Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Morality Fleas

I've been reading Vox Day's The Irrational Atheist as well as the response to it, usually posted on Vox's blog. It is interesting to watch some of the more idiotic atheists writhe and scrim at the sight of their beliefs being challenged on a rational basis. What's even more interesting is that I have yet to hear of or read a serious counter to Vox's own book. Either it is not all that popular (which is very likely, considering Vox Day is not well known, despite his sizable following online) or the atheists are simply going to ignore him.

I've never really understood atheism. It is probably one of the most hypocritical beliefs in the whole realm of religious knowledge. For one thing, to claim that there is no God is irrational because you have to at least acknowledge that the possibility of the existence of some higher being. It doesn't have to be the God of Abraham, the God of Jesus, the God of Mohammad, or the gods of the Hindus. It could just be some higher being that's out there piping a flute and keeping the universe in motion ala Azathoth from the Lovecraft Mythos. But to flat out claim that we are all the cock of the walk when it comes to sentient beings in the universe is at least ludicrous and at most prideful.

I have much deeper respect for agnostics than I do for atheists (as does Vox Day). They seem to be more reasonable about life, the universe, and everything. And usually they don't come up with a ridiculous answer for it all like '42.' I guess agnostics are what you might consider humble atheists. Or atheists are prideful agnostics. Either way, it does explain the key difference between atheism and agnosticism.

What I do find ironic is how Richard Dawkins, the most prominent and arrogant atheist in academia, tends to call people who write books attacking him and others like him to be parasites. He tends to refer to these people as "fleas" and usually claims ownership of them when referring to them. The irony of this is that atheists tend to us the morality of their society because their is no reasonable or scientific explanation for morality. There just isn't. While philosophers have tried, you cannot reject the idea of murder, rape, or incest on the basis of science or reason or even emotion alone. People have tried though. You could argue, for example, that incestuous relationships cause genetic defects in many cases. But not all. If incest created genetic defiances in 100% of the cases where children are conceived, then science could maybe make a case against it. But it doesn't. And even if it did, the incest couple could just take the necessary measures to not have children.

This means that there is no way to reasonably prove morality. The only other way then, would be to use emotional arguments. These arguments tend to make me sick. Whenever I get into a fight with my wife, usually about something stupid, she tends to throw out the line that usually starts with, "I feel that you..." and ends with what is usually the exact opposite of what my intentions are. I can't blame her too much, I do tend to bury most of my desires within me and not show her the affection she needs at critical times. But usually that line enrages me, mostly because she is using her emotions and not relying on her reason. But emotions are just as valid in some cases as reason. Your sexual attraction to your spouse is an emotional response, not a reasonable one. If mankind took a reasonable approach to sex, our species would have died out before we even got started. Sure there's instinct, but without the emotional attachment, men would end up having sex with everything in sight and women would probably kill them all once that wonderful menstrual cycle reaches that certain point.

But emotion has it's shortcomings when it comes to morality. This is mainly because emotion fluctuates and changes as often as the tide. What your feeling now could be much different from what you are feeling in the next half second, depending on the situation and your own personality. In fact, I would argue that most violations of morality often times stem from emotions or are triggered by emotions. Crimes of passion are still crimes after all. Often times murder is done out of anger and not out of reason. Even if there was no law against murder and we relied on reason alone, we would not commit murder because logically, our victim's friends or relatives would murder us in retaliation. But human beings are not usually thinking rationally when violations of morality are committed or possessing much foresight. So emotions are basically no good argument for morality.

Does it come from instinct? This is possible, but the trouble is, most of our instincts are hard to map out, especially when compared to animals. Animals usually can sense danger and seem to have an uncanny ability to move when catastrophic dangers are about to occur. Human beings lack this ability, among many others. Most animals are anything but helpless when they are first born. Human babies are probably the most helpless forms of life on the planet. We can't even hold our head up on our own when we are first born. And yet a baby calf can walk around within the first few minutes of being born. Somehow, humanity has reach the apex of the animal kingdom despite these shortcomings. So instinct seems to not be a huge factor in our lives. Only in particularly desperate situations does our instinct kick in and often times, it is the result of a trained response and not an inborn tendency.

Ultimately, you can't justify morality through anything else but faith in a higher being. Usually humanity determines its laws and morals from the God or gods they happen to be worshiping at the time. Even if many of the adherents don't take the actual belief seriously, they do take the moral code seriously enough. Usually an atheist who completely rejects a certain moral code becomes a sociopathic murderer. After all, with no standard of morals, you have no reason not to murder, steal, lie, and fornicate with whatever happens to be close by. Most reasonable societies tend to lock these people away in padded cells or just outright kill them. But a society completely devoid of morality will destroy itself within a generation.

So atheists are what amounts to morality parasites (or "fleas" in honor of Richard Dawkins). Vox Day himself has said that atheists cannot survive on their own without religion. Essentially, they wouldn't have an enemy or a moral code to live by.

I personally don't know much about the New Atheists (as Vox calls them), but they all seem to be driven by their hatred of Christianity. Sure they'll claim that religion is the problem, but you can't take that claim seriously. The majority of problems they have with religion is usually reserved for Christianity, mostly because the Christian idea of a loving God who would sacrifice His own Son for a wretched people is the most threatening to them. To be fair, Christopher Hitchens has said that he believes in God and hates him. At least he's more honest about his own beliefs then the rest of the lot. And I personally can't take Sam Harris seriously when he will tell you with a straight face that Buddhism and Hinduism are atheist beliefs. Well, when he does advocate killing Christians in a preemptive strike, then I start to take his stupid ideas seriously. As for the rest, it won't take much to see how absurd they really are.

I will admit, however, that I haven't read any of their books, so I could be wrong on my assessments here. I am humble enough to admit that I could be wrong on a lot of things. I don't plan on reading any of their books either, mostly because I'm fairly certain that they were written to validate their own beliefs and not to educate. I've never seen a point in reading a nonfiction book that doesn't educate me. Yes, I know that Dawkins have written some educational books. But the problem is that he's probably so full of himself that he's inserted his own bias into them. Besides, I've never been a big fan of studying biology. I like chemistry better.