Trump, Clinton, and Presuppositional Apologetics

The Reconquista Initiative

Presents…

Trump, Clinton, and Presuppositional Apologetics

One of the most interesting insights provided by the proponents of so-called ‘Presuppositional Apologetics’ is that neutrality concerning the question of God’s existence is a myth, and that, ultimately, when it comes to a topic that is as fundamental as the question of God’s existence or the truth of Christianity, no one is neutral concerning these matters, and thus no one is an objective assessor of the evidence concerning these issues given the serious emotional, psychological, and behavioral consequences that on the line. Consequently, and due to the very motivated reasoning which exasperates different cognitive biases, everyone is pulled in one direction or the other, and this taints and colors the way that they see the evidence for God and how they react to it. And this insight concerning Man’s inability to be neutral about the God-question then leads to a further insight which comes from the presuppositionalists; and that is that when it comes to fundamental matters like a person’s core worldview, it is often useless to try to convince someone of the falsity of their worldview by adopting a neutral and agreed-upon foundation with them and then simply arguing about the evidence for and against a certain position, because the person’s worldview presuppositions color their perspective to such a degree that they view the exact same evidence as you do from a totally different angle. Thus, any direct approach to arguing about the evidence is doomed to failure because the person’s presuppositions literally change the way that he perceives and interprets the same data that you do, and that different perception and interpretation is so strong that it will simply overcome any evidence against the person’s position through the modification of how the evidence is perceived. And so this is why presuppositionalists often recommend an indirect approach to apologetics, where evidence is indeed discussed, but the focus is more on demonstrating that the opponent’s worldview is incoherent, ad hoc, and inconsistent with itself, thus prompting the opponent to re-evaluate his worldview from within. It is, in essence, an apologetic approach that seeks to break the opponent’s worldview from the inside out, rather than trying to smash it from the outside in by bombing it with evidence. Finally, note as well that presuppositionalism also claims that, in many cases, people can be self-deceived; thus, at a fundamental level, a person might know the truth of a certain claim, but he suppresses that truth for fear of the consequences that might follow if he admits it to be the case. And in the case of presuppositionalism, the truth that it claims that people suppress is the truth that God exists, and people suppress this truth in order to freely engage in immoral behavior without a guilty conscience.

Now, with all these points about presuppositionalism in mind, let us move to politics. During the course of this year, 2016, two of the most interesting things to have been observed in the recent American presidential election is both how wrong numerous experts were about the election as well as the unique reactions of many politic participants both before and after the election itself. And the reason that these things are mentioned in the context of this short essay on presuppositionalism is because for many people—especially people on the left—politics have become a surrogate religion (or at the very least the most fundamental part of their worldview), and so this year’s political cycle brought forth reactions and behaviors of such a type and magnitude that they were a strong example of presuppositionalism’s ideas in action. And so this is why this essay wishes to link politics with presuppositionalism.

First, consider the issue of neutrality: for many individuals on both the right and the left, there was no neutrality in this election, nor was there any possibility of weighing the evidence objectively or dispassionately. For example, for some Donald Trump supporters, their support of Trump was set in stone no matter what, thus showing a lack of interest in actually weighing the evidence for and against that particular candidate. By contrast, some non-Trump supporters had such a tainted view of Trump that no matter what he did, they would never support him; at the same time, they would endlessly support Hillary Clinton regardless of her past or future faults. In essence, the emotional and psychological investment for many people on both sides of the political spectrum was just so extreme that a dispassionate view of the facts was impossible. In many ways, this reminds us Christian apologists of certain naturalists who readily admit that even if Jesus’s resurrection was shown, to their satisfaction, to have occurred, or even if the stars themselves moved and spelled out the Apostle’s Creed, these naturalists would merely accept a far-fetched naturalistic explanation—such as a mass hallucination—for these events rather than admit that a supernatural event occurred. For them, the evidence would always be superseded by their presuppositions, as was the case for many Trump and Clinton supporters during the 2016 election.

Next, consider the way political presuppositions colored people’s interpretation of the evidence. For example, given that many people on the left already had a presupposition which viewed Republicans, conservatives, and anyone to the right of them to be morally suspect, the moment that Trump said certain controversial, but not insane things—such as the need to secure the country’s border with a physical wall or the need to seriously vet people from countries prone to creating terrorists—people on the left, given their presuppositions, turned these points into evidence that Trump was an utter racist, bigot, and was “literally Hitler”. At the same time, many on the left perceived that Trump supporters could only be driven by bigotry and racism, not by the entirely rational and/or pragmatic considerations that motivated many of them to support Trump. So, in essence, the evidence itself, though present, was magnified out of all proportion once it was filtered through the left’s presuppositions, thereby allowing the evidence to fit the left’s narrative rather than changing the narrative to fit the evidence. Indeed, rather than matching their outrage to the extent demanded by the evidence, they magnified the evidence to the extent demanded by their outrage. Additionally, the left would perceive the tiniest scrap of questionable evidence as proof that Trump was, say, a white nationalist or an opponent of homosexuality, but they would ignore the evidence immediately in front of them—like Trump waving the homosexual flag at his convention, or Trump having a homosexual man speak at his convention, or Trump saying in an interview that homosexual marriage was already decided by the courts. At the same time, the left would minimize evidence of Clinton’s major problems. And note that, in many cases, the same thing was evident on the right side of the political spectrum as well. And again, this is often what apologists see, where a non-believer, when presented with a plethora of evidence for, say, miracles, will use selective hyper-skepticism and selective evidence assessment as a means to escape the inference that the evidence points to.

Finally, we can also note how wrong so many pundits and commentators were about the election, with some leftist organizations even assessing that Clinton’s chances of winning the election were in the high nineties. Now, granted, in many cases, these individuals were following the polls, but the point is that nearly everyone—the commentators, experts, pollsters, and so on—were wrong about the election. And what this smacks of is self-deception, were an overwhelming desire to have Clinton win, combined with some evidence that supported that conclusion, blinded them to the very real possibility that Trump could win. And thus they were all dumbfounded and shocked, even physically so, when that possibility came true. They deceived themselves about important evidence—the silent Trump voter, the lack of enthusiasm for Hillary, the non-existent repudiation of Trump by minorities, the size of Trump’s rallies and the enthusiasm for him, the “outlier” polls, and so on—in order to maintain the conclusion that they desired. And this, once again, brings us back to the idea that no one is neutral when it comes to matters that they hold as fundamental, and they will even deceive themselves, in many cases, to hold fast to what they wish to be true.

And so, the long and short of it is this:  from an apologetic perspective, the reason that the 2016 election has been so interesting is that it has shown that some of the ideas behind presuppositional apologetics can manifest themselves in other areas, such as politics. And lest we think that the same issues cannot arise concerning religion, note that if the animosity, disdain, and emotional reaction that people had to Trump existed in part because of some of his more conservative-type claims, then how much more animosity, disdain, and emotional reaction would there be to a God who commands people to act in a way that they object to? Obviously, if there was a pull to skew the evidence in the former case, the pull to do so in the latter case would be just as strong, if not substantially stronger. And this is why, in many cases, the presuppositionalists are right that an indirect approach to apologetics is required, and that mere evidence is insufficient to sway people out of their worldview; and the 2016 American presidential election is an imperfect but nevertheless still good example of this point in action within the political realm.

Anno Domini 2016 11 30

Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam

Europeans are Required for Western Civilization

The Reconquista Initiative

Presents…

 Europeans are Required for Western Civilization

Consider this quote:

–QUOTE–

Basically, the alt-right is a group of thinkers who believe that Western civilization is inseparable from European ethnicity—which is racist, obviously. It’s people who believe that if Western civilization were to take in too many people of different colors and different ethnicities and different religions, then that would necessarily involve the interior collapse of Western civilization. As you may notice, this has nothing to do with the Constitution. It has nothing to do with the Declaration of Independence. It has nothing to do actually with Western civilization. The whole principle of Western civilization is that anybody can involve himself or herself in civilized values.(http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/gist/2016/11/ben_shapiro_on_steve_bannon_the_alt_right_and_why_the_left_needs_to_turn.html)

–UNQUOTE–

That quote was from conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, a quote which he made in a 23rd of November 2016 interview with Mike Pesca for Slate Magazine in an article titled “The Alt-Right Is Using Trump.” Now Shapiro has been a strong critic of all facets of the Alt-Right movement, but regardless of this, and even regardless of any other issues surrounding the Alt-Right and the Alt-West, Shapiro’s quote raises an interesting question:  Is European ethnicity necessary for, and inseparable from, Western Civilization? Indeed, are Europeans required for the preservation of Western Civilization? These are fascinating questions, but more importantly, they are vital ones for any proponent of Western Civilization, for their answer will dictate what is required for the survival and continuation of that civilization. So, is Shapiro right? Can Western Civilization be maintained without Europeans? Can it survive even if the European ancestry that originally made it is significantly diluted by other ethnic groups?  Or rather, is Shapiro wrong, and can it thus be shown both that Western Civilization really is inseparable from Europeans and that European ethnicity is a necessary component for the continued existence of Western Civilization?

Now, before we seek to answer the aforementioned questions, let us clear the air that has been tainted by Shapiro’s use of the word ‘racist’, which he uses to label the position that European ethnicity is needed for Western Civilization. In response to Shapiro’s use of this term, and thus in response to his attempt to essentially poison the well by its use, let us consider the following. First, the term ‘racist’ is so overused in our society, and it is so often used in place of an argument, that we should be leery and skeptical of anyone who uses it today; essentially, its use should serve as a sort of red flag that warns us that someone might be trying to avoid addressing an opposing point-of-view by simply making that point-of-view appear unpalatable and shameful, rather than arguing that it is actually wrong, which is what Shapiro could be doing here. So an attitude of caution is in order. However, and more importantly, the second point to note about this matter is that—as Shapiro likes to say—facts don’t care about your feelings, and facts don’t care about charges of racism either, and so even if it was racist to claim that Europeans are required for the maintenance of Western Civilization, that accusation would be entirely irrelevant to the actual truth of the claim under discussion. Consequently, the issue of racism is quite immaterial to the issue of whether the claim is true or not. And since truth is to be valued above all else, then who gives a damn if a truth is deemed racist or not by those who are too afraid to deal with it. Third, even if, for the sake of argument, we consider the racism charge to be sufficiently important as to merit countering, note that Shapiro may actually be incorrect in his accusation of racism. Why? Because—and I say this as someone with Eastern European ancestry—a case could be made that it is not just European ancestry that is required for Western Civilization, but more specifically Western European ancestry; thus, Eastern Europeans, on their own, would not have been able to create and maintain what we consider to be Western Civilization. But if this is the case, then the racism charge is seriously diluted, for while Western and Eastern Europeans may have certain differences, they are all of the same race, and so to label as ‘racist’ the idea that Western Civilization requires Europeans is simply making too broad of a claim. And so, even if the racism charge is worthy of a response—and it’s really not—a case could be made that that charge is actually wrong.

So, having addressed Shapiro’s accusation of ‘racism’, and having shown that it is ultimately irrelevant and even potentially wrong, let us now address the main issue at hand: Does Western Civilization require Europeans? Now, in order to answer this question, consider first the Likelihood Principle, also sometimes called the Expectation Principle. The Likelihood Principle states that if some observation or piece of data is more likely or more expected on Hypothesis 1 rather than on Hypothesis 2, then that observation or piece of data is evidence for Hypothesis 1 over Hypothesis 2 (so long as the hypotheses are not ‘ad hoc’ creations, which they are not in this case). So, in the context of our discussion, if some observation was more expected on the hypothesis that Europeans are indeed required for Western Civilization, then that observation would count as evidence in favor of that hypothesis. Thus, we can use the Likelihood Principle to determine which hypothesis—namely, whether Europeans are or are not needed for the maintenance of Western Civilization—is supported by the observations and data that we have.

Consider, first off, that if Europeans were not needed for the existence and maintenance of Western Civilization, then, on such a hypothesis, we would quite reasonably expect that other groups of people would have created something very much akin to Western Civilization in other parts of the world. Indeed, given that Europeans were able to do so, there is nothing that would have precluded other ethnic groups from doing so if they could. And this is precisely what would be expected if non-Europeans were able to create and sustain something akin to Western Civilization without a European influence. The problem for this hypothesis however, is that history shows that this is not the case. Indeed, while other ethnic groups were able to create other types of civilizations, only Europeans and their descendants were able to create what we call Western Civilization. And this historical observation is precisely what we would expect if Europeans were required for the creation and maintenance of Western Civilization. And the strength of this observation is made even more acute when we consider the fact that, as mentioned, other ethnic groups were able to create other civilizations, and thus were quite capable of being civilized in certain respects, but they were not able to create civilization akin to Western Civilization. Indeed, these other groups were civilized, and so they had nothing that stopped them from being civilized, and yet, even though they were civilized in their own manner, they did not create anything like Western Civilization.

Furthermore, the above observation that only Europeans created Western Civilization, and that this observation serves as evidence in favor of the idea that European ethnicity is required for Western Civilization, is also supported by the fact that Europeans were and are able to export and maintain Western Civilization wherever they go, such as to places like Canada, Australia, and so on. And this occurred regardless of the climate or environment that Europeans migrated to; by contrast, other cultures in those exact same locations and climates were unable to create something akin to Western Civilization in them even though they had more than enough time to do so. At the same time, some countries—like Haiti or countries in Africa—that had Western Civilization when they had Europeans in charge of them, but then lost the Europeans, also lost their ability to maintain Western Civilization after the Europeans had left. And again, these types of observations are what would be expected if European ancestry was a necessary component of Western Civilization.

Also note the fact that when other ethnic groups enter the areas of Western Civilization and are thus introduced to what that civilization entails, these other ethnic groups, if they remain as an ethnic group rather than separating and existing as disparate individuals, often do not adopt and reflect the ideals of Western Civilization; and indeed, numerous ethnic enclaves within Europe and North America that are, internally, more reflective of traditionally Middle Eastern or African or Asian society than they are of Western Civilization are an example of this point in action. And again, this is what would be expected if European ethnicity was required for the maintenance of Western Civilization. At the same time, and in contrast to the earlier point, enclaves of Europeans in non-European countries create microcosms of Western Civilization when in those locales, which, again, is what would be expected if European ethnicity was needed for Western Civilization.

So, given the Likelihood Principle, a strong case can be made that all these observations do indeed serve as evidence in favor of the hypothesis that European ethnicity is necessary for the maintenance of Western Civilization. How strong this evidence is, is a different question, but it is nevertheless still evidence in favor of the aforementioned hypothesis.

Now, perhaps it could be argued that since non-European ethnic groups in non-Western countries—for example, Koreans in South Korea or the Japanese in Japan—have, in the present era, seemed able to adopt what could be called Western Civilization could thus serve as an example that Western Civilization does not require Europeans for its continuation. Indeed, it seems reasonable, at first blush, to suppose that if non-European ethnic groups can adopt Western Civilization, then the existence of Europeans is not required for the maintenance of such a civilization. But there is a serious problem with this contention: namely, not only did Western Civilization exist in Europe and its direct colonies prior to these other non-European groups adopting something similar to Western Civilization, but it also largely due to both the superior example and direct influence of Europeans that these other ethnic groups adopted something akin to Western Civilization for themselves. And what this means is that there is no way of knowing that these other ethnic groups who have embraced Western Civilization could or would have done so without both the direct and indirect influence of Europeans. For example, had Europeans not shown the superiority of Western Civilization—such as by, for example, defeating the Japanese in World War 2 or beating back the North Koreans during the Korea War—and had Europeans not had a direct political, economic, and social impact on the countries that have now approximated Western Civilization within themselves, then it is questionable whether or not anything like Western Civilization would have developed amongst these other ethnic groups without such a European influence. At the same time, without the continuation of the example of the superiority of Western Civilization by Europeans and their North American descendants, and without the direct influence that Europeans have on the countries in question, there is no way of knowing whether or not these non-European countries or ethnic groups could maintain Western Civilization or whether they would revert to a different form of civilization, such as one that they might have embraced in the past. So the fact that some non-European ethnic groups are able to maintain something very close to Western Civilization at this point in history is not a clear indication that Western Civilization can continue without Europeans, for the European influence, even if only indirect, might still be indispensable to the maintenance of Western Civilization amongst these other ethnic groups. And indeed, another way of looking at the above point is the following: while it is true that non-Western ethnic groups can easily adapt to the use of Western technology and Western institutions, this does not necessarily mean that they would be able to invent those technologies or those institutions, nor maintain those technologies and institutions in existence without continued European influence and guidance, even if that influence and guidance is only indirect. Thus, while non-European ethnic groups might be able to adapt to Western Civilization, they might only be able to do so, so long as Europeans also remain in existence to refine, and support, and set the example of what Western Civilization is. Consequently, the fact that non-Europeans can adapt and exploit the benefits and tools of Western Civilization at present is not evidence, or at least by no means clear evidence, that Europeans are not needed to sustain that type of civilization in the future.

And so, given the fact that we have certain observations which count as evidence in favor of the hypothesis that Europeans are required for the maintenance of Western Civilization, and given that any objections to this hypothesis and the evidence for it are by no means conclusive, I contend that it is thus reasonable to believe that European ethnicity is indeed required for the maintenance of Western Civilization. This does not necessarily mean that it is unreasonable to believe the opposite, but it does mean that, at the very least, both positions are reasonable. And note, once again, that whether or not the belief that Europeans are needed for Western Civilization is deemed racist is entirely immaterial to the reasonableness of that belief.

Now, at the same time that it can be said that the belief that European ethnicity is needed for the maintenance of Western Civilization is a reasonable one, an even more forceful support for holding to this idea can be made. And to understand what this is, consider, first, the fact that the arguments and points made against the claim that European ethnicity is required for the continuation of Western Civilization are, as stated, by no means certain. Next, note that even if it is accepted, for the sake of argument, that both the hypothesis that European ethnicity is required for the maintenance of Western Civilization is reasonable, and so is the hypothesis that it is not, the fact remains that, throughout recorded history, only Europeans, or ethnic groups that Europeans have been directly involved with, have been able to create and maintain Western Civilization. But now, in light of these latter points, and keeping in mind the immense value that maintaining Western Civilization offers to humanity, it is thus pragmatically sound, at this point, to act as if Europeans are required for the maintenance of Western Civilization, and to continue acting in such a manner until and unless conclusive evidence shows that that hypothesis is incorrect. In essence, because the loss of Western Civilization would be so detrimental, and because the one thing that we do indisputability know is that Western Civilization only arose amongst Europeans and their descendants, and it has only been maintained by Europeans and those that they have had direct contact with, then we should place the burden of proof on those disputing the inseparability of European ethnicity from Western Civilization rather than on those who affirm it; indeed, the loss of Western Civilization is too great a price to pay to act otherwise, especially if we do so without sufficient evidence to guarantee, beyond a reasonable doubt, that we are not wrong in that assessment.

Finally, two additional points need to be noted. First, even though this essay reached the conclusion that it is indeed reasonable to believe that Europeans are required for the survival of Western Civilization, and that, pragmatically-speaking, we have good reason to act as if that conclusion is the case even if the evidence for it is not certain, note that this fact does not mean that European ethnicity is the only thing that is required for the maintenance of Western Civilization. For example, this essay could also argue that Christianity, or at least a worldview strongly colored by Christianity, is also inseparable from Western Civilization; in fact, the arguments included in this essay concerning why we are both reasonable to believe and to act as if European ethnicity is inseparable from Western Civilization could also be made in the case of Christianity. But nevertheless, the point here is to note that while we are reasonable to believe and act as if European ethnicity is a necessary condition for Western Civilization, that should not be mistaken for a claim that European ethnicity is a sufficient condition for the existence and maintenance of Western Civilization. It is necessary condition, but it is not, in and of itself, a sufficient one. And the second point to note is that the reason for why Europeans are, to the best of our knowledge and current evidence, unique in their ability to create and sustain Western Civilization is also largely irrelevant to the present point that it is currently reasonable to belief that they are unique in this respect. So even if, for the sake of argument, it is admitted that European civilizational uniqueness is primarily due to past environmental and cultural factors that only Europeans experienced, rather than being due to innate European traits, this fact does not necessarily negate the claim that European ethnicity and identity is inseparable from Western Civilization, for the case might be that these environmental factors are not reproducible again, and so, as such, only Europeans, who have already experienced these factors, now have the ability to maintain the Western Civilization that they first created. And so it needs to be understood that there is no necessary connection between why only Europeans were able to develop Western Civilization and the claim that European ethnicity is inseparable from Western Civilization.

And so, the long and short of it is: it is reasonable to believe that actual Europeans are required for the continued survival of Western Civilization. At the same time, given the lack of conclusive evidence against this reasonable belief, and given the known fact that only Europeans have created and maintained Western Civilization, and finally given the value of Western Civilization to all of humanity, we thus have strong pragmatic reasons to act as if Europeans are indispensable to Western Civilization until and unless conclusively shown otherwise.

Anno Domini 2016 11 28

Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam

Atheists Cannot be Good without Belief in God

The Reconquista Initiative

Presents…

Atheists Cannot Be Good Without Belief in God

In today’s day and age, it is often contended, and very often contended by Christians themselves, that while atheists might not, on their worldview, have an actual foundation that undergirds the objective moral rules and duties that they follow, they nevertheless can still be ‘good’ people without a belief in God. Indeed, it is argued that atheists are individuals who, though denying the existence of God and thus not having a sound basis for their belief in the existence of moral rules and duties, still feel the pull of morality on their hearts—for they live in a theistic universe, or so the theist contends—and so when atheists act in accordance with the moral law and do what is morally right, they can thus be counted as ‘good’ despite their lack of belief in God. And so, the thinking goes, unbelievers can be just as good as believers can be, despite their rejection of God and despite their lack of belief in Him.

Now, while this contention is often used as a means to build bridges with atheists by trying to placate the outrage that some atheists would feel if told that they are indeed not good due to their lack of belief in God, the fact is that a strong case can be made to show that atheists are not objectively good people, or at least not as good as theists are, precisely because atheists lack a belief in God and reject Him. Indeed, it is the atheist’s own willful atheism which ensures that he cannot be considered a ‘good’ person, or at least not nearly as good of a person as a believer can be. And the funny thing is that there is no way that the atheist can escape this conclusion, for it stays with him regardless of whether theism or atheism is correct.

Now the reason why the atheist cannot be considered good without a belief in God is two-fold. First—and for the sake of argument—consider what occurs if atheism is true. If atheism is correct, and if God really does not exist, then atheists cannot be considered good in an objective sense given that, on atheism, there are no objective moral rules and duties that would allow us to call atheists ‘good’ in some real or significant way. Indeed, as atheist Alex Rosenberg says in the first chapter of his book The Atheist’s Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life Without Illusions, the reality of atheism means that there is no difference between right and wrong, and that, concerning the answers to moral questions, anything goes. That, Rosenberg contends, is the inevitable reality of atheism. But if that is the case then while atheists, on atheism, might be considered ‘good’ in a trivial and essentially tautological sense—because on such a view, anything that atheists do can be considered ‘good’ by them—the fact is that on such a view, neither atheists nor anyone else can be considered good in an objective sense, for there is no objective good that people can be compared to. Indeed, only if there was some type of external standard of goodness against which the actions and behaviors of atheists could be compared, could we determine if atheists were good or not in some non-trivial sense; but since there is no such standard on atheism, then there is no objective way to label atheists as good given atheism. So if atheism is true, atheists are not ‘good’ in the way that we normally use that term.

But now, consider what occurs if atheists are wrong. Consider that if God—the creator and continuous sustainer of all that is—exists, and yet willful atheists do not believe in Him and do not acknowledge Him nor give Him the worship that He is due from His creatures, then, in a very real sense, atheists are morally failures in a very significant way. Indeed, in such a case, atheists are not being good, or at least they are not being good about a very fundamental issue, for they are failing to fulfill the most critical moral duty and commandment that they should be fulfilling:  namely, to love God with all their heart, and soul, and mind. Indeed, by failing to believe in God—so long as the lack of belief is willful and not due to some uncontrolled cognitive disability or ignorance—an atheist is morally deficient in such a vital and significant way that we would be very hard-pressed to call him ‘good’; and even if we could label the atheist ‘good’ in spite of his lack of belief, then, at best, he would most certainly be less good than a believer in God would be—all other things being equal, of course. Thus, if God exists, then the atheist’s wilful lack of belief in God is not a morally neutral issue, but rather it is a factor which gives us the grounds to question the atheist’s categorization as a ‘good’ human being, and it is also a factor that allows us to rationally see a believer as more moral than an atheist—again, all other things being equal.

And so, the long and short of it is this:  whatever way that atheists turn, they cannot be meaningfully considered good without a belief in God, for if atheism is true, then their actions are neither good nor evil, and so it is essentially trivial to call them ‘good’; but if God exists, and atheists fail to give God the acknowledgement and worship that He is due as their creator and constant sustainer, then this is a moral failing of such significance that it is, once again, hard to label anyone who fails in such as way as ‘good’. Thus, whatever way the atheist turns, he cannot meaningful be defined as good, or at least not as good as a God-believer is. Consequently, Christians should stop conceding the point that atheists really can be good without belief in God, for, as seen, a strong case can be made that atheists simply cannot be considered good without such a belief. But lest some Christians suddenly think themselves ultimately better than atheists given this conclusion, they themselves should heed the words spoken by Jesus Himself in Luke 18:19 and Mark 10:18: “No one is good—except God alone.”

Anno Domini 2016 11 26

Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam

The Strategy for Christian Secession

The Reconquista Initiative

Present…

The Strategy for Christian Secession

As I argued in my previous essay “The Case for Christian Secession”, a mutually-agreed upon and peaceful de facto or formal secession of Christians and Western traditionalists from the liberal-wing of the United States is arguably the best course-of-action for both sides of the political spectrum in America, especially since today, both the left and the right view each other as irreconcilable cultural and social enemies. And so, as argued, an amicable separation—much like a friendly divorce—is the overall ideal solution for all parties involved in the experiment that was the United States. However, one major problem for the idea of a peaceful and relatively civil secession, at least when viewed from the traditionalist right, is that it is questionable whether the left side of the political spectrum would ever really wish to let the right go. Indeed, the fact is that even though they hold right-wingers in disdain, it is very likely that the left would not really wish for the right-wing to be cut away from them. So the idea of Christian secession faces the very real problem that such a movement might ultimately be opposed by the very people who hold orthodox Christians and Western traditionalists in contempt. But why would this be so, especially given the amount of disdain that progressives and leftists usually have for the right-wing? Indeed, why would leftists want to impede the secession of traditionalists from their society? Well, from the perspective of an individual of the right, there are a number of reasons why the left might not wish to let elements of the right-wing secede from their society (and please note that I am indebted to two commentators on the ‘RightlyConsidered.org’ blog, namely Criticus Ferox and Jacques, for some of the thoughts that follow).

Consider that one of the reasons for why the left might want to impede Christian secession stems from the fact that the left is inherently parasitical. As such, in order to survive, the left needs to feed on a mass of normal, decent, and commonsensical people who have not completely succumbed to leftist ideas, but who are relatively docile to the left’s progressive advances, and who can thus be taxed, used, and kept for the functioning of a leftist welfare state. Thus, such people maintain the society within which the left operates and has power, but they offer no real resistance to leftism’s ideas even though they do not fully agree with the left’s agenda. The left needs such people to survive. And indeed, for an extreme example of this, think of the former Soviet Union and other former communist countries like Poland, where many of the average citizens did not truly or deeply embrace the ideals of leftism communism but those citizens were nevertheless absolutely needed to ensure the continuation of the communist regimes; regimes which could not have survived for as long as they did without the relatively apathetic common-sense man continuing his work and supporting the society, all while simply seeking to avoid the secret police and get on with his life. Or, for a slightly different example on an international scale, think of the fact that many countries in Europe which have leaned leftward towards socialistic welfare-state policies over the last few generations have in large part only been able to do so because they have parasitically fed off the protective power of the United States; indeed, had these European countries been required to bear the brunt of the Soviet threat without the massive capitalist counter-weight called the United States, it is doubtful that Europe could have afforded to be so progressive and socialist in its culture practices and policies. Or think of all the welfare policies and other leftist programs which require the existence and financial exploitation of non-welfare using taxpayers in order to survive and be sustained; without the very taxpayers who make little-to-no use of such programs, the programs and welfare benefits would immediately dry up and collapse. Or, to take one more example, consider that a leftist “gender studies” professor could not garner anywhere near the amount of money or prestige that she receives today at a liberal university without being subsidized and supported by the very deplorable tax-payers that she despises. Indeed, many power centers on the left, such as universities or “the arts” or government diversity programs, require subsidization from the very people that they rail against. And so here again we can see how leftism is like a leech that needs a host to survive, and if the leech is detached from the host, it will soon go hungry and die. Consequently, their own survival and use of the right could very well be one of the reasons that the left would not want the right to secede.

At the same time, it also needs to be understood that the left not only needs the right in a financial sense to keep a society functioning, but they also need the right as a means of pushing back against left-wing absurdities given that it is questionable whether any form of leftism, when implemented consistently, could actually keep a civilization alive. And so the left needs the right to keep a society sufficiently in contact with reality so that it can continue to survive and thrive, but still with enough latitude to allow the left into positions of power and authority. And to understand what is meant by this, consider this 12th of November 2016 comment by Jacques on a blog post titled “Attack Until We Crack” from the ‘rightlyconsidered.org’ blog; in his comment to that post, Jacques wrote the following:

–QUOTE–

One problem with getting the left to separate from us [the right] is that leftism is intrinsically parasitical. They never really want their own country because they need a mass of normal, productive, decent people who don’t live according to leftist principles in order to tax them, conscript them, run real institutions competently, etc. More abstractly, any society that actually implements leftist ideals such as diversity and equality in a consistent way—as consistent as this mass of confusion could be—–would immediately destroy itself. The economic disasters of applied Marxism are just one instance of this broader thing. Imagine if the US were actually run top-to-bottom along the lines of racial socialism proposed by BLM [Black Lives Matter] or [the] cranks in whiteness studies. Imagine if a real country actually applied the principle that “no one is illegal” in setting immigration policy. Imagine if we applied affirmative action nonsense when hiring brain surgeons. So what they really want, though they may not admit it even to themselves, is a situation where most people and institutions are not leftist, and the leftist elite get to exploit these non-leftist people and cultures and institutions forever. By contrast, normal people don’t need the left. If they disappeared tomorrow society would be no worse off in any way. (http://rightlyconsidered.org/2016/11/11/attack-until-we-crack/)

–UNQUOTE–

And so it does seem that a case can be made that the left, or at least leftist elites, know that they need the right to continue supporting the leftist welfare system and the various benefits and centers of power that the left possesses, both financially and by acting as a counter-weight to the full implementation of leftist ideas. Furthermore, the right acts as an easy target for the left to blame and to use to conduct its own virtue-signaling, and the sanctimonious feeling that the left receives from being “better than” the right is not an easy feeling to give up. And since the left ultimately realizes all this, this is arguably why, for the left, the goal is not necessarily separation from the right, but rather the use of political correctness and the suppression of speech as a means to stifle opposition and make cowering self-censoring servants of the people that the left needs to keep society going. And this, for example, is why the left is, in many ways, fine with individual Christians or traditionalists privately believing that, say, homosexually is immoral or that abortion is wrong while in their churches on Sundays, but the moment any person or organization expresses such views in public or publicly supports such causes, the left will suddenly and mercilessly shame, ban, and try to publicly and socially crucify them. Essentially, the left wants Christians and other traditionalists to keep working and paying taxes for the welfare state just as they have done for generations, but they want Christians and other traditionalists to do so while offering little more than token and ever-crumpling resistance to the main goals of leftism when in the public square, thereby tempering the fringe edges of leftism—and thinking themselves victorious in doing so—but not really impeding the slow advance of the main leftist agenda in any major way, and all while serving as a ready scape-goat for the left to point at and blame come what may.

Finally, note as well that the left might not wish to let the right go simply because the left seeks to publicly dominate traditionalists, and its gets pleasure from doing so. And again, such an assessment is not so far-fetched given that we routinely see the left pushing their agenda to a greater and greater extent, all the while seeking not merely tolerance for their views, but rather an affirmation of them. This is why, for example, the left does not merely want those on the right to co-exist with, say, transsexuals or with the idea that gender is merely a social construct, but rather they want to force the right to publicly affirm leftist ideas, such as the use of gender-neutral or self-chosen pronouns, when it comes to these issues. And this, once again, comes back to the point of the left being a type of parasite in that they demand affirmation of their agenda in public while allowing, and knowing, that many people disagree with them in private. But nevertheless, the point is that the left’s desire to control the right and publicly subjugate it may also be a factor in why the left does not wish to let the right separate. After all, there is pleasure in victory, be it a political or military victory, and leftists, being human beings, are not immune to this type of a base pleasure no matter how much they might think that they are.

Now, having pointed out some of the possible reasons for why the left might not wish to allow the right to secede, please note that it is quite conceivable that I am wrong in my above assessment. In fact, it is even possible that a person on the left would fundamentally disagree with me and claim that it is actually the right that is a parasite on the left. But regardless, from this point forward, we will operate as if the above issues are indeed a problem that Christians and Western traditionalists will need to address in order to make secession viable at all. And so, with this now accepted problem in mind, the further question is: What can the right do to overcome this issue? Indeed, how can the right defeat the left’s lack of desire to allow for a peaceful secession between the left and the right? And what should the right’s overall strategy be to solve this problem?

In essence, I suggest a five-step course-of-action to overcoming the aforementioned problem and thereby helping to convince the left that peaceful separation from the right is desirable for all parties involved.

The first step is to observe and report on the left’s ever greater slide away from traditionalism and orthodox Christianity. Point out the major differences that exist between the left and the right in America, and point out that these differences are fundamentally incompatible, because the truth is that they really are incompatible at this moment. This should awaken both those on the left and those on the traditionalist right to the ultimately irreconcilable nature of these differences, thereby leading a number of people, on their own, to start coming to see that secession might be the only answer to the cultural and social wars existing in America.

Second, the traditionalist right needs to stop the left’s progressive advance in any manner and in any area that it can, thereby causing the left to no longer believe that their progressive march is inevitable. The left needs to realize that, barring secession, they will have to live with the right and that the right is not about to acquiesce to the left. This should begin to demoralize parts of the left and make them start to think that secession might be a good idea after all. And note that in 2016 we have seen a real example of this with the election of Donald Trump, for after Trump’s election, an initiative promoting secession was started in California, one of the most liberal states in the US.

Then, after halting the left’s advance, the third step is to begin counter-attacking against the left, thereby making them see that, if they stay wed to the right, they will actually start losing much of the “progress” that they had previously achieved. These losses will really cause many on the left to fall into distress and look for a way to prevent such losses from occurring in the future.

Fourth, when both halting the advance of the progressives and when counter-attacking against their policies, the right needs to begin to spread the idea that the only way to make the battle stop, and the only way for the left to stopping losing or potentially losing their progressive gains, is via secession between traditionalists and progressives. At the same time, the right should also play on the vanity, ego, and virtue-signaling of the left by telling them that “of course” the left can survive without the deplorable and despised right; they are the left after all, and so they are all about science, facts, and rationality, unlike the racist and sexist right, so they will obviously and easily survive without the right and it is in their best interests to do so. The right needs to spread this idea far and wide so that the grass-roots on the left come to believe it, accept it, and then push for it themselves. In essence, the right needs to push the idea of secession to the point that those on the left come to see it as the best course-of-action for the left to achieve its own aims.

Finally, fifth, the right should promote and encourage the election of a leftist populist leader who will respond to the desire of the grass-roots left to secede, as doing this would undermine the ability of any higher leftists to stop the leftist secession from happening. In essence, the traditionalist right should create a Trump-like figure on the left, but have his main issue be secession from the right. And so, in this way, both the right and left will be mutually seeking to secede from each other.

This, therefore, is the overall strategy that the right can use to overcome the problem of the left not wishing to secede from the right. And it should be noted that Trump’s election has arguably already helped to achieve the first three steps in this process, for many progressives and leftists already feel like they are about to lose a number of the agenda items which they have previously pushed for.

And so, the long and short of it is this:  the best way to defeat the problem of leftists not wishing to allow Western traditionalists to secede is to not only attack and block the left to the point that they find existence with the right unbearable, but also to make the left believe that they can survive without the right. This way, it will allow them to think that secession is in their best interests, thus motivating them to leave on their own, fully believing that they can easily survive without the traditionalists in their society. And finally, it is also important to note that should secession ever occur, the traditionalist nation that would be created as part of that secession would need to institute deep political and culture defenses to prevent the left from ever being able to regain the cultural hegemony that it has in America today. And this is a point that cannot be forgotten.

Anno Domini 2016 11 24

Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam

Comment: Trump & No Charges for Hillary

Here:

President-elect Donald Trump will not pursue charges against Hillary Clinton relating to the Clinton foundation or the former secretary of state’s use of a private email server, former Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said Tuesday.

In an interview with MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Conway said that while Clinton “has to face the fact that a majority of Americans don’t find her to be honest and trustworthy,” it would be a good thing if Trump can “help her heal.”

“I think when the President-elect, who’s also the head of your party…tells you before he’s even inaugurated  he doesn’t wish to pursue these charges, it sends a very strong message, tone, and content,” she said.

The move is a significant break from Trump’s campaign rhetoric, which included a warning that if he were president he’d get his attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate her behavior. In the second presidential debate he quipped to Clinton that if he was president: “you’d be in jail.”

Now, concerning the above matter, let me just say that I may be wrong about Trump and his intentions, but given Trump’s performance over the past year, perhaps this quote is relevant:

War is a thing of pretense: therefore, when capable of action, we pretend disability; when near to the enemy, we pretend to be far; when far away, we pretend to be near.

Allure the enemy by giving him a small advantage. Confuse and capture him. … Attack weak points, and appear in unexpected places.

These are the secrets of the successful strategist, therefore they must not be made known beforehand.

– Sun Tzu

So let’s keep the above in mind when thinking about the Hillary affair. After all, I’m pretty sure that Trump has read ‘The Art of War’…   nd I am pretty sure that Jeff Sessions is the AG….

Science is Not Self-Correcting

The Reconquista Initiative

Presents…

Science is Not Self-Correcting

 Let’s be blunt: the idea that science is self-correcting is bullshit. Indeed, it is a claim pushed by science-fetishists and the proponents of scientism in a self-serving attempt to give science an allure and prestige that it simply does not deserve. Furthermore, even if we ignore the fallacious personification inherent in the idea that “science” itself is self-correcting—after all, science is not some ‘thing’ or some ‘entity’ capable of action—the fact is that science is not only not self-correcting, but it’s correction method is not in any fundamental way unique or special when compared to other disciplines. And we can demonstrate this fact with a simple example.

Imagine, for a moment, a particular situation that has no doubt previously occurred in reality at some point:  namely, a scientist performs an experiment, but his experiment is flawed in some way that skews his results and renders them false, but not obviously so; or even imagine that the scientist himself has purposely but subtly falsified his experiment in order to achieve the results that he desired. Now imagine that this experiment is reported to the scientific community and accepted. It is even referred to from time-to-time in other experiments or studies, but not that often. In essence, it is a relatively obscure experiment, but nevertheless one which has been accepted and acted upon. And as is often the case with such studies, it is not replicated. No one checks the results. The error in the experiment remains undetected. Now ask yourself: has “science” self-corrected this experiment? Obviously not, and it would be absurd to suggest otherwise. In fact, if the experiment sat untouched and unchecked from now until eternity, then at no point would science self-correct it. And if no experiment was conducted which contradicted the results of the first experiment, then there would be no evidence against it, and thus again, science would not correct the faulty results of the first experiment, neither directly through replication nor indirectly through counter-evidence.

Thus, the only way that the experiment would be corrected would be if an actual human scientist examined the experiment, replicated it, and hopefully caught the error—a fact which is itself not guaranteed. But note that “science” did nothing here, a human did. But even more importantly, note that the human scientist did nothing different or more “correcting” than any other profession or field would do. Indeed, the scientist simply used the appropriate tools and techniques of his particular discipline to check the work of a fellow scientist. But the point is that an accountant or mathematician or engineer could correct another accountant’s or mathematician’s or engineer’s work in much the same way that a scientist corrects a fellow scientist’s work: namely, by using the tools and techniques appropriate to their field to check their colleague’s work. In fact, a philosopher could check the work of another philosopher for faulty reasoning or an incorrect deduction in much the same way as the scientist corrects another scientist. And the similarity here is even closer than you think, for if we are dealing with forensic or historical sciences, such as archelogy or evolutionary biology, where the scientist’s “experiment” is often little more than trying to infer the best explanation of the evidence at hand, much like a Detective does with the evidence at a crime scene, then a future scientist’s correction of such an “experiment” is little more than a correction of the initial scientist’s reasoning or a challenge to his facts. But such a type of correction is little different from a philosopher correcting a first philosopher’s inference to a best explanation about some philosophical matter or a second Detective double-checking the inference made by a lead Detective concerning a particular case under investigation.

So what is the point of all this? The point is to realize that science is not self-correcting, or if it is, then many other disciplines known to Man are self-correcting as well, for they correct themselves in the same way that science does:  namely, by individuals using the tools appropriate to their specific discipline to check the work of other individuals for errors or faulty reasoning. And so, if so many disciplines are self-correcting, then there is nothing special about science. Thus, again, the point here is to show that not only is science not self-correcting in any literal sense, but also that there is nothing special about science’s correction process, for it is the same one that numerous other disciplines use to correct themselves as well.

And note that if the science-fetishist tries to argue that in science, very prominent and popular experiments are indeed often replicated, and so, in this practical way science is somehow “more correcting” than other disciplines, well, there are three responses that can be given to this point. First, the practical fact—admitted for the sake of argument—that scientific results are checked more often than other disciplines has nothing to do with science being self-correcting or with science having a unique way of correcting itself, and so this is a largely irrelevant point. Second, it is rather questionable if other disciplines are not subject to the same amount of correcting as science is; for example, popular philosophical arguments are often challenged, argued against, and corrected. So the claim that scientific results are more often checked than other disciplines is in no way certain, and clear data would be needed to show that this is the case. And finally third, we have some data which tentatively shows us that scientific experiments are rarely replicated, so the claim that they are is, again, questionable. For example—and this is just one example, so it needs to be taken with skepticism—note that a study by Matthew C. Makel, Jonathan A. Plucker, and Boyd Hegarty, titled “Replications in Psychology Research: How Often Do They Really Occur” and published in November 2012 in the Perspectives on Psychological Science Journal found that there was only a 1.07% replication rate of previous scientific experiments. So even if these researchers were incorrect by a factor of ten or twenty, and thus the replication rate was 10% or 20%, that rate would still be horrendously low for a discipline, namely psychological science, which supposedly prides itself on self-correction and replication. So the idea that science is a “more” self-correcting discipline than others is, once again, questionable at best.

Now, if someone tries to claim that science is unique in that its correction occurs through the use of experiments, and thus it is a more accurate and accountable process than other disciplines that correct themselves, the fact is that this objection also does not hold water. First, corrections in math, for example, are as accurate if not more so than an experiment, so some disciplines are arguably even more accurate than scientific correction. Second, scientists, being humans, are also susceptible to error, and so a replicated experiment, given its human factor, is prone to error as well; and this, of course, means that there is no guarantee that the replication is correct either. So the replication of a scientist is as potentially prone to error as that of a mathematician, engineer, or philosopher. And this is especially the case for the historical sciences were the science is largely done by inference to the best explanation, and thus is little different from other disciplines. And so while a scientist’s use of a replication experiment is a good way for that scientist to check a fellow scientist’s original experiment, and it is the appropriate way for him to do so given that experiments are the tool that a scientist is supposed to use to conduct his work, the use of such replication experiments is by no means the most accurate or fool-proof way of checking someone else’s work, and so even in this respect the sciences are not particularly unique or special in comparison to other disciplines.

But, one may ask, what if the objection is made that the corrective method of science must be, somehow, special, for it leads to results that are usually agreed upon by the wide consensus of scientists. Well, how a scientific consensus is reached, and whether that consensus is solely or even mainly based on the state of the evidence, rather than other factors like social pressure, career considerations, and so on, is a topic all its own, but in this case, all that will be mentioned is that science, again, is not unique in reaching a consensus, for disciplines like math, accounting, engineering do so as well. Furthermore, science often reaches consensus because, unlike philosophy, science, in the quest for knowledge, simply cheats in that it accepts a number of easily questionable assumptions and then operates as if those assumptions are not questionable. For example, present science embraces methodological naturalism, an idea which automatically restricts the types of theories that are deemed scientific and thus automatically creates a type of consensus by narrowing the range of options that a scientist can choose from. Additionally, scientists largely ignore the question of whether scientific realism or anti-realism is correct, but a person’s views on which one of these positions is correct will have a large effect on the evidentiary weight that a person gives to the scientific theory under consideration. And so if science had to drop its presently operative assumptions, and if certain social pressures and career worries were removed, one wonders just how consensus reaching the scientific community would be. And while this is speculation, the point is that the consensus in science is not necessarily based solely on an objective assessment of the evidence, but on a number of outside pressures and restrictive axioms which create the conditions where a consensus can be banged into place much more easily than if the conditions were not there.

And so, the long and short of it is this: science is not self-correcting, and the way that it corrects itself is in no significant way different from the other disciplines. Science, therefore, is not particularly special in its correction method, and so it is time to put the myth that science is self-correcting to bed.

Anno Domini 2016 11 22

Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam