I’m Michael, and this is my blog for flogging humanism and its corollaries. By that, I mean things like existentialism, leftism, feminism, naturalism, scientism, and statism.* None of those line up very well with Biblical revelation—which precedes humanism anyway.
Subject-wise, this blog deals with religion and politics, along with some philosophy, public policy, rhetoric, and science.
Back to the corollaries, there was a time when I didn’t know what they meant. When it came to debates, supporters of the corollaries sounded convincing in their arguments. But as time went on, I realised that a fair bit of what they said was just rhetoric. In hindsight, their rhetoric deserves a good flogging.
With my blogging style, I’ll usually post a quotation (often reassuring or religious). Other times, I’ll begin with a discouraging or humanistic one, then challenge it with a reassuring one. Occasionally I’ll also post miscellaneous quotes that are unrelated to the theme of this blog.
Death to humanism!
* Existentialism can be characterised as:
- Thus, there is no human nature, because there is no God to have a conception of it. Man simply is. Not that he is simply what he conceives himself to be, but he is what he wills, and as he conceives himself after already existing – as he wills to be after that leap towards existence. Man is nothing else but that which he makes of himself. That is the first principle of existentialism…Life is nothing until it is lived; but it is yours to make sense of, and the value of it is nothing else but the sense that you choose….Existentialism is nothing else but an attempt to draw the full conclusions from a consistently atheistic position.
- Existentialism, on the other hand, is similar to this because in the same way that a set of characteristics renders existence, existentialism proposes that a person’s actions and free will determine their development and meaning to exist. For existentialists, a set of individual actions determines existence. So, in the same way that essentialists believe a set of properties render existance, existentialists believe a set of actions render existence.
Feminism can be characterised as:
- Thirty-five years ago, the women’s liberation movement raised the hopes and expectations of a generation of women. This movement challenged the prevailing notion that women were supposed to spend their entire lives engaged in housework and raising children. It demanded equal pay for women in the workplace, publicly funded child care, and the legalization of abortion…Despite the stresses of working and raising children, the fact that women work outside the home and the weakening of the traditional nuclear family are steps forward for women.
- In his chapter on gender in The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature, Penguin 2002, Steven Pinker explains the distinction: “Equity feminism is a moral doctrine about equal treatment that makes no commitments regarding open empirical issues in psychology or biology. Gender feminism is an empirical doctrine committed to three claims about human nature. The first is that the differences between men and women have nothing to do with biology but are socially constructed in their entirety. The second is that humans possess a single social motive — power — and that social life can be understood only in terms of how it is exercised. The third is that human interactions arise not from the motives of people dealing with each other as individuals but from the motives of groups dealing with other groups—in this case, the male gender dominating the female gender. (p. 341).
Humanism can be characterised as:
- Stephen Law explores how humanism uses science and reason to make sense of the world, looking at how it encourages individual moral responsibility and shows that life can have meaning without religion. Challenging some of the common misconceptions, he seeks to dispute the claims that atheism and humanism are ‘faith positions’ and that without God there can be no morality and our lives are left without purpose. Looking at the history of humanism and its development as a philosophical alternative, he examines the arguments for and against the existence of God, and explores the role humanism plays in moral and secular societies, as well as in moral and religious education. Using humanism to determine the meaning of life, he shows that there is a positive alternative to traditional religious belief.
- As humanists, our main goal is for the advancement of equality and human rights, while straying away from supernatural entities as well as thoughts of the afterlife. Our reliance, is on each-other as we do not believe in a divine supervisor who oversees us in our life and after we die.
Leftism can be characterised as:
- And thus the same secular-progressive movement that fought for free speech in the Sixties wrote the first speech codes in the late Eighties and then raised the Millennial social-justice warriors who now are turning on their parents’ generation as insufficiently faithful to the cause. The revolutionaries had to take down their competitors, those with competing transcendent ideas. Their easiest target was Christianity. At each step in the process, the revolutionaries had to take down their competitors, those with competing transcendent ideas. Their easiest target was Christianity. It was a simple matter to unite the academic-freedom Left and the social-justice Left in common cause against the traditionalist faithful. While secular civil libertarians rebelled against outright censorship of Christians, they enthusiastically participated in the mockery and malice aimed at Christian expression, with the goal of stigmatizing it and relegating it to the margins of university discourse.
Naturalism can be characterised as:
- Naturalism is a philosophy stating that God does not have anything to do with the universe, about which science, as a non-theistic (rather than anti-theistic) enterprise, can say nothing.
- First, naturalism is committed to a methodological principle within the context of scientific inquiry; i.e., all hypotheses and events are to be explained and tested by reference to natural causes and events. To introduce a supernatural or transcendental cause within science is to depart from naturalistic explanations. On this ground, to invoke an intelligent designer or creator is inadmissible….
Scientism can be characterised as:
- When properly employed, the term ‘scientism’ means the following. Scientism is a philosophical thesis that belongs to the sub-discipline of epistemology. It is not a thesis in science, but a thesis about science. The thesis in its strongest form is that the only genuine knowledge is scientific knowledge, the knowledge generated by the (hard) sciences of physics, chemistry, biology and their offshoots. The thesis in a weaker form allows some cognitive value to the social sciences, the humanities, and other subjects, but insists that scientific knowledge is vastly superior and authoritative and is as it were the ‘gold standard’ when it comes to knowledge. On either strong or weak scientism, there is no room for first philosophy, according to which philosophy is an autonomous discipline, independent of natural science, and authoritative in respect to it. So on scientism, natural science sets the standard in matters epistemic, and philosophy’s role is at best ancillary…The question whether the only genuine knowledge is scientific knowledge is not an empirical question.
- Now imagine if we could do for moral information, what we have been able to do for physics. Imagine if we could have a moral theory that is not different from philosopher to philosopher, or prophet to prophet. The scientific method gives us the hope of something we have never had. It gives us the hope of someday finding a moral theory that is the same for all of humanity.
Statism can be characterised as:
- There is no doubt as to the power of a State, having a high responsibility for education of its citizens, to impose reasonable regulations for the control and duration of basic education. Providing public schools ranks at the very apex of the function of a State.
- Well, could religion be reasonably viewed as a hobby? Obviously not. It cuts too deep. Religion addresses the ultimate questions, the questions as to why we exist, what we exist for, and how we ought to live. It purports to provide meaning to an otherwise meaningless existence. Religions make total claims on the lives of their adherents, and those who take their religion seriously apply it to every aspect of their lives: it is not something that can be hived off from the rest of one’s life like a hobby.It is because of this total claim that religions make to provide ultimate understanding, meaning, and directives for action that puts it at odds with the totalizing and the fully totalitarian state. The ever-expanding, all-controlling centralized state will brook no competitors when it comes to the provision of the worldview that will guide and structure our lives.
Quote sources for existentialism
- Satre, J. (1946). Existentialism is a Humanism. Available http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/sartre/works/exist/sartre.htm. Last accessed 7th Jan 2014.
- Morrison, M. (2009). The Struggle for Existence: Essentialism of Existentialism. Available http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/3821. Last accessed 7th Jan 2014.
Quote sources for feminism
- Roesch, J. (2004). Turning Back the Clock? Women, Work and Family Today. Available http://www.isreview.org/issues/38/women_family.shtml. last accessed 7th Jan 2014
- Vallicella, B. (2011). The Absurdity of Gender Feminism. Available http://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com/maverick_philosopher/2011/06/the-absurdity-of-gender-feminism.html. Last accessed 7th Jan 2014.
Quote sources for humanism
- Law, S. (2011). Humanism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. Available http://books.google.com.au/books/about/Humanism_A_Very_Short_Introduction.html?id=Cmf2RL3YDDYC&redir_esc=y. Last accessed 1st Jan 2015.
- Cook, B. (2014). From Atheism to Humanism. The Course of Reason. Available http://www.centerforinquiry.net/oncampus/blog/entry/from_atheism_to_humanism/. Last accessed 25th Jul 2015.
Quote sources for leftism
- French, D. (2015). The Ferocious Religious Faith of the Campus Social-Justice Warrior. National Review. Available http://www.nationalreview.com/article/427523/religious-zealots-campus-social-justice-warriors. Last accessed 23rd Dec 2016.
Quote sources for naturalism
- Scott, E. (1993). “Darwin Prosecuted: Darwin On Trial by Phillip E. Johnson, 1991” [book review] in Creation/Evolution, Vol. 13, No. 2, p. 41. Available http://ncse.com/files/pub/CEJ/pdfs/CEJ_33.pdf. Last accessed 7th Jan 2014.
- Kurtz, P. (1998). “Darwin Re-Crucified: Why Are So Many Afraid of Naturalism?” in Free Inquiry, Spring 1998.
Quote sources for scientism
- Vallicella, B. (2012). What is Left for Philosophy to Do? Available http://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com/maverick_philosopher/2012/09/what-is-left-for-philosophy-to-do.html. Last accessed 7th Jan 2014.
- John, A. (2009). Morality and the Scientific Method. Available http://www.science20.com/moral_bytes/blog/morality_and_scientific_method_0. Last accessed 7th Jan 2014.
Quote sources for statism
- Supreme Court of the United States cited in Reich, R. (2002). Testing the Boundaries of Parental Authority Over Education: The Case of Homeschooling. Available http://www.hks.harvard.edu/m-rcbg/youngfaculty/papers/Homeschooling2002.pdf. Last accessed 15th Jan 2014.
- Vallicella, B. (2014). Why has the Left ‘Gone Ballistic’ over Hobby Lobby? Maverick Philosopher. Available http://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com/maverick_philosopher/2014/07/why-has-the-left-gone-ballistic-over-hobby-lobby.html. Last accessed 1st Jan 2015.
I moderate my comments, and I do this because:
- The internet is too big to please everyone. (And there are plenty of people out there who aren’t worth pleasing.) Find your own village and give them what they’re looking for. You’ll find that they happily come back for more.
- I bait my hook and cast it out into the vasty deeps of cyberspace. I have managed to snag many interesting, high-quality ‘fish.’….Comment moderation keeps the bottom-feeders and scum-suckers at bay.
- If a man’s home is his castle, then his blog is his cybercastle. And just as you wouldn’t allow just anyone into your castle, I don’t allow just anyone into my cybercastle.
I adopted these sentiments from:
- Simone, S. (2009). The Oscar the Grouch Guide to Building a More Remarkable Blog. Available: http://www.copyblogger.com/oscar-the-grouch/. Last accessed 7th Jan 2014.
- Vallicella, B. (2012). Thoughts on Blogging. Available http://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com/maverick_philosopher/2012/07/thoughts-on-blogging.html. Last accessed 7th Jan 2014.
- Vallicella, B. (2009). Allow Comments or Not?Available http://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com/maverick_philosopher/2009/08/allow-comments-or-not.html. Last accessed 7th Jan 2014.