Monday, December 08, 2008

Everyone wants me to read and write stuff.....

Sheesh, my sister just sent me this article. It's quite the intellectually toxic mix of a journalist writing about the Bible and marriage. Apparently they are passing most of their opinions off as an accurate understanding of the Bible as the expert on religion at Newsweek.

They begin by noting polygamy:
Let's try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does. Shall we look to Abraham, the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his beloved wife Sarah was infertile?
They may as well cite King David's adultery as an instance of the Bible condoning adultery. For those who do not know, according to the Bible we are still living with the fall out of Abraham's lack of faith and it may turn out to be literal nuclear fall out some day if some of the sons of Ishmael have their way.

Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel—all these fathers and heroes were polygamists.
The Bible notes that most of them had problems for just that reason. For example it notes that Solomon had many wives and was led to paganism, the occult and "Did evil in the eyes of the Lord." as a result. It is interesting to note that if the Bible was inspired totally by the minds of men then it is likely that the mentality read in it would read just like a lot of cults read. Something along the lines of: "One of the rules is that men get to have sex with as many women as they like, preferably virgins." One would think that the fact that it doesn't read that way might cause these journalists to pause and think but then, they are journalists.

Moving on:
Would any contemporary heterosexual married couple—who likely woke up on their wedding day harboring some optimistic and newfangled ideas about gender equality and romantic love—turn to the Bible as a how-to script?
Many married couples have done just that and our culture is shaped by it. One of the main metaphors for understanding the Christ and therefore understanding Christianity is that of the bride and bridegroom. And if men do follow the biblical model and lay down their own interests, desires and even their lives for the sake of their wives it does not generate a terrible or oppressive civilization as these journalists seem to believe. Their modern notions of romantic love only arose after the biblical model came to prominence. A man and woman are naturally complementary and people often sense that this comes about by design but romantic love did not typify the pagan world. Much of what we call romantic love arose when Christian knights began to do away with pagan ways and to honor women. You would think that people would think of this given that it is still represented in the form of fairy tales and the like. Note that this form of romantic love has little to do with the "gender equity" that these journalists mention. Just think if every romance movie had a guy in the girl's role and so on, of course they do not because men and women are not the same and we should be thankful that they are not. Vive la difference!

Moving on:
...while the Bible and Jesus say many important things about love and family, neither explicitly defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
It may not be explicit enough for journalists to understand but it is explicit enough to promote marriage while condemning all forms of adultery and even lust. Pedophilia, zoophilia and homophilia are all explicitly or implicitly condemned because the "two in one flesh union" which is only possible between a man and a women is also the only possible way for their union to be exemplified in the flesh of their children. Given the biblical model it is the same type of union whether or not it is ever exemplified by children.
Social conservatives point to Adam and Eve as evidence for their one man, one woman argument—in particular, this verse from Genesis: "Therefore shall a man leave his mother and father, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh." But as Segal says, if you believe that the Bible was written by men and not handed down in its leather bindings by God, then that verse was written by people for whom polygamy was the way of the world.
The fact that polygamy was often pointed to in a negative light although the practice was common shows that there is a difference between the biblical ideal and what goes on in the real world. It does not show that the biblical ideal is wrong, instead it seems to indicate that the Bible was inspired more than the interests and desires of the men who wrote it. I'm no biblical expert but here is an interesting experiment, look in the Bible and see if you can find anywhere where polygamy is mentioned favorably. Something along the lines of: "This man was a great man because he had many wives." Etc. Would it not be in the interests of those who wrote it to portray polygamy in the best light possible?
He preached a radical kind of family, a caring community of believers, whose bond in God superseded all blood ties. Leave your families and follow me, Jesus says in the gospels. There will be no marriage in heaven, he says in Matthew.
Yes, and he also said that anyone who causes a child to stumble should have a stone put around their neck and be thrown into the sea. That's something that proponents of same-sex marriage might want to remember because their focus is invariably the "rights" and desires of adults and they do not seem to care about children. It is already known that adopted children often go through a process of wanting to know their biological parents. It is not generally known what would happen if they were generally denied representatives for their natural or biological parents and instead lived with two women or two men or two effeminate men or one manly woman and another taking the feminine role. Gender roles do not simply disappear even among homosexuals because they are rooted in basic biosocial realities.
Jesus never mentions homosexuality, but he roundly condemns divorce...
He never explicitly mentions necrophilia, pedophilia or zoophilia either because some things should go without saying. It's funny how everyone turns into a prude when it comes to deep sexual disorientations and their main argument would be that no argument is necessary (After all, who would even talk about such things?!! Well, philosophers would and have...) but in the instance of homosexuality they've been conditioned to do away with basic forms of common sense having to do with basic natural categories which pretty much everyone but psychotics have a knowledge of. Ironically even the psychotic serial killer or sexual pervert who denies basic natural categories admits to them while in the process of perverting them. I won't go into how that is so, it's probably not worth thinking about for most people. Unfortunately people are probably going to have to think about sexual disorientations and perversions thanks to articles like this one. The funny thing is that this article was apparently written by "experts" on religion at Newsweek.

I may reply to more of in a future post. Or I may not, I'm not sure it's worth dealing with. It seems to be structured for people who want to believe something no matter what the truth of anything actually is because they have a nice gay friend who they want to support no matter what the truth is. The truth is that the Bible condemns homosexuality explicitly and implicitly time and again, every gay activist I've debated actually understands that and yet apparently these journalists from Newsweek cannot. I wonder if they even really expect people to take this article as some sort of serious news report on a current event or if it is just their way of saying: "We're nice and tolerant so we support homosexuality and you should too."

Blogging notes

I may be posting more at Intelldesign and archiving more here while mentioning the decline of American civilization and the end of the American Empire occasionally. ;-)

This blog has always tended toward being an archive of my comments, research, etc. The Shrink offered to let me write at Intelldesign and I took him up on it. I'm not sure how much posting I'll do here or there. After all, right now I have a 300GB Raptor RAID array that I want to set up. Etc. ;-)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Archive, on the Enlightenment

…so what would you accept as true about the intellectual, artistic, and political movements of the 17th through 19th centuries…

I would accept many things as true but you tend to weave a mythology of Progress around things which are true that actually isn’t true. That’s the main issue.

For example you seem to imagine it likely that polytheism gave rise to theism which ultimately turns into deism and perhaps that turns into atheism at the end of this scenario of imaginary Progress.

That seems to be what you’re imagining here:….from ancient Greek polytheism to modern Christian theism/Enlightenment deism…

But the Darwinian tendency to project Progress onto everything by imagining things has been widely undermined by historical and anthropological evidence, so the views of someone like Edward Tylor carry about the same weight as the hypothetical goo typical to Darwinism in general.

It’s far more likely that polytheism is a corruption or falling away from monotheism than that theism arose out of polytheism. The most ancient traditional knowledge of many cultures is monotheistic.* In fact if one were to draw a line of progression based on the evidence it would more likely go from theism to polytheism to secularism and nihilism.

*E.g. Hananim (Korean, the Great One), Shang Ti (Chinese, the Lord of Heaven), Koro (Bantu, the Creator) Magano (Ethopian, the ultimate Creator again, as contrasted to the malevolent Sheit’an), the Great Spirit (American Indian), Deos (Greek, perhaps corrupted to Zeus and drawn down into a corrupted anthropromorphic focus, later reformed back by the philosophers under the new name Theos) and so on and on.

You said of the Enlightenment: Our commitment to scientific methods (doctrines being, quite frankly, irrelevant) and to the Constitution are both aspects of the Enlightenment legacy.

But the development of science as we know it had little to do with the Enlightenment and the mythology that tends to surround it. Take the work of Newton as an example to compare the imagery and mythology typical to “enlightenment” with the historical reality of what Newton himself actually wrote:

One of the first actions of those who proclaimed the ‘Enlightenment’ was the ‘deification of Newton.’ Voltaire set the example by calling him the greatest man who ever lived. Thus began an unexcelled outpouring of worshipful prose and extravagant poetry. David Hume wrote that Newton was ‘the greatest and rarest genius that ever rose for the ornament and instruction of the species.’ As Gay noted, ‘the adjectives ‘divine’ and ‘immortal’ became practically compulsory.’ [...] In 1802 the French philosophe Claude-Henri de Sain-Simon (1760-1825) founded a Godless religion to be led by scientist-priests and called it the Religion of Newton (his pupil Auguste Comte renamed it ’sociology’).
However, as the ‘Enlightenment’ became more outspokenly atheistic and more determined to establish the incompatibility of science and religion, a pressing matter arose: what was to be done about Newton’s religion? Trouble was that Newton’s religious views were not a matter of hearsay or repute. He had, after all, in 1713 added a concluding section to the second editions of his monumental Principia, the ‘General Scholium’ (or proposition), which was devoted entirely to his ideas about God. In it, Newton undertook to demonstrate the existence of God, concluding that:
‘…the true God is a living, intelligent, powerful Being….’
‘…he governs all things, and knows all things that are done or can be done.’
‘….He endures forever, and is everywhere present.’
‘…As a blind man has no ideas of colors, so have we no idea of the manner by which the all-wise God perceives and understands all things.’
Worse yet, Newton had written four letters during 1692-1693 explaining his theology to Richard Bentley. In the ‘Bentley Letters’ Newton ridiculed the idea that the world could be explained in impersonal, mechanical terms. Above all, having discovered the elegant lawfulness of things, Newton believed that he had, once and for all, demonstrated the certainty that behind all existence there is an intelligent, aware, omnipotent God. Any other assumption is ‘inconsistent with my system.’
(For the Glory of God: How Monotheism Led to Reformations, Science, Witch Hunts and the End of Slavery by Rodney Stark :167-168)

Monotheism is associated with science as we know it as well as Progress traditionally understood as Providence but it leads to a different attitude about knowledge/scientia. This caused Newton to comment:

I don’t know what I may seem to the world, but as to myself, I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea shore, and diverting myself in now and then in finding a smoother pebble or prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. cf. (Newton’s Gift: How Sir Isaac Newton Unlocked the System of the World by David Berlinksi :167)

If you are arguing that the Constitution and the founding of the American Republic is an aspect of the Enlightenment legacy then what explains the vast difference between the French Revolution and the American Revolution? I’m not sure what may be imagined about history but here is some of what the Founders said about the French Revolution:

And what was their Phylosophy? Atheism; pure unadulterated Atheism . . . . The Univer[s]e was Matter only and eternal; Spirit was a Word Without a meaning; Liberty was a Word Without a Meaning. There was no Liberty in the Universe; Liberty was a Word void of Sense. Every thought Word Passion Sentiment Feeling, all Motion and Action was necessary. All Beings and Attributes were of eternal Necessity. Conscience, Morality, were all nothing but Fate. (Letter from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (Mar. 2, 1816), in The Adams-Jefferson Letters)
Original comment

Friday, November 14, 2008

Democracy and the Decline of Civilization

A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.
From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.
The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through the following sequence:
1. from bondage to spiritual faith;
2. from spiritual faith to great courage:
3. from courage to liberty:
4. from liberty to abundance
5. from abundance to complacency;
6. from complacency to apathy:
7. from apathy to dependence;
8. from dependence back into bondage.
--Alexander Tyler, 1787

Earlier scholars noted how Republics tend to decline:
Plato says that from the exaggerated license which people call liberty, tyrants spring up as from a root…and that at last such liberty reduces a nation to slavery. Everything in excess is changed into its opposite…For out of such an ungoverned populace one is usually chosen as a leader…someone bold and unscrupulous…who curries favor with the people by giving them other men’s property. To such a man…the protection of public office is given, and continually renewed. He…emerges as a tyrant over the very people who raised him to power. –Cicero (De Republica, i, 2.)
Money is language, a statement of value and cost and so on. Civilization is rooted in language, when it declines then its monetary systems follow necessarily. Fiscal conservatives try to separate moral language from economic forms of language and so on but a separation between fiscal and social conservativism typically undermines both because it all has to do with language spoken by the same people stating their values in different ways.

Financial credit is no different than credibility in general, a nation of decadent liars cannot create or support a sound monetary system through the application of intelligence or better policies and economic management.* There is no way to manipulate an economic system in order to overcome the corruption of individuals and the decline of a civilization in general. So on we go, put more copper in the coin!

*Poor Obama, naive and ignorant people seem to view him as some sort of savior in this respect.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I didn't know that Micahel Crichton died.

Here he is making a point I have sometimes made:
I studied anthropology in college, and one of the things I learned was that certain human social structures always reappear. They can’t be eliminated from society. One of those structures is religion. Today it is said we live in a secular society in which many people—the best people, the most enlightened people—do not believe in any religion. But I think that you cannot eliminate religion from the psyche of mankind. If you suppress it in one form, it merely re-emerges in another form. You can not believe in God, but you still have to believe in something that gives meaning to your life, and shapes your sense of the world. Such a belief is religious.

Today, one of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism. Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists. Why do I say it’s a religion? Well, just look at the beliefs. If you look carefully, you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths. cf. Uncommon Descent


He's right but I wouldn't lump all religion together. I would at least classify some as more transcendent and some as more immanent. Environmentalism is an immanence based religion which matches patterns in other immanence based religions. For example, Catholics worship the mother of God while environmentalists tend to worship Mother Earth. Catholics used to sell indulgences so that one could pay for their sins while environmentalists sell carbon credits so that one can pay for their sins against the environment. And so on. You can't simply lump all religion together though, there are transcendent (Islam/Allah, Jews/Jehovah, Christians/Father God) and immanent patterns to them. It seems to me that there is only one which reconciles patterns of transcendence and immanence, as it is claimed in Christianity that the transcendent God was immanently incarnated, etc. It's even claimed that this is not a mythic, philosophic or symbolic way of unifying the mental patterns typical to us into One, it's a historical claim about what really happened. Despite the details in the end either it did or it didn't. As odd as it is I think it happened, so I'm a Christian. I'm not sure from what perspective it seems odd to me that God would do things in such a bloody, messy or dirty way because if it is odd then we're very odd creatures of blood, mess and excrement ourselves. If the gardening God wants to get His hands dirty or to create evil then I'm not in a position to object on "moral" grounds and neither is anyone else that I know. And in order to think things odd I must be imagining some other "normal," "clean" or "logical" way for the same ends to come about, yet the simple fact is that for all I know there may be no other means to achieve the same ends.

I know that logic may not help people experiencing evil in the moment but if an infinite God is totally good and a greater good can come about by creating, using or allowing for evil to exist then vast amounts of evil must necessarily exist. If messy forms of redemption are "more perfect" than law-like forms of perfection then evil must necessarily exist to the same extent that all the "more than perfect" things like redemption, mercy, forgiveness and so on exist.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Archive, on Chimps and Humans

…to say that humans are over one-third daffodil [based on their DNA] is more ludicrous than profound. There are hardly any comparisons you can make to a daffodil in which humans are 33% similar. DNA comparisons thus overestimate similarity at the low end of the scale (because 25% is actually the zero-mark of a DNA comparison) and underestimate comparisons at the high end.
….
The problem is that in being told about these data without a context in which to interpret them, we are left to our own cultural devices. Here, we are generally expected to infer that genetic comparisons reflect deep biological structure, and that 98% is an overwhelming amount of similarity. Thus “the DNA of a human is 98% identical to the DNA of a chimpanzee” becomes casually interpreted as “deep down inside, humans are overwhelmingly chimpanzee. Like 98% chimpanzee.” ….
…whatever the number is, it shouldn’t be any more impressive than the anatomical similarity; all we need to do is to put that old-fashioned comparison into a zoological context.
The paradox is not that we are so genetically similar to the chimpanzee; the paradox is why we now find the genetic similarity to be so much more striking than the anatomical similarity. Scholars of the eighteenth century were overwhelmed by the similarities between humans and chimpanzees. Chimpanzees were as novel then as DNA is now; and the apparent contrast between our bodies and our genes is simply an artifact of having two centuries’ familiarity with chimpanzees and scarcely two decades’ familiarity with DNA sequences. (What It Means to be 98% Chimpanzee by Johnathan Marks :28-31)

*

The primates confirm the predictions of message theory. There are large gaps, and there is no clear-cut phylogeny.
….
The apes thwart any attempt to separate man from nature: they unify man with nature. The apes possess innumerable similarities to us. The apes show that we are a part of this unified collection of objects. We are a part of the biotic message, so we must draw the same conclusions about our origins. The apes make it abundantly clear-The designer of earth’s diverse life forms and the designer of man are the same. Our designer authored the biotic message.
Kenneth Miller writes:
‘The big emotional issue among creationists is human evolution. It might be safe to say that all their previous arguments exist only to support the notion that humans are in no way linked to the other animals.’ (Miller, K., 1982, p 9-10, my italics)

Miller is mistaken. Creationists are not saying that humans are “in no way linked” to other animals. On the contrary. All organisms are linked by design, not descent. This has been part of the creationist thinking from the beginning. Because of this, the discovery of the apes in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries did not frighten them.

‘Now you would have thought that the discovery of these half-animal, half-men [apes] would have most profoundly scared and upset people-this evidence of a link between animals and man. And yet the literature of that period contains no evidence of any such frightened references.’ (Medawar, 1982 p 106)
(The Biotic Message: Evolution Versus Message Theory by Walter ReMine :323-324)

Dawkins on the same topic, perhaps citing his own imagination and mythology as the equivalent of evidence as he sometimes does:

The rise of Darwinism in the nineteenth century polarised attitudes towards the apes. Opponents who might have stomached evolution itself balked with visceral horror at cousinship with what they perceived as low and revolting brutes, and desperately tried to inflate our differences from them. This was nowhere more true than with gorillas. Apes were ‘animals’; we were set apart. (The Ancestor’s Tale by Richard Dawkins :108) (He cites the “distinquished philosopher” Peter Singer approvingly in a footnote in the same chapter, yet as I recall Singer approves of infanticide.)

In another section he argues rather ignorantly:

Many of our legal and ethical principles depend on the separation between Homo Sapiens and all other species. Of the people who regard abortion as a sin, including the minority who go to the lengths of assassinating doctors and blowing up abortion clinics, many are unthinking meat-eaters, and have no worries about chimpanzees being imprisoned in zoos and sacrificed in laboratories. Would they think again, if we could lay out a living continuum of intermediates between ourselves and chimpanzees, linked in an unbroken chain of interbreeders like the California salamanders? Surely they would. Yet it is the merest accident that the intermediates all happen to be dead. It is only because of this accident that we can comfortably and easily imagine a huge gulf between our two species-or between any two species, for that matter.
(Ib. :303)

Note the way that the Darwinian mind constantly works towards citing imaginary evidence, so by the end of his paragraph he’s treating his imaginary ancestors and imaginary events in the past as if they are a reality which must be “imagined” away by others. Ah well, it bears repeating that he’s the one imagining things! It's a "huge gulf" as he puts it which can be observed empirically. That is simply a fact. And if one does away with the mental illusions typical to Darwinian reasoning (in which the imagination is somehow transmuted into “evidence” while the actual evidence that we can observe empirically and verify now is lost), it’s invariably the case that the Darwinist is relying on imagining things and passing it off as "science." That’s been my experience, at any rate. Also note his ignorance, he should know that if there were actual evidence for his imaginary ancestors it wouldn’t make a huge difference. Does genocide happen among humans? Of course. Do people who know that they have the same ancestors still kill each other? Of course. Is common ancestry among humans or chimps any safeguard if the Darwinian creation myth is true? Of course not, Jews were experimented on by Nazis who firmly believed in Darwinism and the Nazis advanced anti-vivisection laws at the same time that they performed experiments on Jews. There is no reason to become a vegetarian or to stop experiments on animals if the Darwinian creation myth is true, he seems to be playing pretend again by imagining that Jewish ethics are linked to Nature based paganism or the merging of basic natural categories but they aren't.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The ground of all being....

I've noticed that Intelligent Design tends to be linked to Deism, not Theism. It comports with Theism and could be reformed but often it leads to the view that God set the universe up to run like clockwork somehow and then left. This is based on a mechanistic view of cause and effect which extends into the past. Tick tock! But it's interesting to note that a study of cause and effect leads to the same type of philosophical questions here and now, not events in the distant past created by a distant God. For example, the fact that you're reading this sits on chains of cause and effect as your eyes see, your optical nerve sends signals to the brain, certain brain events are taking place, the brain is composed of the same fields of energy and matter and so on as everything else, etc. We know that things are linked in causal patterns, yet they cannot extend infinitely so what is it that is at their end? Aristotle would answer that instead of an infinite regress there must be an infinite Being, an unmoved Mover or an unchanged Changer. Christian philosophers like Aquinas would go on to point out that this is God and go on to derive many conclusions about God such as omniscience.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Obama on abortion

Here's a detailed post at Two or Three. I didn't know much of it, although you would figure that he must be pretty radical because he failed to support protection for babies born alive. His argument in the last debate was that they were already protected but what would be wrong with making sure given what was happening? It's telling that even people like John Kerry and Ted Kennedy supported some of the bills that Obama is still capable of rationalizing his failure to vote for.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Interesting point....

Cal Thomas on William Ayers and the Old Press:
William Ayers is not somebody who just did evil things when Obama was eight years old. They have an adult relationship and Ayers has been a booster of Obama's and they have worked together on 'education issues' in Chicago. Let's have some perspective here. What do you suppose the mainstream media reaction would be had McCain been associated with an abortion clinic bomber?


Related post: The Messiah once again uses the "this is not the person I knew" excuse by Hube

Friday, October 03, 2008

Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac

Interesting arguments in video here and here. The second is a little more propagandistic than the first.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Medieval...

An excerpt from a book I'm reading, I'll probably archive a few more excerpts because progressives tend to believe in mythologies that they imagine about Progress more than historically based views on how progress as we know it has happened:
In many ways the term "Scientific Revolution" is as misleading as "Dark Ages." Both were coined to discredit the medieval Church. The notion of a "Scientific Revolution" has been used to claim that science suddenly burst forth when a weakened Christianity could no longer prevent it, and as the recovery of classical learning made it possible. Both claims are as false as those concerning Colombus and the flat earth.* First of all, classical learning did not provide an appropriate model for science. Second, the rise of science was already far along by the sixteenth century, having been nurtured by devout Scholastics in that most Christian invention, the university. As Alfred W. Crosby pointed out, "in our time the word medieval is often used as a synonym for muddle-headedness, but it can be more accurately used to indicate precise definition and meticulous reasoning, that is to say, clarity" (his emphasis). Granted that the era of scientific discovery that occurred in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was indeed marvelous, the cultural equivalent of the blossoming of a rose. However, just as roses do not spring up overnight but must undergo a long period of normal growth before they even bud, so, too, the blossoming of science was the result of centuries of normal intellectual progress.... Copernicus provides an unsurpassed example of this point.
(For the Glory of God: How Monotheism Led to Reformations, Science, Witch Hunts and the End of Slavery by Rodney Stark :134-135)
*See also: (Inventing the Flat Earth: Colombus and Modern Historians by Jeffrey Russel

Insight...

A philosophy of insight from some geek to guru dialogues, the guru pointing out that what matters most to us typically isn't matter and mechanisms:
…it should be obvious to you that the neuronal activity that accompanies your act of seeing the meaning of “Give me liberty or give me death” is not the same as understanding what the thought implies.
Let me show you what I’m saying just by pointing out what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to convince me that no independent meaning-processing takes place in our minds. This is what you mean to communicate to me, this the point you want me to see. But is your point, the meaning you wish to communicate, purely a matter of neuronal transactions and brain states? Are you trying to alter certain of my brain events or to get me to see something to be the case? If it’s the latter, then meaning is something different from physiological states of affairs. You could say it’s dependent on a physiological substrate, but you would still have to admit that it’s not the same thing as the physiological transaction itself.
[...]
You can’t be convinced of something by the action of certain physical causes in your central nervous system. You’re convinced by reasons. You disagree with me because you haven’t seen enough reason to agree. Meaning is all about reasons and not causes. If I say a poem is beautiful, neither my message nor its truth is reducible to neuronal excitement in given regions of the cerebral cortex. It’s all about concepts, reasons and meanings, not causes and effects. I cannot see how you can dispute any of this without blatant self-contradiction.
(The Wonder of the World by Roy Abraham Varghese :165,166)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Superstition...

I'm going to read a few books on the history of science and Christianity. Most indicate that science as we now know it as a system of thought is linked to Christianity. The atheist philosopher Daniel Dennett actually admits this point given the historical evidence but argues that we can essentially harvest the seeds of good ideas grown from a field of bad ideas.

It seems to me that there are possible lines of historical evidence that such a harvest is impossible or can't last long. E.g. the post-Christian culture of the Weimar Republic in which Nazism fermented based on a return to "scientific" forms of Nature based paganism which was associated with pseudo-science, superstition and the occult. The pattern seems to be that science begins with Christian assumptions but then science is said to be rooted in methodological naturalism, which naturally and gradually tends to build a philosophy of naturalism which undermines Christianity until science is turned into a form of Nature based paganism, then all the old occult/"hidden" practices and superstitions typical to the type of paganism that Christianity originally did away with emerge again. Those who base their opposition to Christianity on science are often in the odd position of undermining the ground upon which they stand. It seems that a protestation of Protestantism itself opens the door for superstition again.

Here's a recent WSJ article citing evidence of this apparent pattern:
From Hollywood to the academy, nonbelievers are convinced that a decline in traditional religious belief would lead to a smarter, more scientifically literate and even more civilized populace.

The reality is that the New Atheist campaign, by discouraging religion, won't create a new group of intelligent, skeptical, enlightened beings. Far from it: It might actually encourage new levels of mass superstition. And that's not a conclusion to take on faith -- it's what the empirical data tell us.

"What Americans Really Believe," a comprehensive new study released by Baylor University yesterday, shows that traditional Christian religion greatly decreases belief in everything from the efficacy of palm readers to the usefulness of astrology. It also shows that the irreligious and the members of more liberal Protestant denominations, far from being resistant to superstition, tend to be much more likely to believe in the paranormal and in pseudoscience than evangelical Christians. Look Who's Irrational NowBy MOLLIE ZIEGLER HEMINGWAY

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

That old topic...

A few comments on homosexuality and history here, it will be interesting to see if anyone attempts to reply based on historical facts.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Funeral of a Great Myth

In the science, Evolution is a theory about changes: in the Myth it is a fact about improvements. Thus a real scientist like Professor J. B. S. Haldane is at pains to point out that popular ideas of Evolution lay a wholly unjustified emphasis on those changes which have rendered creatures (by human standards) 'better' or more interesting. He adds: 'We are therefore inclined to regard progress as the rule in evolution. Actually it is the exception, and for every case of it there are ten of degeneration.' But the Myth simply expurgates the ten cases of degeneration. In the popular mind the word 'Evolution' conjures up a picture of things moving 'onwards and upwards', and of nothig else whatsoever. And it might have been predicted that it would do so. Already, before science had spoken, the mythical imagination knew the kind of 'Evolution' it wanted. --C. S. Lewis, The Funeral of a Great Myth

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A bitter irony

Martin Luther King on Margaret Sanger:
There is a striking kinship between our movement and Margaret Sanger's early efforts. She, like we, saw the horrifying conditions of ghetto life. Like we, she knew that all of society is poisoned by cancerous slums. Like we, she was a direct actionist — a nonviolent resister. Planned Parenthood
Historical facts:
...Sanger was an ardent, self-confessed eugenicist... Like other staunch eugenicists, Sanger vigorously opposed charitable efforts to uplift the downtrodden and deprived, and argued extensively that it was better that the cold and hungry be left without help, so that the eugenically superior strains could multiply without competition from "the unfit." She repeatedly referred to the lower classes and the unfit as "human waste" not worthy of assistance, and proudly quoted the extreme eugenic view that human "weeds" should be "exterminated." Moreover, for both political and genuine ideological reasons, Sanger associated closely with some of America's most fanatical eugenic racists. Both through her publication, Birth Control Review, and her public oratory, Sanger helped legitimize and widen the appeal of eugenic pseudoscience.
[...]
...on page after page, Sanger castigated charities and the people they hoped to assist. "Organized charity itself," she wrote, "is the symptom of a malignant social disease. Those vast, complex, interrelated organizations aiming to control and to diminish th espread of misery and destitution and all the menacing evils that spring out of this sinisterly fertile soil, are the surest sign that our civilization has bred, is breeding and is perpetuation constantly increasing numbers of defectives, delinquents and dependents."
[...]
...she never lost her eugenic raison d'ĂȘtre, nor her fiery determination to eliminate the unfit. For instance, years after Sanger launched birth control, she was honored at a luncheon in the Hotel Roosevelt in New York. Her acceptance speech harkened back to the original nature of her devotion to her cause. "Let us not forget," she urged, "that these billions, millions, thousands of people are increasing, expanding, exploding at a terrific rate every year. Africa, Asia, South America are made up of more than a billion human beings, miserable, poor, illiterate labor slaves, whether they are called that or not; a billion hungry men and women always in the famine zone yet reproducing themselves in the blind struggle for survival and perpetuation....
The brains, initiative, thrift and progress of the self supporting, creative human beings are called upon to support the ever increasing and numerous dependent, delinquent and unbalanced masses....
(The War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's
Campaign to Create a Master Race
by Edwin Black :127, 129, 143)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

On not giving Chance a chance...

I was trying to think through chance in a recent comment:

Ironically the notion of chance is a science/knowledge stopper, it is an argument which stops the study of cause and effect. A scientific view rooted in the study of cause and effect would be that chance is an illusion brought about by an absence of knowledge. Even the examples that people use to argue for the creative power of “chance” combined with a process of filtering like natural selection can be surrounded by knowledge based on an actual scientific view. For instance, some use a coin toss to illustrate the concept of chance. Yet since chance is actually just an illusion brought about by the absence of knowledge it is easy to point out that if the trajectory of the coin, its mass, the force it was flipped with, etc., was all known then “chance” disappears as one advances toward a knowledge of how the coin will come to rest. Chance is ignorance, chance is ultimately nothing, yet it’s typical for proponents of Darwinism to argue as if it something which explains all there is to know.

A satire of philosophies based on chance:
Pre-Game Coin Toss Makes Jacksonville Jaguars Realize Randomness Of Life

(Found on Uncommon Descent)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Blog on Intelligent Design

Here's a blog I've been commenting on lately: Intelldesign, although it's written by a psychologist it's pretty good.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Repost...

From comments here, I rewrote and refined just a few things in this story so I'll repost it here:

The Art of Knowledge,
Once upon a time there was an Artist who could draw other artists into his pictures, some to draw some things for him and even some who could draw things for themselves too. So he drew an apprentice in his own image and his new student asked him about a piece of art that he was working on, “What is it going to be?”

“It’s a picture about good and evil, right and wrong.”

“But how can you draw a picture about wrong that is right?”

“Whatever I draw is right, even that which I let look wrong to those I draw to observe it so. It’s something in the lighting and my drawing, you see. Keep observing, I will not explain further until the picture is complete…. Come close little one, so that I may ask you a question. Now, why do you suppose I would draw you here to ask me annoying questions when I’m trying to work?”

“Well, I suppose…I, uh, eh, I don’t know why! Well it seems to me that you must know all about your own art. Say, why don’t you just draw me to stop it? Huh?”

The Artist turned to look at the little fellow staring up at him from his side, sighed, then said, “What you’re drawing me to do is going to hurt you more than it hurts me.”

“Uh, wait a minute…” the little fellow looked back at the painting, “I suppose I can wait until the picture is complete.”

“Very well, and besides the answer does not exist yet in any form that you can understand. You see, I’ve not drawn you to understand it yet. But perhaps you can think of it in this way as I work for now… making a picture about good and evil consists of drawing the line someplace.” As the artist spoke he drew a line and as he did some of the little forms that he had drawn into his picture murmured among themselves, “Why are things this way, rather than that? I can think of things my way and want them to be so, so why should they not be my way? Why?!”

This caused the student to comment, “Say, they are a little like me in that way! A rather likable likeness if I do say so myself… So I suppose their next question about what will be, will be why don’t you just take their will away?”

“Only I know, as I know all of my own art. Yet I would think that some of the answers about the will would be rather obvious, if you will.”

“It seems an odd decision to me.”

“Yes, I knew you would say that.”

“Ah, but what if I knew you knew? See how my knowledge increases to approach your own!”

The Master Artist just glanced at the little fellow and kept working on the picture. So his student asked, “Well…can you draw me to have some of your knowledge?” and the Artist answered, “For now you do not even have the symbols, imagery in your head or the forms of thought necessary to think many of my thoughts, so some of the best truths about my art and this picture will remain ineffable and paradoxical to you. That is my will. If you are willing to learn how my will must be done in all of my pictures then I will naturally draw you to have more knowledge of my nature.”

“Naturally….yes, that seems logical to me.”

“Yes, of course, I knew it would. After all, I just drew you to think so.” The little fellow just sighed at that, and thought that he might have heard the Artist chuckle as he did.

Archive...

I don’t believe I was “demonizing” anyone.

One ought to focus on civility which can only be grounded in language/civilization designed to unfold providentially in all those created in the "imago dei" unless that is non longer possible based on reason.

Note that there is little difference between the concept of demoniac or maniac, in fact history shows that one was simply reclassified into the other based on a shift in worldview towards naturalism with little to no actual empirical evidence. There is still little evidence that brain lesions or a manifestly physical "illness" can cause highly complex actions which mimic intelligent agency. There is still just as little reason for the judgment "Not guilty by 'reason' of insanity." as "Not guilty by reason of the Devil made me do it." (Note the irony typical to both claims, at any rate.)

The only ground we have for doing away with both concepts is by admitting intelligent design and focusing on it in a systematic way. As David Stove notes of "puppetry theories":
...just as Calvin divides created things into potent demons and causally impotent everything else, so Dawkins divides the organic world into potent genes and causally impotent everything else. According to Calvinism, we are pawns in a game, in which the only real players are the demons and God. According to The Selfish Gene, we are pawns in a game in which the only real players are genes.
[....]
I do not believe that humans are the helpless puppets of their genes, and cannot even take that proposition seriously. Why? Because I have heard far too many stories like that one before, and because it is obvious what is wrong with all of them.
"Our stars rule us," says the astrologer. "Man is what he eats," said Feuerbach. "We are what our infantile sexual experiences made us," says the Freudian. "The individual counts for nothing, his class situation for everything," says the Marxist. "We are what our socioeconomic circumstances make us," says the social worker. "We are what the Almighty God created us," says the Christian theologian. There is simply no end to this kind of stuff.
What is wrong with all such theories is this: That they deny, at least by implication, that human intentions, decisions, and efforts are among the causal agencies which are at work in the world.
This denial is so obviously false that no rational person, who paused to consider it coolly and in itself, would ever entertain it for one minute.
....
The falsity of all these theories of human helplessness is so very obvious, in fact, that the puppetry theorists themselves cannot help admitting it, and thus are never able to adhere consistently to their puppetry theories. Feurerbach, though he said that man is what he eats, was also obliged to admit that meals to not eat meals. The Calvinistic theologian, after saying that the omnipotent Creator is everything and his creatures nothing, will often then go on to reproach himself and other creatures with disobeying this Creator. The Freudian therapist believes in the overpowering influence of infantile sexual experiences, but he makes an excellent living by encouraging his patients to believe that, with his help, this overpowering influence can be itself overpowered. And so on.
In this inevitable and tiresomely familiar way, Dawkins contradicts his puppetry theory...
(Darwinian Fairytales: Selfish Genes, Errors of Heredity and Other Fables of Evolution
by David Stove :176-184)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Eugenics and Other Evils....

A comment on a post which reminded me of G.K. Chesteron's fight against Eugenics:

I do believe, however, that evolution was the source for the creation of eugenics and “Modern” eugenics.

Evolution is a term defined by hypothetical goo so I hesitate to use the word but Darwinism or modern theories of evolution were the source of an amoral (i.e. immoral) eugenics movement. An understanding of principles used in eugenics had been understood since ancient times because they are based on the rather trivial observations:
Since ancient times, man has understood the principles of breeding and the lasting quality of inherited traits. The Old Testament describes Jacob’s clever breeding of his and Labans flocks, as spotted and streaked goats were mated to create spotted and streaked offspring. Centuries later, Jesus sermonized, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
Good stock and preferred traits were routinely propagated in the fields and the flocks. Bad stock and unwanted traits were culled. Breeding, whether in grapes or sheep, was considered a skill subject to luck and God’s grace.
But during the five years between 1863 and 1868, three great men of biology would all promulgate a theory of evolution dependent upon identifiable hereditary “units” within the cells. These units could actually be seen under a microscope. Biology entered a new age when its visionaries proclaimed that good and bad traits were not bestowed by God as an inscrutable divinity, but transmitted from generation to generation according to the laws of science.
(War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race
by Edwin Black :12-13)


The problem is not that the theory of natural selection is incorrect, it's that given Darwin's theological arguments and a Darwinian philosophy of naturalism the theory is extended far beyond its limited (and often trivial) scope and applied in immoral ways. Naturalism is a totalizing philosophy which has to apply to all that is, was or ever will be. Given the total arrogance that such a view of total knowledge/scientia breeds it is little wonder that history shows that totalitarianism is often the fruit of a philosophy of naturalism. As G.K. Chesterton noted:
The thing that really is trying to tyrannise through government is Science. The thing that really does use the secular arm is Science. And the creed that really is levying tithes and capturing schools, the creed that really is enforced by fine and imprisonment, the creed that really is proclaimed not in sermons but in statutes, and spread not by pilgrims but by policemen--that creed is the great but disputed system of thought which began with Evolution and has ended in Eugenics.
(Eugenics and Other Evils: An Argument Against the Scientifically Organized Society
by G.K. Chesterton
(With Additional Articles by his Eugenic and Birth Control Opponents, edited by Michael W. Perry)
In his book Edwin Black notes some of the historical victims of this arrogance with respect to science/"knowledge":
"Eventually, you knew your time would come," recalled Buck Smith about his Lynchberg experience. His name is not really Buck Smith. But he was too ashamed, nearly a half century later, to allow his real name to be used during an interview with a local Virginia reporter. ..... Buck...recounted the day he was sterilized at Lynchberg. He was fifteen years old. "The call came over the dormitory just like always, and I knew they were ready for me," he remembered. "There was no use fighting it. They gave me some pills that made me drowsy and then they wheeled me up to the operating room."
....
Poverty .... was scientifically held by many esteemed doctors and universities to be a genetic defect, transmitted from generation to generation. Buck Smith was hardly feebleminded, and he spoke with simple eloquence about his mentality. "I've worked for eleven years at the same job," he said, "and haven't missed more than three days of work. There's nothing wrong with me except my lack of education."
"I'll never understand why they sterilized me," Buck Smith disconsolately told the local reporter. "I'll never understand that. ....they took a lot of my life away from me. Having children is supposed to be a part of the human race."
The reporter noticed a small greeting card behind Buck Smith. The sterilized man had eventually married and formed a lasting bond with his stepchildren. The card was from those stepchildren and read: "Thinking of you, Daddy."
Through tears, Buck Smith acknowledged the card, "They call me Daddy."
Mary Donald was equally pained when she recalled her years of anguish following her sterilization....when she was only eleven. Several years later, she was "released" to her husband-to-be, and then enjoyed a good marriage for eighteen years. But "he loved kids," she remembered. "I lay in bed and cried because I couldn't give him a son," she recounted.... "... He said it didn't matter. But as years went by, he changed. We got divorced and he married someone else." With these words, Mary broke down and wept.
Like so many, Mary never understood what was happening.
.... Mary didn't learn she had been sterilized until five years after her operation.(War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race
by Edwin Black :5-6)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A few comments....

Here....

Nothing new, most of the time I link to my comments on this blog so that I can find them again and check for replies without having too many bookmarks.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Obama

Here's an interesting video from his Illinois debates with Alan Keyes. His effete sniveling about being lectured to by someone who isn't his pastor seems ironic now given who his pastor was at the time.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Anti-American arguments....

I've found that often Americans tend to be the best anti-Americans. After all, there is much to be critical of. But here are a few rather radical arguments about America which you probably won't see everyday. An odd synthesis of Fundamentalist and Leftist thought is possible which leads to the same conclusions:

"America is a decadent empire which isn't worth fighting for, it's no better than other nations. Any barbarism which you might point out in other nations is practiced in America by abortionists. If anything America is worse because it is both decadent and barbarous in a hidden way. It's only a matter of time until an apocalyptic cleansing."

I've never agreed with the moral equivalency that some try to draw between America and all nations, I simply think that some nations are better than others and America is better than most. Ironically it always seems to be those who are the most radical who fall into some sort of moral equivalence with respect to America. On the Left I have heard arguments of this sort: "If Iraqis had come to America and torn down the Lincoln monument then how would we feel? You have to break from provincial attitudes and see things from all sides." Ironically that was an example of the most provincial attitude I've ever seen, something some college student would say. (Needless to say there's a moral difference between Lincoln and Saddam which ought to shape attitudes about monuments to them no matter what culture you're from.)

On the other side an argument for moral equivalency looks more like: "Girls in America wear skimpy clothing and have abortions.... so American is just as bad as nations in the Mid East." It seems to me that this argument is more reasonable so it takes a little longer to deal with. To begin with, it's best to focus on judgments that are easy to make and then with precedents in mind proceed on to those that are difficult instead of becoming confused about easy judgments because more difficult judgments exist. With that in mind I think that the burka is worse than the bikini, female "circumcision" worse than American hedonism, pagan American "stars" and "idols" of hedonism dying in their pursuit of happiness and pleasure better than Afghan women burning themselves to death because their lives are already hell.

America may be the lesser of two evils but it is, indeed the lesser.

Huh....

I was following a few local links and found that this fellow I once debated for a bit on ID is actually a local blogger.

Here is a collection of some of his posts on ID. Unfortunately there's not really much on ID because apparently he's more interested in politics and a movie than the concept itself. I'm interested in the concept of intelligent agency being detected based on the application of logic to empirical facts but ironically the notion of intelligent design itself doesn't seem to be his focus.

For example, he cites Dinesh D’Souza here:
[Someone making a judgment about ID] would summon a wide cross-section of leading physicists. They would inform him that despite unresolved debates about relativity–for example, its unexplained relationship to quantum theory–Einstein’s theories are supported by a wide body of data. They enjoy near-unanimous support in the physics community worldwide. There is no alternative scientific theory that comes close to explaining the facts at hand. In such a situation any judge would promptly show the dissenters the door and deny their demand for equal time in the classroom. This is precisely the predicament of the ID movement.
This seems reasonable but it still contains the same shift away from ID as a concept. He goes on to make a solipsistic argument about the natural and supernatural because naturally everything seems natural to us but I won't deal with that.* After all everything is natural, for how could it be otherwise? Putting that issue aside, Dinesh D’Souza agrees that ID is true but he's shifting away from that to talk about politics and consensus. Unfortunately even in that shift he's making some ignorant arguments, as all scientia/knowledge does not have equal standing just because it's called science by those engaged in it. Darwinian theories are not necessarily on a par with Einstein's theories and as I've often pointed out the equivalence that many draw between biological theories and physics is typically ignorant. The notion that we now have biological theories of evolution which are the epistemic equivalent of physical theories is prevalent, yet if trajectories of adaptation actually are not being traced and "the theory" of evolution isn't being used to make highly specified predictions which have been and can be verified empirically then all political arguments which assume such things fail. People may be able to create circular arguments based on scientific consensus and so on to indoctrinate a whole nation but empirical facts and logical truths remain. Ultimately anyone more interested in the truth than whatever explanations currently seem "natural" to the Herd can always seek the truth outside of the Herd, naturally enough. Perhaps seeking the truth may even be designed to come naturally to individual, intelligent beings.

*David Berlinksi comments on the way some seek an "equation" between science and naturalism which cannot be found:
In many respects the word naturalism comes closest to conveying what scientists regard as the spirit of science, the source of its superiority to religious thought.
….
What, after all, could be more natural than being natural? Carl Sagan’s buoyant affirmation that “the universe is all that is, or was, or will be” is widely understood to have captured the spirit of naturalism, but since the denial of this sentence is a contradiction, the merits of the concept so defined are not immediately obvious. Just who is arguing from the pulpit that everything is not everything? ….
If naturalism is a term largely empty of meaning, there is always methodological naturalism. Although naturalism is natural, methodological naturalism is even more natural and is, for that reason, a concept of superior grandeur. Hector Avalos is a professor of religious studies at Iowa State University, and an avowed atheist. He is a member of good standing of the worldwide fraternity of academics who are professionally occupied in sniffing the underwear of their colleagues for signs of ideological deviance. Much occupied in denouncing theories of intelligent design, he has enjoyed zestfully persecuting its advocates. “Methodological naturalism,” the odious Avalos has written, “the view that natural phenomena can be explained without reference to supernatural beings or events, is the foundation of the natural sciences.”
Now a view said to be foundational can hardly be said to be methodological, and if naturalism is the foundation of the natural sciences, then it must be counted a remarkable oddity of thought that neither the word nor the idea that it expresses can be found in any of the great physical theories.(The Devil’s Delusion by David Berlinksi :52)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dissent...

Junior high school mathematics easily refutes Darwinian random variation and natural selection as the source of the highly sophisticated software information in living systems, and appeals to self-organization are equally ridiculous in light of what is now known. Self-replicating, information-processing, error-correcting, anti/neg-entropic software and hardware do not self-organize or come about by copying errors. Such silly speculation makes alchemy look like hard science, and attempts to defend it are quite frankly an embarrassment to real science.
(--Gil Dodgen Uncommon Descent comment)

I was just thinking, that's a specified statement which can be verified by empirical evidence and yet the empirical evidence doesn't limit evolution. The Darwinian origins of life forms are imaginary and tend to capture public imagination with the support of museums, nature shows, etc., yet it's worth pointing out that when it comes to origins Darwinian reasoning typically relies on imaginary events which cannot be observed or tested. Imagining things about the past is all well and good but such story telling just a modern mythology which shouldn't be confused with harder forms of scientia/knowledge or an explanation for the origins of form and information typical to living things which can be falsified or verified based on empirical observation.

The funny thing about our capacity for imagining things is that it's unfalsifiable. It seems that we can always imagine that something is not what it is or is what it is not. Imagine that!

Monday, May 19, 2008

A comment...

This could have applied here as well.

Are you seriously arguing that the astronomically improbable specifications necessary for the existence of Life just happened to happen based on “chance”/nothing but your own statements are transcendently significant and happen to summarize some sort of knowledge of the entire Cosmos? Sheer size? It’s not even clear what you imagine size has to do with it. Is one supposed to imagine that given enough “size” that which is illogical, irrational and unintelligible will become intelligent and intelligible based on “luck”/nothing?

What is chance, an effect without a cause or a cause without an effect? If Chance were a sentient god and we could ask about the nature of who it was would it reply, “I AM that I AM.”??? If it is uncaused, it would seem so.

I was thinking about this more because apparently one of Richard Dawkins main arguments is that given the way he has gradually evolved to imagines things (as biologists typically do) God needs a cause. And if God is complex then according to his logic God needs a more complex cause and so on. It's ironic that Dawkins would focus on a theological point which rests on an ignorance of the nature of God that has already been specified by prophets and philosophers for millennia* when it's "chance" and "luck" that need a cause. The notion of chance is not defined by knowledge, it's the absence of knowledge and an inability to account for cause and effect which causes people to attribute things to chance. A mental illusion in the minds of persons is the only thing that the notion of chance causes, it's nothing physical. It's really quite odd that "chance" would be so widely advanced in the name of science on issues like the origins of Life or the origins of a Cosmos favorable to it when chance is defined an the absence of knowledge of physical cause and effect. As a natural philosopher and early scientist Aristotle would certainly find it odd and ultimately illogical to deny the existence of an unmoved Mover the way that Dawkins does.

*(God is simply the uncaused Cause of astronomically complex events.)

Interesting article on global warming

Excerpt:
Most of our leaders know very well the World is in little danger from climate change, at least not any caused by human activity. But they also realize, as does any thinking person, that there are indeed serious pollution problems that we must continue to address. In an effort to appear ‘green’, politicians are then pushed by party strategists to intentionally confuse the issue by referring to the benign gas carbon dioxide as “global warming pollution” (a favourite trick of Al Gore and Boxer) and speaking of ‘clean air’ and ‘climate control’ as if they were interchangeable. This is amplified by many in the media who, out of ignorance, laziness or opportunism simply repeat the mistake until it becomes part of the landscape. As a result, the emotional pressure to ‘do something about global warming’ mounts and billions of dollars are wasted trying to ‘stop climate change’ - a wholly impossible objective - while real issues are neglected.

Environmental extremism must be put in its place in the climate debate
By Dr. Tim Ball & Tom Harris
They note the link between pseudo-science and a Darwinian worldview in the beginning. I'm not using the term pseudo-science as a stigma word, accurate knowledge can emerge from pseudo-science. To me it's just a term to describe knowledge in need of reformation, alchemy can become chemistry, astrology can become astronomy and so on.

A Darwinian worldview rooted in gradualism is incorrect given that there's more empirical evidence for catastrophism than uniformitarianism, although it seems that people find the gradualism which typifies Darwinism comforting. Given the actual evidence it seems that it's more natural for there to be natural disasters than not, yet now somehow natural disasters are being included as evidence of the supposedly unnatural capabilities of man. The inconvenient truth is that given naturalism man isn't actually capable of doing anything unnatural. In the end the very term "pollution" only makes sense if we admit to our role as some sort of stewards of the earth, a sense which only has grounds in transcendence. After all, what we call pollution is just chemical elements and matter in motion. Mother Earth has no knowledge of pollution and she isn't going to hold any "Earth day" to try to "save" herself. Only we can know what pollution is by making anthropic assumptions or admitting that mind can impact matter in artificial or "unnatural" ways.

There does seem to be an anthropic principle revolving around man that pervades the earth, as it tends to bring itself into a balance favorable to humanity and Life naturally enough despite natural disasters and catastrophes.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Archive...

ID is just a plea for special consideration of some peoples religious beliefs that they wish to privilege as science, when convenient, and privilege as religion at otherwise.

I wouldn’t doubt that many people will shift from high epistemic standards (”science”) to low standards (”religion”) based on convenience. That is the way of the world, all need reformation. Currently the established orthodoxy which purports to define knowledge/science in academic settings is Darwinism and it is clearly sorely in need of reformation, so what difference is it to me if there are some rabble rousers? They are typically necessary after all.

Note that Darwinists already shift from high epistemic standards to low: "We now know that the earth revolves around the sun so it’s obvious that we will inevitably progress towards a similar form of knowledge about the origin of life forms."
On the one hand a basic empirical fact is cited, then shifted seamlessly into a claim that may well be nonsense. What if sentience actually doesn’t reduce to the laws of physics as currently known?

“The theory of evolution is just like the theory of gravity.”

That’s just ignorant and only reveals the ignorance or charlatanism of anyone who makes such an argument.

“We have observed insecticide resistance, therefore we have a knowledge of the origin of all specification and form found in living organisms.”

Etc. Biologists are generally stupid enough to make such arguments, apparently. But what is to be expected of those who believe that intelligent selection based on sight and sentience is actually an illusion of blind, inanimate processes?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Archive...

Most recently I've been learning about the molecular evidence for evolution.

Are the illusions of pattern recognition which are too typical to Darwinism a reason to believe that everything you say here reduces to natural selection operating on an ancient population of worm-like creatures? Is intelligence an illusion which you imagine yourself to have explained away based on biology? Does natural selection govern your brain events? If not and you can make intelligent selections at present then why should one imagine that past events "cause" and determine all that we know in the present?

If you want to imagine a little creation myth that seems natural to you, as most biologists do, then let us imagine that what you say here has more to do with brain events which reduce to natural selection operating on the excretory and reproductive organs of ancient ape like creatures than anything rational, intelligent and intelligible. After all, you seem easily overwhelmed by imaginary events so you should be convinced that what you write here has more to do with excrement in the past than sentience and knowledge at present. In fact, it seems that any symbols and signs of intelligence which you write may as well be excrement.

Archive....

So now biologists deny “sentience” and mathematicians don’t??? That’s news to me…

Biologists are trained to imagine the transphysical nature of information away in a way that mathematicians are not. Note that various mathematicians from the Wistar conference on have worked to educate biologists with respect to the importance of information as a reality which cannot be imagined away, apparently with little success. To the purely biological “mind”/brain it seems that nothing is improbable, so it may always imagine that it can get something for nothing. Yet what do biologists mean when they talk about things coming about by “chance” or being “random”? It would seem to be nothing really because saying that something is random or comes about by chance is a statement of ignorance that will progressively be refuted by logic and a science of cause and effect. People who have knowledge of cause and effect do not say that something came about by “chance,” yet that is what Darwinists have a long history of saying even as they claim to speak for knowledge and science.

regarding dawkins wrt determinism, i don’t think it is understatement to say that there are a plurality of views of what it means to be alive.

Yet the established orthodoxy (as Dennett, Dawkins, etc. point out) is that any meaning to be found in life is ultimately an illusion rooted in mindless processes such as a natural “selection”/culling of organisms which are rooted in further events that seem “random” to biologists. Dennett says the illusion of meaning is the result of algorithms, Dawkins has said that it’s metaphorically “selfish” genes and so on. Yet on the other hand, if we accept our experience of sentience as a form of knowledge then we have to ask how something we know to be a valid and natural part of our nature influences other natural processes which we have knowledge of based on science, including natural “selection”/culling. After all, it’s science and knowledge that cannot exist without sentience and not the other way around. It’s already known at this point that sentience may have some impact on the observable world. It’s curious that those who speak of a Blind Watchmaker claim to be speaking about knowledge even as they claim to know that its only known basis is an illusion.

The history of eugenics is splattered with the residue of christianism.

Of course, it is linked to Darwinism and there are links between Darwinian reasoning and Christian theology, usually rather orthodox. The story of the provincial fundamentalist who goes on a journey and finds his answers to his religion in the Darwinian creation myth is so common that it is provincial itself. Apparently a residue of Christianity remains with its apostates. As I’ve pointed out before, even the blogs you refer to are named after theological arguments like the “panda’s thumb.” Yet the theological arguments typical to Darwinists seem to be rather puerile and shallow: “God wouldn’t make a panda’s thumb like this because we all know that the Bible says that creation is perfect or somethin’.” Perhaps that’s because they typically leave their original faith as an ignorant schoolboy and so on.

We don’t know of designers of fracterial blagella or clud blotting cascades. We have some dusty old books that make extravagant claims that may be interpolated to this argument but no explicit formulations or empirical evidence.

The problem with your argument is that extravagant claims about things which are not known to exist are already being made in the name of science and conflated with basic scientific facts. In many instances all that a Darwinian argument consists of is imagining past events which are assumed to “cause” the biological world that we now live in. Some of the same people who deny essential truths because they apparently cannot be observed empirically also seem to think that imagining past events which cannot be seen can be advanced as an explanation for the “cause” and origins of biological form as we know it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Refining....

I'm trying to refine and define a few old arguments which I tend to use as a pattern. I save comments here so I can find them. Given the repetitious pattern of some of this debate I should probably save more.

From a comment:
Wow, your mythical creator man sounds extremely well thought out and complex. Far too complex to have just "come about".

The reasoning of that argument seems to go like this: "If you say that an organism is too complex to have come about randomly then I can apply that argument to God and say that God is too complex to have come about. Once I have said that God is too complex to have a random origin I can then believe that anything can just happen."

Feel free to clear up your irrational and random arguments. After all, if I make them more intelligible you will just argue that I'm putting words in your mouth and so on and I'm content to let natural selection operating on your ancestry of worms put words in your mouth.

So who intelligently designed your mythical creator man?

I don't expect your mind to grasp any ontological distinctions. It seems that those with the Darwinian urge to merge all species, form, distinction and specification together cannot grasp elementary distinctions. Let it suffice to say that given what the Word says of itself, it creates itself: "I AM that I AM." and all that. If you are created as a reflection of something of that nature then you have the capacity to select and create as well. If not then what you say here has more to do with natural selection operating on the reproductive and excretory organs of ancient ape-like creatures than with intelligence. You should know that generally when Nature calls excrement happens, yet instead you insist on attributing creative power to natural selections and so on. What selected natural selection? Does intelligence and language seem unnatural to you?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Comment on irreducible complexity

The irreducible complexity argument is based on the claim that evolution cannot produce a certain system. As soon as a feasible evolutionary route is proposed that argument falls apart.

What can generally be observed empirically is typically a form of irreducible complexity where if a part is taken away then a lack of function results. For sociological, psychological, political, theological or some other reason many scientists do not treat what is generally observed as the evidence that it is. Look at yourself for example, you neglect empirical observation and instead focus on proposing "feasible evolutionary" routes in line with Darwinian reasoning: "If an organism could be found which I could not imagine coming about in a gradual sequence of events then my theory would absolutely break down." For some reason those who are the first to blindly assert: "There is no evidence." also seem to be those most willing to cite their own imaginations as the equivalent of empirical evidence.

Irreducible complexity isn't an "argument" similar to Darwinian reasoning, it's generally an empirical observation which can be observed in the form and function of organisms. If one does not go the Darwinian route of imagining your own imagination to be the equivalent of empirical evidence you quickly see that the capacity to imagine things doesn't change empirical facts or explain the history of all biological specification, form and species. (Link)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Obamaism?

From a comment:
It doesn't surprise me that your students repeat your “[Natural selection] is not random” mantra back to you like sheep,and are willing to accept all of this unsubstantiated naturalistic rubbbish as though it were unquestionable fact.
Most students these days are just empty heads full of mush, ready to believe whatever they are told. That’s why all the kids are for Obama. He tells them he believes in ”change”, in “hope” and in “the future”. Like Darwinism, Obama-ism sounds good, but it lacks any actual realistic or specific mechanism to achieve what it claims to be able to deliver.
(Tyharris at UncommonDissent)

Faith in change itself is an interesting pattern. Even if history shows that change is likely to be destructive progressives have always tended to believe that change naturally/generally leads to progress.

My comment on Obama would be this, it seems to me like every candidate that relies on the vacuous "Deaniac vote" typical to American college students ultimately loses. Perhaps despite being a good voting bloc for rallies where everyone yells for change, it's actually too fickle and apathetic to be relied on for doing much more than running with the Herd. Their form of rallying seems to be like what they do every weekend at parties where they yell about their feelings about things.

I could be wrong, maybe this time the Herd will be different for a change.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Crystallizing a few reflections

Once upon a time there was a crystal which reflected on its own light. So that is what it did, as it was its nature and it was good. In a moment of reflection it thought it good to crystallize more crystals like itself that would form reflections of their own. Yet it reflected on this thought for an extra moment, weighing the danger of allowing others to reflect its light in themselves against the possibility of being able to infinitely reflect on things together with others. It allowed its thought to crystallize. For a moment the danger did not crystallize and all the new crystals reflected on things in harmony with each other. But there was an illusion that crystallized in one which drew so many in to reflect itself that it seemed to be reflecting its own light just like the original crystal. This crystal apparently illuminated many questions, yet it was all just an illusion that the original had already reflected on before it began.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Being mean enough to mean a little something

From a comment:
I didn't know where else to post this comment, but I thought it needed to be made.
To put it blatantly, you're a jerk.


If you call me a jerk then I may cry a little tear about it. After all, I'm a person too.

You approach each opinion and article that you refute like the person who wrote it was a clear idiot.

The interesting thing about text is that even if the person who wrote it is an idiot, they may be right because words have to be taken on their own terms. For example, you approach what I write like I am clearly a jerk and yet you apparently believe that I may be correct.

I treat honest idiots who happen to have a low IQ as the result of a disability in their brain with a form of respect, perhaps a little pat on the head.

They are people, wrong or not they deserve some respect.

This is all well and good in theory, yet in fact when you make a judgment you need to have examples in mind. So far all you've said is that a post where I suggest that people do not want to understand is the perfect example of a lack of respect, yet what if many do not want to understand. I wouldn't say that I respect all equally, at any rate.

You won't convince anyone if you're a jerk.

As social patterns in America indicate you'll never convince young men to be "nice" and feminine based on a feminized form of Christianity, instead they'll just leave Christianity.

I'm not sure that my goal is to convince anyone but if it was I wouldn't try to convince men based on how nice I am. You refer to biblical texts yet who knows what its writers might write to people who do not love to speak the truth and seek comfort by avoiding it in the name of love.

A perfect example is in this particular entry. Did you consider that people were actually struggling to understand your writing - that they WANTED to understand it and thus commented about it? ....

I have considered that, which is why I suggested some of the faults typical to my writing. Yet I also noted that they seem to begin to understand enough to know that they do not want to understand as is illustrated by the fact that their comments fail to focus on the facts or issues at hand. Typically they shift from the truth to dealing with whether or not I'm a nice fellow and so on but the truth is that even if I am not a nice fellow facts and logic will still be what they are. I wouldn't say that I'm always a nice fellow anyway.

But that is not the point, the point is that they are not lesser beings – they do not deserve your scorn.

It is because I do not consider them to be lesser beings that I treat what some write with contempt or disdain.

Refute away! Use the brains God had given you – but do so in love – as God has called you to do.

It seems that for you love can be summed up with: "Be nice." If that is your view of love and it is correct then you need to live by your own words because you're already failing by beginning a comment on being nice with: "You're a jerk." For that just doesn't seem nice!