The Odd Blog

And when our cubs grow / We'll show you what war is good for

Some People Only Exist To Make Me Feel Good About Myself

Posted by That Other Mike on 05/11/2007

Like these people. If stupidity were catching, I’d be worried about visiting the place. As it is, they just make me feel so smart it’s painful. Politically and intellectually stunted, vacuous, self-congratulating and smug in their ignorance; it almost makes you start to think that Social Darwinism is a good idea.

Another guy whose rank stupidity is just way up there is Dinesh D’Souza. He’s made an entire career of being a pseudointellectual jackass. He’s basically a male Anne Coulter, but without the freaky spider hands.

In this article, he effectively makes the claim that he is attempting to debunk – that Atheists are smarter than Christians. Think about it; if he were that smart, he wouldn’t be writing that kind of shit.

Selected parts critiqued:

In his 1781 Critique of Pure Reason, Kant showed that this premise is false. In fact, he argued, there is a much greater limit to what human beings can know. Kant showed that human knowledge is constrained not merely by the unlimited magnitude of reality but also by a limited sensory apparatus of perception.

More or less true. Not specifically limited to Kantianism, but what the hell.

Kant isn’t diminishing the importance of experience. It is entirely rational for us to use science and reason to discover the operating principles of the world of experience. This world, however, is not the only one there is. Kant contended that while science and reason apply to the world of sensory phenomena, science and reason cannot penetrate what Kant termed the noumena: things as they are in themselves.

Kapow! D’Souza predictably goes off the rails. Noumena is just another word for the warm fuzzies that Theists customarily use to justify a belief in the physically non-existent. It’s special pleading dressed up in philosophy in Kant’s case.

Some critics have understood Kant to be arguing that all of reality is “in the mind.” Kant emphatically rejects this. Perhaps the best way to understand this is to see Kant as positing two kinds of reality: the material reality that we experience and reality itself. To many, the implication of Kant’s argument is that reality as a whole is, in principle, inaccessible to human perception and human reason.

What evidence do we have for this alleged different layer of reality? None. The kicker is that there cannot be any evidence by definition; if it ain’t material, we can’t sense it. What Kant and D’Souza have both done is claim that because they believe something for which there is no evidence that this lack of evidence constitutes evidence. It’s pure nonsense, a specious pseudointellectual mental wanking of the kind so beloved of D’Souza.

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