Tuesday, 20 April 2010

The Singer and Dawkins Comedy Show.

I first found this video through the Anglican Samizdat blog. I commented there, then pasted basically the same comment on the Youtube site, hoping to start some discussion. This is the Peter Singer that feels it is alright to kill handicapped children, and Dawkins agrees that this is perfectly logical. Watch the whole thing if you can do so without suffering permanent neck damage from shaking your head. It's about 3/4 of an hour long.

Here is my first comment, and those by myself and others that followed, interspersed among various other comments about vegetarianism and other things. Some of mine are slightly expanded.

Me: I watched the whole thing. How can anyone see this as anything other than a pathetic joke? They are blind men who think that reality is the fantasy they see projected on the inside of their own eyelids. They talk of logical consistency. Logical consistency based on wrong premises is one thing, but they follow false premises with leaps of head-shakingly faulty logic and pat themselves on their backs for their brilliance.

wedingo: what do you mean by "wrong premises" ?

Me: A logical argument can be developed using false premises, but these guys don't even do that. The false premises, IMO are the denial of the existence of God and the unquestioning acceptance of Darwinian naturalism. But even given their premises, their logic continues to be faulty. Why is suffering wrong? Why, logically, is it necessary to get relatives' approval to eat human roadkill? Why is it any less moral for a human to kill a pig than a lion to hunt a gazelle? Their entire case is personal opinion upon personal opinion, subjective judgement upon subjective judgement.

richi3mass3: The point is that a lion doesn't have the capacity recognize the gazelle's suffering, therefore could not be held accountable when considering the permissibility of the action of "killing a gazelle". Most humans are able to recognize the suffering of others, therefore have a responsibility to consider the morality of their actions toward others. Logically: IF it wrong to kill humans for selfish purposes THEN it is wrong to kill animals for selfish purposes. Peace.

Me: But you need first to explain, indeed to prove, why suffering is morally wrong, assuming the premise of Darwinian evolutionary naturalism.

Keep on trollin'.

Me: Trolling? I was hoping to find some intelligent discussion, but apparently this is not the place for it.

We'll see if there are more responses and I will update.

Update April 25:
IAmTheCthulhu: suffering is morally wrong due to the premises of empathy. I wouldn't hit you, unless you hit me first. Factory farmed animals I doubt have ever hurt a human being, therefore human beings shouldn't hurt factory farmed animals. Its called empathy. Its supposedly what makes us better than all the other animals, but it really doesn't look like the case anymore. I think greed has trumped over it and now a black cloud hangs over our humanity. Isn't humane deriving from the word human?

Me: But it still begs the question, "Why is suffering wrong?" What does empathy have to do with Darwinism? Or, what, in Darwinism, declares suffering to be wrong, empathy or no? I am not questioning or trying to insult your own beliefs, but trying to find someone to explain the rationale of Singer and Dawkins in theirs.

Take Care


GB Shaw said...

Unquestioning acceptance of Darwinian naturalism? Who unquestioningly accepts Darwin's theory of evolution? Certainly not the scientists who are constantly testing, revising, and expanding his theories. Darwin had no concept of genetics, which came along after he'd published his treatise, and yet this entirely new discipline and avenue for research supported his theory of speciation. Same with fossils. Same with DNA. Please, please, please gird yourself with understanding and research before you assume that everyone is willing to take things on faith just because you are!

Incidentally, this Onion News Network video made me think of this debate about "teaching the controversy" in schools (something my uncle is trying every year to promote at the annual ATA conference).

John K said...

Picky picky ;) OK, so I should have said unquestioning acceptance of evolution. The point of my post, though, was not that, but their own faulty reasoning, and by that I still stand.

GB Shaw said...

Again, though, who is unquestioningly accepting evolution? It is always subject to revision or rejection, should the evidence require it. That's how science works. It isn't faith--theories/beliefs in science only last as long as they have predictive power. The second they don't, they're gone. My favorite recent example (because it has a Canadian connection) is the discovery of tiktaalik, the so-called missing link between fish and tetrapods. It wasn't discovered randomly--the scientists knew where it should be based on the fossil record and other scientific evidence. And low and behold, there it was! There's a terrific write up about this on the UChicago website about tiktaalik.

Another nice example is the COBE mission, which looked at the background microwave glow of the universe and found that it fit perfectly with the idea that the universe used to be really hot everywhere. This strongly reinforced the Big Bang theory and was one of the most dramatic examples of an experiment agreeing with a theory in history -- the data points fit perfectly, with error bars too small to draw on the graph. It's one of the most triumphant scientific results in history.