YOU’RE NEXT! The ‘politically correct’ are eating our brains!

There is something particularly creepy about the push-back against the push-back against political correctness. It’s like the tipping-point in the movie ‘The Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ when enough people are displaying the identical robotic, zombie-like behavior that Donald Sutherland and his friends suddenly realize that they’re the only free-thinking humans left.

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I was reminded of this after coming across a column in the Ottawa Citizen over the weekend by political analyst and communications consultant, Scott Reid. His piece ran under the banner –  ‘It’s time to defend political correctness‘.

Eww.

One of the worst effects of political correctness is that it inspires the kind of self-serving, trite, virtue-signalling of the – ‘I was a sinner but now I’ve seen the light!’ – variety that Reid indulges in with this column. He exudes equal parts shame and sanctimony as he recounts his transition from pre-‘seed pod’ ignorance to one of the reborn, enlightened-class obsessed with achieving the perfect state of niceness.

PC infection also seems to encourage ‘progressives‘ to believe that straw-man arguments and selective application of principles are just as good – if not better – than objectivity and accurate representation of facts.

For example, Reid directly asserts that Donald Trump has expressed the opinion that “all Muslims become waiting jihadists.” Of course, like a lot of ‘progressive’ opinion, he doesn’t feel the obligation to support his accusation in any way. Reid must be able to show where Trump has expressed that sentiment – or we can conclude that this is a misrepresentation of Trump’s views that Reid has deliberately contrived to serve his own biases.

This fallacious tactic is repeated with the assertion that Trump has expressed the view that “Mexicans…. are mostly drug runners and rapists.” Again, can Reid point to an example of Trump saying this? Or is this Reid yet again screening Trump’s words and meaning through his own biases to produce a version that better supports his premise?

In further service of that premise, Reid strips all context from his statement “A respected American judge is really a biased Mexican” to manufacture an impression that the sole motivation for questioning this judge’s impartiality was his ethnicity – and nothing to do with Trump’s concern that an Obama appointed liberal judge who belongs to an activist group called La Raza (which means ‘the Race’…nothing supremicisty about that!) which advocates for the interests of Latino immigrants and is critical of Trump’s immigration policies… may have a bias against the candidate who wants to build a wall and deport illegals. This group is supposedly affiliated with The Hispanic National Bar Association which has openly advocated for the targeting of Trump’s business interests. Rightly or wrongly, Trump is suspicious that these factors might have influenced the judge’s decision to release sealed court documents from the ongoing case against Trump University… and that all of this doesn’t bode well for a fair outcome.

But including those facts and context just get’s in the way of the narrative that Reid is committed to… so like all ‘progressives’, he just ditches it.

Reid then writes: “The next thing you know, you’re receiving endorsements from the white supremacist movement. But hey, it’s not really like that. He’s not racist, he’s just being politically incorrect. So that makes it OK.”

So some white supremacist nut-jobs with whom Trump has no connection say they will vote for him – an endorsement that Trump is on record as saying he rejects…. and this justifies labelling Trump a racist.

But Hillary Clinton’s endorsement of once high-ranking KKK member, West Virginia Democrat Robert Byrd – who she eulogized as her “friend and mentor” and said “Senator Byrd was a man of surpassing eloquence and nobility….It is almost impossible to imagine the United States Senate without Robert Byrd” – makes her what? Not worth mentioning?

And why is that? Oh right… it’s because she’s politically correct! Which means she get’s to say and do all of the awful things that the ‘progressive Left’ pretend to be against!

Ultimately, this is what people who practice and defend political correctness are really  concerned with… the surface appearance only of moral excellence. Because once you feel you have the cover of moral superiority…. you can justify pretty much anything you do.

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Climate change is an “Opinion-Product”

Inspiration, 48 X 36 inchesI am sure I am not the only person who has noticed that critical thinking appears to be in short supply these days… not just on the issue of climate change, but in general.

Our little epoch is marked by a tendency for people to adopt and internalize prepackaged opinions on all sorts of subjects for all sorts of reasons other than objective truth. Essentially, it’s mass consumerism pushed to it’s inevitable extreme: we’ve gone from mass-marketing desirable physical objects to mass-marketing desireable subjective opinions. And in both cases, it’s the convenience that really sells the product.

Rebutting Stefan Molyneux’s Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence YouTube Comments – Rebutted!

I have a lot of time for Stefan Molyneux. He has a ferocious intellect and is clearly fearless in expressing decidedly contrarian views on some very touchy, up-to-the-minute topics. He is also someone who is focused not only on opinions but on how people construct a view of the world that generates those opinions. For me, that is ultimately even more important than the opinions themselves, so I have a lot of regard for anyone like Molyneux who stresses that process.

And sure, he sometimes comes across as a little up himself. But that pretty much goes with the territory if you’re putting yourself out there on YouTube as a guy whose opinion not only matters, but is the embodiment of clarity and fine-tuned critical thinking.

Having said all of that, I can’t buy into his arguments for atheism. Or rather, it’s his definitiveness about there being no justification for any kind of position other than atheism that seems too decidedly materialistic and dualistic. And just too definitive for that matter.

Below are some comments in response to a recent video he produced for his Freedomain Radio YouTube Channel . In the video he takes on a critic of his argument that a God who created the universe can’t exist because consciousness cannot exist without matter. He also resorts to the old trope about “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” which I deal with as well. I would recommend anyone with any interest in the whole God/atheist/consciousness/materialism debate check out Stefan’s video – Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence YouTube Comments – Rebutted! . And if anyone wishes to contribute their own thoughts on the subject please leave a reply on this page.


My commentary:

Reflecting on Stefan’s argument that some kind of transcendent consciousness cannot possibly exist because consciousness cannot possibly exist without matter. It is a very clever argument – although I’m not sure to what degree the cleverness and logical congruence actually reflects objective reality.

It reminds me of Wilfrid Sellars’ notion of the “Myth of the Given” – essentially that you can’t assert the reality of pre-existing entities or structures outside of human awareness.

As philosopher Ken Wilber put it: “Metaphysics is thinking that falls prey to the myth of the given.”

Having said that, it strikes me that Stefan’s position presupposes a strictly dualistic conception of matter and consciousness. In a non-dualistic conception in which reality is seen as ‘one continuous thing’ so to speak – what Whitehead calls the ‘seamless coat of the universe – the question of consciousness existing without matter wouldn’t even make sense. And even if you are going to argue that consciousness has never been observed without matter as proof that consciousness CAN’T exist without matter….are you not then stuck with also acknowledging that matter has never been observed without consciousness?

L. L. Whyte said, “Thus, the immature mind (his word not mine!), unable to escape its own prejudice … is condemned to struggle in the straitjacket of its dualisms: subject/object, time/space, spirit/matter, freedom/necessity, free will/law. The truth, which must be single, is ridden with contradiction. Man cannot think where he is, for he has created two worlds from one.”

The physicist Erwin Schroedinger concurred, putting it this way: “consciousness is a singular of which the plural is unknown; there is only one thing and that what seems to be a plurality is merely a series of different aspects of this one thing, produced by a deception”.

I think this notion that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” is kind of a crock.
It was a catchy phrase that Carl Sagan popularized that has become a meme in the culture which everyone now takes as a truism. I find it is used to dismiss anything that conflicts with the orthodoxy in a similar way that applying a label like ‘climate change denier’ is used to shut down debate about the so called ‘consensus’ orthodoxy of the climate change establishment.

Why should one kind of truth claim be held to a different standard of evidence than another? Surely the rigour and standards we already apply are more than sufficient! Why would we trust them otherwise?
Why is it logical to codify a bias in favour of one explanation and against another? How is it desirable to privilege the established orthodoxy against outlier modes of thinking?

The disadvantages to taking this hoary old adage seriously seem much more apparent than any alleged advantage. The most obvious problem is that you have one category for the orthodoxy with very firm goalposts – and another category where the goalposts recede forever beyond the horizon. In other words, regardless of the quality of the evidence, someone invested in the orthodoxy can always say it’s not ‘extraordinary’ enough

Review of ‘Debate: Atheists vs Christians (Krauss + Shermer vs D’Souza + Hutchinson)’

Lawrence Krauss and Michael Shermer are at it again in this tag-team effort pitting the super-atheists against the stubbornly religious Dinesh D’Souza and Ian Hutchinson.

Thanks to my sometimes Youtube debating partner Francesco Galle for sending me the link to the debate.

Krauss and Shermer stumble embarrassingly when trying to argue that science can account for ‘right and wrong’, morality and values.

At 56:39, Krauss says “I think science does tell us what is right and wrong in a real way” . He then lists a couple facts that he claims science introduced to the world, attaches them to moral judgements about animal welfare and human rights – without ever describing the mechanism that explains how evaluations of morality arise from these brute facts.

When he is caught out by Hutchinson on his atrocious reasoning, Krauss and Shermer deflect from having to substantiate their own metaphysical claim by using the oldest rhetorical debating trick in the book – they throw the question back at the other side by asking “Well where do you get them(morals)from then?”

It is fascinating how the very basis for the atheist/materialist condemnation of religious thinking is the believer’s willingness to believe things without empirical evidence – yet for some reason, the very same behavior doesn’t qualify as an equal indictment of atheist/materialist credibility when they do it themselves.

Here is the link to the debate: ‘Debate: Atheists vs Christians (Krauss + Shermer vs D’Souza + Hutchinson)’

Let me know what you think.