Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Paul Manata Misses Point of My Post; Embraces Racism

Paul Manata has indicated in no uncertain terms here and here that he will not take back the racial slurs he threw at me. He doesn't think that he did anything bad, in fact he thinks what he did was funny (funny for a proud Aryan Klansman maybe?), and considers my request for him to take back what he said "childish." I honestly don't know if I can call racism "childish," but it certainly scores lower than any other "childish" remark in terms of quality of conduct.

Anyway, I have decided to respond to the meat of Manata's post, despite the fact that he stands proudly beside his racial slur. I have cooled down and I think I can reply to him without resorting to his level of poo flinging. In responding to the meat of his post, I will dispel his incorrect belief that I was using a racism charge to evade the real content of his post.

The first thing to note is that Manata completely missed the point of my post, and nowhere in his reply does he address my actual point of posting. To refresh everyone's memory, the title of my post was "Morality Cannot be Based on God's Rules." In my post, I explained objective morality, and then explained how Christianity steals from it, and I also demonstrated that the Christian, in his/her denial of self-interest as the foundation of morality, cannot account for their moral system. In other words, a Christian cannot provide an objective reason for following God's rules or caring about where they end up when they die: Heaven or Hell. I explained how the Christian can only get moral justification for following God's rules by stealing from the objective self-interested morality. I even wrote a sample dialogue between an atheist who subscribes to objective morality, and a Christian. I think it's safe to say that the point of my post was indeed what the title claimed it to be, that morality cannot be based on God's rules.

Strangely, Manata's entire response does not address or even acknowledge this point. All Manata does is attack the objective moral system with strawmen, misinterpretations, and attempts to assert the primacy of subject over object.

In reference to my explaining of objective morality, Manata quotes a source of objectivism from geocities and states (for clarification, "Aynisphat" is Manata's racial/ethnic slur for me, Aaron Kinney):

We note here, then, that the term "existence" in the "axiom of existence" is a "a collective noun denoting the sum of existents." So, Aynisphat is not all that exists but rather he's one particular existent. "An 'existent' is 'something that exists be it a thing, an attribute or an action.'" So, it looks as if Aynisphat is saying that another way of saying the "axiom of existence" is to say the "axiom of existent.

Manata is failing to see something important. Sure, "existence" is a collective noun, but it is also an adjective. It is an adjective because I (noun) have the property of existence (adjective). So when I say "axiom of existence," I am not saying "axiom of existent," at all. What I am saying is exactly what I mean, "axiom of existence," where existence is an adjective or a descriptor or a property. Existence is a property of an existent. Here is an example to demonstrate my point: My Mustang is an existent (noun). It exists (adjective), or has the property of existence (adjective).

Manata wants us to think that "axiom of existence" is a statement with two nouns and no adjectives. This simply isn't true, as the statement "axiom of existence" clearly contains a noun (axiom) and an adjective (existence). Manata is trying to strawman me by making it look as if I'm saying something that I'm not, and he is attempting to remove a significant portion of my message by changing an adjective to a noun.

So Paul Manata tried to erase the descriptive properties of the word "existence." It is important for Manata to attempt to jumble up and confuse what I said by reassigning adjectives to nouns, for only by attacking these fundamental concepts and jumbling them up can Manata hope to destroy objective morality. Fortunately, I only need to point out his trickery and his attack falls apart.

Once Manata feels that he has established the confusion of noun and adjective, he uses it to make a few assertions:

So, Aynisphat doesn't really begin with the axiom of existence but rather with the axiom of existent. Basically, Aynisphat is not really telling us something new but is just spouting off Descartes' axiom, "I exist."

See? He is literally trying to remove the entire descriptive property of the adjective "exist" like an illusionist making a quarter disappear. But it doesn't really disappear. In fact, the adjective/descriptive properties of the word "exist" can be seen within his own quotation of Descartes! Manata quotes him as saying "I exist." Look at that statement. It has a noun and an adjective. "I" is the noun, and "exist" is the adjective or descriptor.

Manata continues:

As such he is not using any universally accepted axiom that no men can deny but yet he tries to offer a universal system of objective morality.

Since Manata failed to remove the adjective from the equation, his argument here is totally empty. It is in fact an axiom that no man can deny. I challenge Manata to successfully deny it. I assert that in his act of denying it, Manata will be forced to implicitly concede it's axiomatic truth.

Manata then goes on to accidentally reveal that he has no understanding of what universality is:

More devastating, is that Aynisphat has a gigantic jump in his reasoning. How does he get from the axiom of his particular existence to the value of all other existents, or the value of all other life? This is nothing but a very hasty generalization. So it looks as though Aynisphat has a lot of work to do if he is going to prove how we get from the axiom of his existence to the value of life as considered universally.

Emphasis mine. The more proper question is, how can Manata assert that the value of existence is not universal? In other words, what makes Manata different from me? We are both human. We both exist (have the property of existence). We both require the same things to continue our existence.

I think a good thing to do right now in response to Manata's silly question begging is to quote myself from two posts ago. I said this: "It also says that what is good for one human is good for all humans, since all humans exist in the same reality and all the rules apply universally. In fact, if a rule cannot be applied universally, then it is not really a rule. So the only moral "rules" that exist are the rules that apply universally."

For Manata to say "How does he get from the axiom of his particular existence to the value of all other existents, or the value of all other life?" is the same as if Manata said "How does a scientist get from gravity existing on Earth to gravity existing all throughout the universe?" If gravity didn't exist everywhere, it wouldn't be a law. And if the value of existence was not applicable to all conscious existents, then it wouldn't be a law.

I would like to give a serious answer to Manata's question that I bolded thusly: Is there any objective difference between my existence and the existence of anyone else that would justify Manata's assertion that the rules or laws of existence don't apply equally to all of us? Or to use the gravity metaphor, I could say: Is there any objective difference between the existence of this planet and the existence of any other planet that would make the law of gravity not apply to all planets equally?

Later in the post, in reference to my statement about how the value of one's existence is presupposed, Manata says:

All Aynisphat is saying is that if one didn't exist he would not be able to conclude that it would be good if they didn't exist. But the reason for this is not because it is indeed objectively good that they exist, but merely because they would not exist to conclude it. So, Aynisphat offers another logical leap. He confuses the inability to say one is good with the objective fact that they are good, or have value.

Wrong. It is indeed objectively good that they exist because in the mere act of using one's consciousness, making decisions, making evaluations, etc... the value of one's existence is implicitly stated. If one's existence did not have value, then one would not exercise their existence. To use another metaphor, if I spend money, I am implicitly agreeing with its value in my act of spending it! If the money has no value to me, then I cannot logically spend it. And if I claim that the money has no value to me but I continue to spend it, then I am contradicting myself and indeed proving that the money has value because I am utilizing it in the act of spending it. This is about implicit agreement through the act of utilizing the "thing" in question. Whether it’s about money or conscious existence, when you utilize it, you endorse it and agree that it has value. Actions speak louder than words, and if you use money while condemning it, you are trumping your condemnations by endorsing the money through your act of spending.

Manata continues to embarrass himself by showing a total ignorance of universality:

Aynisphat concludes by saying that, "Human morality cannot be used to conclude that humans should not exist, for without humans, there would be no human morality to use to reach that conclusion." Despite the many numerous problems with this claim, all one has to do is claim that they do not think that all humans should not exist but only some! This satisfies Aynisphat's criteria that there be humans to reach the conclusion that some humans have value.

Ridiculous. Only some humans, huh? Again, the universality principle comes into play. And no, this does not satisfy my criteria whatsoever. It violates my criteria in fact: the criteria that these rules be universally and symmetrically applied. These kinds of rules must be universal and symmetrical. For more details on this, check out the excellent essay by Francois Tremblay entitled The Moral Razor.

Manata also seems to violate one of the principles of his own Presuppositionalist worldview (I'll tell you which one in a moment):

Also, again, we must press the point that it does not follow that humans have value because no one could say or conclude that they do not have value if they didn't exist.

Manata's Presuppostionalism states that it can only prove the existence of God by proving the impossibility of the contrary. In the instance of evaluating the value or non-value of one's existence, I have proved the impossibility of the contrary (proved that one cannot logically conclude that one has inherent non-value), and therefore proved my position that value of existence is foundational and presupposed in the mere act of existing. So I wonder what Manata will do about this particular issue: will he concede my point about proving the value of existence, or will he concede that his Presuppostionalism can not prove God's existence merely by proving the impossibility of the contrary? Manata has to concede on one or the other.

Manata then throws around a scenario:

Also, what if a mad-man said that no life has value and so he wants to kill everyone. Would Aynisphat tell him that he can't conclude that because then there would be no humans to say that all life should die? To this the mad-man would respond, "And that is exactly what I want to happen!"

If a mad-man said that no life has value, he would be objectively wrong, and he would be wrong because he would implicitly endorse the value of life in his mere act of living, evaluating, thinking, condemning, etc... And as far as what I would tell the mad-man, I would say "Go ahead and try it!" and I would then proceed to defend myself from him, because he is a mad-man that can't be reasoned with. However, we can note that logically the mad-man cannot come to the conclusion that his existence is inherently without value for the reasons I have already stated.

Manata later confuses the object-subject relationship and says:

Making sure we're "with" Aynisphat he then goes on to say that, "Now an objective, atheistic morality says that what is moral is what is good for you." This is helpful. Notice how Aynisphat basically tells us that what is moral is what is moral for you. And, what does he mean here. A pedophile will tell us that molesting children is "good" for him. So, is that moral? Hitler thought it was "good" for him to rid the world of Jews, so is that moral?

What I mean is that what is good for you is moral (self-interest), and yes, it is very helpful. A pedophile may tell us that molesting children is good for him, but he would be objectively wrong. Notice that Manata implies that what someone "thinks" is good for them, objectively is good for them. This is simply not true. I can "think" that gravity doesn't affect me but that doesn't make it objectively true. On the same vein, a child molester may think that acts of sexual coercion are good for him, but that doesn't make it objectively true. Manata fails to understand that existence (object) has primacy over consciousness (subject), and confuses the object-subject relationship. Morality is objective, which means that no human can "choose" that, for example, coercion is moral or good. Because morality is objective, we can only perceive or recognize it, not define or decide it. The same thing goes for gravity: we can only perceive or recognize gravity; we cannot choose or decide if and how gravity applies to us. That is what the word "objective" means and its pretty clear that Manata doesn't grasp this.

Manata then makes an ass of himself with a blatant and obvious strawman:

The PLO also tells us that objective, atheistic morality "also says that what is good for one human is good for all humans, since all humans exist in the same reality and all the rules apply universally." And so molesting a child is good for all children

So at first Manata refused to recognize universality. But when child molestation comes into play, then Manata recognizes it. He's picking and choosing parts of my moral code, depending on the scenario, to make a strawman then knock it down.

Manata then simply confuses what I said and further exposes his ignorance of universality:

But, Aynisphat now tells us that, " In fact, if a rule cannot be applied universally, then it is not really a rule." But above he said that what is good for one is good for all. Therefore, it appears that whatever is good for one can be applied universally! Is it "good" to give a cancer patient chemotherapy? If so, then should this rule be applied universally? But I don't need it; it would not be good to give me chemo. Therefore, since it cannot be applied universally then we should not give chemo to anyone, but since it is good for one person then it is supposed to be good for me also.

Notice that Manata thinks my statement about universality and rules is backwards? I was arguing in favor of applying rules universally, not against it. I actually am not sure if Manata made this error on purpose or accident, but I think it's on accident. Manata asks if it's good to give a cancer patient chemotherapy. I would reply that it is good to provide a good or service to someone who desires it if a mutually beneficial exchange can be agreed upon. Manata wants to confuse specific objects and/or services with moral principles. You see, morality is about principles, not about giving chemo to people per se. Morality refers to the principles of interaction between people, not about the specific chemotherapy you may be able to provide to someone. So while Manata tries to strawman me by claiming that my moral code says chemo should be given to everyone, the truth is that my moral code deals with principles of consent and trade and such. So, I can deconstruct Manata's strawman by saying, no, my moral code does not say you should give everyone chemotherapy regardless if they want or need it. My moral code says only that if two or more people wish to exchange goods and/or services, and they can agree to the terms, then it is good for them to do so. To "give" chemo to everyone implies that consent of the recipients is not sought, and the chemo is forced on everyone. Furthermore, there is no trade or symmetry of value exchange. So in reality, Manata's strawman example violates the principle of universality/symmetry in that his forcing of chemo on everyone does not seek consent for the recipients, nor an exchange of value. It is a total strawman and a misapplication of the principle of universality.

Manata throws a few more examples around:

Is lying good? What if we want to save someone from a murderer? Can we lie to protect them (ala, Anne Frank)? So, since it is good for one person to lie then it is good to lie universally. But, what if a doctor lies about a patient’s situation? Is that good? if not, then it is not a rule and no one should lie. But now what about poor Anne Frank?

Lying is not good because it is (usually) coercion. The foundational statement is that initiation of coercion is not good because it hurts people, including you. Lying usually falls into the category of coercion. Lying to save a friend from a murderer is good because you did not initiate the coercive act, but are instead using the coercive act of lying in defense against someone else's initiation of coercion. Pretty simple, really. If a doctor lies about a patient's situation, it depends on if the patient asked for the truth or asked to not be told bad news. In other words, if the patient asked to not be told the truth, then the doctor didn't coerce the patient when he lied to him, because the patient gave consent.

Manata then makes a claim:

I'm afraid Aynisphat is all confused... as am I.

Not Manata, I am not confused. My position is wholly consistent. You are the one that is confused, because you cannot understand universality, you cannot understand consent vs. coercion, you cannot understand the object-subject relationship, you can only prop up strawmen, and you failed to address the topic of my post: that morality cannot be based on God's rules.

Manata brings more tired and similar scenarios:

Now, what if someone does not say that it is wrong to kill and or molest him?

Manata presumes that by his silence he is endorsing immoral acts. But I can at least say that "kill" is not contextual and the word should be "murder," and sexual assault is only assault if one does not consent to it. So if this person doesn't have a problem with being "molested," then he isn't really being molested. In other words, it is logically impossible to rape someone who gives willing consent to the sexual act.

Can he then say that he can kill and molest others?

No, of course not. For nobody has the right to murder or sexually assault him. Again, these rules are objective. They are not decided on or chosen. They are concrete, like gravity. You cannot escape these rules.

I mean, what if it is in his self-interest to do so?

It isn't. It cannot possibly be proven that it is in one's self-interest to initiate coercive acts upon another. Destruction is never in anyone's self-interest. I challenge Manata to support the claim that initiation of coercion can be in one's self interest. I stand ready to offer refutations to any support Manata can provide for that claim.

Manata then tries to claim that self-defense is not possible in my moral system:

What if someone is attacking my wife and family? Can I kill him? But I don't want to be killed and so if I killed him "I am implicitly stating that it is ok for me to be killed."

If someone initiates coercion on you, then they implicitly state that it is ok for you to respond to them with coercion. Self-defense is justifiable because self-defense, or the rejection of coercive acts being executed upon you, is within one's self-interest.

Manata then says:

Lastly, maybe I don't want to be coerced but why does that mean I should not coerce others?

Universality, or symmetry. Again, see the essay that Francois Tremblay wrote called "The Moral Razor."

How do I "implicitly" state that it is okay for me to be coerced?

By initiating coercion against another. It's similar to the way that you implicitly agree that money has value every time you spend it.

I hope this post wasn't too tiring for all my readers. It’s a long one and after reading it, I think it's a bit boring and repetitive. But I wanted to reply to Manata's post adequately, and drive my points home. I think I did a decent job of showing Manata's strawmen, his confusion over concepts, and how he missed the true point of my post.

Manata, you didn't even address the real claims in my post: that Christianity cannot account for a reason to follow God's rules without conceding the self-interested objective morality and inherent value of existence as a foundation. You didn't address my example dialogue between an objective-morality atheist and a Christian. Your attacks on my moral system have failed, as I have refuted each of them. And you have done nothing to refute my claim that morality cannot be based on God's rules. Since you didn't address the topic of my post, I will consider it unchallenged.

I might even go so far as to say that you "implicitly" endorsed my post topic as valid by remaining silent on it LOL ;)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Is Paul Manata a Racist?

Paul Manata's most recent post regarding my objective morality can be seen here. Every time he writes a blog post about me, he posts the link in my comments section. His most recent post about me seems to imply some kind of racial/ethnic slur.

In his post, he says:

Assert Aynisphat ( ياسر عرفات‎) born Mohammed Abdel-Raouf Aynisphat al-Qudwa al-Husseini (محمد عبد الرؤوف القدوة الحسيني) and also known by the Kunya Abu Aaron Kinney
(أبو عمّار), is Chairman of the Pop off and Lament your Objectivist pseudo-philosophy (PLO) (2004-); and president of Kill The Afterlife (KTA) (2005-).

What’s with the Arabic-sounding names for "assert" and "Ayn"? Is this ad hominem attack more of a racial/ethnic/Arabic slur or a religious/Islamic slur? And what does Ayn Rand have to do with Arabs? I am not sure about any of this, but either way I don't like it. I wanted to write a reply to his post, but I don't know if I can keep it civil. I refuse to write a post in response to Manata that uses Manata's degree of personal attacks and insults, and I don't know if I can keep from doing that this time.

Manata is a textbook example of how not to be a Christian. For it is obvious that unless you already are a Christian, you will be turned off by the high level of insults and jokes Manata writes at the expense of the subjects of his posts. I honestly don't know what Manata's aim is in his insulting and seemingly racist style of writing: To entertain his Christian audience (which seems to be working), to piss off as many non-Christians as possible (which is definitely working), or to merely soothe his apparent insecurities (which doesn't seem to be working at all).

Regardless, I think his act of assigning Arabic names to me deserves an explanation. They seem discriminatory based on either race or religion (or both). They also are misplaced, since I am Caucasian (not Arabic), an atheist (not a Muslim), and a libertarian (not a Randist).

I am not going to provide Manata with a proper response until this issue is settled. Manata wants to play the morality game, but only while his opponent is operating under the distraction and stress of insulting and racist charges. I would love nothing more than to tangle with Manata on the morality issue, but to do so while he is heaping so much derision on me would be far too degrading. Manata knows that I have repeatedly asked him to tone down the ad hominem, and he once said he would try to do so when dealing with me, but it looks like he either forgot about what he said in the past, or he was lying to me. I've done nothing to provoke this new level of insults from him.

I hope that you, the reader, will take the time to click on the link to Manata's post, read what he wrote, and judge for yourself if Manata is trying to insult me by equating me with an Arab or a Muslim, and therefore slinging ethnic/racial or religious slurs. What do you all think?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Morality Cannot be Based on God's Rules

There has been a lot of talk lately about morality with and without God, and which worldview steals from whom. I want to set the record straight here, and demonstrate exactly how a theistic morality steals from an objective, atheistic morality. In this blog entry, I will be comparing objective morality with (what else?) Christian theistic morality.

Objective, atheistic morality begins with the axiom of existence. In other words: I exist. From this axiom, we can ascertain the value of existence, or the value of life. In fact, the value of one's own existence is just as objectively true as the fact of one's own existence. This is because it is impossible to conclude that one's existence as bad or undesirable without first conceding that it is indeed valuable and precious. If someone says, "It is bad that I exist, and I should not exist," they are making a big mistake, for in their mere act of concluding such a thing, they are presupposing the value of their own existence. This is because one cannot make such a conclusion without existing in the first place, and if one were to not exist, it would be impossible for them to conclude that it is good that they don't exist! Human morality cannot be used to conclude that humans should not exist, for without humans, there would be no human morality to use to reach that conclusion.

With me so far? Good. Now an objective, atheistic morality says that what is moral is what is good for you. It also says that what is good for one human is good for all humans, since all humans exist in the same reality and all the rules apply universally. In fact, if a rule cannot be applied universally, then it is not really a rule. So the only moral "rules" that exist are the rules that apply universally.

From here, the objective, atheistic morality says that all moral justifications have to be based on one's own self-interest. I presuppose the value of my existence, I operate under the same moral rules as everyone else, and my moral choices involve me choosing the action that best serves my self-interest. Self-interest is a powerful concept, and is indeed essential to morality. Through self-interest and universality, I can say that it is wrong for me to coerce someone because it is wrong for me to be coerced. If I commit a coercive action against someone, then I am implicitly stating that it is ok for me to be coerced. I would be violating my own self-interest, and therefore would be acting immorally.

This moral code is objective because it looks at the facts of reality and one's own existence. This moral code is atheistic because it requires no God, requires no afterlife, and requires no immaterial entities or dimensions for its use.

Theistic morality, on the other hand, says that you should obey God because either he tells you to, or you will roast in Hell, or a combination thereof. In my appearance on The Atheist Hour, Pastor Gene Cook said that we should do what God says because He says so and because we should be devoted to Him and obedient to Him. When I pressed Gene further, he admitted that Hell is a punishment for those who fail to follow God's word. But then I took it a little bit further. You see, the Christian morality does not admit the concept of self-interest; it does not recognize the axiom of existence and how we conclude one's inherent worth in their own existence. The Christian moral code steals from the objective, atheistic moral code. It steals the concept of self-interest, and it steals the concept of the inherent value of one's own existence.

In other words, all Godly/theistic moral systems presuppose the objective self-interest based morality as a foundation, and their theistic moral systems are nothing more than accessories, despite the fact that they masquerade as being foundational.

Here is an example dialogue where anyone can expose the theistic moral problem I described above. I managed to quickly sneak it in on Gene Cook's show, but he didn't want to dwell on it. I suggest you try it with your own local Christian and see what results you get!

Atheist: What's your morality based on?

Christian: God and His holy word. What's yours based on?

Atheist: My own self-interest. In fact, so is yours. You just fail to recognize it. May I ask for what reason would you follow God's holy word?

Christian: Because he says so and because you have to love Him.

Atheist: But why should I care what God says or follow his commands? What will happen?

Christian: He will forgive pretty much all your sins if you believe in Him, but you will be cast into Hell if you don’t believe and submit to Him.

Atheist: So your moral code is a carrot/stick approach, huh? Sounds like coercion to me. But you still haven’t given me an "ought," Christian. Why should I care if I get sent into Hell and burned forever and cast away from God?

Christian: Because pain hurts and nobody wants to be hurt or destroyed.

Atheist: But why? Why should I care if God hurts me or destroys me and I feel pain because of Him?

Christian: Ummmm... because God tells you to?

Atheist: And where does the Bible say that you should presuppose the value of your own existence and avoid pain and destruction? You see, you have no reason to follow God's word, or care what he does to you, without the foundational objective morality that I have presented. The only reason you follow God's word is because you presuppose the value of your own existence and happiness. The value of your own existence and happiness is the foundation of your moral system, and your Christian morality is nothing more than an accessory that is wholly dependent upon the foundation of your own self-interest for it to have any meaning.

Christians sometimes claim that atheistic morality steals from theistic morality. This is simply not true. I've just demonstrated that theistic morality is not even a moral system at all because it is not foundational; it is an accessory to the foundational moral code of self-interest from which it steals.

Morality is about each of us making the best choices for our lives. Morality is not about wholly submitting to another conscious entity a priori, regardless of how omnipotent or omni-whatever that entity is. And the only way you can even justify wholly submitting to another entity is by taking it to the foundation and showing that this submission would be the best choice for one's life. But either way, morality can only be based on principle(s), not specific commands or third-party entities. Morality is founded upon the principle of rational self-interest, not on some creator God, nor his dictates.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Andrea Yates Claims Christianity Insanity

From CNN.com:

Andrea Yates pleaded innocent by reason of insanity in the drowning deaths of her children Monday as she made her first court appearance since her 2002 capital murder convictions were overturned.

Chairwoman of the Offspring Murder Club, Andrea Yates, is trying once again to avoid jail time by pleading insanity. She was already convicted for the drowning deaths of 3 of her 5 children (She actually drowned all 5, but for some reason they convicted her on only 3), but the conviction was overturned when a doctor testified that a Law and Order episode recently aired that portrayed a drowning children/insanity plot, when in fact no such episode existed.

Yates was suffering from two mental problems that, when combined, caused her to kill her children. One of those mental problems was an extreme case of postpartum depression. The other mental problem was an extreme case of Christianity. The Christianity served as a catalyst for her postpartum depression, and sent Yates into an underwater-breathing-lesson frenzy with all 5 of her children, ages 6 months to 7 years.

According to the Wikipedia article on Andrea Yates, she told her jail shrink in regards to her children:

It was the seventh deadly sin. My children weren't righteous. They stumbled because I was evil. The way I was raising them they could never be saved. They were doomed to perish in the fires of hell.

Doomed to perish in the fires of Hell, huh? Andrea Yates obviously thought that some imaginary afterlife dimension made her children's existence in this reality pointless. Her afterlife belief served as justification for her to methodically drown each of her 5 children.

As a hardcore anti-afterlifist (I know that's a made up term but it sounds funny so I'm keeping it), I cannot help but wonder: Would Andrea Yates have killed any of her children if she were a materialist who was free from the chains of afterlife superstition and Christianity? Probably not, and there are two reasons.

The first reason that Andrea Yates would most likely not have killed her children without afterlife belief is because that even with her postpartum depression, her lack of an afterlife belief would have provided her with no catalyst or justification for the taking of her own children’s' lives. The quote from Wikipedia above explains it all too well. She believed her children were doomed to eternal torment in Hell. As I have argued time and time again, the afterlife takes primacy over this life for pro-afterlifers, and Andrea predictably believed that her children’s' existences in this reality were able to be sacrificed for something more important. Imagine assigning values so incorrectly that you think that your child's best interests don't necessarily involve actually being alive! It's hard to give life on this Earth the number 1 primary slot when you don't think that death is the actual end of one's existence.

The second reason that Andrea Yates would most likely not have killed her children is because that without subscribing to the flavor of Christianity provided by preacher Michael Peter Woroniecki, Andrea Yates would likely not have had 5 children and would not have suffered from postpartum depression to the degree that she did. You see, Andrea Yates suffered from postpartum depression before her 5th child, and Andrea's psychiatrist told her not to have another baby because of the certainty of future postpartum depression issues. But Andrea's preacher had a very pro-procreation (another funny made-up phrase) brand of Christianity, and Andrea, with all her confusion over primacy assignment, took the advice of her preacher rather than her psychiatrist. So baby number 5 comes along and Andrea acts out on her postpartum depression just as her psychiatrist predicted. Whoops!

Andrea Yates was most definitely insane when she drowned her children. She had a faith-based insanity, and she is probably still insane now. She assigned primacy to her faith and her belief in an afterlife, and it caused the deaths of her 5 children, not to mention that her own life is effectively over and her husband's life is a shambles. Personally I think insanity defenses are irrelevant and that she should be punished severely for her actions, regardless of how crazy she was or is. However, I do think it would be a pleasant irony if she won the insanity conviction, got admitted to a mental hospital, and then had her rehabilitation progress measured on how well she managed to shed her afterlife and Christianity superstitions.

Andrea Yates made the wrong choice: superstitious immaterialism. Instead of killing her children, she should have Killed The Afterlife.