Part 15: Scary Thinkers Whose Books Are Dangerous (Or Would Be If Anyone Still Read)

Sundays With The Christianists: A ‘World History’ Textbook To Ward Off Dangerous Modern Thinking

Where is the teapot, Agent Mulder?Greetings, Heathens! Welcome to another voyage into Homeschool America, via our 10th-grade textbook, World History and Cultures in Christian Perspective, and its staunch opposition to anything ungodly, and of course to most of the modern era. Last week, we learned why science is not really scientific (because no Jebus, duh); this week, we’ll see just how many other aspects of modern culture can be demonized in a few short pages! Let’s start with philosophy!

First up, we’ll dismiss a major branch of philosophy in three sentences, and attribute the thinking of a whole bunch of philosophers to one English guy:

The next step after Comte’s positivism was logical positivism, which originated in the work of English mathematician / philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970). Russell followed Comte in insisting that only empirically verifiable facts and logically valid mathematical equations can be true. In other words, man’s mind is the only absolute, and anything that cannot be perceived with human senses or reason does not even exist! According to logical positivism, knowledge of God or spiritual things is impossible.

We feel a bit bad for the readers who said they’d been waiting to see what World History had to say about Bertrand Russell, because that was it — these twits find the notion of mere physical reality so laughable that it gets blown off with an exclamation point. If it’s any recompense, this week’s illustration was lovingly crafted in MS-Paint with Russell in mind. But we can’t tarry; there are so many other thinkers whose life’s work needs to be oversimplified and distorted!

Consider, for instance, the assassination of William James by these cowards’ robust fnord:

Another philosophy which began to gain acceptance during this time was pragmatism, the philosophy that an idea or an action should be judged solely by its results, regardless of any moral or Scriptural considerations. Several scholars embraced pragmatism, but William James (1842-1910), a teacher at Harvard University, did the most to popularize it. Pragmatism blots out the distinction between right and wrong and embraces the un-Scriptural concept that since all truth is relative, the end justifies the means. In reality it differs very little from other philosophies based on Darwinism and materialism.

We have a feeling that maybe William James might raise his hand to object to the notion that he utterly ignores “the distinction between right and wrong,” but we must also point out that 1) He is anti-Scriptural and therefore damned, and 2) we could never get into his brother’s ponderous novels, so there.

The next target for a summary drive-by is existentialism, which hardly needs to be distorted to sound scary to a Christianist.

The emptiness of materialistic philosophies led some to turn to existentialism, the “anti-philosophy” which claims there is no truth or reality, forcing man to make his own meaning in an absurd world.

When you keep in mind that the “reality” the ediors refer to includes a Supreme Being who is infinitely finicky about what people do with their genitalia but who also has reasons — mysterious, but reasons nonetheless — for seeing to it that toddlers die of cancer, this seems like a pretty good definition. We get the standard linkage of Nietzsche’s Deicide and the horrors of totalitarian strongmen, a brief mention of Sartre and Camus, and finally a sniffy dismissal of existential thought as the root of “much that seems unreasonable and formless in modern art, music, and literature.”

Now, how about the pernicious influence of liberalism in education? It’s time for the editors to take a swing at that Dewey:

Education suffered terribly from the anti-Christian philosophies of the early-20th century John Dewey (1859-1952), an influential professor of education at the University of Chicago and at Columbia University advocated what came to be called “progressive education.” Dewey readily accepted Darwinism and pragmatism and believed that there were no absolute morals or values. Applying these liberal philosophies to education, Dewey (and the educators he influenced) abandoned the teaching of moral absolutes and encouraged a permissive atmosphere in the classroom that allowed children to “follow their animal instincts” and to practice “self-expression.”

What a monster! We wonder if Dewey promoted “selective quoting” as well? Even Conservapedia is kinder to Dewey than the editors of World History are. Let’s see what else this one man did to wreck America forever:

A bitter atheist, Dewey believed that God was a figment of man’s imagination…Dewey proposed that education be used to change individuals according to the false philosophies of modern liberalism in order to create a new social order — democratic socialism.

Left unmentioned here is Dewey’s condemnation of Stalin, a position which won him some dedicated enemies on the Left, back when America actually had a Left to speak of. Also amusing is the unstated assumption that, since Dewey’s ideas on education were widely influential, schools are therefore factories turning out little socialists.

By the mid-20th century Dewey’s philosophies had permeated much of the American educational system, as well as influencing education elsewhere. Sadly the results of conforming to Dewey’s ideas have included a lack of academic learning and a dearth of moral values among the students exposed to them.

And here we get the roots of the conservative case against public schools: they are a part of the plot to Stab America in the Back by turning children into rebellious Marxists, and must therefore be rooted out and replaced with something better, like, say, schools using A Beka textbooks. And it’s all John Dewey’s fault. Dewey’s Democracy and Education, incidentally, is at #5 on Human Events’ notorious list of the “10 Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries,” presumably because of the “permissiveness” thing, but maybe, as well because Dewey’s educational ideas “helped nurture the Clinton generation.”

The section closes out by explaining that, in sum, all the liberal ideas that the textbook doesn’t like “are interrelated, and in recent years they have often been referred to collectively as the religion of secular humanism.” And it really is a religion, you see, because it combines the very religious idea of secularism,

the belief that matters of morality should be based on consideration of the well-being of mankind in this present life, to the exclusion of all considerations drawn from belief in God or in a future existence

with the similarly religious idea of Humanism, which relies “upon man’s reasonings and feelings alone, with no respect for God’s authority” — and that makes it a religion, which “ultimately is the worship of man.”

Now, let’s contrast this view with Bible-based Christianity, which believes that matters of morality must be based on what human reason and prejudices discern as God’s wishes, based on a book by humans who were quite certain that God had told them what to put into it. So “secular humanism” really IS just as much a religion as Christianity, and therefore the Constitution demands that it not be taught in public schools, you dirty atheists.

Next Week: Liberalism and Conservatism in the Arts! It’s a smackdown between god-fearing American realists like Norman Rockwell and weirdo Europeans like Picasso. Also, Modern Literature: Flight From Reality, in which we find out that George Orwell was a conservative.

Check out Wonkette on Facebook and Twitter, and if you want to help destroy America from within, 140 characters at a time, Doktor Zoom is on Twitter, also, too.

About the author

Doktor Zoom Is the pseudonym of Marty Kelley, who lives in Boise, Idaho. He acquired his nym from a fan of Silver-Age comics after being differently punctual to too many meetings. He is not a medical doctor, although he has a real PhD (in Rhetoric and Composition).

View all articles by Doktor Zoom
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  1. freakishlywrong

    The emptiness of materialistic philosophies led some to turn to existentialism, the “anti-philosophy” which claims there is no truth or reality, forcing man to make his own meaning in an absurd world.
    That's fucking Republican dogma in a nutshell right there.

      1. glasspusher

        Someone says Dewey, I say yeah, he made a hell of a catch off of Joe Morgan in the top of the 11th of Game 6 of the '75 World Series.

  2. Doktor Zoom

    Sorry for the delay, kids! Technical gremlins ate the last half of the piece, which had to be hurriedly rebuilt out of some pie pans, a piece of string, and a disposable lighter. I'll assume that's the same glitch that turned off the comments, too.

    1. gullywompr

      " hurriedly rebuilt out of some pie pans, a piece of string, and a disposable lighter." – sounds like the same way this textbook was written.

    2. Monsieur_Grumpe

      If there was a God we could fault him/her but since there isn't, someone else will need to take the blame.

    3. shastakoala

      Better late heathen! I guess the holy water on the computer. . . I actually like the gremlins movies!

  3. snowpointsecret

    Bertrand Russell (1872-1970).

    I read that as Russell Brand and was really, really confused.

    1. kittensdontlie

      Read Russell's Principia Mathematica and prepare to get confused all over again in a different way.

  4. PubOption

    Comments disabled, but there is still a box to type into!

    If everyone for the past 50 years has been indoctrinated, at school, as a socialist, where do the financial services companies manage to find their ultra-capitalist managers?

    1. Guppy

      Comments disabled, but there is still a box to type into!

      It's challenging you to make sense of an absurd world.

    2. Lizzietish81

      Yeah which is why we paid for our own lunches, of which there was a selection thus gardnering competition.

      Because nothing says "socialist" like a free competitive market to get the dollars of high school students.

      otoh, church services were catered by the congregation, meaning everyone brought something to the table and we all shared what we brought…

      I think there's a name for that.

      1. sewollef

        I think there's a name for that.

        Don't go there, Lizzie. That kind of thinking only leads to despotism, debauchery, excess alcohol… and worst of all, universal healthcare.

        Meet you there at 5:00 then?

  5. PsycWench

    Yeah, this book condemns Dewey but what about the pernicious influence of Huey? or Louie? Those ducks get a free ride.

  6. snowpointsecret

    Education suffered terribly from the anti-Christian philosophies of the early-20th century John Dewey (1859-1952), an influential professor of education at the University of Chicago and at Columbia University advocated what came to be called “progressive education.” Dewey readily accepted Darwinism and pragmatism and believed that there were no absolute morals or values.

    "STOP THINKING, DAMN IT!" -Shorter version of this entire book

      1. Doktor Zoom

        I was going to use "totally THAT Dewey" as a subhead, but decided to sneak the reference in a bit more subtly.

        1. not that Dewey

          I thank you and Radio for the awesome fucking setup. Couldn't have done better if we had planned it.

  7. Ayn_Ryan

    I am a doctor of philosophy in philosophy, and I can honestly say that almost every one of those claims is complete nonsense. Russell was not a positivist (although he did think that philosophy rested on a mistake for about one minute in his career, thank you Wittgenstein!) and logical positivism was in no way connected to Comte. Pragmatists like Dewey and James were not relativists, and existentialists believe in truth and reality. I've seen Conservapedia articles that are more accurate than these claims. Incompetence or dishonesty? Almost certainly both.

    1. Doktor Zoom

      OK, but did any of them recognize that all truth is contained exclusively in the King James Bible? There you go.

      Again, it's very important to keep in mind that when these guys say "reality," that word does not mean what you and I think it does. It includes a 6000 year old universe where there were a literal Adam and Eve, and so on. Every day is Opposites Day for them.

      1. BerkeleyBear

        They reject our reality and substitute their own.

        Having just spent a term reading the grad school pu pu platter of political philosophy, let me just say that Dewey was about the last person I'd critique as a relativist. Anyone who wanted to instill a positive concept of individualism (to replace the outdated frontiersman ethos) is pretty damn far away from "everything's relative, fuck it!"

        1. not that Dewey

          John Dewey was pretty fucking specific. As a signatory of the original Humanist Manifesto, he was also quite clear on the "right-vs-wrong" question. Only a Beka Book publisher or reader would conclude that "education must modernize in order to continue to serve the stated ends of democracy" is somehow a call to relativism.

    2. PsycWench

      " Incompetence or dishonesty"?
      Can't this be incompetent dishonesty? And would incompetent dishonesty be viewed unfavorably by this book's authors?

    3. sullivanst

      Yeah, the claim that existentialists don't believe in truth and reality was a real "where the fuck did you get that one from?" moment for me, a self-styled existentialist.

      1. Dashboard Buddha

        Maybe…maybe not. But…you can smell it. And so can the alter boy. You can hear him when he utters, "Oh no…not again".

    4. PsycWench

      I am a doctor of philosophy in philosophy
      I am SO going to contemplate that when I get stoned again.

  8. OkieDokieDog

    I like Earl Grey in my Celestial Teapot.

    "Large numbers of people believe absurdities". Hey! Isn't that the FOX News logo thingy?

    1. rickmaci

      Commie Limey tea. The only tea that belongs in a 'Merican teapot is good old 'Merican tea. Ohwait………..

      1. sewollef

        Dunno about that, but I hear Charles Grey, the 2nd Earl Grey was an opium addict — in addition to being Prime Minister at the time the Great Reform Act of 1832 was passed that officially abolished slavery throughout the British Empire. Up to that point, slavery was illegal only in the UK.

        He was generally, for his time, a good guy and a progressive, even though he became more conservative the older he got.

  9. ManchuCandidate

    By the mid-20th century Dewey’s philosophies had permeated much of the American educational system, as well as influencing education elsewhere. Sadly the results of conforming to Dewey’s ideas have included a lack of academic learning and a dearth of moral values among the students exposed to them.

    A lack of Academic learning?
    You mean stuff like Evolution, DNA, Physics, any maths that uses Pi and not 3, the computer revolution, or when faced with facts/theories that go against their dogma suddenly start shrieking: "LALALALALALALALAL IT'S NOT HAPPENING!!!!! JEEBUS! JEEBUS!!!! JEEEEEEEEEEBUS!!! INTELLIGENT DESIGNER!!! JEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEBUS!!!!"

    1. BerkeleyBear

      Isn't it funny how out of dislike of Modern Learning these bozos would endorse a Classical System that was totally ripped off from/based on pagans like Aristotle? Not a group blessed with a capacity for nuance.

  10. snowpointsecret

    Wait, so by their logic liberalism is a religion but it should be attacked for not being religious enough and it's linked to people who are well-known for being nonreligious but somehow this makes sense to them?

  11. LibrarianX

    You expected more discussion of Bertrand Russell, who also condemned Stalin? What could they say, really? It's like David and Goliath, but David has no slingshot.

  12. cousinitt

    So, these are kind, generous, morally straight religious folk who want everyone to have guns but who would ban books.

    I believe I'll have another mimosa this morning. Or five.

      1. BoatOfVelociraptors

        *wets his thumb, eyeing the next swipe gesture on the tablet*
        Hmm… Ok, the loss of paper is going to make my naughty librarian works somewhat more difficult to write.

  13. dennis1943

    So….this is the manual by which Bachmann and Perry contrive to inject meaning into their meaningless lives…..?

  14. Doktor Zoom

    I should also mention that, among the things you can put into orbit in the astrophysics game "Universe Sandbox," they thoughtfully include a teapot. And a Monolith.

  15. freakishlywrong

    So according to these fuckwits, being a good person and caring about your fellow man is secular libralizms and that's bad? Wine!

  16. GeneralLerong

    Any pics available of the authors? I'm guessing they resemble dried cow flops by now, and any published photos are from their high school yearbooks from the 1920s.

  17. ttommyunger

    "Christian perspective"="Stupid Goggles"? OT- the tee model is much improved. Pert tits, nice peter-pouch and a cute little camel toe. Photoshop Grover Norquist's head on the body and I'll never stop throwing up.

  18. BlueStateLibel

    You know who else hates moral relativism? The kind of people who stone women for adultery and chop off the hand of a guy who stole a loaf a bread for his children. These people are such asswads.

  19. not that Dewey

    By way of polishing John Dewey's anti-Stalinist creds, here is the Dewey Commission's "The Case of Leon Trotsky: Report of Hearings on the Charges Made Against Him in the Moscow Trials" in which they prepared Trotsky's "defense" for use at his "trial" (he ultimately lost the case. I guess John Dewey wasn't a very good lawyer.) But to a Beka Book editor, such distinctions are probably overshadowed by ZOMG TROTSKY HE'S A COMMUNIST KILL HIM, so why bother?

  20. Tommmcatt_Again

    How do these Christianists get their fnords so robust? I use my fnord all the time and it still just flops arouund like a carp out of water.

      1. Tommmcatt_Again

        They sang about them in church when I ws a kitten. "A Mighty Fortress Is Our Fnord" was one of my favorites.

    1. Doktor Zoom

      Dave: Well, I mean, we travel 250,000 light years across the universe, abduct humans, probe the anally and release them.

      Kevin: Yeah… AND?

      Dave: Well, doesn't it seem kind of pointless?

      Kevin: I really don't think about it.

      Dave: Well don't you think you should?

      Kevin: No, I don't think I should. I don't think I should question the leadership of our Great Leader

      Dave: Oh, come on! I mean, we've been coming here for 50 years and performing anal probes and all that we've learned is that 1 in10 doesn't really seem to mind.

  21. Hera Sent Me

    The thing that always sticks in my craw is the theistic claim that without a god of one kind or other setting the rules, there are no rules, while if a god sets the rules, those rules are simple, solid and allow for no exceptions.

    Christianity has been used to justify monarchy, democracy, slavery, socialism, capitalism, segregation, the death penalty, war, war crimes and so forth. It's also been used to justify opposition to all those things. If it's the source of divinely ordained Moral Absolutes, why is it so vague and plastic as to be plausibly cited as justification for so many things and their opposites?

    1. Tommmcatt_Again

      It's the difference between religion and spirituality, I'm afraid. I've been a spiritual Christian for years, and thankfully more often than not am able to follow the tenents of my path without trying to force it on others because I view it as an individual opinion which has truth and a positive effect in my life, but maybe not for somebody else. I'm not sure that the resurrection or the virgin birth were real, for example, but I think it irrelevant because they are an elegant metaphor for some very positive concepts that help me to deal with my relationship to the eternal. Don't agree with me? Awesome, that's your perogative and it doesen't affect my path at all. In fact, let's have a drink and a debate, I love that. Or not! You get to believe what you believe, and that's a good thing. This is faith: we believe because we doubt, not because we have certianty. I'd even go so far as to say that certianty is the abrogation of faith.

    2. Tommmcatt_Again

      (Continuing) Contrast that with these people. If everyone doesn't believe down to the last tiny bit of apoligist minutae then, to them, the entire edifice crashes to the ground. Furthermore, anything which challenges them or their ideas must be instantly villified and dismissed. This is because religion- as oppposed to spirituality- is ultimately about the absence of faith and belief. They're so afraid that the secret weakness at the heart of their fervor (namely, that they know that much of it is bullshit if viewed literally) that they will persue any extreme to discredit those who have the temerity to challenge them. This is why followers of the Christian religion have been caught up in so many terrible historical crimes: fanatism allows for no discussion, and if the guy at the top says "Hey, let's send thousands of ten-year-olds to capture the holy land and not even give them swords to defend themselves", nobody can disobey. They don't have faith in their heart of hearts, just fear. That's what religion is all about: supressing fear and faithlessness by supressing debate.

      Oh, and POOP!!!!!! Sorry for the lapse into earnestness.

  22. VodkaGoGo

    to the exclusion of all considerations drawn from belief in God or in a future existence

    Wait, what? That seems like a giant leap, how do they get to that conclusion based on everything else they covered? Maybe my brain is tarded today but even factoring in their distorted interpretation I'm still genuinely confused by this.

  23. Lucidamente1

    Bertie, could you respond to this steaming pile of manure with something eloquent and uplifting, say the last paragraph of History of Western Philosophy?:

    In the welter of conflicting fanaticisms, one of the few unifying forces is scientific truthfulness, by which I mean the habit of basing our beliefs upon observations and inferences as impersonal, and as much divested of local and temperamental bias, as is possible for human beings. To have insisted upon the introduction of this virtue into philosophy, and to have invented a powerful method by which it can be rendered fruitful, are the chief merits of the philosophical school of which I am a member. The habit of careful veracity acquired in the practice of this philosophical method can be extended to the whole sphere of human activity, producing, wherever it exists, a lessening of fanaticism with an increasing capacity of sympathy and mutual understanding. In abandoning a part of its dogmatic pretensions, philosophy does not cease to suggest and inspire a way of life.

    Thanks, man.

  24. el_donaldo

    They're blaming everything on James and Dewey and no mention of Saul Alinksy?!?

    They've managed a more accurate history of progressivism than all the Breitfarters and Daily Failures combined. And they're still full of shit.

  25. StealthMuslin

    I'm just saying, if you have The Best Book Ever what would you need with another one?
    Let's use our heads here, people.

  26. Biff

    Dewey’s Democracy and Education, incidentally, is at #5 on Human Events’ notorious list of the “10 Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries,” presumably because of the “permissiveness” thing, but maybe, as well because Dewey’s educational ideas “helped nurture the Clinton generation.”

    I'm really looking forward to the future installment dedicated to the Red Diaper Babbies.

    1. BerkeleyBear

      That link is not safe for anywhere. The author is severely deranged, offering yet another variant of "Obama must be what I don't like because I don't like him" screed. Because so very many bank VPs (like O's grandma) are Commies, after all.

    2. Dashboard Buddha

      "my Cold Warrior mind"

      This is about as relevant as saying "my Crusade warrior mind", or my " Oyster warrior mind", or "Shay's rebellion warrior mind".

      Ah fuck it…the dude is just plain irrelevant.

    3. BoatOfVelociraptors

      I will tilt at those windmills, firmly grasping my lance, thrusting through the kultursmog of DC while defending liberty by the skin of my teeth.

      Seriously, The American Conservative had a pop up ad about how they were the hardened and fully steeled men to penetrate the "kultursmog". Quote marks are not ironic.

  27. Tommmcatt_Again

    Incidentally, were you expecting sense from these people? I'm surprised they've avoided all-caps as long as they have.

  28. CrunchyKnee

    Have they ever read that Bible thing? The getting it on with wives handmaidens and the smoting and what nots, endless violence while that petty dick Jehovah wants everyone to pay attention to him. It ain't too pretty, but it sure beats the lib'ralismz, I guess.

    1. finallyhappy

      There are times when we are supposed to study religious texts so I thought I would read the book of Samson- as written in the Bible. It said "Samson lusted after whores"- this was a fairly recent Jewish translation. I'm guessing maybe other versions say something else- Like "Samson admired women"

      1. proudgrampa

        My understanding is that the original sez that the Messiah would be born of a "young woman." Later translations turned her into a "virgin."

      2. Negropolis

        I'd think writers would rather keep the harsher translation, 'cause, you know, Samson should have stayed with his own-kind whores instead of getting intro trouble with those foreign whores.

        You know, maybe I've always taken the wrong thing from the story, but what I've always took from it is that Samson would have been better off, personally, had he simply settled down with a nice Israelite girl, but that even the good Lord God can turn abominable marriages to foreign "whores" into something to glorify himself…at the expense of his the life of the person he's using as a teaching lesson device.

    2. not that Dewey

      The Book of Judges has lots of heads on pikes and whipping peoples' flesh with briars and whatnot. Totally holy.

    1. sewollef

      I always hated math because of the Dewey Decimal System.

      I'm a Brit so don't know who this is, let alone what it pertains to.

      Is it anything to do with the metric system? 'Cos the metric system [base 10] is the best and easiest thing ever invented [thank you Frenchman, Gabriel Mouton — I think].

  29. christianmuslin

    It would appear that I might be able to earn a PhD in philosophy at one of these home school universities in about two and a half days if I don't ask too many questions.

    I have but one: when Adam arrived at Eve's fruits & veggies stand in his F 150 did he take a bite of the yellow apple or the red one?

  30. not that Dewey

    The following pages embody an endeavor to detect and state the ideas implied in a democratic society and to apply these ideas to the problems of the enterprise of education. The discussion includes an indication of the constructive aims and methods of public education as seen from this point of view, and a critical estimate of the theories of knowing and moral development which were formulated in earlier social conditions, but which still operate, in societies nominally democratic, to hamper the adequate realization of the democratic ideal. As will appear from the book itself, the philosophy stated in this book connects the growth of democracy with the development of the experimental method in the sciences, evolutionary ideas in the biological sciences, and the industrial reorganization, and is concerned to point out the changes in subject matter and method of education indicated by these developments.

    Holy crap. How pernicious.

  31. sullivanst

    Sadly the results of conforming to Dewey’s ideas have included a lack of academic learning and a dearth of moral values among the students exposed to them.

    Strange, then, that when the children raised by parents schooled in the time when Dewey's influence was strongest themselves grew into adults, violent crime rates started a sharp decline that has persisted the last 20 years.

    1. Doktor Zoom

      Nah, mang, it's because lots more US Amercians are carrying guns. If we could dump a few more million guns into the mix, we'd have a fricken golden age.

      1. sullivanst

        PS… while the number of guns may have been increasing recently (I don't believe even that was true during the Clinton years, especially after the AWB, but I can't find figures to support that assertion), the percentage of households owning guns peaked in 1977 and has been declining ever since.

        I'd be somewhat interested to hear a proposed causal link that says crime should be lower if the gun nut next door owns 8 guns instead of 3. Oh hai, Javon Belcher.

      1. sullivanst

        Also elected a Democrat to the White House who put more cops on the streets. But hey, "confounding factor" isn't a phrase you hear coming from the right when they find a correlation they like, and while correlation is not causation, the absence of correlation gives the argument for causation a much steeper hill to climb, and the presence of a correlation in the opposite direction makes it more of a cliff.

  32. Dudleydidwrong

    Camus said that old Sisyphus smiled each morning as he began anew to roll the rock up the hill. Sisyphus would laugh his ass off if that rock happened to come smashing down on the fuckwits who wrote that lame waste of trees which they call a textbook.

    1. not that Dewey

      Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy beggar
      Who could think you under the table.

      (that's how I always heard it)

      1. MosesInvests

        David Hume could outconsume Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel,
        And Wittgenstein was a beery swine who was twice as sloshed as Schlegel.

  33. proudgrampa

    Actually, the discussion around pragmatism put me in mind of an idea that I developed once: Proudgrampa's Philosophy of Pragmatic Pessimism.

    Pragmatic pessimism holds that optimism almost guarantees a life of unhappiness and disappointment. On the other hand, a pessimist is never disappointed. A pragmatic view accepts things the way they are: humans can improve their lot, but it depends on us, working together, to get it done. No deity required.

    That, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster give me great comfort.

    May you be touched by His Noodly Appendage.

  34. bikerlaureate

    Yup, modern christianists and anti-liberals sure do recoil from that nonabsolute Pragmatism.

    / FFS

    1. Ayn_Ryan

      What did you read? I was pleasantly surprised to find out that one of my freshmen this year read "In Pursuit of Idleness" in his HS English class.

      1. Vecchiojohn

        I think I read Why I am Not A Christian first, then A history of Western Philosophy, then I stumbled through Our Knowledge of the External World. I know I read Unpopular Essays and The Conquest of Happiness in high school, but probably didn't get around to anything else until later, except for the Autobiography. I think among kids of my generation in America, and several generations before mine,reading Russell was a sort of rite of passage.And it led into the whole world of Bloomsbury and a great deal more as well.

        1. Ayn_Ryan

          Cool. Unfortunately, I just realized that I butchered the title yesterday. It should read "In Praise of Idleness". It's an interesting book where Bertie said that no one should have to work for more than four hours a day because, you know, mechanization.

          For what it's worth, members of my generation have never heard of Russell, but I read his "History of Western Philosophy" in HS and made my way through almost all of his popularized works by the time that I was a sophomore in college. In my junior year I took a class on 20th century analytic philosophy in which we read his more technical works (including the one that he wrote in prison!).

  35. Dashboard Buddha

    I've never been to the Human Events website. Is its unstated goal to Eventually make every American as numb as a hake?

  36. decentcitizen

    What better way to promote the benefits of home-schooling. Just dismiss the last hundred or so years in philosophical thought.

    1. Biel_ze_Bubba

      "Russell followed Comte in insisting that only empirically verifiable facts and logically valid mathematical equations can be true."

      Well, no, that's not what he said. But let's pretend it is, and ignore it. Beats the hell out of teaching it – what a timesaver!
      Likewise with Darwin.

  37. glasspusher

    I'll put a five-spot on Picasso for next week's smack down. He might have been all about the pussy, but he was no pussy.

  38. ahnc

    I believe it is less painful to stick a needle in my eye than read any more about "Christian" text books.

  39. Chow Yun Flat

    the belief that matters of morality should be based on consideration of the well-being of mankind in this present life, to the exclusion of all considerations drawn from belief in God or in a future existence

    Well, if by "this present life" they mean now plus the next few centuries, a span that doesn't even show up in geological time, that is a very sound way of approaching the world.

      1. Dudleydidwrong

        Just sometimes? You are in need of a post-doc fellowship, 'cause you want it to be like a post.

    1. Jukesgrrl

      Hey, I can top any doctorate: MFA in poetry here. Waaaay more than half the country would be against that. After all, if God wanted poetry he would have made something rhyme with Jesus (besides specious).

      1. Biel_ze_Bubba

        There's rhesus. Now you have enough for a limerick.

        Actually, "sees us" and tease us" are vastly more promising.

        1. BoatOfVelociraptors

          If Jesus can build my hot rod, there may be a chance that he's the one who keys us.
          He might think that we're just germs and sneeze us.
          Take us to the club and tease us.
          Pay for the girls to tweeze us?
          Render unto what is Caesar what is Caesar's?

  40. LionHeartSoyDog

    There is absolutely too much shit to wade through.
    To "hell" with superstitious a-holes who want to impose their delusions.

  41. Negropolis

    Hey, if they want to believe Young Jesus rode to Sunday School on the back of a stegosaurus (I know, ouch! right?), more power to them. I do not begrudge them for believing it – I mean, it's not like I'm coming to their church to knock the dicks out of their mouths, or anything. But, just leave me my space, A Beka. Deal?

  42. rickmaci

    Why do I sometimes have the feeling G_d is sitting around contemplating exactly how big the flood is going to have to this time around?

    1. Biel_ze_Bubba

      He's regretting His promise not to do it again.

      Although one has to wonder – who's going to hold Him to it?

  43. ButthurtWingers2012

    I read that human events link….Jesus H. Christ what a hilarious find, Doc. Nothing says 'harmful to Western Civilization' more than bitching about scientific inquiry and discovery. Another point of irony, they bitch about Niethczhe abadoning his Catholic roots and then turn around and Kinsey of justifying man-boy love. Uh wingnuts, you do realize the very group you're going to bat over has expressed more man-boy love than 10,000 secular institutions could or ever would, dumbasses. Oh and of course Comte, Darwin, Keynes, Rachel Carson and Nader are all on there…wingnuts have their priorities down: god, unfettered corporate profits and people taking personal responsibilty i.e. drivers blaming themselves when the ole Corvair breaks down…"they should have researched the car before buying"…oh wait, Nader DID research the car…now my head hurts from all the disonance of that last point..

  44. Low_Budget_Dave

    The Bible mentions in Genesis 5 that Adam and Eve had plenty of other sons and daughters. It always seemed odd to me that Clarence Darrow chose that issue to question W.J. Bryan, and not Genesis 6, where it casually mentions: "There were giants in the earth in those days."

  45. Lizzietish81

    I have to say though, the Celestial Teapot analogy bugs me, because a teapot in orbit is still observable. Its not easy, but neither is the observation of germs, and yet they exist and we can observe them.

    But then that gets into Western Philosophy which causes my brain to shut down until someone mentions Emmanuel Kant and then I can start the Drunken Philosopher's song in my head….

    1. Biel_ze_Bubba

      I deduct all of my donations to my secular humanism church. The IRS seems to recognize it (American Museum of Natural History), so no problems.

  46. RalphCrown

    I'm confused. The other day they said we were supposed to challenge the teachers and make them prove stuff. Now they're saying everything in this book is totally true and the other stuff is totally false. If I had ever learned to think, my head would hurt.

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