Book Review by Kimberly Winston.
This time the full ten non-commandments are listed in the review, and presuming that they are accurate (it is WaPo after all) we can do the following analysis. Even though they are not advertised as moral commandments, they do presumptively form some sort of argument or framework for an Atheist moral theory. Or else why would they be a rewrite of the original Ten Commandments?
The Ten Non-Commandments:
I. The world is real, and our desire to understand the world is the basis for belief.
There is no reason to assume that „world” in this context refers merely to planet Earth. At a minimum it must refer to the universe, since there is much about the universe and its characteristics that influence some, but certainly not all, of our beliefs. The implication here is two-fold: first, that the term „world” represents all existence; and that the term „real” refers to physical, material. So the implication, not stated, yet blindingly obvious, is that the intent is to claim that „all existence is physical”. That this is not stated full-out indicates intellectual treachery at play, and that caution is warranted.
This in no manner is anything other than an unsustainable assertion; it is an assertion being placed as a premise for further arguments.
This assertion ignores science: quantum mechanics to be precise. It further ignores the limits of science, specifically the inability of science to address issues it cannot test such as whether non-physical existence exists. One cannot successfully subject non-material entities to physical, material testing. So the first premise is anti-science and deceptive, plus its very intent is to lock in the unprovable premise of Philosophical Materialism, merely by virtue of an unprovable assertion about „the world”.
It is without any empirical proof, it is unfalsifiable and non-empirical; the underlying prejudice of this assertion is false.
II. We can perceive the world only through our human senses.
Having already declared the „world” to be „real”, and presuming that it is „real” because we sense that which is „real”, yet our senses are finite and limited, then there possibly is „reality” which cannot be sensed. But that is not the meaning of the two things taken together as they are here. If our senses apprehend all of existence, and the „physical, material” is all that we apprehend, then physical, material existence is all of existence. This is the underlying message. But it is not the case that it can be proven, physically, that our senses apprehend „all of existence”, even given our technical sense extensions.
This assertion, then, falsely extends the deception of “world” and “real” to “all that exists is that which we sense, period”; it is validation that the meaning of the term „world” is purely physical in this context. There is no philosophical or empirical reason to believe this to be true. It appears to be a purposeful deception designed to reach the objective of Atheism via Philosophical Materialism.
III. We use rational thought and language as tools for understanding the world.
And we – some of us – use them for much more than that. We use them for disciplined logic, and perception of valid and true arguments, discriminating against false, non-valid, ungrounded and untrue arguments, as we will do here in this analysis.
IV. [It is true that]: All truth is proportional to the evidence.
Truth is binary, not proportional; if a proposition is not completely and 100% true and valid, then it is false, period. If there is falseness in any part of an argument, then the argument is false. Arguing otherwise is anti-rational and violates the First Principle of Excluded Middle: either it completely true or it is false – it is not proportional to anything. This assertion is a purposeful, ideological redefinition which is anti-logic.
Second, this statement self-refutes because it is asserted without any evidence, physical or otherwise, that it is true. Again, it is a redefinition, a corrupted attempt at tautology, but one which fails its own criterion.
Further, without defining the term, evidence, it is being covertly presupposed here that “evidence” is purely physical in nature. This leads to the overt refutation of the above premises since there is no possible physical proof or evidence which demonstrates objectively (empirically) that there is no existence which is not physical. All of this is obscured in the language being used which is concealing the actual meanings being projected. The use of the term “world” is euphemistic for universal-existence in one case and physical-existence-only in another case. It is arguable whether the deception is purposeful, or is self-administered. But it is deception.
V. There is no God.
Immediately after claiming truth to be proportional to evidence, this assertion is made with precisely no evidence, certainly no empirical, physical evidence to support it. This amazing juxtapositioning of two contradictory assertions is a perfect demonstration of the lack of logical principles – no, the abject violation of basic logical principles – which are being asserted here.
To make certain that this is clear, let’s take the two propositions, side by side.
First: [It is true that]: truth is proportional to [physical] evidence.
Second: [It is true that]: “There is no God”. [Affirming evidence not required. Physical evidence of non-existence is itself non-existant, by definition]
So: if the first is “true”, then the second cannot be “true”. They are contradictory statements, i.e. non-coherent.
Contrarily, if one says,
First: [It is true that]: „There is no God.” [Affirming evidence not required];
Second: [It is true that]: „Truth is proportional to [physical] evidence.”
If the first is true then the second cannot be „true”. They still are contradictory, non-coherent statements.
Here’s what is actually true: the First Principle of Non-Contradiction.
VI. We all strive to live a happy life. We pursue things that make us happy and avoid things that do not.
Anyone who is responsible knows that this is a misconstrual of actual life. Much of life involves doing things one would rather avoid but cannot due to responsibilities. This is maximally absurd, and further it has no bearing on anything prior to this assertion or after this assertion, so it has no value as a premise as well as being absurd. Finally, it is just the “Do as thou wilt” proclamation of Satanism.
VII. There is no universal moral truth. Our experiences and preferences shape our sense of how to behave.
Certainly Atheists want this to be true, because if there actually IS universal, objective moral truth then the whole point of being a hedonist Atheist is severely cramped.
But more to the point, it is absolutely the case that Atheists make up their own codes of behavior based solely on their own preferences. That has no conjunction with actual moral behavior. It is the behavior code of the common two year old child, yet to respond to discipline, much less develop self-disipline. That is self-centered, self-serving and selfishness which becomes the “moral code” of the individual Atheist.
And yet again, if [It is universally true that]: there is no universal moral truth, then IV above comes into play to contradict this assertion due to lack of affirming physical evidence. Non-coherence.
VIII. We act morally when the happiness of others makes us happy.
Here is the second AMAZING JUXTAPOSITION of contradictory assertions. The immediately preceding assertion declares: NO morality. This assertion declares: Morality IS THIS.
Logic is obviously the first victim in this set of unconnected and false assertions/premises/arguments.
IX. We benefit from living in, and supporting, an ethical society.
This is a failed observation due to prior assertions, since it contradicts VI and VII above: there is no universal ETHICAL truth. Atheists develop their own personal “preference” as how to behave, so ethics does not fit into the equation. Atheists benefit from behaving as their preferences dictate; i.e., whatever they want to do, whenever they want to do it. That is the specific assertion of VII, above.
Now if the claim is that the Atheist benefits from living in a non-Atheist, ethical society, then this might make sense; but that is not the intent.
X. All our beliefs are subject to change in the face of new evidence, including these.
None of this is actually evidence based, so the undeniable fact that Atheists can (and do) change their “moral beliefs” on a moment’s notice is not caused by “new evidence”, it is caused by changes in preferences in any given situation. (See VII). This final assertion is completely unremarkable, considering that it is a restatement of previous claims, except with a meaningless reference to „evidence” thrown in for mere appearance.
The logic failures which pervade this ten point non-argument are blatantly egregious to the point of adolescent thought processes.
This is nothing more than a set of logically disconnected platitudes based on zero physical evidence and zero responsibility to anything other than self.
„Ten people collectively won the Rethink Prize, which was granted for their efforts in re-imagining the traditional Ten Commandments; they will share a collective $10,000 prize.
Below, see their new set of commandments:
1. Be open-minded and be willing to alter your beliefs with new evidence.
2. Strive to understand what is most likely to be true, not to believe what you wish to be true.
3. The scientific method is the most reliable way of understanding the natural world.
4. Every person has the right to control over their body.
5. God is not necessary to be a good person or to live a full and meaningful life.
6. Be mindful of the consequences of all your actions and recognize that you must take responsibility for them.
7. Treat others as you would want them to treat you, and can reasonably expect them to want to be treated. Think about their perspective.
8. We have the responsibility to consider others, including future generations.
9. There is no one right way to live.
10.Leave the world a better place than you found it.
These were chosen among 2,800 total submissions. What do you think of them? You can read the original Ten Commandments here.”
Bayer and Figdor organized this contest around their book, “Atheist Mind, Human Heart,” which itself contained such things which we discussed elsewhere, some time back. So let’s see how the contest winners' commandments hold up to logical scrutiny.
„1. Be open-minded and be willing to alter your beliefs with new evidence.”
Atheists reject all but material evidence; so there is no evidence possible which will change their minds, because their minds are set on a logical fallacy: Category Error.
„2. Strive to understand what is most likely to be true, not to believe what you wish to be true.”
This places truth squarely into the probabilistic zone, where Atheists can use Baye’s Theorem to manipulate „truth” according to their biases. They know that there is no truth except that which they make up. So they make „making it up” into a commandment. The non-specificity of this statement allows anything to be calculated as „probably” true, and certain Atheists do this all the time.
„3. The scientific method is the most reliable way of understanding the natural world.”
This is not a commandment at all, unless it commands Atheists to be Scientistic Materialists (and that is not clear from the assertion being made). Atheists are Scientistic by ideology, and their Scientism is stuck in Newtonian space. The idea of reality being nothing but probability fields all the way down is not useful to them in their Materialism, especially the part about the necessity of external conscious intervention to collapse the equation and produce anything resembling the special case of Newton’s physics. Besides, this is not a commandment at all.
„4. Every person has the right to control over their body.”
Also not a commandment, this is a phony „right”, which will be interpreted to include only those who are „allowed” to be persons. It is an Atheist pass-time to create new definitions of personhood, depending upon the situation. This does not apply, of course, to anyone declared not-a-person by Atheists.
„5. God is not necessary to be a good person or to live a full and meaningful life.”
Another non-commandment; it is an assertion with no definition of „good”. Good is what every Atheist defines it to be, for his own purpose, at the moment called „now”. This could apply to Lenin or Mao or Pol Pot, or Castro quite well.
„6. Be mindful of the consequences of all your actions and recognize that you must take responsibility for them.”
A weak attempt at a commandment, which fails to instruct as to what sort of consequences are Good and which are Bad, or even consequences for whom. That’s because there is no Good/Bad judgment possible under the Atheist Void of moral emptiness. As Nietzsche demonstrated, there can be no good or evil under Atheism. So this „commandment” is without meaning, except possibly as a „don’t get caught by the law” caveat.
„8. We have the responsibility to consider others, including future generations.”
And how should we consider them? As impediments to happiness requiring abortion? As Oppressors of our Victimhood Classes to be suppressed and removed? This bogus „commandment” also is without meaning, and is manipulable in every conceivable dimension.
„9. There is no one right way to live.”
Now we are getting somewhere, even though this is not a commandment. This one is an assertion that ANYTHING GOES.
„10.Leave the world a better place than you found it.”
Would the world be a better place without certain categories of people in it? Is that what we have here? Being non-specific as to what a „better place” would entail, leaves this commandment just as open to subjective interpretation as is possible. For the totalitarian AtheoLeft, a better world would be one where they, the elites, dominate and control the lives of the perpetual Victimhood herd, which is constantly being equalized and admonished to tolerate the dictates of the elites.
(As always, see the Humanist Manifesto I).
Let’s summarize. Only a few of the „commandments” are actually commandments at all; the rest are assertions of one type or another. Those which actually are commandments are so non-specific as to cover any interpretation which might be put on them, thus allowing any type of behavior whatsoever.
Commandment number 9, (not actually a commandment) says it all: ANYTHING GOES in Atheist-land.
However, since Atheist thinking and behavior is not subject to logical scrutiny, at least not by Atheists, they are still without any restrictions and for them, ANYTHING GOES is the winning Atheist principle of moral conduct..
When an Atheist claims a set of moral principles, those principles are always those which the Atheist either creates for himself, or which the Atheist has co-opted from somewhere because those principles are compatible and congenial to himself. The Atheist is not stressed in any manner to meet his own specifications for his own behaviors. Whatever principles he adopts for himself are congruent with his existing behaviors, and further, the principles can be amended immediately when a different behavior is desired. What the Atheist does consider to be fixed and rigid are his principles for the behaviors of others who are not himself or his tribe. These are not to be violated or invalidated, and to do so will be met with righteous indignation suitable to the Atheist’s presumed moral superiority.
The rejection which characterizes Atheism extends to all worldview principles, including the principles of Truth. For the Atheist, any declaration of truth is subjective, regardless of its substance and validation, unless it is a truth uttered by the Atheist himself. This leads to the de facto declaration that “it is true that there is no truth”, which under traditional, Aristotelian and Enlightenment thought is a self-refuting, paradoxical fallacy. But for the Atheist, for whom truth is not so determined, it is easily accepted as a First Principle.
There being no truth, hence there are no lies; and there is also neither good nor evil, except that which is so designated by the Atheist. There is nothing new about this; it was fully explored by Friedrich Nietzsche well over a century ago, and is fully explained in his book, “Beyond Good and Evil”. It is not an arbitrary declaration which he makes; it is an inevitable condition of Atheism.
”But if he does really think that there is no distinction between virtue and vice, why, Sir, when he leaves our houses let us count our spoons.
Samuel Johnson; Boswell’s “Life of Samuel Johnson” 1791.
Atheism is more than a mere rejection of the culture and norms of western civilization. It is also a simultaneous rejection of logic and morality, neither of which the Atheist wants applied to himself. Because the Atheist sees onerous restriction on himself by such logic and morality, he must reject everything which attaches to either. So logic and morality, having been rejected, must be inverted in order to avoid them in their standard forms. That is the genesis of Leftism, the rejection of Enlightenment principles.
“When I was a young man, being anxious to distinguish myself, I was perpetually starting new propositions. But I soon gave this over; for, I found that generally what was new was false”.
Samuel Johnson, quoting Goldsmith; “Boswell’s ‘Life of Samuel Johnson’”, 1791.
To be sure not all Atheists are Leftists, although most of them are. Christopher Hitchens was the standard bearer for non-Leftist Atheism. But what we see in common between them is the strident illogic with which both sides are afflicted due to their basic, same rejectionism of all prior normative standards.
Atheists usually respond, “You don’t know anything about Atheism”, and that right after (or before) having claimed that “Atheism is nothing but a lack of belief”, which itself is a claim of several facets: first, notice that there is no claim of morality attached to the “lack of belief”. Next, notice that they will not admit to having rejected any contrary arguments or evidence, which is because they don’t want to defend their own lack of arguments and evidence as well as find themselves required to use actual logic and/or science in their own defense of their rejections. In fact, the “lack of belief” concept is perfectly extensible to all “onerous” forms of “repressive” institutions which are rejected without rational cause.
Rejectionism extends to Free Thought, as well. Free Thought is anything but free; it is the Hegelian antithesis of free. Free Thought is just a name for a particular dogma. Free thinkers do not accept much thought at all, certainly not if it does not conform to their self-derived principles. The dogmatism of Free Thought is obvious and palpable. Normative cultural principles are not even acceptable topics for Free Thinkers except as objects of ridicule and hatred.
Which brings us to normative cultural principles and their treatment by Atheists, Leftists and Free Thinkers.
The primary normative cultural principle under attack today is the principle of “tolerance”, originally the Voltairian principle of defending the right to disagree, no matter to what degree. As they commonly do, the Atheist, Leftist, Free Thinkers use the word in an inverted fashion. What tolerance means to them is that all of their antics, regardless of the extent of purposeful insanity and provocation, must be tolerated to the point that those antics are the New Norm, fully accepted by everyone without exception. This naturally morphs into a moral position, and the contrary of that moral position (dissent) becomes the only evil known to the Atheist, Leftist, Free Thought self-designated moral policing juggernaut. Dissent must be eradicated by the defenders of the New Morality. These view themselves as Messiahs who are morally obligated to produce salvation through purges. And all prior normative institutions and their subscribers qualify is being purgeable as opportunity presents. Tolerance, the Votairian version, is swamped by self-righteous assertion of censorship.
Which brings us to the concept of “Free exercise of religion”, a phrase so potent and incorruptible that has had to be changed – to “freedom of worship”, the new Leftist term which conceptually is far different. Those afflicted with allegiance to the prior normative institutions and their meanings are now confronted with having to worship only as they are allowed, under “positive liberties” to worship, namely where such worship does not make the Atheists and Leftists physically ill and cause lawsuits such as the dozens of “cross” lawsuits filed by the FFRF, in the attempt to destroy by bankruptcy those who dissent from the all new cultural progress.
Thus the corruption of the language of moral principles, starting with corruption of the concept of tolerance into intolerance, and moving into the corruption of any other principle at the whim of the Atheist/Leftist, becomes the driving provocation of culture war, the war to eliminate all prior notions of morality and logic and to obtain total assent to the new inversions.
The second response to this revelation is always, “that’s not true”, “you are deluded”, and other useless denials. Notice that the response is never one of accommodation in the form of actual tolerance. Nor is there any logic, grounded and testable argument presented, nor are there any empirical experimental results presented. That is because they have none, and they know they have none.
If Atheists could refute all of this using science and logic, they would. But they can’t and they don’t, because their faith in science is a fallacy – ideological Scientism – and their use of logic is inverted into self-refutations. So what they resort to, again, is merely intellectual intransigence: the avoidance by redefining who they are, into who they are not: holders of non-beliefs.
Boswell: “He is totally unfixed in his principles, and wants to puzzle other people. I said his principles had been poisoned by an infidel writer, but that he was, nevertheless, a benevolent, good man.
Johnson: ”We can have no dependence upon that instinctive, that constitutional goodness which is not founded on principle. I grant you that such a man may be a very amiable member of society. I can conceive him placed in such a situation that he is not much tempted to deviate from what is right; and as every man prefers virtue, when there is not some strong incitement to transgress its precepts, I can conceive of him doing nothing wrong. But if such a man stood in need of money, I should not like to trust him; and I should certainly not trust him with young ladies, for there is always temptation. Hume and other skeptical innovators, are vain men, and will gratify themselves at any expence. Truth will not afford sufficient food for their vanity; so they have betaken themselves to errour. Truth, Sir, is a cow which will yield such people no more milk, and so they are gone to milk the bull. ”
Samuel Johnson; Boswell’s “Life of Samuel Johnson”