Archive for the ‘constructivism’ Category

Rights cannot be created, they must be discovered or they are of no value

December 16, 2009

If human rights are created by majorities, of what use are they? Their value lies in that they can be used to insist that majorities honor the dignity of minorities and individuals despite their conception of the ‘greater good.’ Rights cannot be created, they must be discovered or they are of no value… if we want to defend individuals rights, we must try to discover something beyond utility that argues for these rights.

Source: Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Scepticism (Hodder & Stoughton, 2008), p. 151.

We cannot decide, as a society, to grant human rights to anyone or to all. There must be something inherently worth protecting in the weak. If morality is a majority decision, then a regime change will make the vulnerable victims again. To protect the weak some higher law must be appealed to, an ‘ought’ that is not grounded in the fickle decisions of the populace.

If there is no God, then there is no way to say any one action is “moral” and another “immoral” but only “I like this.”  If that is the case, who gets the right to put their subjective, arbitrary moral feelings into law?  You may say “the majority has the right to make the law;” but do you mean that then the majority has the right to vote to exterminate a minority?  If you say “No, that is wrong,” then you are back to square one.  ”Who sez” that the majority has a moral obligation not to kill the minority?  Why should your moral convictions be obligatory for those in opposition?  Why should your view prevail over the will of the majority?  The fact is, says Leff, if there is no God, then all moral statements are arbitrary, all moral valuations are subjective and internal, and there can be no external moral standard by which a person’s feelings and values are judged.

ibid., p.153-154.

To develop tolerance is to develop a story about stories, a perspective on all our values and beliefs

November 10, 2009

You can only be truly tolerant of other people’s realities by having found some new way to inhabit your own…To develop tolerance is to develop a story about stories, a perspective on all our values and beliefs.

Anderson, W.T. (1990). Reality isn’t what it used to be: Theatrical politics, ready to wear religion, global myths, primitive chic, and other wonders of the post-modern world. San Francisco: Harper & Row. p.267f.

In other words, Anderson prescribes that ‘real’ tolerance (to ‘be truly tolerant’, like him) you must (no room for tolerance there, you must) have a constructivist view of ‘the nature of human truth’ and ensure that you say you hold your beliefs provisionally and not as the last word. You must, in short, change your beliefs (albeit allowing local colouring) to be like Anderson’s. Tolerance of intolerance is not tolerated of course. Got that?!

How postmodernism kills science

October 4, 2009

In his review of Higher Superstition, Arthur R. Kantrowitz wrote in Physics Today (January 1995): “The pigeonholing of science as a white, European, bourgeois, male, etc. view of the world is taken seriously by many members of the humanities and social science faculties of our leading universities and by literary intellectuals generally. To such demystifiers, the knowledge produced by science is no more reliable than that produced by Rother ways of knowing.

As Gross and Levitt put it, “Once it has been affirmed that one discursive community is as good as another, that the narrative of science holds no privileges over the narratives of superstition, the newly minted cultural critic can actually revel in his ignorance of deep scientific ideas.

The left’s flirtation with irrationalism, its reactionary rejection of the scientific worldview, is deplorable and contradicts its own deepest traditions. …The literary intellectuals control most of the undergraduate years of people who go on to become teachers, lawyers and journalists. To an alarming degree they have broadcast the proposition that science is too dangerous, and they have given prominence to ‘other ways of knowing,’ which they have put forward as more politically correct.

source

The old epistemology that equated human beliefs with cosmic reality is now a minority report

September 26, 2009

The old epistemology that equated human beliefs with cosmic reality is now a minority report. Ancient and not-so-ancient systems of eternal truth lie in ruins everywhere around us. The mainstream of social reality has shifted.

Walter Truett Anderson, Reality Isn’t What It Used To Be, p.xii

Is this statement in conformity with ‘cosmic reality’ or is it just a personal feeling?

Postmodern hypocrisy

September 16, 2009

Postmoderns denounce the pretence of those who claim to view the world from a transcendent vantage point from which we are able to speak imperiously to and on behalf of all humankind. Postmoderns have replaced this Enlightenment ideal with the belief that all claims to truth — and ultimately even truth itself — are socially conditioned.

Stanley Grenz, A Primer On Postmodernism, p. 38

Postmoderns are right on to decry the hubris of Rationalism. But postmoderns hypocritically won’t apply this to themselves and allow a ‘special case’ for their ‘transcendent vantage point’ from which they claim all truth claims are ‘socially conditioned’ – an implicit claim to omniscience.