Radio Silence

No blogging from me for the rest of the Triduum, but I’ll see you next week. I’ll be filling in for Peter Schiff on Monday and most of next week.

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  • Anonymous

    Triduum! Hey, I learned a new word! Cool!

    But I enjoyed my Maunday Thursday today! I actually KNEW that term (thanks to a misspent youth as an alter boy).

    Could be a Mamas and Papas song…Maunday Thursday, can’t trust that day…

  • bob

  • Jon

    Wasn’t he that guy who supported the Iraq War right?

  • Rob Nabakowski

    Happy Easter to you and the family, Tom.

  • bob

    he did support american intervention and I completely disagreed with him buy this video is not about that.

  • Pastor Ko-Rect

    Even God took a rest every seventh day. In terms of Easter, no one heard from Jesus for three days and then – the Resurrection.

  • Chocolate Lover

    Enjoy Easter. I certainly do. Its a great time for chocolate lovers.

  • Mike

    Why do atheists feel it necessary to spam every religious board with anti-religious stuff?

  • Tom Woods

    Especially with Christopher Hitchens, whose intellectual heft approaches one of Thomas Aquinas’ fingernails.

  • Zebram Zee

    Speaking of radio silence, when is Tom Woods Radio coming on the air? Are we gonna have a vote or something on the logos?

  • George

    Don’t you think you’re being a jerk? There are appropriate times to debate and not to debate.

    Anyways, my guess is that Bob has little idea, in a factual sense, of what the Thomistic arguments for God and Catholicism are. What does Hitchens know about them? Very little, actually. It’s not even hard to show this, if you read some Scholastic philosophy, especially as it relates to natural theology.

    “Nothing New about the “‘New Atheism'” by Tom Woods:

  • Jon

    Way I see it, this video has a lot to do with that as his position on Iraq (and Afghanistan, and, well, his inability to recognize that decades American intervention and not religious extremism is the reason for people overseas hating Westerners. Oh, and his continued support for said American imperialism.) really makes him look like a fool here.

    He complains about the Church committing crimes against humanity, and yet he called for and whole heartedly supported the invasion and occupation of Iraq (up until his death, if I am not mistaken).

    Sure, a lot of Christians supported these things as well, I’m not denying that. However, the fact that he, an atheist, supports American Imperialism seems to call into question his position that Catholicism/religion in general is somehow uniquely responsible for atrocities against mankind.

    Anyway, Happy Easter Tom. Hope you and your family have a wonderful day

  • Mike

    Can’t ever get enough Tom Woods. :)

  • bob

    Im not spamming Im actually a libertarian. Murray Rothbard was an atheist as is Walter BLock. I think its disingenuous of a obviously educated and intelligent man like Dr woods to assume a libertarian viewpoint and fiercely defend it and at the same time affirm that he belives in some kind of supreme being that can read every thought, judge every action and is the sole supreme arbiter of morality. I think it is utterly inconsistent with the libertarian worldview to NOT be an agnostic, atheist or , as Chris Hitchens put it, a NON-theist. To believe in such a creature as a supreme being is basically to willingly make yourself a slave, to posit a sort of celestial North Korean for yourself. If we are free beings that means we are free. There is no god no fate.

  • bob

    The first cause argument
    natural law argument
    argument from design
    moral arguments

    arguments from the remedying of injustice…and others are all lacking.

    Dr. Woods I love your work and books. You certainly do not wear your faith on your sleeve. If you had such an epiphany when you became a libertarian why is it so hard for you and other belivers to accept that humans are free creatures and that we are not watched over by some medievil , stone age sky man with a beard. You love to write and talk about how the population has been indoctrinated to believe that collectivism and government is the answer. Well religion’s chief tool for indoctrination is fear and I put it to you that your continuing belief is the result of indoctrination suffered primarily as child.

    I think its untterly inconsistent and disingenuous for people who are basically libertarian anarchists like yourself to simultaneously profess that they believe that there is an invisible man in the sky watching your every move and judging your every action…and that this being can even punish you after death! Even if you are not an adherent of Catholocism per se, if you affirm belief in some deity you are basically setting up a type of celestial North Korea for yourself in which you and your entire fate and life are at the mercy of this totalitarian celestial dictator. This is the very definition of slavery…and you willingly make yourself a slave. None of the Thomasian arguments have ever really yielded any proof nor do they answer any real fundamental questions.

    How about Bertrand Russel’s works…surely Acquinas and him are on similar footing.
    The psychological qualityof credulity that humans exhibit which allows us to extend our imaginations and believe in deities and other abstractions like “governments” is a psychological quality that is the very ORIGIN of totalitarianism in the human species.
    Too me to watch an otherwise brilliant man like yourself affirm belief in some spooky stone age sky-spirit, is dissappointing. I actually think it actually detracts from alot of the great work that many in the libertarian camp have done. Nurray Rothbard was certainly an atheist as is Dr Block most likley.
    How is it that one can affirm to be a libertarian anarchist and yet still believe that the entire universe is ruled by one totalitarian consciousness who has absolute control? Why doent this cause you cognitive dissonance?

  • bob

    There is little of the true philosophic spirit in Aquinas. He does not, like the
    Platonic Socrates, set out to follow wherever the argument may lead. He is not
    engaged in an inquiry, the result of which it is impossible to know m advance.
    Before he begins to philosophize, he already knows the truth; it is declared in
    the Catholic faith. If he can find apparently rational arguments for some parts
    of the faith, so much the better; if he cannot, he need only fall back on
    revelation. The finding of arguments for a conclusion given I in advance is not
    philosophy, but special pleading

  • Tom Woods

    And Rothbard, whom you cite, was as aghast at your position as I am. He could not believe there were people who thought atheism was a necessary corollary of libertarianism. Libertarianism deals with interpersonal relations. It says human beings should not use violence against each other. It says nothing else. Nothing. It says nothing about aesthetics, manners, religion, or countless other things.

    There is no libertarian “worldview.” A libertarian believes in the nonaggression principle, period. If he happens to think there are good reasons for believing in God, and there indeed are, then he believes it. If all you’ve got is Richard Dawkins, who is an outright embarrassment to philosophy, I’ll gladly stick with Aquinas.

  • George

    Libertarianism is not a comprehensive worldview. Libertarianism is a very narrow political philosophy, as Murray Rothbard argued in his multiple works. And Rothbard was sympathetic to Christianity, despite being agnostic. He wrote positively on Catholicism numerous times. There’s nothing that strictly speaking follows from the non-aggression principle that logically disallows people to believe in an “invisible man in the sky,” a “spooky stone age sky-spirit,” or a “stone age sky man with a beard.” Neither does it disallow people, according to Walter Block, to become voluntary slaves.

    Now of course, someone who actually knows the theories and deductions from natural theology also knows that God is is not conceived as any of those ridiculous straw-men. Not once did the greatest philosophical minds of Christianity think of God, e.g., as a “man with a beard.” Absolutely ridiculous. And absolutely arrogant. Aquinas’ Five Ways, contrary to Bertrand Russell’s suggestion in the quote, rests entirely on rational arguments without any claim to “blind faith.” They have nothing to do with modern day intelligent design. They have nothing to do with God merely creating the world with a “Big Bang” event sometime in the past. (But that doesn’t stop “New Atheists” like Hitchens from misrepresenting these things without even knowing the ideas in fact.) They have nothing to do with the impossibility of an infinite number per se of causes. “God” is not just an attached part of the arguments but follows from necessary properties required. Etc. These arguments are very intellectual and powerful, as Edward Feser shows in his book _Aquinas_ most especially. If one finds them partly wrong or entirely, they are still not stupid. It’s impossible to understand the arguments by reading quick outlined summaries or a small part of the Summa Theologica without understanding the metaphysics beyond them.

  • Rob Nabakowski

    It’s called faith, Bob. This concept is really, really not hard to understand.

  • Augustine

    Have a blessed Easter season.

    Christ is risen!

  • bob

    You see you are proving my point…having “faith” and being a libertarian anarchist are mutually incompatible. You probably think, as do I, that Austrian economics is the “true” economics. Why do you think this? Because of EVIDENCE. Why does Paul Krugman “believe” that central bank money printing can engender prosperity? Does he have evidence? Not to you and me. To you and me Keynesianism is a form of a religion and inflation is their god.

    What are bad reasons for beliveing in anything: how about 1) faith 2) revelation and 3) tradition. What about EVIDENCE. There is no evidence for a deity in the least. Certainly there is no evidence that the Bible was written by some supernatural entity. There is no evidence that Catholocism or Christianity in general is better or more true than Judiaism or any other. So why would you base your entire universal worldview, your personal system of morality on faith and yet you only accept Austrian economics and libertarianism because of historical proof and evidence. The one ( faith) is wholly inconsistent with the other (historical evidence). Having two mutually incompatible ideas in ones mind at the same time often causes normal sane people to have severe cognitive dissonance. But if you’ve been hammered and browbeaten with years of relentless propanganda like “our father who art in heaven” , or ” I pledge allegiance to the flag”…. if you’ve been propagandized to to this extent for so long your mind develops holes in it like Winston Smith in 1984 who eventually came to accept the 2+2=5. And credulous out there simply accept that there is a celestial dictator “on faith” and end the argument for ever. In fact if I deviate from the accepted 3×5 card of approved opinion ( I love that phrase of yours Dr woods) to assert that there is no fate and not god I am almost derided as some kind of souless demon.
    Shouldnt we all be questioning and skeptical about all aspects of our lives including the big picture?

  • bob

    Thanks for your answer. This is so much fun… Once again I’d like to say I have such tremendous respect for your work and your mind. I love when you host the Schiff show. I also subscribe to your classroom. There is a problem with the metaphysics here though. A non agression principle IS a worldview. By saying that we as libertarians “believe” in non-agression ( a view I fully agree with by the way) …by saying this you have NOT explained WHY it is necessarily wrong to agress on your neighbor. Well then you say people have rights and these rights come from where? A creator? And thus its morally wrong to initiate violence against the innocent. But where did this creator get the system of morality? Is it wrong to initiate violence because its WRONG or is it only wrong b/c god says its wrong. Well this is an old argument but if its only god deciding issues of morality then there cant be any morality at all b/c god has completely capricious and arbitrary control over morality. So to say its wrong to intiate violence against another innocent person is wrong and base this on a belief in some god given quality of man…well this is completely unjustifiable and unsupportable.

    And by the way isnt a shred of evidence that there is a creator. Even a man like yourself who knows the argument from first cause must realize that if you say god created the universe you must ask what created god and you havent answered anything.

    Richard dawkins however has done more than almost anyone in the world to advance the theory of evolution and explain that non-agression or cooperative behavior ( animals nurturing young or sharing resources) actually confers an advantage in survival. Cooperation actually makes us more fit and helps our survival. In fact if you actually read Dawkins you might understand that non-agression is built into our genes. Living things cooperate in many ways. Humans and other animals actually have an advantage in survival by NOT agressing against others like them. Hunter gatherer humans nutured their young and built communities, produced art and traded with one another long before gentle jesus meek and mild came onto the scene. What did happen in these primitive societies that did create violence was the developement of religion and the co-opting of religion and state power like in ancient Egypt and the Incan and Mayan civilisations. This unholy union produced all manner of horrific crime like human sacrifice in the case of the Mayans. My personal favorite, as a recovering jew, is the absolutely horrific story of Abraham in which a psychotic old man hears voices in his head telling him to kill his own son. Dr. Woods what sadistic, evil, monstrous creature would test your loyality by challenging you to kill your own daughter? And what would it say about your character if you were actually going to go through with it? And Abraham is considered a foundational story!

    When we attack liberals and progressives isnt it interesting to note that they respond with anger and derision toward libertarians. They engage in all manner of name calling. This is because when we tell a liberal he’s wrong about medicare being a good thing we are attacking this liberals moral identity. This liberal person has based his “worldview” , his moral system on a belief that government is good.

    I’ve noticed that whenever I bring these subjects up with libertarians who also happen to be believers they also react with scorn an derision. Dawkins has never asserted that he’s a philosopher. Dawkins has done as much as anyone to advance the understand of evolution which is as valid a theory as is that of gravity. Hitchens has gone to great length to point out the hypocrisy and corruption of organised religions. Yet you react with scorn towards these people. Do you really think they are intellectually inferior or do you just get mad b/c they are attacking your moral identity?

    So a libertarian anarchist who happens also to be catholic asserts that he believes in the non-agression prinicple and bases his morality on the revealed “truth” that all men are CREATED by a deity in the deitie’s image so all men somehow have rights. And yet this deity is directly responsible for ethnic cleansing ( the Amalakites), the violent mutilation of the foreskins of babies, the murder of countless firstborn innocent Egyptian sons. Should I continue: war, kidnapping, and finally and best of all : a human sacrifice of who ? his own son? By nailing him to a cross no less. And didnt Jesus believe in eternal punishment ( so I’d throw in torture of the dead to boot)

    So when you say there are or is good reasons for believing in god. Well a “reason” implies logic and evidence doesnt it. And a deity that has demonstrated capricious and reckless disregard for human life not to mention that there is no evidence at all that any human has ever produced seems to me a good reason for rejecting the whole notion.

    This is pure sado-masochism. The only way a human being could be made to accept such idiocy through indoctrination and brainwashing of the impressionable human mammal brain with fear of death and the unknown and guilt and sexual humilation and shame… and on and on and on until you have broken this up-til-then free evolved biological life just like poor Winston Smith in 1984.

    Some people like yourself are lucky and incredibly smart and have had the good fortune to be born into a society which, through the efforts of generations of skeptics and freethinkers, has managed to break free from this stone age superstituousness. It still lingers though and is coopted by con-men, demogogues and maladjusted elderly virgins ( the cardinals) to scare and control people. Just like politicians and governments.

    Isnt this fun. I know you have a family and a life and I certainly do as well. I fully respect and appreciate what you believe and why.

    I still think however that if we are really free human beings and can make choices to initiate violence or not initiate violence against the innocent we cannot base the “goodness” or “badness” of our actions by appeals to the supernatural…its just a case of special pleading… a fallacy.

    I would put to you that your belief hinders you in your attempt to be a fully realized free human. You are less effective, less alive. You see sir because there is no fate, no god. This life is really all we have. Noone is judging you or watching you. You are completely in control of your life and your actions. The paradise, the heaven…is right here in front of us. Instead of counting the diamonds on the popes shoelaces we could be making this reality better.

    …for liberty

  • George

    Three quick notes, Bob, and that’s it. It might be useful to share (for someone else to read, at least): (1) Your point was not proved. Your definition of Christian “faith” is another straw-man. It’s incorrect. The traditional definition is not detached from a basis in evidence or reason. (2) You’re intellectually dishonest, ignore or very ignorant of the fact that evidence, whatever one thinks of their degrees of validity, has been provided by a multitude of scholars. You couldn’t honestly tell us, e.g., what Aquinas thought on the intelligible relation morality has to teleology or final causality and God without at the same time being based on arbitrary dictates and therefore having nothing to do with “divine command theory” (contrary to your comments at this blog). Put differently, the existence of God doesn’t make morality dependent on subjective whims. Natural law can be discovered by using reason alone, according to the Scholastic tradition. Aquinas, in addition, doesn’t just say there is a God or Catholicism is correct because “I have faith because I have faith and there is no reason or evidence but I have faith.” How much more intellectually dishonest or ignorant or both can you be? (3) Of course, libertarianism is a worldview. The actual point, however, is that it is not comprehensive to such an extent as to say anything about the truth or falsehood of religion and its particular worldview. Because libertarianism has a worldview it clearly doesn’t follow that it can judge everything. The libertarian non-aggression principle, in any case, doesn’t claim someone can only think X if it is based on a certain kind of evidence. The premises of libertarianism cannot infer such a thing. Besides, and I suppose this is news to you, evidence and reason is used by intelligent Christians.

  • bob

    Sir this is very interesting for me. I am criticising a core belief of yours in what I think is a careful and polite respectful way and I am being called ignorant and intellectually dishonest. You seem like an obviously very intelligent and informed individual so lets look at it..and Im sorry but there is not one shred of evidence for the existence of a supreme intelligence. Point me to one!

    As far as T Aquinas goes:

    we’ve got the “quinque viae” which I realize were just an outline but they are helpful to think about. I particularly like #5 the teleological argument ( see below)
    1) Motion: Some things undoubtedly move, though cannot cause their own motion. Since, as Thomas believed, there can be no infinite chain of causes of motion, there must be a First Mover not moved by anything else, and this is what everyone understands by God.

    2) Causation: As in the case of motion, nothing can cause itself, and an infinite chain of causation is impossible, so there must be a First Cause, called God.

    3) Existence of necessary and the unnecessary: Our experience includes things certainly existing but apparently unnecessary. Not everything can be unnecessary, for then once there was nothing and there would still be nothing. Therefore, we are compelled to suppose something that exists necessarily, having this necessity only from itself; in fact itself the cause for other things to exist.

    4) Gradation: If we can notice a gradation in things in the sense that some things are more hot, good, etc., there must be a superlative which is the truest and noblest thing, and so most fully existing. This then, we call God –>note Thomas does not ascribe actual qualities to God Himself!

    5) Ordered tendencies of nature: A direction of actions to an end is noticed in all bodies following natural laws. Anything without awareness tends to a goal under the guidance of one who is aware. This we call God –> Note that even when we guide objects, in Thomas’ view the source of all our knowledge comes from God as well.


    Acquinas starts with so called natural theology or empirical observation and from empirical evidence deduces that there is a non-empirical entity at work or present. The conclusion does not follow from the premise.

    Whats wrong with these well…

    The first three arguments are essentially cosmological arguments that rely on infinite regress to which god is unjustifiably immune.

    #3 is particularly silly b/c one cannot prove that something exists based on the possibility that it exists

    The 4th or the argument from degree: We notice that things in the world differ. There are degrees of, say, goodness or perfection. But we judge these degrees only by a comparison with a maximum. Humans can be both good and bad, so the maximum goodness cannot rest in us. Therefore there must be some other maximum to set the standard for perfection, and we call that maximum God.

    Thats an argument?

    You might as well say, people vary in smelliness but we can make the comparison only by reference to a perfect maximum of conceivable smelliness. Therefore there must exist a pre-eminently peerless stinker, and we call him god. Or substitute any dimension of comparison you like, and derive an equivalently fatuous conclusion.

    Finally the 5th: claims the necessity for a designer considering that biological life has complexity and the natural world has behavior which appears designed and guided by intelligence.

    But evolution via natural selection explains this without appeals to the non-empirical


    so look I realize that Aquinas intended the 5 ways to be an introduction directed toward beginners and cannot be fully understood unless read in the context and understanding of Aristotles Metaphysics but seriously as an intro the 5 steps stink…they are entirely unconvincing, circular, unsupportable, illogical etc.

    If Aquinas had proved the god didnt exist he probably would have been burned at the stake anyway.

    And Im sure no matter what criticism I level at Catholicism or christianity… no matter what supposed “straw man” argument I pull out I will be accused of not really understanding as if ANYONE really has any understanding of god. Do you really have any more understanding of something non-empirical than any other human being? Arent x-tians supposed to be humble and yet some of them claim to know the mind and intentions of supreme being who rules the universe. A more arrogant claim could not be made.

    Im sure there are alot of intelligent christians but their intelligent in spite of their christianity not because of it.

    And finally the Euthyphro dilemma: if god exists and set up the natural law. Humans are created and developed a certain way. We have a nature. So once this is done god cannot just arbitrarily change the rules on us. God could have created us differently.. But the burden is upon you to show why god created us the way he did. What grounded this decision? And you can never answer this question. All the defenses of this are circular and resort to special pleading fallacies ( like well b/c god is good)

    Before the Isralites recieved the ten commandments did they think that murder and rape and incest and theft was somehow OK and then only after revelation and a convenant with god were they induced to behave better? No thats preposterous. The israelites understood theft was wrong b/c their evolved mammal brains appreciated that it was in their best interests not to steal from one another…
    anyway I appreciate the opportunity to discuss this with you. I have no faith whatsoever in a deity. I certainly respect your right to believe in non-provable likley imaginary things ( its not a proof to say well b/c I can imagine it its likley to be true) I think that the feature of human psychology that allows us to believe in these types of diembodied forces of intelligence is the same quality that compels people to place “faith” in governments and politicians and vague notions of collectivized utopian societies.
    Credulity is the origin of the totalitarian impulse in humanity. It might have served a purpose for hunter gatherers trying to understand why lightening struck or what it really meant when people died and they stopped acting and moving yet their bodies were still there. Religion is a vestigial structure of society left over from our infancy as a species and its time we tried to grow up and realize theres no fate there’s noone watching or judging us theres no god