose argument did the audience like the most which is distinct from the question of who was actually correct, formatting and agreement aside. These are three different forms of winning, and we lump them all together, and the debate fails as a result because it framing, eloquence, and aesthetic appeal can be weighted on equal grounds of actually making points that hold water.

Mandar Malum said...

I love Richard Dawkins, and I agree! He can't just go out debating people just because they want a challenge. Dawkins has better things to do than debate with Douchbags.

Asylum Seeker said...

I can't even understand why Dinesh would EXPECT Dawkins to be compelled to debate anyone, let alone Dinesh. His whining reminds me of when Bill O'Reilly spends shows talking about how so-and-so is a coward because they didn't decide to come to listen to him shout about whatever he feels like for a 10 minute segment. They have such a sense of self-importance that they feel absolutely entitled to people flocking to argue with them, and deem a brush-off as cowardice. Because, honestly, what else could deeming those windbags to be irrelevant really be except soul crushing terror?