Pauline Hanson is right.

HA! just kidding. See what I did there? There are few things I like less than Pauline Hanson. It’s as if a deity said, “Let’s put all the things that Chris despises about humanity in one package”

  1. Xenophobic? Check
  2. Inarticulate? Check
  3. A celebration of ignorance over substance? Check
  4. Fear driven politics? Check
  5. Uses patriotism to hurt people rather than bring them together? Check

 

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“These are a few of my favorite things…”

 

She is the living embodiment of the childish impulse in people to play with the box the toy came in, that’s all she is. Wrapping.

But, she will not be to blame if there is a terrorist attack.

Pauline is an idiot. Her Burka stunt in parliament recently made everyone stand up and take notice…. That…… George Brandis may not be the morally bankrupt angry potato that we have always suspected. But even though she’s a repugnant moron with the wit of a deceased herring. She will not be responsible for the next attack. Terrorists don’t need excuses to be terrorists. And their radicalisation isn’t going to begin and end with Pauline Hanson. Her supporters don’t have that comfort, however. There is the good reason to believe that anti-Muslim sentiment may well radicalise youth faster than the promise of 72 ready virgins. But that is also victim blaming and abdication of responsibility. No, no-one can or should say Pauline and her abhorrent views are helping. They aren’t. And she should be deserted for what she thinks and says. But she also should have the right to say what she likes, without someone murdering people because of it. And the Greens should know better. The response to terrorism shouldn’t be to silence our morons but to allow the freedom for people to say what they like. After all, that’s exactly what the terrorists are fighting against (if your playing the Chris Tyler Ruins everything drinking game you should drink now).  Should we listen to Pauline? Of course not, she’s a fucking moron. But really, it’s the worst thing you can say about a group, ever, that some idiot doing fancy dress in parliament might make them angry enough for them to murder our citizens.

 

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Review: A Manual for Creating Atheists by Peter Boghossian

It’s easy to be critical of Peter Boghossian. He’s an asshole.

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Truly. Whilst I might agree with many points in this book, whilst I might have sympathy for the ideas that it puts forward and whilst I might love the Socratic method or believe that everyone should study logic. I might even believe that people should be honest when they don’t know something and that engaging people in honest debate is a good thing. It’s all kind of ruined by the fact that Boghossian is a massive inconsistent asshole.

Boghossian wants other Athiests to be “Street Epistemologists” that is to say; people who use logic and reason and the Socratic method to “prove” to other people that their faith is incorrect. And he has created a manual for this.

I guess I kind of diverge from Boghossian on a number of different levels.

  1. I think that people’s faith is their own business. Of course, if someone engages you then sure, I have no problem debating them but I’m not about to spend hours on a bus or a plane bleating on about how Pascals Wager is bullshit when all the guy next to me wants to do is sleep and maybe watch the new Marvel offering.
  2. I worry about having a planned conversation when I think that in honest debates you simply “Tell the truth as you see it”.
  3. I don’t want to have to explain Logic to someone who has never studied it. I’m going to sound like an arrogant asshole……like a more arrogant asshole.

The anecdotes that Boghossian all kind of follow the same form “I met this person, I engaged with them, they seemed more than happy to talk about their faith even though every time I open my mouth I step outside the bounds that normal society would allow and then…I never hear from them again. Did they turn into Atheists? I have no idea”

You know if I were writing a “manual” I would want to know that what I were writing a manual about really worked.

Perhaps worse is that there are lots of good reasonable and convincing objections to religious argument and religious apologetics. But either Peter doesn’t know them or he decided in a book that is supposedly devoted to arguing with thiests that they are not worth knowing about.

Maybe that’s not fair. Some of the advice he gives is ok. Some of what he says makes sense. His introduction to the Socratic method is….ok. Not the best I’ve read but not terrible. But he does far from giving you a real insight into debate, different styles of debate and how to engage with someone who isn’t on board with your position.

Instead he says, “Attack their faith” faith to him is the weak point. Faith is “Pretending to know something you don’t” well maybe. I would say that that is certainly an atheist’s definition of faith. I wonder if theists have a different one? Broadly I agree, going head to head with apologetics can send you down a rabbit hole of dubious logic and slightly bendy thought process. You can hear things like “But atheists just have faith in science!” or “Just being able to conceptualise God means that there is one” or “The fact there are Atheists means that there is a God” or my favourite “Science belongs to Christians, all scientists are Christians” But conversations

s-ATLAH-large.jpgYou can hear things like “But atheists just have faith in science!” or “Just being able to conceptualise God means that there is one” or “The fact there are Atheists means that there is a God” or my favourite “Science belongs to Christians, all scientists are Christians” But conversations are give and take, and his suggestion to “Just take control of the conversation” might not sit well with…oh I don’t know…anyone. Now some people might argue that I do that anyway but doing it deliberately is a different story.

What he does put forward might be of dubious use to you. He talks about how all beliefs can be “Properly basic” (the idea that a belief can be so self-evident that it requires no justification or any kind of Doxastic requirement) and so leads us to the great Pumpkin argument. Which is fine but he doesn’t talk about the thorny area you might be in if your mark knows Plantinga’s rebuttal. Which is a shame because it might not be immediately obvious why this isn’t a good objection (in my opinion). In fact, he seems to have no idea what to do if the person you are talking to has any apologetic background at all. I guess you either use your own brain or run. I suspect Peter would run. Now I write manuals and I know you can’t cater of all contingencies. But then that’s why you teach the basics at the start.  Now look I personally think that there is no good argument for having a non-doxastic belief but that doesn’t mean that other people might not have a different opinion, or a good reason (heh) for believing something like that and it seems to me that if you go in going “I’m just going to destroy this person’s faith” then you aren’t entering the argument with any intellectual honest.

And then there’s this….

“in the last 2400 years of intellectual history, not a single argument for the existence of God has withstood scrutiny. Not one. Aquinas’s five proofs, fail. Pascal’s Wager, fail. Anselm’s ontological argument, fail. The fine-tuning argument, fail. The kalam cosmological argument, fail. All refuted. All failures.” – Peter Boghossian A Manual for Atheists.

GREAT! I’m keenly interested in how all these arguments fail…. wait…. where do you list where they fail? A paragraph? A precis? A footnote?

Nope.

So, and yet another entry into the “Annoying Atheist” camp. I read an article recently that basically said “Hey, if you’re an atheist you might as well convert because people don’t trust you and the people who represent you are assholes”. Well it wasn’t a persuasive argument but Peter Boghossian isn’t helping.

 

 

SSM

Do I really have to write this?

Really?

Oh goodness.

Ok fine.

Here’s my take on Marriage equality.

I have no interest in Marriage. I feel that it’s an outdated union originally religious and social in nature I feel that it no longer reflects the society that we live in. I feel that it’s a celebration that comes before doing the thing that is worth celebrating. Why not have a big party after you’ve been together for 10, 20 or 30 years? That would be worth celebrating. As for a commitment ceremony? Well, why? If it’s over it’s over whether you are married or not. As a ceremony that signifies a holy union? Well,…that’s not really for me.  However, I do realise that I may well be an embittered curmudgeon and there are certain legal rights that come with being married that people may wish to have. But even though I want no truck with it I respect that people I know want to be married and I respect that they feel differently to me for a multitude of reasons. And frankly, as far as I am concerned if they want to be married that’s good enough for me. Whether they be gay, straight, some kind of supernaturally animated stationary. Whatever.

Done! Ok, lets mov…what? What do you mean that’s not good enough?

When my friends get married it’s important to me that they have a good time, that it goes well. That affects me. When people I don’t know get married. Well. There is no possible reasonable way that it can affect me in any way shape or form, without some kind of strange and unusual circumstance.

It might be glib and pithy to say “If you don’t want gay marriage don’t get one” but it sums up how I feel completely.

Just like I don’t want a wedding, but I don’t begrudge anyone else one. I would hope some of my friends might be surprised at my thoughts towards marriage. Why? Because it’s my attitude and my business. Not everything I think needs to be broadcast to the world especially things that are personal beliefs that affect no-one else. I don’t think I have ever said to any of my friends “Don’t do it!” even as a joke. Hopefully, I have always been as supportive as I can possibly be when friends of mine get married.

Will I be voting yes in the coming Plebiscite?

Yes.

Why? Because my beliefs and attitudes shouldn’t affect anyone else ESPECIALLY when these things really don’t affect me.

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Should there be a bloody plebiscite? No. The government should either shit or get off the pot. They should either say “It’s our job to make decisions, it’s our job to do what is best for the Australian people and it’s our job to make life equitable for our citizens no matter what our own personal beliefs” and just do it. OR they should say “It isn’t going to happen. We don’t like it, we can’t get it together and we can’t make it work because of religious bigotry, maybe the next government will represent all citizens”

I have never heard an argument against same sex marriage that wasn’t religious. And even these usually boil down to “Won’t someone think of the children”.  And frankly, that’s not good enough.

As for a “respectful debate” I’ve already heard both Bronwyn Bishop and some minister go on about the slippery slope argument as in “What next, people marrying animals?” to which I would respond. “What next? People getting divorced? People allowed to marry their cousins or uncles? Or foreigners?” Or in Bronwin’s case their helicopters. So, I look forward to a really respectful debate in the next month. Don’t forget to enroll and be part of the needless bullshit that should have been sorted out at a ministerial level but is none the less the right thing to do anyway.