Exam question

I came across this from Dinesh D’Souza at Dispatches:

Recently Hitchens appeared at a “secular Christmas party” thrown by the libertarian magazine Reason. Many libertarians are basically conservatives who are either gay or druggies or people who generally find the conservative moral agenda too restrictive. So they flee from the conservative to the libertarian camp where much wider parameters of personal behavior are embraced. To the sensible idea of political and economic freedom many libertarians add the more controversial principle of moral freedom, the freedom to live however you want as long as you don’t harm others. Hitchens, needless to say, is at home in this group.

“Dinesh D’Souza is a tool”. Discuss.

With nonsense like that it’s not hard to see how he earned 29th place on this list of 2007’s 50 Most Loathsome People in America:

29. Dinesh D’Souza

Charges: Wrote a book blaming 9/11 on — who else? — liberals, because if we didn’t live in a free society, then fundamentalists wouldn’t dislike us so. Even conservative nuts blasted D’Souza’s empathy for poor al Qaeda. Lately, he’s been engaging prominent atheists in debates, revealing himself to be a pseudointellectual ass, and then declaring victory. D’Souza’s master plan for attacking atheism is the ridiculous Pascal’s wager: Atheists could be wrong, and then they’d go to hell, but if the religious are wrong, then they suffer no ill effect — aside from living their lives in delusion, of course. And possibly going to someone else’s hell for believing the wrong religion. D’Souza seems to think that if he speaks more loudly and rapidly than his opponent, he is winning, but his arguments are weak and idiotic, and he never even attempts to truly debate the existence of any god, which is the ostensible point of these debates. Instead, he likes to compare body counts — Stalin and Mao killed more than the religious leaders of their time — rather than actually debate whether there is a God, or for that matter a Jesus. This, of course, is because there is no case to be made.

Exhibit A: “[Atheists] are God-haters… I don’t believe in unicorns, but then I haven’t written any books called The End of Unicorns, Unicorns are Not Great, or The Unicorn Delusion.” But what if everyone you met did believe in unicorns, and not only that, but worshiped a unicorn, held a book about unicorns to be the divine truth of the universe, invoked unicorns in political contexts, and speechified about how non-believers were indecent people waging a war on morality, which could only be predicated on the unquestioning belief in unicorns? Then, maybe, D’Souza would think about writing that book. But of course, that’s not really true, because if that was the world we lived in, then Dinesh D’Souza would believe in unicorns.

Sentence: Spanish inquisition.

I’ve heard people describe D’Souza right wing culture warrior with more intellectual gusto than most, yet this is a guy who uses Pascal’s Wager and the fine-tuning argument in debates about religion.

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~ by Sammy Jankis on December 27, 2007.

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