Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Principles of Atheism: Atheist Logical Processes

The Ungrounded Philosopher
I’ve told this story before. It is still a bright illumination of the logical processes which are necessary in the world of Atheist philosophy. Several years ago I was reading a post by Massimo Pigliucci over at his blog. He was defining the job of philosophy – he was new to the post of philosopher professor at the time – and his definition of philosophy was that it is an "analysis of arguments".

I am always interested in logical analytics, especially as they are exercised by Atheists, and Massimo is an evangelical Atheist. So I asked him some questions as warm ups, to which he responded politely. Then I asked him how, in a universe of no absolutes, he is able to keep his analytical arguments from being circular or infinite regresses, given that there is no absolute base upon which to tether the premises. Well, Massimo moderated all comments and that question was deep-sixed and never was published, much less addressed by the triple PhD “public philosopher”. He continued with other comments, but never my question.

Massimo was alert enough to recognize the intellectual hazard involved in addressing the issue of untethered opinions masquerading as logical analyses, when they fail the basic criteria of deductive analysis 101. It was best for Massimo’s position to ignore (and suppress) the existence of the issue, period.

Arguments which have premises which are not grounded in first principles or which are circular or infinite regresses are logically non-coherent under the rules of disciplined deduction. So Atheist arguments are actually tautologically irrational, since they refuse to acknowledge that any grounding absolutes exist. As Nietzsche demonstrated to Atheists, first principles (being merely self-evident) cannot be proved, so they don’t exist, and he charged ahead with his Anti-rationalism philosophy, making him possibly the only truly honest Atheist. At least he acknowledged that without absolutes, rationality is dead. And not just rationality: morality as well.

Dueling Contradictions
Atheists can and do entertain contradictory positions, using them interchangeably as required to suit their narrative. What applies in one instance does not apply in another instance, including within the same conversation: this is relativism, ungrounded. This results from having denied all absolutes in the necessity of avoiding having to explain a cause for such absolutes. Without absolutes there is no way to provide absolute grounding for the premises of rational arguments. Ungrounded arguments are susceptible to internal contradiction, which are acceptable when that is necessary to support a conclusion. Internal contradiction, although rampant, is irrational because it is non-coherent and fails the rules of disciplined deduction.

This presents as slip-sliding arguments which cannot be made to follow disciplined, coherent lines of logic. Atheists refusing to part with their internal contradictions cannot be made to follow deductive reasoning.

Self-endowed concepts of how “logic processing” should work cannot help but be self-referencing and/or non-coherent. They have to be either circular, infinite regresses or even completely un-tethered to any referent. Circularity can be disguised by using expert referents, but expert referents tend to use other experts, and the circles can go on forever. The bottom line is that there can be no absolute principles upon which to ground the premises of the arguments made by Atheists, because Atheism requires that there be no absolutes to which Atheists must defer. Deference (humility) is eschewed by Atheists, who wish to create their own stuff. And the common claim to situational relativism is actually just a form of self-reference, where moral decisions are made for others, on the spot, by referencing only the Atheist’s self-endowed morality du jour.

That’s the beauty of the VOID: there is total freedom to make up your own stuff, your personal morals, your personal concept of reality, your concept of your personal value as an elite, messianic, moral and intellectual presence in a world of lessers and the herd, a morally and intellectually deficient herd which needs your messianic powers just to survive properly. Self-endowed, tautological superiority is both a consequence of the VOID and an indicator of personal narcissism.

Narcissism (self-endowed ego-centrism) presents as a personal conviction that everyone else has a problem, not the narcissist. The narcissist is enthusiastically and defensively ignorant of his own ignorance and irrationality. The narcissist is defensive of his own rationalizations while vigorously rejecting actual disciplined deductive logic. The narcissist is arrogantly self-assured of his own self-endowed superiority despite evidence to the contrary, evidence which is totally ignored.

Observe Sheldon Cooper on the TV show “Big Bang Theory” for a cartoon version of a narcissist.

Tu Quoques
When confronted with obviously erroneous positions which they have taken, Atheists frequently resort to “you too” deflections. These do not falsify the charges being made against their position, and when called out, the Atheist frequently produces ever more deflections.

Red Herrings
Tactics such as changing the subject mid-stream or changing definitions to suit the narrative or even attacking the proponent are types of attempts to derail the argument from its logical pathway. This is necessary when the Atheist sees that his arguments fail and that he needs to stop the conversation before that becomes apparent. When the objective of the conversation is restored, the Atheist will deviate from it constantly, and try to make his new direction imperative.

False Analogies
Atheists seem to think that the orbiting tea cup, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM), or the pink unicorn actually prove something logically. By making up absurdities they hope to show that other arguments are absurd by False Association with their own absurdity, and thereby ignoring the intellectual requirement to rationally address the other arguments directly by using disciplined deductive argumentation. The orbiting tea cup and the FSM fail under several fallacies, such as False Analogy, Ridicule instead of rational argumentation, and False Association.

Ad Hominem Abusives
When arguments go off the Atheist narrative, it is common for Atheists to resort to their personal morality for the Other, charging their opponent with lying or “hate” for example. Of course there are no lies in AtheistLand, because there is no Truth. And what the Atheist means by “hate” is not the common understanding because the Atheist has redefined the term to mean “any challenge to the messiah/Victim codependent morality” which the Atheist has defined as morality. Challenging the Atheist’s self-defined morality is a violation of “tolerance”, another term which is redefined by the Atheist to mean that the Other is morally obligated to tolerate any and all antics which the Atheist might wish to pursue. These terms, "hate" and "intolerance" as well as "lying", do not apply to the tautologically moral Atheist, but apply only to the Other.

There are other terms which Atheists apply in arguments in order to devalue the person rather than to address the argument. These typically presume knowledge of the opponent’s character (not that Atheists actually believe in positive character traits), past history, his intellect, his moral position, etc, none of which are pertinent to the argument.

The Ad Hominem is a desperation move by the failed Atheist, who cannot rationally address the argument being made.

Ridicule and Contempt
PZ Meyers has famously said and frequently repeated, “Ridicule works”. Ridicule serves to derail the argument by causing the opponent to become defensive and possibly become agitated and angry at the injustice contained in the ridicule. Thus the Atheist “wins”, via ridicule, not by any type of rational reasoning, but by flustering his opponent. It is form of Red Herring and possibly Ad Hominem Abusive. It is childish, schoolyard taunting, and any Atheist using it is not a worthy intellectual conversationalist. That includes PZ and those who revere him and his tactics.

Contempt presents in argument deflection by declaring the argument (or arguer) too stupid or evil to address (for example). This indicates two things: first, the argument is too difficult for the Atheist, and second, the arrogance, elitism and narcissism of the Atheist are fully illuminated. Contemptuous Atheists are not worth including in any discussions of any kind. As with all narcissists, the contemptuous Atheist is incorrigibly ego-centric, and cannot participate in disciplined deduction.

Pointing out fallacies in Atheist arguments is typically met with incomprehension and Tu Quoques. The Atheist self-endowed, untethered thought process has no fallacies, since there are no absolutes, no Truth to which to tie a fallacy; any process which supports the predetermined conclusion is valid. Rationalization of predetermined conclusions is standard.

However, it is common for the Atheist to claim fallacies and untruths in his opponent’s arguments, despite his own non-belief in absolutes including truth. And because it is virtually certain that the Atheist has never studied logic, his use of fallacy accusation is more than likely fallacious.

All this makes a rational conversation with an Atheist impossible. The Atheist is not rationally based, he is emotionally based.


Eddie said...

Thank you for this post. I share your blog several times with others on twitter and facebook. I sincerely think that there is a hostility towards theism and absolutes, that hinders atheists from thinking through things they say. Pride and hatred are things that keep the wall in place to keep them from seeing the light, so to speak. It's important to be civil and I hope to at least try to subdue the hatred and hostility that some might actually stop and seriously ponder these things.

Spicoiter said...

The atheist's argumental technique is the eristic. They know well the eristic dialectic of Schopenhauer and his 38 retoric stratagems. For Aristotel, the eristic are sophismata.
Atheists use often the raburistic.

Stan said...

Thanks; the list contains fallacies, bullying and deceptions. Interesting.

Spicoiter said...

Chaim Perelman: logic, theory and framework of argumentation.

Stan said...

Thanks again, I have ordered Perelman's book.

Brian said...

Hi Stan, why is it that atheists have this emotional need? Does it stem from low self-esteem?

Matthew Loughran said...

You repeatedly claim that 'atheists claim that there are no absolutes' and once that 'atheists don't believe in positive character traits'. But you fail to explain what you base this conclusion on.

As an atheist I certainly do believe that kindness, generosity, tolerance etc. Are positive traits, this is self evident to anyone with morals. I don't know any atheists that think otherwise. I also accept that "absolutes" are working assumptions made with the best evidence currently available. This is surely the only defensible position, as to claim access to "absolute truth" without evidence is itself a circular argument.

You also state that atheist experts tend to reference other expert. Again I must ask; what else should they reference? "Standing on the shoulders of giants" is the basis of human progress, without which we wouldn't be able communicate in this medium.

Stan said...

Thanks for a considered question, its refreshing as a contrast to the hate mail I'm getting.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation made the claim in a lawsuit against the Cherry Creek School District several years ago: Character traits are not absolute, many people find character traits too difficult and therefore positive requirements of character traits cannot be taught in schools because it is discriminatory. I think they lost the suit, but the belief was an Atheist belief which was used in a legal argument.

Further, there is much hot debate between Atheist philosophers as to what constitutes morality and moral behavior. This indicates the lack of any firm or common belief amongst Atheists regarding positive character traits.

Further still, when Atheists reject absolutes, they step into the Atheist VOID, where they experience the exhilaration of total intellectual and moral freedom. From there they either make up their own principles which are necessarily volatile according to the desires of the individual Atheist, or they acquire some sort of principles from another Atheist, also volatile, or they co-opt a fixed morality such as Judeo-christian ethical principles.

It is very common for Atheists to show up here and declare that they "don't know any Atheists who...". This is not a satisfactory position, because there are definitely Atheists who... and there are many of them embedded in the archives of this blog.

Logical deduction rules require that the conclusion cannot be considered to have truth value unless the premises are without falseness. This cannot occur when the premises are circular, self referencing, dependent upon another's opinion, or an infinite regression. What is required is that the premises be validated against first principles, and that they pass the test of Reductio Ad Absurdum. In other words, the premises must be grounded in incorrigible truth (self evident) in order to consider the conclusion to have truth value.

The obvious problem arises when the Atheist (Nietzsche for example) denies that any self-evident truth can exist (without any proof of that assertion), thereby denying that logic can produce truth values. Nietzsche then developed his Anti-Rational philosophy, denying the truth of anything whatsoever (except evolution and Will To Power).

Standing on the shoulders of giants does not refer to the preimises of deductive logic, it refers to empirical and/or mathematical findings that have been stacked up, and it ignores the underlying philosophical arguments which validate the entire sequence of discovery. The designers of this medium in which are communicating are ultimately beholden to truths which are indisputably self-evident within our known universe. (See side bar for First Principles - I did not make them up, they are found in college text books on Logic).

Physicist Richard Feynman claimed that all of the underlying premises in supprt of an hypothesis should be reconfirmed for every experiment. That is because of the Inductive Fallacy which was elaborated by Hume, and later by Popper, and which limits the truth value of empiricism.

This is not done, and the invariablity of the universe is presumed (or science would not be done).

Visyak Cephias said...

I used to be confused and flustered by Atheist arguments, and now I can say that I have a better understanding of the principles and flaws within the motivation, and a healthy respect for ACTUAL logic.

Thank you for turning it from a generic weapon used to dismiss any discussion of God, to something much more honorable.

im-skeptical said...

Massimo was alert enough to recognize the intellectual hazard involved in addressing the issue of untethered opinions masquerading as logical analyses, when they fail the basic criteria of deductive analysis 101. It was best for Massimo’s position to ignore (and suppress) the existence of the issue, period.

Or perhaps he recognized that he was dealing with a narcissistic troll with delusions of intellectual superiority and no clue about the logical processes employed by atheists. Think about it, dude.

Stan said...

Another statement of pure scornful name-calling, but without content. You never refute anything, you merely attack the person you hate.

And what you do say implies that Atheists use special "Atheist logic" which is not beholden to standard principles of non-contradiction, non-circularity, and non-infinite regression. So that does clear up your own rational position. Again, scorn is the only weapon that Atheists have, and it is empty of content (as you point out, empty of rational, analytical Aristotelian logic).

im-skeptical said...

I asked you to consider a possibility. You're too arrogant to do that. Instead, you do exactly what you accuse atheists of.

Stan said...

You have no refutations, no arguments, no actual positions to consider; you are acting like a common troll. If you wish to present something in the form of a logical rebuttal to something, then do it. Otherwise, you'll be ignored or banned as a common troll.

Stardusty Psyche said...

" a universe of no absolutes"
This is good for a chuckle.

Did somebody actually assert "no absolutes"? In mean, in those exact words?

If so, I hope you were kind enough to provide a link to the definition of "oxymoron" :-)

Stan said...

Yes, it has been asserted, absolutely.