Humor, the Greatest Enemy of Fundamentalism (2): Voltaire

Candide having a curiosity to see the priests asked where they were. The good old man smiled.

“My friend,” said he, “we are all priests. The King and all the heads of families sing solemn canticles of thanksgiving every morning, accompanied by five or six thousand musicians.”

“What! have you no monks who teach, who dispute, who govern, who cabal, and who burn people that are not of their opinion?”

“We must be mad, indeed, if that were the case,” said the old man; “here we are all of one opinion, and we know not what you mean by monks.”

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Source:

Voltaire (2011-03-30). Candide (p. 67). . Kindle Edition.

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Relativist: A Pseudo Intellectual with the Tendency to Produce Horsecrap

Note: I am writing this post since after a long time I had an argument with a housemate of mine. He is a PhD student in sociology, and a relativist. The reason I am writing this is that I am hoping he reads this, since he has closed the means of conversation on the subject. In the spirit of being “the truthful heretic”, this post as always has a sting to it and I shall not hold back in attacking what I think is wrong and extremely damaging to human understanding and the quality of life.

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If I am asked who I dislike the most in the intellectual realm, surprisingly the first in my list will not be an apologist for a religion, but in fact a relativist. Pseudo intellectuals who can only add to the force of ignorance and stupidity in the world by sugar coated nonsense and not giving a damn to what is true, or other people’s pain and suffering.

I argued extensively in an essay in my new book on the subject of ethics, but in here I wish to talk about some of the usual claims that may be given as a defence. Let’s see:

“We construct our own truths, and this makes truth a subjective matter.” Really? Is this statement true or not? If it is as such that one constructs truth in one’s own mind, then the truth value of the claim “We construct our own truths” is also subjective. Therefore when I say “We do NOT construct our own truths”, I am as correct as the one that said above statement. Surely one may not take positions that refute themselves this pathetically. The only acceptable case here is the things that ONLY happen in one’s mind.

Besides, why relativists don’t construct anything that they wish in their heads? Relativist homework: Construct a pink elephant in your fridge. You should be able to do it only by thinking about it.

Of course, logically this does not make any sense. But the good relativist will immediately question logic: “Logic is also culturally relative! It is political, because it was used by the white westerns countries to colonize others!”.

Utter load of horsecrap. Logic is the foundation of our understanding, our science, our progress towards any relevant evaluation of the truth value of different claims. If racists in Nazi Germany did horrible experiments on other people, would that make science any less true? I beg to differ. Only a mind divorced of reality can make such a claim. The truth value of ethical issues here is irrelevant to the truth value of logical or scientific claim. We may condemn colonizers as much as we condemn the so called burning of witches that to this day happens in Africa, also true about AIDS denialism, genital mutilation of girls, murder of gay men and women etc. 

In fact, I shall now turn the tables on the relativists: Do they at all care about the murder of innocents? Pain and suffering caused by superstition and stupidity? 

The true meaning of delusional hypocrite happens in relativist’s, after all, is it not so that they construct their own truth in their heads? 

New Book Published: “In Pursuit of What is Right”

Moral philosophy and answers to moral questions have always fascinated me. Part of it is because of living in an Islamic society that always claimed the likes of me (gays, atheists, liberals) were immoral, bad, wrong etc. This book was my wish, I wrote it to express myself the most, how I came to find reasonable answers for the sadistic nonsense thrown at me (at us) by the fundamentalists and fanatics.

I have tried to write for all those who may have the same problems, those who wish to find answers to moral questions in a logical way, and wish to see how we, human beings, have progressed towards these answers.

Find my book on Amazon Kindle: “In Pursuit of What is Right: The Progress of Moral Thinking (An Introduction)

Choice and the Problem of Ignorance

The following is directly quoted from  “AIDS, Witchcraft, and the Problem of Power in Post-Apartheid South Africa” written by “Adam Ashforth”. All rights are reserved for the author, and the original link to the paper can be found HERE. The paper was written in 2001, and what it contains may not be accurate today, though it is significant and relevant.

In a scene replayed tens of thousands of times in recent years in South Africa, a relative appeared at the Khanyile family’s door in the shack settlement of Snake Park on the outskirts of Soweto to inform them of a funeral. A cousin in a town not far off had passed away. A young man in his late twenties or early thirties, the deceased had been sick for some time. In their message announcing the funeral, the dead cousin’s parents specified nothing about the illness, other than to say he’d been sick for some time. The relative visiting the Khanyiles, however, whispered the cause: “isidliso.”

Khanyile and his family took note. They know about this isidliso, otherwise called “Black poison,” an evil work of the people they call witches. Along with whatever treatments the deceased relative would have secured from medical practitioners in his town, they knew without being told that he had been taken to traditional healers to combat the witchcraft manifest in the form of isidliso. All of Khanyile’s family concurred with this diagnosis except one. Moleboheng, twenty seven and skeptical, thought the cousin’s story was “nonsense.”1

“He died of AIDS, obviously,” Moleboheng told her mother after the cousin left. (She is far too polite and sensible to say this in front of the relative, for then the relative would report to others that her family were starting vicious rumors.) Mama Khanyile conceded the possibility of AIDS, although that didn’t necessarily rule out isidliso. Her view was that the AIDS, if indeed it was AIDS, must have been sent by someone. Someone had wanted to see the young man dead and had used witchcraft to send this AIDS or isidliso to kill him. Moleboheng still insisted that was nonsense, as she does whenever her mother starts on witchcraft. In this, as in most things pertaining to witchcraft, the daughter and her family agree to disagree. She knows that within African society at large her way of looking at things is in a distinct minority.

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I am using this in my new project to ask an important moral question: Are we free to choose in the light of our stupidity? Do we think that people (like the people in the paper above) should be forced to abandon their beliefs? What about the anti-vaccination movement in US and UK?