Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Consistent with a medieval conscience: A response to Conrad Black

It's hard to encompass the entirety of #ConradBlack's (I can call him that since his criminal record was enough for the British ["he is ineligible to take part in the work of the House of Lords"]  and Canadians ["removed from the Order of Canada and stripped of Privy Council position"] to revoke his titular status as superior to the rest of us ) stridency in his editorial:

Firstly, when you indicate the "West", to whom are you referring? Does your West include Japan? If so, then does it exclude Shinto Buddhists or include them? It seems to me they would be humble, peaceful, tax-paying members of the Western world. They don't share your Judeo-Christian labelling.  I could go on at length criticising your grandiose gesturing but I think I've made my point.

Secondly, while it is a convenient debating trick to claim your opponent needs to provide your argument, which side needs the existence of a god? It is by logic alone impossible to demonstrate the existence of a non-existent entity. Even if one adopts the opposite supposition, e.g. no one can't disprove the existence of a god, that still leaves the evidence deficit against your position.  Atheism doesn't need gods of any variety to claim what we can.  You haven't a shred of proof (or non-proof) an omnipotent creator nor divine natural "force" exists.

Thirdly, how does one disassociate Islam from the other Abrahamic religions? The tiresome point for atheists that take up the challenge to criticise religious assertions is that coming from a reasoned tradition we must speak from not-ignorance, so before we speak we must research and understand the opposite position. This seems to be an impediment to action the religious side won't take in return.  It is my understanding that Jesus is a minor prophet under Islam, so I don't see how you or anyone can extricate Islam in your "us-them" set representation. In fact, all three Abrahamic religions have been used to justify terrorism and barbarism at many points throughout history, in recent memory the KKK. Or the IRA, and so on.  This convenient Islam sidestep demonstrates how confusing your position is.

Meanwhile, science has done more to advance the human condition than Christianity can claim in 2000 years. This claim can be made against all three Abrahamic religions, they all provide a sales pitch and an empty promise, no matter what Pascal's wager supposes, and while it may seem noble to encourage humanity it beggars what man can accomplish by shackling it to religion. 

Most atheists believe or work in science.  And even if not fully true, if Christianity is lagging the innovation bestowed by science & technology ( safety, health, security, jobs...) then how can anyone reasonably claim those science-appreciating atheists are ruining the West (whatever that is)?

The moral high-ground whereupon you claim to speak from was conceived within the medieval commonsense. Your acceptance of all the fruits of Enlightenment so long as reason and skepticism doesn't interfere with your delusions is the Western problem. This isn't a rare occurrence, I've been in churches where the priest mocks scientists while wearing glasses and speaking into a microphone. The irony escaped him as well.  It is your response here, Conrad, your unwillingness to present a real case while assuming you get to sit in judgement over others that is the real problem in Western culture. Your viewpoint is consistent with a medieval conscience, to mock without justification yet be unwilling to defend your own ideas.

This is precisely why you will hear more atheists, tired of your feckless haranging, that aren't afraid of societal consequences any more than
deus ex machina.