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Friday, May 04, 2012

The "skeptic" confesses

After all of his endless babbling about the necessity of uncertainty and the terrible dangers of certainty, to say nothing of his attempts to criticize others on the basis of their presumed certainty, the Prince of Wängst finally comes clean and admits that he is not, in fact, the skeptic he presents himself as being:
I’m a skeptical naturalist. Have been for quite some time now.... The fact is, I am dogmatic. I do have unwavering faith in a set of claims. I may affect suspicion of them, but FAPP, I use them as apodictic truths. So what are they? Since you can only criticize explicit assumptions, it would probably be a good idea to enumerate them here, if only to make the shape of my bias clear.

The No-Dogma Dogma

1) Not all claims are equal.

2) The world is ambiguous because it is supercomplex.

3) Humans are cognitive egoists. We are hardwired to unconsciously game ambiguities to our own advantage – to make scripture out of habit and self-interest.

4) Humans are theoretical morons. We are hardwired for groundless belief in invisible things.

5) The feeling of certainty is a bloody pathological liar.

6) Science is a social cognitive prosthetic, an institution that, when functioning properly, lets us see past our manifold cognitive shortcomings, and produce theoretical knowledge.

7) Contemporary culture, by and large, is bent on concealing the fact of 2, 3, 4, and 5.

These are the biggies, I think, the one’s that trouble me the most because I seem to repeat them ad nauseum.
It's not exactly up there with the Golden Rule or the Ten Commandments, but at least it's something, even if they are no more intrinsically valid postulates than "God created the Heavens and the Earth" or "The world rests upon the shell of a giant turtle". What his dogma reveals is that he's just another incoherent science fetishist wrapped up in philosopher's clothing, which is pretty much what I've been pointing out since last August. The thing is, even when Bakker is coming clean, he's still attempting to strike philosophical poses, as there is absolutely no justification for claiming that his dogma is "No-Dogma". But let's look at his seven claims.

1) Observably and logically true.
2) Begs the question and debatable at best. Complexity does not necessitate ambiguity.
3) Perhaps, but hardly a certainty. And is contradicted by four.
4) False. Most people are idiots whose actions are not in accordance with their objectives, but not all of them. One wonders what his metric is for supporting the claim of theoretical moronism. If it's the philosophical definition of knowledge, then we know his claim is false.
5) Trivially true. What feeling is reliable? One seldom sees anyone building bridges using their feelings as a guide.
6) False. Science doesn't allow us to see past our "cognitive shortcomings", but rather, acts as a force multiplier for them.
7) False. To the extent contemporary culture is bent on concealing anything, which strictly speaking, doesn't even make sense, it is demonstrably much more focused on 1 and 5 than any of the others.

It must be admitted that FAPP is an excellent description of Wängsty's No-Dogma Dogma, especially if one loses the second P. And those with sufficient recall will no doubt note that none of this serves as any rational basis for claiming that certainty is more dangerous, or less moral, than uncertainty.

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33 Comments:

Anonymous The One May 04, 2012 6:49 AM  

As usual the emperor has no clothes. People will continue to claim what they are not in order to further an agenda.

Anonymous Cornucopia May 04, 2012 8:01 AM  

the Prince of Wängst finally comes clean and admits

Finally, as in it's in his July 2010 archive?

Anonymous Koanic May 04, 2012 8:08 AM  

Y'know, one of the best things about Mortal Kombat was the finishing moves. The problem around here is I'm never quite sure when Vox is done.

Though I suppose the whole Hannibal Lecter thing has its charm.

Anonymous Faust May 04, 2012 8:12 AM  

Vox-

Can you explain more how 3 contradicts 4? I don't know if I see a contradiction between "being hardwired to believe in invisible things" and "being hardwired to game ambiguities to our own advantage."

Anonymous Wendy May 04, 2012 8:22 AM  

One wonders what his metric is for supporting the claim of theoretical moronism.

Looking in the mirror?

Blogger Vox May 04, 2012 8:32 AM  

Finally, as in it's in his July 2010 archive?

And he's been going on and on about the importance of uncertainty, the evils of certainty, and otherwise posing as a skeptic since I first encountered him in the summer of 2011.

Blogger Vox May 04, 2012 8:37 AM  

Can you explain more how 3 contradicts 4?

So, we're morons who nevertheless manage to unconsciously game ambiguities to our own advantage... or if you prefer, our groundless belief in invisible things is somehow reliably to our benefit. The one doesn't absolutely preclude the other, but they are in general opposition.

After all, if it is to our material advantage, then how groundless and moronic can it be?

Anonymous Paul Sacramento May 04, 2012 8:59 AM  

Skeptics tend to be only skeptical of the things they disagree with.
That makes them bias and slaves to "selective skepticism".

Anonymous Clay May 04, 2012 9:01 AM  

Sneak-peek of the Vox / Nate debate:

Vox: Kill the banksters.
Nate: Torture them, before you kill them.

Anonymous jartstar May 04, 2012 9:20 AM  

Yep. It's all just one steaming pile of self deception and rationalizations to support his admitted dogmas.

Anonymous yukonyon May 04, 2012 9:22 AM  

President Clinton: I am not here. What is "here"? Isn't "here" simply "there" without a "T"?

Anonymous rycamor May 04, 2012 9:32 AM  

It must be admitted that FAPP is an excellent description of Wängsty's No-Dogma Dogma, especially if one loses the second P.

I mean, honestly... How could he not have seen that one coming? Oops.

Anonymous Daniel May 04, 2012 9:46 AM  

After this final pounding, I'm rather surprised that Bakker's brain even survived the first three pounds. The fellow must be a walking concussion.

Anonymous Darth_Toolpodicus May 04, 2012 10:01 AM  

#4 also begs the question of from whence did such "Hard-wiring" originate?

Anonymous FrankNorman May 04, 2012 10:34 AM  

Vox May 04, 2012 8:37 AM

Can you explain more how 3 contradicts 4?

So, we're morons who nevertheless manage to unconsciously game ambiguities to our own advantage... or if you prefer, our groundless belief in invisible things is somehow reliably to our benefit. The one doesn't absolutely preclude the other, but they are in general opposition.

After all, if it is to our material advantage, then how groundless and moronic can it be?


I suspect the Atheist thinks that certain religious beliefs are to other people's advantage, and not to his own.

Anonymous Godfrey May 04, 2012 10:46 AM  

Maybe it’s just me, but I prefer a skeptic to be skeptical. I only respect a skeptic that’s skeptical of everything.

Anonymous Rottweiler May 04, 2012 10:46 AM  

These 7 points are a good start, but he does not even begin to list all the things he (as a leftist progressive totalitarian) truly holds as "certain". i.e. All the usual DNC talking points.

Anonymous Suomynona May 04, 2012 10:52 AM  

Bakker is truly a communist at heart. He resents competition of thought and action. #3 not only keeps one and one's families alive, it is what makes the world go round. It is self-interest that makes people law-abiding. It is self-interest that seeks fame and glory through feats, discovery, displaying one's talents to the world. Each person looking out for himself is good for everyone. There is not a damned thing wrong with it. Competing self-interests will collide, this is when it's necessary to compromise. People DO compromise. People are fair-minded. We do manage to live in communities.

What is the alternative to #3? If no one had self-interest how does he imagine society would progress? If I don't have self-interest, I sure as hell am not going to have the interest of anyone else in mind.

Bakker is certainly full of shit. The more he talks, the more ridiculous he shows himself to be.

Anonymous O.C. May 04, 2012 10:52 AM  

No, no, no, no. All right-thinking people realize that the world rests on the backs of four elephants, who in turn stand upon the shell of a giant turtle.

Not five elephants. Not three. Four.

How you can even hope to come to correct conclusions when you're beginning with such insanely false assumptions is utterly beyond me.

Blogger wrf3 May 04, 2012 10:59 AM  

Vox, summarizing Baker: So, we're morons who nevertheless manage to unconsciously game ambiguities to our own advantage... or if you prefer, our groundless belief in invisible things is somehow reliably to our benefit.

With the appropriate substitutions:

So, we're morons who nevertheless manage to unconsciously game uncertainty to our own advantage... or if you prefer, our groundless belief in certain ideas is somehow reliably to our benefit.

Yep.

Anonymous Godfrey May 04, 2012 11:24 AM  

Question:

I do not believe man is progressing towards perfection. I’m skeptical of the belief that politicians can restructure reality and create a secular scientific-based egalitarian utopia.

Does this qualify me as an official “Skeptic”?

Or does it simply mean I possess a very basic knowledge of history and minimal amount of ability observing reality?

Anonymous Suomynona May 04, 2012 11:25 AM  

One wonders how it is that Bakker, being a materialist, can look upon the cruelty of nature and expect Man, who is just another animal, to behave in any other manner than he does.

Does Bakker lose sleep over animals selfishly killing and devouring fluffy sweet things that never did them any harm, or weeds choking out delicate flowers, or lightning strikes that ravage entire forests, turning Bambis and Thumpers into barbeque, or male lions that kill the cuddly little cubs of other male lions. How about entire galaxies that eat other galaxies. The HORROR!

Nature is certain and cruel. Bakker is an idiot.

Blogger wrf3 May 04, 2012 11:44 AM  

Suomynona asked: One wonders how it is that Bakker, being a materialist, can look upon the cruelty of nature and expect Man, who is just another animal, to behave in any other manner than he does.

Read Axelrod's Evolution of Cooperation.

Anonymous Suomynona May 04, 2012 12:04 PM  

wrf3 May 04, 2012 11:44 AM
Read Axelrod's Evolution of Cooperation.


I'll pass on that. If cooperation is an evolved trait, then Bakker and gaggle need to shut their big mouth's and let it happen - unless, I am unaware of the latest, greatest discovery, and evolution by incessant yammering has been added to the ever-evolving theory of evolution

Humanists like Bakker are the truly dangerous ones. They're like psychotics who perceive a twisted reality and consider those who don't go along with their delusion as threats, enemies, dangerous.

Anonymous James Dixon May 04, 2012 12:34 PM  

> 4) Humans are theoretical morons. We are hardwired for groundless belief in invisible things.

This point is not even internally consistent. There is nothing moronic in believing in invisible things. I believe in air, bacteria, and viruses (just to name a few examples); none of which I can see.

Yeah, I know what he means. But if he means something he should say it; not play word games.

He's trying to call people of faith morons, while pretending that he has no faith himself. Something which he then proceeds to disprove utterly with his pronouncement of point 6.

Anonymous Jack Amok May 04, 2012 2:33 PM  

#8 ) Humans are endowed with mammoth sized hamsters that are very good at cranking out a justification for whatever happens to be convenient.

That's a better justification for Sketpicsm than anything Bakker mentioned. But it appears his own hampster ate his skepticism, because he's just justifying what he wants to believe.

Anonymous Suomynona May 04, 2012 2:56 PM  

Bakker is a humanist frustrated by his futile attempts fill in the God-sized hole in himself with his own self. He continually falls short but insists there must be some secret or yet undiscovered method whereby he can stretch himself to completely fill in that missing part.

Does it ever occur to them that their expectation of transcending their human nature is... unnatural? Does a horse want to a bird? Does a planet expect to be a star someday? How about a whale, does it pine away because it has not transformed itself into a mermaid? By what trick of evolution does the evolved thing decide what it needs to be in order to perfect itself?

Anonymous Earl May 04, 2012 3:40 PM  

Belief in "invisible things" is something that makes us humans awesome. Invisible things like truth, morality, law, value, order, math, and art come to mind. But it can also be trouble. Fiat currency and intellectual property come to mind.

Anonymous Suomynona May 04, 2012 4:20 PM  

Earl May 04, 2012 3:40 PM
Belief in "invisible things" is something that makes us humans awesome. Invisible things like truth, morality, law, value, order, math, and art come to mind. But it can also be trouble. Fiat currency and intellectual property come to mind.


Even the more rudimentary aspects of humanity are comprised of invisible things. Emotions and thoughts are all categorically invisible things. We are certainly hardwired to believe our own thoughts and emotions, and they are certainly not visible. I can convey them to others, if I choose to. Being entirely invisible, I can also choose to convey something completely different than what I'm feeling or thinking, and no one would be the wiser. This would be a lie.

Bakker imagines himself so very clever, but he is a first-order fool. Invisible things by definition are those things requiring belief, as opposed to visible things, which simply require half a functioning eyeball connected to a half retarded brain. Whether invisible things are groundless is a matter of opinion - another invisible thing.

Anonymous Albert May 04, 2012 5:24 PM  

I have to admit, I am surprised the guy came clean about his hypocritical dogmatism.

Blogger bethyada May 04, 2012 6:47 PM  

Humans are theoretical morons.

What does he mean by moron? People equivocate between low intelligence and moral stupidity. I concede the latter, but this is because we are fallen creatures. As such people can and do twist all knowledge including the seemingly more objective science and philosophy, not just history.

People rationalising falsehood appeal to science as the only source of knowledge because it gives them a sense of objectivity and truth in their own eyes and they hope the eyes of others.

The fact is it doesn't matter as much how objective the source of knowledge appears (science, philosophy, maths, history, observation, appeal to authority), it matters far more the integrity of the person.

Anonymous Anonymous May 05, 2012 4:32 AM  

If you want an atheist that at least makes good arguments on the behalf of atheists:

http://atheist-experience.com/

Blogger Duke of Earl May 07, 2012 2:19 AM  

Bill Craig had to do a brief spanking of them for their complete misrepresentation of his Kalam argument.

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