The university: ideally a very unsafe place 1

Everything Dr. Jordan Peterson says in this video clip we heartily agree with:

Posted under education by Jillian Becker on Sunday, July 2, 2017

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No problem for atheism 9

We much admire Dr. Jordan Peterson when he talks about politics. We agree with all we have heard him say on political issues.

We do not agree with him on the subject of morality as he discusses it here;

Our arguments against Dostoyevsky’s young villain-hero Raskolnikov are too numerous to set out here. Enough to say that one person’s need for something is not a reason why another person should give it to him.

But to come to why Dr. Peterson cites the novel:

He agrees with Dostoyevsky’s declaration (made in the novel by Raskolnikov) that “if there is no god then you can do whatever you want”. He is willing to substitute the word “higher value” or “transcendent value” for “god”.

To explain why he agrees, he asks: “What the hell is irrational about me getting exactly what I want from every one of you whenever I want it at every possible second?”

He adds:  “It’s as if the psychopathic tendency is irrational.”

He asks: “Why the hell not ‘every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost’?”

These are arguments very often put against atheism. They are not difficult for an atheist to answer.

He thinks that atheists such as Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins* do not realize that the ethics they take for granted are predicated on a long tradition of moral principles encapsulated in the myths of religion. The myths convey, down through the ages, the “higher”, the “transcendent” morality – which, he says, “can be personified in the idea of God”.  Those moral principles, he suggests, are not just divinely revealed, they can be said to define and constitute the Divine itself.

The implication is that at certain moments in ancient history, revelations of some “transcendent” moral truths were imparted to certain men. If not by a god at least from some source of divine wisdom. And because these come from that “higher” source, they are the right guides for human behavior.

He is referring of course to the “moral religions”. Most religions contain no moral precepts whatsoever, if the meaning of “moral behavior” is behaving well towards our fellow human beings.

So let’s examine the moral precepts of the moral religions. Convention has it that there are three of them: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. (Some oriental religions such as Buddhism and Jainism command your right behavior towards others, but to serve a different end: not in order to benefit them for their own sakes, but entirely in order to put a shine on your own soul.)

Islam may as well be excluded straightaway. It commands Muslims to be good to other Muslims, not to anyone who is not a Muslim. Dr. Peterson is unlikely to include that idea in his notion of transcendent values.

What does Judaism command? That you love (respect) your neighbor as yourself, and that includes even the stranger in your midst. That is sensible. Enlightened self-interest requires the same thing. Judaism is essentially a religion of law. Law is good. The Mosaic laws forbid murder, theft, false testimony, adultery, and covetousness. Divine revelation was not needed for law to forbid murder, theft, and  false testimony. They were forbidden in far more ancient secular codes of law, such as the Hammurabi Code which was written down some 600 years before the Mosaic law is alleged to have been revealed by Jehovah through Moses to the Children of Israel. As for adultery and covetousness, they are not punishable by law or despised by custom in our time. As to the rest of the Jewish religious laws, a reading of the “books of Moses” is very unlikely to support the view that they are of “transcendent” value, fixed stars in the moral firmament by which we may be rightly guided forever. They forbid homosexuality, for instance. Is that a transcendent value?

And then there is Christianity. It too forbids murder, theft, false testimony, adultery, covetousness and homosexuality. It commands you to love (love) your neighbor, to love everyone, to love all mankind however unlovable your neighbor, or your enemy might be. It commands you to forgive sinners, though you may condemn the sin. It demands, in other words, the impossible, and discards the genuinely and supremely moral idea of justice. It recommends self-abasement and self-denial. It asks human beings to act against human nature. Transcendent and eternal values?

No. The bodies of myth that compose the scriptures and moral commandments of certain religions do NOT set a guide to right behavior, or supply a bedrock of moral values.

To answer Dr. Petersons’ remaining arguments:

What is stopping you from getting anything you want (“forcibly” is implied) from everyone else whenever you want to, is the will of everyone else. Your self-interest is best served by taking into account that everyone else is necessarily serving his own self-interest just as you are, and your survival and the satisfying of your needs depends on taking this fact into consideration. Or, as we put it in our own Articles of Reason: My liberty should be limited by nothing except everyone else’s liberty. That is rational. Mankind would not long have survived if many people had not understood the selfish need to tolerate and co-operate with other people. Rational self-interest keeps most of us  from living by the maxim “every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost”, because if we did we would be likely to die by it.

Finally, to want to get what one wants from everyone else is, he suggests, a “psychopathic tendency”, and that, he says, is not irrational. But what does “psychopathic” mean if not a sickness of the mind – a breakdown of sanity, of the capacity to reason? If psychopaths are the example of what we should not be, who would disagree?

Our final answer: no god ever spoke to any man. No moral precepts come from a divine source.

All are man-made.

None are set in stone.

Every moral idea, like every other idea, needs to be examined by reason.

 

 

* In the case of Richard Dawkins, we would concede that his Leftist principles derive from Christianity. In our opinion they are not good.

Posted under Atheism, Ethics by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, June 28, 2017

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Meet Bernie’s Uncle Joe 1

The American Left loved Russia when it was the USSR. Bernie Sanders took his bride to honeymoon there!

In this video, Dr. Jordan Peterson shows the Social Justice Warriors of contemporary America – so badly educated they know nothing of Stalin’s Russia – just what happened when their ideology was put into practice.

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Posted under Marxism, Russia, Soviet Union, Videos by Jillian Becker on Friday, June 16, 2017

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