• Topic Suggestions

    What would you like to see me blog about?

    Here lately I’ve been somewhat off-topic — blogging about the Jesus Myth Wars, before that blogging on life / health advice, etc. which are somewhat off the usual topics of this blog, though they are interesting, I think. So leave a comment and tell me what types of posts you’re interested in seeing (whether it be those topics or new ones).

    Category: Uncategorized

    Article by: Nicholas Covington

    I used to blog at Answers in Genesis BUSTED! I took the creationist organization Answers in Genesis to pieces. I am the author of Atheism and Naturalism and Extraordinary Claims, Extraordinary Evidence, and the Resurrection of Jesus. I am an armchair philosopher with interests in Ethics, Epistemology (that's philosophy of knowledge), Philosophy of Religion, and Skepticism in general.

    5 comments

    1. Cogliano, Francis D (2006). Thomas Jefferson. Edinburgh University Press. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-7486-3662-4.

      During his last years, [Thomas] Jefferson endeavored unsuccessfully to convince a publisher to bring out an American edition of Baxter’s Impartial History which he hoped would replace Hume’s work as the standard English history read by Americans. Jefferson’s attack on Hume epitomized his attitude toward history. He admired Hume’s history for its style but condemned its interpretations.

    2. Voltaire (1765), Questions sur les miracles :

      Once your faith, sir, persuades you to believe what your intelligence declares to be absurd, beware lest you likewise sacrifice your reason in the conduct of your life. In days gone by, there were people who said to us: “You believe in incomprehensible, contradictory and impossible things because we have commanded you to; now then, commit unjust acts because we likewise order you to do so.” Nothing could be more convincing. Certainly any one who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices. If you do not use the intelligence with which God endowed your mind to resist believing impossibilities, you will not be able to use the sense of injustice which God planted in your heart to resist a command to do evil. Once a single faculty of your soul has been tyrannized, all the other faculties will submit to the same fate. This has been the cause of all the religious crimes that have flooded the earth. (Trans. Norman Lewis Torrey: Les Philosophes. The Philosophers of the Enlightenment and Modern Democracy. Capricorn Books, 1961, pp. 277f)

      The above Voltaire (1765) quote is the source of the widely used paraphrase (often misattributed as a direct quote): Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

      Per Brad Blakeley (24 September 2012). “If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities”. bradblakeleysblog. @ https://bradblakeleysblog.wordpress.com/2012/09/24/if-we-believe-absurdities-we-shall-commit-atrocities/

      [Per if we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities]

      First, this statement is actually a classic example of a non sequitur. It certainly does not follow that a person who believes something absurd will commit any atrocity, maybe so but maybe not. It all depends on the absurdity believed. If the absurdity somehow legitimatizes violence than belief may lead to an atrocity, but these two things are not logically entailed.

      Second, it’s difficult to see how belief in Christian theism would lead to any atrocities. Even if one believes Christian theism to be absurd, it’s surely a benign absurdity. The center of its ethic is: Love thy neighbor, including enemies…

      1. Gaza: An Inquest into Its Martyrdom by Norman Finkelstein – On the Many Lies Perpetuated About Gaza”. Democracy Now!. @ https://www.democracynow.org/2018/1/10/gaza_an_inquest_into_its_martyrdom

        Finkelstein, Norman G. (2018). “Conclusion”. Gaza: An Inquest Into Its Martyrdom. Univ of California Press. p. 359. ISBN 978-0-520-29571-1.

        The proximate cause of Gaza’s desperate plight is the siege. The 2015 UNCTAD report observed that “the complete and immediate lifting of Israel’s blockade [is] more urgent than ever if Gaza is to have a chance to avoid further damage and develop into a liveable place.” In a follow-up report a year later, UNCTAD again sounded the alarm: “The population of Gaza is locked in, denied access to the West Bank and the rest of the world. Even people in need of medical treatment are not allowed to travel to obtain essential health care. . . . Full recovery of the Gaza Strip is challenging without a lifting of the blockade, which collectively negatively affects the entire 1.8 million population of Gaza and deprives them of their economic, civil, social and cultural rights, as well as the right to development.“ The siege, which constitutes a form of collective punishment, is a flagrant violation of international law.

        Cf. Finkelstein, Norman G. (2003) [1995]. Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict. Verso. ISBN 978-1-85984-442-7. [revised edition offers an additional appendix devoted to criticism of Michael Oren (2002).]

    3. Are there alternatives to “Political Parties” ?

      Per the power structures of organizations such as political parties and trade unions. Robert Michels (1911) argued that all organizations, even those in theory most egalitarian and most committed to democracy are in fact oligarchical, and dominated by a small group of leadership.

      Cf. American Candidate – a political reality television show on Showtime in 2004. The final episode demonstrates how two candidates (with surface only similarities) split the vote and then both lose to the third candidate.

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