Sunday, June 26, 2005

More dogmatic religionism from Mark Kleiman

here. E.g., "Much of it is silly village-atheist stuff from people who seem to regard their contempt for theists as among their most precious possessions and who resent any attempt to suggest that the vast majority of humankind, present and past -- including, for example, Socrates and Lincoln -- aren't and weren't believers in obvious nonsense."

Translation: "People who think I'm wrong are unsophisticated monomaniacs so dumb they think that 2k years of human thought gives them an advantage over Socrates in assessing reality."

And "Such criticism isn't worth responding to in detail. If P.Z. Meyers gets as much enjoyment from his belief that all relgious belief is simply congealed ignorance as Jerry Falwell does from his belief that all non-theists are damned, why should I play the spoilsport?"

Translation: "I don't want to be made to look dumb in public by arguing with a sophisticated monomaniac with a degree in hard science (just reading those lengthy posts gives me a headache), so I'll just be contemptuous."

He goes on to off-handedly argue against analytic thought when it comes to belief. Sorry to see Kleiman siding with the UFO, astrology, Scientology, your-favorite-religion-which-you're-sure-is-right-because-of-faith crowd.


Anonymous Mark Kleiman said...

WTF? This post responds to an argument I explicitly rejected; see the "footnote" to the second post.

My point was simply that some people who say they don't want Darwin taught in the schools are in fact worried about having their children, and others, taught Herbert Spencer. If we took the trouble to understand what's behind their concern, we could deal with them both more respectfully and more effectively.

As I said in my first post, that doesn't mean not teaching evolution; it does mean not assuming that anyone who takes the opposite viewpoint must therefore be an ignorant fool.

As to my supposed rejection of "analytic thought": bullshit! Surely you know the difference between the specific tradition called "analytic philosophy" -- which rejects everything it calls "metaphysical" as meaningless -- and analytic thought generally.

Obviously, my objection to reading poetic language literally doesn't make me a believer in Satanism, Scientololgy, or Swedenborgianism. Nor does it leave me unwilling to criticize the ideas of others. But I prefer to criticise the ideas they actually have, not foolish caricatures.

28/6/05 00:03  
Blogger rilkefan said...

0. This humble blog welcomes the honorable Mark Kleiman.

1. In my view, your position that religion is obviously not obvious nonsense is obvious nonsense.

2. Not all people who are ignorant are fools. This is a vital distinction. Socrates in your example was ignorant of Newton, Darwin, Kant, etc., but that didn't make him dumb.

3. As I've argued in private correspondence with you in the past, there's no distinguishing respect for the position of Mormons or Protestants or whatevers from Bubblegumists. I'm happy to treat their beliefs with respect, assuming they're well-behaved citizens, but when they start refusing medical treatment to their kids or using their majority status to use the state to broadcast their superstitions, my respect has to end.

4. If you're willing to defend the metaphysical, you're compelled to defend Bubblegumism, because you can't rationally pick and choose.

5. Who says my nascent Bible is poetic language? Are you implying that those who take it literally are dumb?

6. What P.Z. Myers said here.

28/6/05 15:47  

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