Friday, December 01, 2006

Driving Truck Bombs Through the Gaps in Leftist Logic

Back when this blog was knee-high to a site meter, I wrote “Historically, wars have been fought over territory and resources. Now the human mind is the turf, and the battle is being waged on a vertical dimension in order to ‘colonize’ as many noggins as possible. In other words, our task in the ‘war on terror’ has nothing to do with land, oil, or territory per se, but with the inevitable problems caused by a more primitive mode of psychological development that has access to weapons that, on its own, it could never have developed (because of its primitiveness). This is a war between different levels of psychological development.”

In our triangulated global war between Islam, the left, and classical American liberalism, it seems that we and the Islamists are fully aware of their alliance with the left. Only the clueless left are in the dark about this dynamic. Since they flatter themselves with the designation “progressive,” they literally cannot recognize their deep alliance with the most backward and regressive force on the planet, radical Islam. But the Islamists are a bit more sophisticated than the left -- just as the Palestinian PR machine has always been more sophisticated than the liberal media, and has been relying upon these useful MSM jihadiots to propagandize on their behalf for 30 years.

Dr. Sanity addresses this in her post today, Systematic Subversion and the Ultimate Triumph of Freedom, in reference to Ahmadinejad’s “Letter to my American Moonbat Brothers and Sisters.” Why shouldn’t those who are sworn to the destruction of America celebrate the electoral victory of the Democrats? It's not an insult. It just is. After all, as Vasko Kohlmayer writes (linked to Dr. Sanity’s piece), Democrats

-- have tried to prevent us from listening on terrorists' phone calls
-- have sought to stop us from properly interrogating captured terrorists
-- have tried to stop us from monitoring terrorists' financial transactions
-- have revealed the existence of secret national security programs
-- have opposed vital components of the Patriot Act
-- have sought to confer unmerited legal rights on terrorists
-- have opposed profiling to identify the terrorists in our midst
-- have impugned and demeaned our military
-- have insinuated that the president is a war criminal
-- have forced the resignation of a committed defense secretary
-- have repeatedly tried to delegitimize our war effort
-- want to quit the battlefield in the midst of war.

“To see just how bad things really are, ponder this question: If the terrorists were represented by a party in our political system, how would their foreign policy program substantially differ from that of the present-day Democrats? By effectively becoming a political arm of our sworn enemy, the Democratic Party has staked out a position that is unparalleled in our country's history” (Kohlmayer).

Now, I am the last person in the world to be surprised by this alliance between modern Islamist primitives and primitive postmodern progressives. Their interests are identical, in that both believe that the West is fundamentally flawed, and both call for a destruction of the contemporary order and its replacement with a fantasized utopia.

In both cases, their respective philosophies are deeply irrational, which represents another area of convergence. In any number of past posts, I have enunciated my own ontology and epistemology, demonstrating that in order to understand the whole of reality, we must recognize two realms that are not reducible to the other, the horizontal world of quantities, of asymmetrical logic, and linear causation, and a vertical realm of ascending qualities that can only be understood in light of the Absolute.

One of the reasons Islam is so irrational is that it denies the horizontal. Today at American Thinker there are a pair of excellent articles about this, one entitled What is Islamic Philosophy, the other entitled Islam and the Problem of Rationality. I don’t have a lot of time this morning, but if you read these articles, you will see that the fundamental problem with Islamic thinking is that it is wholly vertical and devalues or completely disregards the horizontal.

Poole cites their belief in "volunteerism,” which maintains “that rather than created objects having inherent existence, Allah [vertically] constantly recreates each atom anew at every moment according to his arbitrary will. This, of course, undermines the basis for what Westerners understand as natural laws.” Furthermore, there is the belief in “occasionalism,” a doctrine maintaining that “in the natural world, what is perceived as [horizontal] cause and effect between objects is mere appearance, not reality. Instead, only Allah truly acts with real effect; all seemingly natural observances of causation are merely manifestations of Allah's habits, for Allah simultaneously creates both the cause and the effect according to his arbitrary will.”

Carson notes what amounts to the same thing, that “[horizontal] causes and effects are inadmissible... because causes limit the absolute [vertical] freedom of Allah to bring about whatever events he wills.  Effects are brought about, not by causes, but by the direct will of Allah.” Obviously, “Without a notion of cause and effect, science is impossible, and “If the true cause of events is the will of Allah, and if the will of Allah is inscrutable, then the causes of events are inscrutable and science a vain pursuit.  The issue is ultimately whether the universe and its creator are in any way intelligible.  The West, with its traditions of natural law and natural theology, agrees for the most part that the universe is astonishingly intelligible and God somewhat so. Islam, at least at its most rigorous, denies any intelligibility whatsoever to either.”

Now, bear in mind those last three sentences. What they clearly highlight is that the development of science in the West was characterized by a unique appreciation of both the horizontal and the vertical, which intersect in natural theology and in natural law -- in a greater (capital R) Reason. One could also say that they intersect in the whole Judeo-Christian worldview, which regards the world as intelligible to intelligence precisely because both are a reflection of the same divine logos that infuses all of reality, both vertical and horizontal. In Islam, Allah is so radically transcendent that he cannot be known, while in the West, one may know God in a multitude of ways both horizontal and vertical, for example, by mapping the human genome, by enunciating relativity theory, or by simply becoming more virtuous -- since humans, in their vertically ascended state, are a mirror and image of the divine.

Put it this way: the scientific revolution occurred just once, in just one civilization -- something like 99.98 percent of all scientific inventions and discoveries have occurred in Western Christendom. Everywhere else, science either never appeared, or it petered out after some initial advances -- for example, in China and the Islamic world. And the reason science could not be sustained in these civilizations is specifically religious.

Judeo-Christian metaphysics facilitated science in several unique ways. Remember, the practice of science is based on a number of a priori assumptions about the world that cannot be proven by science. Rather, they must be taken on faith -- indeed, it would not be going too far to say that science is based on a foundation of revelation.

In short, Christianity depicts God as a rational being who created the universe in a rational, predictable, and lawful way that is subject to human comprehension. In other words, science is based on the faith that the world is intelligible, that human beings may unlock its secrets, and that doing so actually brings one closer to God.

Now all forms of leftism, secularism, or materialism are every bit as logically incoherent as Islam, and will sooner or later lead to tyranny over the mind, spirit, and body (which history demonstrates time and again). Since these philosophies deny the vertical a priori, they actually run counter to that which makes us human: our access to the realm of vertical values that illuminate and give meaning to our human journey.

The philosopher Michael Polanyi pointed out that what distinguishes leftism in all its forms is the dangerous combination of a ruthless contempt for traditional moral values (the vertical) with an unbounded moral passion for utopian perfection (which amounts to a coerced “horizontal verticality”). The first step in this process is a complete skepticism that rejects traditional ideals of moral authority and transcendent moral obligation -- a complete materialistic skepticism combined with a boundless, utopian moral fervor to horizontally transform mankind.

However, being that the moral impulse remains in place, there is no longer any boundary or channel for it. One sees this, for example, in college students (and those permanent college students known as professors) who, in attempting to individuate from parental authority and define their own identities, turn their intense skepticism against existing society, denouncing it as morally shoddy, artificial, hypocritical, and a mere mask for oppression and exploitation. This is why, in their rhetoric, they sound so much like the Islamists -- why Noam Chomsky or Michael Moore or Dailykos sound no different than bin Laden.

For a while, civilization was able to withstand the skepticism unleashed by the enlightenment, by benefitting from the momentum of the traditional vertical-horizontal framework that gave rise to science to begin with (for example, the use of our God-given free will in pursuit of objective truth in a rational world made so by a beneficent creator who wished for us to know him through his works). But this could only go on for a few generations before it began detaching itself from the religious morality that underlie it. Since no society can ever live up to its ideals, it wasn’t difficult for the skeptics to begin the process of hammering away at the foundations of the vertical.

Unlike Europe, America has thus far managed to escape this destruction because it has a very different intellectual genealogy, having been much more influenced by the skeptical enlightenment of Britain and Scotland rather than the radical enlightenment of France. America never lost touch with its Judeo-Christian ideals, which inspired individuals to work to improve and humanize society without violent disruption of traditional ways or heavy-handed government intervention. Science and faith could not just co-exist, but thrive in their dynamism.

But at the foundation of the secular leftist revolt against the vertical is the attendant, deeply irrational idea that there is no such thing as absolute truth, for God, among other things, is the ground and possibility of Truth. The death of God brings with it the death of the living Word, or logos. The official name of this death of the Word is "deconstruction," although it is really more of a murder (or perhaps suicide), with murderous consequences. For if truth is relative and perception is reality, then no one’s ideas about the world are any better than anyone else’s -- including Islamists. And this creates a gaping cognitive and spiritual chasm big enough to drive a truck bomb through.

38 Comments:

Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

Before some troll decides they need to point out that you've said all this before, I'd agree that you have. But the virtue in the re-telling is like the virtue in a chef's reduction of a broth or sauce, the flavor is intensified and simplified while bringing many complex ingredients together. (Hmmm...must be lunch time here on the Right coast.)

This is possibly the best exposition of the subject yet. Fluent and focused, I think it stands alone for even a first-time visitor here. I'm bookmarking it as a compass for leading others out of the morass of illogical MSM rhetoric that passes for thinking these days.

It also brings to mind a thought I've pondered for years about "capricious gods" and what their society of worshipers looks like. The human intellect will only go so far with whims and moods; it can't keep guessing at a puzzle with no answer. Capriciousness (from a god or a government)kills "vision" in the worshiper. It breeds lazy thinking and is more of an opiate for the masses because it dupes and dopes the human spirit into submitting to a control-freak who can't be guessed or known. Thus all events, good or bad, personal or corporate, are the result of an "other" and responsibility is done away with entirely.

It is an undeveloped and infantile approach to the vertical. The last stage of its grip is fatalism, "If Allah wills it..." not a submission to a "will" based in trust and purpose, but submission in helpless resignation.

If I had to live that way--fatal and frustrated--I'd blow myself to smithereens, too.

12/01/2006 10:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

Bob,
I must admit my "traditionalist" formation immediately questions the notion that "modern science" developed within the Christian tradition. Traditionalists, like Guenon and Schuon, would argue that while it certainly developed on the watch of Christianity, it is a decidedly "anti-Christian" phenomenon, stemming from ideas that are, according to orthodox sources (so the argument goes), heretical in principle and in fact.
Now, these aren't leftists by any stretch, neither are they terrorists. How do you contend with this alternate history, as it were?

12/01/2006 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger ximeze said...

NoMo yesterday wrote:
"Does the acceptance of the physical evolution of humankind from something far less complex over billions of years imply that the Creator required a process to get where He intended, rather than having the power to speak the perfect into being?"

NoMo, I was pondering this overnight & came up with a few things.

What if the basic premise on which your question is based (the physical evolution of humankind from something far less complex)is false? What if we consider physical devolution over time?

Certainly, over the last century, modern medicine has extended human life expectancy, but couldn't that be just a local phenomena & not reasonable proof of long-term "improvement"?

Consider what we know about adaptive "evolution", things like birds who's beak shape changes adaptively: dry year=hard seeds=one beak style=more chicks/wet year=soft seeds&more berries=other beak style=more chicks. Over time, one can see that the beak change thing is not permanent, rather a pendulum swing based on food supply.

We also can observe "mutations", maladaptive changes, that in the natural world usually die out, without modern medical intervention.

How long, in "human time", were Adam & Eve in the garden before they blew it & got kick out, thus falling into time & death? Did their close contact with God affect their "life-span"? Didn't members of the early generations post A&E live hundreds of years?

Later on biblical records give us lifespans much closer to our own. Sounds like devolution to me.

Perhap God created, to start with, a human more physically "perfect" than you or I can ever be, since we are, in human time, so far from the source of life.

12/01/2006 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Interesting Historical babblings here.

If he's correct, then Islam as we know it now is the ghost of the Caliphate, its shadow, outmoded and outdated -- the afterlife of Islam in the horizontal.

(see how the Islam dates line up with close to now for his 'afterlife' phase.)

Anyway, the commentary is fictitious in regards the West (and should probably be taken with a grain of salt) but it is direly fascinating nonetheless.

As for science, science goes counter to institutional religion, but not to general faith or a connection to Christ. That may be the issue with why there appears to be 'two histories' here.

12/01/2006 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Joseph--

Those ideas of Schuon and Guenon are obviously idiosyncratic and quite extrinsic to normative Christianity. There is nothing "heretical" about any mode of truth, unless relative truth is elevated to absolute truth, which is my whole point. One must draw a disctinction between science and scientism.

Schuon was naive about a lot of horizontal things, including science and psychoanalysis. I assume he would agree that he was not infallible.

12/01/2006 10:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

Bob,
I suppose what I am referring to is not science as a mode of knowledge, but the idea that any mode of knowledge divorced (as modern science certainly is) from Truth. Indeed, this seems to be where all traditional science burns out. The findings of modern science owe much of its debt to a world that finally allowed the scientists to not take into account the priesthood, or its functional equivalent. Consider the debaucle of a Galileo and the Church. It was only after the power of the Church lost sway in Europe and then America with the concurrent rise of secularism that these developments took place. I don't know anyone that would refute that history. If I understand you, you see that as positive, not negative. The traditionalists see that as negative, as it, no matter what has been discovered, has led to general secularism. The argument that you appear to be making, and where I get confused, is that this "secularism" is also "Christian" or "Judeo-Christian". Now it may be true, but I don't see how it could be true in any ordinary sense.

You seem to be saying this: The Judeo-Christian tradition posits man endowed with free will, hence liberty. Modern science has developed in the context of liberty, or free inquiry, granted to it by the Judeo-Christian tradition. Its the space in between the last two sentences that I am trying to leap over, but don't quite understand how you get there.

Schuon did not claim infallability, except on subjects pertaining to spirituality, which, of course, would include all of his writings:)---especially those parts making reference to modern psychology and especially psychoanalysis.

12/01/2006 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger ximeze said...

anony mouse 12:45:08

what a wimp you are

if you had a pair & were any part of the established clientele around here we'd know your name. Wazamatter? Kiddie wanna throw a shot(wow, heavy man)& run away?

More of the apparently endless puerile (see, I know big words too). Kid, you are in no position to assess what the clientele wants from Our Grand Master; go back to the sandbox & play there until you grow up enough to play with the big kids.

12/01/2006 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

If we could order revelation from Bob, he would be a millionaire.

Or he would be a rich crank.

We're Bob's guests, and as such, whatever he serves, we gladly partake.

Ever go into a stranger's house, and complain they aren't serving Filet Mignon?

Yeah. Same thing.

12/01/2006 01:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Meanwhile dreadfully sane peace loving "christian" America accounts for 48% of world wide armaments trade. It is easily the largest maker,owner,seller and user of weapons of all kinds including and especially WMD's.
Its dominant institution is the Pentagon and its associated military industrial complex. The "values" of the Pentagon permeate every aspect of USA "culture".
The "culture" of death literally rules.
Brought to one and all by over 700 foreign military bases.
Science is definitely a useful way of investigating some aspects of "material" reality and producing many kinds of technologies etc that enhance the prospects of a good life for one and all.
The trouble is that the scientific method of abstracting oneself out from the world process and objectiying oneself and every thing "else" has become our way of "living". We "live" in a "world" of left brained abstractions.
This same abstract and abstracting consensus "reality" is also extremely hostile to anything to do with free right brained psychic participation in the world process and in effect constantly propagandises against any such possibility.
And what is sometimes called "religion" in the USA is entirely within this one-dimensional reductionist framework.
Summed up in the title of a book:namely The Victory of Reason.
And mamy Christian websites and organisations along the line of Stand To Reason and Let Us Reason.
No ecstasy or mysticism or free psychic association with the world process allowed.
We are in effect psychotic.
Have you read the "news"?

12/01/2006 03:02:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

Why qualify it with "in effect?" You are nuts.

12/01/2006 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger MikeZ said...

What's puzzling is that for a time - round 700 - 1100 or so, science, including mathematics, flourished in the Arab world. Algebra, astronomy, poetry ...

One of the telling stories from that era is that of Ulugh Beg (mid 1400s), grandson of Timurlane, astronomer, mathematician, and governor. He had the largest observatory in the world (I don't remember in Brahe's was larger).

One story goes that he was assassinated by his son (that much is true) because the son felt that all that science was contrary to Islam.

The fact remains that in the Arab world, science went ahead, and not only that, many (if not most) of the works of the ancient Greeks were preserved in Arabic translation.

I really wonder what went wrong.

12/01/2006 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Joseph--

There is much modern scholarship that refutes the old cliche that Christianity was hostile to science. And where it was hostile, it was not because of anything intrinsic to Christianity. Far from it. Don't forget, a lot of history, starting with Gibbon, has been written by agenda-driven secularists. I'll be happy to email you dozens of books if you're interested. It's not even just contemporary research. For example, go back to Alfred North Whitehead's classic Science in the Modern World, which was published in about 1925. He was way ahead of his time. Still is.

12/01/2006 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

My 2 cents worth -
In the Judeo-Christian, Bible-based worldview of Creator and created, the primary purpose of the created is to glorify the Creator. It seems that the key to doing so is to grow in the knowledge of both -- through spirituality / divine revelation and through science / natural revelation. Given that both revelations have the same Source, they cannot contradict each other. They can be honestly misunderstood (since none of us will ever have complete understanding in this realm), and, they can be perverted and twisted to any ends imaginable by the forces of "the lie" (evidenced by our anonymous visitor of the day). Conclusions in both pursuits can, and are often, reached far in advance of having enough information. Something to really try and avoid, since a conclusion sort of means you're done thinking about it.

Because the Truth is absolute and absolutely powerful, I know it will ultimately triumph over "the lie" in its every manifestation. In the meantime, because its the nature and commitment of "the lie" to deny and defeat the Truth, the battle between the two will continue until the moment that absolute Power wills it finished. Sometimes the opportunities for unbelievers to believe seem unlimited, but they're not. Grace will run its perfect, just course.

12/01/2006 03:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

Can we ban anonymous for using too many scary-quotes?

12/01/2006 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger Matteo said...

A post I did yesterday kind of sort of ties in. I even used the word "existentialada" in the title.

Here.

12/01/2006 03:58:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

"Meanwhile dreadfully sane peace loving "christian" America accounts for 48% of world wide armaments trade. It is easily the largest maker,owner,seller and user of weapons of all kinds including and especially WMD's."

And thank God for that. ;)

Anon,
Have you ever sat and done the calculations of what the world would be like if those munitions were in the hands of say a Hitler Germany or a Stalinist Russia oooorrrr saaaay Armedinijad's Iran? Hmmmm?

And don't be a moron and think that if we would just stop, they would also.

12/01/2006 04:35:00 PM  
Anonymous cosanostradamus said...

" ", " ", and " ".

And another thing. " "!!!

12/01/2006 05:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

Bob,
I assure you my questions are sincere--I would indeed like the titles, and will look for Whitehead's book (I have been meaning to tackle his ideas in any case).

12/01/2006 06:24:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

>>One of the reasons Islam is so irrational is that it denies the horizontal<<

Of course, if their vertical got any more horizontal, we could ice-skate on it.

12/01/2006 07:10:00 PM  
Blogger ximeze said...

Joseph - just reread your comments re Christianity/tradition/science.

In light of GB's post of yesterday about primitive thinking, including: "The majority of cultural beliefs are not adaptations to external reality but adaptations to internal reality -- they help to alleviate anxiety and uncertainty and to structure existence" we can deduce several things.

My own empirical assessment is that human nature/condition has not changed all that much since the days of the Ancients - thus we can read Plato & it still makes sense. I can't find any evidence that, as a group, humans have gotten any smarter over time.

The inconvenient truth is that most people can't think/logic their way out of a paper bag. Charles Murray has done fine work with the #s, especially "The Bell Curve" & "Human Accomplishment". Remember that 50%, by definition, are below average & most of the above average, except for the front tip of the bell curve, ain't all that keen edged either.

Why should this have been any different for the ages spanning the institutionalizing of Christianity & development of "modern science". People, by nature, are draw to dogma, to make sense of "reality" & to protect "their" patch of dirt. Quick! circle the wagons! - nary a free-thinker amongst them.

What's with our tendancy to be drawn to the Divine & then immediately try to stuff it into a box? Just the sheer number of "churchmen" & "scientists", from the founding to this day, ensures an overwheming input of half-baked thinking, lots of which has been codified.

Secularism has to have something to be secular from, but it does not follow that Christianity "caused" secularism. More likely it was the usual dopey narrowmindedness & dogma that made no sense vs an arrogant wish to defy orthodoxy.

There are plenty of churchpeople who know nothing about science & just as many on the other side who know nothing about the Divine. Each side circles their wagons, digs in & tries to protect their turf.

People just haven't gotten any smarter.

12/01/2006 09:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Friend said...

Bob, I'm going to have to agree with joan of argghh! that your post re-cycles material that you have said before many a time.
What exactly are you thinking? That this material needs be reinforced? Or?
I will point out to that 99% of the time you are "preaching to the choir."
I love you but I think you may be a tad too fanatic for comfort's sake. Hey, you'd tell me if I was going on too long about something; that's what friends are for.

12/01/2006 09:44:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

There are some things you just have to say over and over and over and over and over and...before some people can get it.

Speaking the truth in love is a creative act every time.

12/01/2006 10:10:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Nice try "friend".

A bit too threatening eh?

12/01/2006 10:44:00 PM  
Anonymous ben usn (ret) said...

Great post, Bob!
I concur with my fellow bobbleheads:
Positive reinforcement sure helps me tremendously.

Each time Bob talks about these truth's, I learn something new, and it reinforces that which should be self-evident.

That is why I keep re-reading the Bible, C.S. Lewis, Thomas Merton, the words of our founding fathers, etc..

When people talk about secular government, or "separation of Church and State as good for our country, it saddens me.

For instance, back in America's earlier days, the Presidents, Congress, and Supreme Court, extolled the wisdom of the Bible and necessity of prayer to Divine Providence.
President Jefferson, arguably not the most conservative President of our early years, recommended that eachclassroom contain a Bible, to be read daily.

Eventually, those in government, and a growing number of Americans believed that the government was establishing Religion with these traditions.
But in reality, the Congress has never established a Religion with these traditions.
No, what they were doing, each individual, was exercising their Constitutonal right to practice their faith.
No body was forced to follow these traditions, or attend a particular Church, and there never was a Religion established by Congress.

The founding fathers practiced the self-evident truth's, which is every American's right, at any place, even...gasp!...
Government buildings and schools.

Today, we can see the results of trampling the rights of many to express their faith, so that the few who despise self-evident truth's, would not be offended.

"Humanist" (which is not human) Secularists, always had the right to express and practice their beliefs.
But they want to deny everyone else the right to practice theirs, because it "offends" them.

Americans need to reverse the dangerous trend of secularism, or we will become a socialist state, devoid of Providence, and devoid of wisdom.
Certainly devoid of self-evident truth's, or any knowledge of our history.

12/02/2006 12:02:00 AM  
Blogger phil g said...

Mikez,
I'll take a swing at your question regarding Islam's apparent intellectual advancement in it's early stage as I've wondered this myself.

From my study this apparent 'Islamic golden age' seems to be more a product of the way Islam conquered and settled into their conguered cultures than a specific product of Islam itself. Islmaic conquerers were a minority that would militarily conquer an existing majority and settle into that majority allowing and adopting much of the existing culture. Islam as a formal theological/political system had not yet fully developed and was not as stifling/hostile to knowledge and creativity as it is now. Much of the conquered lands were previously Greek and Roman territories with well established traditions of philosophical and scientific inquiry. These traditions continued to flourish in the early years of Islamic conquest, perhaps even thriving as the Islamic conquest possibly brought additional order/peace to a chaotic environment caused by Rome's decay/retreat. In this view, Islam was more a conduit and perhaps an enabler intellectual inquiry and progress than a source in and of itself. Islamic scholars are credited with various mathematical discoverie whereas there is evidence that these disoveries were made in other cultures Indian/Hinu, China/Confusioun (sp?) and brought to light by Islamic scholars.

Islam has proven to be ultimately a philosophical/theological dead-end and the evidence of that fact is tragically plain for all to see who have eyes to see.

12/02/2006 04:33:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

Can someone please help me by pointing me to where Bob deals with the concept of a multiverse?

I understand the idea that we live in a universe which seems to have been created due to the exquisite tuning of the basic physical parameters. (BTW, Bob, in the book you say that the number 1x10^123 has more DIGITS than there are protons in the universe--this is of course a misprint as this number contains 124 digits when written out "longhand". I presume you meant that this number itself--rather than the number of digits in its representation--is greater than the number of protons). However I'm also aware that some have postulated that an infinity of universes exists at once, comprising all possible states of matter/energy which have a non-zero probability of existence. The the "anthropic principle" would make sense since we would indeed only be able to muse on the unlikeliness of our life-sustaining universe since we happen to be in that particular one. The vast majority of universes would be lifeless, have different natural laws, etc.

This whole line of reasoning raises bizarre issues, and I'm sure there are angles I just haven't considered. So where does Bob deal with this?

Thanks!

12/02/2006 04:46:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

mikez: read this (it kind of explained the short out-of Islam's scientific devel...) Spengler's Future!

(Its about more than just the future.)

This is what I got from it: Islam's civilization petered out and died. (much like Rome's.)

12/02/2006 06:05:00 AM  
Blogger NAMedic said...

ximeze said...
NoMo yesterday wrote:
"Does the acceptance of the physical evolution of humankind from something far less complex over billions of years imply that the Creator required a process to get where He intended, rather than having the power to speak the perfect into being?"

12/04/2006 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger NAMedic said...

ximeze said...
NoMo yesterday wrote:
"Does the acceptance of the physical evolution of humankind from something far less complex over billions of years imply that the Creator required a process to get where He intended, rather than having the power to speak the perfect into being?"

NoMo
Your God is too small.
I never understood any contradiction between evolution and faith. By what necessity is "billions of [human]years" different from the instant Word [to God]?

12/04/2006 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger NAMedic said...

ximeze said...
NoMo yesterday wrote:
"Does the acceptance of the physical evolution of humankind from something far less complex over billions of years imply that the Creator required a process to get where He intended, rather than having the power to speak the perfect into being?"

Your God is too small; your understanding constrained by anthropomorphic constructs. By what necessity is "billions of [human] years" different from the instant Word [of God]? I never understood the conflict between evolution and faith as anything but two different languages for describing of the same thing.

12/04/2006 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger LukeBlogWalker said...

With regard to listening to terrorist phone calls...

The absolute nonsense perpetrated by the left is pathetic. Nobody cares about listening to their paranoid narcissistic lives.

Having done some of this kind of work as a profession, I can tell you, its not as old-movie-esque as one would think.

It is, however, enhanced by computers and techmology ;)

In a typical wire intercept order, say against some paranoid leftist, one would first have to prove there is a need for this. In other words, a real crime is involved. (Are the left then having us infer they are up to no good generally?)

Typically a warrant is obtained by going to a judge (oooo a process not just a clip onto the lines!) and this typically can result in obtaining the numbers coming to and going from a person's line -the line in the warrant.

After evaluation of this data, perhaps we see that our suspect is talking to people involved in something serious.

Another warrant is then sought to monitor the audio of our hapless leftist. If this is approved there are rules for this task.

For example, if we are looking for our suspect to talk to a known criminal, and a call comes across our techmology, we listen to the call to determine if it is related.

Upon discovery he is talking to his mommy about why the capitalists are so mean to him, we "minimize" the call. That is, we know it happened, we have the number information, but no longer do we intercept the audio. To do so is a violation. It is not part of the criminal conspiracy.

Thats a "normal" case example.

However, if you read "The Puzzle Palace" by James Bamford, you will discover that the no such agency has in the charter to be able to monitor digital traffic domestically.

In the era of their founding, this was not as prevalent as it is today -digital traffic. (So the uproar on this whole thing is kind of moot at inception).

The basic / generic thing for them is monitoring of all overseas traffic -into and out of the US. (Other things are not pertinent here).

So if Joe, or Yewsef Terrorist calls Fred Mustynutts in Chicago, they will grab the call. (Automatic systems not discussed here).

The point is, that if we detain a terrorist overseas, and he has an address book with Fred's number in it, then we may be interested in what Fred is doing.

So then, examination of Fred's phone bills and existing traffic become "valid" in terms of the chain of events / evidence in tracking terrorism.

Likewise outbound calls from CONUS into the hot zones of Pakistan, etc. may cause someone to want to see what you are doing, especially if you call the Hotel Osama on the Afghan border.

Bear in mind, the distinctions between domestic criminal issues, and international / national defense issues is large.

The point being, none of the "searches" on the called or calling number (Fred) are random or initiated "for the hell of it" just because "we don't like that guy."

There was a bit of that in the J. Edgar Hoover days, but it is not so easy to do now. Severe penalties exist for such activities.

This is what the left would have you believe. Yet that notion is only part of their own projected paranoia -which is centered upon their 1970's movie idea of how this is done by some corrupt cop.

Blather.

I hope this clears up some of the misunderstandings about these things.

-Luke

12/05/2006 07:51:00 AM  
Blogger LukeBlogWalker said...

With regard to the origins of the universe...

In the texts of Genesis, the phrase, "..and the Earth was without form and void.." is equally translated, "..and the Earth became a waste and a desolation.." -as it is tranlated in Jeremiah.

This opens the door for the "big bang" of initial creation, followed by an undefined period of time, prior to God deciding to create Adam (original text does not say, "man" -generic).

I see no conflict between bijillion year old rocks and a God creating a universe.

I do see a contradiction with the traditional viewpoint of the "problem" as posed by people like Biship Usher.

-Luke

12/05/2006 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger MikeZ said...

Joan: About "anonymous"'s "scare quotes" - that's just the way postmodernists talk. Everything is "text", and "meaning", and "religion" and "world"..... By atempting to focus on deeper meanings, they manage to avoid all meaning altogether.

phil g: thanks for the response. That helps explain a lot.

Luke: On monitoring phone calls: The Left wants us to believe that we're listening to every word that Aunt Maude says, when the fact is that all that's gathered is the number dialed. (In legalese, you can look at the envelope, but not the contents.) With almost 300 million people - and how may cell phones? - how many people would it take to monitor even 10% of all the calls, 10% of the time? Even with computers helping.

A friend of mine is about to turn 50. He got a "hello" letter from AARP. And we're worried about the government knowing too much about us?

smoov: I found the "10^123" part. It's a quote from Roger Penrose (p.28). It's a bit ambiguous. Take 10^4, 5 digits, but 10,000 things. Obviously [more or less], Penrose meant that if we were to try to count 10^123 by tallying neutrons and protons, we'd run out of particles before we finished.

Current estimates put the number of particles in the Universe at about 10^80 - a frightfully small number compared to 10^123.

river C: thanks for the "Spengler" link. It reminds me a bit of a great early science-fiction novel, "First and Last Men", by Olaf Stapledon. The story picks up in the early 1900s, and almost immediately goes wrong (but it is consistent, and as they say about predicting: it's real hard, especially about the future).

luke (again): About Genesis: Two things: first, one of the jobs of science is to figure out how God did it; second, the entire Bible was written before there was such a thing as Science (true, the Greeks had been working on that for a few hundred years before the end of the New Testament). As Galileo said, the Bible teaches us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go. The good Bishop Ussher (who was a pretty bright guy) went with what he knew, and what he took from the OT. The thing is, I doubt we know for sure what Genesis means by "night" and "day". The most certain thing we can take from Genesis is that God did it. ("Logos" has a lot more meanings than just "word".)

As an aside, I went through all the chronologies in Genesis, and found that the last patriarch died in 1656 (with Adam "born" in the year Zero. That was Methuselah, and the year of the Flood? 1656.

12/05/2006 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger LukeBlogWalker said...

Mikez -

"On monitoring phone calls: The Left wants us to believe that we're listening to every word that Aunt Maude says, when the fact is that all that's gathered is the number dialed."

Well thats not entirely accurate. Typically the target number and numbers which call that number are obtained. Secondly, if warranted (heh) the audio can be obtained.

A great deal of intelligence can be rendered from link and matrix analysis on the traffic - it is a marvelous thing. ;)

"Two things: first, one of the jobs of science is to figure out how God did it;"

I have no problem with this at all. Having studied a bit of physics, I don't see hoards of contradictions.

" second, the entire Bible was written before there was such a thing as Science.."

Uhh, thats not so well informed an opinion. Moreover the Greeks and much of their knowledge can be traced back beyond that ole stereotype "fertile crescent" model we all learned as kids.

Now, if you mean the German Scientism / Ideological frame, this is of course a true statement.

-Luke

12/05/2006 06:48:00 PM  
Blogger MikeZ said...

" second, the entire Bible was written before there was such a thing as Science.."

[Luke}: Uhh, thats not so well informed an opinion. Moreover the Greeks and much of their knowledge can be traced back beyond that ole stereotype "fertile crescent" model we all learned as kids.

I was thinking of the parts that have the circumference of a well a 3 x diameter. That's perfectly reasonable in a culture that didn't have rational numbers. And the part where the Sun stands still.

All I really understand by "science" is "how the universe works" - physical and mathematical laws.

12/06/2006 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Science is a method. It assumes beforehand that you can come to workable conclusions or truth by asking questions of reality. (In whatever form that idea may take.) To do science, make a hypothesis about something you want to know about. Now think of a way you can see if it is true or not. Do that thing. Try to record observations about it (or just remember.) Your hypothesis is made in light of a result you want, like 'I want to throw that ball across the river'. Now change your experiment until you've exhausted the hypothesis and then change the hypothesis.

Science is just a formalization of trial and error.

12/06/2006 08:05:00 PM  
Blogger LukeBlogWalker said...

Mikez...

[I was thinking of the parts that have the circumference of a well a 3 x diameter. That's perfectly reasonable in a culture that didn't have rational numbers. And the part where the Sun stands still.]

Well, there is a bit of a presumption here in your awareness.

Whomever built the great pyramid on the Giza plateau -several thousand years ago, knew Pi to greater extent in significant digits to the Egyptians themselves, who only knew it at that time to one or two decimal places. Additionally, the constructor of the monument also knew there were three ways to measure a year. This is pretty advanced for that many thousands of years ago.

Also, are you aware that there exist records on the opposite side of the earth for the "sun standing still" day? Records which indicate there was a longer than normal night.

Velikofsky came up with an idea about why that might have been, which is not to say he was right, but it is intriguing that there are written records of a long night which directly correspond to the long day.

This tells me something happened that day. Belief in God is between you and God -but the evidence shows something out of the ordinary did occur at that time.

-Luke

12/07/2006 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Luke- about the knowledge of measuring a year, you can see even today people of tremendous insight that are ahead of their time by centuries. Sometimes we just don't know it until centuries later!

Egypt's hierarchical structure meant that the commoner who was brilliant was unlikely to flourish (read: ain't happenin'!) but the scribe or king who was brilliant? Masterpieces were born.

12/08/2006 07:06:00 PM  

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