Thursday, April 10, 2014

Atheist Hypocrisy Is Worse Than Christian Hypocrisy

We all have limbic systems that drive our animal appetites. Sex n' drugs n' rock and roll are desirable because the primitive lizard brains that sit inside of our glorious human brains says they are. Your limbic system is what drives you to do both the things necessary for survival and the things you really oughtn't like lust and gluttony. For Christians, we face a constant fight with our limbic systems as we strive to be what the Bible tells us to be. When we fail, we're hypocrites. We preach one thing and do another.

So, yes, it's bad when you do things like this:
We shouldn't have done that. We tell others we're trying to do what's right and then we go and give in to the lizard brain. Our lives are constant struggles with Mr. Lizard. Mea culpa.

Then you come to the case of the atheist hypocrite like Sam Harris. Sam's big thing is logic. He's superior to me because he uses logic and reason and evidence and I don't. I drag my knuckles in the ground, grovel in front of crudely carved statues and eat my peas with a knife. I can barely be called civilized. He, on the other hand, is quick to tell you how totally logical he is. He evangelizes his atheism by crowing about his logic. Yes sirree, he's full to the brim with logic. He writes books packed with the stuff.

Except for when they aren't.

Sam's book, Free Will, is one of the worst books I have ever read. I listened to Sam narrate it from and I nearly drove off the road ten minutes in. Here's the howler that got me laughing so hard I almost wrecked my car:
You don't have free will, but your decisions still matter.
That has to be one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. I posed it to two of our kids and they instantly blurted out the obvious question, "Why?" Sam doesn't have a logically-derived answer for that. It's possible that the question didn't seem important to him, but not very likely as it's the crucial to much of the book. Instead, he must know full well he doesn't have a serous answer to it.

Sam Harris, you see, is a logic hypocrite.

To me, this is far less forgivable than my succumbing to lust or gluttony or sloth (three of my favorites). While I'm engaged in perpetual neuron-to-neuron combat with my lizard brain, Sam has no such excuse. Logic is very unforgiving. It's either there or it's not. When you toss out a bit of trash like "You don't have free will, but your decisions still matter" without rigorous proof, you're violating your code of logic. When you do it in a book, you know you're flipping all of us the bird.

Sam slipped that piece of rubbish into his book knowing it was nonsense. As a Christian, I believe we are all sinners and have to try to do our best. I sin and need forgiveness. As an atheist, Sam believes he is logically logical and full of evidential evidence that derives his deductions. His whole act is based on him being utterly logical. When he makes premeditated "sins" of logic, that's a totally different thing in my mind. I have an excuse: my limbic system. Sam has none.

Luckily for him, he has no free will, so I guess we shouldn't hold him to very high standards. Or buy any more of his books.


Ohioan@Heart said...

"Free will does not exist, but your decisions still matter."

"Why?" is not the question.

The question is "What?!?!"

If you have no free will, then you really don't make decisions (it only seems that way). So there are no "your decisions".

So his statement is not curious/confusing. It is a pure unresolvable paradox. He should not be able to hold "your decisions" and "no free will" in his logical mind at the same time.

But then it's not his free will to do that, so who cares if he's illogical?

Ilíon said...

"When we fail, we're hypocrites."

"I do not think that word means what you think it means."

Ilíon said...

Hey, O@H! Is it true? I've heard that a Buckeye is just a worthless nut; do you think that's true? ;)

tim eisele said...

KT: If you go to the Amazon page for Harris' book, and check out the one-star reviews (of which there are many), I think you'll find that most of them agree with you that "Free Will" is poorly reasoned and not very useful. The interesting thing is that they are mostly reviews by people who were expecting to agree with Harris.

I'm not going to bother reading it, myself. I read another item by Harris a while back, and was pretty underwhelmed by it.

Ohioan@Heart said...

Ilion... They may be poisonous, but they aren't worthless. They produce beautiful shade trees, and you can always feed them to wolverines. ;-)

Ilíon said...

LOL I'd not heard that last part.

K T Cat said...

Ohioan, great point. If there's no free will, there's no decision to start the ball rolling.

K T Cat said...

Illion, are we not hypocrites? If I aim for the perfect ideal of Christ, I can never measure up. When I fall short, I'm saying one thing and doing another.

By the way, one of my favorite Zig Ziglar lines is:

"I'm not going to church. Churches are filled with nothing but hypocrites!"

"Come on down anyway, friend! We've always got room for one more!"


Ilíon said...

Hypocrisy isn't *simply* saying one thing and doing another. Hypocrisy isn't *simply* sinning and hiding the sin from others.

Sheesh! You're a Catholic ... check out the Catholic Encyclopedia on hypocrisy.

K T Cat said...

Well I'll be! So I'm just an average sinner? Sheesh, I can't even excel at being evil! Mom will be so disappointed.



Secular Apostate said...

You can always spot the former Trekkies who emulated Spock. In fact, the original Star Trek characters would not be a bad set of folks to use in a personality test. I'm sure it would be at least as good as the Meyers-Briggs.

Ilíon said...

"So I'm just an average sinner?"


It takes real effort to be a hypocrite. A hypocrite pretends to some virtue, while having no intention of submitting to it or fulfilling it. A hypocrite also tends to condemn others for merely failing at what he never did intend to attempt.

At the same time, while hypocrisy frequently manifests with respect to morality, hypocrisy itself is really more general. For example, people sometimes reason unsoundly; one expects that it's generally unintentional, but sometimes it's intentional, at which time it is hypocrisy (with respect to reason) -- the person who knowingly "argues" 'A' and 'not-A' simultaneously is a hypocrite; the person who condemns others for making an argument of the same form that he makes (when it suits him) is a hypocrite.

Anonymous said...

Logic, eh?

Kirk was captain for a reason. And Spock was his subordinate.

Anonymous said...

About 1% of all Christians are hypocritical, bigoted a-holes. However, about 99% of all atheists are hypocritical, bigoted a-holes.