Thursday, December 06, 2012

Rom 1 reply, 25: Addressing Plato's warning and the menace -- yes, that is not too strong a word -- of amoral, ruthlessly nihilist, Alinsky Rules for Radicals factions flying the flag of evolutionary materialist "science"

In the last three sessions, we have been looking at why we need a strong alternative to the evolutionary materialism dressed up in a lab coat that so haunts our civilisation in our day. 

To do so, we first looked at why it is reasonable to consider that we live in a world that shows strong evidences of having been designed. Next, we saw how evolutionary materialism is self referential and self-contradictory, once it has to account for the credibility of the human mind as reasoning and knowing. Indeed, it turned out that there is a matter-mind gap that points to a worldview foundation challenge.

In a nutshell, the basis for our worldviews has to have in it something that is strong enough to support reasoning, credibly knowing minds, and matter and energy shaped by blind chance and necessity through forces of survival that are in the end irrelevant to the issues of the logic of ground-and-consequent and to those of warranting claims to accurately correspond to reality simply cannot pass that test. That is, evolutionary materialism is incoherent and in the end irrational and self-refuting, much as Haldane saw at the turn of the 1930's:
"It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms." [["When I am dead," in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. (Highlight and emphases added.)]
This same issue of want of proper grounding came up when we turned to the IS-OUGHT challenge, as we may only adequately ground moral obligation in the basis for our worldviews. Or else, forever thereafter, it will be groundless. 

Which, simply opens the cultural door to ruthless nihilistic "might makes right" factions who imagine that rights are the spoils of power, and that -- as Plato put it -- the just or the honourable is defined by dint of grabbing and holding power, not by diligently attending to duties of care to rationality, to objective truth and to right. (Which should sound very familiar to anyone looking on on the destructive trends and agendas that are increasingly evident or even rampant and running riot all across our civilisation.)

Nor will it do to try to dismiss the need for a foundation that is finitely remote from any particular argument: the coherentist worldview raft that needs to hang together but can always be under partial repair rests on the support of the ocean and the laws of floatation. Yes, that something must hang together coherently is true, but that has not got rid of the underlying support. Shifting to a spaceship metaphor instead only leads to realising that such a space-craft has to be very carefully designed to meet a wide range of finely balanced requisites of supporting life and sustaining a voyage, which requires resting on the foundation of a carefully worked out and finely tuned respect for the forces, laws and materials of the cosmos. And, that holds for even a "spaceship" like our home planet.

Nor can we sensibly suggest that a worldview can rest on an infinite chain of further support or loop back in circles.  "Turtles all the way down" forever (or looping back in circles) simply cannot work:

The absurdity of building a worldview or a chain of warrant
on "turtles all the way down,"or even "turtles in a circle"

Worldviews, clearly, must be finite, must answer to the facts of reality, must hang together and must have an adequate support on reasonable grounds.

So, we must have an adequate foundation.

We also saw that once the matter-mind and is-ought gaps are on the table, as well as the evidence of a designed world -- angry or derisive dismissals of the new atheists, the wider evolutionary materialists and the like notwithstanding -- it is reasonable to accept a worldview rooted in an inherently good, wise and powerful architect and Creator of our world, a Divine Mind. (And, it can be shown that such a cosmos-building Creator would also have to be a necessary being, the cause of our contingent cosmos.)

This is of course not yet the God of the Judaeo-Christian scriptures (we can deal with that at another time and on other evidence), it is the God of the philosophers, and in particular the God of ethical, generic theism. The God who is consistent with the sort of God we meet in the pages of the Scriptures and associated Salvation History that are foundational to the Judaeo-Christian tradition.

Of course, the above is a sketch-by-way-of-summary not a proof, and the preceding has been an outline at first level in any case, not a complete exploration of all the relevant issues. Those issues are far too involved to require less than a heavy-duty multi-volume tome or two (or two dozen); which would in any case attract a very limited audience. 

But, I am confident that what we have done in recent days is enough to change the game and take the wind out of the sails of the ever so confident evolutionary materialists and their fellow travellers.

Now, we need to turn to a strong word raised in the title of this post: the menace posed to our region and the wider civilisation by amoral, nihilist, subversive Rules for Radicals factions flying the colours of evolutionary materialist "science."

"Menace" is a very strong word, I know: and, I am using it in the full sense of a clear, present danger that threatens our well-being, not a mere nuisance like the fictional Dennis the Menace of the comic strips.

I know, I know, this is a day in which anyone who uses strong language to warn of a threat from the various politically correct quarters invites being skewered with the epithets that s/he is a right-wing wacko and nutter, an ignoramus, a bigot, one who is speaking from ill-informed rage and hate and more.

To those who would to that to me I say, forget it, I have heard it all from y0ur ilk already and no longer care to hear what you have to say: just look up the hate sites that have targetted me from such politically correct directions and see just who is really motivated by ill-informed bigotry and manifest hate. In short, I have had enough of turnabout false accusations, name-calling, ad hominem attacks, veiled threats to my family and well-poisoning rhetoric designed to smear, hurt, wound and silence.

Or, if you doubt me on this, let me cite the rule-book for such subversive nihilistic radicalism, Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky:

 "A Marxist begins with his prime truth that all evils are caused by the exploitation of the proletariat by the capitalists. From this he logically proceeds to the revolution to end capitalism, then into the third stage of reorganization into a new social order of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and finally the last stage -- the political paradise of communism." p.10. [And let us note, Marxism has always been quite varied in form, so, the sort of cultural/institutional subversion strategy advocated by Alinsky is notsufficient to remove him from the general frame of thought, whatever differences he may have had with say the Moscow orthodoxy.] . . . . 

"The end is what you want, the means is how you get it. Whenever we think about social change, the question of means and ends arises. The man of action views the issue of means and ends in pragmatic and strategic terms. He has no other problem; he thinks only of his actual resources and the possibilities of various choices of action. He asks of ends only whether they are achievable and worth the cost; of means, only whether they will work. ... The real arena is corrupt and bloody." p.24 . . . . 

"The first step in community organization is community disorganization. The disruption of the present organization is the first step toward community organization. Present arrangements must be disorganized if they are to be displace by new patterns.... All change means disorganization of the old and organization of the new." p.116 . . . . 
[The Key Rules:]
 3. "Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy. Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty. (This happens all the time. Watch how many organizations under attack are blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address.)
4. "Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity."
5. "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage." . . . .
13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.  [NB: Notice the evil counsel to find a way to attack the man, not the issue. The easiest way to do that, is to use the trifecta stratagem: distract, distort, demonise.] In conflict tactics there are certain rules that [should be regarded] as universalities. One is that the opposition must be singled out as the target and 'frozen.'...
     "...any target can always say, 'Why do you center on me when there are others to blame as well?' When your 'freeze the target,' you disregard these [rational but distracting] arguments.... Then, as you zero in and freeze your target and carry out your attack, all the 'others' come out of the woodwork very soon. They become visible by their support of the target...'
 "One acts decisively only in the conviction that all the angels are on one side and all the devils on the other."
   The ruthless neo-marxist -- yes, neo-marxist -- uncivil and polarising subversion of institutions and communities in this should be plain to all. 

And, unfortunately, it should ring all too familiarly. (As in, we should ask ourselves why it is that over the past six or seven years, we have not been explicitly told and taught just what a "Community Organizer" of the Chicago School founded by Saul Alinsky really is.)

So, I now expect that I will be duly subjected to a torrent of hateful rhetoric designed to target and polarise, ridicule, wound and cruelly mock. 

That has been going on for coming on two years now, online.

It no longer moves me, save to make me even more determined to stand for what is patently true, right and needed at this time, a watershed for our civilisation where pivotal institutions like marriage and the family as well as education, the media, law and government are under attack by ruthless nihilists.

So, when you find their little cruelly dismissive caricaturing talking points surfacing in your mind -- right wing wacko, homophobic nut, Christofascist, Creationist etc etc -- take that as a warning as to just how far the subversion and perversion of our civilisation have already proceeded. Then, pause and look back over the substantial issues that have been raised recently, and ask yourself, do the dismissive phrases and the substantial reality, associated facts adduced and reasoning advanced, as well as the underlying concerns match?

Regardless, I am answering to a higher challenge and responsibility now: to warn as a watchman, even in the teeth of stubborn refusal to take heed to warning.

Let us proceed.

A case in point will help us focus our thoughts. 

So, let us note how, in a recent conference in Madrid, International Human Rights Lawyer Piero Tozzi observed, in the face of a global battle over rights:
 Jakob Cornides, has succinctly phrased it: “What was once considered a crime is to be transformed into a right, and what was once considered justice into a human rights violation.”

The stage is set for a clash of competing rights, as rights based on novel concepts insinuate themselves into human rights discourse and the State is called upon to enforce such newly-fabricated rights . . . . Here is the danger: it is the nature of government to seek to “fill in the spaces,” to grow and to crowd out mediating institutions such as the Church and the family. One side of the rights battle has discovered a way to enlist the State on their side, hence the unrelenting pressure that we find ourselves in . . . .

[S]ometimes people deride what they consider “Anglo-Saxon” notions of rights – in essence, the classic [natural] rights that we have spoken about, or liberty. There is greater comfort with the role of the State in providing positive [= entitlement] rights, such as a “right to education,” or a “right to health care.”

But the reality we face is that by and large those who will be providing the substantive content of such positive rights in the future, will be those seeking to impose the anti-Culture of Death in its various manifestations, be it abortion under health care or “sexual orientation” rights in education policy.

Thus those of us who care about the family, and the Church, and the other mediating institutions that the great political philosopher Edmund Burke referred to as the “little platoons” which sustain a culture not only horizontally but also vertically, in communion with past generations and those generations to come, I would urge you to think in a more “Anglo-Saxon” manner when it comes to human rights discourse . . . . 
[W]here I think we can win, should be by reclaiming a notion of rights as grounded in nature, against the State: the State which cannot create rights, but only recognize them. If we can do that, to reframe the rights conflict as one where [natural] rights should prevail against the power of the State, then I think that the outcome would be very positive indeed. ["The threat from transnationalist progressivism: sexual orientation and international law," World Congress of Families, Madrid, May 26, 2011.]
What is driving this?

 Precisely the underminimg of morality that was discussed earlier, through eating out what the right is understood to be, thus leading to rights deteriorating into little more than the spoils of having won the political power contest: might and manipulation make 'right.' That is, just what Plato warned against as the natural consequence of the dominance of evolutionary materialism in a culture, in The Laws Bk X, 2350 years ago. 

Let us listen again:
Ath. . . . [[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that . . . [t]he elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them . . . the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only.

[[Thus, they hold that t]he Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.
These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might, and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factionsthese philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others, and not in legal subjection to them.  

 Having heard Tozzi and Plato, let us listen again to Professor Provine in his 1998 Darwin Day keynote address:
Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent . . .
. . . then also, to Dr Richard Dawkins in his 1995 Sci Am article:
In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but pitiless indifference . . . .
 Maybe, it is hard to hear the full force of that when it comes from the mouths of eminent spokesmen. Let me therefore cite an almost random search result, a paper by a Ms Valerie Grant from a The Sea of Faith conference in New Zealand:
Evolutionary psychologists are not arguing that because a particular behaviour has evolved over time, it must therefore be morally “good”. Anything but! The point is that nature does not have a moral dimension, nor can one be derived from it. [--> Remember, to such, the natural, physical realm is all of reality, so this means that morality is in Ms Grant's imagination, a groundless delusion.]

“David Hume, himself a great naturalist, … taught us that there is a problem about “oughts”, specifically that you cannot derive “oughts” from “is’s”. .. This is because “oughts” are among the innumerable kinds of things that cannot be derived/ demonstrated/ deduced from propositions that do not also contain words like “ought” (Flanagan and Williams, 2009). For example, even if you can demonstrate that eating breakfast gives brings nutritional benefits, you cannot therefore argue that one ought to eat breakfast, except by further use of the word “ought” i.e. that one ought to want to be healthy, happy etc. It is, as philosophers have demonstrated, a simple matter of logic.

In considering the evolution of human behaviour we are looking at a set of facts. Which behaviours enabled our ancestors to survive and reproduce? Which behaviours resulted in transferring the carrier’s genes into the next generation? This was (and is) a mechanical effect . . .
 In short, the evolutionary materialist or naturalistic scheme of thought -- whether it wears the lab coat or the philosopher's cloak -- reduces reality to the material world and the suggested powers of blind chance and mechanical necessity, leading to survival of the most effective at reproducing.  Where, morality itself has no place: the material IS eats up the ungrounded OUGHT, imagining moral obligation to be a delusion. So, we are right back at the nihilist thesis that Plato warned against so long ago, with the ghost of the Athenian scoundrel Alcibiades hovering in front of him: might and manipulation make 'right.'

Never mind, the self referential incoherence by way of undermining the knowing, reasoning mind. This sort of amorality leads to the decisive undermining of a duty to the right, to justice etc, to the unspeakably destructive nihilist notion that might makes 'right' and so -- equivalently -- 'rights' are the spoils of victory in the political and propaganda war

Where, 'Science' -- notice the capitalisation -- becomes simply a particularly effective ideological weapon and schooling becomes indoctrination in evolutionary materialism.

And right now, as Mr Tozzi highlights, these nihilists have the foundational institutions of a stable society in their cross-hairs: marriage and family. Where, frankly, if they think they can get away with it, they will smear anyone who challenges them as a hateful bigot and will even invent hate crimes to punish those who stand in their way.

I am not speculating, this has already begun to happen, as we can hear from the following video by the Christian Legal Centre in the UK:

In short, like it or not, we face a menace: amoral radical relativism opening the door to ruthless nihilistic might makes right factions perfectly willing to abuse the political, educational and legal systems to get their way.  After all, to such rights are simply another word for "the spoils of political victory."

So, we need to recognise the reality, and while we must respect people as people (and thus treat them with basic respect), we must nor compromise with destructive agendas that will never stop pushing for more and more extreme agenda items unless they are decisively checked. Indeed, it is the duty of civil authorities to stand up to such nihilists firmly, in defence of the civil peace of justice. First, with sound reasoning and administrative, policy and legislative decisions, and if some take to arms as terrorists, with the proper policing power of the state.

That is what we now face, and we need to wake up to it, before it is too late. END