Sunday, August 30, 2009

Proof of God Announced Today: Media and Tenured Hardest Hit

The next chapter in Logic and Transcendence concerns the proofs of God. Now, like any proof, proof of God is not idiot-proof. The only final proof is personal experience, but this type of proof has no necessary purchase on another fellow's beliefs, unless the other fellow happens to have great faith in your credibility.

In fact, it is probably fair to say that most of our knowledge is of this order. During the course of our education, there are few things that we ever experience on a first hand basis. For example, I am not an economist. But I have faith in Ludwig von Mises, Fredrich Hayek, and Thomas Sowell, whereas I regard Paul Krugman as an ideological hack, even perhaps crazy. Similarly, I am not a quantum cosmologist, but I am quite certain that this field will never arrive at a "theory of everything," if only due to Gödels's theorems. I am not a biologist, but I have no doubt whatsoever that the theory of natural selection is absurdly incomplete. Etc.

So if some skeevy televangelist or door-to-door religious salesman tells me that God exists, I don't give it much weight. On the other hand, if a man of great intellect, erudition, experience, and virtue says so, then my ears perk up. As with most everything, one must consider the source. Our trolls do not consider me a credible source, which should be the end of their sophering fixation on this site, but for whatever tangled intrapsychic reason, it isn't. Which is fine. Truth being what it is, they teach us many valuable lessons.

But in any event, you will never hear me attempting to convince a reader of my credibility, which I could never do anyway. Either you regard me as credible, or you don't -- although I assume that this credibility has been slowly earned through time, based upon your own personal experience with the substance of these posts. It is perhaps similar to the good will one builds up with particular musical artists. If they come out with a new work that doesn't speak to us, we are willing to put in the effort required to penetrate it. For example, I initially didn't "get" modern jazz, but I accepted it on faith that these men weren't merely musical frauds trying to separate me from my cash.

And let me add for those readers who do regard me as credible -- which is always a leap -- I would never under any circumstances take this for granted or do anything to jeopardize it. We know you have a choice in your vertical travel, and we thank you for choosing trans-Bob airways. But the credibility can only be re-earned with every flying post. Besides, it's not the person, it's the fruits. If that weren't the case, I would have no credibility anyway. I'm not like that surly tree in the Wizard of Oz. Anyone is free to come by and pick an apple off me, because where I got 'em, they didn't cost a thing. Although gratitude would naturally compel you to purchase my book without my having to beg. What? Okay, I'll beg.

Schuon points out that the classical proofs of God occupy a kind of "in between" area on the vertical plane. Above them is the direct intellection or mystical experience of God, while below them is the profane rationalism of the flatlanders. Thus, we know in advance that these proofs can only "indicate" or support the journey. But that's actually saying a lot, because by dwelling in them, one may very well unexpectedly find oneself drawn up into the Great Attractor (more on which below). It's like innocently rubbing some sticks together at a gas station, and all of a sudden the whole place goes up in flames.

It should also be pointed out that man has a right to a God who doesn't offend his intellect. Clearly, not every man is in need of such a God, but some of us surely are. To ignore human diversity and say that God only cares for the stupid is to posit a god in whom I cannot believe.

One frequently encounters fundamentalists and fideists who distrust the intellect in general and gnosis in particular, as if we are the presumptuous ones. But it's actually the other way around. How dare they suggest that God cannot be known in ways other than scripture! There is no intrinsic reason for any ontological break between mind and spirit, psyche and pneuma. Great Neptune, you have no right to reject scholasticism before you have even deeply understood it, barnacle head!

Let us begin with a premise on which we can all agree, theist and atheist alike, for if it isn't true, then no real thought of any kind is possible (that is, if thought is adequate to truth): "it is necessary to begin with the idea that human intelligence coincides in its essence with certainty of the Absolute."

Please note that you don't necessarily have to have had a personal experience of the Absolute. Rather, you simply must posit it, and understand that no coherent thought or discourse is possible in its absence. It is the ontological "condition without which." In turn, the human subject is the "condition with which."

While the prior existence of the Absolute is self-evident to the even minimally awakened intellect, in our present Age of Stupidity, the "awareness of 'accidents' has stifled the intuitive awareness of 'Substance,' and from this has come an intelligence that is systematically superficial, fixed upon a fragmentary reality."

Do you see the problem? Either you are an absolutist or you are a relativist. And if the latter, you condemn yourself ahead of time to falsehood, fragmentation, disharmony, immorality, ugliness. Or at least you will have no ontological basis for distinguishing between these and their opposites. Rather, one can only appeal to tastes, fashions, authority, or the ubiquitous urge for conformity.

The Absolute simply is. It cannot be proven with logic, since it is its own proof, not to mention the fact that it is the basis for the existence of any proof at all -- obviously! For to affirm that anything is "absolutely true" is to have brought oneself into the orbit of the Absolute and outside the obit of relativism.

So it is with this prior understanding that one should approach the proofs of God. If you cannot make this leap, then you are excused. It will come as a surprise to our trolls that you are under no external compulsion to continue reading this evil and stupid blog.

{Are they gone? Good. Let's continue.}

To the stubbornly godless man, the following statement by Schuon will appear as a tautology or even a clever trick: "in the spiritual order a proof is of assistance only to the man who wishes to understand and who, because of this wish, has in some measure understood already." Conversely, "it is of no practical use to one who, deep in his heart, does not want to change his position and whose philosophy merely expresses this desire."

Reason flees from such a self-enclosed individual, who can easily find intellectual justification for his static condition. I remember it well! To say that the proofs are of no use because they don't work for everyone is like saying that ebonics should be taught because proper English grammar and syntax don't work for everyone.

As mentioned above, everything hinges upon that first ontological choice between Absolute and relative. Once you have chosen the latter, then there is no hope for you -- at least until you reverse course and undo what you done did. Upon this choice depends one's conception of truth. For the absolutist, truth is discovered; for the relativist, truth is created -- which is just another way of saying that there is no truth at all, only opinion.

For the absolutist, "truth does not depend on reasoning -- obviously truth is not created by reason." Rather, it "reveals itself or becomes explicit thanks to the key provided by the mental operation." Within this act of understanding, there is always something that "escapes the thinking process rather as light and color elude the grasp of geometry."

I'm sure all of you have felt this "something." Perhaps you are feeling it now. It is similar to that extra ingredient that elevates artistry over competence, the profound over the prosaic, Magnus over goddinpotty, etc. To suggest that this gulf could ever be reduced to "quantity" is absurd. And stupid.

Qualities are not arbitrary, or they wouldn't be qualties. Rather, to say that one thing is better, or truer, or more virtuous than another, is to acknowledge the vertical hierarchy that can only end (and begin) in the Absolute, on pain of our humanness being a pure miracle hanging suspended in mid-air, like, I don't know, like something just hanging there in mid-air suspended. Yes, we are suspended, but from above, like Larry King's pants. The alternative is just too hideous to contemplate -- i.e., a pantless Larry King.

To be continued... all quoted material taken from Frithjof Schuon's Logic and Transcendence...

31 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

Proof?
Unless you're a troll, of course, then there's nothing to see...

8/30/2009 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

First paragraph.
Ho!
10 points (you can only get 10)

8/30/2009 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"We know you have a choice in your vertical travel, and we thank you for choosing trans-Bob airways."

What... no peanuts? Oh, I see, yes the trollnuts are tasty... and they don't fill you up either.

P.S. Thanks for the window seat.

8/30/2009 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"One frequently encounters fundamentalists and fideists who distrust the intellect in general and gnosis in particular, as if we are the presumptuous ones. But it's actually the other way around. How dare they suggest that God cannot be known in ways other than scripture! There is no intrinsic reason for any ontological break between mind and spirit, psyche and pneuma. Great Neptune, you have no right to reject scholasticism before you have even deeply understood it, barnacle head!"

yyyYeah! No more dissing the rights of the pocket-protector wearers!

ahem. excuse me. back to reading.

8/30/2009 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

The Bible does not disappoint.
Especially, no matter who you are.
I'm certain this is true of any scripture, and no accident.

Great post, Bob. I love the reruns, I understand why, but I'm glad you done did this one.

8/30/2009 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"To the stubbornly godless man, the following statement by Schuon will appear as a tautology or even a clever trick: "in the spiritual order a proof is of assistance only to the man who wishes to understand and who, because of this wish, has in some measure understood already." Conversely, "it is of no practical use to one who, deep in his heart, does not want to change his position and whose philosophy merely expresses this desire.""

Precisely.

You have to, in your own mind, draw the inferences necessary to continue. I don't think they can be passed to you, they fall to dust when you try to import, or examine them, on the backs of words alone - it's like a no fudging, no cheating, barrier - you can't copy the answers from another's paper. You've got to create that under-standing first, then words can be attached to them.

Although, imagery (as with poetic imagery of the Bible, etc) seems to be able to pass through this barrier, temporarily at least. But to become a substantial understanding, you've got to infer substance into the images interior, like filling the hollow interior of a mold to properly witness the sculpture, otherwise you remain on the shallow literalist level of understanding.

8/30/2009 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Upon this choice depends one's conception of truth. For the absolutist, truth is discovered; for the relativist, truth is created -- which is just another way of saying that there is no truth at all, only opinion.

For the absolutist, "truth does not depend on reasoning -- obviously truth is not created by reason." Rather, it "reveals itself or becomes explicit thanks to the key provided by the mental operation." Within this act of understanding, there is always something that "escapes the thinking process rather as light and color elude the grasp of geometry." "

To which I want to shout YES! Obviously!, and yet the empty potties will shout "WHAT are you talking about?!", becoming the exceptions that prove the rule.

I remember the first conscious intellectual grasp of the absolute, One-ness of Truth, was when the Objectivist in Chief, Leonard Peikoff (and uber-atheist) said words to the effect of "It simply is not avoidable, Truth IS One, there could be no possibility of any thing being true, if there was not one complete whole which it was true of. Sorry to those rationalists out there who are threatened by supposed mystical connotation of this, but to deny it, is to deny all truth altogether, and irrationality is all that can follow from that. "

It was still several years prior to my first showing up here, and beginning to attach more than simple 'factuality' to that, but I do think it is absolutely the foundation, the starting point, for any true depthful understanding... of anything.

8/30/2009 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Ted Kennedy dug up and eviscerated just to make sure he's really most sincerely dead.

8/30/2009 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Oh, I DO like this Dr. Zero. Who is he and where did he come from? Perhaps it doesn't really matter... I liked his reply in the comments to someone trying to I.D. him:

"I’m not Jeff Goldstein, but I do love Protein Wisdom. “Skin-covered beerkeg” is the kind of line that puts coffee on computer monitor. "

Snort!

8/30/2009 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

I don't know what we're paying Dr Z, but it's not enough.

8/30/2009 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

How long has Dr Z been posting there, anyone know?

8/30/2009 01:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Northern Bandit said...

A reminder of the majestic power of Science; in contrast scientism is all the more loathsome and tawdry.

8/30/2009 01:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Northern Bandit said...

*Sigh*

I note that the comments section of the article just quoted (a significant breakthrough in pure science) was almost immediately overrun by leftists/atheists. Why they are so threatened by everything baffles me. When I was a boneheaded atheist at least I had the courtesy to pretty much leave spiritually healthy people alone (they were to me infinitely boring, of course).

As B'ob as n'oted many times, our coonish world view happily incorporates science, though trying to force the reverse results in incoherence (and apparently not a little frustration and anger).

8/30/2009 01:22:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Yesterday I watched a very good talk & Q&A from the book Gagdad's mentioned a few times, Economics Does Not Lie: A Defense of the Free Market in a Time of Crisis by Guy Sorman, was less than an hour, I think.

Aside from the excellent content, you should watch just to hear the author, French, pronounce healthcare ("Hells-scare"), economics ("EEE-con-o-micks") and Bubble (couldn't beging to phoneticize it).

I might have to revise my calling Frederic Bastiat the 'last worthwhile Frenchman'.

8/30/2009 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

NB,
What was their point?

Btw, I remember a similar image about 20 years ago where "they" spelled "IBM" with individual atoms.
What's the big deal here (20 years later)?
Or then?

8/30/2009 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Just had a little boo-boo with my template. Things may look a little different for a few days, until I have time to sort it out.

8/30/2009 02:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Northern Bandit said...

Ricky:

These fundamental milestones (in this case the first time internal bonds in a single molecule were successfully imaged) undergird modern western civilization. From the internet to life-saving pharmaceuticals, the efforts of these (mostly American) researchers allow us to communicate here today in good health. OC has of course always been pro-science.

The atheists sized upon this event to pollute the comments section with the sort of puerile anti-religious vitriol we see from the indecent buggers who troll here daily.

I forget who it was (Prager? Dalrymple?) that compared the leftist infiltration of everything decent to Invasion of the Body Snatchers...

8/30/2009 03:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Gilligan said...

Watch out for that template!

8/30/2009 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Hey NB,
I should have been clear. I meant, what was those atheists' point.
I just figured since you read them..

8/30/2009 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Don't get me wrong. I was impressed.. Although more impressed 20 years ago when they moved individual atoms to spell "IBM" and took a snapshot of that. This appears to be just a snapshot of something larger.
I'll tell you, when they can figure out how to image the inside of an atom, that will be something.
Seems to me to be impossible.

8/30/2009 04:10:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Here it is:

http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/20360.wss

Sorry about the non-link. On a cell phone.
Anyway, I like the latest image better. This old one looks CGI. I swear it looked more like the molecule one.

8/30/2009 04:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Job said...

Hey Gagdad, just wanted to say thanks for your work...maybe your calling, but truly, your gift....

8/30/2009 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

I found this, Ricky. It's really cool! http://www.almaden.ibm.com/vis/stm/gallery.html Of course, it's all just the meaningless result of random accident. (wink)

8/30/2009 07:44:00 PM  
Blogger Warren said...

Don't know if anybody here reads John C. Wright's blog, but here is a rather meaty post on absolutism vs. relativism, final causes, and the shipwreck of modern thought generally:

http://johncwright.livejournal.com/277089.html

8/30/2009 08:28:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Thanks, Susannah.

8/31/2009 03:28:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

The proof is in the puddin'! :^)

8/31/2009 05:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Skully said...

If there's lotsa proof in moonshine (and there is) then just imagine the proof in sonshine.

Were talkin' absolue O-Ctane here!
Imagine the kind of still required.
It's scrptural y'know.

Be STILL, and know Him.

Skully, preachin' to the lost old salts who need a refill.

8/31/2009 05:29:00 AM  
Blogger Russell said...

"truth is created"

Fine, fine, my dear relativist, but by whom?

If it's just by the random jiggling of atoms, than it's not even opinion, is it? Because doesn't even opinion carry an "I" behind it?

It's like one group of rocks prefers being a mountain and the other likes to be a cliff.

It's absurd, and yet the relativist wants me to accept we are nothing more than a random roll of the intergalactic dice.

"We know you have a choice in your vertical travel, and we thank you for choosing trans-Bob airways."

Intervertical transcendent free ice cream is addicting, Bob, thanks!

8/31/2009 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Julie, that was an amazing thing. I have a relative who as a young boy died on the operating table, and before he was resuscitated, wow...let me just say, there is a realer than real. The veil is very thin.

8/31/2009 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger imtheonlycathy said...

julie: Thanks for sharing and just... wow. From a related article on the Smile:
The Grace of God and miracles cannot be scientifically investigated, but they can be lived.

9/05/2009 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger imtheonlycathy said...

Ha Ha a new fan was born when Gagdad Bob said:

"It's like innocently rubbing some sticks together at a gas station, and all of a sudden the whole place goes up in flames."

Ah so true on so many levels isn't it? We could sing all day about the resulting conflagration and the Holy Spirit's power made manifest in those flames on our heads.

Now I am hooked on these tasty apples!

P.S.: Do ladies get to wear the hats too?

9/05/2009 11:22:00 AM  

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