I tried to ignore this topic. I really did. I can't do it though. The stupidity is too overwhelming. Yesterday I saw this tweet on Twitter:
And I have to say it: Neil deGrasse Tyson, you're an idiot.
I get the point he's trying to make. It's your typical militant atheistic preening, "Religious people are crazy, hah, hah." Tyson is supposedly some brilliant scientist, and he wants people to know if you don't share his belief system, you should be shunned and scorned.
So what is his belief system everyone should share? Does Tyson believe murder is okay? I think it's safe to say he does not. I think it's safe to say he'd claim murder is wrong. But what does he base that belief on? What part of objective reality determines what is "right" and "wrong"? What device do we use to measure morality in nature?
There is none. Morality is a human construct. It is a set of values people come up with based upon... something. Maybe it's from a divine source. Maybe it's some innate sense of right and wrong. Maybe it's simple self-preservation. Nobody really knows. All we know is it isn't tied to any objective measure of reality.
If "right" and "wrong" aren't based in a measure of objective reality, according to Neil deGrasse Tyson, anyone who believes in them "should not be making decisions that affect other people." If you believe rape is innately wrong, you shouldn't be allowed to run for office, be a teacher or raise a child. According to Tyson, if you want to do any of those things, you better say:
Eh, there's nothing wrong with raping people for fun.
Because otherwise, you have a belief system which isn't based in objective reality, and that's just stupid.
Of course, as anyone with any experience with philosophy can tell you, there is no such thing as objective reality. We can't tell that other people see things we see the way we see them. We can't even tell other people exist. Everything we see could be some virtual reality simulation fed into our brains by a machine.
In the strictest sense, we can't even be certain we exist at all. The thought processes we ascribe to ourselves could merely be output of some machine. Or they could simply not exist at all. We can't prove we're thinking by thinking as that assumes the point being proven.
This sort of thought process doesn't really get us anywhere. It is rarely worth dwelling on. For practical purposes, we have to assume there is an objective reality. This is still just an assumption though, and it is inherently no more logical than assuming a divine entity exists.
The reason this matters is it shows atheists like Neil deGrasse Tyson necessarily rely upon faith (by assuming something to be true) even as they ridicule it. That Tyson's tweet, taken to its logical end, would require only sociopaths be in positions of responsibility is mildly amusing. That people like Tyson can't even acknowledge their own form of faith is very troubling.