Friday, June 27, 2008

The Biology of Truth and the Physics of Intelligence (6.27.10)

Ho! Fooled you again, boy!

For there can be no "biology of truth," any more than there can be a "physics of intelligence" -- that is, unless you inhabit an inverted cosmos or are psycho-spiritually inside-out. In short, if you are existentially lost -- and, like our late-night anti-Thomist commenter yesterday, couldn't find the Creator's aseity with both hands and a road map.

For our God is not a "God of the horizontal gaps" but a God of the eternal silence that gives birth to each vertical moment. Coonversely, the almighty randomness of Darwinism is merely a god of the saps, a dopiate for the scientistic masses to preserve their slumber and prevent them from being disturbed by the Real. Zzzzzzzzzz... Wake me when I'm tenured.

Coonversely, we are happy to discuss the truth of biology and the intelligence of physics, which we did at some length in the Coonifesto. As such, we will not review that material here, being that it is so far behind us in the seerview mirror that we no longer remember most of it. For the self-evident presence of "intelligent design" by no means proves the existence of God, much less the Judeo-Christian God. Rather, it merely proves the existence of intelligence, which is to say, Truth (being that the former is a function, or descent, of the latter -- no Truth, no intellect, no service).

Careful readers of the book may notice the precise turning point when the B'ob made this realization, and then promptly "moved on" (or, more precisely, up and in). Let's see if we can find it.

Can't find it. But the point is, the recognosis of cosmic intelligence merely permits one to de-invert reality, so that one is once again living in a right-side up cosmos. (See page 256: Return your soul to its upright position and extinguish all (me)mories, we're in for a promised landing.)

Yes, that is where the real funwork begins -- your summa vocation -- because now we're back at the humble bottom (instead of the fake promethian top of a grandiose scientism), and must carry out the hard work of spiritual evolution, or realizing what you know. In short, we move from the materialistic penthouse to the spiritual repenthouse, where we pent and repent again as necessary in order to keep our metanoia fresh and clean. Even so, we would rather be a stooge in heaven than a prince in hell.

"Faith" is the gap between what we know and what we shall realize, so long as we cultivate virtue and simplicity, and breath within the space of a silent aspiration. But the more one realizes, the more justification for faith one possesses, until it becomes the norm to simply live in the perpetual uncertainty of an open and unsaturated faith, symbolized in the book by (o) and (---).

In so doing, one lives close to the cosmic spring where the vertical waters flow down into creation on a moment to moment basis. Or, to adopt the mystical formulation favored by Coons, we loiter on the threshold of the transdimensional doorway, looking for handouts from Petey, who usually comes through if he's not too terribly busy.

Biology is about "the adventure of life," whereas a Raccoon is more interested in the "adventure of consciousness" which is the very point of the former.

For us, Life proves that there really is such a thing as a free launch pad, so we don't spend a lot of time worrying about how this wonderful means of ascent appeared in a dead and meaningless cosmos. The point is, it's here, and we're going to take advantage of it. As Howlin' Wolf growled, we're going to have our fun, in spite of the dour and scowling Darwinists who think they hold the prison keys. But keys to heaven are everywhere.

You see, the blinkered Darwinist thinks that life only points down and back to the dead matter out of which it was magically given birth. But for the Raccoon, life is a symbol (symbol meaning "thrown across") that again points "up" and "in." We do not see life as a circular series of lateral mutations, but an open spiral that ultimately rejoins whole and part, absolute and relative, time and eternity, center and periphery, man and God.

In ether worlds, it is a vertical lifeline thrown down into dead matter in order to divinize and redeem it. And human beings are the "axis" or "pivot" to the whole enterprise. Deep down we all recognize this, albeit often in a garbled and perverted manner, for example, the environmental hysterics or the pompous and deluded LGFers who know they are superior to biology, but have no idea how.

Life! If Darwinism is all there is, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing. I have no respect for a reductionistic Darwinist who is not a nihilist and a sociopath, for he is merely a weakling and coward who lacks basic intellectual honesty and the courage of his convictions. He has his feet planted in the soil of Judeo-Christian values, even while he has his head planted in his ass.

Give me the brave Nietzsche any day, in whose writing one may at least sense the giddy abandonment of living in spiritual free fall, and feeling the breath of satan along one's keel! I know that bracing feeling, the feeling of being a Superman who can fly! Of course, in that world one can only fly downward, but still, it's fun while it lasts! For me, it lasted about eight months, while for others it can apparently last a lifetime.

Looking at my behind, I can see that I touched the outer limit of that dark world as long ago as October of 1973, by which time I had already reached the end of the lyin'. However, it took another twenty years or so to fully grasp that, and to put my head deeply into my assimilation. For as a cheeky patient of mine once put it, "karma has a way of coming back around and biting you in the butt." As I said, one must begin back at the bottom, so it takes a while to even recover one's humanness and to "break even" in this life. After that, you're playing with "house money," and things get easier. Now I've got a big pile of chips to play with, and I can't see myself running out in this laughtime. Ho!

My recognition that life is not a Darwinian low way but a spiritual highway is memorialized on page 87, where it is written,

"But then something altogether surprising happened. From our vantage point outside time, we now see that the boundary of life did not end with its own little precarious little dance along the precipice of non-being. Rather, we see that life was bound by two infinite frontiers, one side down and back into dark death and obscure material dissolution, the other side up and beyond, into more subtle regions of Mind and Spirit. Crossing that radiant upper threshold we are witness to...

Turning the page.... turning another page....

Boo!!!

It is a little spooky when you think about it, isn't it? Do you want to know why I put that "boo" in there? I was thinking of a comedy routine by Richard Pryor, who was talking about "the very first mother f*cker who looked around and said What the F*CK is going on?!!!"

In other words, it is meant to immortalize that very first cosmic experience of (?!), because obviously there had to be a first time, just as there had to be the first time that the material world wrapped around itself and bound up time and space within a centralizing metabolism we call "life." The sacred What the F*CK is going on?!!! is re-enacted by Raccoons from all over the world every March Forth, as soon as we "open our eyes" in the "morning," innocently view creation like a newborn Adam in paradise, and, like our ancestral furbear, blurt the words in wide-eyed astoneagement:

What the F*CK is going on?!!!

For surely, the Raccoon knows that this is not a rhetorical question, much less a "vulgar" one. Indeed, the past 1,004 posts have been the ongoing attempt to answer that eternal question which I ask mysoph each morning.

122 Comments:

Blogger Ray Ingles said...

"I have no respect for a [Social] Darwinist who is not a nihilist and a sociopath, for he is merely a coward who lacks basic intellectual honesty and the courage of his convictions."

Fixed that for you. :->

Thankfully, Social Darwinism bears as much relation to actual evolutionary theory as the Westboro Baptist Church does to Christianity.

6/27/2008 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

What is the sufficient cause of Social Darwinism?

6/27/2008 08:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Wizard said...

Well, at least now I know that Bob reached the outer limts of freefall before I was born.

Of course, I only personally expierneced ?! in the middle of the dot-com era.

6/27/2008 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Rather than being cowardly, Ray could simply be terrified of following his beliefs to their logical conclusions.

6/27/2008 08:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Wizard said...

I'm sensing a linguistic dispute here.

6/27/2008 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

You wrote:
Biology is about "the adventure of life," whereas a Raccoon is more interested in the "adventure of consciousness" which is the very point of the former.

This surely speaks for me at this point -- although I would add, that as I grow up-and-in-to the latter, the former becomes ever more precious to me!

And also:
My recognition that life is not a Darwinian low way but a spiritual highway...

This is similar to a comment Cap'n Ben made in the recent past on someone else's blog:
It's my will or the high Will!
Or perhaps it's both, if I will to be as He wills.


Great minds are aligned!

6/27/2008 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger QP said...

O Bo'b, You took Advantage of It in this run Up! Omsome Spiral Slide! Weeee - let's do that again - 73 times; who's counting.

For me, Best Ever Post!!!!


>>Life! If Darwinism is all there is, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing. I have no respect for a reductionistic Darwinist who is not a nihilist and a sociopath, for he is merely a coward who lacks basic intellectual honesty and the courage of his convictions. He has his feet planted in the soil of Judeo-Christian values, even while he has his head planted in his ass. <<


Ruthless OMpassion™ - in action!

Darwinists do not know their ass from a hole in the ground!

6/27/2008 09:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Correction: from a whole in the sky.

6/27/2008 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Wizard: Really there are only two kinds of disputes: the first is linguistic and the second is epistomological.

They can both happen at the same time.

6/27/2008 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger Sibylline Zipper said...

I remember watching a documentary on Jeffery Dahmer where his father said that his son had told him that he did what he did because he had come to believe that there was no God, no meaning, no morality, and people were free to do whatever they pleased. So there is your honest nihilist Bob. And he also wanted to see if people really did taste like chicken.(OK. the last line was just my sick joke)

6/27/2008 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

People who do not comprehend the spiritual consequences of reductionistic Darwinism are just too dense to be reached. It's trying to bite a wall.

6/27/2008 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

The sufficient cause
of social darwinism:
"a little learning".

6/27/2008 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

"That intelligence which is most remote from the Absolute will be the one that denies the Absolute as 'intelligently,' or rather as 'consciously' as possible." --F. Schuon

6/27/2008 09:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

How did our blog end up with the trolls royce of machine intelligence? Must have something to do with the nature of the cosmic inversion, a sort of reverse image of truth. Instructive, in its own way....

6/27/2008 09:35:00 AM  
Anonymous wizard said...

River Cocytus: The patent litigator in me was drawn toward the definition dispute.

I've spent much more of other people's money arguing definitions than I have spent arguing epistemology.

But that's just because I never had that opportunity...

Of course, now that I think about it, Bob has mastered one of the key skills of patent drafting - being your own lexicographer.

6/27/2008 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Sibylline - I'll see your Dahmer and raise you an Eric Rudolph & Michael Griffin, for people following allegedly logical consequences of their beliefs. "There is no cause so noble it will not attract some kooks."

6/27/2008 09:37:00 AM  
Anonymous scatter said...

How did nobility get into a Darwinian world? What is it? I'm very happy without it, thank you.

6/27/2008 09:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

You picked a poor example: Rudolf was a Nietzschean.

6/27/2008 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

What I mean, Wiz, is that we are either conflicted in understanding or state of being. The first can be resolved through diplomacy, the second only through some kind of action - whether it be getting as far away from each other as possible or fighting like dogs.

Often we think that the conflict of understanding (linguistic) is the primary problem, but it in fact is being created by a conflict in state of being.

For instance, if a burglar breaks into my house, I can't negotiate him out of taking my stuff: its clear that he understands that it's against the law and doesn't misunderstand the word 'property'.

What is required is a 'state change' for him (or for me, I guess, though I don't think I want to attain a similar state to his [stockholm syndrome]) and there are a few ways to enact this.

Firstly, I might simply ignore the internal state and deal with the outward phenomena - get my gun and shoot the guy. Now, there's a chance that me being armed might cause him to reconsider the action or the result of the conflict might change his state.

There's the Christian approach of 'if they take your cloak give them your tunic' - this is meant to imply - as best I understand - addressing the state of being directly.

6/27/2008 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

For our God is not a "God of the horizontal gaps" but a God of the eternal silence that gives birth to each vertical moment.

Bing! The Logos in so much language, per se, but the silence from which all language emerges.

6/27/2008 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"He has his feet planted in the soil of Judeo-Christian values, even while he has his head planted in his ass."

Do you know how difficult it is to wipe chili off of and out of a monitor... let alone dual monitors?!

Huh! Do ya!

Oh... yeah... I suppose you do... but still... come on!

Sheesh.

Back to the post.

6/27/2008 10:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Wizard said...

I must admit in the habit of thinking of logos as a multi-dimensional boundary condition, rather than as "silence".

But then, I guess that boundry conditions have to be silent because they are necessarily at rest, rather than in dynamic motion.

Of course, I'm also in the habit of trying to imagine a world in which pi is not (approximately) 3.14, but rather (approximatly) 5.63 or some other value that is most assuredly not (approximately) 3.14.

6/27/2008 11:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

The logos is black fire written on white fire. The white fire is the more principial of the two.

6/27/2008 11:11:00 AM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

If we really care about our burglar we could help activate his ajna chakra with some ventilation - that would certainly change his state.

6/27/2008 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

xim: of course, the tunic and cloak analogy is just the archetype: It assumes a few things the first of which is that you live in a state of poverty of the voluntary sort. The Bible itself contains a commentary on this: The people reply, "This is such a hard teaching? Who can accept it!"

Raising children and working within a larger context created problems for the Christian faith (As did not being persecuted) which had to be figured out. This development is proper, like a plant growing. In order, however, for this growth TO BE proper it had to keep the same 'DNA' - i.e. the unchanging and complete revelation.

Where I'm going is how would a man with four children and a wife 'give also his tunic' to the robber?

The Spirit itself bears witness to the answer...

6/27/2008 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

PS - pacifism, that is, simply letting the robber rob you might help you spiritually (And maybe the Robber, if you do it right) but it forgets the responsibility you have towards those under your charge. The problem for a monk is simply a matter between he and God: Giving out of his poverty is easier since he doesn't (as the Son of Man says) 'have a place to lay his head'. The purpose of monasticism is of course to be able to unclutteredly live the spiritual life.

For those of other callings, the problem is made complex. The solution might indeed involve shooting the guy, in other words...

6/27/2008 12:09:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Geez River, it was a JOKE play on words, you silly.

Are you getting enough sunshine slack time?

6/27/2008 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Hey: transformation doesn't happen without some kind of force. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.

Shantideva -- he, who wrote The Boddhisattva Way of Life -- said "Your enemies are going to die anyway."

Perhaps I need a nap...

6/27/2008 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

ximeze: Yeah, I know. But my feet got glued to the soapbox...

6/27/2008 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger slackjack said...

I could almost always use a nap...sometimes even right *after* a good nap.

6/27/2008 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

"But my feet got glued to the soapbox..."

Well, you're in good company, River - goodness knows that's happened to me a time or two. I find that industrial-grade nail polish remover does the trick. If it doesn't dissolve the glue, the fumes will have you guffah-hahing enough that you'll probably just tear loose anyway ;)

6/27/2008 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger Captain Ramen said...

He has his feet planted in the soil of Judeo-Christian values, even while he has his head planted in his ass.

God to know that that bit of wit didn't just jump out at me! Although I suspect for entirely different reasons than for Ray... clearly it touched a nerve.

Of course, I'm also in the habit of trying to imagine a world in which pi is not (approximately) 3.14, but rather (approximatly) 5.63 or some other value that is most assuredly not (approximately) 3.14.

Check out Fecund Universes. The cosmos is more than just the 10^80 atoms we can see with a telescope. I can see why atheists et. al. are ultimately crazy... to wrap their little pinheads around the entire cosmos - which is what they try to do with their scientistic metaphysics - would drive anyone to madness.

Don't wrap yourself around it. Immerse yourself in it.

6/27/2008 12:52:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Any coonmom worth her mask gnos that sometimes kits need to be shoved outside the den for some light & air.

Heard somewhere UV is nifty at breaking-down whatever glue you've been playing with.

Course, if it's bubble-gum, you could rub peanut-butter into it.......

6/27/2008 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

A chess grandmaster
moves to sacrifice his queen -
morals in action.

6/27/2008 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Don't confuse morals
With what otherwise might be called
Cajones: that is, Balls!

6/27/2008 01:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yah, except Godwin, who so seemingly gets it, doesn't actually answer any questions purported. I'm pretty inclined to think he's just a moron who poses as a smart person because he isn't actually smart enough to figure out the answers, and instead calls people stupid when he's the one who won't provide the information requested. Well Godwin, when you have the brains to think of an answer that could actually impress me, I'd actually be impressed, but for now, its the same old dumbass show. And yes, you are a dumbass because it literally took you that much to come to your own defense and not actually negate anything I said.

6/27/2008 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Anonymous 1:08 -- it's always a bad idea to post when you're drunk. I guess it's 5 o'clock somewhere.

The difference between a guy like Dahmer and some Christian serial killer is that the latter is a a contradiction in terms.

Dahmer was acting consistently because he believed in a meaningless universe, with -- to misapply a famous Al Gore quote -- no controlling legal authority. An atheist who says otherwise is merely playing rhetorical games.

Agnostics are another matter and could be given the benefit of the doubt.

No one who follows Christ is going to kill people for fun and long pork.

6/27/2008 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

aninnymouse said "...Well Godwin, when you have the brains to think of an answer that could actually impress me..."

Now there's a goal to immerse your life in!

6/27/2008 01:15:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Why on earth would Bob or anycoon care whether a ninny is impressed?

6/27/2008 01:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And I suppose one other problem I guess I lost while reading your bullshit, was back to the beginning, I wasn't referring to the creators aseity, hell you're mocking me and you don't even know what I'm talking about apparently. You could at least be smart enough to figure out where I stand before you start going off on tangents. Literally, once you can get on my page I might actually have a discussion for you. Cool, you posted a link for me, too bad I was pointing out that the concept of asiety was already irrelevant. I swear, its like you come running to a nuclear war with a sword. Good job being behind on that one.

6/27/2008 01:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To van: What, getting Godwin a brain?

6/27/2008 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Anonymous:

I must confess, I'm a bit lost. Remind me, what is your question?

6/27/2008 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

aninnymouse said "...hell you're mocking me and you don't even know what I'm talking about..."

I bet you feel compelled to say that frequently.

6/27/2008 01:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must confess, you would not be lost had it been answered when asked. Instead the incessant chatter and dodges have dragged it further out, with a, "I rest my case" in there somewhere, well before the trial started. How can one even say people don't get it, when they can't even defend it? And why say you rest your case and come back and defend it later?

6/27/2008 01:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not really, it isn't often I find people mock me for things I don't say. Like for example, I'm not mocking you, van, for thinking it's ok to sodomize peacocks, because you weren't talking about sodomizing peacocks.

6/27/2008 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

There are so many anonymous's, I really don't know who you are or what to say. If you have a question, I'd be happy to answer it. It might help to have a name, so I don't confuse you with all the other anonymi.

6/27/2008 01:37:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Heh - I'm reminded of a tale my psych-nurse SIL used to laugh about. There was a crisis call-in line where she worked, and for a while they had a regular caller. His complaint was always (spoken in a dark and paranoid and possibly slightly Scottish voice)

"My family's been mockin' me!"

6/27/2008 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

And If I haven't got time to answer your question, I'm sure I can help you get on the right track.

6/27/2008 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

But even without knowing much about your situation, I would recommend avoiding the brown acid.

6/27/2008 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

ninny said "...You could at least be smart enough to figure out where I stand ..."

I wonder what it is about being an anonymous ninnymouse that makes them think anyone would care what their opinion was, to begin with?

What do you suppose it is that they think is going to distinguish their splutterings from all the other anonymous splutterings... do you think it's the way they press the Shift key? Ya suppose they feel that they are somehow expressing their unique individuality and self worth by the way they namelessly rant their spleen?

Is it their particular brand of tightly wadded-up-panty-hissy-fit that they think will compel attention from the blogosphere?

A mystery to last a lunchtime.

6/27/2008 01:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, that's a shame you've changed your mind so late. I'm not asking the question again or setting it out there, you could have sensibly addressed it before. Instead, you made a complete fool of yourself, putting up a grandiose display of ignorance. And now you have no idea. Goodness. Where to begin, back to trying to be civil? Hell no, you given me plenty of reason to need not take you seriously.

6/27/2008 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

nini said "it's ok to sodomize peacocks"

Somehow I bet you're just the ... um... petite enough build to be able to pull that off.

6/27/2008 01:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I wonder what it is about being an anonymous ninnymouse that makes them think anyone would care what their opinion was, to begin with?"

Perhaps it's the fact you've responded so many times van. The relative amount of time you spend arguing annonymice makes it clear you would almost always choose giving your time to argue them.

We seek no fame or infamy. Yet we always get it.

6/27/2008 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

ni said "Instead, you made a complete fool of yourself, putting up a grandiose display of ignorance"

Oh... I do enjoy good comedy.

6/27/2008 01:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aww see van, that's exactly what I was talking about. I'm sorry you've now fallen behind.

Yes van, my penis is very little, if that's what you were wondering. Oh then again, I'm anonymous.

6/27/2008 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Anin said-
"I'm pretty inclined to think he's just a moron who poses as a smart person because he isn't actually smart enough to figure out the answers, and instead calls people stupid when he's the one who won't provide the information requested."

As opposed to you who can't even pose as a moron?

6/27/2008 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

"My family's been mockin' me!"

Hilarious.

It sounds like my uncle except for the accent and the lack of vulgarities. He would have gotten at least four in a sentence that long.

6/27/2008 01:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Oh... I do enjoy good comedy."

And I do enjoy a good cliche. Why are you trying to insult a shadow?

6/27/2008 01:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow USS, you need to think before you post, did you not think that would sound exactly he opposite as intended?

6/27/2008 01:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Walt said...
"Hey: transformation doesn't happen without some kind of force. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.

Shantideva -- he, who wrote The Boddhisattva Way of Life -- said "Your enemies are going to die anyway."

That Shantideva joe is purty smart!

6/27/2008 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Well, anonymous, don't say I didn't offer. Perhaps you already had the answer anyway.

6/27/2008 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

"...he's just a moron who poses as a smart person because he isn't actually smart enough to figure out the answers..."

Hold on there! I can assure you that that is the role I play around here . . . and Bob can't have it!

6/27/2008 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Anin said-
"I swear, its like you come running to a nuclear war with a sword. Good job being behind on that one."

Can you say: "meltdown?".

6/27/2008 02:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No Bob, you can't say I didn't offer. We both essentially offered once, you were the one who needed the second chance to come back to it, when the first time would have sufficed.

6/27/2008 02:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

"I swear, its like you come running to a nuclear war with a sword."

Anin is really...Dogzilla!

6/27/2008 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

No way, Walt - that's my job!

6/27/2008 02:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok USS, somebody needs to teach you how to make a good jab. Van, you seem halfway decent at it, give him a few lessons.

6/27/2008 02:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I gott'a admit, Van was clever with that peacock thing.

6/27/2008 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Zounds!

Replaced by a good lookin' dame!

6/27/2008 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Hey! Thanks for linking to the definition of aseity this time! :)

6/27/2008 02:06:00 PM  
OpenID thomism said...

Anonymous,

Your question, as far as I can tell, is this:

"For example, in his second way of proving God, how does Aquinas jump to the conclusion that God is the cause?"

Dr. Bob doesn't discuss the scholastic theology. It is not reasonable to expect him to deal with this question.

That being said, almost everything Dr. Bob says is deeply harmonious with St. Thomas. This is because he has a deep appreciation of Meister Eckhart, who was truly a profound and faithful disciple of St. Thomas. I pretty much only read St. Thomas and other thomists, but I read Mr. Godwin daily.

As to your question, in the proof you allude to St. Thomas proves the existence of some totally first efficient cause. Since an efficient cause is a positive principle on which something really depends for its existence, the first such being, considered simply, depends on nothing else for its existence. Therefore all of his existence must be absolutely from himself, which means that this being can say of himself in all truth "I am who am" or "I Am who exists" or just "I AM". St. Thomas does not "jump" to his conclusion, rather he requires his reader to understand the thing he is talking about. The word cause has a very exact meaning in St. Thomas, and if you meditated more on the what "first efficient cause" meant, you would see that your questions can have a wonderful and happy resolution.

6/27/2008 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger QP said...

Non-raccoons, yes you know who you are - those who do not innocently view creation like a newborn Adam in paradise each morning, Wakey, Wakey:

"Your Brain Lies to You"

6/27/2008 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

n said "Why are you trying to insult a shadow?"

Oh don't worry, no real attention meant to be directed towards ... uhm... "you". Think of yourself as ... well... sort of like a can... or a springy bug...we happened upon - fun to amuse ourselves with for a few minutes... nothing more... certainly not anything to obther directing any real effort towards... just fiddling away a few rare idle moments.

6/27/2008 02:10:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Shadowboxer.

6/27/2008 02:10:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Hey Susannah!

6/27/2008 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Susannah! Long time no see :)

6/27/2008 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

O Susannah!

6/27/2008 02:14:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Yes van, my penis is very little & can only be used to sodomize peacocks. Thus everyone mocks me.

Me weddy weddy angwee & have me panties in a bunch cause me gets no wespect!

6/27/2008 02:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To thomism, the reader could easily understand that, but part of the problem is is that the entire arguments is based on that understanding, which is, simply, an assumption. There are at least two choices at that level, God being one of them, the conclusion is based on a choice which still remains unaccounted for. What prevents the first efficient cause from being nothing? that's the simple answer that you first have to have that belief in mind, and it's a round-about and lengthy way of proving what you already believed.

6/27/2008 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Of course, in that world one can only fly downward, but still, it's fun while it lasts! For me, it lasted about eight months, while for others it can apparently last a lifetime."

Or, they hit the bottom and start diggin' (which isn't nearly as fun as the initial free-fall).

6/27/2008 02:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Essentially, the question for aquinas, is how did he prove the existence of God without the assumption of God's existence in the first place?

6/27/2008 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Anonymous said...
Essentially, the question for aquinas, is how did he prove the existence of God without the assumption of God's existence in the first place?


If you put your shovel down for a minute you might see that it's self-evident.

6/27/2008 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Thomism:

Very good. Just yesterday I was reading about how contingency necessarily implies necessity, or something that isn't contingent. (Here it is -- a debate on the existence of God between F.C. Copleston and Bertrand Russell.) But ultimately, as Schuon points out, Aquinas' arguments can only be efffective for someone who is inclined to believe them. or who at least isn't prejudiced against them. They do not so much "prove" as "indicate."

6/27/2008 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Mushroom - It doesn't take a legal authority to create good chess strategies. For that, you need only the basic definition of the game. The strategies follow logically from there...

6/27/2008 02:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obviously it is self evident. It's easy to see how he arrives at that juncture, but he still makes no claim to eliminate the other possibility. Jumping to the derivative and claiming it can't be zero isn't finding a solution no matter how obvious it seems.

6/27/2008 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Hey, guys! Batting about the aninnymouses, as usual, I see.

I'm in tears after this one!

6/27/2008 02:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But ultimately, as Schuon points out, Aquinas' arguments can only be efffective for someone who is inclined to believe them..."

That's the whole point I was making yesterday as an argument for it being outdated. You shouldn't have to be inclined towards beliefs for them to logically progress. It all goes down to at the very core of the arguments, it's still based on what you believe.

6/27/2008 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Jumping to the derivative and claiming it can't be zero isn't finding a solution no matter how obvious it seems."

Perhaps because if the cause was nothing then the effect would be nothing and Thomas wouldn't be here to see that.

6/27/2008 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

In other words, you can't divide by zero, and if you multiply by it you still end up with zero.

6/27/2008 02:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again that would also be an assumption. You would have to assume the cause of something is something else, except for God, but still you have not eliminated nothing either just by claiming such.

6/27/2008 02:39:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"That's the whole point I was making yesterday as an argument for it being outdated."

Or, you can buy a bigger shovel (created by zero) and be inclined to believe you are here because of zero as you dig more zeros.

6/27/2008 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

From QP’s link, "In 1919, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes of the Supreme Court wrote that “the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market.” Holmes erroneously assumed that ideas are more likely to spread if they are honest. Our brains do not naturally obey this admirable dictum, but by better understanding the mechanisms of memory perhaps we can move closer to Holmes’s ideal. Sam Wang, an associate professor of molecular biology and neuroscience at Princeton, and Sandra Aamodt, a former editor in chief of Nature Neuroscience,"

Of course the article itself is worthless, but what's interesting, is that in the article they focus on, and apparently intend to sell, the idea that any random bit of data, has no more standing or just as much standing, as any other bit of data, information, ideas or a truly substantial amount of knowledge – it’s all the same. In their quote from Holmes, they take his sentence as if it were a mere, flat, standalone comment referring to nothing more than any other isolated, unintegrated, standalone comments, aka (for them) 'truths'.

Of course there's some gratuitous 'subtle' rightie bashing about swiftboating and the fools who bought it, etc, but note here:
"Consumers of news, for their part, are prone to selectively accept and remember statements that reinforce beliefs they already hold."

It is assumed and smuggled in that 'they already hold' means that 'beliefs they already hold' have, and can have, no deeper basis, could involve no deeper or more valid integrations of fact, ideas, principles and substantiated convictions, than could or should be attributed to accepting and remembering their random standalone statements.

" In a replication of the study of students’ impressions of evidence about the death penalty, researchers found that even when subjects were given a specific instruction to be objective, they were still inclined to reject evidence that disagreed with their beliefs."

'Objective' ... 'objective' about random, disassociated, unintegrated bits of data... shows what to expect of 'objective' news folk and their tenured wackademics.

6/27/2008 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Nope, sorry, that's just a mathematical fact. It's really not a matter of opinion or belief, it simply is.

6/27/2008 02:42:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I'm afraid I didn't do justice to the subtlety of Schuon's point, but there are obviously other factors to consider, since Aquinas is using logic to prove the supralogical. Plus there is always the issue of intellectual and spiritual qualification, not to mention grace (which may be the most important).

Obviously, any mere rationalism is false by definition, but it can again indicate what transcends it, and allow an assent from the higher intellect.

To quote Schuon directly, "in the spiritual order a proof is only to the man who wishes to understand and who, by virtue of this wish, has already in some measure understood; it is of no practical use to one who, deep in his heart, does not wish to change his position, and whose philosophy merely expresses this desire."

Which is why it would never occur to me to get into an argument with you or Ray.

6/27/2008 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

As I always say, I wish to be of help to others, but not to those who don't want it!

6/27/2008 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Dang it, River, did you have to spread the glue around? Now where did I put that polish remover...

6/27/2008 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

But speaking of math, it's Tangent Time!

Good news - The Canadian "Human Rights" Commission has dropped the charges against Steyn and Maclean's!

6/27/2008 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Great news, Julie! Thanks for the update!

6/27/2008 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Anymouse – I ain’t good't much mor'n quot'n the Good Book, so I can't speak t'all that provin' God nonsense. But I can say, with absolute assurance - love God and your life will change! Do ya feel “called”…well, do ya?

6/27/2008 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"What prevents the first efficient cause from being nothing?"

What prevents you from believing that you can enjoy a nice satisfying meal of barbequed nothing? Would you sit like Hume with your back to the door, and claim upon hearing the sound usually associated with a door closing, that there was no reason other than habit to believe that that sound indicated that a door had just closed behind you? To get your face pressed up that close to any attempt at proof, is to ultimately deny the possibility of knowledge and proof (which was his intent) ... and at the same time, demand proof of that!

I'm not up to speed enough on Aquinas to debate his points (though I agree, you can't prove God's existence to someone who isn't willing to accept it - and personally I think that is an inherent part of the deisign), but in discussing the one or more of Aristotle's four causes, you should allow for "I no 'tink that woid means what ju 'tink it means...", as this points out about The Four Causes, the word typically translated as 'Cause' doesn't fully capture the meaning of the word Aristotle used, 'aition',

Material cause: “that from which, (as a constituent) present in it, a thing comes to be … e.g., the bronze and silver, and their genera, are causes of the statue and the bowl.”
Formal cause: “the form, i.e., the pattern … the form is the account of the essence … and the parts of the account.”
Efficient cause: “the source of the primary principle of change or stability,” e.g., the man who gives advice, the father (of the child). “The producer is a cause of the product, and the initiator of the change is a cause of what is changed.”
Final cause: “something’s end (telos)—i.e., what it is for—is its cause, as health is (the cause) of walking.”

This account makes it seem as if Aristotle is offering a catalog of causes, and is claiming that each thing has four different kinds of cause. But what the account misses is the idea that there is something ambiguous about the notion of aition.
...
Aristotle warns us of the ambiguity at 195a5: “aition is said in many ways.” This is his usual formula for telling us that a term is being used ambiguously. That is, when one says that x is the aition of y, it isn’t clear what is meant until one specifies what sense of aition is intended... This makes it hard for us to get clear on what Aristotle was up to, since neither “cause” nor “explanation” is ambiguous in the way Aristotle claims aition is. There is no English translation of aition that is ambiguous in the way (Aristotle claims) aition is. But if we shift from the noun “cause” to the verb “makes” we may get somewhere.

Aristotle’s point may be put this way: if we ask “what makes something so-and-so?” we can give four very different sorts of answer - each appropriate to a different sense of “makes.” Consider the following sentences:

1. The table is made of wood.
2. Having four legs and a flat top makes this (count as) a table.
3. A carpenter makes a table.
4. Having a surface suitable for eating or writing makes this (work as) a table.

Aristotelian versions of (1) - (4):

1a. Wood is an aition of a table.
2a. Having four legs and a flat top is an aition of a table.
3a. A carpenter is an aition of a table.
4a. Having a surface suitable for eating or writing is an aition of a table.

These sentences can be disambiguated by specifying the relevant sense of aition in each case:

1b. Wood is what the table is made out of.
2b. Having four legs and a flat top is what it is to be a table.
3b. A carpenter is what produces a table.
4b. Eating on and writing on is what a table is for.
...


and it goes on... but that's all the html I get for a quarter.

6/27/2008 03:29:00 PM  
Anonymous christopher said...

Wow...You guys did just fine without me...and me, I have just demonstrated the truism that you can't be thought a fool when you are silent but it's confirmed when you speak out.

6/27/2008 03:49:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

qp:
"Your brain lies to you" coming from the NYT....


Ooooooh that's rich!

6/27/2008 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

USS Ben said:

"Or, you can buy a bigger shovel (created by zero) and be inclined to believe you are here because of zero as you dig more zeros."

now i can dig that
especially when zero
reveals an O tell

6/27/2008 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Ray, a strategy is means to achieve an end. A value is what makes the end meaningful.
***********************
Game over.

All your morals are belong to us.
***********************

6/27/2008 08:51:00 PM  
Blogger Fido said...

Speaking of grinding bananas,

I just asked Scatter and he said:

“Even I know there’s more to chess than that. Those programs didn’t write themselves.”

6/27/2008 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Fido!
Stop teasing Ray.
Down boy.

6/27/2008 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

You tell 'em, Fido!

6/27/2008 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

No kidding!

6/27/2008 09:01:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Settle down, you're in ther too, Scatter. But peacocks? That's just not right.

6/27/2008 09:07:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Thanks, Nomo. I’ll let Fido know when he wakes up.
Before hey hit the hay, he mumbled something about Ray probably routin’ for the computer in those chess matches..

6/27/2008 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

I can’t let Fido play chess anymore. He bites off all the heads and the computer has no sense of humor.

6/27/2008 09:19:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

When Kasparov lost to Deep Blue, he didn't lose to a computer...in essence he lost to an army of programmers and every GrandMaster to play the game.

The fact that Kasparov managed to get so many draws shows just how good he really is.

Of course, I still think Paul Morphy could've taken him. :^)

6/27/2008 10:22:00 PM  
Anonymous bulldog said...

Hi anon,

What you are calling an assumption is in reality a first principle. As Bernard Lonergan suggests,the driving force behind the proofs of Aquinas is the assumption of the intelligibility of reality. We all count on it and we all see it to the degree that we are willing to follow where it leads. It is seen but it cannot be proved only lived and to live otherwise is to court insanity. It is self authenticating. When it is followed consistently and not dismissed because of the rejection of where it leads, this insight/intuition leads to God.

6/28/2008 04:09:00 AM  
OpenID thomism said...

Anonymous,

Yes, one of the "assumptions" of Aquinas's proof is that when you prove the existence of something, it is something and not nothing. If you think calling a cause "something" is a questionable assumption, you have some issues you need to resolve before attempting to understand this proof.

Bob,

Schuon does give proofs for God's existence, as at the beginning of Religio Perennis, which are identical to things Aquinas says in many places, like in the Second part of the Summa T, q. 2 article 8

"the object of the will is the universal good, just as the object of the intellect is the universal truth...which is not found in any creature, but in God alone... so God alone fulfills human desire."

"Universal" here is simply a synonym for "Absolute". In Aquinas's terms, the will seeks all that it seeks for the sake of union with the universal or Absolute, just as the intellect desires to know God in the search for every truth. After all, who can desire the limited or finite good as limited or finite? This would be like loving the weekend because of monday morning, or loving some truth because it failed to answer some other question. But if no one lives the the relative good as relative, it seems we are loving it for the sake of the absolute. Shuon and St. Thomas see eye to eye on this.

Shuon's point about the need to desire God before proving him is really a truth that applies to all learning, and not to the theistic proofs as such. You can't learn Latin, or come to see psychological problems without the desire to do so either.

6/28/2008 05:31:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Mushroom - You've got it exactly! A chess player wants to win the game, and the interaction of that value, along with the basic nature of the moves available in chess, dictates strategies to follow.

Humans have things they value, too. And there are basic, unchangeable features of the world we live in. So there are strategies that inevitably arise from the interaction of those two items. Things that are 'wise', not 'permitted'...

6/28/2008 05:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Wizard said...

Yep, there are (apparently) basic unchangable features in this particular universe.

Like the fact that e is appoximately 2.72.

I don't think that the value of e (in this universe, at least) has much of anything to do with valuing spiritual truth.

Now, if you want to talk about the importance of 0, that's a horse of a different color...

6/28/2008 06:34:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Thomism:

Very well put. I suppose my objection was to someone who wrenches the proofs out of their overall context and demands to be "shown God," so to speak. This is a form of bad will that acts as a sort of preemptive attack on the grace that will give body and substance to the proofs, since there is still an ontological leap between the proof and the pudding, or between the reason which "knows" and the intellect which "sees."
Not sure if that was clear, but I just woke up....

6/28/2008 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

BTW, one reason I appreciate Schuon so much is that he provided a kind of key for me that suddenly opened the door to the depth of scholastic philosophy. When I said to anonymous that the modern man says that "Thomism is outdated" as opposed to "I am not intelligent enough to understand Thomism," that was not intended as a personal insult to him, but a general observation which I know to be true. And as always, I wasn't talking about profane "intelligence" but about the intellect. Obviously many highly intelligent people do not understand Aquinas, for other issues are involved, e.g., pride, cynicism, and adherence to various self-refuting intellectual fashions of the day.

6/28/2008 06:55:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Beautifully put, Bob.

One either sees it or not, then one either acts on it or not.

6/28/2008 07:52:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Well said Thomism.

Ray, can't but noticing ... I wonder if you do... how ... immature your comments look in comparison? Really, I'm not trying to be insulting, but it just struck me... "But Dad! I'm ELEVEN YEARS OLD", for some reason immediatly came to mind.

Gagdad said "Obviously many highly intelligent people do not understand Aquinas, for other issues are involved, e.g., pride, cynicism, and adherence to various self-refuting intellectual fashions of the day."

Yes, and I'd direct attention to Hume especially as a prime sources of that frame of mind.

6/28/2008 07:56:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Van -

Fundamental things
are often quite simple, save
in consequences.

6/28/2008 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Ray, it goes double for the foolish things. Quite often the most foolish is the over intellectualized and inappropriate demand for 'proof'... see Hume (or the mirror)

6/28/2008 09:14:00 AM  

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