Friday, April 20, 2012

On the Ruins of Two Cherished Schemes

The problem with denying either free will or the self is that you end up assuming what you deny, as well as giving the denial itself a free ride.

To deny the self assumes a self in the process of carrying out the denial. All you can do is not use the term "self", but you'll still be stuck with the implied vantage point and implications of the denial itself, which on determinism is equally problematic, however hidden it might be behind Oz's curtain.

To deny free will is to assume it in the nature of the denial itself, the status of determinism as itself anything beyond its own causally reductive factors, including "known", "ought" to be believed, "true" as opposed to "false", and so on.

To counter either the existence of the self or free will, necessarily ignores the equally-determined (and therefore equally true) status of belief in both, and assumes all the features of both in those same denials of them.

Hence, the ways in which both self and free will are discussed by determinists necessarily end up giving other factors the same treatment as the self and free will, while being exempted from the implications that determinism originally alleges against both.

That's why those who deny free will or the self necessarily end up cognitively acting out a belief in both in spite of themselves, as well as treating their own denials as some kind of intellectually-obligating gospels, complete with all the same rhetoric of that which they deny.

A rose, by any other name---or no name at all---is still a rose.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Shallow Dancing

"He had the academic’s trick of maintaining a pleasant, easy disposition while being careful to never get below a certain depth."
--Redacted from P. M. Hubbard, The Dancing Man: A Novel of Suspense, 1971

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Algorithmic Realism

"The first step on the path to realism is to realise that one has always been a realist; the second is to recognize that, however much one tries to think differently, one will never succeed; the third is to note that those who claim that they think differently, think as realists as soon as they forget to act a part. If they ask themselves why, their conversion is almost complete."

Etienne Gilson, The Unity of Philosophical Experience, 1937

Friday, April 13, 2012

Theism-Powered Science


Actually, being a theist *is* an advantage in scientific inquiry. Fully developed, it is the realization of ultimate personhood assumed necessarily to be a logically referred-to mind-related system which necessarily influences all finite minds regardless of their views or the subject or nature of their inquiry, including the assumptions of science generally as well as empirical research specifically.

Cognitive propriety depends on an already-existing mind structure as guiding backdrop of conscious awareness, not just some independent or asietic cognitive ether of supervisory assumptions. Assumptions don't exist in the absence of mind. And an operating mind structure is a mind, by the very fact of its operations.

Theism produces a far greater purpose, and therefore motivation, since it's universal, necessary, and assumes a God-mind that guarantees an ultimate enduring significance and reliability to all inquiry, science-related or not. Ethics and morality take on a greater meaning and significance because of the existence of God. Reality is not just the universality of causal law and matter in motion, although universal causality is a prior condition for the possibility of finite moral activity.

The incentive of thought and life is limitless with theism, because everlasting significance and meaning are possible only if God exists. Oh, and by the way, they're also necessary.

That doesn't mean that an atheist's commitment or integrity etc. cannot equal the theist. It can and sometimes exceeds that of many theists (as in the case of some personal longtime friends who are atheist). But theism has certain motivational, ennobling, and visionary features that an atheist perspective simply does not have, although for many atheists it either does not need them or else already has them in somewhat analogous---although still not strictly equivalent---senses.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Mondo Gnu Atheists

If I were asked to narrow down what characterizes the New Atheists to a single trait, it would have to be immaturity. In tone, in argument style, in philosophical sophistication, in grasp of social workings, in ability to assess consequences to behavior, and in emotional development, they just come off as incredibly juvenile.

--The Deuce over at Phaser's blog

I notice this too. They're not exhibiting rational and scientific precision or logical exactitude in their *own* tirades against belief in God. Yet that's what they accuse believers in God of being lax about.

And in the case of most believers---they're right. However, that doesn't get them a pass on their own views and arguments.

But not living up to their own standards *does* get them noticed as having blinked.

They really shouldn't make it so easy.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Borrowed Splendor

A commenter on Ed's blog recently claimed that intellect is completely originated from the brain.

Here's the latest of my response. I'll edit significantly in the next day or so.

How do you get true from "comes from the brain"? By "true" are you meaning anything additional to origination in the brain? Another way of putting it is: Is ascribing truth to a claim *anything* beyond a repeat of "comes from the brain"? If not, then "X is true" simply means "X comes from the brain". If it *does* mean anything beyond "comes from the brain", then materialism is thereby contravened.

But more fundamentally, how could origination in the brain be *known*---as anything *beyond* mere brain origination---since that state or activity of intellect would *itself* be merely another brain-originated event, and in that case, its status as "knowledge" is superfluous to brain events. But that would fly in the face of the original claim against intellect being distinct from brain matter or events thereof.

A lot of the garbage by a handful of commenters over at Feser's (phaser's) blog is either self-referentially inconsistent (I *am* going to turbo Kordig's article on this, by the way) or in the case of anti-transcendentalism, made up of unargued universal claims/denials and with apparently no need to qualify the truth value of those claims themselves---shock---with regard to either space or time.  We must all accept the good news of the negation any transcendental method (maybe even the possibility if we're lucky), and spread the gospel of this timeless and even spaceless truth by restricting the possibility of methods of truth. Plus---an added bonus---this claim is itself part of the method of obtaining truth (which means it is it's *own* reason for its *own* truth) that, well, frankly, *transcends* (amazing, just amazing), in the universality of its predications, any claims about there being some transcendental method for attaining truth.

No argument needed. (Call now, and we'll ship a bonus Keyword Rotation System for making *any* view true---and *universally* true at that---which is yours to keep even if you decide not to accept our proprietary universal truth products) And any challenge to this is just another claim to an illusory transcendental method by definition, since the claim limits methods of truth to non-transcendental only. Which, "may then seem to require an eternal glorification in the motto: 'Damn you Jack; I'm fireproof!'"*

Flew, Antony. God: A Critical Inquiry, first page of Chapter 3, page 52. The remark was about interpretive slights of hand attempted by Christian theologians with regard to evil (which, curiously enough, Flew was a groundless thumper about, as I've pointed out several times on this blog) and God's assumed goodness. Go figure.