an atheist viewpoint

thoughts from a non-theist

Russell Was Right

“The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.” – Bertrand Russell

I think Russell was spot on.

In my interactions with various apologists online, such as Sye Ten Bruggencate, Alan Rhology, Bob Sorensen, and Joe Cienkowski, I repeatedly encounter a level of absolute certainty that’s almost completely absent from the side of non-believers. It seems that blind, unquestioning faith leads to this sort of thing.

Funny thing is, the ‘I’m RIGHT cos GOD SAYS I AM!!!!’ crew only come across as unbearable, and are almost certainly not winning converts.

Single Post Navigation

17 thoughts on “Russell Was Right

  1. He's truly great. I've been re-reading his essays lately. Wonderful quote.

  2. "I repeatedly encounter a level of absolute certainty that's almost completely absent from the side of non-believers."Hmm, wonder who wrote this then: "I've told you I AM sure of things! I am sure that reality is real."Someone hijack your twitter account there Alex? 🙂

  3. "hypothetically we might not have certainty, but in reality we do."Hmmm, wonder who had your twitter account there Alex? Just keep typing man, you are making my point for me 🙂

  4. "Funny thing is, the 'I'm RIGHT cos GOD SAYS I AM!!!!' … are almost certainly not winning converts."And are you "cocksure" of that?

  5. Funny how these type of quotes can be so quickly turned right back around on their maker.

  6. Well done boys, all three of you have merely proven the point I was making.*claps*Funny how certain types of apologists default to crowing and self congratulation at the drop of a hat.Keep it up, you can join C. Andiron in the 'I'll be along in a moment to perfectly illustrate your point' pile.

  7. They beat me to it, and you did as well. Just because you have anticipated that everyone would see your error, how does this disprove your error, Rik?

  8. Brilliant! We've got the whole gang!As for that tweet, I claimed certainty for the sake of argument, and backed up my reasons with evidence. Sye et al claim certainty as a matter of course, and back up their claims with circular reasoning, appeals to authority (their god), belief in magic.You need to check who is the one regularly claiming 'I know things for certain' (hint, it's Sye, Alan, Dustin, and all the other Presubbullshitters

  9. Having watched all this unravelling from afar, I have to say this to the evangelicals: to a man, you all come off as arrogant pricks. I may think Jim is a bit jumbled and abusive, or that Alex is a little over-confident in his philosophical arguments, but they're not even in the same league as you guys.I'm not just saying that because I disagree with your theology – you genuinely seem to be deeply unlikeable characters. Maybe you're not like that in real life – we can always hope! – but I suspect that the real reason you don't win many (if any) converts is that you're all terrible, terrible witnesses for your faith.

  10. "to a man, you all come off as arrogant pricks."Being right and knowing it tends to look like that sometimes. I challenge you to find even one person who has met either of us in person who supports your view though.

  11. Thanks Anonymous (though I'd rather you use a name when posting), I agree about your take on my philosophical arguments – I'm not trained in this area at all, and am literally working it out as I go along – the confidence is purely a tool for rebutting the relentless 'we're right!'ness of the opposition. Sye, following your statement "Being right and knowing it tends to look like that sometimes." I refer you back to the original post.

  12. Being right and knowing it tends to look like that sometimes."Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him." (Proverbs 26:12)I challenge you to find even one person who has met either of us in person who supports your view though.I'm not sure how that's relevant to the fact that when you're online, you come off as an arrogant prick?

  13. "Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?" You see, that's just it, you don't get the fact that we are dependent on God for everything, including our knowledge. Any wisdom I have is God's wisdom, not my own. The verse you quote applies to those who deny God as the source and foundation of wisdom."I'm not sure how that's relevant to the fact that when you're online, you come off as an arrogant prick?"It's entirely relevant, as it reveals that the the misconception likely originates from the fact that you are on the wrong side.

  14. "It's entirely relevant, as it reveals that the the misconception likely originates from the fact that you are on the wrong side."And even when trying to explain you come across as a total dick…..amazing.

  15. Sye – unsurprisingly, you missed the point I was making. I'm not saying that you are an arrogant prick, I'm pointing out that you come off as an arrogant prick. You can do what you want with that information, but apparently what you want to do with it is continue exactly the same behaviour that makes you come off as an arrogant prick. I leave it up to you whether that's the best way to bring people to God.You see, that's just it, you don't get the fact that we are dependent on God for everything, including our knowledge. Any wisdom I have is God's wisdom, not my own. The verse you quote applies to those who deny God as the source and foundation of wisdom.I think you might have missed the entire point of Proverbs – the clue is in the title – but maybe you're right. However it can also be read simply as pointing out that those that continually insist on their own certainty – their "wisdom" – is a hopeless case. The certainty we object to is your certainty that you have correctly understood the mind of God, which is ridiculous on so many levels, it's difficult to know where to start.

  16. Here's a specific example of that problematic "certainty" of yours. I'm going to assume that you have a fairly large number of doctrinal disagreements with a substantial majority of your co-believers – obviously the Catholic and Orthodox churches, but I'm guessing also with your own sub-group of Christianity, particularly with more liberal sects.If that is the case, then you believe that your views are right, and theirs are wrong – essentially, that you know the mind of God better than they. In turn this implies that you believe that the overwhelming majority of Christians throughout history have been wrong on key issues since they have failed to comprehend the mind of God in the way that you have.If this argument is true, it would be fair to say that you are a member of vanishing small minority of people who have correctly understood the mind of God. Presumably other Christians have failed simply because, being human, they are subject to various foibles, temptations, being mislead by demons, cognitive biases, the burden of sin, and so forth.This leads to a problematic conclusion. Given that the overwhelming majority of Christians throughout history have failed to understand the mind of God correctly because they suffer from human failings, and given that you are likewise human, basic probability tells us that you are very likely to be a member of that overwhelming majority, rather than a member of the elite minority.Note that I'm saying that you're not a member of the elite minority that truly knows the mind of God, merely that the chances are very high that you're not, and that some acknowledgement of that possibility on your part would go a long way to a) dispelling the impression that you're an arrogant prick and b) furthering the discussion beyond amateur-hour philosophy.

  17. Sorry, last para should beging: "Note that I'm not saying that you're not a member of the elite minority that truly knows the mind of God…"

Write what you like, but don't cry if you act like a dick and get banned for it

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: