Sunday, December 30, 2018

Review of Kai Nielsen's Ethics Without God

Latest version as of this post, on amazon.com:

I am actually a theist solely because of this book. However, I consider preeminent atheist theoretician Kai Nielsen to be the greatest thinker of all time, and easily the greatest atheist philosopher of all time, because of a single argument he discovered in writing his book Ethics Without God:


Argument from the necessary prior standards of ultimate perfect goodness: We necessarily use prior standards of goodness that are already higher in epistemic authority than God in order to argue that God is good.


Since a being that is merely supremely powerful and intelligent could be evil, no believer in God can get their model for what one ought to be and do from merely knowing that this kind of totally unlimited being exists. And the fact that a supremely powerful and intelligent being issues commands does not by itself invest those commands with moral authority or obligation. Consequently, one must judge in advance---using one's own prior moral as well as intellectual standards---that this being is completely, ultimately, and perfectly good.


No being would be called God unless that being were taken to be, among other things, perfectly good by the person making that judgment. But to properly call this being God, we must already have judged that being to be ultimately good. This proves that our concept of goodness---and our criteria for goodness---are prior to and independent of our belief in the existence of an ultimate and perfectly good transcendent being.


This last can be generalized into an even stronger argument that covers *anything* about God including God's existence per se. Because the standards of analysis are already God-level. Try challenging that statement without assuming it in the process.


The necessary assumptions for inquiring into the matter already rule the mind's operations comprehensively, as an ideal that is necessarily approximated to some extent. (We can always choose to be irrational.) Ultimately as the supervisory court of last resort, exceptionlessly because those assumptions are a set of universals, and just as decisively and authoritatively as God, because they function as the invariant rules of thought for deciding the truth value of any claim or belief or statement whatsoever, including themselves.


In other words, general reason, including logic, common sense, and so on, already has a greater authority than God in order to be the standard for investigating---and passing ultimate and authoritative judgment on---whether the statement that God exists is true.


For theistic apologists, this means that they are using reason as a mind-God in arguing for God's existence at all. And to try to make God rational, in their theological doctrines and controversies, in that sense too God must submit to reason's authority, wear it's badge of approval, have all the proper rational explanations for specific divine policies and actions, and so on.


Christian apologetics in particular is essentially a cognitive worship-fest to reason. This is just one example of the faith/reason schizophrenia, and I'm wondering whether it fosters a kind of cognitive multiple-personality disorder---maybe even damaged DNA---because it's held to be a wannabe theory of knowledge that is logically basic to all thinking.


And for precisely the same reasons, this prior-criteria systems-type issue raises some thorny metatheoretic issues for atheism, agnosticism, and skepticism as well, but I don't think it threatens atheism, only hard or strong agnosticism and unqualified universal skepticism. But in terms of the inferential sequence of logical justification and the general prior method and criteria of analysis itself, atheism wins by default.


God needs reason to be distinguished from heartburn or The Great Pumpkin, but reason stands alone and invincible---it cannot be questioned, denied, doubted, or even thought about without assuming in those processes.


That's the same prior default that believers use to argue their own cases while denying the God-level authority of reason when Oz's curtain is pulled and what they are doing is exposed for what it is.


Atheism needs to drop materialism (whose truth value is eliminated in that reductive process itself as well as the influence-immune supervisory pretensions of that analysis itself, like all universal reductionisms do) and the childish problem of evil (which requires the negation of the intended conclusion in order to provide actual evils in the first place), and learn four arguments extremely well: the burden of proof argument (Angeles' Critiques of God), the insufficient evidence argument (which depends on the burden of proof argument), the incoherence argument against the very concept of God, and the prior independent moral criterion argument and it's generalized form I've mentioned above.


I highly recommend all of Nielsen's writings, especially this book and his 2005 edition of Atheism and Philosophy. which briefly reiterates the above argument that is thoroughly elaborated in Ethics Without God.


Unfortunately, however, for both Nielsen and atheists generally, both the Prior Moral Standard Argument and its generalized Prior Truth Standard Argument (apparently discovered by yours truly in 2006) are theistic Trojan horses.


Sunday, December 23, 2018

The Crypto-Foundationalism of Anti-Foundationalism



Alvin Plantinga needs to read some Wittgenstein, as well as Urban, Suber, Boyle, Bartlett, Kordig, and Peels.

1) Treating reason as foundational is necessary in order to argue against it.

2) Belief in God is not as logically basic as the assumptions used to get out of bed in the morning, i.e. there is no parity, God needs reason logically, but not vice versa.

3) Using the assumptions necessary to analyze the issue are foundationalism in action.

4) The notions of epistemic rights, duties, "allowing", and "permitting" are obscure and question-begging.

5) Rights and duties about belief is an atheistic morality used to specify legitimacy of belief in God without having to argue for it.

6) Logically basic beliefs are not self-evident, but they are incorrigible.

7) Who is even talking about self-evidence in the last 20 years anyway? Much less vamping it as some kind of defense of a view. Plantinga's the only person I've ever heard of that talks about that.

8) Logically basic standards cannot be affirmed, denied, doubted, entertained, etc. without assuming them in the process. That's both the sense in which they are basic, and that's why they're basic.

9) The reasons why they are basic and invincible is precisely that set of reasons themselves as standards of all possible thought.

10) The fact that they are already logically basic exempts them from having to themselves be logically justified, precisely because they are necessarily basic both to themselves and any attempt to question them.

11) In fact, any attempt to criticize or falsify them or their basic status is itself the using of them as basic.

12) It's the invisible gardener problem in reverse. No matter what is appealed to, the same system must be used to try to refute that system itself, even in the process of denying that system by means of that same system.

13) At some point the question can no longer be evaded: how does Plantinga's own argumentation itself differ from foundationalism, if he apes it all the way to the bank in spite of his rejection of it?

14) Just how would intellectual hypocrisy be different from what he himself is doing?

15) Plantinga's own attempted refutation assumes my position, but he doesn't mention that analysis itself or its own assumptions---which are treated as incorrigible, in order to try to refute the incorrigibility of foundationalism.

16) No there are not always *other*---in the anti-foundationalist sense of always other different as-yet-unmentioned---beliefs for the logically basic system of reason itself.

17) The statements that make up general reason are foundational in the sense that they are logically basic to all else, certainly not always different as-yet-unmentioned claims.

18) The fact that they themselves do not need further "more basic" beliefs to justify them is due to how they are defined in the first place---as basic. To mark them off as logically basic for any thought whatsoever, thereby excludes them from the need for logically more-basic justification of themselves. In fact, to call them out about not being justified themselves by further propositional sources of logically-deeper propositions contradicts their already up-front-claimed status as basic in the first place, as well as assumes them as the sole instrument of finding fault with them.

19) Plantinga's, Bonjour's or anyone else's criticism of this form of foundationalism assumes that same foundationalism which it denies or argues against, in that very same process of argumentation or denial.  Notice that Plantinga's argument against foundationalism assumes the same analytic system I'm talking about---but (surprise, surprise) doesn't talk about it.

20) So the self-referential burden is on Plantinga and company to wake up to what they are both assuming and doing, in arguing against rationalistic foundationalism as I have described it.

21) And the fact that anti-foundationalist don't talk about their own assumptions and their own analysis itself tells me they either have too much credentialist and publishing skin in the game already to admit the lapse, or else really can't think in a thoroughgoing self-aware non-self-exempting way. Any one or combination of the above is a sad state of affairs.

22) Quine and company are just as oblivious and/or dishonest, of course, as I've demonstrated in the essay "Denaturing Quine's Naturalized Epistemology".

23) But the pretended muckrakers of theistic philosophy are actually themselves insulated from the very possibility of any accurate mapping of how people outside of crumbling academia actually think to what they address in their books and lectures. It's a scam---as well as an intellectual scandal.


Friday, December 21, 2018

Cheerleaders Of Genocide




"While it can seem noble enough when the stakes are low, pacifism is ultimately nothing more than a willingness to die, and to let others die, at the pleasure of the world's thugs.

It should be enough to note that a single sociopath, armed with nothing more than a knife, could exterminate a city full of pacifists. There is no doubt that such sociopaths exist, and they are generally better armed."

--Sam Harris, The End of Faith, page 199.


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Greatest Statement of Naturalism To Date



Stupidity and Ignorance as Spiritual Virtues: Evidence of DNA mutations?



The Socio-Biological Manufacture of Madness?

I'm starting to wonder whether the willful stupidity and ignorance of believers in God is evidence of epigenetics, that the expression of genetics in the history of leader-driven vested-interested dumbing down of believing populations (to always be able to squeeze money out of them through fear and other tactics) has actually changed or even damaged believers' DNA, resulting in a conscious fixation on mindless illogical blind belief that is held to be some kind of protective-cocoon spiritual virtue by most all Beyondananda Blik-Faith believers.


Monday, November 19, 2018

Another Self-Referentially Clueless Christian Apologist

       

[NOTE: This is an actual email exchange (minus the last comment) between a very well-known Christian apologist and myself. No, it's not Craig or anyone else in the U.S. or the UK. Hopefully you Oprah-idled mentalities can make the analogy between the above graphic and the circularity of many believers in arguing for God's existence.]

ATHEIST: I ask you believers a question about logical justification and you just give me either an unargued ontological claim or else an ontological if-then conditional that still puts you in the position of assuming what is in question. A very dangerous thing to do in any area of inquiry.

In terms of the source of logical authority, the standards of analysis themselves are already God-level, and you don't need God to either believe them or effectively use them for any and all purposes and areas of thought and knowledge, in acquiring and verifying truth.

In fact, when it comes to adjudicating the question of God's existence, those criterial standards are higher in belief-deciding logical authority than any God could be conceived of being, because they are assumed to be the ultimate tolls for deciding the legitimacy of any conclusion in deciding God's epistemic fate in the minds of sentient beings.

To give reasons for X necessarily is to assume that those reasons have a higher logical authority than X, whether X is "God exists" or "A tumor exists next to Frank's heart". Reason must necessarily determine God's ontological status, and is therefore the God of mind, and equally to the theist apologist. That's why arguments are constructed in the first place: to get some logically higher-level authority about which conclusion to come to.

Consequently, because one need not believe in God to efficaciously use those rational standards, atheism wins by logically prior default, and the fact that apologists for God themselves use principles of thought that do not require belief in God is a tell-tale implicit admission that reason is the highest court of appeal, not God. Therefore, not only is the truth of atheism assumed by all parties that argue their respective cases, but all arguments for God are based on atheistic principles of rationality.

Therefore, atheism is true both existentially as a prior temporal but enduringly necessary assumption going into the debate about God, and also logically prior as necessarily presupposed in order to argue about whether there is a God."


CHRISTIAN APOLOGIST: Your conclusion does not follow from the premisses.

The fact that one starts on a common ground of rationality with the atheist does not establish rational argument as more ultimate than God and thus make God superfluous. One thinks of the parallel presuppositionalist argument--e.g., Gordon Clark's viewpoint--that one must start with the God of Scripture in order to justify rational reasoning.

What apologists such as I are doing is simply to employ the common rationality that all humans do in fact (and must) use to make sense of the world we all live in. Rationality tells you something about human beings, but nothing necessarily about the existence of God, pro or con. One uses that rationality to show factual grounds for God's existence over against atheism.

To make the rationality itself ultimate would be like making a map ultimate--rather than the city to which one wished to go and found directions using the map. The map is a means-to-an-end; the fact that one starts with it doesn't make it somehow superior to the city itself. Reasoning is a "presupposition of method," a working hypothesis, that can lead to factual information.

Once one has shown God's existence factually (by the contingency argument, by the case for Jesus' deity, etc.), one can then argue that the God in question is rational and the source of rationality--for otherwise there is no adequate explanation for human rationality or for God's employment of rational revelation to communicate with his creatures and provide a means of salvation for them.

ATHEIST: Dude, you're using reason to argue that reason is not ultimate, as if reason is in fact the ultimate authority of your thinking after all.


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Tis the Season to be Chat-Trigger Trigger-Happy

The main problem for atheism is that reason ends up getting treated as a comprehensively-obligating theistic mind-god, complete with various proof-textings of an invisible inference engine.

Kinda like an ultimate personal mind. How do you question that similarity?

Doesn't seem resolvable without repeating the use of reason to supervise the issue, as if it has mind-obligating and mind-directing powers in spite of the denial of its clearly theistic characteristics in all aspects of our thinking.

What would reason tell you?

Friday, November 9, 2018

Transcendent Mind in the Supervisory Necessity of Reason



You memorize the following two Questions Of Metatheoretic Magic below, and practice saying them until you can say them repeatedly 21 times naturally---and absolutely perfectly---without stumbling or mispronouncing a single syllable, and you'll have the most profound eureka moments. It's that simple.

Yes there's some science behind the 21. I call the questions magic because they do things on their own when a mind knows and understands them, and then all truth outs itself if the theoretic evidence is followed out wherever it leads and the questioner faces all the worst against it.

But don't practice them fast, either. The immediate rule for impatience is: do not imprint imperfections. Super slow perfection now is you're only goal other than indefinitely repeating until that complete memorized perfection is reached. only slow perfect practice can minimize the time to perfect performance. 

This degree of perfection will both keep the two magic questions in mind when encountering self-inclusive universal claims (you'll think of some at first only a while after hearing them, but you'll get much quicker at it, trust me) and also make them recurrent in consciousness which is a sure sign there is analysis going on, digesting previous imprints in relation to these two magic questions.


What about that statement itself?


and


How does that statement impact its own truth?


 . . . and then wait on the Holy Spirit.


And while you're waiting, read the first page of either the introduction, or if there's no introduction, the first chapter, of 100 single-author philosophy books. Keep track of titles in a  cloud list that you can access anywhere, so you don't repeat yourself. Plus you'll get a sense of not only the differences in quality but also you'll start getting a sense of the entire forest. Yes, just from those first pages. Be sure to, as Nietzsche said, use "the psychology that knows how to look around corners". Share with the world those first pages in a single pdf, because it will be unique to you and yet helpful to many others to whom maybe only your list appeals.

Or do the same for journal articles, reading only the single-paragraph abstracts. Before long you'll be able to interpret the prophecy that only such surveys can reveal---and only when you do them yourself.

Combine these things, and in about three weeks the skeletal structure of the new mindset should be detectable, and you can then counter a lot of anti-intellectualism.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Weinstein: Hidden in Plain Sight



I need to go back and double-speed more Eric Weinstein videos. A true catalyst for sparking new thoughts and developments and refinements and even challenges of old ones.

Just one thing after another as I type and still listen to it. Need a transcript.

This is a mind-blowing interview. Pay very close attention to what Weinstein says at various times in this fascinating 2-hour interview.

And no, I'm no "follower" of either of them. Stumbled onto this, and I was negative about listening to Weinstein going into the interview, which I clicked only because of the dark web title.



Monday, November 5, 2018

The Ontological Self-Help Movement Among Abstract Objects



Self-Boot-Strapping: Petard Hoisting by Another Name

The problem with this entire book is that abstract objects are used  to adjudicate their own ontology, as if they have supervisory authority over the issue in the first place and are somehow exempt from that very analysis of themselves. And this bootstrapping issue is not even mentioned in the book. Consequently the entire book is superfluous to the deeper meta-theoretic issues.

It's not rocket science to realize that you have to use abstract objects to analyze and decide what they are. What do people think they're doing in the very process of assessing them?

That already assumes what they are: universally authoritative as components of evaluating and deciding questions about universals. Such as universals claiming what abstract objects are or must be, or assumptions about how to decide what abstract objects are or must be. Abstract objects are always already required, assumed, and used in the process of carrying out such an analysis in the first place.

Any discussion of abstract objects already assumes them and the role they play in thinking, among other equally basic assumptions and implications.

In terms of the ultimate criteria of general analysis, they are God Objects, and persons apply them personally to their lives in the structure of their own conceptualizing just about every waking moment of their lives. So the system of reason is necessarily theistic in the very definition of what it is.

But the approach of this book is a major fail and just blank about this stuff.

You have to use abstract objects to think at all, and specifically in this context to think about those abstract objects themselves. How do you decide what they are, or if that's not a problem, whether they're real or not? By using abstract objects as ontology-determining components in order to even construct claims and analyze them. In fact, however they're even defined, definitions require abstract objects, as do attempted reductions of abstract objects to useful fiction status or consensus or whatever.

It's a case of "by what authority do you say these things?" when saying anything already assumes a system of abstract objects. Questions about anything including questioning itself, assumes a system of inquiry made up of abstract objects.

A detailed look at all the definitions of abstract objects clearly shows that people are using them in order to think about them at all in the first place, but never mentioning that fact as they proclaim one abstract universal after another. And what that implies is a necessary theory of abstract objects, that cannot even be thought without assuming them in the process.

So to my mind, it's just a matter of collecting an inventory of them, maybe starting with the 1100 or so basic concepts of the latest Roget thesauruses, especially the mind/ideas section which contains about 250 or so of the most basic ones. And then see which ones can survive attempts to do without them.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Reason, Logos, and the Image of God

The total number of ultimate necessary truths which are affirmed and assumed even in their denials, objections, and alternatives, make up the system we call mind.

Any justification or refutation, any process of deciding what is true and what is false, must proceed according to that system of necessary truths. Therefore, that system logically justifies everything including itself, and at every moment sustains our rational knowledge of the world because of it's enduring invariability and therefore reliability as an eternal ideality or standard of thought.

But only persons logically justify things.

Metatheoretic rationality is the ideal person without the limits of finitude. And it doesn't have to do anything to carry out all this universal justifying. Just being what it is does everything inertly, and automatically.

Because it is the ultimate criterion of all truth including questions about itself and its own reality, and because it logically determines the real, it necessarily indicates or implies the existentially real at every moment.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Yet Another Swashbuckling at Feser's Place


Edward Feser is the Jimi Hendrix of Thomism.

Can't thank him enough for his blog as a catalyst for intellectual development in regard to just about all aspects of classical theism versus open-ended cross-examination.

So here is my comment from:

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2018/10/the-voluntarist-personality.html

To question or analyze whether the will or the intellect is the determiner of our belief in voluntarism or intellectualism, assumes intellectualism.

Besides, if it really were a sheer function of will, then there's no such thing as having reasons for the belief. But hey, you couldn't be bothered with asking yourself which belief you're going to will today. Just will it, and let the intellectualists ask questions later.

And if it's all sheer willing, you couldn't even be aware of that fact itself---you could only will it, and then will your belief that you willed it.

The problem with voluntarism is that voluntarists argue for it, instead of simply urging people to just WILL it.

As Charles Manson and Nike would both say: "Just will it."

* * *

"It's ALL real, sonny boy! So watch out!"
--Town Drunk, Macon Georgia

The Real Outline For Christian Apologetics


  • Comprehensive public inventory of the most basic assumptions of evidentialism.
  • Comprehensive inventory of relevant factors and values that justify preferences made, using the rules of general rationality or principles of thinking and deciding what is true. Examples are: survival, some sense of sanity, the value hierarchies in relation to purposes chosen, the nature and value of persons, criteria of historical analysis, and so on. Artificial intelligence programs will force this issue, thank God.
  • 2D/3D charting of arguments in organizational-chart formats with easily isolable lines of inference between the uniquely-numbered and sequenced statements.
  • Metatheoretically justify the set of necessary universals required to know anything about the past 5000 years or 5 minutes ago, identifying the universals that cannot be denied without assuming them in the process of that denial, in order to just think at all about anything historical. (John Warwick Montgomery's early books on history identify the self-reference issues in things like higher criticism historical skepticism, and so on, and refutes them.)
  • Number every statement, whether static (as added to the system) or dynamically according to inferential sequence.
  • Logically label each statement as either an Assumed Premise or Derived Conclusion (from previous statements, ultimately to an Assumed Premise.
This would outshine science in precision, and the contrasted absence of this kind of thing in science itself (and philosophy, for that matter) would become notorious virally.

Too bad christian apologists are dedicated to street stupidity and ignorant about what's so blatantly staring them in the face. They're afraid of exposure to their opposition's arguments and afraid to engage. Hence their Stepfords rhetorical patterns.

Game over. They lost.

You get 10 times the growth in knowledge and insight by reading opposition arguments. There is simply no substitute for this, and no way around it.

Sublimation is both the alcohol and the sugar of laziness itself.

Kick yourself in the ass right now, and read some heavy tome aloud. 5 minutes a day will change your life immediately. Increase it so gradually that it's almost imperceptible.

Wake your ass up! You don't get to repeat these moments!


Blockchain Jesus and the Tell-Tale Heart of Verbal Darkness



If your theory is universal and includes itself in what it's talking about, then that theory itself must be impacted by its own truth or assertion. Otherwise, the self-exemption destroys it's universality.

"Not all" logically equals only some. Not all.

But if it's not true as a universal, then why was it ever constructed as a statement itself in the first place?

If you're not being an intellectually hypocritical liar, why not just use the word "some" or even "most"? Instead of the typical social dilettante's absolutistic claiming of universal X about A?

Where's the agenda'd bigotry now?

In the future, rash precocious adolescents will ask these questions. And they won't be kind. I will be the one who looks kind in retrospect.

Which views can say something about all views and not have to be treated accordingly, and which one's can't? Whose ox gets gored is the streetwise truth here. It's about getting the intellectual upper hand before you have any opportunity to say anything.

See how it works, kickin-it mental party-ravers?

Or if I'm wrong about that, then pray tell why would any self-contradictory or self-referringly contradictory claim ever be stated to another person in the first place, and in repeated unargued verbal rituals in all social situations?

Constant repetition---and without any argument. Someone is trying to convince themselves of something that just somehow won't convince, all the while running interference against any scrutiny that might reveal the telltale, implicit (the more the better), but quite fatal self-reference contradiction.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Modern Science: Bragging About Precision in Sloppy Traditional Prose



Once you start really exploring scientific method, you realise that if you took the advertised exactitude seriously and you yourself obtained detailed knowledge of, not only scientific method, but also of what exactly science is defined as being in the first place, you'd get the distinct impression that you're more of a scientist than many practicing research scientists.

I guarantee that if you become an expert on scientific method and the definition of science---and don't even bother with the rest of the universals of science, just those two things alone---you would totally freak out the staff in just about any research facility today. And they would find a way to get rid of you asap.

Don't get me started on the laxness and politics of the environments their underlings often have to work in.

A lot of scientific research doesn't verify its own procedures, just as a lot of businesses don't verify design or procedures with real-world users before taking the product or service to market.

It's the collectivism, of course, but note the blatant hypocrisy of the hype versus the daily---as well as the theoretic---reality.

Just another reason why I avoid all organizations of any kind, as much as possible.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Sydney Hook: God, Necessity, and the Laws of Logic


"Now if the laws of logic are taken as formal conditions of discourse, they cannot establish the existence of anything (including God) as necessary. If they are taken as statements ,about things, then they produce an embarrassing richness of necessary existences. Those who accepted them would be under the intellectual compulsion of finding a way to distinguish between God and other necessary existences. This makes it impossible for believers to use the laws of logic alone, for since they generally assume that the existence of other things depends upon God, they cannot accept any method of argument which leads to the conclusion that there are other necessary existences as well. Such a conclusion would entail that God's power is limited."

--from Critiques of God (1976), Peter Angeles ed., "Modern Knowledge and the Concept of God", page 24 (from Hook's Quest For Being, 1961)


This has a number of problems:

1 If the laws of logic are the formal conditions of discourse, then one cannot question their own existence or the existence of what must be assumed in order to contemplate the situation. The laws of logic are necessarily both the formal and the practical existing conditions that make discourse possible.

2 To say that the formal conditions of discourse cannot prove existence is to use those formal conditions of discourse as authorities about formal conditions of discourse adjudicating existence in that statement itself. A denial doesn't get you a free arbitrary exemption from scrutiny, unless the burden of proof is on the affirmative claim. And this is compounded by the fatal self-reference inconsistency and self-destruction.

And the burden of proof is on the person who can't avoid using as well as assuming those formal conditions of discourse in order to pass judgment on the proper means of deciding existence claims.

Once again, as I said in the frontiers lecture, the rationally necessary is necessarily the existentially real, as well as the theoretic real, because any argument denying that is self-contradictory in trying to rationally necessitate its own truth about the experientially real in that selfsame formal-condition-based argument about existential moment-by-moment reality.

3 And those formal conditions of discourse produce, in the sense of revealing, in both what they assume and what they imply, a number of irreducibly basic necessary statements.

But the only embarrassment is from Hook's self-contradictions. Distinguishing between God and other necessary existences is precisely what prevents the atheist from seeing God in the ultimacy, efficacy, and, even morality of general rationality itself.

Using the laws of logic is using certain aspects of Ultimate Mind, or God.

Where there is no dependency, there is reason itself, whose set of principles assumes, implies, and embodies various essential characteristics of God.

Hook, like all other rationalist atheists, uses reason as a God of Mind.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Half of Colleges Bankrupt in 10 to 15 Years

The professor who made that claim thinks 9 years.

Let's try to make it 5. We can do it.

And all of them within 20!

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/15/hbs-professor-half-of-us-colleges-will-be-bankrupt-in-10-to-15-years.html

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Woke Atheist Peter Boghossian Sets the Example


Some atheists see the danger of anti-intellectualism and take action. Peter Boghossian has even taken his campaign against religion's irrationality-mongering to the prisons where he has extensive experience.

The rest of the philosophers, and almost all of the religious, simply aren't that woke.

They're hiding. Someone tell them their day of reckoning is here.

Once again, somebody's not reading their Schopenhauer.

Peter's website, concepts, and strategies should be studied closely, regardless of the relative success or not of the project.

He's a courageous pioneer and hero. And I consider myself a part of his crusade.

As Nietzsche said, "One must say it ten times: The most important things are the methods!"

https://www.streetepistemology.com/

Friday, October 12, 2018

Nielsen's Infallible Fallibility

This was one of Nielsen's silences, as well as an infallible handwaving about fallibility, complete with giving fallibility the status of an infallible principle. Funny how that works.

 Like the point I made recently about nominalism, fallibility itself gets treated as if it had all the qualities of infallibility. Other issues are both the criteria and justification of fallibility itself.

We make mistakes. And I'm necessarily infallible on that point.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Bedtime for Booze & Tobacco Mentalities

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/alcohol-shunned-young-people-health-survey-for-england-non-drinkers-a8576616.html

William James on Abstract Logical Relations

Logical relations are perceived as directly as anything else.
--William James (in Durant's Mansions book, page 40)

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

How Do You Know That God Exists?

Well, you have to have some basis for that kind of extra belief on top of you're everyday ones.

But it turns out that that basis itself is already functioning as a God of your thinking.

So a functionally-equivalent-to-God system of analysis is necessarily assumed to analyze the question of the existence of God.

Argued denials of that basis demonstrate its necessity in using argued premises to somehow decide the truth or falsity of another claim, a conclusion, because of that same assumed basis of thinking.

That basis is general rationality, which is logic plus the practical rules of thinking that logic implies.

General rationality is a set of abstract objective universals combined with the irreducibly distinct basic concepts, including the concepts that make up those universals themselves.

And yet rational standards in all aspects of everyday  life are followed more closely than the sacred texts of any religion.

It's already the abstract universal Word of God about all logically possible candidates for the status of any more specific, say salvational/prophetic Word of God.

To think about this at all---is to have already assumed it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Centore Wants to be Hated


"My aim in this book is to be hated."
--First sentence of F. F. Centore's book, Confusions and Clarifications: An Introduction to Philosophy for the Twenty-First Century.

Always wanted to go on an F. F. Centore book-reading binge, and now's my chance. Received three of his books today.

His book, Atheism and Theism, will be obtained as soon as the price drops into Earth's atmosphere. Check out the first 6 pages on Amazon.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Os Guinness: The Dust of Death


Just arrived today. I will not narrate it, but will take exhaustive notes and incorporate into the metatheoretic lecture. I'll also sample his other works, especially his most recent books.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Scientism and Secularism by J. P. Moreland


It's on its way. Published only four days ago. Available here. Should be interesting. Moreland is intellectually streetwise about academic philosophy. And the remarks against scientism in his and Craig's Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview were apparently just a starting point. If so, then Moreland sees the persistence as more than just a catalog entry in the list of alternatives and objections to belief in God. I'll glean the essentials as soon as the book arrives, and then post a very brief and to-the-point review.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The Stones Cry Out

Key materials of computers are mined from rocks. So, in a sense, we're deriving information gathering power from stone. It's still the Stone Age.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Alleged Reasoning-to-Prove-Reason Fallacy.

Fallacy is impossible unless reason is still running the show. Irrationalists mimic their own stereotypes of rationalists in their arguments against rationalism and reason itself.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Schopenhauer on the Intellectual Transcendence of Vision

From Schopenhauer's On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, beginning on page 68:

"Now, if seeing consisted in mere sensation, we should perceive the impression of the object turned upside down, because we receive it thus; but in that case we should perceive it as something within our eye, for we should stop short at the sensation. In reality, however, the Understanding steps in at once with its causal law, and as it has received from sensation the datum of the direction in which the ray impinged upon the retina, it pursues that direction retrogressively up to the cause on both lines; so that this time the crossing takes place in the opposite direction, and the cause presents itself upright as an external object in Space, i.e., in the position in which it originally sent forth its rays, not that in which they reached the retina (see fig. 1). The purely intellectual nature of this process, to the exclusion of all other, more especially of physiological, explanations, may also be confirmed by the fact, that if we put our heads between our legs, or lie down on a hill head downwards, we nevertheless see objects in their right position, and not upside down; although the portion of the retina which is usually met by the lower part of the object is then met by the upper: in fact, everything is topsy turvy excepting the Understanding.

The second thing, which the Understanding does in converting sensation into perception, is to make a single perception out of a double sensation; for each eye in fact receives its own separate impression from the object we are looking at, each even in a slightly different direction: nevertheless that object presents itself as a single one. This can only take place in the Understanding, and the process by which it is brought about is the following: Our eyes are never quite parallel, except when we look at a distant object, i.e. one which is more than 200 feet from us. At other times they are both directed towards the object we are viewing, whereby they converge, so as to make the lines proceeding from each eye to the exact point of the object on which it is fixed, form an angle, called the optic angle ; the lines themselves are called optic axes. Now, when the object lies straight before us, these lines exactly impinge upon the centre of each retina, therefore in two points which correspond exactly to each other in each eye. The Understanding, whose only business it is to look for the cause of all things, at once recognises the impression as coming from a single outside point, although here the sensation is double, and attributes it to one cause, which therefore presents itself as a single object. For all that is perceived by us, is perceived as a cause that is to say, as the cause of an effect we have experienced, consequently in the Understanding. As, nevertheless, we take in not only a single point, but a considerable surface of the object with both eyes, and yet perceive it as a single object, it will be necessary to pursue this explanation still further. All those parts of the object which lie to one side of the vertex of the optic angle no longer send their rays straight into the centre, but to the side, of the retina in each eye ; in both sides, however, to the same, let us say the left, side. The points therefore upon which these rays impinge, correspond symmetrically to each other, as well as the centres in other words, they are homonymous points. The Understanding soon learns to know them, and accordingly extends the above-mentioned rule of its causal perception to them also ; consequently it not only refers those rays which impinge upon the centre of each retina, but those also which impinge upon all the other symmetrically corresponding places in both retinas, to a single radiant point in the object viewed : that is, it sees all these points likewise as single, a [page 71] object also. Now, it should be well observed, that in this process it is not the outer side of one retina which corresponds to the outer side of the other, and the inner to the inner of each, but the right side of one retina which corresponds to the right side of the other, and so forth ; so that this symmetrical correspondence must not be taken in a physiological, but in a geometrical sense. Numerous and very clear illustrations of this process, and of all the phenomena which are connected with it, are to be found in Kobert Smith s "Optics," and partly also in Kastner's German translation (1755). I only give one (fig. 2), which, properly speaking, represents a special case, mentioned further on, but which may also serve to illustrate the whole, if we leave the point R out of question. According to this illustration, we invariably direct both eyes equally towards the object, in order that the symmetrically corresponding places on both retinas may catch the rays projected from the same points. Now, when we move our eyes upwards and downwards, to the sides, and in all directions, the point in the object which first impinged upon the central point of each retina, strikes a different place every time, but in all cases one which, in each eye, corresponds to the place bearing the same name in the other eye. In examining (perlustrare) an object, we let our eyes glide backwards and forwards over it, in order to bring each point of it successively into contact with the centre of the retina, which sees most distinctly : we feel it all over with our eyes. It is therefore obvious that seeing singly with two eyes is in fact the same process as feeling a body with ten fingers, each of which receives a different impression, each moreover in a different direction: the totality of these impressions being nevertheless recognised by the Understanding as proceeding from one object, whose shape and size it accordingly apprehends and constructs in Space. This is why it is possible for a blind man to become [page 72]  a sculptor, as was the case, for instance, with the famous Joseph Kleinhaus, who died in Tyrol, 1853, having been a sculptor from his fifth year. For, no matter from what cause it may have derived its data, perception is invariably an operation of the Understanding.

Friday, September 28, 2018

The Flew that Didn't Get Airplay Part 1

Reading the book makes me now suspect that hardly anyone has actually read it.

"Despite these commendations, I have long wanted to make major corrections to my book Hume’s Philosophy of Belief. One matter in particular calls for extensive corrections. The three chapters “The Idea of Necessary Connection,” “Liberty and Necessity,” and “Miracles and Methodology” all need to be rewritten in the light of my newfound awareness that Hume was utterly wrong to maintain that we have no experience, and hence no genuine ideas, of making things happen and of preventing things from happening, of physical necessity and of physical impossibility. Generations of Humeans have in consequence been misled into offering analyses of causation and of natural law that have been far too weak because they had no basis for accepting the existence of either cause and effect or natural laws.

Meanwhile, in “Of Liberty and Necessity” and “Of Miracles,” Hume himself was hankering after (even when he was not actually employing) notions of causes bringing about effects that were stronger than any that he was prepared to admit as legitimate. Hume denied causation in the first Inquiry and claimed that all the external world really contains is constant conjunctions; that is, events of this sort are regularly followed [Page 58] by events of that sort. We notice these constant conjunctions and form strong habits associating the ideas of this with the ideas of that. We see water boiling when it is heated and associate the two. In thinking of real connections out there, however, we mistakenly project our own internal psychological associations.

Hume’s skepticism about cause and effect and his agnosticism about the external world are of course jettisoned the moment he leaves his study. Indeed, Hume jettisons all of his most radical skepticism even before he leaves his study. There is, for instance, no trace of the thesis that causal connections and necessities are nothing but false projections onto nature in the notorious section “Of Miracles” in the first Inquiry.

Again in his History of England Hume gave no hint of skepticism about either the external world or causation. In this Hume may remind us of those of our own contemporaries who upon some sociological or philosophical grounds deny the possibility of objective knowledge. They then exempt from these corrosions of universal subjectivity their own political tirades, their own rather less abundant research work, and above all their own prime revelation that there can be no objective knowledge."

--Flew, There Is A God, page 57-58,

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Brother Benignus on Reason as the Higher Power

"Plato goes on to show directly that perception cannot be knowledge. Even in the simplest proposition, for example, "This desk is wooden", there is something more than direct perception. To attribute a predicate to a subject I must compare two present percepts and compare my present perceptions with my past perceptions. To do this I must first classify the percepts under concepts. All these acts are impossible to sense. because sensation is always an isolated, present impression unrelated to any other. In knowledge, therefore, I exercise a power that is above the senses. This higher power, is evidenced further by the fact that different sensations suggest the same idea to me, for example this orange both looks round and feels round. The roundness is not the look, because in that case feeling could never suggest it; nor is it the feel, for the opposite reason. Yet I know from either seeing it or feeling it or both that it is round. Clearly there is in knowledge a higher power which sense serves and which judges sense.

Therefore, as Socrates showed, knowledge is comprehension by means of a concept or definition which is fixed and permanent and the same for all minds. It belongs to reason and not to sense. It gives the objective essence of a thing, not a private appearance. Its object is nothing of this phenomenal world, but the eternal Idea. True knowledge is the rational comprehension of the Ideas."

---Brother Benignus, 1947, Nature, Knowledge, and God: An Introduction to Thomistic Philosophy, page 43.

Comprehensive God Debate Reference Coming

I'm separating out the notes on J. L. Mackie's The Miracle of Theism and Michael Martin's Atheism: A Philosophical Justification from the massive spreadsheet called Encyclopedia of God Debate Arguments (a project I abandoned after reading Nielsen), and copying them into their own respective spreadsheets. But I'm just making copies, not deleting that spreadsheet itself.

I will probably read Martin's book verbatim at some point, even though it's a total failure with regard to actually justifying atheism. As I've said elsewhere, it's a paper tiger, and I will only narrate it for completeness in my coverage of contemporary atheism.

The strange thing is that I have a sneaking suspicion that most non-believers as well as believers are afraid to read that book.

Mackie's book, The Miracle of Theism, while it fails as an eliminator of belief in God, oddly enough, given the title, contains what I remember to be the most devastating argument ever constructed against miracles.

The point of the title is that it's a miracle anyone believes in God. That's the actual miracle of theism, according to Mackie. Most atheists avoid the book because the title sounds like it's a book arguing for belief in God.

But as I've said elsewhere, someone else is gathering the essence of these two books (as well as all others on the subject), and since I've already taken exhaustive notes on both, I will not be doing anything with those except making sure I haven't missed anything that will be valuable going forward. When I took those notes I was still in the perpetually bewildered state, and although in reading those works I became permanently mind-blown, in taking notes I was not able to remember so many valuable insights from writers of every persuasion.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Sickness Unto Death

These remarks were sparked by an email from a writer friend involved in the God debate, and who envisions a comprehensive multi-volume work on the God debate (thank God someone finally decided to take this on). Here they are:

I keep telling people: Nielsen and Rosenberg. Until Nielsen's Ethics Without God and Rosenberg's The Atheist's Guide to Reality are dealt with, nothing will happen except the inevitable: atheists latching onto the two prior standards arguments for atheism and disseminating them through much younger people than the adult influencers of the wave of new atheism. Feser recently signaled this about Rosenberg's book, as being the most formidable atheist book out there, but I have yet to see anything about Nielsen's prior moral standards argument. I'll be reading Feser's 10-part review of Rosenberg's book soon. Naturally, years from now christian apologists will issue critiques of both books as if it's all new to everyone.

Went to yet another church a couple of weeks ago. It's like all the ministers have had lobotomies. They are the real enemy in all this, not those with opposing views. Look for unchurched christians to start publicly repudiating and get in the face of these irrationality-mongers in the not too distant future. Otherwise the mindless faith-ists are going to get us all killed as a reaction to their nonsense. There's a reason why apologists are obsessed with the Canaanite massacre type stuff: they only have to deal with atheists who are weak and stupid enough to object only to some internal self-contradictory notion that gives the transcendent realty of evil an exemption from scrutiny.

Lucky 7: The Periodicity of Spiritual Weightlifting

The trans-daily principle of resting, which is the whole key to weightlifting---separating workouts by at least a day to allow for repair and extra growth of muscle cells---may have an analog in the concept of the 7th in the Bible.

Sevenness of the Hebrew Shabbat is obscured by the English word Sabbath and the fact that we use it only in the context of days of the week. But it could work for every seventh week, month, year, and in the case of the Jews in the Bible, they took a 7-year vacation every seventh set of seven years, and that seven years was I think called the Jubilee.

Staring at a Point

Staring at a point is considered, by many military close-order drill instructors, as well as my profoundly inspiring martial arts instructor John Blankenship in Austin from decades ago, a very important component for focusing (physically as well as mentally) solving problems, including philosophical problems, as well as in meditation and eye exercises.

Try it sometime for a minute or so, followed by palming for one minute afterwards.



Universals and Principles Exist Only as Aspects of Mind

The principles of reason do not exist in and of themselves individually, but all depend on each other in an equivalence class that constitutes a necessarily integral system that is indistinguishable from an ultimate mind.

I can construct this same system of mind from an inventory of assumptions taken from any argument against it or denial of it.

A mind is an entity that preferentially runs and controls programs based on and involving the principles of reason, plus basic assumptions about values, purpose, and meaning according to a hierarchy of values.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Comprehensive Inventory of Objections and Responses in the God Debate

When it comes to philosophical arguments, there's really not that much to it, because all views are based on a very small number of assumptions.

I'm now building a master inventory of all views, arguments, and objections that pertain to the God debate, including objections to arguments both for and against God, and all objections to all other philosophical views as well, especially the reductionisms, self-referring universals, and party remarks.

The bare essentials of everything from the Metatheoretic Frontiers lecture will also be integrated into this spreadsheet, beginning today.

This is the best quick-and-dirty way to compile the dialog components in a way that can be auto-processed for animated dialogs.

Also, anyone can comment. Anyone. That way, the integrity of my development is secure, and yet it's wide open for any and all comments and questions. I'll delete those comments only when I have what I think is an adequate response integrated into the document.

Here's the sheet:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ZJGKI8rWVlCsuuD86ryvKQ7vmG45K7LvJ9S5wIvJwKs/edit?usp=sharing

Monday, September 24, 2018

On Feser vs Yet Another Establishment Philosopher

In response to a recent blog post by Edward Feser, I said:

The academic establishment of golf drunks promotes only the rent boys of completely refuted views. It's a scam, which is why they're never going to allow any cross-examination of basic assumptions, but merely repeat the same glib garbage decade after decade. They're not interested in metatheoretic argumentation---just the continued advertising campaign for reductionism, relativism, and conventionalism, regardless of cost.

Random First Thoughts


I'll narrate this book soon, even though I already have exhaustive notes on it.

Still working on the three lectures, the main one being  "Metatheoretic Frontiers". The others are "Speed-Learning Philosophy" and "How I Found Happiness in a Not-So-Happy World".

Without change there is something inside that sleeps, and never wakens.