January 01, 2013

NY New Year 2013: A Major Philosophical Flop


Last night, my wife and I saw some of the New York Times Square New Year's events streaming live on the Internet at new.livestream.com, which offered free access around the world.  As I later reflected on the situation, I couldn't forget about the major philosophical disconnect in the presentation. First of all, 2013 was probably the most commercialized New Year celebration I've ever seen. Almost everyone in the crowd was waving commercialized Nivea foam wands and wearing Nivea foam hats. The commentators actually refer to the stage as "The Nivea Stage" and, well, a "Nivea New Year" does have a nice ring to it. This excessive capitalism was only fitting, I suppose, considering the celebration was in the epicenter of Times Square where gigantic billboards offer a kaleidoscope of capitalistic fervor.
 
The epitome of irony arrived during the climactic count-down song. In the middle of this intensely commercial and capitalistic zone, during the climax of the event when the clock was in the final count-down phase, a candle-holding children's choir was singing John Lennon's "Imagine" and imagining a world with "no possessions," i.e., no private property or capitalism. Ironic indeed. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. This philosophical dyslexia represents fundamental aspects of a society being pulled in very different directions. Nether capitalism nor communism is the ultimate answer, but this event does raise some important questions.
 
I captured an image of the color-coded blue Nivea choir from the recorded live video footage. Patrick Monahan was singing the lead vocals and the not-so-happy-looking kids were singing the anti-religious, anti-freedom "peace" song in the background. The inclusion of children reminded me a bit of Romeo Castellucci, who likes to use young children in his anti-Christian performance art.

The famous song "Imagine" is often offered as a kind of 'feel good song' about peace on Earth. However, true world peace won't happen unless there is inner peace. You can visualize world peace as much as you want to, but, one thing is certain; a totalitarian anti-religious world government is definitely not going to bring it about. And religions that cannot address the sin nature are not of much use either. People generally don't think through the deeper political implications of Lennon's Imagine song. What were Mayor Bloomberg and the concert sponsors thinking in promoting an anti-religious, anti-capitalist totalitarian song at the climax of the Times Square celebration? They evidently weren't thinking much beyond the more superficial aspects of the holiday.

For a little context, a few days ago an Oregon woman opened an old Halloween decoration and found a handwritten message from a Chinese worker who was being tortured by her atheist-totalitarian government because she believed in a religious cult. The woman was being forcefully and painfully "re-educated" in order to conform to the atheistic-totalitarian government philosophical position. Is that really what will give peace on Earth and make people happy? I have yet to see people lining up to immigrate to atheistic-totalitarian China. Yet, the leaders of free-countries are generally leading their people down this globalist-totalitarian path. These questions lead to huge issues related to an underlying culture war.

As most of the Time Square well-wishers on TV wished people happiness and health for the New Year, it may be helpful to point out that, according to Gallup polls, people who are dedicated to the practice of religion and spirituality have the statistically highest levels of health and happiness. It may also be helpful to point out that there is much more to happiness than just having our physical and emotional needs met. It took Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor, to add religion and self-transcendence to Abraham Maslow's "Hierarchy of Neeeds" in Frankl's revised version. By the way, history records that atheist, anti-religious governments head the top of the list when it comes to mass-murdering genocides. So much for John Lennon's anti-religious utopia.
 
The word "happiness" really does not do justice to the type of joy one can find in experiencing deep spiritual satisfaction. The word happiness is from a root word "happenstance" - which means "by chance." The deeper happiness and joy we can know is not some happenstance experience but has to do with knowing the central cause and purpose of existence, knowing God. People who base their happiness on material health and wealth do not have a very stable foundation and the situation is a bit paradoxical.

Some statistical polls have shown that people in atheistic-socialistic countries, such as Scandinavian ones, consider themselves to be among the happiest people in the world. There are other factors, of course, such as the per-capita wealth of citizens and high living standards. And, don't forget the distinctions between causation and correlation. Nevertheless, what I find interesting is that the same "happy" atheist countries offer the highest suicide rates statistically according to Gallup. Once health goes, apparently, one of the main sources of happiness begins to fade and there's not much to live for.  This underscores the spiritual-philsophical dimension of true happiness. This is something not specifically mentioned on Abraham Maslow's list of needs. Nevertheless, the need to understand our philosophical meaning and significance in the universe is a true and valid need. These are valid questions.

People tend to follow along through life without taking the time to really examine the deeper questions of our existence. The top professional atheist apologists and philosophers today mainly avoid logic and offer poor excuses for not debating top theist philosophers. But when you do take the time to imagine a world where people have true inner peace from God, then it's not difficult to imagine true world peace. The kind of peace a totalitarian world government has to offer is a faux peace.

When you know the ultimate and objective reference point for existence in the knowledge of God, then everything makes sense and there is a possibility for a logically coherent and joyful life. And, that is the first step towards true inner peace. The abuses of religion in history are not a very good excuse for dismissing God's existence. If you reject God's existence, then you have no objective reference point for ultimate meaning, morality, true happiness, and so on. You end up with the type of incongruity demonstrated in Times Square New Years Eve 2013 - A world where an over-the-top, no-private-property totalitarianism was celebrated by a children's choir in the center of an over-the-top excessively capitalistic Nivea promotional extravaganza. Just bizarre.

Tags: New Year Times Square NY 2013, review of Times Square New Year celebration, Pat Monahan Imagine, inner peace, true peace, true happiness, philosophical flops,  philosophical faux pas, philosophical dyslexia, why atheistic secular humanism is a failure, incongruity of secular humanism, failures of globalist totalitarianism, visualize world peace, Nivea New Year, capitalism, communism, private property rights, superficial happiness, superficial values, culture war,

41 comments:

  1. While I do not like the corporative philosophy of the consumer society, I will not let go your blatant lies, Rick...

    R:The inclusion of children reminded me a bit of Romeo Castellucci, who likes to use young children in his anti-Christian performance art.

    The most ironic part is that Romeo Castelluci is pro-christian. You, like other fundamental christians who did not see his work, automatically assume he is "Satan" and other crap of the sort.

    R:What were Mayor Bloomberg and the concert sponsors thinking in promoting an anti-religious, anti-capitalist totalitarian song at the climax of the Times Square celebration?

    Anti-religious and anti-capitalististic - yes, I can agree with that... But totalitarian? Bull

    R:I have yet to see people lining up to immigrate to atheistic-totalitarian China. Yet, the leaders of free-countries are generally leading their people down this globalist-totalitarian path.

    Bull, Rick. China being "totalitarian" has nothing to with atheism. Not that you even know the difference between totalitarian and authoritarian in the first place...

    Your assertion that most countries try to lead their people to a totalitarian path is also ridiculous and without any basis.

    R:As most of the Time Square well-wishers on TV wished people happiness and health for the New Year, it may be helpful to point out that, according to Gallup polls, people who are dedicated to the practice of religion and spirituality have the statistically highest levels of health and happiness.

    You dishonestly forget to add the uncomfortable bit, Rick... Only compared to moderately religious people this is true. There is no significant difference with atheists.

    R:Even Abraham Maslow, who identified his questionable "Hierarchy of Needs," described a need for self-trancendence, i.e. getting beyond the boundaries of self

    Nope, he never did include that ridiculous bit about trancendence. You would have avoided embarassement if you did not rely on wikipedia so much and read the orinal work instead.

    R:The deeper happiness and joy we can know is not some happenstance experience but has to do with knowing the central cause and purpose of existence, knowing God.

    Bold assertion.

    R:People who base their happiness on material health and wealth do not have a very stable foundation and the situation is a bit paradoxical.

    If you mean Maslow s theory of needs here, that is a straw man. Health and wealth do not represent the complete hiearchy.

    R:Nevertheless, what I find interesting is that the same "happy" atheist countries offer the highest suicide rates statistically according to Gallup.

    To quote you: "And, don't forget the distinctions between causation and correlation"

    One does not need religion or a lack of religion to be happy.

    R:Once health goes, apparently, one of the main sources of happiness begins to fade and there's not much to live for.

    Again, that statement proves you are a moral cripple, Rick. There is much more to life than just health or your religious superstitions.

    R:This is something not specifically mentioned on Abraham Maslow's list of needs. Nevertheless, the need to understand our philosophical meaning and significance in the universe is a true and valid need.

    Again, your ignorance is showing. Those things go into the self-actualisation category. Furthermore, meaning and significance can be found through your familly and community.

    R:The top professional atheist apologists and philosophers today mainly avoid logic and offer poor excuses for not debating top theist philosophers.

    Funny how you always cite your discredited articles that you abandoned. Readers can judge themselves on your dishonesty.

    R:If you reject God's existence, then you have no objective reference point for ultimate meaning, morality, true happiness, and so on.

    Fallacy of consequences spotted. Furthermore, objective reference points for morality and so on do exist without any references to the supernatural.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. >The most ironic part is that Romeo Castelluci is pro-christian.

      - Hmmm. Throwing objects that look like fecal matter at portraits of Christ somehow does not strike me as very "pro-Christian."

      Perhaps you mean that he has said he is a Christian? Jesus was quite clear in outlining that words are fairly meaningless when the fruit of a person's life does not line up with the words, as note here:

      True Christians, True Scotsmen and Venn Diagrams

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/08/true-christians-true-scotsmen-and-venn.html

      >Anti-religious and anti-capitalististic - yes, I can agree with that... But totalitarian? Bull

      - What was John Lennon referring to when he outlined a world with "no possessions"? Sounds a lot like totalitarian communism to me.

      History records that Stalin forced Ukrainian farmers to surrender their private farm land and farm equipment to the state in order to form "collective farms." Yup, no possessions allowed, just collectivism. Coming from Russia, you should probably be aware of that history.

      >Bull, Rick. China being "totalitarian" has nothing to with atheism.

      - There's a logical path from atheistic moral relativism to totalitarianism. You should probably read this one:

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2011/10/proof-moral-relativism-is-false.html


      >Nope, he never did include that ridiculous bit about trancendence.

      - You seem to be wrong. There was a chapter in his book devoted to it:

      "Maslow's theory was fully expressed in his 1954 book Motivation and Personality.[5]

      - 1.6 Self-transcendence"

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs#Self-transcendence

      >Health and wealth do not represent the complete hiearchy.

      - You offered health and long life as the 'moral reasons' why atheists should not smoke. However, the fact that many atheists commit suicide when their health decreases works against your theory.

      >Those things go into the self-actualisation category.

      - You seem to have it the other way around. The concept of self-actualization is one philosophical concept out of many. Maslow does not leave any room for philosophical or spiritual concepts that would contradict his narrow underlying presuppositions.

      >Funny how you always cite your discredited articles that you abandoned.

      - There seems to be an idea in your mind that the person who writes the most comments or writes the last line on a comment blog wins a philosophical argument. Sorry to break it to you, truth simply does not work that way.

      >objective reference points for morality and so on do exist without any references to the supernatural.

      - Really? So far you have offered "happiness" and Maslow's list as your "objective" basis of morality.

      "Happiness" is subjective and so is Maslow's list. The fact that he ignores larger philosophical questions does not mean that he has addressed deeper philosophical needs for purpose, meaning and significance. And, just because he lists morality as a need, this does not mean he actually offers an objective basis for his morality.

      That poses a good question for you. Since you seem to be such an expert on Maslow, do tell what is the objective basis of Maslow's morality. And please offer some actual quotes from his work to support your point.

      Delete
    2. R:Hmmm. Throwing objects that look like fecal matter at portraits of Christ somehow does not strike me as very "pro-Christian."

      Yogi had already covered that bit. My condolences to your brain unable to comprehend a metaphore for the persecution of your own prophet and how in the end of the piece Jesus is proclaimed "Our shepherd"

      R:True Christians, True Scotsmen and Venn Diagrams

      And I have told you before that an atheist or a muslim can qualify as a true christian in that diagramm.

      R:What was John Lennon referring to when he outlined a world with "no possessions"? Sounds a lot like totalitarian communism to me.

      I am not Jhon Lenon and I am not able to speak for him. However, the abscence of posession does not equate to a totalitarian state.

      R:There's a logical path from atheistic moral relativism to totalitarianism. You should probably read this one:

      I have read your article full of ignorance before. Atheism does not imply moral relativism and atheistic moral relativism itself has no bearing on totalitarism. On the contrary, moral relativism has always been persecuted in totalitarian regimes.

      R:You seem to be wrong. There was a chapter in his book devoted to it:

      Sigh... Your stubborness is only rivaled by your stupidity, Rick. I have told you that the info in the wiki is faulty:

      "Viktor Frankl later added Self-transcendence [11] to create his own version of Maslow's Hierarchy"

      http://en.academic.ru/dic.nsf/enwiki/111025

      R:You offered health and long life as the 'moral reasons' why atheists should not smoke. However, the fact that many atheists commit suicide when their health decreases works against your theory

      1) Apple and oranges, Rick. Smoking is one thing and suicide is another. Do not mistake physical health and mental health, Rick.

      2) Provide proof that many atheists commit suicide when their health decreases

      R:Maslow does not leave any room for philosophical or spiritual concepts that would contradict his narrow underlying presuppositions.

      Offer a definition of those philosophical or spiritual concepts with substance. If you are speaking of a "warm and fuzzy feeling", it is included in the self-actualisation category.

      R:There seems to be an idea in your mind that the person who writes the most comments or writes the last line on a comment blog wins a philosophical argument

      Nope, I believe that if a person is incapable of answering their criticism, they loose. That is your case, Rick.

      R:"Happiness" is subjective and so is Maslow's list.

      Do tell how many times you asserted that without giving any proof or trying to debunk my arguments?

      R:The fact that he ignores larger philosophical questions does not mean that he has addressed deeper philosophical needs for purpose, meaning and significance

      "Deeper philosophical needs for purpose" is just a word salad without any substance, Rick. I already offered you examples of purpose like "familly", "community" and I could offer more.

      R:And, just because he lists morality as a need, this does not mean he actually offers an objective basis for his morality.

      I am the one offering Maslow s hiearchy as an dinamic objective basis for morality, not Maslow.

      R:Since you seem to be such an expert on Maslow, do tell what is the objective basis of Maslow's morality

      Red herring. Furthermore, I do not know and I do not care.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous,

      You believe that throwing objects that look like fecal matter at portraits of Christ is "pro-Christian" because it is called a metaphor by an artist.

      You believe that a Muslim qualifies as a "true Christian" showing fruits of biblical salvation according to these types of points on a Venn diagram.

      It must be only by the grace of God that I have the patience to address your points at all.

      In any event, the thread that seems to have a bit more importance relates to your belief that Abraham Maslow has provided an objective basis for atheist morality.

      Major problems with Maslow's theories have already been outlined by others:

      "Criticisms

      In their extensive review of research based on Maslow's theory, Wahba and Brudwell found little evidence for the ranking of needs Maslow described, or even for the existence of a definite hierarchy at all.[14] Chilean economist and philosopher Manfred Max-Neef has also argued fundamental human needs are non-hierarchical, and are ontologically universal and invariant in nature—part of the condition of being human; poverty, he argues, may result from any one of these needs being frustrated, denied or unfulfilled.[citation needed]

      The order in which the hierarchy is arranged (with self-actualization as the highest order need) has been criticised as being ethnocentric by Geert Hofstede.[15] Hofstede's criticism of Maslow's pyramid as ethnocentric may stem from the fact that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs neglects to illustrate and expand upon the difference between the social and intellectual needs of those raised in individualistic societies and those raised in collectivist societies. Maslow created his hierarchy of needs from an individualistic perspective, being that he was from the United States, a highly individualistic nation. The needs and drives of those in individualistic societies tend to be more self-centered than those in collectivist societies, focusing on improvement of the self, with self actualization being the apex of self improvement. Since the hierarchy was written from the perspective of an individualist, the order of needs in the hierarchy with self actualization at the top is not representative of the needs of those in collectivist cultures. In collectivist societies, the needs of acceptance and community will outweigh the needs for freedom and individuality.[16]

      Maslow’s hierarchy has also been criticized as being individualistic because of the position and value of sex on the pyramid. Maslow’s pyramid puts sex on the bottom rung of physiological needs, along with breathing and food. It views sex from an individualistic and not collectivist perspective: i.e., as an individualistic physiological need that must be satisfied before one moves on to higher pursuits. This view of sex neglects the emotional, familial and evolutionary implications of sex within the community.[17][18]"

      http://en.academic.ru/dic.nsf/enwiki/111025

      As pointed out by critics, there are many flaws with Maslow's theories on hierarchy.

      I had also offered the first point as a criticism:

      Wahba and Brudwell found little evidence for the ranking of needs Maslow described, or even for the existence of a definite hierarchy at all.

      - Anonymous, neither you or Maslow have apparently offered any objective reason, for example, why living a healthy long life should objectively be considered a higher value than living a philosophically meaningful one, if the latter deters the former.

      Maslow's chart implies the opposite, all based upon an arbitrary philosophical presupposition that physical needs (whether long term or short term) and pragmatic utilitarian results are always the most important considerations in human existence.

      Where is there any evidence that this is anything other than an arbitrary philosophical choice? In what manner is this objective?

      >I am the one offering Maslow s hiearchy as an dinamic objective basis for morality, not Maslow.

      - So you can offer your answers to my questions.

      Delete
    4. R:You believe that throwing objects that look like fecal matter at portraits of Christ is "pro-Christian" because it is called a metaphor by an artist.

      By your logic, the Bible is antichristian since it depicts the torture and insults of Jesus by the Romans and the crowd of Jerusalem.

      R:You believe that a Muslim qualifies as a "true Christian" showing fruits of biblical salvation according to these types of points on a Venn diagram

      You know, it would have been so much easier if you addressed my points immediately and not half a year later...

      http://templestream.blogspot.ru/2012/08/true-christians-true-scotsmen-and-venn.html?showComment=1344352602988

      R:It must be only by the grace of God that I have the patience to address your points at all

      You do not receive much traffic to your blog anyway, Rick. You have already shunned imnotandrei and Havok. Without me you would just be talking to yourself.

      R:Major problems with Maslow's theories have already been outlined by others

      Rick, do both of us a favor and read Maslow s paper. It will spare you much embarassement and it is a short paper of only 2-3 pages or so.

      http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Maslow/motivation.htm

      Just copypasting from wikipedia, without using your brain, is not valid criticism. (Besides, that sort of criticism has been already addressed by me a few posts before and mostly by Maslow himself in his original paper).

      R:Wahba and Brudwell found little evidence for the ranking of needs Maslow described, or even for the existence of a definite hierarchy at all

      Sigh...That is because the hiearchy is dynamic. Depending on the environment and some individualistic inclinations. No one has denied the existence of the needs themselves.

      R:Anonymous, neither you or Maslow have apparently offered any objective reason, for example, why living a healthy long life should objectively be considered a higher value than living a philosophically meaningful one, if the latter deters the former.

      And I do not have to because there is no contradictions between the two. You have offered a false dilemma. A "philosophical meaningnful life" (whatever you mean by that word salad, maybe an intellectually fullfilled one?) does not deter a healthy long live or vice versa.

      R:Where is there any evidence that this is anything other than an arbitrary philosophical choice? In what manner is this objective?

      I have told you before we have plenty of empirical evidence from psychology, paleontology, neuroscience and so on.

      Happiness is an objective factor, based on objective criteria (which you still fail to undermine in any way)

      Delete

    5. You believe that throwing objects that look like fecal matter at portraits of Christ is "pro-Christian" because it is called a metaphor by an artist.


      So, Rick; do you accept the statement that artistic intent means nothing? If not, then you have no reason to doubt this claim; after all, *many* artistic works involve the torture of a Christ-like figure, showing them great disrespect, etc., etc., and so forth.

      And many of them on churches. Fancy that.

      You believe that a Muslim qualifies as a "true Christian" showing fruits of biblical salvation according to these types of points on a Venn diagram.

      Your inability to generate a good Venn diagram is the question here, not Anonymous' reading.

      I don't happen to agree with his point here, but you saw my quibbles with your argument about "True Christians" there -- your diagram does not rule out the artist's behavior by any objective standard -- perhaps by your *opinion*, but at that point, why should we trust your opinion of who's a Christian over the artist's?

      You never did present an objective hermeneutic, Rick. And without one, your claims to certainty regarding who's a "true Christian" are useless.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous,

      >You have offered a false dilemma. A "philosophical meaningnful life" (whatever you mean by that word salad, maybe an intellectually fullfilled one?) does not deter a healthy long live or vice versa.

      - Not at all. The late atheist apologist Christopher Hitchens described how his life was more productive and creative for the purpose of philosophical writing when he smoked (harmful) cigarettes.

      "All the time, I've felt that life is a wager and that I probably was getting more out of leading a bohemian existence as a writer than I would have if I didn't," he said in the video interview. "Writing is what's important to me, and anything that helps me do that -- or enhances and prolongs and deepens and sometimes intensifies argument and conversation -- is worth it to me. So I was knowingly taking a risk. I wouldn't recommend it to others." - "But you would do it again?" Rose asked. "Yes, I think I would," Hitchens responded.[8]

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/08/why-sam-harris-human-flourishing-is-not.html

      As I noted in the comments there, it is completely arbitrary to insist that your life values are more valuable than his (as an atheist, that is). You have offered no objective philosophical basis for doing so.

      You have yet to provide an objective reason why your pragmatic utilitarian view is more valuable from a philophical perspective. You are simply relying on authority figures such as Maslow and the illusion of scientisim.

      Delete
    7. R:Not at all. The late atheist apologist Christopher Hitchens described how his life was more productive and creative for the purpose of philosophical writing when he smoked (harmful) cigarettes

      Sorry, Rick. But anecdotal data like that is no more proof than the effect of lucky underweare as I told you before. So still a false dilemma.

      R:As I noted in the comments there, it is completely arbitrary to insist that your life values are more valuable than his (as an atheist, that is). You have offered no objective philosophical basis for doing so

      Only if you provide the proof that smoking offers ANY benefit that healthier alternatives cannot will I rethink my position.

      R:You have yet to provide an objective reason why your pragmatic utilitarian view is more valuable from a philophical perspective. You are simply relying on authority figures such as Maslow and the illusion of scientisim.

      Happiness as an objective factor still stands, Rick. Your examples with Hitchens fails on all accounts.

      Delete
    8. >Only if you provide the proof that smoking offers ANY benefit that healthier alternatives cannot

      - I want to be clear that I do not find smoking to be desirable or even moral on a certain level. However, my worldview affords logical reasons for this opinion.

      Your atheism, however, does not offer an objective basis for claiming that smoking is immoral, based on your beloved "Hierarchy of Needs" by Maslow. This is because, as many others have already pointed out, that supposed-all-inclusive list of human needs has arbitrary content, order and value recognition.

      The proof that there is "ANY benefit" in smoking for the atheist is in Hitchen's quotes. Your choice to choose physical health as the ultimate definition of a significant and valuable life is arbitrary, plain and simple. Hitchen's had a right to his own atheist values and your personal authority, or Maslows, has no more objective value:

      "All the time, I've felt that life is a wager and that I probably was getting more out of leading a bohemian existence as a writer than I would have if I didn't," - Hitchens

      Anonymous, it is a well known fact that the most talented and productive artists and writers often choose a "bohemian existence" in order to be more creative and productive. As an atheist, you have no objective basis for claiming they could produce the exact same results living as health freaks. On the contrary, the very nature of the work often promotes a bohemian lifestyle.

      If people like you and Maslow want to claim a narrow philosophical view that perfect physical health is the basis of value and meaning, the burden of proof is on you, not all the rest of us.

      So far, you as an atheist have offered ZERO as an objective basis for your opinion. You have failed the same way Sam Harris has failed in his "human flourishing." Re-read all the criticisms of him (by top atheists), they all apply to you as well. :p

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/08/why-sam-harris-human-flourishing-is-not.html

      Delete
    9. R:Your atheism, however, does not offer an objective basis for claiming that smoking is immoral, based on your beloved "Hierarchy of Needs" by Maslow.

      Smoking will harm one s health and will not provide any benefits that healthier alternative cannot. How do you get any more objective than that, Rick?

      R:The proof that there is "ANY benefit" in smoking for the atheist is in Hitchen's quotes.

      For the who-knows-how-many time... Individual anecdotes are not sufficient proof. I can claim that my lucky underwere are responsable for my success in life. But is it really so?

      R:Hitchen's had a right to his own atheist values and your personal authority, or Maslows, has no more objective value

      Sigh...If you cannot fathom an argument that does not rely on authority, it does not mean that all people are the same. I am pointing at the consequences and not relying on authority.

      The consequences of Hitchen s actions made him needlessly suffer and did not provide him any intellectual advantages. He can deny that all he wants, but that does not change reality. In a moral system that values happiness his actions are immoral.

      R:As an atheist, you have no objective basis for claiming they could produce the exact same results living as health freaks. On the contrary, the very nature of the work often promotes a bohemian lifestyle.

      Straw man. I am not calling for a life of "health freaks".

      How many times are you going to force to repeat myself? A "bohemian lifectyle" does not in any way promote one s intellect or sharper one s senses. On the contrary, it ruins the health and the capacities of a person.

      R:If people like you and Maslow want to claim a narrow philosophical view that perfect physical health is the basis of value and meaning, the burden of proof is on you, not all the rest of us

      Do you really need links on how smoking, drinking, drugs, venerical diseases ruin one s body and mind? Those things do not make you more productive and creative, Rick. THEY OBJECTIVELY HINDER CREATIVITY AND PRODUCTION.

      R:So far, you as an atheist have offered ZERO as an objective basis for your opinion.

      Denial is not a river in Egypt... What sort of proof do you want, Rick? I could provide graphics and statistics, but you will dismiss them all anyway. After all, you will find a Mr. X that FEALS things are different.

      R:Re-read all the criticisms of him (by top atheists), they all apply to you as well. :p

      I have addressed the criticism in the relevant thread. The fact that you chose to ignore it is your own problem.

      Delete
    10. P.S.

      R:This is because, as many others have already pointed out, that supposed-all-inclusive list of human needs has arbitrary content, order and value recognition.

      That is false. Did you read Maslow s paper, Rick?

      Is there any of the needs that a human being can do without? As for the order and value recognition, yes it is dynamic. Depending of the resources a person has, they will strive for the one that is in deficit.

      Delete
    11. Anonymous,

      Repeating the same sentence over and over again will neither turn it into a logical argument nor make it objectively true:

      >Smoking will harm one s health and will not provide any benefits that healthier alternative cannot.

      I had just re-posted a quote showing the benefits of smoking for Christopher Hitchens as a creative atheist. Your opinion that health is of more import and value than another means of achieving personal philosophical meaning in life simply has no objective basis. Sorry, Fail.

      >Individual anecdotes are not sufficient proof.

      - Based on what objective philosophical basis do you claim that that the MO of Christopher Hitchen's life is anecdotal? You have not offered one single valid reason.

      >Sigh...If you cannot fathom an argument that does not rely on authority,

      - So far, that is all you are offering, the idea that Maslow's list somehow holds some kind of philosophical authority because you say it is the best answer for your moral framework. Fail.

      >The consequences of Hitchen s actions made him needlessly suffer...

      - In your opinion his productive writing may have been "needless" but, based on his quotes, he obviously derived quite a bit of significance from his writing and creativity as an atheist. I might add, he was probably a lot more productive and influential as a thinking and writing atheist that you have been. Fail, again.

      >How many times are you going to force to repeat myself?

      - I don't want you to continue to repeat yourself in your painful and prolonged state of denial. Just accept the fact that you have no objective basis for your atheist morality, as most sane atheists have already done.

      >Do you really need links on how smoking, drinking, drugs, venerical diseases ruin one s body and mind?

      - Again, you are completely missing the point. For a secular humanist atheist, there is no objective reason why it should be immoral to have diverse experiences that offer unique, dramatic and meaningful insights into human existence, even if those same experiences will actually shorten your life. This is a valid philosophical choice for atheists and you have yet to offer a single objective philosophical reason to challenge it. Fail.

      >Denial is not a river in Egypt...

      That's right, and you are swimming in it. There are Buddhist atheists who value mystical experiences as a means towards philosophical significance. There are other New Age atheists as well, who have different paths and values in their understanding of philosophical significance. They have their own writings describing their systems of morality. While you and Maslow have your own views on morality.

      Don't pretend you have an objective basis for morality just because you claim morality based primarily on health and well-being is superior to all other views. That's nothing but a subjective opinion. Fail.Fail.Fail.

      Delete
    12. - Based on what objective philosophical basis do you claim that that the MO of Christopher Hitchen's life is anecdotal? You have not offered one single valid reason.

      One person reporting one case is more or less the *definition* of an anecdote, Rick.

      And as an FYI, Rick; you have failed to establish that you have an objective basis, in case you were wondering. So accusing other people of lacking one, while you may wish to continue doing it, does not help your larger point.

      Delete
    13. Sigh... I have told you several times that your example with Hitchens fails on all accounts. As imnotandrei has pointed out, one person reporting one case is the definition of an anecdot.

      Smoking, drugs, alcohol and so on harm one s brain and do not offer any insight on philosophy or anything of the sort. Again, do you need specific links on how the brain is damaged by those actions? That is basic medical knowledge. Hitchens would not have been any less of a writer and speaker without "a bohemian lifestyle".

      Rick, do you honestly think that if Hitchens had said that his lucky underwere are responsible for his success that would make it so?

      You offer a false dilemma between a healthy lifestyle and a creative intellectually fulfilled one. One does not need to shorten their lifespan to have unique, dramatic and meaningful insights.

      Happiness is an objective criteria and your anecdot with Hitchens is not enough to trump it.

      Delete
    14. >Smoking, drugs, alcohol and so on harm one s brain and do not offer any insight on philosophy or anything of the sort.

      - You do not have any empirical or objective basis to claim that a Bohemian lifestyle does not offer significant, creative and meaningful philosophical benefits to other atheist artists and writers. Fail.

      Delete
    15. Rick, as always you make a tremendous job of showing how much of an ignorant fool you are. Have you heard of things like neuroscience and psychology? Those are the scientific disciplines that explain how human beings find inspiration and stimulate their intellect with their creative side. I do not have the time to provide links for now, but I will do it later.

      Delete
    16. Don't bother eating your time. Psychology and science in general are not able to inform the basis of philosophical meaning and significance. Fail, again.

      Delete
    17. And philosophical speculation is pointless without some grounding in reality, coming from observation of the material, the realm of science.

      You keep wanting to claim "primacy" for philosophy, without realizing that without the material-world reality check, your philosophizing is useless.

      Delete
    18. Anonymous,

      Christopher Hitchens chose to live as a bohemian atheist philosophical writer. As an atheist, he believed this was the best choice for his own life. As a secular-humanist atheist, you have no objective basis for claiming this creative, productive, yet self-destructive lifestyle was immoral.

      Stop living in denial and admit it.

      It does not take science to decide these types of questions because science has no real say whatsoever on deeper philosophical questions. Science has no real say in religious questions as well. Science cannot address foundational aspects of morality and ethics.

      The above points are why Sam Harris' theory was heavily criticized, even by secular-humanist atheists.

      The longer you persist in your denial, the more foolish you appear.

      By the way, I was wondering how old you are. It would be interesting to know if your stubborn denial is primarily a result of your Soviet Union education or more likely a result of youthful ignorance.

      Delete
    19. R:Christopher Hitchens chose to live as a bohemian atheist philosophical writer. As an atheist, he believed this was the best choice for his own life

      Yes and he was wrong. People make mistakes, Rick.

      R:It does not take science to decide these types of questions because science has no real say whatsoever on deeper philosophical questions.

      Science has all the instruments and even more than philosophy has. So why are those "philosophical questions" are out of reach from your point of view? You have failed repeatedely to answer my question.

      R:Science has no real say in religious questions as well.

      So far science has only been debunking religious claims, Rick. If you have a claim that can be investigated, science can have a say in the matter.

      R:Science cannot address foundational aspects of morality and ethics

      Why not? You have never answered that question. You just said it is in the "wrong category", but that is not a valid reason to reject a scientific approach to "fundamental question"

      R:The above points are why Sam Harris' theory was heavily criticized, even by secular-humanist atheists

      So what? Secularists, humanists and atheists make mistakes. It is irrelevant who are the one s crititcising. What is important is what the criticism itself is.

      R:By the way, I was wondering how old you are.

      I am 28 years old.

      R:The longer you persist in your denial, the more foolish you appear.

      I am not that childish to be afraid of appearing foolish. Furthermore, I have all the solid scientific and historical data and arguments to back me up. You, on the other hand, have just a moldy book and mediaval superstitions to hold on.

      Now let us try to at least get rid of a gramm of your ignorance.... What do we know about smoking and creativity:

      1) Smoking has a negative impact on one s memory:

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2696613/

      2) Smoking generates a higher stress which hinders creativity:

      http://generallythinking.com/smoking-and-stress/

      http://theartofmind.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/effects-of-stress-on-creativity/

      3) Smoking causes cognitive disfunctions:

      http://generallythinking.com/smoking-may-cause-cognitive-functions-to-decline/

      4) Unfortunately I could not find any free materials about creativity from the perspective of neuroscience, however the present studies do show that smoking definitely has nothing to do with creativity:

      http://pubget.com/search?q=issn%3A1040-0419+vol%3A19+issue%3A1&from=pgtmp_97f9ba53be05749a0f15635ccabd8101

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14972752

      So... On one hand we have dozen of studies that show how smoking impedes creativity and on the other we have some anecdotal data that contradicts those studies... As I have told you before, Rick, your ignorance has produced a false dilemma.

      Delete
    20. >Yes and he was wrong. People make mistakes, Rick.

      - If all you have to offer is your own subjective opinion, then there is no use of attempting a rational discourse with you. Personal opinions will never count as an objective basis for your morality.

      >Science has all the instruments and even more than philosophy has.

      - You repeat cliche phrases over and over, but you have offered ZERO in the way of actual objective evidence.

      >If you have a claim that can be investigated, science can have a say in the matter.

      You repeat your cliche phrases and have still offered ZERO to support your claims. Merely saying Hitchens was wrong, merely offering your opinion, is not adequate. You are becoming nothing but a time waster.

      >So what? Secularists, humanists and atheists make mistakes.

      - Yes, Sam Harrison, the great hope of Dawkins and Pinker for producing an objective basis of morality without God, was wrong and his quickly-glorified, quickly-rejected 'human flourishing' theory was a flop.

      You have offered no alternative, just your own ignorant opinion, which apparently does not even have any academic stature behind it to begin with.

      >I am 28 years old.

      So, apparently it could not have been the Soviet Union that brainwashed you, it's more likely your youthful ignorance that causes you to pretend you have answers most secular humanists have admitted do not and cannot exist.

      Most secular humanists understand that you cannot derive objective morality from mere materialism. You cannot derive ought from is, and you have offered zero in the way of evidence to the contrary.

      >I am not that childish to be afraid of appearing foolish.

      - That is probably one of the reasons people like you do not post comments using real names :)

      This seems to be common: Anonymous, Havok, Imnotandrei, etc. I'll give Stephen Law credit for at least not being afraid to use his own name when he posts.

      >As I have told you before, Rick, your ignorance has produced a false dilemma.

      It is you who is obviously ignorant and unable to offer ONE single objective point that upholds your personal opinion.

      You have yet to objectively demonstrate why I offered a false dilemma. All you can write is that people are "wrong" according to your views, but that is not a logical argument.

      Even if the studies you present are 100% true, they prove nothing with regard to our debate because the philosophical significance of a bohemian life may not be narrowed down to such an issue or group of issues. You are shooting in the dark. Read about bohemianism and perhaps the light bulb will flash on for you in your head:

      "It is a light and graceful philosophy, but it is the Gospel of the Moment, this esoteric phase of the Bohemian religion; and if, in some noble natures, it rises to a bold simplicity and naturalness, it may also lend its butterfly precepts to some very pretty vices and lovable faults, for in Bohemia one may find almost every sin save that of Hypocrisy."

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bohemianism

      Evidently, one of the main aspects of a bohemian philosophy and community, where artists and writers stimulate and inspire each other just by being bohemian, is simply the idea that each person is an individual and there are no objective moral rules for secularists. I suppose that would include a complete disregard for your flawed 'objective' moral beliefs as well, Anonymous.

      Simply identifying oneself as a part of such a community affords philosophical significance for secular humanist atheists. Even if a person was literally the worst artist with the worst memory, this would not change the fact the particular bohemian has chosen to belong to such a community in order to find philosophical significance. Fail again, Anonymous.

      Delete
    21. Warden
      - If all you have to offer is your own subjective opinion, then there is no use of attempting a rational discourse with you. Personal opinions will never count as an objective basis for your morality.

      >Science has all the instruments and even more than philosophy has.

      - You repeat cliche phrases over and over, but you have offered ZERO in the way of actual objective evidence.

      One could say the same for you, Rick...you keep claiming that "god" is the "objective basis" for morality, but when it comes down to it, all it is is just a version of "subjective morality" that you people have: If god does it, it's OK, no matter what. Even if humans doing the same thing is considered evil.

      I've yet to see any theist lay out a basis for an "objective morality" of their own.

      Delete
    22. R:If all you have to offer is your own subjective opinion, then there is no use of attempting a rational discourse with you.

      So a dozen of sceintific studies of boil dow to "personal opinion"? Yep, it all makes sense.

      R:You repeat cliche phrases over and over, but you have offered ZERO in the way of actual objective evidence.

      So you deny that science has all the instruments that philosophy has and even more? DO explain why philosophy is superior in your opinion. For now you have repeatedly ignored my questions and have not presented any valid reason to consider philosophy superior.

      R:You repeat your cliche phrases and have still offered ZERO to support your claims. Merely saying Hitchens was wrong, merely offering your opinion, is not adequate.

      Ehhhh... Rick, I offered a dozen of scientific studies showing how smoking hinders one s creative abilities... You call this "ZERO"?

      R:Yes, Sam Harrison, the great hope of Dawkins and Pinker for producing an objective basis of morality without God, was wrong and his quickly-glorified, quickly-rejected 'human flourishing' theory was a flop

      You know, just the fact that you claim he was wrong does not make it so. On the other hand, it was shown repeatedely that his hypothesis is solidly grounded in reality.

      R:You have offered no alternative, just your own ignorant opinion, which apparently does not even have any academic stature behind it to begin with.

      Maslow s hiearchy of needs, dozens of academic studies confirming more or less the objective characteristics of human nature... Yep, no basis whatsoever...

      R:That is probably one of the reasons people like you do not post comments using real names :)

      Rick, why do you care about my real name? I can name myself, but what is it going to change? Will my arguments become better because of it? Why does it even matter if I am a coward or the bravest man alive? Arguments stand on their own merit.

      Not to mention, there is nothing unusual about using an alias on the internet.

      R:You have yet to objectively demonstrate why I offered a false dilemma. All you can write is that people are "wrong" according to your views, but that is not a logical argument.

      I have shown you objectively that Hitchens was wrong about his decision of smoking based on available scientific data. Same thing can be done about drinking and so on. And you claim after all the links I provided it is just my opinion?

      R:Even if the studies you present are 100% true, they prove nothing with regard to our debate because the philosophical significance of a bohemian life may not be narrowed down to such an issue or group of issues.

      You have failed to define several times what you mean by "philosophical significance" or "bohemian life", despite being asked to. Your initial argument about smoking providing aditional inspiration has been proven to be completely bogus.

      You ignored the fact as always and just moved on to the vague concept of a "bohemian lifestyle". Welcome to the Guish Gallop...

      R:Evidently, one of the main aspects of a bohemian philosophy and community...

      There are plenty of different bohemian communities and philosophies, Rick. Not every one is a relativist as you try so hard to make others believe. Define what you mean clearly by your terms and be concrete.

      R:Even if a person was literally the worst artist with the worst memory, this would not change the fact the particular bohemian has chosen to belong to such a community in order to find philosophical significance

      And the Gish Gallop goes on... Hitchens was not interested in the Bohemian community because he thought it would help him find "philosophical significance". He thought it helped him being creative and it turned out Hitchens was completely mistaken. That was the initial argumet if you broken memory has any recollections left...

      As for "philosophical significance"... Again and again you fail to define the term.

      Delete
    23. Reynold,

      >I've yet to see any theist lay out a basis for an "objective morality" of their own.

      - I am focusing here to see if it's possible for Anonymous to admit he is wrong on this issue of secular morality. This simply underscores the fact that, even if secular atheism is true, there remains no objective basis for morality. However, as I've shown, if God does exist, then there is an objective basis for morality:

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/08/if-god-exists-then-objective-morality.html

      Because many atheists, such as Anonymous here, are convinced there is an objective basis for morality, but are in denial about the implications of their own beliefs, this underscores the strength of Craig's argument:

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2011/10/moral-argument-as-proof-of-gods.html

      Delete
    24. Well... I do not expect much from you, Rick. Again and again you have proven yourself to be willfully ignorant, you have refused to answer my questions, you ignored my arguments and just ran away when you ended up cornerned like now...

      Like a broken record you post links to your debunked articles. You do not care about reality at all, you prefer phantasies and superstitions to it.

      I do not have any hope of changing your mind, Rick. But rest assured, I will still be exposing your lies and show the ridiculousness of your arguments.

      Delete
    25. Anonymous,

      >So a dozen of sceintific studies of boil dow to "personal opinion"? Yep, it all makes sense.

      - I've been fairly patient with you, even as you continue to repeatedly ignore my answers on this thread. It must be God's grace that gives me the patience to continue dialoguing with you.

      Yes, science and scientific studies are in general objective. However, taking scientific studies on health issues and pretending that they form an objective basis of human morality is utterly subjective. Unless, of course, you can post some references in your health studies that outline,

      "...and the conclusion of our scientific cigarette brain study is that smoking is immoral." - It's never going to happen.

      So, are you going to keep banging your proverbial head against a proverbial wall?

      >Ehhhh... Rick, I offered a dozen of scientific studies showing how smoking hinders one s creative abilities... You call this "ZERO"?

      Yes, and, again, here's why:

      Yes, science and scientific studies are in general objective. However, taking scientific studies on health issues and pretending that they form an objective basis of human morality is utterly subjective. Unless, of course, you can post some references in your health studies that outline,

      "...and the conclusion of our scientific cigarette brain study is that smoking is immoral." - It's never going to happen.

      If I'm wrong, I'll ask again, show one single connection between smoking and morality. Calling people "wrong" or calling a lifestyle uncreative, none of these address your main problem.

      Delete
    26. Continued...

      >You have failed to define several times what you mean by "philosophical significance" or "bohemian life"

      - This is quite false and disingenuous. I've offered a linked quote of some points signified by the bohemian philosophy of life. (January 6, 2013 2:33 PM)

      After the quote I highlighted one of the key aspects:

      "Evidently, one of the main aspects of a bohemian philosophy and community, where artists and writers stimulate and inspire each other just by being bohemian, is simply the idea that each person is an individual and there are no objective moral rules for secularists."

      >You know, just the fact that you claim he was wrong does not make it so. On the other hand, it was shown repeatedely that his hypothesis is solidly grounded in reality.

      - That's not only my opinion. Many secular atheists criticized Harris, as noted in the link I posted for you. I did not see one reputable secular atheist who defined any connection between "is and ought" in Harris' book.

      If there is such a link, do post an actual quote here defining precisely what that link is.

      Delete
    27. Continued

      >There are plenty of different bohemian communities and philosophies, Rick. Not every one is a relativist as you try so hard to make others believe.

      - Are you seriously offering the proposal that there is a bohemian community that holds to moral absolutism and a strict moral code of life that all should follow? That's a bit of an oxymoron, The "moral bohemian"club. Sorry, you'll never find an example of that.

      >Hitchens was not interested in the Bohemian community because he thought it would help him find "philosophical significance". He thought it helped him being creative and it turned out Hitchens was completely mistaken.

      For Hitchens, the bohemian life was not just about being creative within the narrow parameters you wish to define. He was apparently enamored with something as simple as the "rush" of the nicotene or the "buzz" of the alcohol, common elements in a bohemian life, that, for Hitchens,

      "intensifies argument and conversation"

      For Hitchens, apparently intense conversation with other bohemians, who happen to love drinking and smoking in many circles, offered him philosophical significance, and this alone stood out as significant aspects towards making the lifestyle "worth it" as noted in context:

      - "All the time, I've felt that life is a wager and that I probably was getting more out of leading a bohemian existence as a writer than I would have if I didn't," he said in the video interview. "Writing is what's important to me, and anything that helps me do that -- or enhances and prolongs and deepens and sometimes intensifies argument and conversation -- is worth it to me. So I was knowingly taking a risk. I wouldn't recommend it to others." - "But you would do it again?" Rose asked. "Yes, I think I would," Hitchens responded.

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/08/why-sam-harris-human-flourishing-is-not.html
      >As for "philosophical significance"... Again and again you fail to define the term.

      The following are objectively accepted definitions for the words:

      1. Philosophical: Of or relating to the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence.

      2. significance: The quality of being worthy of attention; importance.

      You can try to substitute the word "important"for "significant" if that is necessary in order to help you understand the meaning, though it is slightly different.

      I don't beleive I have any word substitutes for "philosophical" so you may just have to meditate on the standard objective definition for a while until you get it.

      As an atheist bohemian writer and philosophical thinker, Hitchens enjoyed spending time like-minded bohemians in order to discuss philsophy and life from an atheist perspective. This offered Hitchens the kind of philosophical meaning in life he felt was most important. As a secular atheist, you have not presented one objective reason so as to offer why his life should be considered immoral.

      Anonymous, it may help you to read a book about philosophy or take a class somewhere in order to understand why there are differences between science and philosophy and what those differences imply with regard to morality. Demonstrating your ignorance over and over is only wasting all of out time, no matter how unafraid you are about looking ignorant, as you had mentioned earlier.

      Falstaff's motto may offer a slight bit of wisdom here: "the better part of valor is discretion"


      Delete
    28. R:"...and the conclusion of our scientific cigarette brain study is that smoking is immoral." - It's never going to happen

      Of course they will be no such conclusion. However, you asked for an objective morality and I offered you one anchored in happiness, an objective feature of human nature.

      R:If I'm wrong, I'll ask again, show one single connection between smoking and morality. Calling people "wrong" or calling a lifestyle uncreative, none of these address your main problem.

      I have offered to you MY objective moral system grounded in happiness, an objective feature that can be scientifically detected.

      You tried to discredit my objective morality by offering the example of Hitchens and his smoking. You claimed that I could not prove his actions to be undesirable. However, I did prove it.

      R:...is simply the idea that each person is an individual and there are no objective moral rules for secularists.

      Ok, you offered a definition. Though, it is a false one, since there are many kinds of bohemian societies.

      And I have already proven smoking to be objectively undesirable in my moral system. It does not matter if someone denies reality.

      R:I did not see one reputable secular atheist who defined any connection between "is and ought" in Harris' book.

      Argument from authority, Rick. I could find several, but it is irrelevant. Offer criticism of the arguments themselves.

      R:Are you seriously offering the proposal that there is a bohemian community that holds to moral absolutism and a strict moral code of life that all should follow? That's a bit of an oxymoron, The "moral bohemian"club.

      A bohemian club is just an informal clique composed of different prominent individuals with likely different moral systems. You will not find a "bohemian club" that unaminously procaims that or that moral system as the sole right one, be it relativism or objectivism.

      R:He was apparently enamored with something as simple as the "rush" of the nicotene or the "buzz" of the alcohol, common elements in a bohemian life, that, for Hitchens

      No one is interested in your speculations here, Rick. Hitchens never claimed he was enamored with "the rush".

      The original argument was about Hitchens being wrong about smoking. Smoking was hindering his writing, the most important thing for him. Full stop.

      R:The following are objectively accepted definitions for the words...

      Ok, so the study of knowledge and so on is not in contradiction with a healthy life. Again, you offer a false dilemma by giving the example of Hitchens. One can be healthy and have an intellectually fulfilled life.

      R:As a secular atheist, you have not presented one objective reason so as to offer why his life should be considered immoral.

      Liar, I have never claimed that his life was immoral. There is nothing immoral or wrong about spending time with other people and discussing philosophy.

      However, I have proven the fact that smoking is immoral in my objective moral system, since it decreased the happiness of Hitchens.

      R:Anonymous, it may help you to read a book about philosophy or take a class somewhere...

      So I take it you are unwilling to answer my question about why philosophy is superior to science in YOUR opinion?

      Delete
    29. "Evidently, one of the main aspects of a bohemian philosophy and community, where artists and writers stimulate and inspire each other just by being bohemian, is simply the idea that each person is an individual and there are no objective moral rules for secularists."

      I wonder where you get the notion that the quote you gave was about "secularists". This appears to be your own reading into a text, in the hope that no one would check your point.

      Are you seriously offering the proposal that there is a bohemian community that holds to moral absolutism and a strict moral code of life that all should follow?

      Is that the only alternative to relativism? What about a relaxed moral absolutism and a gentle code that they wish all would follow? Not relativist, not what you offer.

      who happen to love drinking and smoking in many circles, offered him philosophical significance,

      Your following quote certainly doesn't support your notion of "philosophical significance" in what Hitchens said. He felt it improved his life. I feel that watching Barcelona play soccer improves my life. It doesn't mean I find "philosophical significance" in great amounts in Barcelona's soccer playing.

      between science and philosophy and what those differences imply with regard to morality.

      And you have failed, repeatedly, to demonstrate any basis to claim your own morality is "objective"; there are differences between science and philosophy, but the ability to claim objectivity is not an ability philosophy possesses and science does not.

      Falstaff's motto may offer a slight bit of wisdom here: "the better part of valor is discretion"

      I recommend it to you when it comes to your regularly overbold claims.

      Delete
    30. Anonymous,

      >Of course they will be no such conclusion. However, you asked for an objective morality and I offered you one anchored in happiness,

      - Summary translation: 'Of course science cannot offer an objective system of morality, but I just offered you a valid objective moral system based on science so why won't you accept it?'

      Your answers are becoming more and more absurd. I feel sorry for you.

      >I have offered to you MY objective moral system grounded in happiness, an objective feature that can be scientifically detected.

      - You have offered Maslow's hierarchy - a listing and arrangement of human "needs" as some sort of obtuse reference point of morality. Post a link showing where you outlined an objective "system of morality." Or, if you cannot do this, summarize your "system" now.

      >You claimed that I could not prove his actions to be undesirable. However, I did prove it.

      - I never stated that. If that is your impression, you are very far from my main argument.

      I have stated many times already that, though self-destructive, Hitchen's bohemian lifestyle was a valid moral choice in accordance with secular atheism because it offered him a community which gave him philosophical significance and inspiration as a secular atheist writer.

      His actual health is not the main issue at all.

      You countered my summary by stating that phrases like "philosophical significance" are too vague. I gave you objective definitions for both words. You never stated whether or not you now understand what philosophical significance means. Do you understand yet? Do you need more time?

      >Ok, you offered a definition. Though, it is a false one, since there are many kinds of bohemian societies.

      - Again, I'll rephrase my point so perhaps this time, somehow, some way, you will get it.

      It does not matter if there are an infinite number of various bohemian societies and clubs, some things they will all have in common. The basic bohemian philosophy is based on free expression and the the desire not to live according to conventional moral mores in society.

      Delete
    31. Continued

      >And I have already proven smoking to be objectively undesirable in my moral system. It does not matter if someone denies reality.

      - Hitchens was not denying reality, you are. Hitchens never pretended that science and secular humanism can provide an objective basis for morality. That is your pretension and delusion.

      Hitchens had a much higher caliber of logic than you have, and that is why he was able to weigh the implications of his beliefs and choose a lifestyle that was unconventional based upon his personal philosophical values.

      You seem to be someone who has no clue as the the implications of your beliefs. Not only you, Reynold as well, and any others who don't understand why there are ultimately no objective moral rules for secular humanist atheists.

      >Argument from authority, Rick. I could find several, but it is irrelevant. Offer criticism of the arguments themselves.

      - You are quite patheitic sometimes, Anonymous. It was you who brought up the argument from authority in your last post, not me:

      "You know, just the fact that you claim he was wrong does not make it so. On the other hand, it was shown repeatedely that his hypothesis is solidly grounded in reality."

      Yes, you are the one who claimed that it was "shown repeatedely" that his hypothesis is "solidly grounded in reality."

      So, back up your claim or retract it and admit you were wrong. Show specifically how he Harris connects "is" with "ought" in a brief summary.

      >Hitchens never claimed he was enamored with "the rush".

      - You can choose any words you would like to in order to summarize one bohemian influence Hitchens was referring to that,

      "enhances and prolongs and deepens and sometimes intensifies argument and conversation"

      "All the time, I've felt that life is a wager and that I probably was getting more out of leading a bohemian existence as a writer than I would have if I didn't," he said in the video interview. "Writing is what's important to me, and anything that helps me do that -- or enhances and prolongs and deepens and sometimes intensifies argument and conversation -- is worth it to me."

      >Liar, I have never claimed that his life was immoral. There is nothing immoral or wrong about spending time with other people and discussing philosophy.

      However, I have proven the fact that smoking is immoral in my objective moral system, since it decreased the happiness of Hitchens."

      Wow. If a given person chooses a lifestyle and specific philosophy that celebrates and promotes "immoral" choices, according to your definition of such, his life is supposedly not immoral? Do explain.

      >So I take it you are unwilling to answer my question about why philosophy is superior to science in YOUR opinion?

      - Perhaps you are referring to the question of primacy, not necessarily superiority.

      Science operates based upon certain philosophical assumptions. It is dependent upon these definitions in order to function practically, such as the case of methodological naturalism. Philosophy, however, is in no way dependent upon science, empirical observation, yes, but the scientific method and observable testing? No

      Because science today is committed to certain philosophical positions and certain preconceptions about epistemology and so on, it is philosophically subjective.

      A main reason why scientism and positivism are both seen as failures, even by secular philosophers, is because empirical information alone is inadequate and not even primary in terms of logical understanding.

      Even in science, the worship of the empirical has lessened a great degree. Abstact physics, for example, is less and less empirical and more theoretical than ever.

      Delete
    32. R:Summary translation: 'Of course science cannot offer an objective system of morality, but I just offered you a valid objective moral system based on science so why won't you accept it?'

      That is not wjhat I said, Rick. Science is concerned with narrow studies. It is up to you to connect the dots. Though, I understand that such a laborious act is almost inpossible to you

      R:You have offered Maslow's hierarchy - a listing and arrangement of human "needs" as some sort of obtuse reference point of morality.

      I have offered happiness as the source of my morality, Rick. And I have offered Maslow s hiearchy of needs as the proof of how happiness is objective.

      R:I never stated that. If that is your impression, you are very far from my main argument... His actual health is not the main issue at all

      Really? Let me quote a passage of your article about Sam Harris:

      "For example, many secular artists (among others) could not imagine quitting smoking. Having one or two cigarettes (or a couple of packs) a day helps to make their lives manageable and inspires creativity, according to their perceptions. For them, it does not matter if their lives are a few days or even a few decades shorter because of the habits that give them pleasure and a sense of inspiration."

      You introduced smoking as a false dilemma between an intellectualy fullfilled life and a healthy life.

      R:I have stated many times already that, though self-destructive, Hitchen's bohemian lifestyle was a valid moral choice in accordance with secular atheism because it offered him a community which gave him philosophical significance and inspiration as a secular atheist writer.

      Prove that a self-destructing lifestyle gives philosphycal significane, Rick. Your example with smoking failed miserably. And I would appreciate if you could offer something other then anecdotal stories like with Hitchens. Also, do prove that Hitchens would have been banned from his community if he had led a healthy lifestyle.

      R:I gave you objective definitions for both words. You never stated whether or not you now understand what philosophical significance means. Do you understand yet?

      Yes, I understand it and now burden of proof is on you. Do show that a healthy lifestyle is incompatible with philosophically significant one.

      R:So, back up your claim or retract it and admit you were wrong. Show specifically how he Harris connects "is" with "ought" in a brief summary

      I have already outlined before how happiness is an objective basis for morality. Show at least ONE need in Maslow s hiearchy that is false or subjective.

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    33. R:You can choose any words you would like to in order to summarize one bohemian influence Hitchens was referring to that,

      Yes, Hitchens thought that smoking "enhances and prolongs and deepens and sometimes intensifies argument and conversation". It was proven it was not the case. Now offer other concrete self-destructing pattern behaviors that "enhances and prolongs and deepens and sometimes intensifies argument and conversation". And this time offer something else then anecdotes.

      R:Wow. If a given person chooses a lifestyle and specific philosophy that celebrates and promotes "immoral" choices, according to your definition of such, his life is supposedly not immoral? Do explain.

      Rick, making a couple of wrong choices in life does not make it overall immoral. No one is perfect.

      R:The basic bohemian philosophy is based on free expression and the the desire not to live according to conventional moral mores in society.

      Again, that is a false claim. There are plenty of conventional "bohemian societies" that are very conservative and all of them usually have at least some rules of behavior.

      R:Hitchens never pretended that science and secular humanism can provide an objective basis for morality. That is your pretension and delusion.

      Do prove that Maslow s hiearchy of needs is completely subjective then. Then your arguments would have some weight behind them.

      R:Hitchens had a much higher caliber of logic than you have, and that is why he was able to weigh the implications of his beliefs and choose a lifestyle that was unconventional based upon his personal philosophical values

      And you still need to rpove that there is a conflict between an intellestually fullfilled life and a healthy life, Rick. Again, I would be thankful if you could provide something other than anecdotes like with Hitchens.

      R:Science operates based upon certain philosophical assumptions. It is dependent upon these definitions in order to function practically, such as the case of methodological naturalism.

      Ok, I can agree with that. Though, do you agree in this case that philosophy is impratical?

      R:Philosophy, however, is in no way dependent upon science, empirical observation, yes, but the scientific method and observable testing? No

      So do explain what methodology you use beside methodological naturalism to test the claims of philosophy?

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  2. Congratulations, Rick -- you almost won. ;)

    Because I almost didn't bother to respond to this post, since you never bother to respond to me.

    But I can't let it pass.

    I find it bitterly amusing that you accuse "Imagine" of being "totalitarian" and relying on a "world government" when your own religion talks of the rule of a single King as a good thing -- and are you expecting capitalism in Heaven?

    As usual, you are describing things that you say you want -- peace on earth, etc. -- as being unacceptable without God, and ideal with God; what is important to you is the presence of God, whether that comes with dead children or world peace.

    God may be the precondition to your accepting anything, but that does not make it a precondition for anyone else's happiness, morals, or logical coherence.

    Look again at your presumptions, Rick, and try to explain how you get totalitarianism from "Imagine".

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    Replies
    1. Well, for Rick it is impossible to concieve a world without possession that is not totalitarian. Never mind the thousand philosophical Utopias of such communities or the hundreds of non-totalitarian historical examples like the creation of kibbutzes

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    2. >Never mind the thousand philosophical Utopias of such communities

      - Why not look at some of the larger, more effective "Utopias?"

      Stalin founded the League of Militant Atheists, whose chief aim was to propagate militant atheism and eradicate religion. In 1929, Joseph Stalin began a campaign of racist oppression against ethnic Ukrainians. Over 5,000 Ukrainian scholars, scientists, cultural and religious leaders were falsely accused of plotting an armed revolt. Those arrested were either shot without a trial or deported to prison camps in remote areas of Russia. Between 1932 and 1933 Stalin was believed to have slaughtered 7,000,000 Ukrainians through forced starvation. Unreasonable grain quotas was forcefully taken from the Ukrainian farmers but little, if any, was given back to the local people who produced it. Borders were sealed off essentially making all of Ukraine a concentration death camp. Alexander Solzhenitsyn estimates the loss of life from state repression and terrorism from October 1917 to December 1959 under Lenin and Stalin and Khrushchev at 66.7 million.[13]

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2011/10/dawkins-craig-debate-genocide-israels.html

      Pol pot was an active Marxist as a student in Paris France before returning to Cambodia where he eventually became secretary-general of the underground Cambodian Communist Party in 1962. He desired to live "untainted" by Buddhism and by 1975, he was given authority to carry out "his vision of an agrarian utopia by emptying the cities, abolishing money, private property and religion and setting up rural collectives."[15] Like Vladimir Lenin, Pol Pot was an intellectual who then outlawed intellectualism once he gained power. "Anyone thought to be an intellectual of any sort was killed. Often people were condemned for wearing glasses or knowing a foreign language."[16] Pol Pot was known for his desire "not to waste a bullet" but, rather, to fill his killing fields by having people's skulls cracked with the blunt end of a farm instrument or the butt end of a rifle. Dimitry V. Pospielovsky outlined how Marxism encouraged a violent, anti-religious militant atheism.[17] In contrast to the historic Israeli occupation of Canaan, Pol Pot's killings were based on class warfare and anti-religious genocide. Buddhist monks, Muslims, Christians, Western-educated intellectuals, and specific ethnic groups were targeted for killings. "Between 1975 and 1979 his regime claimed the lives of more than 1m people - through execution, starvation and disease - as the Khmer Rouge tried to turn Cambodia back to the middle ages."[18]

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2011/10/dawkins-craig-debate-genocide-israels.html

      As brutal as Pol Pot was, he doesn't compare with militant atheist Mao Ze-Don. The overall worst genocide of the 20th Century was by Mao Ze-Dong in China and Tibet (China, 1958-61 and 1966-69, Tibet 1949-50) A staggering estimate of 49 to 78 million people were killed in his genocides. The chart at this link lists Mao Ze-Dong at the top of the list as the greatest perpetrator of genocide in history.[20] "Under this militant atheism espoused by Mao Zedong, houses of worship were shut down; Buddhist pagodas, Daoist temples, Christian churches, and Muslim mosques were destroyed; artifacts were smashed; and sacred texts were burnt. Moreover, it was a criminal offense to even possess a religious artifact or sacred text."[21]

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2011/10/dawkins-craig-debate-genocide-israels.html

      Now, Anonymous, what was that you were saying about voluntary Kibbutz communities?

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    3. R:Why not look at some of the larger, more effective "Utopias?"

      Cherry picking of data, Rick. You are just embarassing yourself.

      My point still stands. There are societies without posessions that are not totalitarian in nature. Both in real life and in concept.

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    4. I find it interesting that Rick says nothing about kibbutzim, but then brings them up at the end, as Mao and Pol Pot ran kibbutzim.

      And, as always, he goes back to the old "Look! Stalin! Mao!" canard.

      Clearly, the mere idea of *imagining* no possessions is enough to send people into genocidal rages, as far as Rick is concerned -- at least, if they're not imagining it as part of being Christian.

      Oh -- "And if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao/You ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow.", Rick. ;)

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    5. For anyone new to this blog, you may wonder why I decline to address certain individuals in debate. I have found that certain individuals are prone to repeated unsubstantiated slander and this simply makes attempts at dialogue unfruitful.

      After a prolonged game of cat and mouse, Imnotandrei finally admitted on September 10 that he had made a false and slanderous claim that an article of mine had been "discredited" without showing any evidence of this whatsoever:

      If it is so important to you, I'll say it -- on August 28th, it had not been formally discredited.

      Yet, even though he admitted this at 7.44 AM, by 10.26 AM he was back at it,  calling me a liar. Imnotandrei has claimed my article here is a lie because famous atheist apologists today do supposedly utilize logic properly and adequately in their lives and arguments. Though not in my article, he cited Stephen Law as an example. However, Law had displayed a low regard for logic and logical principles in his attitude as a professional philosopher.

      In a post of his, Stephen Law had claimed that he was "more impressed" by Dawkins' chapter in the God Delusion outlining his central argument after Law had read it for the second time. Later, however, when repeatedly asked to comment on the logic of the chapter, Law stated,"I think Dawkins argument is non-scientific, and probably flawed..."

      When I asked Law to present a summary of his favorite argument , his EGC argument, he stated, "The argument is already out there in various forms, Rick." In accordance with the bare minimum of logical consequence, the form and wording of an argument are highly important and so we can see that Law does not seem to hold a high regard for very basic logical principles. Thus, Imnotandrei's knee-jerk claim that I am a "liar" is shown to be unsubstantiated.

      I simply do not have time to chase down all of Imnotandrei's slander and correct him. And I find his knee-jerk and habitual slanderous statements to make it quite impossible to carry on a civilized discourse. I welcome civilized discourse and debate with atheists who are interested in keeping it civilized.

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    6. Rick would rather spam his own blog than risk letting my statements go unanswered; instead, he tries the argument ad hominem (which he used to specifically decry in his blog-ending requests) to discredit them, since he cannot answer them.

      Delete

You are welcome to post on-topic comments but, please, no uncivilized blog abuse or spamming. Thank you!