Re: [asa] Dawkins, religion, and children

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Thu May 03 2007 - 13:50:45 EDT

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

It's a very fair point, I think, to note that many people who support a
pragmatic / utilitarian ethic shy away from their own stance when it
directly affects themselves or their own families.

On 5/3/07, Janice Matchett <> wrote:
> 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
> "convictions":
> "....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 World
> *~ Janice ... Human "normalcy"
> *

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Received on Thu May 3 13:51:33 2007

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