Re: [asa] Dawkins, religion, and children

From: Janice Matchett <>
Date: Thu May 03 2007 - 13:17:25 EDT

At 09:15 AM 5/3/2007, David Opderbeck wrote:
>Merv said: "But atheists may be coming back to that argument with
>the response: "we don't care about a non-existent objective
>basis". We can appeal to morals on a different
>Evolutionary level (can't be taken as an ultimate compulsion,
>of course, but they are there anyway.)"
>Merv, I think you make a good point here. In my experience, most
>materialists / atheists / strong agonstics opt who really think
>about such things opt for a pragmatic utilitarian / consequentialist
>ethics. If you press them on why one "ought" to think in terms of
>the greatest good for the greatest number of people (a crude
>reduction of utilitarianism), they will shrug and say "it seems to
>work." They will point to the history of scientific progress in the
>past couple of centuries and suggest that people live longer,
>happier, healthier, freer lives when society focuses on solving
>tangible engineering-type problems, and that people on the whole are
>less happy, etc. when society focuses on big metaphysical questions
>such as religious belief. So, they say, set the metaphysics aside,
>including most of those big "ought" questions, and let's just focus
>on fixing some things technology and science can fix. I don't need
>ultimate justification for my ethical stance, they will say; all I
>can do is try to enjoy life and fix a couple of problems in front of
>me in the short time I have.
>We shouldn't underestimate this stance. It's powerful on an
>intuitive level, many pragmatic philosophers (from Dewey running
>through Rawls and Rorty) have given it substantial intellectual
>support, and at this point in history it underwrites significant
>parts of western ethics and jurisprudence. You are right that it
>can't really be dismissed in a few paragraphs.
>However, I still think the substance of Wayne's objection (and my
>earlier objection) stands. .." David O.

@ Most materialists / atheists / strong agonistic mentalities are
faking it. The proof? Few of them have the courage of their stated

"....When you have successfully demystified the world, your soul is
officially dead. ....I'm trying to think of an example that even a
materialist with a blunted sensibility might understand. For many
people who have successfully demystified the world, the only time
they are able to unwittingly appreciate the sacred is when they are
directly confronted with it in its most vivid form: death, the birth
of a child, marriage, etc. Imagine being so spiritually insensate
that you had the courage of your convictions and successfully drained
the world of its sacred dimension. Upon the death of a loved one, you
would simply put them in the garbage. After all, it's just a sack of
meat. The birth of a child would be no different than termites
hatching in your backyard. Marriage wouldn't exist, because there
would be no recognition of the sacred dimension of male and female
sexuality. Euthanasia would not just be legal, but mandatory, on
grounds of common sense -- as would the abortion of youth in Asia --
as in China. Believe it or not, there are people who more or less
experience the world this way. But we do not call them "enlightened"
or more in touch with reality than the rest of us. Rather, we call
them schizoid or autistic. .." ~ Saturday, February 03, 2007
Radical Wonder and the Remystification of the

~ Janice ... Human "normalcy"

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Received on Thu May 3 13:17:53 2007

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