Illogic Is Rife in Science Media
A simple exercise shows that what materialists are telling us cannot possibly be true. So why do reporters give them any mind?
All you have to do to test the logical validity of a proposition is turn it back on itself. One famous example is “There are no absolutes.” The listener should simply ask, “Is that absolutely true?” The claim refutes itself, so it’s false. There are many others: I am a liar, name-callers are idiots, question everything. It’s amazing how many ‘great minds’ don’t look in the logical mirror at themselves. [Note: in the following, we acknowledge the intelligence of the suspects, but call into question some of their logic.]
The illusion of explanation. Mainstream secular reporters tend to have their favorite experts. Atheist philosopher Daniel Dennett is one of them. Unfortunately, his teachings are full of self-refuting propositions. Anna Buckley on the BBC News asks a leading question that is logically false on its face: “Is Consciousness an Illusion?” Let’s run our exercise. If consciousness is an illusion, is the proposition made consciously? If so, it is an illusion, too. Simple. Yet Buckley gives Dennett valuable air time to express his physicalist view that consciousness is just that: an illusion.
Our minds are made of molecular machines, otherwise known as brain cells. And if you find this depressing then you lack imagination, says Dennett.
This can only mean that Dennett is deluding himself that his mind is made of molecular machines. He only imagines that is true. But even his imagination is an illusion. He imagines that he’s imagining. Everything he says collapses into solipsism. In his dream, he imagines a reporter named Anna Buckley asking him questions, but she’s really a Westworld robot. So is he.
Dennett, raised in a nominal Christian home with a grandmother who sent him to Sunday School (“I sang in choirs and learnt all the hymns, memorised the books of the Bible and all that stuff”) is a prime example (along with Dawkins, Shermer and some others*) of something about atheists: the most adamant and irreconcilable atheists tend to come from religious backgrounds. Something about their rebellion against religion flips their brains like a scorched pancake, so they become unable to feel their own illogic. Here’s more:
We evolved from uncomprehending bacteria. Our minds, with all their remarkable talents, are the result of endless biological experiments.
Our genius is not God-given. It’s the result of millions of years of trial and error.
Aside from being examples of argument by assertion, the only way these statements make any sense is in the illusory world of one infected with the Yoda Complex. Dennett imagines himself outside his physical brain, like a god, making statements that are timeless, universal, necessary, and certain. Once he steps back into his physical body, those propositions evaporate into uncomprehending cells, aimless biological experiments going nowhere, and illusions of genius. Maybe after a few more millions of years of trial and error he will notice that it’s all error.
Royal blunders. Smart people are not immune to illogical beliefs. Among the vulnerable intelligentsia is Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal of Britain. In a Q&A piece for The Conversation, he lets loose with wisdom and folly, describing visions of life evolving on other planets while admitting there is no evidence for it, and confessing that nobody knows how life emerged on earth. He even knows that humans must look like bacteria to advanced aliens that are millions of years ahead of us in the evolutionary march of progress. So advanced are they, in fact, that “While we depend on a planet and an atmosphere, these entities would be happy in zero G, floating freely in space.” Evidence, please? None required. “This might make them even harder to detect,” he says. Kind of like ghosts. This on a science news site that boasts of “Academic rigor, journalistic flair.” The only thing floating freely in space here is his imagination.
Asked, “Have you ever encountered anything in the cosmos that has made you wonder whether a creator was behind it?” he responded,
No. Personally, I don’t have any religious beliefs. But I describe myself as a cultural Christian, in that I was brought up in England and the English church was an important part of that. Then again, if I had been born in Iran, I’d probably go to the mosque.
There are two self-refuting problems here. One is that if humans are mere expressions of their culture, then Rees could be described as a product of the science culture. No one denies that our upbringing influences our identity, but unless one can prove that one’s rational thought is free to explore beyond the bonds of one’s environment, then everything becomes an expression of one’s culture. All intellectual thought vanishes, including the thought that one is a product of culture. Another self-refuting problem is that it takes a religious belief to say one doesn’t have any religious beliefs. Another word for religious beliefs is worldview, which entails the answers to man’s fundamental questions: Who am I? Where do I come from? What is the meaning of life? Apart from any external expressions of that worldview (like ritual or dress), Rees clearly has one. Saying one has no worldview is a worldview itself—a self-refuting worldview.
Using language to defeat semantics. Before proceeding, consider the self-refuting claim, “I don’t know any languages.” Watch for it. Mark Pagel, no stranger to self-refuting sentences (winner of the 5/31/07 Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week), reappears in Nature reviewing a new book about the origin of language. It has a pompous title: The Truth about Language: What It Is and Where It Came From. Author Michael C. Corballis takes the position that monkey gestures led to human language, because mirror neurons (purely physical) seem implicated in pointing behavior (and, thereby, he reasons, in meaning and reference). Pagel is not sure about that, tending to favor the vocalization hypothesis, but he uses the opportunity to shoot his own foot again:
But what does it mean to say that language — the exchange of information between senders and receivers — arose from gestures? Gesturing may indicate a theory of mind, the ability to understand what others might know or be thinking; and surely that is a requisite for language. Humans take this understanding for granted, but it has proved difficult to show conclusively in other animals. Some dogs respond to pointing, but they have been selected to do so (and don’t point things out to other dogs). Chimpanzees can point, but do it rarely: not what would be expected in routine social communication. Chimpanzees and other primates can follow others’ gazes, but gazing is not an intentional act of communication. Indeed, following another’s gaze is potentially an act of theft.
There the putative gestural trail goes cold in the long line of fossil hominins along the 6-million- to 7-million-year evolutionary path separating us from our common ancestor with chimpanzees. And yet this gap is where everything happened. Humans use language to promote learning, cooperation and the exchange of goods and services — a leap from occasional pointing. Our brand of sociality distinguishes our species as much as language does, and it is hard to imagine our social systems working without language.
One might equally argue that human language arose to exploit the psychological capabilities that make our advanced sociality possible. Corballis’ position then has to be that gesturing provides the most likely evolutionary route to those capabilities. But this is a topic on which he says comparatively little. What we do know is that without those capabilities, we might still be pointing and grunting like the Trolls.
Here, both Pagel and Corballis show themselves open only to Darwinian views for the origin of language. But it doesn’t matter who is right, whether it started with gestures or with grunts; both are devoid of evidence (as Pagel just said, the “trail goes cold” in a “gap… where everything happened”— cf. the Stuff Happens Law). Both views are also self-refuting; to believe them, we must conclude that Corballis is gesturing, and Pagel is grunting. Pagel asked, “What does it mean…?” He should know that semantics is orthogonal to the medium; you can express the same meaning in different systems of gestures or vocalizations. Now ask them both to convince us that they are not just Trolls pointing and grunting. In essence, their responses are, “I don’t know any languages.” [Cue buzz of short circuit.]
*Jerry Bergman is working on a book containing dozens of case studies of people raised in religious homes who became militant atheists when they were exposed to Darwinian propaganda.
This is what the secular evolutionary worldview has produced. Hope you’re happy with it. Fun, isn’t it, being surrounded by trolls in Fantasyland. Watch out for those undetectable space aliens floating by. Except for the ones operating your brain in a vat.