Jordan Peterson Explains the Problem with Atheism

Here is a short video where Jordan Peterson explains the problem with atheism.  If you are pressed for time, the best part starts around 4 minutes, where Peterson explains why he is frustrated with Sam Harris’s faith in rationalism.

Of course, most atheists are likely to be defensive and reply with a laundry list of their talking points.  But all of that is noise (we’ll see an example of that in a future posting).  For we are now in a position where we have strong empirical evidence that Peterson is right – the postmodernist movement.

The postmodern movement is rooted in atheism.  As such, along with denying the existence of God, it also denies many of the universal principles that have long been part of what was once a theistic culture.  As I explained before,  the postmodern atheistic mindset has reverted to Id-based thinking, embracing the primitive urges of tribalism and formulating its infantile, emotion-based values in accord with the primitive sexual and aggression drives.

Further evidence of Peterson’s point is the manner in which the postmodern atheists are steamrolling the Enlightenment atheists.  In just a few years, the postmodernists destroyed the New Atheist movement and forced Dawkins and Harris to retreat into obscure corners of the internet.   This is because the postmodernists represent the dominant strain of atheism, largely because they downplay their atheism and emphasize the Id, allowing them more allies in various positions of power.

The postmodernists are currently in the process of cementing their control of academia.  And academia is what shapes our culture, through the “education” of our lawyers, our judges, our teachers, our politicians, our marketing agents, our human resource departments, our doctors, etc.

I suppose one of the personal advantages to living in the postChristian world is the ability to see more clearly that Christianity it true.  Despite all their acquired knowledge and accomplishments, humans, without God, naturally revert back to a primitive mindset without truly realizing it.  Which is precisely what we would expect to happen if Christianity is true.

I previously explained just how things will happen, an easy call since it’s merely a modest extrapolation from what is happening:

The Left was able to dispense with God and retain such universal principles only because of the inertia of the Judeo-Christian culture it found itself in.  But that inertia is dissipating. It was never sustainable.  So the Left is standing there insisting on universal principles in a reality that is nothing more than matter and energy. It speaks of  freedom, equality and justice, but the universe doesn’t care about such things.  With nothing to back up those claims, the postmodern Left simply takes the next logical step and insists those universal principles themselves are as delusional as God.  Without the Judeo-Christian cultural inertia, the Left naturally transforms into the postmodern Left.

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13 Responses to Jordan Peterson Explains the Problem with Atheism

  1. mechanar says:

    the great Irony of atheism becoming anti reason or maybe it just comes together as it is supposed to be.

  2. It’s fashionable to bash the Roman Catholic Church, but one need not be an adherent of her to see she takes some pretty bold positions, which run counter not only to the prevailing culture, but the world in which the Church sprung up. As many questions as I have and as bold as her claims may seem, I honestly think the Catholic faith and most of Christendom see more in human beings than we see in ourselves. If that were gone, I think we should all act like barbarians.

  3. Ilíon says:

    Of course, most atheists are likely to be defensive and reply with a laundry list of their talking points. But all of that is noise …

    To put it another way, when some ‘atheist‘ objects to the valid-and-logical explication of the logical implications of atheism with something like, “I’m an ‘atheist’ and *I* don’t believe that X-Y-Z“, he’s blowing smoke, he is asserting an “unprincipled exception” (*) in an attempt to derail said explication.

    (*) An “unprincipled exception” is exactly what the term says: one is asserting that there exists some exception to the logical conclusion of an act of reasoning — and thus, asserting that one has invalidated the reasoning — but one *does not* ground the asserted exception in any principle, such that the asserted exception (and invalidation) is freely/openly discoverable by others. In effect, “You’re wrong because *I* say you’re wrong.

  4. TFBW says:

    I shared this very clip with a Russian co-worker of mine who is partial to Sam Harris’ views. He and I have regular and robust lunchtime discussions about such things, and I introduced him to Jordan Peterson a little while back. He was impressed with Peterson in general, but thought that this was a particularly terrible extract. It made no sense to him at all — and Crime and Punishment was high school reading material for him, although he didn’t think much of it.

    It turns out, however, that his negative reaction to the message came from an almost total failure to understand it. The message he understood, roughly speaking, was that people do bad things if you take away their religious foundations. No wonder he thought it was terrible! I tried to explain that he’d misunderstood, but it was staggeringly hard to explain to him the need for a transcendent foundation if we are to have objective moral facts. I felt like I made some progress in the end, though.

    My take-away: intelligent people can view this clip, yet misunderstand it completely and utterly. Communication is hard.

  5. Michael says:

    My take-away: intelligent people can view this clip, yet misunderstand it completely and utterly. Communication is hard.

    Has he ever read The Abolition of Man?

  6. TFBW says:

    By C. S. Lewis? No. Neither have I, for that matter, although I’ve seen enough references to it to have acquired a passing familiarity. Maybe I should knuckle down and read it.

  7. Doug says:

    Also recommended reading for those so inclined: The Disenchantment of Secular Discourse

  8. Michael says:

    TFBW, I read it a long time ago and will probably try to read it again. Consider this wiki description of something published in 1943:

    Lewis criticizes modern attempts to debunk “natural” values (such as those that would deny objective value to the waterfall) on rational grounds…..The final chapter describes the ultimate consequences of this debunking: a distant future in which the values and morals of the majority are controlled by a small group who rule by a “perfect” understanding of psychology, and who in turn, being able to “see through” any system of morality that might induce them to act in a certain way, are ruled only by their own unreflected whims. In surrendering rational reflection on their own motivations, the controllers will no longer be recognizably human, the controlled will be robot-like, and the Abolition of Man will have been completed.

  9. FZM says:

    It turns out, however, that his negative reaction to the message came from an almost total failure to understand it. The message he understood, roughly speaking, was that people do bad things if you take away their religious foundations. No wonder he thought it was terrible! I tried to explain that he’d misunderstood, but it was staggeringly hard to explain to him the need for a transcendent foundation if we are to have objective moral facts. I felt like I made some progress in the end, though.

    In the video Peterson is probably right that Harris, Dawkins et al. tend to assume the existence of moral facts with a transcendent foundation and don’t think much about it. I’ve always thought that their message was pretty moralistic and their critiques of religious belief had a strong moral basis and content.

    Again, as Peterson starts to point out, the problem with the kind of worldview they promote is that it removes any possibility of moral facts having a transcendent foundation and aught to foster moral scepticism. I think, besides their other commitments, they are strong nominalists and empiricists, and that provides more strong metaphysical reasons for moral scepticism as well.

    So the general result of their position is that morality ends up based only on emotion and subjective experience, but then they reintroduce a transcendent morality in covert, implicit ways, talking about Reason, Humanity, Progress etc. where these are concepts which are vehicles for strong moral ideals, intended to be applied in a normative way.

  10. Bob Roberts says:

    Peterson as I understand it is arguing that religion is the necessary underpinning of morality and he believes that Harris et al think that essentially nothing underpins morality. I say this because Peterson contrasts his own views with the idea that using pure logic would lead one to manipulate all circumstances for their own personal gain only, at the expense of others and presumably of moral behavior.

    Is there not another possibility though? We are not blank slates and machines, but rather human animals. Is it not our own long history as homo sapiens and even before that lays the foundation for our morality? Hasn’t our long history molded us into beings that understand the benefits of cooperation, “correct” ways of living, and strong bonds to other humans (which could be considered a proxy for much of what we call morality) lest we perish individually or as a group?

    I can’t help but feel that Peterson, who I respect, is taking a bit of a strawman approach and is discounting views that differ from his by failing to see other potential sources for morality beyond either religion or the abyss. We are human, and there might be some morality inherent in that alone.

  11. Michael says:

    Is there not another possibility though? We are not blank slates and machines, but rather human animals. Is it not our own long history as homo sapiens and even before that lays the foundation for our morality? Hasn’t our long history molded us into beings that understand the benefits of cooperation, “correct” ways of living, and strong bonds to other humans (which could be considered a proxy for much of what we call morality) lest we perish individually or as a group?

    I’d make one slight change: “Hasn’t our long history molded us into beings that understand the benefits of cooperation, “correct” ways of living, and strong bonds to other humans like us (which could be considered a proxy for much of what we call morality) lest we perish individually or as a group?”

    Rooting morality in evolution merely justifies tribalism. Check out my commentary on Peterson’s video above.

  12. Quite interesting to read you. I’m awed in the fact you used the term “judeo-christian inertia” I used that too. Keep up the good work!

  13. David Robertson says:

    Very interesting, I never thought about the idea of atheism breaking into two camps of post modernists and enlightenment influenced ones. Makes sense though, seeing so many bash Dawkins and Harris these days. I always kinda saw through Dawkins anti-religion stuff, feeling as though he was always strawmanning religion, but how he’s being bombarded by PC nonsense these days is a bit overboard

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