Tuesday, November 30, 2010

#114: Dinesh D’Souza

One of the more well-known, and rabid, creationists and apologists out there. As a Christian author he has managed to concoct such literary masterpieces as “The Enemy At Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11” (basically: our liberal lifestyle, equality and freedom anger mullahs; therefore we should do away with it – here, and here) and “What's So Great About Christianity (?)” (where he attempts to appropriate the term “evolution”, but distinguishes “Christian evolution” (ID creationism) from “Darwinian evolution”; here). He is also famous for debating people such as Hitchens, Dennett, and Shermer. A debate with Dennett can be found here. It's another piece of mindrot – you are warned. Another one is here, and one here). He has actually hit upon a very useful debate strategy (well, it is normal snowing, really): present as many strawmen, caricatures, bullshit, non-sequieturs and lies as possible in as short time as possible; point out that your opponent hasn’t refuted or addressed every single one of them. Therefore, God exists. It is a common technique among conspiracy theorists and creationists (and AGW deniers), and sufficiently notorious to have been given a name, “gish gallop”)

He has also written “Life After Death: The Evidence”, which according to himself proves that there is an afterlife. The first proof is: In the human heart there is a universal moral code underlying acts of self-sacrifice and charity. It is incompatible with the Darwinian imperative to out-compete thy neighbor. Therefore God, therefore an afterlife. The second proof is: Since there is so much suffering in the world, there must be an afterlife to make up for it. Seriously; those are his arguments. And oh, there’s the Pascal’s wager offshoot: Believing in the afterlife makes you happy, and believers have better sex.

His ability to connect premises and conclusions is seriously questionable. For instance, he argues (discussed here) that atheists are hateful robots because Dawkins wasn't invited to any of the memorials at Virginia Tech, and because he couldn't spot any atheists in the crowds. This, according to Dinesh, shows that the problem of evil is a bigger problem for atheists than for Christians and that modern science is bunk.

He does try to have it all ways, though. While he rejects evolution, he also arguest that evolution supports conservatism (here), so liberal scientists are doubly confused. To ensure that the conclusion goes through he glues it to his (moronic) premises with a naturalistic fallacy. It is almost as good as his liberal left caused 9/11 fallacies, entailing gems such as: if you've ever given money to Planned Parenthood or the ACLU, you've been aiding groups “at least as dangerous as any of bin Laden's American sleeper cells” (no failure to separate opinions from fact in that one, no?); here, and here.

This “man is like a magnet of wrong", and he just doesn’t get the naturalistic fallacy.

Diagnosis: Ardently moronic nitwit who wouldn’t be able to distinguish facts from wishful thinking or identify a fallacy if his life depended on it. Zealous. How he has achieved the status and influence he has ought to be a mystery (but really isn’t).

6 comments:

  1. Some updates on D'Souza might be worthwhile: here and here and here (remember that we have a backlog on the postings, so the newest updates may not be covered in the posts themselves) (dunno, btw, if a post with three links will pass the filter?)

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  2. I've watched some of this guy's debates. You nailed him.

    I love your list, by the way.

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  3. Here's D'Souza being less than accurate.

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  4. He seems to have a new book in the pipeline. Apparently it is a rant criticizing Obama for being anti-colonialist. Seriously.

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  5. Ummm, he is not anti evolution, he debated atheist Dan Barker, who praised him for reconciling evolution with his faith.

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  6. Aww, it looks like Dinesh has run into some legal troubles. Poor guy, caught up in an act of "misguided friendship".

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/24/nyregion/dinesh-dsouza-is-charged-with-using-straw-donors-to-give-to-a-campaign.html

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