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deletedApr 7, 2023Liked by Millennial Woes
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I think he's bright. The problem is he's a coward.

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“The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools.” — Thucydides.

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That quote says everything that needs to be said about why GAE is clownworld today.

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Atheists and nihilists are overwhelmingly cowards.

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Apr 7, 2023Liked by Millennial Woes

Absolutely brilliant essay.

I’m sure Dawkins would appreciate its publication on Good Friday.

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Apr 7, 2023Liked by Millennial Woes

Nobody as stupid as an intellectual.

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Apr 7, 2023Liked by Millennial Woes

Written like a slasher scene

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Apr 7, 2023Liked by Millennial Woes

Group selection, duh!

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"Somehow argue that, despise this evidence, he has been right. This would preserve his pride and his worldview, but would be irrational."

I'm reminded of Sam Harris, Dawkins' fellow atheist evangelist, insisting that even though he'd been wrong about COVID and the vaxx, and Brett Weinstein had been correct, in fact Harris had been correct and Weinstein wrong at some sort of higher level of principle. Completely incoherent, the flailing about of a mediocre intellect convinced of his own genius and desperate to avoid confrontation with the evidence that he'd been completely and catastrophically mistaken the entire time.

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Apr 7, 2023Liked by Millennial Woes

Having watched Lex Fridman's interview with Sam Harris, I recently assessed that "I think Sam Harris is very smart, but he invests all his smartness into maintenance of his self-image as Rational Man. When the rationality markets are going south, he loses most of his investments." At least Sam Harris is going all-in, riding the bear, whereas Richard Dawkins withdraws his investments and hides them under his mattress.

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I feel like Dawkins is actually the more intelligent and self-aware of the two. At a certain level he realizes how catastrophically wrong he's been, but his pride and cowardice prevent him from acknowledging this publicly. Harris, on the other hand, has simply given himself to the dark side. Both of their souls are being chewed to pieces by this but Dawkins at least has enough residual self-respect to regret this, though not enough to break free of it.

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I also thought of Sam Harris while reading this but the episode that came to mind was his appearance on some awful podcast, where he said he wouldn't care if Hunter Biden had dead children in his basement because Trump mustn't win the election. Staggering bias and lack of perspective and astonishing lack of wisdom.

However I don't think Dawkins really thinks he is wrong about anything. Its amazing the extent to which we all can delude ourselves. Dawkins and his generation will go to their graves thinking they were right, its just that we weren't good enough for them.

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I couldn't help but comment that Dawkins' trajectory mirrors the lore of Warhammer 40K. A trite point to make, but hear me out.

In Warhammer 40K the Emperor sends out his legions to conquer the galaxy, destroying all aliens, recapturing all of humanity and, most importantly, imposing a purely and rational scientific order on the galaxy. Ruthlessly purging any religions and any notion of metaphysics or superstition.

The problem, is that it's a lie and the Emperor knows it's a lie, that ''Chaos'' is a very real and dangerous threat. Chaos then pushes back, enacting an old plan to corrupt the Emperor's sons and thereby proving the lie. So monumental are the threats and dangers posed by literal hell that humanity is forced back into a mode of religious fundamentalism focussed on the Emperor as a God through sheer terror.

Chaos, irrationality and religion are the norms, not rationalism and Enlightenment values. This was perhaps on Richard's mind during the interview. That in the end irrationality will prevail over your secularism, the other option is to embrace your own brand of it.

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An interesting analogy, but I doubt that the end result you suggest was on his mind. He really strikes me as a very naive guy who hasn't thought any of this through at all, because he isn't aware of what humanity is actually like - so why would it ever need irrationality?

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Given how bright he is, one of the sad things is how well-trodden the path that leads to the errors he is making is. An impression I get from his atheism stuff back in the day is that if he has any interest in history, it is from a very Whiggish perspective. With the work he must have done for the debates he used to have, and the arguments he must have been exposed to, he must have a huge set of horse blinders. He and the rest of the New Atheists set themselves up as the voice of reason who other people's world views had to prove themselves to, and seem to have avoided ever having to actually engage with the hundreds of years of explanations of why they are wrong.

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Vox Day has been having a go at the Horsemen for years now, pointing out that most of their arguments were addressed by Augustine et al. several centuries ago, which they seem to be purely ignorant of; and that many of their other arguments (e.g. that wars are caused by religion) are flatly contradicted by the data. They seem to believe a lot of narratives developed by 19th century propagandists, e.g. that the Catholic church has always been a force for ignorance, quite uncritically. Therefore his overall assessment is that they're midwits.

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I think partly they could rely on their audience not having read those things either, and being so far removed from them in terms of assumptions and philosophy that they didn't need to address them. The people they were debating with would have had to start the debate with hours of lectures explaining this stuff, which obviously wasn't possible. The whole issue is almost entirely unsuited to debate.

One observation I came away with from reading Augustine's City of God was that his approach to pagans felt very much like the Dawkins and co approach to Christianity. The same strategy of setting himself up as the voice of rationality demanding the pagans prove their religion. The same arguments about the inconsistency of belief mean your odds of having true paganism were essentially zero.

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That's an interesting observation about Augustine. Ian McGilchrist has pointed out that the cognitive styles of atheists and fundamentalists are very similar - both are literal minded, and therefore incapable of engaging with mythos on its own terms.

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I don't really understand how we can consider a man as being bright while also thinking that he is wrong about everything in life that is important. It's not even as though any of his opinions are unique to him. They are all opinions that millions of other people have been indoctrinated with. He is merely more articulate than most others are and therefore able to make arguments that are harder to immediately rebuff. But those arguments eventually collapse, just as they would if a low-IQ, angry, fat, pink-haired, social science undergraduate tried to make them - simply because they do not reflect the actual world in which we live in.

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Well, many intelligent people get deluded, and many unintelligent people don't. I think intelligence is a tool that can be either used or mis-used; it doesn't have a truth-seeking/honesty tendency embedded in it.

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Yes. Perhaps it is time to redefine what human intelligence actually is, or perhaps finding another method of assessing brains based on how useful they actually are? I've no doubt that many of those who we have seen marching in the streets, baying for their own destruction, have far more powerful brains than mine. This doesn't appear to have helped them.

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The definition I came up with, some years ago now, was "the ability to respond cogently to stimulation". That still makes sense, I think, because "cogent" does not imply a truth-seeking inclination.

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If only Dawkins et al. had the moral courage of the Emperor, perhaps he would revise his rhetoric to embrace a more mythic and muscular defense of his civilization. Unfortunately he's a coward, as are most of the intellectual class.

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Apr 7, 2023Liked by Millennial Woes

Good stuff

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Apr 7, 2023Liked by Millennial Woes

Really fantastic piece of writing. Bravo.

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Apr 7, 2023Liked by Millennial Woes

I loved this paragraph:

"It is a trait typical of the intelligentsia but perhaps best expressed in Dawkins: the assumption that inside every pleb is an aristocrat just waiting to burst out; inside every ignoramus, a glorious scholar; inside every superstitious fool, a man of reason. This is the apex “luxury belief”, for one can only hold it if one is largely unacquainted with the lower classes, and with the dull conformists of all backgrounds. A lot of trouble in the 20th Century could have been avoided had inquisitive men accepted that their lessers could never be their equals. Even more trouble could have been avoided had inquisitive men accepted that they themselves were fallible. For example, the man who prides himself on cool rationality often has an unexamined predisposition towards its opposite."

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Apr 7, 2023Liked by Millennial Woes

He's like every other academic, thinks on paper in theory. Very little of which works in the real world.

In his big brain way of working out that if we all stopped believing in different religions and our silly little national differences, everything would be wonderful utopia where we all joined together as "the human race".

Unfortunately a lot of people in the West have listened to him and others like him, we have now deconstructed our will and our walls, whilst no one else did and he is now surrounded by Islamists that will happily kill him.

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Dawkins is an expert at missing the point of religion

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Apr 8, 2023Liked by Millennial Woes

Congrats on your best article on here yet.

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Apr 9, 2023·edited Apr 10, 2023Liked by Millennial Woes

This is definitely your best Substack piece yet. I watched the 4-minute section of that awful interview, as you advised. He is indeed reduced to the role of the abused child who has been threatened with much greater violence should he tell his parents what has taken place.

What the interview really made me think of was the general boomer-cope that I feel my father is currently going through. A lifelong progressive liberal, he is still I believe intellectually gifted enough to recognise the possibility (however small) that he has actually been wrong about everything of importance in his entire life and that he has been indoctrinated by men smarter and more-ruthless than himself. I sense a nagging realisation of this that he refuses to voice but I don't expect him to break his silence on it before he dies. I also feel that he knows I am aware of this. I think this is a fairly common dynamic between certain boomer fathers and their gen-X sons at the the moment. Fathers who brought their sons up to live in a world that no longer exists.

Men who used to pride themselves on their grasp of logic and rationality no longer wish to, because the actual facts are too painful. So they cling to the ongoing feminisation of society, as it enables them to respond emotionally to the uncomfortable issues that modern life throws up. Like women, they can verbally parry the swords of sense and objectivity with sentences that begin with "Well, I just feel that...". Telling people that their feelings simply aren't relevant just ends the conversation, as most of us have learned.

This can't go on for long, as our aging parents will soon die. I would like to think that at least some are finally accepting that they may not have been right about humanity and that they were also misled into their casual atheism which has yielded crops as withered as the arm Salmon Rushdie now forlornly looks upon with his remaining eye (he was never a shepherd, but the biblical nature of the retribution finally delivered to him is difficult to ignore).

Liberal boomers now stagger around the desert, confused as to how they got there when the map to an enlightened utopia seemed so clear. Let's hope that God is still there to sympathise, forgive and embrace them and that they can recognise this before it is too late.

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Masterfully and compellingly written. Your analysis of the Dawkins interview and your use of Dawkins as an archetype of the hubris and madness infecting Western intelligentsia is absolutely perfect. Crazy how these pillars of rationality spearheading the "new atheist" movement could not transcend their own quasi-religious thinking, with Dawkins and Sam Harris brazenly ignoring mountains of contrary evidence rather than ever admit they were wrong about some of the biggest issues of our time.

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Sam Harris comes very close. He basically adopted race realism after talking to Charles Murray, and he spoke out against Muslim immigration to Europe, precisely to avoid what happened to Dawkins in this interview, however, he never fully connects the dots between these two positions and their obvious consequences, to come to the conclusion that some form of ethnocentrism and nationalism is rational, valuable, and necessary.

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I'm not sure what you are arguing for or against in this essay. Was the point merely to attack Dawkins?

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I'm arguing against intellectual hubris and naivety, prescribing things for society without first examining how people actually are.

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