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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Do we need God?

It is not an exaggeration to say that of all the books that comprised the critical response to the initial onslaught of the New Atheism, the most effective was The Irrational Atheist. This was due to the fact that, unlike most of the other books on the subject, it directly addressed the various arguments presented by Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and others. Since then, the New Atheism has largely subsided in the public eye, and yet, if the relevant statistics are to be believed, Western society remains heavily influenced by the inept secular philosophy that provided the foundation for the New Atheist wave, secular humanism.

The first noteworthy thing about C.R. Hallpike's book, Do We Need God to Be Good, is that the reader is nearly two-thirds the way through the book before he can reasonably ascertain which way the author would be predisposed to answering the titular question. Nevertheless, I must admit that Hallpike's book is even more effective than TIA, because instead of refuting the atheist arguments used to attack religion, it targets many of the philosophical foundations upon which those arguments are dependent.

Hallpike is an English anthropologist, and if Wikipedia is to be trusted, apparently one of more than a little note. This is unexpectedly relevant to the topic, because, having lived with the primitive tribes of Papua New Guinea for years, Hallpike has amassed, and published, considerable first-hand evidence concerning the way in which pre-civilized societies are actually structured. And it is through the expertise he has acquired that he effortlessly demolishes a vast edifice of pseudo-scholarship that has been erected under the name of "evolutionary psychology":
Normal science proceeds from the known to the unknown, but evolutionary psychology tries to do it the other way round.... It cannot be sufficiently emphasized, therefore, that our profound ignorance about early humans is quite incompatible with any informed discussion of possible adaptations. Ignoring these drastic limitations on our knowledge has meant that many so-called ‘adaptive explanations’ are merely pseudo-scientific ‘Just So Stories’, often made up without any anthropological knowledge, that have increasingly brought evolutionary psychology into disrepute.
Hallpike provides one devastating example, cited from the Proceedings of the Royal Society, in which it is claimed that humans lost their body hair and took to wearing clothes as the result of sexual preferences expressed over one million years ago. He then points out that while our ignorance of primitive sexual preferences is complete, "at least we know they could not possibly have had clothes, because these have only been around for a few thousand years."

His critique of secular humanism is even more effective, as the sins of the evo-psych enthusiasts can be reasonably put down to a combination of observable ignorance with a predilection for writing fiction. It is one of the more powerful refutations - to say rebuttal is simply not strong enough - one is likely to encounter in print, as Hallpike not only highlights the philosophical competence of the secular humanists, but casts serious doubt upon their self-professed motivations as well.
Given the importance that Humanists ascribe to science, and the revolutionary claims of modern biology about the nature of Man, it is quite striking that the only interest they seem to have in biology is using it to attack religion, not to reflect on what it has to say about Man. Yet if one takes the claims of evolutionary biologists seriously, especially their denial of consciousness and free will, it is hard to see how the very idea of human agency and moral responsibility could survive at all. Although Humanists prefer to ignore these issues, in the words of Francis Crick, ‘tomorrow’s science is going to knock their culture right out from under them’, and they need to come to terms with the obvious incompatibility between their liberal Western values and a genuinely Darwinian view of Man.
It is remarkable that despite the fact that his critique of evolutionary psychology is well within his professional wheelhouse, Hallpike is at his most effective when criticizing secular humanism by its own professed standards. After tracing its intellectual history back to the 14th Century, Hallpike reviews the foundational work of two influential humanist philosophers, A.C. Grayling and Paul Kurtz, and points out the conclusively damning fact that none of the qualities of the ideal secular humanist nor the detailed program of what all proper secular humanists should believe have anything to do with the principles of science or secular humanism!
We are also given a detailed programme of what all rightthinking people should believe about human rights, sexual morality, abortion, euthanasia, parenting, education, privacy, crime and punishment, vegetarianism, animal rights, separation of church and state, and government. This seems a remarkably detailed set of conclusions to draw from the two simple premises of ‘no supernatural beings’, and ‘thinking for oneself’, but in fact none of it follows from these at all. What we are actually getting here is a highly ethnocentric summary of the fashionable opinions of Western secular liberals in the early twenty-first century, and who in Britain would read the Guardian.

Humanism is a prolonged glorification of Self, success, and the gratification in every possible way of ‘the fat, relentless ego’, which is why it has a particular loathing of religion. 
Having executed the sacred cow of secular humanism in a manner brutal enough to make a Chicago slaughterhouse butcher blanch, Hallpike proceeds to examine other modern belief-systems, including Objectivism, Behavioralism, and Collectivism before proceeding to directly address the question posed in the beginning of the book.

While his answer is a reasonable one, it is not exactly straightforward. His answer is ultimately yes, that Man needs God to be good because the moral significance of God is the provision of a worldview that provides men with objective value and moral unity as God's children, elevates spiritual values over purely material ones, and justifies personal humility in the place of self-worship.

I highly recommend Do We Need God to Be Good to anyone who appreciated TIA. It's intelligent, well-written, and highly-accessible; I would have loved to have published it. And I am very pleased to be able to say that Dr. Hallpike will be the guest at the next Open Brainstorm event, which will be Tuesday night at 8 PM Eastern. I will be sending out the initial invitations to Brainstorm members later today, and provide the registration link to everyone else tomorrow.

Brainstorm members, please note that you will be receiving a review copy of the ebook with your invitation to the event.

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91 Comments:

Blogger Shimshon March 20, 2016 8:52 AM  

Sounds interesting. Is there some way to determine whether or not a book has DRM?

OpenID simplytimothy March 20, 2016 8:58 AM  

Added to Amazon wish list, will purchase upon reflection. Thanks for the review.

Blogger Escoffier March 20, 2016 9:00 AM  

"Having executed the sacred cow of secular humanism in a manner brutal enough to make a Chicago slaughterhouse butcher blanch"

Or laugh!

Anonymous Dave March 20, 2016 9:04 AM  

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,465 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#35 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies & Reference > Ethics
#146 in Books > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Ethics
#50550 in Books > Reference

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer March 20, 2016 9:30 AM  

I am reminded of GK Chesterton's remark that HG Wells espoused atheism and natural evolution, but did not act as if he believed in them since he was constantly working towards "the betterment" of mankind.

Anonymous Dave March 20, 2016 9:31 AM  

WTH does Amazon rig this too? According to my Amazon page:

"Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought"

Most of Castalia House's recent books by JCW, TWBW III, IX & X, Cuckservative & SJWAL, Grow or Die & Compost Everything, 4GW Handbook, Cernovich's books, some Larry Correia books, Nick Cole, Eric James Stones, Niemeier, Mike Kupari, Scott Adams

Looks like nobody but alt-right has bought this book.

Anonymous 5343 March 20, 2016 9:33 AM  

@4. Check that rank tomorrow. I suspect the needle's about to move. I'm ordering it right now ...

Blogger VD March 20, 2016 9:33 AM  

Looks like nobody but alt-right has bought this book.

I suspect that virtually no one but the readers of this blog have heard about it.

Anonymous 5343 March 20, 2016 9:36 AM  

@6.

I suspect that's just them advertising to you on the basis of what you've looked at or purchased previously. I doubt it genuinely reflects what customers who bought the book actually purchased. I could be wrong, but I'm increasingly cynical about the ridiculous extent to which we are being data mined ...

Anonymous 5343 March 20, 2016 9:37 AM  

@8.

Or it could be that ...

Blogger Aeoli Pera March 20, 2016 9:49 AM  

The inadequacy of evopsych is immediately apparent upon reading a list of sexual fetishes.

Blogger Aeoli Pera March 20, 2016 9:51 AM  

Now that I think about it, Fred Reed recently came to the same conclusion re: BDSM.

Blogger Patrikbc March 20, 2016 9:59 AM  

To stop the mouths of the obstreperous

Blogger Franz March 20, 2016 10:00 AM  

Purchased the book, looking forward to reading it. Thanks for the recommendation.

I think your conclusion, which you say is the same Dr. Hallpike has reached in the book, contradicts a series of essays John C Wright has published at his blog, where he argues that, although difficult, it is not impossible for an atheist to define a meaningful set of morality rules to live by.

Since you obviously have access to both gentlemen, I would be extremely interested in listening to a moderated argument between the two on the matter.

Anonymous Dave March 20, 2016 10:05 AM  

@9 I tend to agree with your cynicalness. However, I opened Amazon from a different computer where I was not logged in, did a search for the book, and the "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" gave me the same collection of books.

@6 I'd be interested if others see the same thing.


Blogger Patrikbc March 20, 2016 10:19 AM  

From the introduction:
“evolutionary biologists are very fond of referring to these societies when discussing prehistoric humans, this usually takes the form of armchair speculation based on very little anthropological knowledge. But how do the claims of evolutionary biology really stand up in the face of anthropological scrutiny?”

Excerpt From: C. R. Hallpike. “Do We Need God to be Good?.”

I smell a smackdown.

Anonymous unadorned March 20, 2016 10:22 AM  

When I went to Amazon there was only one book listed under
"Customers Who ..." and that was "SJW's Always Lie."

OpenID denektenorsk March 20, 2016 10:48 AM  

SDL, Are you familiar with the work of Dr. Gad Saad? He is likewise an "evolutionary behavioural scientist" and tries to use the field to describe human behaviour as it relates to the consumption of goods and services.

He doesn't try to explain how humans were in the past or go off on fanciful flights of fancy, but rather tries to explain why we behave the way we do today. He is noteable for using "Science!" to attack the most cherishly held believes that all people are blank slates waiting to be programmed by their society.

He is hated by the usual suspects for his conclusions that indeed, there are differences between the sexes (gasp!). He tries to explain all sorts of modern day human behaviour in the context of evolution... and as Mr. Hallpike points out, there are some rather glaring inconsistencies that need to be wallpapered over if a blank slater is to hold a consistent world view.

He recently was very amusing by trolling Bill Nye on Twitter for his assertation that climate change caused the Syrian civil war.

Anonymous Dave March 20, 2016 10:58 AM  

unadorned wrote:When I went to Amazon there was only one book listed under

"Customers Who ..." and that was "SJW's Always Lie."



Your Amazon appears to be defective. Is it Amazon US?

Anonymous Dave N. March 20, 2016 11:10 AM  

It's telling that this was published by Christian Alternative, or something like that. Serious works of scholarship usually come from University presses. The publisher alone tells you right away that this book has some extreme bias, and could not be published by respected presses. Also someone should inform the author that you don't cite secondary sources when you have access to the primary. That is not to say there isn't proper times to quote and cite secondary sources, but it's just a sign of poor scholarship to cite the secondary when the primary is around. However if you found this book to be a good read you'd probably love Proof of Heaven.

Blogger praetorian March 20, 2016 11:15 AM  

However if you found this book to be a good read you'd probably...

Have you read the book?

I want to make sure I understand which of the three laws are in play here. Looking like "all" right now, but I'm trying to be charitable. Palm Sunday and all that.

Anonymous Erik March 20, 2016 11:17 AM  

I'm not sure if Dave is committing the genetic fallacy, guilt by association, argumentum ad hominem, or what. Will someone more versed in the fine details of wrongology please tell me what the proper class of wrongism is for Dave's argument that it is somehow "telling" that Dave does not respect the publisher, but he can't cite anything actually wrong with the book itself, only complain that it comes from Those People's presses?

Blogger VD March 20, 2016 11:17 AM  

SDL, Are you familiar with the work of Dr. Gad Saad?

No, I'm not.

Serious works of scholarship usually come from University presses. The publisher alone tells you right away that this book has some extreme bias, and could not be published by respected presses.

Not anymore. No, it does nothing of the sort. First, that is the Genetic Fallacy. Second, I can attest that Martin van Creveld has no problem getting published by any press, and yet he chooses to publish with Castalia House.

Blogger VD March 20, 2016 11:19 AM  

I'm not sure if Dave is committing the genetic fallacy, guilt by association, argumentum ad hominem, or what.

Genetic Fallacy.

Blogger Dexter March 20, 2016 11:24 AM  

I might have to give it a one-star review because the kindle price is "too high". =)

Anonymous Dave March 20, 2016 11:29 AM  

"Dave N." please not "Dave".


Denek, Dr. Saad looks to be an interesting fellow and appears to still fancy himself a soccer player. I saw his reference to Nye and autism on twitter; is that what you were referencing?

Anonymous TS March 20, 2016 11:38 AM  

Excellent. Another book to slap leftists down with.

Blogger Chent March 20, 2016 11:41 AM  

Thank you, Dave. You made me laugh. I will use your example in my classroom to show my students the bankrupcy of SJW.

They are not published by University presses - So what. The important thing is the content.

They quote secondary sources - So what. What does this affect the argument in the book.

If you like this, you must like "Proof of Heaven" - HA HA. What a tool. Do you think this nonsense would work for us?

So it's clear that you want to criticize the book but you don't know how because you haven't read it. Even if you had read it, I doubt you have enough brain to make a counterargument. So you resort to cheap fallacies about silly things. You forgot to say that the book has an ugly cover so it must be unworthy.

Keep writing, Dave. You are fun.

Anonymous Stickwick March 20, 2016 11:49 AM  

Franz: ...although difficult, it is not impossible for an atheist to define a meaningful set of morality rules to live by.

I haven't read Wright's argument, but in practice, such a set is almost always a derivative of the rules laid out by the dominant religion in an atheist's culture; it's something the atheist learned by osmosis, not something he derived from first principles.

If you want to see an atheist philosophy derived from first principles, listen to Jeffrey Dahmer in his interview with Stone Phillips. We can be grateful that most atheists don't have murderously violent tendencies -- and are capable of deluding themselves that their derivative moralities are not subjective -- because Dahmer's reasoning is quite sound.

Thanks for this review, Vox -- I'm going to buy Hallpike's book. Sounds like it might be a good companion to Michał Heller's, Ultimate Explanations of the Universe. Heller, a priest, cosmologist, and professor of philosophy of science and logic, lays out a very scholarly argument for the limits of science in providing the answers to the ultimate explanations of existence.

Anonymous Dave N. March 20, 2016 11:51 AM  

@21
Yes

@23
Which is why I said usually published. There are various imprints that aren't University presses that publish great works of scholarship. I don't know enough about Castalia House, although enough to know it's fairly new (which isn't a negative), to judge if it would qualify.

I'm not committing a genetic fallacy because my appeal to origin is not irrelevant. In scholarship the publisher matters. It's one of the ways you can easily judge if a book is a worthy secondary source for instance.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan March 20, 2016 12:11 PM  

Does bring to mind that the Uni pub racketeers could use a good going over, from scholarship to the book selling crimes they commit against the students. I would say they could join the Soprano crime family.

I wonder if Dave the Clown has any proof for the Blank Slate Theory?

Blogger praetorian March 20, 2016 12:13 PM  

As you have read the book, would you mind commenting on the arguments made therein, rather than referencing the publisher? Specific arguments and details would be appreciated, with references in the book.

Two of the most important books ever published on economics I am aware of were published by The Ludwig von Mises Institute and Zed Books. As I am sure is the case with most of the Ilk, I am utterly indifferent towards the mainstream prestige of a publisher.

OpenID denektenorsk March 20, 2016 12:13 PM  

@26. Sort of, that is part of the ongoing trolling. Here he asks Bill Nye to link his wife cooking a meal he doesn't like to climate change in 6 steps or less:

https://twitter.com/GadSaad/status/707683084083339264

The original started up after the Paris attacks (v2.0) when everyone came out and linked it to climate change, just in time for all of our betters who know better to jet off to Paris for 2 weeks (generating how many tons of CO2 in the process) to hobnob with each other. I'm sure the solution is to carbon tax the local manufacturing economy out of existence, which shifts the CO2 footprint to China so they can lie about it. Problem solved.

Here he references the US killing "climate change warriors": https://twitter.com/GadSaad/status/706950578367242241

Here is a direct result of climate change as well:
https://twitter.com/GadSaad/status/706593385986002945

And another:
https://twitter.com/GadSaad/status/692130676632592384

And yet another:
https://twitter.com/GadSaad/status/683465642389966848

One of his supports gets in on the fun:
https://twitter.com/jeffnjax79/status/683496536404279296

This mockery is indeed, some form of vicious cyber bullying and Bill Nye should indeed run to the UN over this. The thing is Gad Saad is an overweight Lebanese Arab Jew so he is off the scale in privilege points and can say whatever he wants by the new rules of the game. The SJWs don't know what to do with him (much like a black conservative who supports Trump).

Anonymous Dave N. March 20, 2016 12:15 PM  

@28

In a scholastic setting a quick way to judge content is by the publisher. Have you never written a scholarly paper in your life? I feel bad for your students. If you can't understand how poor scholarship impacts the validity of the ideas presented nothing I say will help you understand.

Anonymous Dave March 20, 2016 12:23 PM  

Ah delightful, Denek, thank you.

Anonymous Ratchet March 20, 2016 12:25 PM  

@ Dave N. It's one of the ways you can easily judge if a book is a worthy secondary source for instance.

According to who?

Thanks for the recommendation Vox. Will be ordering today.

Anonymous Dave March 20, 2016 12:31 PM  

The thing is Gad Saad is an overweight Lebanese Arab Jew

I note that Dr. Saad refers to himself as "differently weighted"

Anonymous TS March 20, 2016 12:31 PM  

"In a scholastic setting a quick way to judge content is by the publisher."

Yay! VP is a "scholastic setting" now.

Anonymous Dave N. March 20, 2016 12:32 PM  

@36

Among others, Kate Turabian.

Blogger VD March 20, 2016 12:32 PM  

In a scholastic setting a quick way to judge content is by the publisher.

A heuristic is not necessarily accurate. And yes, you are certainly committing the genetic fallacy.

"The genetic fallacy is a fallacy of irrelevance where a conclusion is suggested based solely on someone's or something's history, origin, or source rather than its current meaning or context."

You have clearly done this. And worse, you're standing by your illogic even after it has been pointed out to you. Now we know that you're not only dumb enough to deny committing the genetic fallacy, but you didn't even know what it was.

Anonymous Dave N. March 20, 2016 12:36 PM  

Really just consult any book on writing research papers, whether as a student or professional.

Anonymous Ryan March 20, 2016 12:39 PM  

That a book is printed by an established "academic" publisher means only this: Its content was vetted in some way by some academics who have done work in an area somewhat related to one covered in the book. That's it.

Does this mean quality? Not necessarily. The academics who make comments and give (or withhold) their go-ahead could be morons. Moreover, their objections are likely to be grounded in biases favoring their own prior work. So, writings that question the established "wisdom" in a big way are less likely to be accepted by these publishers, regardless of quality.

If you're looking for something to cite in an undergraduate paper, sure, go for the academic publishers. If you don't know anything, go ahead and rely on their judgment. But if you know a bit and are serious, you'll have to look outside the narrow range of academic publishers if you want to try to understand the world for yourself.

Blogger collisioncat67 March 20, 2016 12:44 PM  

Sure, most aspi-high church atheists can be good without God (their particular definition of "good") precisely because they have an ax to grind and have made it a priority to prove it.

The run-of-the-mill low church atheist, who comprise the vast majority of atheists doesn't give a shit about such high-minded philosophical propositions. "You have only one life to live so get while the gettin's good".

I'm glad that this topic is increasingly being brought to bare.

Anonymous FrankNorman March 20, 2016 12:45 PM  

The SJWs don't know what to do with him (much like a black conservative who supports Trump).

I'm afraid that we've already seen what the Left does with black conservatives who support Trump.
They kill them.

Anonymous Dave N. March 20, 2016 12:49 PM  

@40

Nope, a genetic fallacy was not committed because the appeal to origin was not irrelevant. In judging the schloarly merit of a book the publisher is extremely relevant, therefore not a genetic fallacy.

Anonymous Stickwick March 20, 2016 12:58 PM  

Dave N.: In judging the schloarly merit of a book the publisher is extremely relevant, therefore not a genetic fallacy.

No, in judging the scholarly merit of the book, the content of the book is extremely relevant. If, however, you want to do a risk analysis and decide whether or not to take a chance and spend your money on a book, then you can consider the publisher as a factor.

Anonymous Dave N. March 20, 2016 1:04 PM  

@46

I never tried to deny that content is extremely relevant.

Anonymous Stickwick March 20, 2016 1:16 PM  

Dave N., you're totally outclassed here. Just give it up. I have worked in academia for 20 years, and can tell you that nobody talks about the publisher when discussing the scholarly merits of a book. The merits of a book stand 100% on its content and nothing else. The only reason anyone might care about a book's publisher is to decide whether, in the absence of information about its content, it's worth risking their time and money on it.

Blogger James Dixon March 20, 2016 1:17 PM  

> Serious works of scholarship usually come from University presses.

http://www.amazon.com/Honeysuckle-Hedge-Maconiana-Book-ebook/dp/B009YTLQPQ/
http://www.amazon.com/The-Brick-Wall-Maconiana-Book-ebook/dp/B009YU3MA2/
http://www.amazon.com/Serenade-Midnight-Maconiana-Meredith-Dixon-ebook/dp/B009YUPAD4/
http://www.amazon.com/Song-Syncopation-Maconiana-Book-ebook/dp/B009YV3N64/
http://www.amazon.com/The-Sound-Macon-Maconiana-Book-ebook/dp/B009YVFPBA/

Care to try again?

> The publisher alone tells you right away that this book has some extreme bias,

Yes, we know University Presses are biased. You don't have to tell us that.

Anonymous Ryan March 20, 2016 1:21 PM  

It depends on what "scholarly merit" means.

Does it mean the book references some relevant, peer-reviewed academic literature? Okay, sure, go to the academic publishers, whose reviewers will be more likely to ensure that.

But it doesn't follow that the book is thereby any more likely to give you an accurate take on reality.

Blogger VD March 20, 2016 1:28 PM  

Nope, a genetic fallacy was not committed because the appeal to origin was not irrelevant. In judging the schloarly merit of a book the publisher is extremely relevant, therefore not a genetic fallacy.

You're wrong AGAIN, Dave. Now you're demonstrating that you can't even read. It doesn't matter if you think that the publisher is "extremely relevant", what matters is that you reached a conclusion based solely on the source rather than the content.

That is literally the genetic fallacy where "a conclusion is suggested based solely on someone's or something's history, origin, or source rather than its current meaning or context."

Now you're demonstrating that you're prideful and stupid as well as ignorant. You're wrong, Dave. It has been conclusively proven. Now, you can either admit that you were wrong and you committed the genetic fallacy, or you can go away.

Blogger VD March 20, 2016 1:30 PM  

A reminder of Dave N's original claim: "The publisher alone tells you right away that this book has some extreme bias, and could not be published by respected presses."

This is false. This is also a textbook example of the genetic fallacy.

Anonymous Faceless March 20, 2016 1:36 PM  

I know I seek the imprimatur of authority as to what is and what is not the respectable challenge to currently reigning orthodoxy. Makes sure I keep my thinking in line with what's respectable at the bridge club meeting!

Why, I know they'll ship me that Spanish/HRE Press imprint of the writings of the mad little German monk anyday....and my Voltaire's on Bourbon Press are simply backordered at Amazon.

Anonymous Rolf March 20, 2016 1:39 PM  

@45 - Ah, good to know that the scholarly presses never publish mistaken or fraudulent research, and nobody else does.

*choke*

Extremely: to a very great degree
Relevant: closely connected or appropriate to what is being done or considered
alone: indicating that something is confined to the specified subject or recipient

It's a reasonable interpretation of your words "The publisher alone tells you right away that this book has some extreme bias, and could not be published by respected presses" and "In judging the schloarly (sic) merit of a book the publisher is extremely relevant, therefore not a genetic fallacy that you mean you can tell if work is meritorious based completely on knowledge of the publisher, and a scholarly publisher will print only books worth consideration, and you can discount or ignore as "not scholarly" books published by companies that do not have an established scholarly publishing reputation. It is not a reasonable reading that there are multiple "extremely relevant" things to consider, let alone that there might be a hierarchy of "extremely relevant".

So what comes after "doubling down": "tripling down," "goose down," or "going down"?

Blogger VD March 20, 2016 2:05 PM  

You're too short for the ride, Dave. Go away now. I neither want nor need commenters whose intellectual capacity doesn't even rise to "midwit".

If you can't accept correction, you can't comment here.

Blogger praetorian March 20, 2016 2:13 PM  

Hi Dave N. I think you may have missed my earlier comment. Let me repost it for you:

As you have read the book, would you mind commenting on the arguments made therein, rather than referencing the publisher? Specific arguments and details would be appreciated, with references in the book.

Thank you.

Also, I should say, if you misspoke and you need some time to skim through it quickly, a first impression is welcome as well.

Anonymous Dave N. N. March 20, 2016 2:13 PM  

And with this last comment, as you've asked me to leave, I bid you all a good life.

Anonymous Bz March 20, 2016 2:23 PM  

Look, I hope everyone realizes this Dave is merely trolling. Take another look at his replies, just off enough to be annoying and require correction. At least it's done on a higher level than usual.

Blogger VD March 20, 2016 2:32 PM  

Only three comments to flounce his way out. I have to confess, I really despise midwits. It's not that they're stupid, MPAI. But they're the only ones who combine stupidity with a total inability to admit that they're wrong, even when their noses are rubbed in it.

Blogger praetorian March 20, 2016 2:58 PM  

That was too perfect. I'm forced to ask:

Who sock puppet this is?

Blogger Chent March 20, 2016 2:59 PM  

@Dave

"In a scholastic setting a quick way to judge content is by the publisher. Have you never written a scholarly paper in your life? "

Yes. I have published in proceedings of international congresses and scientific magazines when I was making my PhD dissertation.

In my research career, I have never heard about a publisher being a guarantee of quality. I was evaluated for the number of papers published IN SCIENTIFIC MAGAZINES OR SCIENTIFIC CONGRESSES when my paper had been peer reviewed by scientists and not by a publisher.

Even this, I think that peer-reviewed process is a rotten process, especially in the social sciences. Google the case of a researcher that sent a paper for publishing. When the paper claimed the superiority of conservatives, it was rejected. When it replaced "conservatives" by "progressives", it was accepted. No wonder 2/3 of scientific findings in the social sciences cannot be replicated. Google it.

"If you can't understand how poor scholarship impacts the validity of the ideas presented nothing I say will help you understand."

What a moron. You don't understand the basics of scientific research (a publisher, haha) and want to give me lessons.

Anyway, another red herring. You haven't provided any counterargument. You think that discussing about the publisher or the references is enough to dismiss the content. Google "stupid fallacy".

"I feel bad for your students."

I don't give a damn

Blogger Chent March 20, 2016 3:01 PM  

By the way, Vox, I apologize for the language mistakes. English is not my native language and I write very quickly.

And excuse me for feeding the troll. It won't happen again.

Blogger Neanderserk March 20, 2016 3:16 PM  

The general thrust of the OP is sound, in that it gores those who need goring. However there are nimbler matadors afoot.

"at least we know they could not possibly have had clothes, because these have only been around for a few thousand years."

False. Neanderthals had clothes.

"The tools in question are 4 lissoirs from the Dordogne region. A lissoir is a specialised bone tool, typically used for preparing hides to make them more waterproof. The finds were dated by 3 different methods (just to be on the safe side) to between 41 – 51,000 years old (Soressi, 2013). Meanwhile modern humans weren’t making lissoirs until around 38,000 years ago and we continue to do to this day (Higham et al., 2010)."
http://www.evoanth.net/2013/08/20/neanderthals-invented-specialised-bone-tools/

The idea that one can generalize about primitive human societies from study of AMH Papua New Guineans descended from Denisovans is questionable at best. One might as well generalize about modern Europeans by studying modern Aborigines.

"His answer is ultimately yes, that Man needs God to be good because the moral significance of God is the provision of a worldview that provides men with objective value and moral unity as God's children, elevates spiritual values over purely material ones, and justifies personal humility in the place of self-worship."

Civilized man certainly does. However, there was an age of innocence before Adam. Animals do not need God to be good, but behave according to their natures. Human nature varies in much the same way. Some men are better as atheist/agnostics than others are as Christians, for purely biological reasons.

This does not contradict Scripture, in which no man is good but the Father, and man is comprised of both humble and noble vessels.

Anonymous Lycurgus March 20, 2016 4:04 PM  

Hallpike is an English anthropologist, and if Wikipedia is to be trusted, apparently one of more than a little note.

The biography on his website makes a good case that he is an anthropologist "of note".

Blogger Tom K. March 20, 2016 4:12 PM  

A linguistic KillShot?

Blogger VD March 20, 2016 4:13 PM  

And excuse me for feeding the troll. It won't happen again.

No worries. Just be sure to wash your hands.

Blogger Tom K. March 20, 2016 4:13 PM  

A linguistic KillShot?

Blogger Neanderserk March 20, 2016 4:19 PM  

Regarding genetic fallacies, it is written:

"Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"

However, there is nothing fallacious about phallic genetic injections, fellatio excepted.

Anonymous A.B. Prosper March 20, 2016 4:33 PM  

Aeoli Pera

Actually evo psyche explains BDSM pretty well, arousal through manipulation of instinctive hierarchical drives.

Cross wiring seems to be pretty common with the human brain re: anything with sex anyway. My suspicion is the the parts of the brain that involve sex are overclocked a bit anyway but that is of no consequence

That said how anyone with any grasp of evo psyche could think any of the leftists agenda or anything other than religion is normal or healthy is a mystery to me.

Blogger VD March 20, 2016 4:53 PM  

Actually evo psyche explains BDSM pretty well, arousal through manipulation of instinctive hierarchical drives.

Translation: making up stuff explains stuff we don't understand pretty well.

That's like saying Star Wars explains the asteroid belt.

Blogger RobertT March 20, 2016 5:08 PM  

Good read. Bot the book

Blogger TheRedSkull March 20, 2016 5:21 PM  

That's no planet. That's Nibiru!

Anonymous A.B. Prosper March 20, 2016 6:20 PM  

Vox. Evo Psych is mostly based on observation of human and animal behavior. Its closer to "naturalism" than to modern science though and it needs a lot more testing.

Still thinking that humans don't have instincts especially instincts to hierarchy and to sexuality seems faulty to me. We do have both and they are evolved traits and meet the basic criteria of being useful to reproduction and survival.

Its generalized , might not apply exactly the same and of course we don't fully understand everything. I am guessing based on available knowledge as to the cause. I might be wrong.

However any evo psych its a lot more observably testable, falsifiable and repeatable than most any religious ideas.

It may be we make those up to though I know you don't believe that.

You can't test for the presence of an immortal soul or of sin outside of the brains cultural model or for miracles or divine inspiration being external for example.

Doesn't mean they don't happen but they are not amenable to science.

Psi phenomenon and arguably prophetic ones as a subset are marginally testable but even they are hard to repeat.

However I can take a human brain, have it engage in certain acts and watch it light up on MRI or CT scan

If the theory is correct, observation of results will match certain criteria.

Is suspect we'll find brain activity anomaly matches with paraphilias as this article notes we do with pedophilia

https://www.brainmap.org/pubs/Poeppl_HBM_15.pdf

or between gays and straights (Washington post here)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/22/AR2008062201994.html

This is all preliminary but likely paraphillia level BDSM is traceable to brain development as may be much less harmful levels.

That said its awful hard to exactly test people while engaged in certain behaviors.

My suspicion in that religiousness is an evolved behavior too, its pro civic and pro reproduction and seems to be a dominant trait so its likely to last.

Still might be possible for some near future culture to deliver (borrowing a line from House) 10cc of atheism or soft agnosticism maybe by gene drive.

If it were done it could end up resulting in human extinction though. Either by backlash of the religious by divine intervention if one or more deities are real or by simply causing harm to reproduction on a great scale by accident.

Mind you there is rule that non religious people can't have large families but it is rare and typically smaller drive for family might be contra survival in a lower technology environment

Blogger Neanderserk March 20, 2016 6:43 PM  

"in which it is claimed that humans lost their body hair and took to wearing clothes as the result of sexual preferences expressed over one million years ago."

http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/shocking-story-sex-slave-orangutan-and-her-rescue

Bow-chicka-wow-wow. Razor burn!

The problem with this hypothesis is it ignores the obvious advantage of the simian prehensile foot, which permits delivering four handjobs simultaneously, for a 40% increase in gangbang efficiency.

Thus one of the following must be incorrect: evo psych, Darwinism, or homo economicus. I fucking love Science.

Anonymous Dave March 20, 2016 7:05 PM  

Dave wrote:Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,465 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

#35 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies & Reference > Ethics

#146 in Books > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Ethics

#50550 in Books > Reference



From there to here:
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,198 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

#1 in Books > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Ethics
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies & Reference > Ethics
#742 in Books > Reference

OpenID denektenorsk March 20, 2016 7:15 PM  

Dave (not Dave N.) wrote:

The thing is Gad Saad is an overweight Lebanese Arab Jew

I note that Dr. Saad refers to himself as "differently weighted"


Oh, damn. Me and my microaggressions.... I shall have to micro apologise.

Anonymous Malwyn's apprentice March 20, 2016 7:44 PM  

@20. Dave N.

Serious works of scholarship usually come from University presses. The publisher alone tells you right away that this book has some extreme bias, and could not be published by respected presses.

Uh huh. And University presses are well-known for their distinct lack of biases, right? Since you believe that load of tripe, I'm sure that you'd be interested in a nice real estate deal ... bridges and ocean-front property a speciality.

Blogger praetorian March 20, 2016 8:15 PM  

Translation: making up stuff explains stuff we don't understand pretty well.

Something that can explain anything doesn't explain anything.

Blogger praetorian March 20, 2016 8:15 PM  

Translation: making up stuff explains stuff we don't understand pretty well.

Something that can explain anything doesn't explain anything.

Anonymous kjj March 20, 2016 9:36 PM  

@17

You are looking at the printed copy. Everyone else is looking at the Kindle version

Anonymous JAG March 20, 2016 11:40 PM  

Dave N. goes straight from genetic fallacy to appeal to authority fallacy. I'm entertained.

Blogger ray March 21, 2016 1:02 AM  

"Humanism is a prolonged glorification of Self, success, and the gratification in every possible way of ‘the fat, relentless ego’, which is why it has a particular loathing of religion."


Sure. Religion tells them they're bloated, disgusting scumbags. Well it used to anyway. Humanism tells them they're fabulous, and if not yet full-fledged gods and goddesses, definitely in transit and trending.

We don't need God to be good. We aren't good, even with God attendant -- Jeshua's incarnation proved that. We need God to save us from futility and damnation.

OpenID anonymos-coward March 21, 2016 2:02 AM  

Papua New Guinea
...
pre-civilized societies


Let me nitpick here. The Papuans aren't "pre-civilized". They didn't step out of a time machine, nor did they sleep in stasis for 100000 years. They are our contemporaries, they have lived alongside civilization for tens of thousands of years, no different than Englishmen or Chinese in that respect.

Perhaps they should be called "post-civilized" or "anti-civilized" instead.

Blogger Were-Puppy March 21, 2016 2:31 AM  

@54 Rolf
So what comes after "doubling down": "tripling down," "goose down," or "going down"?


@57 Dave N. N.
And with this last comment, as you've asked me to leave, I bid you all a good life.
---

He doubled down on his last initial, which is a new achievement. I'm not sure how to classify that. Maybe like Chief Inspector Dreyfus getting an eye twitch when he hears the name of Inspector Clouseau.

Blogger VD March 21, 2016 4:23 AM  

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,619 Paid in Kindle Store

#1 in Books > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Ethics
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies & Reference > Ethics
#520 in Books > Reference

Blogger Raziel Walker March 21, 2016 5:35 AM  

I don't need God to tell right from wrong. I certainly don't need a God that might as well not exist because he adheres to some sort of prime directive. So why does he need or is worthy of my worship?

Blogger VD March 21, 2016 6:08 AM  

I don't need God to tell right from wrong.

Of course you do. Otherwise, you have no objective metric.

Blogger James Dixon March 21, 2016 6:25 AM  

> So why does he need or is worthy of my worship?

He doesn't need your worship. As to why he's worthy? Well you would refuse to understand, so why should I bother?

Blogger Dexter March 21, 2016 10:56 AM  

VD -- I looked up Matthew Kressel thanks to the photo of him (and others) at Alpha Game, and I came across this:

http://fantasyscrollmag.com/article/interview-with-award-winning-author-matthew-kressel/

how and where did you grow up, who and what influenced your life? Take us through Matt’s journey…

Matthew: Thanks for having me! Wow, that’s a broad question, so I’ll try to keep it brief. I grew up on the south shore of Long Island in a Conservative Jewish home, but lived a pretty secular life for the most part. We celebrated the major holidays and said the prayers, but there wasn’t too much discussion of God or anything. Most of my friends weren’t Jewish, so I recognized at an early age that the exclusivity that most religions preach is harmful to human relationships in the long term. This led me to learn about other religions and faiths, reading as many holy books of all traditions as I could, then I delved into some New Age stuff, when I finally realized I didn’t believe any of it. I was reading all this as one reads fiction, for the enjoyment of it, for the new ideas. But was it true? After a long period of self-reflection, I realized I didn’t believe any of it was real. So this led me to my current place of agnosticism/atheism. If there is a God, it seems to me that he doesn’t care much for the suffering of humans. It’s hard to believe in a compassionate, loving God when you look at, for example, child cancer, or the Holocaust, or the 2004 Christmas Tsunami.


Sigh. So many people who think they are "smart" haven't done any real investigation of the problem of suffering.

Blogger B.J. March 21, 2016 1:43 PM  

If the author's argument is that the judeo-christian morality system is superior to those posited by modern progressive cults, you'll get no disagreement from me. But how is that a refutation of atheism? Just one religion arguing with another.

Blogger SciVo March 22, 2016 4:43 AM  

Raziel Walker wrote:I don't need God to tell right from wrong. I certainly don't need a God that might as well not exist because he adheres to some sort of prime directive. So why does he need or is worthy of my worship?

Oh, you silly. God doesn't need you. You need him.

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