Sweet, weepy jesus…what a shame to see a good mind default to the dumest of human faults. With Sam Harris leading the charge with his plea that words/statements mean something, Coyne acts as Harris’ lap dog by hand waving and wanting to really, really propose that beliefs cause behaviors. The science says, at best beliefs are likely correlated and not causal of behaviors. My reading of the research is that language and subjective experience is largely epiphenomenal. Simply, if this stuff were biologically and behaviorally meaningful other animals would have it, duh…
Atheist Dogma Allows No Challenges, Either
Not surprisingly, this topic cannot be discussed on Coyne’s site because he early on blocked me for sharing brain science research. Just like the people he demonizes he too brooks not challenge to his dogma. Sam Harris has no comments enabled on his blog. Atheists are just as dogmatic, closed-minded and untransparent as the people they demonize. Maybe even more dishonest since they claim to eschew dogma – the opposite is true.
Further dishonesty, avoidance and denialism
We Don’t Know How Statements/Beliefs are Related to Behavior
However, formally we have no idea how language effects behavior because it has rarely been studies. It hasn’t been studied because it is an cultural assumption. A cultural assumption that is the supposed intellectual basis for pretty much all of so-called Western “knowledge.” With economists and philosophers leading the way, everyone does really well acting as-if naive realism were factual and presuming the face validity of everyday language statements. Really dum…
Let’s set aside for the moment that the kinds of beliefs the demonizers of religious statements/beliefs want to explain are the f-head violent acts of men, of mainly reproductive ages, in the Middle East. Fair enough. Why anyone would belive the behavior explanations being spouted by suicide-murder-f-head guys, or any explanations for anything, is just dum but more on this later. Typically, violent people are drunk or mentally ill – again, mainly young men of breeding age competing for resources and mates…..or a relative. Well, most are drunk relatives – but that is another post!
Let’s also set aside, for the moment, that the statements the violent f-heads are making are really silly magical-supernatural ones claiming all sorts of magical stuff and gods and magical supernatural forces. These are patently delusional statements. So, the premise is that magical and delusional statements cause behavior. Well, that doesn’t make any sense either. Human language is mainly filled with delusional and supernatural statements, life after death, supersitution, etc, but human behavior is very reality based. People may say they beleive in ghost and guardian angels but they sure don’t act that way! Duh, again…
These are not big insights – but just everyday observations about behavior – not what people say but what we do.
These Claims Cannot Be True
The latest is from a recent post on Coyne’s site http://www.whyevolutionistrue.com…good grief, say it ain’t so Jerry!!?? Let’s set aside the dishonest ad hominem attacks. Personal attacks – the default of the weak mind. Strong minds argue about ideas – weak minds attack people sharing ideas they can’t understand or tolerate. Dum…
Well, I don’t know the studies to which Aslan’s referring, but to say that beliefs do not causally explain behavior seems insane. What about men who shoot their wives, or their wives’ lovers, because they believe they’re cuckolds? What about gangsters who kill other gangsters who, they think, have muscled in on their territory? What about honor killings? Are those not behaviors that come directly from beliefs? The “complexity” bit is just a canard that Aslan throws in to make us think, “Wow–things are really complicated! Maybe I ought to stop harping on religion.”
In truth, Aslan wants us to think that it’s only religious beliefs that don’t determine (“necessarily and distinctly”) behavior, because his interest is in defending religion, Islam in particular. But what does “necessarily and distinctly” mean? I’d say that if there is a purported mix of factors that are said to determine a behavior, and that the behavior never occurs without a certain one of the factors (say, religious belief), then, yes, religion necessarily and distinctly influences that behavior. It’s like a multifactoral statistical analysis, in which you partition out the contributors to an outcome and find one has the overriding influence. Only the willfully blind would say, I think, that the murder of Shiites by Sunnis, the stoning of adulterers, the killing of apostates, and so on, would still occur had religion never inflicted itself on our species (for one thing, we wouldn’t have Sunnis and Shiite sects, which separate people of identical backgrounds and ethnicity).
“Insane…”!? Yes, anything that challenges our culturally-accepted demonization and self-righteous damnation of the , usually darker-skinned* “other”is just CRAZIE people!! lol (* There is probably a good biological and logical reason for this instinctive fear of darker complexions. But that is for later.)
Good grief, this kind of tripe from a world expert in speciation! Groan and headsmack….oh well. It shows how deep, unconscious, instinctive reactive fear responses go, independent of IQ and education – demonizing and dehumanizing the other. So, the f-heads who are doing this violence are just running around doing all this stuff based on the childish, supernatural, imaginary statements and claims!? I believe this is called the fundamental attribution error. Regardless, the bench science evidence for no free will is consistent, bullet proof and over a decade old.
Atheists are Lying to Themselves, Of Course….and the Rest of Us, Which Gets Silly
Coyne, Harris and other atheists publicly state they accept the accumulating evidence of no free will over behavior. Harris even wrote a frickin’ book on the topic (excuse the language.). Grrrrrrr……They accept the medical facts. Then, they go public and spout this claptrap about religious/magical statements/”beliefs” causing f-head behaviors, and a lot of others. Both claims cannot be true. So they are lying. Coyne and Harris are apparently lying that they accept the no free will facts. That’s fine. Effectively mno one accpts the medical facts about no free will – or anything else, for that matter! That is human nature. Naive realism and denial rule – well, and fear.
You would think Harris and Coyne would do some, at least Google, research to see how and if beliefs do cause behavior #1 and violent behavior #2,3,4,5… Instead they make the sophomoric mistake of preaching correlation is causality. A big “no-no.”
So…..the atheist community is all about evidence, EXCEPT when “Muslim” f-heads are killing themselves and others!? THEN, the atheist community and luminaries – “thought leaders” no less — devolve to the standard moralizing xeonaphobia. And that makes sense. Everyone is vulnerable to dehumanizing and demonizing the “other” – especially when fear gets triggered and triggering fear is the mission of pop media. We pay pop media time, money and attention to scare us. Then disassocaite and blame them. The human brain defaults to a fear response. But that, too in another post.
Sam Harris’ writings articulate our deepest brain cravings. For example, quoting JC (no, not jesus christ, jesus!) paraphrasing SH:
“It is when beliefs are translated into malevolent actions that we are justified, or so Harris says, in killing people.”
How about just when some f-head is malevolent we take action? Maybe not killing – “eye-for-an-eye” not being really effective. Let’s leave beliefs and what people say out of it, shall we?
Bless their pointy little heads, Coyne and Harris, et al. go thru some pretty half-hearted and mainly emotional verbal, not intellectual, scientific or evidence-based at all, contortions to make the point they are scared of the bad guys. They end up sounding like scared school kids. Fair enough but let’s not dress it up (aka lie) and pretend it has any empirical validity, evidence or even common sense. It doesn’t.
We say all sorts of silly things when fear drives our brins and bodies – look at the Ebola response. Human nature. But what a fear response surley and immediately does, as it concurrently demonizes and dehumanizes the other folks is stops problem solving. Fear literally sucks blood from our brains – instantly. Part of why it is so useful manipulating people. Behavior gets reduced to the Dark Triad (my term) fight, flight or freeze – often all 3 at the same time!
What Could Really Be Contributing to the F-head Behavior in the Middle East?
Let’s “spitball” a little here but with some hand-waving gestures to real evidence, data and research, shall we?
First, let’s return the humanity to these guys doing f-head behaviors. It is logically a very small minority are really mentally ill killers. The large majority are guys just trying to get by and earn a living, etc. These are people after all. Guys who are like the rest of us. Not monsters or inhuman. Yeah, some of the behavior is really bad and destructive of pretty much everyone and everything. But making them 2 dimensional is factually incorrect.
If we suspend belief in the cultural belief in supernatural beliefs mattering and effecting behavior, we are more solid ground in looking at them as trying to solve the same daily problems as everyone else.