Saturday, May 23, 2015

16. Responses to 15

I wrote a column and lost it during editing.

In short, I have two links to outside expert opinion, which support both of my claims, about the nature of Nihilism, and the dichotomy of nihilism versus faith in God.
They are both copyrighted, so I only will offer a link.
I regret not giving the whole articles here.

The first link explains and gives context to the broad view that to nihilists, if there is NO god, then everything is permitted.
The second link likewise treats why nihilism is such a dead end in nihilist eyes, and that my portrayal of them is not a straw man.

Best to all

1 comment:

  1. In my original response to Bruce's claim that Nihilism (basically presented as the only other philosophical alternative to theism), I contested his definition of Nihilism. Bruce responds with a defense of his interpretation by providing two links which he claims stand in support of his understanding of Nihilism. These I provide below. These links make for a very interesting read, and I would advise anyone following this discussion to actually take the time to examine them.

    If there is a God, then anything is permitted
    Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

    I would immediately draw your attention to the title of the first link. This is not a typo.

    Before I respond directly to Bruce's justification of his position on Nihilism, I would like to summarize his argument yet again.

    1) Nihilism means : If there is no god then (some consequence)
    2) (some consequence) is not true
    3) Therefore : God exists

    I claimed a strawman strawman because I claim that Nihilism does not mean what 1) says it means.
    I claimed a false dichotomy because there are more possibilities than just God or Nihilism.

    A strawman argument sets up an target that can easily be knocked down and this is precisely Bruce does be defining nihilism the way he does. He would defend this definition by refering to The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. If one takes the trouble of actually reading this, which I have done, we find that nihilism is in no way defined as Bruce defines it. Nihilism is defined as the belief that all values are baseless, nothing can truly be known or communicated. There is no mention of God in this definition at all.

    In fact in a world in which there objectively are no gods, the definition of nihilism as a rejection of values as baseless still makes perfect sense. It would be opposed by the viewpoint that values are not baseless, things can be known and communicated.

    It is only by assuming that God can be the only source of values, truth and communication that Bruce is forced into this definition. As an atheist, I have absolutely no problem with attributing value and meaning to something other than deities, how about subjective opinion. In the real world this is quite clearly the case. Values and meaning really do depend on the individual. This is why in my original response, I introduced the word objective, meaning not dependent on the individual to clarify what Bruce is really saying. The point being that it is not at all clear that objective value and meaning are valid concepts.

    As to the reference If there is a God, then anything is permitted, I am truly amazed. The article referenced was written by Slavoj Žižek, who is a known atheist and basically argues that precisely the opposite is true. If one accepts the existence of god then truly anything is permitted. This would indeed appear to be the case in the real world as well. While we can argue the role of religion in the atrocities commited in the name of religion, it is demonstrably the case that to a true believer can and will do anything he believes licenced by his deity.

    Arguments that this does not hold true of Christianity are patently untrue. One need only view history to come to the conclusion Christianity has licensed an staggeringly immense amount of human suffering. Even today Christianity is used as a justification, licensing hate towards specific minorities such as atheists and gays.

    I do not claim Bruce would underwrite any of these atrocities and in fact actually believe quite the opposite. I experience him to be an intelligent, well-intending, friendly person. However I also believe that this is not a result of his Christianity but his humanity.

    I find that there is something perverse about holding the view that all human beings are evil, flawed and deserving of eternal torture, only redeemable by the grace of Jesus upon acceptance of his devine origins. I view this as of the same order of perversity as denying a starving person food, unless they openly and profusely thank me first.