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I hate it when I’m wrong, and even more when I’m right

So my good friend Danny is just waiting to pounce, adding on to his epic fish slap the fact that my predicted Romney landslide did not take place.  There was no landslide.  There wasn’t even a Romney.  The post was:  Romney in a Landslide, if the election is fair.  I stated my reasoning in that article, but it is worth addressing some points again with the benefit of hindsight.

In 2010, the Dems were routed.  In liberal WI, the Dems were not only routed, but routed again when the Republican Supreme Court Justice David Prosser won, and again when Walker and most of the recalled senators kept their spots.  In the meantime, in the days leading up to the election, polls had Americans firmly wishing for the repeal of Obamacare by 15 points.  In this election, the GOP not only held the house, but held it in commanding fashion, yet Obama somehow wins the White House.  I’m having trouble wrapping myself around the idea that there are millions of Americans who voted for a GOP candidate and simultaneously voted for Obama, but if indeed the election is fair, that is what happened.  That the election was not fair is a plausible explanation.  More plausible then millions voting for GOP candidates and voting for Obama, in my mind.

Something that came onto my radar over the last couple of weeks were the existence of more people voting protest or not voting at all than I realized.  I myself was severely disappointed that Romney was my alternative to Obama.  I surprised myself somewhat by voting for Romney.  I saw it as a protest vote, and could not bring myself to campaign for Romney.  There may end up being a lot more people feeling the same way as I do, except they didn’t even cast the vote for Romney.  I’m not blaming them, mind you.  I’m fully sympathetic.    But it would be another plausible explanation.

As more data emerges, we may find some answers to this.  I believe it needs answers, if the phenomenon is genuine, and I hate giving Danny more fodder to thwack me with for being wrong (again), but I hate worse being right.

As soon as the phenomenon became apparent last night, I remembered that I had spoken to this two years ago after the Tea Party routed Liberals throughout the country.  The post was:  The election should make me happy, but it doesn’t.  In that post, I address the phenomena of a landslide route of the Dems in 2010 following a landslide route of the GOP in 2008.

It was only two years ago that the great mass of swing voters, so called independents and moderates, scurried over like lemmings to vote for Obama and the Democrats.  That any of them might have been surprised at what Obama and the Democrat congress actually did hints at a serious problem.   No doubt many of these people voted against Obama this year- but did they do it because they have more carefully deliberated on their principles and the lessons of history?

I think it is clear that many of them did.  Nonetheless, I am certain that a lot didn’t, and the fact that millions and millions still happily cast their lot with Obama and his socialist-by-another-name agenda shows that many people didn’t really move at all.

For a populace to swing wildly back and forth every two years is a madness that indicates there our mass of citizenry that is rocked back and forth on the waves of change, without anchor, without direction, without guiding principles grounded in fact and the realities of the universe.

I say:

The only difference between a dog and a human is that when a dog returns to its vomit, the dog knows what it is eating.    The human puts salt and pepper and garnish on it and imagines its new and thanks the chef- until he gets sick and dies, at which point he is at a loss wondering how he came to be in that predicament.

As it seems to me, the American people still haven’t figured it out.  The repudiation is not emphatic enough and the reasons and rationale of the American people at large are ambiguous.  Americans will never figure it out given what is arrayed against them.  The only hope for long lasting return to the Constitution and the principles that made America special is for the American people to suffer in darkness and despair for twenty to thirty years, wondering if ever they can emerge from it, and increasingly certain about how they got into the situation in the first place.

Thus, a GOP victory only delays the Great Loss that will bring about the only kind of victory that can last- that one that is based on knowledge of principle, understanding of the past, and the witness of experience.   We need a citizenry that understands that when you play with fire, you’ll get burned.  If the fireman keeps rushing in before you get scorched, the message doesn’t get through.

In short, people haven’t yet put 2 and 2 together, and my view is that our only hope is that we endure “the Great Loss” because otherwise no lessons will be learned.

The reason for my pessimism then and now has much to do with the fact that no matter who we elect at the ‘top’ the bottom layers are saturated with people who work to undermine the conservative worldview left and right.

In order to truly change the tide… well, a lot of things have to happen.  Churches need to get on board.  I mean, they really have to begin transmitting the faith in an effective way, instead of churning out future secular humanists.  They need to act on the faith that they express with their lips.  Our school system, public and otherwise, needs to be infused with the sort of education that actually exposes students to something other than the progressive worldview.  Our victory is temporary indeed when the progressives still control the education of our children.  In sum, we need to go further than just putting ‘our people’ in positions of government authority.  (Half the time, ‘our people’ are indistinguishable from liberals… another big problem).  We’ve actually got to persuade people of the wisdom and rightness of our view and lay brick after brick in the foundation of a person’s mental framework that leads them to be ‘conservative.’

That will be a tough task, given that that foundation has been dismantled brick by brick for more than a hundred years right underneath our noses.

Even so, unless this be done, this victory is temporary, and the next time the wind changes and some charismatic fellow comes along promising the stars, the lemmings will leap…  and maybe this time we’ll all fall to our deaths on the rocks below.

I was right:  Our victory is temporary indeed when we leave the education of our youth to those who undermine our values and do not stand for truth within our churches.  Sorry, Catholic Church, but drawing the line at the HHS mandate is not just too little, too late, but well after the cows have left the barn.   In their defense, our defense, my defense, the cows left the barn decades ago, before most of us were even born.

This election was just the symptom of a deeper problem, and the 2010 election was itself a symptom of that problem.  The “Great Loss” hasn’t entirely arrived.  Miraculously, the GOP held the House.  I’m not sure that that is a good thing, because it gives the Democrats and the topsy-turvy population someone else to blame when things go bad.  Or, perhaps we’ll prevent the bad from happening, which delays the “Great Lesson” that is necessary.  It would almost be better for them to step aside, step down, and hand things over to the Democrats so that there can be no doubt who is to blame as America continues its descent into Greece, Spain, and England.  Almost.  They are duty bound to fight the good fight.  We are duty bound to go down fighting.

But I do not doubt that in fact we are going down.

My recommendation is not to be like Lot’s wife, who looked back.

And, as I urged yesterday (in the case that Romney actually wins),

A change in the law is just one small part of the issue, because laws reflect the activity of representatives, who are elected by people in their local communities, who are led to believe certain things in their churches and schools.  Moral of the story:  be vigilant, be principled, and be courageous.

May I also suggest for further reading this post, urging an ‘orderly retreat’ in the culture wars, since it is evident we are losing, or have lost in that war.

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21 Responses to I hate it when I’m wrong, and even more when I’m right

  1. Tony,

    “So my good friend Danny is just waiting to pounce,…”

    No, I was just waiting.  I am quite happy to rub your little attack dog’s face in the mud of defeat, but I honestly felt bad for you.  Plus I know that you’re a man of integrity, and do not therefore need any prodding to admit it when you make a mistake, unlike some *cough*Glenn Beck*cough*.  Anyway, to your point:

    I think you might have over-interpreted the midterm election results somewhat. Midterms always have lower voter turnout than presidential elections, which should therefore be considered to be a truer opinion poll about the direction that the country is heading in.  Walker’s recall survival, which you also use to bolster your case, was not unconnected to the massive influx of outside capital on his side.  If that is not considered to be an important factor then clearly not all of your ideological colleagues got the memo, because I just read the president of NOM complaining in the National Review about being outspent on gay marriage ballots.

    You should also be wary of statements such as “in the days leading up to the election, polls had Americans firmly wishing for the repeal of Obamacare by 15 points”.  That was a Rasmussen poll, and if there is one thing that this election has demonstrated it is that Rasmussen has a significant conservative bias.

    I notice that you leave open the possibility of whether or not the caveat in your prediction “Romney by a landslide, if the election is fair”, might actually apply and explain the glaring inaccuracy of the rest of that blog post.  Apart from the usual Floridian shenanigans, the only evidence of unfairness I am aware of in this election is a widely circulated YouTube clip of an Ohio voting machine changing someone’s vote from Obama to Romney.  Do you have any non-post hoc reason for thinking that voter fraud contributed to the conservative defeat?

    Your vote for Romney surprised me to some extent, but I think it was sensible and rational in the light of your beliefs about abortion, for all that you would never have imagined yourself voting for a Mormon.  You may be right that he suffered from a certain lack of enthusiasm from the GOP base which may have influenced the outcome, but would any of the primary candidates more closely aligned with your position have got as far as he did?  Firing-up social and fiscal conservatives while still appealing to moderates is a tricky business.

    “For a populace to swing wildly back and forth every two years is a madness that indicates there our mass of citizenry that is rocked back and forth on the waves of change, without anchor, without direction, without guiding principles grounded in fact and the realities of the universe.”

    Which assumes that it was precisely the same population voting each time, whereas it may well be the case that with the presidency not in question many people who were satisfied with the status quo (i.e. liberals) stayed home for the midterms, while those keen to obstruct Obama’s agenda turned out in high numbers. I think that the exit polls support this idea.  This is not necessarily a reassuring alternative for you, because while it might suggest that your fellow Americans are not quite the fickle hayseeds that you might otherwise think, it also implies that the midterm victories for conservatives were merely turnout related and that in the final analysis liberal policies have majority support.

    “The only hope for long lasting return to the Constitution and the principles that made America special is for the American people to suffer in darkness and despair for twenty to thirty years, wondering if ever they can emerge from it, and increasingly certain about how they got into the situation in the first place.”

    If that’s the only way to win the intellectual argument then you have a real problem, because most peoples political memories are not anything like that long.  Well, that’s not the only reason you’d have a problem.  The implied failure to persuade a majority of people of the truth of your worldview would indicate either that most people are sufficiently stupid that even your thirty years of darkness (a low estimate by Chuck Norris standards) will not prove to be a lasting lesson, or else that your worldview is at a minimum not self-evidently true.

    By contrast on the liberal side of the equation, a reassuring spread of consensus can be seen in the US population that, for example, homosexual relationships are morally equivalent to heterosexual ones.  I am not making an argument from popularity here, by the way, I’m just sympathising with the very difficult task you have ahead of you as an apologist.  :-)

    “It would almost be better for [House republicans] to step aside, step down, and hand things over to the Democrats so that there can be no doubt who is to blame as America continues its descent into Greece, Spain, and England.”

    It would be an interesting social experiment to see whose policies, unchecked or moderated by bipartisan influence, would lead to what outcome, but I don’t see anyone being able to stick to it, do you?  And heaven forbid that the USA turn into England!  That truly would be a terrible outcome.

    I think it may not be too much to suggest, as you do, that social conservatives may have already lost the culture wars.  The question then becomes how to deal with that without removing yourself entirely from the conversation.  

    For instance, I think you are an important voice speaking against the resurgent eugenic tendencies of the scientific fringe.  I think that the conclusions you draw from those tendencies are mostly fanciful partisan nonsense, but it is always important that an outside perspective be heard in any debate, because being inside the comfortable cocoon of groupthink can prevent people from seeing the big picture.  So, while I’d rather (for your own credibility) that you laid off the whole “culture of death” thing, I still think your voice is a valuable addition to the human conversation on this and other subjects, and think it would be a shame if you gave up on America and went off to live on Ruby Ridge, or whatever.  That almost never turns out well.

    Dan

  2. “I think you might have over-interpreted the midterm election results somewhat.”

    I’m pretty sure not. You may remember, or perhaps not, that Democrat senators and congressmen had to stop giving public meetings because they didn’t like being yelled at.

    Yes, there could have been different populations in play. I’m sure that they were. But I don’t think that fundamentally changes the issue. My citation of Walker’s recall survival was not ‘bolstering a case.’ It was a data point that I thought needed to be factored in.

    “I notice that you leave open the possibility of whether or not the caveat in your prediction “Romney by a landslide, if the election is fair”, might actually apply and explain the glaring inaccuracy of the rest of that blog post.”

    I don’t follow. What’s the inaccuracy? Only the outcome, right? The rest was factually accurate.

    ‘Do you have any non-post hoc reason for thinking that voter fraud contributed to the conservative defeat?”

    I am suspicious about the results, but my point really is that an explanation is needed. More on that in a minute.

    “Your vote for Romney surprised me to some extent, but I think it was sensible and rational in the light of your beliefs about abortion, … Firing-up social and fiscal conservatives while still appealing to moderates is a tricky business.”

    I’d rather go down on principle than go forward with something lukewarm like Romney. I’d have preferred someone like Bachmann, who not only could articulate my values but would definitely have acted on them. Then, if people didn’t like what they heard, whatever. Whether Romney won or lost hardly mattered, except perhaps on life issues, and even there I’m not convinced. People did not choose between two different ideas for governing. Not really.

    “If that’s the only way to win the intellectual argument then you have a real problem, because most peoples political memories are not anything like that long.”

    Clearly. In fact, I’d even go further and say that I’m not even sure “The Great Loss” would do it.

    “The implied failure to persuade a majority of people of the truth of your worldview would indicate either that most people are sufficiently stupid”

    This assumes that an effort to persuade has been made. I would dispute this. As I said in the post, these things all began long before I was born. The time to persuade was more than a hundred years ago. That time is over. Now is only the time of reaping.

    “by the way, I’m just sympathising with the very difficult task you have ahead of you as an apologist. :-)”

    So kind of you. :)

    “It would be an interesting social experiment to see whose policies, unchecked or moderated by bipartisan influence, would lead to what outcome, but I don’t see anyone being able to stick to it, do you?”

    heh, well, actually we could cite several such examples, but you don’t like it when I do. ;)

    “And heaven forbid that the USA turn into England! That truly would be a terrible outcome.”

    In 10-20 years, England will be better known as Englandastan. You can put that in your list of predictions. Your worldview is not robust enough to prevent it from happening. But I digress, slightly–did you not recently have a whole bunch of rioting regarding austerity measures?

    “The question then becomes how to deal with that without removing yourself entirely from the conversation.”

    I don’t follow. I’m going down swinging, as it were, but I’m under no illusions.

    “For instance, I think you are an important voice speaking against the resurgent eugenic tendencies of the scientific fringe. I think that the conclusions you draw from those tendencies are mostly fanciful partisan nonsense, but it is always important that an outside perspective be heard in any debate, because being inside the comfortable cocoon of groupthink can prevent people from seeing the big picture.”

    Thanks… I think.

    “So, while I’d rather (for your own credibility)”

    You know me well enough to know that I have never been concerned about such things.

    “it would be a shame if you gave up on America and went off to live on Ruby Ridge, or whatever. That almost never turns out well.”

    My first obligation is to protect my children and deliver their souls safely to their Father, insofar as it is in my power to do so. That is priority 1. Priority 2 is my own soul. I am not responsible for anyone else’s souls. They will ultimately answer to God. It would be my preference not to be nearby if it begins temporally.

  3. Tony,

    “You may remember, or perhaps not, that Democrat senators and congressmen had to stop giving public meetings because they didn’t like being yelled at.”

    I’m not sure how that supports your point.  The relative loudness/rudeness of a minority of citizens does not necessarily equate to a majority of votes cast in elections, does it.

    “I’d rather go down on principle than go forward with something lukewarm like Romney. I’d have preferred someone like Bachmann, who not only could articulate my values but would definitely have acted on them. Then, if people didn’t like what they heard, whatever.”

    I understand that, and I respect it, sort of (Bachmann though, eeshk!).  Joking aside, I know you’re a conviction voter and that your convictions are radically different from my own, so we’re not likely to find our preferences for elected officials overlapping too much.

    “The time to persuade was more than a hundred years ago. That time is over. Now is only the time of reaping.”

    And what if nothing is reaped?  I mean, what if none of the consequences you anticipate actually occur – what if the economic and social situation improves?  Might you consider the possibility that you were wrong about that too?

    :-) Sorry about the “too”.

    “heh, well, actually we could cite several such examples, but you don’t like it when I do.”

    Depends on what we’re talking about, and what other factors were in play.  Milton Friedman got the chance to experiment with nearly-unchecked capitalism in South America in the 1980s, and that didn’t turn out so well economically.  If you’re talking about equating secular humanism with Stalinism then, well, more about that below….

    “In 10-20 years, England will be better known as Englandastan. You can put that in your list of predictions.”

    Thank you, I will.

    “But I digress, slightly–did you not recently have a whole bunch of rioting regarding austerity measures?”

    No, we had rioting last year following the police shooting of a man in North London.  I think it’s fair to say that while that may have been the spark that lit the fuse, most of the rioters weren’t particularly motivated by his death, it was just seen as an opportunity (by some) for self-enrichment.  Poverty, deprivation, social exclusion, and the metropolitan police’s relationship to young minority men were all factors.  More recently we had demonstrations against austerity measures which had very isolated incidents of violent behaviour, which are not uncommon in any large gathering of people.

    And re: this “culture of death” thing, you and I are going to have a proper chat about that one of these days (ideally face to face) and I am going to show you how I can play exactly the same association game with the conservative movement, and construct an equally plausible case that the “logical outcome” of being right-wing is authoritarian and racist dictatorship.  Now you and I will both know that that isn’t a fair argument, but I hope that by making it I will demonstrate to you that doing precisely the same thing with secular humanism is beneath you.

    Not that I wish to discourage you from pointing out when individual liberals say or do stupid things, because that’s a valuable service.

  4. “I’m not sure how that supports your point. The relative loudness/rudeness of a minority of citizens does not necessarily equate to a majority of votes cast in elections, does it.”

    Not necessarily, but in 2010, it actually did. And they weren’t a minority in 2010, which is my point. We are led to believe by these results that millions of people voted for people who would overturn Obamacare and then voted for the actual dude. At the same time, millions of people who rejected Romney still voted for their GOP representative. This is all very weird. I don’t get it.

    I would get it, and figure I was just plain wrong, if the House had gone Dem or even became more balanced, or the other way around. It is this disparity that is mind-warping.

    “And what if nothing is reaped?”

    What’s the timescale? You are aware that the US is on what they are calling a ‘fiscal cliff’–again… for the third time this year, I think–right? You are aware that we just had a huge housing bubble pop, and millions of Americans (including yours truly) lost huge amounts of equity in their houses, putting them under water? That these same cannot sell their homes except at a loss, and people can’t buy them because the lending standards have frozen up (understandably)? You are aware that millions of people are out of work, millions more since Obama took office? I know many of these people. My block is filled with houses that are foreclosed or have been on sale for more than a year. My block is like many other blocks in America. I don’t know what you mean by ‘anticipating.’ They are happening right now.

    Your statement reflects a certain mindset that I’ve noticed, that thinks of these economic storms like the recent hurricane here: they happen, we don’t really know why, they have no cause, nothing we did had any connection with them. Whatever we were doing before that led to what we have now has no bearing on anything. If we do the same things again there is no reason to think the results will be the same. Our efforts should be evaluated based on the sincerity of our intentions, not in the quality of the results. (I am aware that Gore thinks we can actually blame hurricanes on humans, too, but you get my point).

    Do you think that what is going on in Greece is just some random perturbance of the universe? Or do you think it may have something to do with certain decisions that the Greeks made? Is the situation they are in some random accident, having no relation to the generous benefits they offer and the high taxes that go along with them up until the point where their debt is so high that no level of taxation can hope to bridge the gap?

    Under Obama’s spending spree (oh He, the one who said he’d cut the debt in half) the debt has now reached a point where taking EVERY DOLLAR of EVERY AMERICAN, rich OR POOR, would not repay the debt. The national debt– just the national debt, mind you, not including state and municipal debts and unfunded liabilities such as Social Security, is at 16 trillion dollars. Unfunded liabilities are 121 trillion.

    Do you realize that they are on QE3, now printing some 40 billion dollars A MONTH indefinitely? They have to do this, because there is no money. Receipts are around 2 trillion. Obama’s ‘budget’ is 3.5 trillion a year. http://www.usdebtclock.org/

    Now liberals here clearly think there is a cause: George Bush. So, it should not be the case that anyone should think these things are random manifestations, and yet they do.

    Of course I am perfectly open to the possibility that the ‘economy might get better,’ whatever that means in this context. Let’s pretend for a moment that things stabilize; housing prices rise, lending loosens, the value of the dollar strengthens, employment improves, etc. Let’s even pretend that this happens with Obama racking up 1.5 trillion in debt a year and printing of trillions of dollars to lend ourselves the money to bridge the deficit. The debt is still outstanding; I fail to see how handing my children a 30-50 trillion dollar debt that THEY have to pay is an ‘improvement.’ (That’s just the debt, multiplied out a decade or so until they are of tax paying age) That’s why I asked about time frame; I don’t see a momentary steadying as anything to write home about.

    “If you’re talking about equating secular humanism with Stalinism then, well, more about that below….”

    In terms of solitary, uncontested control of an economy. Not ideology.

    “But I digress, slightly–did you not recently have a whole bunch of rioting regarding austerity measures?”

    “Poverty, deprivation, social exclusion, and the metropolitan police’s relationship to young minority men were all factors. More recently we had demonstrations against austerity measures which had very isolated incidents of violent behaviour, which are not uncommon in any large gathering of people.”

    Riiiiiight. :)

    And what about the story of your Health services paying to end people’s lives early? I understand that is in an investigative stage. If true (and come on, you know its going to end up being true), how do you feel about that? Isn’t that consistent with my assessment about the culture of death, seeing death as a solution to our problems, in this case economic ones? Have you any thought about the worldview of people who would advocate and actually do such things?

    “And re: this “culture of death” thing, you and I are going to have a proper chat about that one of these days”

    I look forward to it. Good luck. You’re going to need it. ;)

    “Now you and I will both know that that isn’t a fair argument, but I hope that by making it I will demonstrate to you that doing precisely the same thing with secular humanism is beneath you.”

    Making an argument and having it backed up by facts and figures and reason are entirely different things. It is just factually indisputable that certain philosophies led to certain outcomes. Plus, you seem to forget that one of my personal points is not that your worldview necessarily becomes any particular thing, but rather it can equally become any damned thing it wants, with equal weight and authority. (I hear use ‘damned’ in the theological sense.)

    A biblical worldview has constraints built into it. Your worldview, by definition, is wholly unconstrained. If there are constraints, they are not absolute (which means they aren’t constraints at all), and are nothing more than social contracts. And different societies, can and have, altered their contracts to their liking. You might want to look at Gene Edward Veith’s “Modern Fascism” for some discussion, and documentation, of this. And to be clear, I do not mean that societies ‘accidentally’ went bad because they unknowingly embodied certain viewpoints. I mean they specifically said to themselves, “We can make things up as it suits us. Let’s do X!”

    For reference sake, I said ‘biblical worldview’ to highlight the fact that a conservative viewpoint is not necessarily biblical. There are conservative atheists… because it suits them.

    Ask Bradley Butterfield. He made this very argument in his reaction to my rebuttal of his editorial. It’s in the comment section of the La Crosse Tribune site.

    I’m glad that you are better than your worldview, Dannyboy, I really am, but that doesn’t mean your opinion of the implications of it are definitive. Every atheist is permitted to draw their own implications, and they do.

    When are you coming to America? I’d be thrilled to put you up for a couple of weeks. This summer would probably be good for me.

    ‘Not that I wish to discourage you from pointing out when individual liberals say or do stupid things, because that’s a valuable service.”

    Something tells me you googled Julian Savulescu. ;)

  5. Tony,

    “At the same time, millions of people who rejected Romney still voted for their GOP representative. This is all very weird. I don’t get it.”

    I agree that is odd.  Comfort of the familiar, maybe?  You can understand it in places like New Jersey recently, so maybe that’s it – people have seen at least some things they like from both their president AND their local representative over the last few years, but Romney remained a relative unknown.  If people are more focused on local than upon national politics then that could make sense.

    On the subject of your economic concerns, Cimics and I are just having a chat on that very theme on the discussion board.  Why not come over and join us?

    http://swordoftruth.us/shoot-the-bull/us-election-2012/msg48724/?topicseen#msg48724

    “And what about the story of your Health services paying to end people’s lives early? I understand that is in an investigative stage.”

    Do you have a link? I’m not aware of any Death Panels (TM) being suggested at present.

    “It is just factually indisputable that certain philosophies led to certain outcomes.”

    Only if everyone accepts your cherry-picking as authoritative historical scholarship.  Again, I can do that too.  You say that Darwinism led directly to Nazism (despite the fact that Darwin’s books were banned from libraries in the Third Reich), and completely ignore the influence of antisemitic Lutheranism in Germany at that time.  Why might you be less keen to focus on that factor I wonder?  And by contrast to Darwinism, copies of Martin Luther’s book “On the Jews and their Lies” were prominently displayed at the Nuremberg rallies.

    So, again, this game of Six Degrees of Adolph Hitler that you are fond of playing is little more than highly selective smear tactics masquerading as scholarship.

    “A biblical worldview has constraints built into it. Your worldview, by definition, is wholly unconstrained. If there are constraints, they are not absolute (which means they aren’t constraints at all), and are nothing more than social contracts.”

    The biblical worldview contains absolute constraints ONLY if the bible is true, so that is circular.

    “When are you coming to America? I’d be thrilled to put you up for a couple of weeks. This summer would probably be good for me.”

    A good friend of mine has been offered a six month visiting fellowship (starting in December) at Harvard, and we might be motivated to pay him a visit during that time.  What’s a flight from Boston to Wisconsin likely to cost me?

  6. “Do you have a link? I’m not aware of any Death Panels (TM) being suggested at present.”

    I figured it would be common knowledge to you, since you live there. But sure, I’m happy to provide some:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9644287/NHS-millions-for-controversial-care-pathway.html

    and this:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2219351/Three-THOUSAND-doctors-putting-patients-death-lists-single-allowed-die.html

    If these do not embody my descriptions of what constitutes a culture of death, I don’t know what will. Death is seen as an economic solution whereby it makes sense (from a national budgetary, point of view) to incentivize the freeing of beds by issuing targets and rewarding organizations that meet them. The same arguments employed for aborting pre-born and after-born children with disabilities is seen: they represent a burden to the state (er… I meant ‘the family’) and there is nothing except suffering in their future anyway, and what kind of society would waste money on lengthening suffering?

    Your approach to such examples in the past has been two-fold. 1., you deny that what I’m describing is actually happening and 2., the thing you deny is happening you then proceed to justify. You can’t really have it both ways. In this case, it seems we can safely dispense with #1. The Telegraph seems to have some reliable information in hand. Shall we proceed to #2? Don’t bother, that’s not the point. The point is that in England they have come to a point where your government has decided that it makes monetary sense to move the elderly more quickly to death than to provide ‘free’ care until they die an ‘unfacilitated’, natural death.

    How did your country come to that point? I know the answer and have told you, but you don’t like it (because you are better than your worldview). On your view, I suppose it is just an anomaly that will be sorted out, but it has nothing to do with any philosophies or political perspectives, just disinterested science and purely compassionate motives. Believe that if you like if it helps you sleep at night, but as for me, my parents will never be exposed to an American-style LCP.

    “Only if everyone accepts your cherry-picking as authoritative historical scholarship.’

    There is no cherry-picking, dude. Unlike you, I’ve been reading the primary source material almost exclusively. That has always been my habit; I didn’t read about Eusebius, I actually READ Eusebius. With the great number of original texts available to read today, it is easy to read what people said. However, if you would like a good work-up, I’d suggest Richard Weikart’s “From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany.”

    Within it is a point that I have made to you and just made, but for whatever reason just won’t sink in, that Darwinism may not have led necessarily to the Holocaust, but it nonetheless did. There is just no question that it did, and yet you deny it. That’s just not my problem.

    “Again, I can do that too.”

    You’re going around your ‘cherry picking’ all wrong. Let me put you on the right track, and, gentleman as I am, I will attach a wager to it. You find me a single young earth creationist from 1865 to present who embraced, proposed, or help implement any eugenics-style philosophy or program, and I will personally contribute $200 to your trip to the states*

    “The biblical worldview contains absolute constraints ONLY if the bible is true, so that is circular.’

    Not quite, and you know it. The question centers on the adherents. A person is not lying if he thinks what he is saying is true, even if the statement is false. The bible might be false, but its adherents think its true, so if they are going to act on the worldview derived from the assumption it is true, the constraints are absolutely present for them which of course is precisely my point. See my wager above.

    If you would like to suggest to me that history is filled with people who have done things contrary to the whole testimony of the Bible, acting as though they didn’t actually think it was true, I would be thrilled. ;) That would be your concession that despite your years of complaining otherwise, Biblical interpretation is not as subjective as you say. In fact, your statement above comes close: your statement, “ONLY if the bible is true”, though false (but not a lie, since you believe it!) implies that you recognize that certain conclusions can and cannot follow from that premise. There are boundaries and limits; there are none for your worldview except fear and self-interest: fear that if you act on a particular inclination your fellow man will incarcerate or kill you. Immoral=that which will get you killed.

    If the entire human race were extinguished by a meteor, leaving only you and one other person on a deserted island with only enough food for one of you (ala, a Malthus moment!), and you killed him, you would not be ‘wrong’ to do so. If the two remaining people were Christians who believed the Bible with their heart and soul, they’d both die of starvation than commit murder.

    “What’s a flight from Boston to Wisconsin likely to cost me?’

    That would rock. *Looks like $200 from Boston to Milwaukee, but you need not worry about it, because you’re going to find me a young earth creationist who backed Hitler or Stalin or Mao or Margaret Sanger, etc, etc… )

  7. Tony,

    Your second delivery of finely-crafted, individually-tailored fish-slappery (in a single month!) has now arrived.  Truly you are on a roll!  Brace for impact.

    NHS “death panels”:

    Oh NO you di’ent!  :-)  You’re in MY house now.   Heheh

    The Liverpool Care Pathway, if you read it and not the opportunistically manufactured outrage of the right-wing tabloids, is a guide to the care of the dying aimed at reducing the suffering which can otherwise accompany a “natural” death.  There was no suggestion in either of the articles you linked to that its use is motivated by a desire to euthanise people who are “burden” on society, if anything the contrary, because financial incentives have apparently been given to NHS Trusts (as they are for adherence to many other evidence-based methods of improving care) to promote its use – something that would presumably be unnecessary if it was massively cost-effective (and if British healthcare professionals such as myself were motivated mainly by cash).  So to suggest that it is employed with a view to saving money is as unwarranted as it is insulting.

    To give you an idea of the alternative, Mercy has worked in private ICUs in the past, where (provided the family can afford it) EVERY possible life-saving treatment is given regardless of the odds of success.  That might sound fine, but what it results in is patients who are far beyond the point of expressing any opinion apart from feeble moans, who are riddled with horrifying cancers and would die near-instantaneously if treatment was withdrawn, are subjected to radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and all manner of invasive and painful procedures which in reality have zero chance of doing anything other than causing them pain.  For me, that is almost the definition of torture.  So, the LCP aims to ease the suffering of people who are going to die very unpleasantly without it.  That may not be what you want for yourself or any of your family (although if one of them makes an advance directive the decision would not be in your hands, any more than a Jehovah’s Witness can refuse a vital blood transfusion for his atheist brother), but it is not anything like what you are implying.

    “If these do not embody my descriptions of what constitutes a culture of death, I don’t know what will.”

    That to me illustrates the weakness of your case.

    Darwinism and the Holocaust:

    “Darwinism may not have led necessarily to the Holocaust, but it nonetheless did. There is just no question that it did, and yet you deny it.”

    Clearly there IS a question, and just re-asserting your already-stated position on this subject hardly qualifies as a useful rebuttal.  There may be no question that Darwinism chronologically preceded the Holocaust, but to act like there is no debate about a causal connection between the two seems like insecurity to me.  I also notice that you have, for the second or third time now in our history of discussing this topic, either ignored or chosen not to address other possible causative factors and evidence presented against your thesis.  Here is a link to the last time:

    http://swordoftruth.us/anthonys-blog-entries/blog-arguing-about-the-morality-of-a-thing-with-an-atheist-is-pointless/msg48432/#msg48432

    So, I’m here to tell you that there IS a question, and there IS a debate on this subject, but that you seem to be in the habit of ignoring it.

    A sporting wager:

    “You find me a single young earth creationist from 1865 to present who embraced, proposed, or help implement any eugenics-style philosophy or program, and I will personally contribute $200 to your trip to the states”

    Very generous.  Well, first of all we need to be clear about our definitions if there’s money on the line, and I think that you have been insufficiently careful with yours to avoid granting me at least some points, and therefore bucks, for what I am about to say.  In some respects you are engaging in rather a cheap trick by implying a moral reason for the lack of biblical literalists in the history of eugenics, when in reality a practical one is quite sufficient.  For exactly the same reason that Flat-Earth Society members would probably be under-represented in any group which advocated a social application of heliocentrism, YECs are not likely to flock to eugenics since they traditionally reject one of its major premises.  No assumption about the moral superiority of Flat-Earth doctrines is needed to understand why this is the case.  

    I discovered a possible overlap between these almost mutually exclusive viewpoints in the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement of the early 1900s, who were both pro-eugenics and also seriously fundamentalist (a lot of common ground with the KKK of the time as well), but I couldn’t find enough detail about their theological beliefs to know whether or not they were explicitly YEC.

    However, under the terms of the bet is included “any eugenics-style philosophy”, and that is where it all comes apart for you.  After all, what could be more in the spirit of eugenics than attempts to regulate people’s choice of who they want to marry and have kids with in the service of “racial purity”?  And what’s another name for that – segregation and anti-miscegenation laws, which I’m sorry to say YECs have historically been over-represented in the effort to enforce.  For a recent concrete example, I would cite Bob Jones University, which still teaches YEC and enforced a (biblically derived) ban on “inter-racial” dating for its students until the year 2000.

    Social Eugenics.  BOO-YAH!  :-)

    Now that’s got to be worth at least $100.

    Absolute constraints in biblical morality:

    “The bible might be false, but its adherents think its true, so if they are going to act on the worldview derived from the assumption it is true, the constraints are absolutely present for them which of course is precisely my point.”

    So, just to make sure that I am understanding you correctly – the absolute constraints of biblical morality are totally independent of whether or not God exists, but are instead contingent upon people merely believing that He does?  Absolute morality does not, therefore, derive from God (and cannot be used as an argument for God) but somehow emerges from a particular worldview, whether or not that worldview is factual?  This seems quite revolutionary.  Or have you just painted yourself into a corner to avoid the accusation of circularity?

    “There are boundaries and limits; there are none for your worldview except fear and self-interest”

    Seems like you and EB are experts on my worldview – there is nothing further for me to contribute (what would I know about it, after all!).  Still, I suppose that I do have the option of inventing a belief system involving a strict moral code with divine rewards and punishments, and if people actually believe it then the boundaries which it places upon them will necessarily be absolute ones, right?

    Forehand, backhand, forehand, backhand.  That, my friend, is a multi-slap.  I’m going to need a new fish.

    Dan

  8. By the way, would March be a terrible time for a visit from your point of view? I’m just looking at some other factors that might determine when was convenient for us to come over, and March has some things to recommend it.

  9. March is definitely better than sooner. When do you have to decide? Summer might be better for me, depending on things. But I would make March work.

    ———–

    “if anything the contrary, because financial incentives have apparently been given to NHS Trusts (as they are for adherence to many other evidence-based methods of improving care) to promote its use”

    Uh… obviously?

    “something that would presumably be unnecessary if it was massively cost-effective”

    I think you need to go back and re-read what you wrote. You’re not making sense. The cost-effective part would not be the pathway, per se, but in comparison to the costs if they were on different pathways. I’m not sure how you don’t grasp that.

    They are encouraging people by giving money–you agree on this–to put people on this pathway. That’s my point. That’s the end of the conversation.

    “To give you an idea of the alternative,”

    Hmmm, this sounds remarkably like what I said above:

    Your approach to such examples in the past has been two-fold. 1., you deny that what I’m describing is actually happening and 2., the thing you deny is happening you then proceed to justify.

    And like I said, in this case it is undeniable, and implied you would then proceed to justify it, which you are now doing, but as I said, is irrelevant. They are, as you said, paying the NIH trusts for putting people on the Liverpool pathway. Your words: “to promote its use.”

    Why does it need to be promoted if people are not dying to be put on it? baddabing baddaboom

    “Clearly there IS a question,”

    No, I’m pretty sure there isn’t. While I myself have been sticking primarily to source material, I am aware of a number of books on the topic and the ones that take your view are few and far between. Coincidentally, the ones who dissent are secular humanists who want to say all the same things that secular humanists said prior to 1940, but–quite sincerely–wish for different outcomes. In other words, atheist apologists.

    The truth is otherwise and easily demonstrable. If you didn’t have a vested interest in the subject, you wouldn’t care, and you wouldn’t be arguing with me about it.

    “So, I’m here to tell you that there IS a question, and there IS a debate on this subject, but that you seem to be in the habit of ignoring it.”

    Yea, I can appreciate that you think that, and probably sincerely, but the reason why I’ve ignored it is because it is so far detached from reality–I mean, the actual record does not support it in even the slightest–that there is no way further conversation can possibly bridge the gap in our views. The only remedy that I can see is A., you become a Christian or B., you dispense with ‘possible causative factors’ and conform yourself to the evidence. My telling you will not be helpful. You can lead a horse to water…

    But I do feel badly that you think I’ve been ignoring you and it pains me, you being my friend and all, to have to now confess that on this topic I think you are just completely out of touch with reality.

    And I have a personal policy about arguing with people who are out of touch with reality. I make an exception to you on a large number of issues, not only because of our friendship, but because in many other areas you (as it seems to me) really do try to wrestle with the facts of the universe as they really are. Have you read Mein Kampf lately? Ever?

    “I think that you have been insufficiently careful with yours to avoid granting me at least some points, and therefore bucks, for what I am about to say.”

    Au contraire. :) I have made wagers in the past and have not had to pay out yet. I note that it has never gone the other way. I mean, I put the wager out but it isn’t reciprocated. Ie, I bet $100 if it comes up heads, but no one gives me anything if it comes up tails. This is because people know that when I put money on the line they know I’m absolutely certain I am right, and THEY know I’m right.

    However, you should have noticed that the airfare and the wager are exactly the same. This is not coincidence. :) But I’m still going to make you work for it. :)

    “In some respects you are engaging in rather a cheap trick by implying a moral reason”

    Uh, no. It’s not a moral reason. It’s an intellectual reason. There are parameters that can be derived from the texts. If one feels bound by the texts they will be bound by the parameters. Whether or not it is ‘moral’ is only a secondary consideration on this view.

    “YECs are not likely to flock to eugenics since they traditionally reject one of its major premises.”

    I can’t keep it straight. Is it the case that the Bible can be made to say anything to anyone, or not? Of course, YECs DO reject the major premises, which is why the counter-attempt to make an argument by cherry-picking would be much more meaningful than your current attempt.

    And isn’t the flip side going to be true, too? Atheists are likely to flock to eugenics since they traditionally accept its major premises? The atheists that rejected eugenics pre-Hitler are few and far between. I encountered in my research maybe 2 or 3.

    “However, under the terms of the bet is included “any eugenics-style philosophy”, and that is where it all comes apart for you.”

    Let’s just make it simpler and use the definition of eugenics the one that they themselves used at the time:

    “Eugenics is the study of agencies under social control that may improve or impair the racial qualities of future generations, whether physically or mentally.”

    Does that help?

    “Now that’s got to be worth at least $100.”

    Let’s call it $50.

    “So, just to make sure that I am understanding you correctly – the absolute constraints of biblical morality are totally independent of whether or not God exists, but are instead contingent upon people merely believing that He does?”

    You are not understanding me at all. I’m not making an argument about biblical morality, its veracity, or its objective nature. I’m attacking your idea as stated here: “The biblical worldview contains absolute constraints ONLY if the bible is true, so that is circular.”

    A biblical worldview is by definition a worldview someone generates by virtue of trying to conform their beliefs and attitudes to those that are described in the Bible. For the purposes of responding to your point, the fact that I sincerely am trying to align my beliefs with those called for in the Bible is irrelevant to the question of its ultimate veracity. The Bible says not to steal, so I try not to steal. Is the Bible right or wrong in its assessment? It doesn’t matter right now, what matters is my beliefs and intention, and given those beliefs and intentions, naturally there are boundaries on my behaviors.

    “Seems like you and EB are experts on my worldview”

    Well, on the atheistic worldview. My whole point is that any individual atheist can do and believe whatever they want. They answer only to their own consciences, and mileage may vary. I wouldn’t claim to be an expert on any individual atheist’s worldview, because by definition that will very likely be the worldviews of a million people, many of whom have flatly contradictory notions (This atheist says evolution implies eugenics, this one says it doesn’t, etc). The real issue of concern overarches the particulars, and yea, I feel that I have expert knowledge on that.

    “I’m going to need a new fish.”

    If you believe so. :)

  10. Sorry, this: A biblical worldview is by definition a worldview someone generates by virtue of trying to conform their beliefs and attitudes to those that are described in the Bible.

    Should be this:

    A biblical worldview is by definition a worldview someone generates by virtue of trying to conform their beliefs and attitudes to those that are proscribed in the Bible.

    We must be careful with our words these days…

  11. I thought I should mention that I already know the other side of this LCP issue, so you don’t need to rehash it.

    http://www.nhs.uk/news/2012/11November/Pages/What-is-the-Liverpool-Care-Pathway.aspx

  12. Tony,

    Hopefully I’ll know more in the New Year about the Boston/Wisconsin trip, but I’ll keep you updated.

    You’re adding a lot of your own interpretation to the LCP issue and unjustly assuming that a possible side-effect of the pathway (i.e. financial savings) must be the major motivation of those who implement it.  The question of whether a particular healthcare intervention results in a net loss or saving is irrelevant to whether or not it is in a patients best interests to receive it, but you have apparently managed to convince yourself that it is the only issue we consider.

    You have also succeeded in hermetically sealing your opinion from criticism by preemptively delegitimising the sort of things that someone who, frankly, knows better than you on this issue might say to try and put you right on it, such as, “you’re wrong on the details of what is happening” and “here’s why what is actually happening is a good thing”.  If you want to respond to my corrections by just saying, effectively, “I knew you’d say that”, then okay, but don’t act like it’s a substantive response.

    “Why does it need to be promoted if people are not dying to be put on it? baddabing baddaboom”

    This is slightly ambiguous phrasing, but maybe that’s a British colloquial issue.  For example, I might say that I’m “dying to see Skyfall”, and mean only that I really want to.  I assume that you mean literally dying, and I’m afraid that this only indicates how little you have grasped the realities of the situation.  

    This sort of thing – that is, financial incentives given to NHS Trusts for their adherence to new treatment pathways for specific circumstances or conditions – happens all the time.  We had a new one recently for patients experiencing severe asthma attacks.  Standardising patient care to the level of the best available evidence-based practice is a good idea, because different doctors and nurses can have widely differing ideas, based upon clinical experience, of what works and what doesn’t in certain situations.  The idea that I, as a healthcare professional, might start applying our new asthma protocol to people who don’t really have asthma just because my Trust gets financial incentives for its use is EXACTLY as silly as your suggestion that the LCP is being enforced on people who aren’t actually dying for the same reasons.  That is, massively silly and slightly insulting.

    “I’m attacking your idea as stated here: ‘The biblical worldview contains absolute constraints ONLY if the bible is true, so that is circular.’”

    Well, perhaps we’re shooting past each other.  I understood your use of the phrase “absolute constraints” as meaning constraints which could not possibly be subjective or open to interpretation (in the same way as we might refer to absolute or objective morality).  What you appear rather to be saying is that the bible, viewed purely as a piece of literature, merely contains clear guidelines for human behaviour.

    That’s fine, and I am happy to analyse the bible in that way, I just don’t think it adds up because your approach to biblical interpretation does not appear to be very widely used.  Most Christians I have debated homosexuality with have cited Old Testament verses at me in support of their arguments.  The recently re-elected Judge Roy Moore famously wanted to put up a statue of the ten commandments in his courthouse, and plenty of Christians think that the Decalogue is or should be the basis for modern secular law.  It’s not up to me to tell these people that they need to consider the context, it’s up to you.

    Apart from that and other examples of how Christians seem to have trouble interpreting the bible in the same way that you do (muddying your claim to clear and unarguable prohibitions), there is also the issue of things apparently left out.  Would you say for example that the bible contains clear and absolute constraints against rape?  If so, can you show me where?

    On the subject of Darwinism allegedly leading to Nazism, it seems to me that since you have essentially declared yourself closed to any argumentation on this topic there is little point in me trying to set you right.  I maintain that this trope, not uncommon among Conservative Christians (who have written the overwhelming majority of the books arguing in favour of it) is a mendacious attempt to recruit the moral lessons of WW2 onto their side of the scientific and pseudoscientific debate over evolution.  I do agree that YECs were notably absent from the ranks of pre-war eugenics proponents, many of whom were secular humanists – a lesson which their modern equivalents should all register, but occasionally fail to do so, as you have demonstrated.  As I said, however, the YEC absence is unsurprising given that eugenics necessarily accepts (if only to distort) the theory of evolution, and YECs and conservative Christians have generally not distinguished themselves historically in rejecting other racist doctrines which didn’t require them to accept or understand modern science.

    Anyway, you already know what you think on this issue, so it may be that I’m talking to myself here.  However, in answer to your question:

    “Have you read Mein Kampf lately? Ever?”

    I hadn’t done so for a good long while, but just for you I upgraded and got myself the kindle edition* which allows a good deal of searching for particular terms.  The number of mentions of “God’s creation”, “the Almighty”, “Divine Providence”, “the Will of God” and “Christ” make the suggestion that Hitler was an atheist (not explicitly made by you that I am aware of, but certainly made by EB and others) utterly ridiculous.  Martin Luther gets one mention as a great inspiration and Darwin gets…. none.  In fact the main thing I take away from Mein Kampf is how thoroughly Hitler misunderstands evolutionary theory – possibly even more than you do! :-)

    Later buddy

    * – this has altered my Amazon “recommended” list in quite a disturbing way!

  13. “…make the suggestion that Hitler was an atheist (not explicitly made by you that I am aware of, but certainly made by EB and others) utterly ridiculous.”

    Have to step in and correct this statement. I don’t believe I’ve ever suggested Hitler himself was an ‘atheist.’ I’ve suggested that Hitler was opperating under ‘secular and evolutionary’ principles more than religious ones (or if ‘religious’ they definitely weren’t “Christian” ones). Given you seem to acknowledge evolutionary principles were in play in his outlook, this seems to be a concession on your part. That you think Hitler suffered from a “misunderstanding” is just your post 1940s interpretation where evolutionary theory was reworked to make it sound more PC after the piles of bodies were counted. He acted pretty consistently to the evolutionary theory as it was promoted at the time. That you think it’s ‘wrong’ is irrelevant.

    The fact that such things are more often than not accepted/promoted under atheism just highlights how such behaviours and ideals fit right into an atheistic worldview (certainly there’s nothing inherent in it that prohibits them). But as SJ noted, pretty much anything does.

  14. EB,

    And I quote:

    “I’m glad your at least not one of those “Hitler was a Christian!” raving atheists. True Hitler was more a pragmatic than a positive atheist (even the notion that Hitler dabbled in the occult, though popular, is flimsy), but it can be said that Hitler was very secular.” – Re: This Shooter Should have been Stopped at the door
    « Reply #96 on: February 23, 2008, 02:41:57 AM »

    http://swordoftruth.us/philosophy-history-and-more/this-shooter-should-have-been-stopped-at-the-door/80/

  15. Riiiight. A statement made four years ago that even then acknowledged it wasn’t the New Age kind of atheism, and still emphasized then that his outlook was more secular than Christian.

    Frankly I don’t even consider ‘pragmatic atheism’ entirely inaccurate either. For all Hitler can envoke ‘God’ as a (self-applied) slap-on stamp of approval, he certainly didn’t live in adherence to any authoritative scriptures, but his own. One could probably even say the same for those who call themselves ‘Liberal Christians.’ They acknowledge and envoke ‘God’ and ‘Christ’ in their heads and at church, but the rest of the year they live no differently than atheists who reject the Bible wholesale.

  16. EB,

    So – just to be clear – I cited you, in the course of a conversation with Tony, as an example of someone who had said that Hitler was an atheist. You chipped in and said that you didn’t believe that you had ever done so. I quoted you explicitly referring to Hitler as an atheist, and you dismiss it on the basis that it was “four years ago” and didn’t imply “New Age atheism”, whatever that is supposed to mean.

    As far as I can tell, my original point still stands, yes?

  17. “So – just to be clear – I cited you, in the course of a conversation with Tony, as an example of someone who had said that Hitler was an atheist. You chipped in and said that you didn’t believe that you had ever done so. I quoted you explicitly referring to Hitler as an atheist, and you dismiss it on the basis that it was “four years ago” and didn’t imply “New Age atheism”, whatever that is supposed to mean.”

    Well it being four years ago (has it really been THAT long?), would explain why I didn’t believe I made such a statement. Pointing out my exact words were “pragmatic atheist” shows you didn’t/don’t really understand my position and so are mistaken (but you didn’t lie ;)). Where Hitler fell exactly on the ideological line is something I doubt anyone, but God knows. I just know that there is no evidence of devoutness that I’ve seen. At least none to anything but himself, and isn’t that more like an atheist than anything else?

    “As far as I can tell, my original point still stands, yes?”

    Not really, no. What’s your point? ‘Hilter said ‘God,’ so that must mean atheism/evolution/secularism/whateverDBsupports can’t have been fundamental in the horrors of the 20th century.’ That the gist? How many times do you think you’ve written ‘God’ or ‘Creator of the universe’ for a word search, DB? I’ve checked. Quite a bit. Are we then to now say you are not an atheist? Has progress finally been made? ;)

    As for my views on the matter, I’m well aware Hitler’s personal beliefs were much like yours in that it was a mix n’ mesh of different (if not outright contradicting) sets of principles and ideologies (evolution/Dawrinism being a primary one) that was/is just picked and choosen randomly to justify whatever outlook an individual is looking to have, and what the person’s relative concious allows. Difference is one can get away with that sort of thing under atheism. Theism doesn’t inherently offer quite that much lattitude, and Christainity definetly doesn’t.

  18. “Where Hitler fell exactly on the ideological line is something I doubt anyone, but God knows.”

    Except for the fact that when it suits your smear-by-association sub-arguments you will happily pretend to have sufficient knowledge of Hitler’s precise beliefs to declaim about exactly what KIND of atheist he was, as seen in the bit I just quoted. My position in this debate is only to point out how flimsy is the evidence for Hitler’s alleged atheist/Darwinian influences and how narrowly partisan and propagandistic are the motives of those making this argument in the patently-false guise of objectivity.

    As to how many times I have written “God” or “Creator of the universe” into google or whatever, that is totally irrelevant to Hitler’s explicit and repeated invocation of the divine on his side of the moral argument, because I can assure you that I have never done that. To suggest an equivalence there is feeble at best.

    And again, despite your earlier seemingly-sensible recognition that nobody can know with certainty what his exact views were, you are confident enough to say that you are “well aware that Hitler’s personal beliefs were much like” mine. I can only assume that the sheer intellectual laziness of the arguments you are making has deadened your ability to register contradictions between things you say in near-adjacent sentences.

    Again, while this argument that Hitler’s major influence was Charles Darwin (someone who, to the best of my knowledge, he never expressed the slightest awareness of in speech or writing) is a couple of intellectual steps above playground name-calling, it’s intent and moral callibre are basically the same. You demonstrate that very well.

  19. “Except for the fact that when it suits your smear-by-association sub-arguments you will happily pretend to have sufficient knowledge of Hitler’s precise beliefs to declaim about exactly what KIND of atheist he was, as seen in the bit I just quoted.”

    No, just sufficient knowledge of Hitler’s arguments and actions to reflect what belief they best could be described under.

    “My position in this debate is only to point out how flimsy is the evidence for Hitler’s alleged atheist/Darwinian influences and how narrowly partisan and propagandistic are the motives of those making this argument in the patently-false guise of objectivity.”

    That’s fine. As SJ has noted, your position can be as far detached from reality as you like to be. Because your arguments and attitude can hardly be called nonpartisan or objective either.

    “As to how many times I have written “God” or “Creator of the universe” into google or whatever, that is totally irrelevant to Hitler’s explicit and repeated invocation of the divine on his side of the moral argument, because I can assure you that I have never done that. To suggest an equivalence there is feeble at best.”

    Here is what your argument amounts to DB:

    The statement is made – “In the constant competition over finite resources we must invade, subjegate, and if necessary exterminate the savage and backwards populations of Asia in order to further the growth and propserity of our more civilized people and society. I’m sure Gandhi would agree with me.”

    Your reaction – ‘Evolution had nothing to do with that satement! I don’t see “Darwin” mentioned anywhere in it! What I do see is ‘Gandhi’ invoked on his moral side! Gandhism is responsible, evolution was totally distorted and misunderstood!’

    Thin, Db. Very, very thin.

    “And again, despite your earlier seemingly-sensible recognition that nobody can know with certainty what his exact views were, you are confident enough to say that you are “well aware that Hitler’s personal beliefs were much like” mine. I can only assume that the sheer intellectual laziness of the arguments you are making has deadened your ability to register contradictions between things you say in near-adjacent sentences.”

    Well the sheer laziness in your reading skills hasn’t done you much good either. I said no one could know EXACTLY. That doesn’t mean one can’t know with certainty where the views were in more general terms. You’d also may have missed that I wasn’t making comparisons between personal views, but on general attitudes and approaches on shaping and justifying those views. Some let the facts and reality shape their beliefs, others shape the facts and reality to fit in theirs already chosen.

    “Again, while this argument that Hitler’s major influence was Charles Darwin (someone who, to the best of my knowledge, he never expressed the slightest awareness of in speech or writing) is a couple of intellectual steps above playground name-calling, it’s intent and moral callibre are basically the same. You demonstrate that very well.”

    Yeah, it’s your inability (or willful choice) to recognize it’s not Charles Darwin personally, but Darwinism/evolution that we’re agruing was a major influence in justifying what followed in the 1900s that lets us see where your head is stuck at, and how SJs policy about further conversation being a waist of time is so sensible.

  20. You’re wasting your pixels, Danny. EB has a thing about admitting he was wrong. And by “thing” I mean chronic aversion.

    I just have two comments for Tony:

    1
    In your analysis of swing voters, have you allowed for voter turnout? That is, are you sure it’s the same voters that swing back and forth, or apathetic voters that only make an appearance every eight years? (not a trick question)

    2
    “The only difference between a dog and a human is that when a dog returns to its vomit, the dog knows what it is eating.”

    I’m not sure you’ve fully thought that through. :-)

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