Pyrrhic Victory

Whatever happened to good, old-fashioned Pyrrhonism? I’m not talking about the belief that the world may not exist, including the observer himself. That absurdity, in the funniest sense of the word, is now contained within the last-century cult surrealistically named “postmodernism.” I’m talking about the down-and-dirty realism that gives no quarter to idealism, speculation, and mobthink. I’m afraid it may have died in 1952.

Nowadays, we are presented with the sham that calls itself “skepticism” while floating on ethereal clouds of marxist idealism, evolutionary speculation, and identity-politics mobthink. Its advocates endlessly regale us backwards types with stern lectures about objectivity and scientific fact, taunting us with a vision of a mad Zarathustra chanting in the voice of PeeWee Herman, “God is dead! God is dead!” Any day now, they say, the whole world will realize the truth and cast off the shackles of religious dogma and oppression. Then, finally, everyone can hold hands and drink their Cokes in perfect harmony. It’s the real thing, and it’s what the world wants today.

Ben Pile describes these so-called skeptics as follows:

The view of scepticism that emerges is that it feels impotent, is terrified of the world, and lacks trust in other people’s ability to determine their own interests or make their own decisions. The leading thinkers of the loose movement of sceptics end up coming across not as confident individuals who have radical visions about how to use their rationalist outlook to change the world, but rather as timid souls, keen to advance the idea that that world is a dangerous place, made all the more dangerous by ideas themselves.

That’s what it’s all about: Slamming down the wrong ideas. Get everyone lined up in their neat little rows and force-feed them the consensus opinions from elite groups of scientists. After divorcing the “self” from any notion of free will and instead defining it in terms of irresistible sociobiological forces, these quasi-populists feel free to then start using your brain like Play-doh:

This idea that the self, its autonomy, and consciousness are illusions allows sceptics to reduce humans to mindless beings which lack an understanding of their own interests and therefore need to be controlled.

Oh yeah…there’s the giddy freedom of secular, liberal democracy right there. Bring it on, man. Set my people free.

The idea that we need to be told what we can believe is a theme throughout the sceptical movement. ‘[W]e are the watchmen who guard against bad ideas in order to discover good ideas, consumer advocates of critical thinking who, through the guidelines of science, establish a mark at which to aim’ writes Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic Magazine, and director of the Skeptics Society.

Far from seeking rationalism, scepticism is increasingly a search for authority….It indulges the same fantasies, and the same appeals to external truths to answer existential questions about life, and begs for authority to answer the world’s problems.

Finally, the human race can claim victory over the forces of divine oppression that have enslaved our minds for millennia. Oh, the liberty of vanquished expectations.

These people make me physically ill. Whether they call themselves brights, positivists, humanists, objectivists, rationalists, atheists, dialectical materialists, behaviorists, evolutionary psychologists, skeptics, or Borg, they keep coming back to the same line of nonsense: You don’t have a choice. You are not made in the image of God. Resistance is futile.

The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” (Psalm 14:1)

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2 Corinthians 3:17)

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)

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