Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Matt 24 watch, 232b: A tale of two signs, as evolutionist prof and militant atheist Jerry Coyne cheers on censorship -- or, what does the miror psychology of projection have to do with the sort of "religion is superstition" sign that FFRF has put up?

This is a case where it is useful to cross-post from Uncommon Descent, as we have a very interesting contrast of two signs to address:


>>>Coyne et al cheer on censorship — it is time to take notice . . .

Yesterday, UD News  headlined a case of radical secularist censorship in Los Angeles being cheered on by Jerry Coyne et al. The case concerns the removal of the following sign (shown under fair use) that was formerly present at a Museum of Natural History in that city:

Notice, what Coyne says in exultation over the removal of the sign:
If I get any other information I’ll convey it, but for now I’m pleased that God is out of the Museum and no longer gets credit for “creatures.”  It’s a victory for secularism, for sure.
Something is blatantly, deeply wrong.

Wrong with the push to censor. Wrong with the willingness of the museum’s leadership to be intimidated by Darwinist thuggery — and yes, this is thuggery. Wrong with professors who should value academic freedom, freedom of expression and diversity but instead are cheering on censorship.

And — most importantly, wrong in a civilisation that is so rapidly losing its way, that it too often does not see a warning-sign for what it is.

By way of illustration, let me contrast a second sign that seems to have been put up (at Advent season, nothing less) by the Freedom From Religion Foundation in the Illinois State legislature building . . . which IIRC, is the same state where prof. Coyne is based; a sign reportedly put up by the FFRF in the name of freedom of religious expression:

The stereotypical, scapegoating accusatory message and significance of its timing at the Christmas season could not be clearer.

(Let’s ask: have Mr Coyne and ilk loudly called for removal of this blatant piece of bigotry and scapegoating hostility that refuses to acknowledge the most obvious facts that — despite the inevitable sins that any movement with a track record in history will also have to deal with  –  Judaeo-Christian theism is a legitimate and intellectually serious worldview with thousands of years of positive contributions to our civilisation including advancing humanitarianism, civil liberty, learning and science? I doubt it. [And while I am at it, let us remember: if we are to make sensible policy choices, we must compare real with real in light of material pros and cons, not real with utopian ideal or whitewashed . . . as in, strawman tactics make for poor and often unjust or abusive and corrupt policy. Cases in point are obvious, all around and on the ash-heaps of sound history. Which, we had better learn and value as a record of hard-bought experience and lessons; lest we repeat its worst chapters.])

{BTW: if you doubt the direct connexion between the two, ponder this comment by NewEnglandBob in Coyne’s Combox:

Critical thinking – 1, Superstition – 0.}

I took time out to comment on the news post, and as it is beginning to slide down the page, let me now headline that comment:
>> This pattern of intolerance and censorship of legitimate and historically important perspectives begins to call forth an analysis of motives, attitudes and habitual patterns.

For instance, Jesus — in a psychologically deeply insightful observation — warns that we should beware and seek to address the plank in our own eye when we want to take the speck out of someone else’s eye, and says that he who is faithful/unfaithful with little will be much the same with greater power and responsibility. So, while the temptation for objectors to design theory etc is to try to twist this about and project it accusingly against us, given their refusal to acknowledge history (BA77 [OOPS: Barb] is so right to point to Newton and by extension many others down to today . . . ) and to pretend that those on our side can only be ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked, we need to hold up a mirror.

For instance, Egnor reports how Coyne exults:
The anonymous donor quote at the NHM has been removed. My second-hand source tells me it will not be replaced. No doubt your efforts, coupled with those of a science reporter at KPCC looking into the mess, compelled the administration to finally do the right thing. Without doubt, you and your WEIT audience were the driving forces, for which I’m grateful.
This is censorship of a legitimate perspective on science, from a context that is educational.
It is part and parcel of an increasingly widespread pattern that projects blame, base motivation, hatred/enmity to science and shrill accusations of intent to create a theocratic, right wing tyranny.
This outrageously false and unbalanced scapegoating is beginning to look like blame the victim/ blame the perceived other, projection to me.

Where, writ large and backed by growing radical secularist power, it is manifestly part of a blame the target turnabout accusation that all too easily becomes a big lie propaganda agenda.

Where also, of course, such a lie can and must be shown to be a case of speaking with willful disregard to the truth one knows or should know, hoping to profit by what is false being perceived and acted on as if it were true. In this case, through outright censorship of a donor’s plaque.

And where we are cautioned, on the mirror principle, to note with Freud et al (and I here cite Wiki speaking against interest):
Psychological projection was conceptualized by Sigmund Freud in the 1900s as a defense mechanism in which a person unconsciously rejects his or her own unacceptable attributes by ascribing them to objects or persons in the outside world.[1] For example, a person who is rude may accuse other people of being rude . . .
.Projection tends to come to the fore in normal people at times of crisis, personal or political,[13] but is more commonly found in the neurotic or psychotic[14]—in personalities functioning at a primitive level as in narcissistic personality disorder or borderline personality disorder.[15]
Carl Jung considered that the unacceptable parts of the personality represented by the Shadow archetype were particularly likely to give rise to projection, both small-scale and on a national/international basis.[16] Marie-Louise Von Franz extended his view of projection, stating that: “… wherever known reality stops, where we touch the unknown, there we project an archetypal image”.[17]
The philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach based his theory of religion in large part upon the idea of projection, that is the idea that an anthropomorphic deity is the outward projection of man’s anxieties and desires . . .
That last part is revealing: Feuerbach (who is where Marx began from, and IIRC is notorious for his you are what you eat materialist view . . . ) has simply swept away the serious reasons for a mature worldview that takes God seriously — and thus rightfully sees him as the Father of compassion and God of all comfort — and instead paints a ridiculous strawman caricature. Which itself invites the counter- analysis that asks, what is he afraid of in his own system that he projects to others. Not, as a mere rhetorical turnabout, but in the context of the well warranted observation that the portrait projected is manifestly a strawman so it invites analysis on mirror psychology grounds.

Now, let us apply to Coyne et al.

1 –> Obviously, they have begun by not doing duty of care to truth or fairness, about the easily discovered Judaeo-Christian theistic roots of modern science, and the historically important and quite legitimate view that echoes Boyle, Kepler, Newton, Pascal, Pasteur, Kelvin and ever so many others down to today:
in science we seek to think God’s creative and sustaining thoughts after him, serving him and others by exploring our world to more accurately understand it and so be better stewards of it and its resources . . .
2 –> There is nothing illegitimate or unduly threatening in such a view of and approach to science. That is obvious. Indeed, we do the public and especially children a disservice if we leave them with the impression that this view has not been historically important, a source of much good, and continues to be an important view today held by many working scientists, engineers and medical practitioners in all sorts of fields.

3 –> Likewise — as as BA77 hints at just above by citing the US Declaration of Independence of 1776 (which speaks to God no less than four highly significant times, and makes rights endowed by our Creator the pivot of its argument) — it is a manifest distortion of historically anchored truth we know or should know to pretend that faith in God is an inevitable prelude to tyranny. (And yes, we are aware of and address the sad history of the sins of Christendom, cf. here on. The problem is that we are not dealing with balance here, but a persistently repeated one-sided litany designed to stir up fear, suspicion and even hate leading to destructive anger. Instead, let us state the obvious: no influential movement of consequence in history will not have its record of sins as amidst wheat poisonous tares will forever spring up. As humans we are finite, fallible, morally and intellectually struggling, and too often ill-willed and even hypocritical. The moral hazards of being human which we must all struggle with. Hence Jesus’ counsel on planks in one’s own eye: first remove the plank then you can see clearly to help the other with the sawdust in his eye.)

4 –> Just the opposite, when — in Ch 2 sec 5 of his 2nd treatise on civil government — Locke (building on a foundation laid by theologians and Christian thinkers, writers and statesmen during and before the Reformation) set out to ground what would become modern liberty and democracy . . . and not least through that same US DOI of 1776, he cites a comment by “the judicious [Anglican canon Richard] Hooker,” where in his Ecclesiastical Polity that worthy comments on the neighbour love ethical principle that is at the pivot of Biblical morality:
. . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [Eccl. Polity, preface, Bk I, "ch." 8, p.80.]
5 –> These facts are not exactly obscure or hard to learn, so there is no excuse for the sort of persistently willful distortion and projections that we are seeing, which are now manifesting themselves in cases of abuse of law, administrative power and influence, here to impose a characteristic mark of growing tyranny — undue censorship of public education.

6 –> Where, patently, there is nothing that is genuinely obscene or unduly offensive in the following inscription which was removed due to agitation, without proper accountability:
“The Nature Lab is a gift to Los Angeles to celebrate all of God’s creatures and enable NHM to broaden our understanding of the natural world through the process of scientific discovery.” Anonymous Donor 2013
7 –> So, we have serious grounds for now applying the mirror psychology principle to Coyne et al and their censorship.

8 –> Obviously, such fear God and fear that the world of nature and of human experience of the inner and outer world is so replete with signs that point to God and to our duty under him, that to advance their agenda of teenager rebellion writ large, they must do everything to induce us to fear, loathe, suspect and exclude God from our reckoning and to act with hostility to those who act through acknowledging God. (Cf here on and here on in context.)

9 –> They are also obviously deeply angry, as the all too persistent shrillness of their rhetoric reveals. But also, deep seated anger is a key motivator of the dark triad manipulative and abusive pattern of narcicissim, machiavellianism and sociopathy that is an increasing concern today. That is, the darker side of “cool,” and it is a big red warning flag. (And yes, I come from hurricane country. I know storm signs and warnings when I see them.)

10 –> Where, obviously, such anger and threatening attitudes are easily projected to others who are designated, stereotypical, strawmannised scapegoats. Which in today’s age, increasingly obviously, is what Christians — let’s be direct — are typically set up to be by radical secularists.

11 –> And as Aristotle warned, in The Rhetoric Bk I ch 2, when he discussed the persuasive power of pathos, ethos and logos, our judgements when we are pleased and friendly are very different from those we make when we are pained and angry.

12 –> So, it is time to expose the attitudes and behaviours of Coyne and others who are already resorting to and cheering on censorship, that they are beginning to build up the same pattern of “a long train of abuses and usurpations” that dismisses concerns and remonstrance, that warrants taking serious action to carry out reformation in the teeth of those who by their persistent behaviour — cf the case in view here, outright censorship — show themselves threats to liberty and self-determination and self-government of and by a free people. >>

Folks, the warning signs and flags are going up all around. Time to take heed, before things spin utterly out of control. END

PS: By way of a small push-back to Coyne et al and FFRF et al also at , let me put up two 101 level videos that speak to the general public.

First, as the idea that God is Creator is being attacked and censored, Strobel’s The Case for a Creator:

Second, in reply to the dismissal of “Religion” at the Advent season as empty and destructive superstition, Strobel’s The Case for Christ:


I went on to clip from Coyne's comments box, as the commenters inadvertently further underscore the point:
Here is more from Coyne’s Combox, by a JGago:
Excellent news! This was the right decision by the administrators. I have already received an email from a colleague at the Museum and this are in fact great news. I know the curators and managers at the Museum played the main role by confronting the administrators, so thanks to them and to those of you who sent emails to the administrators.
This looks a lot like a deeply entrenched institutional problem to me.
Also, notice this declaration of intent by another commenter, calling himself Kevin Meredith:
Here’s what I predicted/speculated in the comments to the first post:
“Now, what would be really funny is if there’s enough of an outcry, or anonymous is outed or something, so that he/she/them agrees to let the sign come down, but doesn’t insist on donation refund so as not to look any more ignorant.”
The first part seems to have come true. The second part, re. what happens to the money, would be tougher to verify. Anonymous probably won’t ask for a refund of past cash, but I bet they withhold future payments, next year’s grant or whatever.
I wonder if these folks understand what they are revealing about themselves in light of their words and the mirror/projection principle given the underlying distortions, strawman tactics and hostile stereotypes? (As in why would someone clinging to a position that has to view/treat others as shown, project to others that they are “ignorant”? And why is he thinking in terms of “out[ing]” people — as in target-painting?) 
In the face of such a pattern, it is not melodramatic to say: gale warning. It is time for us to pay attention to what is going on and act prudently in good time before the storm hits in full force. END