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To the Editor:
In a letter in the May 8, 2022 issue of Libertarian Enterprise responding to my observation in a previous letter that there is no evidence to support a belief in the supernatural, Jim Davidson makes various assertions that may be divided into three categories: 1) claims regarding me, 2) claims regarding himself, and 3) evidence in support of the proposition that there is a God.
Claims Regarding Me
• Although Davidson doubts the wisdom of using Microsoft software products, he grants that I myself may have “compelling reasons for [using Microsoft software] and can defend his choices as he sees fit.”
Some aspersion seems to be implicitly cast here, but what it may consist of is carefully left unspecified. The purpose seems diversionary. One could also observe, with equal relevance to the bone of contention, that I have used demonic flitting electrons to prepare and submit material to the Libertarian Enterprise, used USPS to receive and occasionally send parcels, watched movies made by people with horrible political views, and eaten ice cream, most often vanilla.
• Davidson is “Not sure whether David neglected to express any concern about that part [abortion], given his focus on my connexion to God.”
The uncertainty about whether I said anything about abortion in my letter (if this is what the above-quoted syntax is supposed to be conveying) may be resolved by adopting the expedient of rereading my letter. It did not discuss abortion.
The second part of the statement misreads my letter in another way by contending that I focused on Davidson‘s “connection to God.” (I hope I may be forgiven for committing the venial sin of correcting the British misspelling of “connection.”) I could not have been focusing on the “connection” of Davidson or anyone else “to God,” since nobody has any connection to that which does not exist (obviously). I would acknowledge the reality of a “connection” of some kind only if we take “connection to God” to instead mean something like a connection to feelings of conviction about a God, to imaginative projections, to personal or cultural or historical factors as they affect a person‘s views and conduct, to misconceptions, or to other mental content.
• Davidson writes: “If David wants to invite God into his life, David can read about how to do so.”
It is metaphysically possible to “invite into one‘s life” only that which exists. One might also say: “If David wants to invite Zeus and Hera into his life, David can read about how to do so.” Okay, but the assertion doesn‘t really advance the discussion. Such instructions could not be implemented unless there were a Zeus and a Hera.
• Davidson writes: “Perhaps David likes the status quo and wants to keep it going the way it is.” A status quo something to do with “mass-murdering, baby-raping cannibals” who “own companies like Microsoft,” who “rape, murder, and drink the blood” of millions of children.
Wait. Hold on just a minute. Whoa. Is Davidson implying here that he himself does not rape and eat babies? Gee whiz, I thought everybody rapes and eats babies. Now, please don‘t tell me that I should tether my speculations or assertions to something resembling adducible fact. What an intolerable burden such an obligation would be—as Davidson well knows.
Relevance of any of these contentions by Davidson to the question of whether there is any supernatural being or supernatural realm: zero.
Claims Regarding Himself
• Davidson has “prayed to God the Eternal Father that David be shown evidence of God by God.”
No one needs to pray to any beings real or imaginary to persuade me to inspect evidence relevant to my interests and concerns. But whether complicated or simple, this evidence, if it exists and I have missed it, must be gathered and presented, or at least pointed to, if one is to have hope of achieving the proposed result. Prayer is not a method of such gathering and presenting except mayhap with respect to a person‘s own psychology and state of knowledge and thinking. Perhaps if Davidson prayed a little more, combined with some cogitation and mulling, he would recognize the ridiculousness of advising me that an imaginary being will, if I only let it into my heart, present me with the proof that said being is not imaginary.
Davidson might also consider the implications of the fact that he himself has no evidence to present that the alleged supernatural being he posits does in fact exist. Going only by the content of his letter, he can provide no observation, no inferences from any observation, nothing. In effect, his feeling of conviction is self-justifying. All he can do is make one brazen arbitrary assertion after another, assuring himself that each is authoritative because he feels so very strongly about it.
• Davidson avers that “God is in fact with those of us working…”
To contend that God is with us because God is with us in fact is to beg the question at issue. But perhaps Davidson would reply that in this passage he is indeed not attempting to present any argument for the conclusion that there is a God. If so, I concede the point.
• According to Davidson, “It is not my job to live David‘s life….” We agree. Davidson is off the hook. I will live my own life.
• According to Davidson, it is also not his job to “teach David about the extensive and abundant evidence of God….”
We agree. It is not. At any rate, no part of any such chore has been undertaken in Davidson‘s letter. But in light of the fact that no actual evidence or viable logical argument proving the existence of God has ever been presented by anybody in human history, the implication that Davidson has access to a body of extensive and abundant evidence proving it, perhaps stacked in a trunk in his basement, is dubious. Is the proof derived from the loveliness of flowers and turtles, the necessity of a First Cause that can only be God, some lacunae in the fossil record, biblical fulfillment of biblical prophecy, all of these fallacies combined…what exactly is the nature of this “evidence”? And if definitive evidence does exist and is proper to cite as proof against the doubter, why do so many top religious figures and lesser priests and pastors and rabbis make so much ado about the sufficiency of faith?
• In his closing words, Davidson refers to himself as “Your friend and brother.”
I hope that these words are not intended to include me, since Davidson and I are unrelated and, so far as I know, have never met. Nor would any friend of mine remain one for long who accused me of perhaps liking a status quo involving the raping and eating of babies or children.
Relevance of any of these contentions by Davidson to the question of whether there is any supernatural being or realm: zero.
Evidence in Support of the Proposition That There Is a God
I‘m afraid I fibbed by intimating that there would be content in this third category. It‘s empty. Nothing in Davidson‘s reply to me qualifies with even superficial plausibility as evidence for the existence of a God. As he himself stresses, it is “not my job” to substantiate such a central and determinative claim as the existence of God by reference to anything like observation and inference from observation. I take Davidson at his word that doing so is beyond his power or inclination, however much his belief in God may inform every word of the letter on abortion on which I commented.
Regarding this, too—i.e., the futility and irrelevance of his non-rebuttal—Davidson and I are in perfect agreement.
David M. Brown
Was that worth reading?
Then why not:
David Codrea writes:
“Paul Valone has written a very important primer that helps all of us recognize where we can best fit our talents and goals to beat the control freaks and prohibitionists at their own game, and that makes that first step a lot easier: Read this book. You’ll know what to do next.”
Rules for ANTI-Radicals: A Practical Handbook for Defeating Leftism, by F. Paul Valone:
In The Editor’s Notes, The Editor writes:
There seem to be 4 possibilities:
1) God loves us and wants us to be happy,
2) God hates us and wants us to be miserable,
3) God is indifferent,
4) God is insane.
Realize the exact same argument applies to parents who don‘t think that their kids should be doing crack at age 8.
For anyone who‘s actually been a parent, it is obvious that there is at least one other option: that God wants what is best for us, and will guide us as long as possible, but ultimately., our lives are ours to live.
I get that atheists prefer to not think God is as loving and caring as a human parent, but for the sale of rational completeness, consider the possibility that God might be at least as moral as a human parent.
What Geena Davis Said
Recently I read an article about protestors in the US against the US providing weapons to the Ukrainian people to defend themselves against Russian aggression:
What I get out of this is that there are people who believe peace is achieved by disarming victims and allowing aggressors to achieve their goals.
I have difficulty wrapping my mind around the existence of such people. I have difficulty in viewing people who would condemn others to submit to evil as in anyway virtuous. Yet these people exist, they view themselves as wise and virtuous, and they can find people who agree with them.
We live in a more dangerous world than we could imagine.
3. The Ionian Revolt to Marathon (The Greeks and the Others) (Video Lecture)
Sean Gabb Newsletter, 15th May 2022
(See Below for Republication Rights)
Here is a series of lectures given by Sean Gabb in 2022, in which he discusses the influence of the Greeks on the other peoples of the Ancient World. For reasons of politeness and data protection, all student contributions have been removed.
This third lecture in the course explains specific events and the complex pattern of their existing relationships that brought the Greeks and Persians into conflict. It runs from the Ionian Revolt, though the successful attempt to involve the Athenians, to the failed Persian attempt to crush the Athenians. As ever, it relies heavily on Herodotus.
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