Sunday, February 12, 2006

Yet More Secular Humanism

Quoth winstoninabox:
‘I’m living in Japanese culture, and moral absolutes handed down from a higher being are not a big part of it. Yet it seems to be bungling along just fine. You’d be surprised in the power of societal restraints on behavior.’

Herein lies the rub: there is no problem in having an ideology that is not internally consistent, so long as dissent is squashed. If everyone around you follows the same code of behaviour and expresses the same publicly acceptable opinions, it is difficult not to conform. I haven’t seen this in Japan, but I have seen these powerful societal restraints in action among the academic community, for instance. But, secular humanism quite explicitly sets out to be a contender in the marketplace of ideas, while explicitly rejecting the idea of quashing dissent. Hence internal consistency should be of paramount importance. From the manifestoes I have read, rather than seek a self-consistent set of core axioms, secular humanism claims to be a ‘meta-ideology’ that should be taught in all schools while all other ideologies should not be- thus enthusiastically, if implicitly, embracing the suppression of dissent!

Secular Humanism, as Defined by Dr Clam

Preliminary Definition:‘We’ are defined as those people who can say, at the present time, ‘please don’t hurt me’, with certain ad hoc extensions in the directions of youth and mental and physical incapacity.

1: All persons comprising ‘we’ are considered to be of equivalent value.

2: We ought to be able to do whatever we like without anyone telling us what do.

1>2: Thus restrictions on our freedom should be accepted only in so far as they increase our overall capacity to do what we like.

(1>2): Nevertheless, we will make overblown statements rejecting all restrictions on freedom in some spheres, while making others that imply severe restrictions on economic freedom, the freedom to adopt different political systems, and on the propagation of competing ideologies.

3: ‘Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal’

1,2>3: The results of experiments contradicting axioms 1 and 2 are to be rejected. Where there is no experimental data, the true state of affairs must be assumed to be such that axioms 1 and 2 are not contradicted.

(A) Proponents of this ideology should seek to form a more robust and logically defensible definition of 'we'.
(B) Proponents of this ideology should seek to harmonise the contradictory material (1+2).
(B.1) For self-consistency, all (1+2) statements should be removed. (B.2)Alternatively, (1+2) statements could be retained and this ideology could aim towards demonstrating that all competing ideologies are opposed to core axiom 1- and thus should be rigorously suppressed by 1+2. This would strengthen the 'only this belief is true' component necessary in most successful memees.

Secular humanism will then have an excellent chance to propagate in the marketplace of ideas, due to the inherent popularity of core axiom 1.

1 comment:

winstoninabox said...

Ah, I see Dr. Clam that you've answered my question about when are we we under humanism. Most humourously to.