Atheism is still NOT a “lack of belief”: A polemical WilliamLaneCraigdum (addendum)

I’ve already written a refutation of the “atheism is a mere lack of belief” ploy abused by the New Atheists and their acolytes. However, I’ve conceived of another way to demonstrate and thereby lay bare this intellectually disingenuous tactic. And it’s going to mine deeper levels of irritation and gnashing of teeth by those married to deploying such rhetorical subterfuge. How so?

I’m about to invoke the Devil…

…at least the Devil for New Atheists: THE WILLIAM LANE CRAIG.

Yes, the mild-mannered philosopher, Christian apologist, debater and research professor at Biola University — who takes douchebaggery to whole new plane of existence, as he evidently doesn’t abide by the bro maxim of “sun’s out, guns out” — is such a Beelzebub-type archdemon in the collective conscious of online New Atheists. Their fermenting distaste for Craig and his arguments, in many respects, resembles a quasi-religious fervor and aversion that many hosts of the “deluded faithful” reserve for the malicious supernatural figure or forces that occupy some prominent adversarial role in their respective theologies.

Well, take heed of his baby, THE SPAWN OF CRAIG, his presentation of The Damien–I mean Kalam cosmological argument:

  1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause
  2. The universe began to exist
  3. Therefore, the universe has a cause

It’s simple, almost demure, making it both great for popular apologetics and easy to scoff at.

Now, for another plot twist, I have no interest in defending Kalam here. Nor am I about to make a case for the aforementioned cause as being what the theist affirms as God, like Craig eventually does. My prevailing intention is to dissuade you, good atheist, from ever adopting or resorting again to the “lack of belief” meme, which is typically used as follows:

  1. Atheism is merely a “lack of belief”
  2. One can’t argue for or prove a negative or a “lack of belief”
  3. Therefore, atheism does not require justification;
    is the default position in the debate;
    doesn’t have to provide any account for other phenomena like morality;
    isn’t a comprehensive worldview or ideology like that of religion;
    the burden of proof is solely for the theist; etc.

Well, I exclaim this will do you no good, atheist, especially if you’re one of those types who is so passionate about secularism, humanism and fending off oppressive religious dogma from infiltrating education, government and infringing on the non-religious’ liberties that you feel compelled to provide regular diatribes denouncing Christianity and its followers’ beliefs and actions as threats and functions of pernicious superstition. Conversely, I wholeheartedly concede and acknowledge there are atheists, who aren’t this noisy and just don’t believe in God, not giving the matter much thought in their daily affairs. So, my thesis here is not referring to these uncritical atheists, nor am I arguing about what makes one an atheist. I’m instead referencing the self-proclaimed “anti-theists,” often New Atheists, who are at least critical in voice if not critical in mind, as I’m about to show, and their definition of atheism as a mere “lack of belief.”

See, in addition to their tirades against religion and insistence that atheism is a “mere lack of belief,” I guarantee these atheists can be and have been observed doing a particular behavior when stimulated by an argument for God’s existence. They vehemently deny one or more of the premisses, especially if the argument is structurally valid. Or in the case of Craig’s Kalam, for example, they reject as false either of the syllogism’s premisses: 1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause and 2) The universe began to exist. Hence, they are committed to some if not all of the following negations of the claims advanced in Kalam’s premisses:

  1. Everything that begins to exist doesn’t have a cause, i.e., some thing begins to exist without a cause
  2. The universe did not begin to exist, i.e., the universe has always existed
  3. The universe does not exist

Undoubtedly, these atheists would disregard 3, as so deduced here, making it of no further consequence. Nevertheless, they are stuck with 1, 2  or the combination of the two; and as such, their atheism no longer merely consists of a lack of belief in God. In addition to their alleged absence of belief, they at least uphold one positive belief in order to diffuse Kalam and its theistic conclusion. By the very act of arguing, they do show their noggin is indeed empty but certainly not in the sense they purport it to be. Simply, they doth protest too much.

Nor is this problem exclusive to Kalam. Sure, you might be an atheist invested in showing the folly of religious belief via your YouTube channel where you “refute” all the arguments for God’s existence in videos, yet your repudiation of any of those efforts’ premisses entails your subscription to some positive epistemic and or metaphysical proposition to maintain your atheism. As one of my philosophy professors, an open atheist, said once during lecture — and I’m paraphrasing: “For every solution to a philosophical problem, there is a cost.” Let’s explore said cost.

Again, referencing Kalam, to subvert the proof is to profess that some thing begins to exist without a cause and or the universe has always existed. Assuredly, there are atheists who do assert that something can begin to exist without a cause, citing that matter cannot be destroyed and utterly rejecting Aristotelian forms. I imagine even more believe the universe is eternal. Personally, the latter undermines causality, which, in turn, makes their precious science worthless, as the discipline utterly relies on matter interacting with other matter and causing new material states of affairs to appear that are empirically accessible. They would have to formulate some other causal principle that makes scientific investigation possible while remaining sterile for logical armament in cosmological arguments — not a trivial challenge, to be sure. Moreover, in regard to the former, it’s also difficult to justify the necessity of the universe and the existence of a quantitative infinite, which an eternal universe would be. Additionally, notions of causality, necessity and quantitative infinity are all metaphysical issues, thereby, demonstrating that metaphysics is not just theistic bullshit disguising mysticism but is inevitable for anyone treading in these waters.

Anyway, it’s not so much whether these naturalistic metaphysical theses can be stomached, but rather they are the sort of pills that must be swallowed. Admittedly, for the New Atheist, none of it is appetizing. If you actively reject the premisses in the arguments for God’s existence, then atheism is not a mere “lack of belief.” Otherwise, you don’t really believe the reasons as to why you find the cosmological, moral and ontological proofs flawed, essentially lying, which is dishonest. Or you can be true to character, dismissing my argumentation and stubbornly retaining that you can rebuff the premisses in the arguments for God’s existence and simultaneously affirm atheism as a mere “lack of belief,” which is dishonest. Ignorance no longer has any utility as an excuse. The only option is to forfeit the notion that atheism is a mere “lack of belief” in God.

It frankly is by no means an expensive concession to make. It has no bearing on whether or not atheism is any less true or false. The God-question is very much up for grabs. All it does is reset the game board and ensure that the deck is not stacked heavily in the atheist’s favor. What I have argued for is so modest of a proposal that it ought not have been a point of contention — simply fighting for a fair debate.

Undoubtedly, in doing so, however, I will have incensed many of the incorrigible New Atheists out there. They take their lack of beli–I mean positive belief in the purely natural and physical world very seriously. Old habits die very hard indeed. In fact, I would say their devotion can be characterized as spiritual in nature. Not only have I, the deluded Christian theist afflicted by “mind-viruses,” described their dislike for Craig as being so zealous, which is repulsive to them, I have struck at the veritable heart of their anti-theistic enterprise.

In their polemical sorties against religion, New Atheists love to attack from both the moral and cognitive high ground. They pride themselves on their understanding and application of reason and science, their open-mindedness and how tolerant they are. Well, I have stung their pride and impugned their self-indulgent romanticism. At least in this case, it’s been strongly implied but now will be explicitly stated that they are anything but superior, instead being dogmatic, dishonest, intellectually facile. Their self-ascribed righteousness is a resolute parody worthy of contempt.

Their abuse of philosophy to buttress their ideology is abominable. They have no respect for it and it’s purposeful quest for the truth. Instead of honest inquiry, they wield philosophy as a blunt instrument, denying causality to defend their hollow “lack of belief,” for example, all the the while negligent to the absence of their own foresight to determine that such a denial leads into utter Humean skepticism. It’s true that everyone who enters the struggle between theism and atheism is at once a neophyte. But, at some point, it behooves that person, regardless if they align philosophically with ranks transcendental or physical, to mature and be mindful of not only what they belief but how they believe it.

With their persistence in the “lack of belief” meme and other gauche conduct in discourse, I cannot perceive any such humble introspection from the New Atheists and other anti-theists: The Dawkinses, the Graylings, the Dennetts, the Barkers and the Thunderf00t’s of the world. Despicable, the lot of them and what amounts to their anti-philosophy. Of course, there are thoughtful and erudite atheists I admire, but the New Atheists and their disciples are not among them when it comes to philosophy of religion. Oh, I know I’m not making any friends here. Yet, one must first be a friend of Truth first before one can have a productive and amicable discussion with someone whom one diametrically disagrees with. If we are to personify Truth, then she is a fair maiden to be courted.

The New Atheists are unsavory, rapacious and ungentle in pursuit of her,

Modus Pownens

Bill Vallicella on why naturalism and Nietszche Kant be good for “social justice”

Inspired not only by relatively recent online exchanges, this entry is prompted also by two independent posts by Siriusbizinus at Amusing Nonsense and the MaverickPhilosopher himself, Bill Vallicella. Sirius bats around the question whether it’s better to be a good person or a good Christian. Taking motivation from a piece from The Guardian, Vallicella argues, via Nietzsche and Kant, that goodness is not at least a bit difficult for the critical atheist to grasp. I can’t help but notice there’s a connection worth drawing.

Given his atheism, Sirius concludes that being a good person is better than being a good Christian; i.e., the two aren’t mutually inclusive as he once believed when he was a Christian. My solution to the dilemma is to recognize it as false: For the Christian, there is no such thing as a good person — or meaningfully, a good Christian either — but just a sinful, fallen creature who either can strive to accept or reject Christ.

Now this isn’t to rain on Sirius’ parade. I understand his blog is cathartic for him, as he documents his deconversion, and I don’t intend to be mean-spirited. My post here isn’t so much a confrontational rebuttal to his introspection here, which also criticizes the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac (I’ve addressed something similar here). It’s more about raising the question that logically follows for atheists, in general. As Nietzsche famously noted and then tried to address: “God is dead” but now what?

Likewise, if it’s better to a be a good person, then what does that exactly mean for the atheist? What is goodness? Before one can be moral person or have a system of ethics that directs one toward right action, one must have an account of what it means to be good or moral. In this regard, atheism and naturalism — which many, though not all, atheists are committed to — has its work cut out for itself.

Bear with me as Vallicella makes the case:

I myself do not see how naturalism is up to the task of providing an objective foundation for even a minimal code of morality…

…No God, no objective morality binding for all.  Suppose that is the case.  Then how will the new atheist, who is also a liberal, uphold and ground his ‘enlightened’ liberal morality?…

…Consider equality.  As a matter of empirical fact, we are not equal, not physically, mentally, morally, spiritually, socially, politically, economically.  By no empirical measure are people equal.  We are naturally unequal.  And yet we are supposedly equal as persons.  This equality as persons we take as requiring equality of treatment.  Kant, for example, insists that every human being, and indeed very rational being human or not, exists as an end in himself and therefore must never be treated as a means to an end.  A person is not a thing in nature to be used as we see fit.  For this reason, slavery is a grave moral evil.  A person is a rational being and must be accorded respect just in virtue of being a person.  And this regardless of inevitable empirical differences among persons…

…Kant (also) distinguishes between price and dignity. (435)  “Whatever has a price can be replaced by something else as its equivalent; on the other hand, whatever is above all price, and therefore admits of no equivalent, has dignity.”  Dignity is intrinsic moral worth.  Each rational being, each person, is thus irreplaceably and intrinsically valuable with a value that is both infinite — in that no price can be placed upon it — and the same for all…

…These are beautiful and lofty thoughts, no doubt, and most of us in the West (and not just in the West) accept them in some more or less confused form.  But what do these pieties have to do with reality?  Especially if reality is exhausted by space-time-matter?

Again, we are not equal by any empirical measure.  We are not equal as animals or even as rational animals. (Rationality might just be an evolutionary adaptation.)  We are supposedly equal as persons, as subjects of experience, as free agents.  But what could a person be if not just a living human animal (or a living ‘Martian’ animal).  And given how bloody many of these human animals there are, why should they be regarded as infinitely precious?  Are they not just highly complex physical systems?  Surely you won’t say that complexity confers value, let alone infinite value.  Why should the more complex be more valuable than the less complex?  And surely you are not a species-chauvinist who believes that h. sapiens is the crown of ‘creation’ because we happen to be these critters.

If we are unequal as animals and equal as persons, then a person is not an animal.  What then is a person?  And what makes them equal in dignity and equal in rights and infinite in worth?

Now theism can answer these questions.   We are persons and not mere animals because we are created in the image and likeness of the Supreme Person.  We are equal as persons because we are, to put it metaphorically, sons and daughters of one and the same Father.  Since the Source we depend on for our being, intelligibility, and value is one and the same, we are equal as derivatives of that Source.  We are infinite in worth because we have a higher destiny, a higher vocation, which extends beyond our animal existence: we are created to participate eternally in the Divine Life.

But if you reject theism, how will you uphold the Kantian values adumbrated above?  If there is no God and no soul and no eternal destiny, what reasons, other than merely prudential ones, could I have for not enslaving you should I desire to do so and have the power to do so?

If you deny the transcendental, good luck affirming other things that aren’t readily empirical like value and dignity as persons — Kantian accounts or otherwise — that many people readily recognize and argue for in moral terms as humanists and secularists. Now, Vallicella delivers the Nietzschean knockout blow:

No God, then no justification for your liberal values!…Make a clean sweep! Just as religion is for the weak who won’t face reality, so is liberalism.  The world belongs to the strong, to those who have the power to impose their will upon it.  The world belongs to those hard as diamonds, not to those soft as coal and weak and womanish. Nietzsche:

Here one must think profoundly to the very basis and resist all sentimental weakness: life itself is essentially appropriation, injury, conquest of the strange and weak, suppression, severity, obtrusion of peculiar forms, incorporation, and at the least, putting it mildest, exploitation – but why should one for ever use precisely these words on which for ages a disparaging purpose has been stamped?

Beyond Good and Evil, Chapter 9, What is Noble?, Friedrich Nietzsche    Go to Quote

What Vallicella is basically getting at is one of the glaring contradictions and challenges for any atheist who thoroughly considers the implications of his or her unbelief. It’s just fascinating how he walks the problem through Nietzsche and Kant; I was made aware of it via G.E. Moore’s “open question” arguments and subsequent atheists who bit the bullet and developed non-cognitive and nihilistic meta-ethical theories. In short, like God, they maintained right and wrong as incomprehensible and or illusory. Following from this claim, why should should we take ethics seriously at all, let alone questions of “social justice” like “diversity,” “income inequality” and “marriage equality.” In a world beyond good and evil, the will of Nietzsche starts to look more and more plausible and unavoidable; God’s command to Abraham to sacrifice Isaac looks more and more inconsequential; and striving to become what we typically consider as a “good person,” impossible.

Hail the ubermensch!

Modus Pownens

P.S. I mean Vallicella, not Nietzsche.

Atheism is NOT a “lack of belief”

One of the tactics new atheists (i.e., those who think drink the infantile swill of Richard Dawkins, the late Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Dan Barker, Bill Maher or Jerry Coyne as if it’s the Kool-Aid of Jim Jones) employ that just aggravates me more than the Seahawks not giving the ball to Marshawn Lynch at the goal line in the Superbowl is defining atheism as a “mere lack of belief in God.” Frankly, it’s intellectually lazy, intellectually dishonest and utterly unacceptable.

Isn’t this assessment a little uncouth and uncivil, Modus Pownens? Well, those who claim to have the market cornered on reason and wax on about how they sit at the intellectual big kids table in contrast to us delusional, superstitious faith-based types should behave as exemplary masters of incisive and profound erudition. If you talk big game and belittle, you better bring it. If you’re a superior thinker, conduct yourself accordingly. And those who repeatedly lord their alleged cerebral advantage over others yet continually produce hollow rhetoric deserve to be exposed similarly like the ancient sophists were appropriately trivialized by Socrates. In the words of Bill Vallicella: “Civility is for the civil.”

Now that that’s out of my system, I don’t think of myself as Socrates. I’m no more intelligent than the average person, and I’m always still learning and refining my views and argumentation. However, it’s no braggadocio for me to claim that I’m more initiated in “the love of wisdom” than the typical online, armchair philosopher of religion. I’m far from an expert, but my prowess in the subject likely extends beyond my undergraduate minor, as I’ve taken non required upper level courses in ethics and metaphysics and continue to keep my skills sharp by reading the writings of professional philosophers when I can. I present all this modestly, yet accurately, as I’m about to put this irksome meme — because that’s what it really is — into the ground.

Let’s start with the commonly articulated reasoning to this claim of “lack of belief” — if any is given at all — which is based in etymology. Basically, it’s the prefix “a” refers to a lack thereof, and “theism” means belief in God, ipso facto, atheism is a “lack of belief” in God with no positive beliefs of its own. Apart from the latter part of the conclusion being patently false as atheists appeal to positive claims about reality when they argue for atheism against theism, the breakdown of the word is equally egregious.

Theism also isn’t strictly confined to meaning a belief in God, as the suffix “ism” has other connotations. As per Wikipedia, “Ism is a derived word used in philosophy, politics, religion or other areas pertaining to an ideology.” By their nature, ideologies or philosophical positions are not devoid of beliefs. But more importantly, theism, loosely speaking, can and has been accurately defined to remove belief from its articulation to the philosophical position that God exists. If atheism is derived from how theism is defined as the New Atheists seem to do, then why can’t atheism, loosely speaking, be expressed as the antithetical philosophical position that God does not exist?

Moreover, the more we scrutinize here, the New Atheists’ semantic game appears more and more questionable. Even if we define theism in the terms of a belief in God, beliefs are often held by philosophers to be propositions, meaning they express statements that are either true or false. As atheism is held in direct opposition to theism, yet if it is a “lack of belief,” then it can’t be either true or false. But this can’t be right, as it doesn’t square with the behavior of atheists, who maintain both the claim that God does not exist  — and by extension, atheism —  is true and conversely the claim God does exist — and again by extension, theism — is false. Simply, “lack of belief” is a psychological state or a property. A property is not the sort of thing that can be true or false. Atheism clearly is considered to be either true or false. It’s not a property like having blueness or sadness, and anyone who argues otherwise clearly brings into doubt as whether or not they should be taken seriously.

What’s also worth talking about is the host of ideologies and positions that feature the suffix “ism.” Why are these never defined as an “absence of belief” in something? Conservatism isn’t considered the “absence of belief” in liberalism and vice versa. Likewise, communism isn’t deemed a “lack of belief” in capitalism, and we can go on indefinitely. What about atheism makes it different than every other “ism” out there? Even in the case of positions that make statements about what or what not exists, the position defending the negative claim is never defined as a “lack of belief.” In philosophy, nominalism is the view universals don’t exist, but it is never posited as being a “lack of belief” in universals. It seems to me, the new atheists reek of special pleading.

Then there’s philosophy of religion and philosophers of religion. Shouldn’t the very discipline and its experts, the people whose livelihoods are based on their ability to think critically and be rational, likely know what’s best? Here’s some quotes:

Atheism is the view that there is no God.

Matt McCormick

‘Atheism’ means the negation of theism, the denial of the existence of God.

J.J.C. Smart

An atheist, like a Christian, holds that we can know whether or not there is a God. The Christian holds that we can know there is a God; the atheist, that we can know there is not.

Bertand Russell, the father of analytic philosophy

I anticipate there will be those who will bring up strong/weak varieties atheism. Oh, I’m well aware, but I find the strong and weak forms of atheism as problematic to establish a presumption of atheism not only for the above reasons, but it also obfuscates perfectly good terms like atheist and agnostic, puts an unreasonable burden of proof on the theist and distracts what’s at issue, i.e., whether or not God exists.

I suppose I always can redefine theism as the lack of belief in metaphysical naturalism and see how the atheist likes it.

That’s only fair, right?

Modus Pownens

“What Rise of Atheism?”

Happy summer all!

It’s been awhile, but this post demonstrates I’m not dead.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to post more content as this summer I should have some free time.

Now down to business.

If you frequent the blogosphere for the debate between theism and atheism, a common sentiment often echoed by the New Atheists and their acolytes is the rise of atheism within the Western world, especially recently in the United States.  They herald an imminent Age of Reason that will trump and supplant the Age of Religious Superstition and Dogma.  A few years back, you guys assembled en masse in Washington as a manifestation of this apparent truism.  It was quite a pow wow.  Or was it?

I stumbled upon a YouTube video series within which user UNFFwildcard claims the contrary.  He raises some interesting statistical, demographic and historical arguments I think are worthy of cognitive pause.  The effort he puts forth is well beyond the norm for YouTube.  So please, if you have the time, review his work.

Now, I would like to invite any atheists who watched these videos to vote and comment whether or not you think UNFFwildcard’s points have merit.  In other words, do atheists, especially the ones of the Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and late Christopher Hitchens stripe, need to spend more type addressing these mentioned problems to fortify their own ranks instead of proclaiming atheism’s inexorable triumph?

Thank you for taking the time to satisfy my curiosity,

Modus Pownens

The Other Presumption of Atheism

Yep, I’m not writing about what is typically identified as the Presumption of Atheism—the hotly disputed assumption that atheism, not theism, is the default position in this whole debate.  That’s a whole other can of worms to be opened at a later time.  Rather, this provocatively titled post is about another and all too common oversight to which many atheists seem vulnerable, and I would contend it’s the atheists of this time’s greatest weakness and ultimate undoing.

Inspiration for this post came from my ethics professor, who openly admitted he was an atheist.  Today he explained that he came from a long line of Baptist preachers and how they left him the impression that they thought most people were going to end up boiling in a lake of fire.  My professor said this belief contributed to his eventual apostasy.  He went on further to make the disparaging comment that if Christians really believed the vast majority of people would be broiling with the fishes for eternity, that they would be out in Speaker Circle like Brother Jed and Sister Cindy yelling at and accusing students.

A little background information on Brother Jed and Sister Cindy: They’re a married couple of Christian fundamentalists who frequently stand in Speaker Circle and engage in combative evangelism.  Speaker Circle is small amphitheater on campus where the speaker has the right to proclaim whatever he or she wants to students sitting down to listen and those on their way to class.

Brother Jed "evangelizing" among students at Speaker Circle.

Now, I don’t agree with Brother Jed’s methods.  I feel they cause more harm than good.  Plus, he has uttered claims that are both non-biblical and blasphemous.  Apparently, he hasn’t sinned in years, and he has the right to judge others despite the Bible reading, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” ~ 1 John 1:8 or “‘If any of you is without sin, let him be the first to cast the first stone at her.'” ~ John 8:7.

Brother Jed and fundamentalists like him seem to lack significant knowledge of Christian theology and teachings.  Everyone still sins, even Christians.  Judgement is God’s alone.  The Bible is explicitly clear on those points.  So often these fundamentalists have their heads so far stuck in the ass of the Old Testament they fail to recognize the New Testament and superseding covenant established within it.  They don’t take in Christianity comprehensively and neither do many atheists.

Both groups, who are spectrally opposite to each other, make the same error.  Both are so frequently unaware and unappreciative of all the thought and scholarly effort behind the religion.  In the case of my professor, he was raised on a diet of dogmatism and porous theology that of course a lake of perpetually burning fire seemed absurd.  However, I’m aghast at how anyone who objectively opens and reads Revelations where said lake is described can come to the conclusion that it’s a physical place.  There is nowhere in the Bible that provides a sound basis for Hell to be an actual tangible region with its own geography much like the afterlife in Greek mythology.  It’s not like the River Styx empties into the mythical Lake of Fire in Revelations.  The actual book is permeated with metaphors and allegories.  Hence, for my professor to so egregiously mischaracterize the Christian concept of Hell must mean he is ignorant of Christian doctrine.

And finally I get to it, the other presumption of atheism.  That once they think atheism must be true and theism is patent nonsense, they underestimate the latter.  They straw man and bastardize Christian theism.  They make woefully fallacious arguments against what they erroneously deem such a indefensible position.  So, yes, my professor is correct in thinking Christians believe Hell will be awful forever for a vast number of individuals, but is incorrect in thinking that this implies we must all “preach” like Brother Jed if we genuinely hold to that.  He again is an ignoramus to evangelization.  That, many Christians believe the Holy Spirit plays the pivotal role in conversion and we are mere pawns in a cosmic chess game for souls.  Or that there are different ways to evangelize.  Or maybe some Christians just realize there are more effective methods for persuading people than shouting and casting judgement on your intended audience.

It’s evident to me my professor, who specializes in ethics, isn’t remotely intimate with the current happenings of philosophy of religion or Christian theism.  Once he became entrenched in his atheism, he didn’t bother to understand or study the opposing position before he criticizes it.  He assumed it to be weak, lackluster and defeated by David Hume and Bertrand Russell long ago.  He undervalued the arguments made by the brilliant theists of the past and present.  He presumed Christian theism is not an intellectual force to be reckoned with.

He presumed too much.

“Know thy enemy,”

Modus Pownens