Posts Tagged ‘heresy’

All my heresies

May 28, 2022

A heresy is a belief or opinion contrary to orthodox doctrine.

I find that a great many of my beliefs and opinions are diametrically opposed to modern fashionable doctrines. 

  1. I believe in “good” behaviour but I find the invented, artificial concept of entitlements labeled as “human rights” to be a false god which undermines “good” behaviour. People do not refrain from killing or maiming or harming others because of their “human rights”. They refrain because their own code of behaviour does not allow them to behave that way. There are no entitlements which flow from the laws of nature.
  2. Humans are not born equal nor are they equal in ability or performance through their lives.
  3. A human life has no intrinsic value. The value of any individual to others is a subjective judgement made by those others. Being born creates no value. Subsequent behaviour does. Whether an individual life matters depends upon the behaviour of that individual.
  4. Race is the classification of humans by visible physical attributes which are primarily a consequence of ancestry. The classification is dynamic but only changes slowly over generational time. Skin colour is, and has been, the overwhelmingly dominant attribute used for this classification.
  5. Parents are partially responsible for the behaviour of any young they have nurtured, but not for any genes they have unwittingly provided to their biological offspring. Genetic makeup may provide an explanation for behaviour but is never an excuse.
  6. Descendants cannot claim credit, or assign blame, for the fame or shame or misery of ancestors.
  7. Genetic variation among humans is continuous but, by definition, the species has two genders as given by the reality of the bimodal clustering apparent on the scale of human genetic variation. Parthenogenesis is not a characteristic of the species. Where an individual falls on the scale is not a matter of choice. It is, therefore, neither a matter of pride or shame – it just is.
  8. Cultural appropriation is a measure of a culture with features worth appropriating. A culture without any features worth appropriating eventually dies out – as it should.
  9. Victimhood does not confer any state of grace. Victimhood of distant ancestors is no excuse for bad behaviour in the present.
  10. Being gay is not as genetically inevitable as being short or being tall. It may well be partially genetic but it is also partially a behavioural choice. “Gay pride” is as praiseworthy, or not, as “short pride” or “tall pride” or “rich pride”.
  11. Not to discriminate against what you think is “bad” is just stupid. “Positive discrimination” to compensate for some unjust discrimination elsewhere is inevitably, and unavoidably, always unjust.
  12. An open mind is a mind devoid of bias. Knowledge creates bias. Only an empty mind is devoid of bias. A learned judge is inevitably a biased judge. 
  13. Justice is about doing future harm to compensate for perceived harm done. Institutional justice is about exercising discrimination and doing harm to those judged against. Institutional justice always bows to force majeure.
  14. A Google search is not “research”. The ability to carry out a Google search does not make a scientist. Bean counting (like counting the number of articles for and against) is not science.
  15. Democracy is not about what is good or what is correct or what is just. It is about the majority view prevailing, even if bad or incorrect or unjust. “Goodness” is an individual moral judgement. A “democratic”, majority decision is silent about the goodness, correctness or truth value of that decision.
  16. A lie shared by all 7.5 billion humans remains a lie.
  17. “Freedom of speech” does not exist and has never existed. 
  18. Journalism is a sub-set of advocacy. There is no journalist who is not also a lobbyist.
  19. In armed conflict, a superior argument is always trumped by superior force. (It is best to have both).
  20. On workmen and their tools. A superior brush does not make a morally superior painter. An expensive bat does not make the good batsman. A killer is not absolved because it was easy or cheap to get a gun.
  21. ………

The list of my heresies seems to go on and on and on.

I can only conclude that I am not in tune with these times. I am old enough now not to care very much or be bothered enough to have to do anything about it. Heresy and skepticism, though, are the only antidotes to gullibility and indoctrination.

A few hundred years ago I would probably have been burned at the stake.

 

Heretic burning (image from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Or3eUymcEA)

Why do all mighty gods need to be defended against blasphemy?

January 8, 2015

The fatwa against Salman Rushdie was issued in 1989 by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran and has yet to be withdrawn

Broadcast on Iranian radio, the judgement read:

“We are from Allah and to Allah we shall return. I am informing all brave Muslims of the world that the author of The Satanic Verses, a text written, edited, and published against Islam, the Prophet of Islam, and the Qur’an, along with all the editors and publishers aware of its contents, are condemned to death. I call on all valiant Muslims wherever they may be in the world to kill them without delay, so that no one will dare insult the sacred beliefs of Muslims henceforth. And whoever is killed in this cause will be a martyr, Allah Willing. Meanwhile if someone has access to the author of the book but is incapable of carrying out the execution, he should inform the people so that [Rushdie] is punished for his actions. Rouhollah al-Mousavi al-Khomeini.”

That was the first time I ever felt it necessary to think about blasphemy and wondered why it is considered by some to be a crime. Sol Invictus is no longer considered a god. But the power of the Sun is such that what humans may say has no impact on its behaviour or its power. It is not necessary to criminalise or be outraged by blasphemy against the Sun. Clearly no all mighty, all knowing god would have any need – or any use – for puny humans to defend the divine reputation. Unless of course, he/she/it was a fiction, in which case “blasphemy” would be seen as threatening by the creators or the supporters of the fiction. Unless the gods had been created in the image of men. The greater the fiction the greater the perceived threat. The greater the outrage against an alleged blasphemy, the weaker the god must be.

All organised religions dislike blasphemy, apostasy and heresy – but it is all about the threat perceived by the members of the organisation. The weaker the foundations of the organisation the greater is the threat perceived. The outrage against The Satanic Verses (usually without even reading the book) and the violent reactions to the Mohammed cartoons were fanned by “priests” of one kind or another. We would be well rid of these organised religions and their troublesome priests.

Voltaire addressed the idiocy of blasphemy under “B” in his Philosophical Dictionary of 1764.

….. Is it not to the purpose here to remark that what has been blasphemy in one country has often been piety in another? ….. 

In our own times it is unfortunate that what is blasphemy at Rome, at our Lady of Loretto, and within the walls of San Gennaro, is piety in London, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Berlin, Copenhagen, Berne, Basel, and Hamburg. It is yet more unfortunate that even in the same country, in the same town, in the same street, people treat one another as blasphemers.

Nay, of the ten thousand Jews living at Rome there is not one who does not regard the pope as the chief of the blasphemers, while the hundred thousand Christians who inhabit Rome, in place of two millions of Jovians who filled it in Trajan’s time, firmly believe that the Jews meet in their synagogues on Saturday for the purpose of blaspheming.

A Cordelier has no hesitation in applying the epithet of blasphemer to a Dominican who says that the Holy Virgin was born in original sin, notwithstanding that the Dominicans have a bull from the pope which permits them to teach the maculate conception in their convents, and that, besides this bull, they have in their forum the express declaration of St. Thomas Aquinas.

But the concept of blasphemy has now extended to being “offending the sensibilities” of one section of a community by another. Unfortunately “not giving offense” has become the new norm. Communities compete to see who can be more outraged. Publishers run scared in India of printing anything criticising Hinduism or Islam for fear of “offending sensibilities”. All over Europe the truth about the behaviour of some groups is suppressed to “avoid giving offense”. It is actions being subordinated to fears. It is the cowardice of “political correctness”

Kenan Malik in The Hindu

The “never give offence” brigade imagines that a more plural society requires a greater imposition of censorship. In fact it is precisely because we do live in plural societies that we need the fullest extension possible of free speech. In such societies, it is both inevitable and important that people offend the sensibilities of others. It is inevitable, because where different beliefs are deeply held, clashes are unavoidable; and we should deal with those clashes openly and robustly rather than suppress them. It is important because any kind of social change or social progress means offending some deeply held sensibilities. Or to put it another way: “You can’t say that!” is all too often the response of those in power to having their power challenged. To accept that certain things cannot be said is to accept that certain forms of power cannot be challenged.

Of course any society must itself decide where its limits of “free speech” are to be set. What constitutes “hate speech” or “incitement to violence” or “libel” or “slander” and should be banned is up to each society to decide. But no society needs to protect any gods – supposed to be all powerful – against blasphemy.


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