D’Souza Trounces Singer

Dinesh D’Souza smashes ants and declares himself a giant. D’Souza, who tends to declare himself the winner of debates with various atheists, is no doubt correct when it comes to his self-assessment against Peter Singer.

D’Souza ridiculously counts Singer as among “the most effective advocates of atheism” and “the best that the opposition has to offer.” You’ve got to be kidding me. I know a lot of atheists personally, and not a single one takes Singer’s views remotely seriously. Besides, Singer is not primarily an atheist, he is primarily a (bad) ethicist. That is, his main business is not disproving the existence of God, but concocting wild theories about how people should live.

Ah, but D’Souza asserts:

…I suggested that Singer was a perfect illustration of what you get when you reject God and attempt to construct ethics on a purely secular, Darwinian foundation. Singer’s atheism, I suggested, is the primary foundation of his advocacy of infanticide, euthanasia, and animal rights.

His assertion is ludicrous. What does Singer’s bizarre utilitarianism have to do with evolutionary theory? D’Souza doesn’t say in his article; the correct answer is nothing.

Atheism is not a positive philosophy. It does not, as D’Souza endlessly asserts, imply socialism, Singer’s views, or any other particular idea. Atheism is a negative. It asserts that God (and the supernatural) does not exist.

D’Souza thinks that, absent religion, morality is impossible, but he is simply wrong. Aristotle formulated a non-religious, Eudaimonistic ethic long ago, and in the modern age Ayn Rand and her followers have revealed the foundation of morality in the nature of human life.

But D’Souza is interested in apologetics, not in actually refuting the “the best that the opposition has to offer,” which he has never squarely faced.

8 thoughts on “D’Souza Trounces Singer”

  1. What is the “best that the opposition has to offer”?

    I’m not aware of any Objectivist writings in the philosophy of religion. To be honest, I don’t know of any Objectivist philosophers who have a basic familiarity with religious beliefs.

  2. I appreciate your last note, Neil, because it points out to me that you’ve been submitting remarks of little substance in order to get me to link repeatedly to your web page (also of little substance if substantially higher word count).

  3. First off, Singer’s arguments are taken very seriously in the many fields to which they apply. He has written influential articles, including a cover article, in the New York Times Magazine, and some of the greatest scholars alive endorse his views, from Steven Pinker to Richard Dawkins. Singer was on Time Magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people, and for good reason. His book Animal Liberation jump-started the entire animal rights movement, which has resulted in drastic changes in our treatment of nonhuman animals around the world.

    Instead of criticizing his conclusions, try objecting to his arguments, by which he reaches those conclusions. Here are two very introductory pieces:

    …on humanitarian aid:

    http://www.nytimes.com/library/magazine/home/19990905mag-poverty-singer.html

    …and probably his most important argument, on nonhuman animals:

    http://www.webster.edu/~corbetre/philosophy/animals/singer-text.html

    Perhaps Ari Armstrong should write another article criticizing Singer’s reasoning. Then we can have a real discussion.

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