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Atheist Response to The Toy Story Gospel

A while back I posted a blog on the ‘Gospel according to Toy Story.’  It has generated an atheist response.

I am afraid to say the blogger needs to go back to the drawing board.  He was greatly confused about what I actually said and so much of his reply just doesn’t fit what I was saying.

For example, he said that I presented Toy Story as a Christian allegory.  I did no such thing.  I said that it had theological themes.  There is a big difference there.  So, the blogger kept thinking I was trying to interpret the whole movie as some sort of intentional Christian metanarrative.  This just isn’t the case.  I detected one particular theme… and recognized that it was theological in nature.

This alone would shave about 8 paragraphs off his response.  🙂

Another confusion is in his assessment of my assessment of Objectivism.  Here I suppose there may have been a lack of clarity on my part- or he just read too fast.  The part in question is where I said:

“If Toy Story were written to reflect modern secular humanistic relativistic atheistic worldviews, Buzz would have decided that he was a real Buzz Lightyear if he said he was… ie, prestigious in his own eyes, if the important thing is that we value our individual selves (ala Objectivism).”

The blogger seems to think that my entire post was framed against Objectivism.  In fact, the only think the Objectivism reference was related to is the supreme value that Objectivists give to ‘our individual selves.’  See Rand’s Anthem as the epitome of just that.

The rest of my post discussing value assignment, reality, etc, is not meant to be constrasted with Objectivism.  Objectivism is simply a subclass of atheism where I thought the ‘final value regress’ issue was highlighted with clarity.

So that’s another 8 paragraphs off his response.  🙂

The substantial claims of my post remain unaddressed.  Or if they are addressed, they are embedded in the confusions named above.

For example, one of my central claims was:

In the ‘First Mover’ argument, cause and effect is tracked back to a final regress.  ….  This argument is similar.  If who assigns value can regress infinitely, then value and meaning are fundamentally meaningless terms.  Eventually you must come to a point where a thing has value without it being assigned by someone else or some other entity.

As far as objections to the Prime Mover argument goes, the response as far back as Hume is that if one must posit such a thing for cause and effect, why not simply stop with the universe?  Why go on to ‘God.’  Can the same objection be made to the ‘Prime Value Instiller’ argument?  If so, the final regress would stop in just two possible places:  the individual human himself or the collective society of humans.

The latter sentence is the atheistic situation.  Most atheists choose to ground value and morality in the collective one way or another while a smaller set- the Objectivists- make the individual human the ‘final regress.’

My assertion is that on either view, the value assignment is utterly meaningless.  Humans, individually or collectively, are pitiful places to ground all value, morality, and meaning.  The universe would be better- if it were sentient.  Since it isn’t, why not God?  😉

This assertion is not taken up by the blogger.  Perhaps now that we have sorted out the real point of my entry, he can return to the question with the same vigor as he did before.



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  1. Humans, individually or collectively, are pitiful places to ground all value, morality, and meaning.

    This is pure opinion, without evidentiary or philosophical support. It’s clear that you (individually) do not like grounding value in human beings, but so what? That’s just an individual human judgment; by your own assertion a pitiful place to ground value, much less epistemic support.

    The universe would be better- if it were sentient. Since it isn’t, why not God?

    Again, you are substituting individual human judgment (“better”) for a rigorous epistemic basis. Whether a sentient universe or the existence of God would be better or worse — in your judgment or mine — seems irrelevant: it either is or is not, regardless of our opinion and preference.

    • Anthony on May 13, 2009 at 8:38 am

    “This is pure opinion, without evidentiary or philosophical support.”

    Oh, I’m sorry. Did I fail to include a philosophical treatise to defend all of my comments? My bad. Gee, what was I thinking? Every blog entry should anticipate every objection and clarification that any reader might have. 900 paragraphs later, people will still read it, eh?

    Thanks for visiting my blog, Bum, but while you’re here, try not to be ridiculous.

    There is a good reason why I did not expound on my assertion at length. A charitable and careful reading of the entry would have revealed it to you. I was merely pointing out that the respondent missed the real point of my original entry and was giving him an opportunity to respond to it.

    Good grief.

    “It’s clear that you (individually) do not like grounding value in human beings, but so what?”

    All this proves is that I was right: atheists must ground value assignment in humans, either individually or collectively.

    To turn to your own assertions, if value is grounded in human beings, then just as my assertion is ‘pure opinion’ so is yours. My opinion is just as valid as yours. The idea that there is a hard distinction between ‘individual human judgment’ and ‘rigorous epistemology’ does not seem irrelevant- it is irrelevant. If values reduce to humans then I as a human have as much right as anyone else to value whatever I want. ‘Rigorous epistemology’ has nothing to do with it and is just a smokescreen.

    You may like grounding value in human beings, but so what? That’s just an individual human judgment. Where is your evidentiary or philosophical support? I want your 80 page paper on my desk, NOW!

    The point: if you desire that I address something in more detail, just ask. That’s the courteous thing to do.

    Again, welcome. 🙂

  2. Since it isn’t, why not God?

    Because God doesn’t exist!

    I’ve watched Toy Story and Toy Story 2 enough to realize that it was intended as a fun movie about toys, and I find this theistic debate surrounding it very amusing indeed.

    • Anthony on July 13, 2010 at 1:53 am

    Intent is irrelevant.

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