Monday, June 14, 2010

Atheism: There's Nothing To It!

No one commented on my little schematic the other day, but it really does tell the whole story about faith, hope, and love, and about man's ontological situation in general. To simplify it, we could just say (and please don't be put off by the symbols, which shouldn't be difficult to understand, but which will accumulate meaning through their use):

O

(•)

Ø

That's you in the middle (•), right between Nothing (Ø) below and the Absolute (O) above. But existence is never static, therefore you are always moving in one direction or the other, even if you're not trying. (One thinks of the three gunas of Vedic metaphysics, which convey the idea that human beings are always rising, falling, or expanding with the cosmic winds; it is also interesting to note that these correlate with creation, destruction, and preservation -- i.e., the trinity of Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu, respectively.)

Now, as we were saying yesterday, the Raccoon lives in the Light of the already but not yet. In contrast, the existentialist, the village atheist, the materialist, the secular leftist, the troll -- all try to live and navigate their lives in that beam of darkness we call Ø.

And please note, this is not some kind of insult or jab, but an objective account of their own acknowledged metaphysic. Any variety of materialism obviously reduces to nothing, unless you're just too stupid, frightened, or dishonest to draw out the ultimate implications of your first principle.

For a Raccoon, being is dependent upon O. Therefore, all reality is infused with the light and truth of O -- not to mention the beauty which is its penumbra.

Furthermore -- and we'll get more into this later -- just as truth is the light of O, I think we can all agree that love is its "warmth." But where there's heat there's light (and vice versa). Not for nothing does Genesis characterize carnal love as knowledge. Oops! He said a dirty world! But not really. Only if you forget about O. Indeed, you might even say that pornography is the sexuality of Ø.

Unless you are severely retarded and completely stuck in the now, your life is either oriented to O or Ø. To be oriented toward the former means to live in faith and hope, while to be oriented to the latter means to live in concrete. By definition it means that life is hopeless, and that there is no reason whatsoever to have "faith." You already know your future and final end, which is death and nothing more.

But since you know the future, the future infuses the now, which is why you have that damned hellhound on your trail. Everything you do and think is just a distraction from the reality of Ø, and you know it. You are constantly receiving "visitations" from your hopeless future, from the black angel of Death, which is why you have created your Death Culture (in other words your frantic denial of Death always contains traces of Death, precisely.)

I hope this isn't going too slow, but I can only proceed at the rhythm of O.

Everything in the cosmos -- with the exception of the human being -- simply "is what it is," and nothing more. But a human being always lives in the "not yet." Only a human being is aware of time, and therefore stands outside or above it (while still being in it, of course). Thus, as Pieper explains, this "not yet" is a janus-faced thingy which "includes both a negative and a positive element: the absence of fulfillment [Ø] and the orientation toward fulfillment [O]."

Pieper further explains that the former orientation results in a closer "proximity to nothingness that is the very nature of created things."

In other words, the Raccoon is quite aware of Ø, which is a necessary condition of existence, of a creation separate from the Creator. This is important to appreciate, because while horizontal man does not recognize O, the Raccoon actually acknowledges the "reality" (so to speak, i.e., the relative reality) of the materialist's god, Ø.

To put it another way, you could say that Ø is simply the ultimate destination of man's fallenness. Zizioulas explains this well, noting that the state of fallen existence involves "the rupture between Being and Communion," or between O and ʘ, and therefore resulting in (•) and even worse.

Let me explain in more detail, or put some flesh on those bony pneumaticons. Zizioulas notes that "the fall of man -- and for that matter, sin -- is not to be understood as bringing about something new," since "there is no creative power in evil."

Rather, this fall -- and it really is a "fall," from verticality to horizontality -- should be understood as "revealing and actualizing the limitations and potential dangers inherent in creaturehood, if creation is left to itself." This is because if man denies O, he makes himself "the ultimate point of reference in existence," which is to say, he will "become like God," authorized to determine for himself what is good and what is evil. In merging with Ø, he is the god of all nothingness, or a king in hell.

And that's how you end up at MSNBC.

Now any form of materialism -- I hope this isn't too obvious -- necessarily makes Ø the ultimate frame of reference, but this ends -- and must end -- in fragmentation, the impossibility of truth, and hatred of the Other (who also rightfully claims to be God, the bastard!). Why is this? Because "the fall consists in the refusal to make being dependent on communion, in a rupture between truth and communion" (Zizioulas).

In order to understand why this must be so, you must see that Truth is prior to Being. If Being is prior to Truth -- as existentialists believe -- then the simple fact of your (•) becomes the ultimate substance of truth. In other words, your so-called truth actually emanates from Ø. And you don't "commune" with this truth so much as sink into it and dissolve, nothing to Nothing. You are just one fragmented object among an infinite number of others. Frankly, you're a leftist, but we won't get into that. I just want to make sure Stevenonymous is paying obsessive attention.

But if the essence of existence is communion -- and therefore Love -- then your union with truth and reality, O, is prior to your alienation, or fall, from it.

Which is again where faith and hope -- and, of course, love -- come in, which are nothing more than orientation toward reality, or O.

85 Comments:

Blogger Steve said...

Wow.
I stopped counting after the third fatal logical fallacy.

I'm sure you're a very nice person with lots of positive attributes, but cogent analysis isn't exactly your strong suit.

6/14/2010 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

A worshiper from the First Church of Ø.

6/14/2010 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Why should cogent analysis be the exclusive domain of the First Church of Ø?

Ah, because you're begging the question. Good theology is entirely possible without logical fallacy and obfuscation, although one could understandably be led to a different conclusion by your contributions.

6/14/2010 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Thanks for the cogent analysis!

6/14/2010 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

And not to be technical, but one cannot beg a question you didn't ask.

6/14/2010 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Oh, and stop hiding behind Steve, and show your anonymous face!

6/14/2010 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Saw the title & jumped to the bottom to see if the lure got any bites, I figured it would.

Shame it was just a blue gill... they're always so darn small, you just have to toss them back... or cut 'em up and use 'em for bait. Maybe Cuz will lend some tools.

But it's early yet.

No joke from wv:
fooke

6/14/2010 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Speaking of which, a Dem shows his true face. Don't fuck with the State, boy!

6/14/2010 09:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

I spotted three logical fallacies in the Congressman's analysis!

6/14/2010 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

"And not to be technical, but one cannot beg a question you didn't ask."

QED

6/14/2010 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

QUEEG

6/14/2010 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger Mongoose said...

I wish you would elaborate on "communion" a bit more. I am confused.

Does this refer also to a human community? How does this relate to Christian notions of "communion" (including, but not limited to, "sacraments" of communion".) If you primarily mean by this "communing with God", how is this different than worship in the traditional sense? You are using some freighted words here and it would be helpful if you could flesh them out a little.

I am not arguing and in fact think you are on to something; I am just trying to understand you.

6/14/2010 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger Dianne said...

But existence is never static, therefore you are always moving in one direction or the other..

I had this "epiphany" sometime ago that every emotion or action in life is like walking a fine line. With any of it - good and what we perceive as bad - too much in one direction or the other is dangerous to the psyche.

Like worry, for instance. A little worrying is good, because it makes you think and work things out for the better - keeps you on your toes, but too much of it can drive you insane and/or make your life bleak.

Altho, usually when I get excited about these kinds of "epiphanys" I find out that just about everyone else has already figured it out way before I did. Better late than never, I guess.

And as for your formula in the previous post - it was way over my head. I looked at it and saw algebra, which immediately caused my brain to shut down. As far as I'm concerned, the only thing worse than math, is two maths. I'm more of a literature person. But I'm hoping it'll start sinking in slowly, but surely, if I stick around and pay attention.

6/14/2010 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Mongoose:

One can only cover so much in a single post. I suggest that you provide the missing content with your own experience, i.e., convert experience into knowledge. This is the purpose of the pneumaticons, or "empty symbols."

6/14/2010 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Mongoose:

Also, if you want to go into all of the details, I suggest that you read Zizioulas' book, which is demanding but quite profound.

6/14/2010 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Now, as we were saying yesterday, the Raccoon lives in the Light of the already but not yet. In contrast, the existentialist, the village atheist, the materialist, the secular leftist, the troll -- all try to live and navigate their lives in that beam of darkness we call Ø."

Yes, and not surprisingly, the leftist and the troll both routinely report back descriptions of landscapes which are quite consistent with their being unable to see them... as you'd expect from someone who used an intensified beam of darkness to 'see' by.

"And please note, this is not some kind of insult or jab, but an objective account of their own acknowledged metaphysic. "

Welll... that's somewhat dependent on their point of view, isn't it? I mean, if you insist on taking reality into coonsideration, that's already an insult, put down and an unnecessary burden to those of the leftist and troll minded persuasions, isn't it?

Perhaps anone could be troubled for a demonstrayshun.

6/14/2010 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Hey, truth is the new hate speech. When we speak it, they hate us.

6/14/2010 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger Mongoose said...

Well, I will do that, and no doubt it is wornderful. In the interval, however, I found this:

http://www.incommunion.org/2004/12/11/communion-and-otherness/

I will voice, nonetheless, my reservations at this point: This tack can be misused by collectivists, given its bias against the Western tradition (discovery?) of the individual. There seems a dissonances between the notion of of an advance toward "ecclesiastical personhood", if you will, and a distaste for the individual and "divisions" among people. He seems to want to have it both ways.

I must say that I find it a (potentially) dangerous matter--one need look no father than the how the "social justice movement" keeps cropping up in the Catholic Church. Here is a case of so-called "children of light" playing God, of confusing vertical and horizontal (remember that "social justice" has nothing to do with Charity--they are literally putting words in Christ's mouth here). I will point out the individuals stand out before God, not committees.

The great saints may have it in them to advance without political freedom, but the vast majority of us require it, or at least are greatly aided by it. It is rather hard to commune with God when one's must twist oneself into deception to withstand tyranny against one's person and family. That was rather the whole point of the USA and the whole political evolution of the West, or so it seems to me. "Come out from among them" as someone once said.



This was rather the second part of my "question", I just had not got around to it yet.

I will read more, but am I to take it that your meaning of "communion" is the same as Zizioulas's meaning or at least substantially elides with it?

If he is right, then God has given us a real challenge in our Collectivist brethren, for there seem little ground for communion.
If it matters go much further it will harldy be a matter of playing with some obtuse troll on a blog.

6/14/2010 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

The neurology of communion.

I almost wish I had seen this two weeks ago - it would have been really entertaining to have DH scratch himself while I was going numb...

6/14/2010 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Mongoose said...

There seems a dissonances=There seems dissonances

6/14/2010 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Mongoose said...

. It is rather hard to commune with God when ONE must twist oneself into deception to withstand tyranny against one's person and family.

Gee, sorry for all the typos.

6/14/2010 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Gagdad said "Hey, truth is the new hate speech. When we say it, they hate us."

Lol. To swipe a pun, Too Che!

wv is on it's game today:
prepie

Truth: No self rejecting college preppie would be caught dead with it.

6/14/2010 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Mongoose:

Your concerns are very well placed, and I will indeed get into them in subsequent posts. Suffice it to say that the left conflates communion and collectivism. Only communion preserves the uniqueness and sanctity of the individual, because only an individual can be in communion. Zizioulas ultimately roots our our potential for authentic personhood in the uniqueness of the Son as the "only begotten," but I won't get into that now.

6/14/2010 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger black hole said...

Bob:

Regarding your schematics. I give them a 6 out of 10. I like and understand them, after some head-scratching.

The caveat is they will only appeal to a certain segment of the population, probably male and analytical.

What I like more are testimonials, the subjective personal experiences of O that people relate.

Sure, these tales cause a reaction of "yeah, right" half the time, but that is just the intellect spitting out what it cannot chew. But to me they are more solid than other attempts to talk about 0.

So, people differ in what kind of input is effective.

Jesus liked to use parables and fables, because these seem to strike everyone well. They may be the most efficient transmitters of spiritual information.

Essays, logical papers, schematics, formulas and general theory have a place but cannot do the whole job.

I'll go ahead and accept disapprobation you or your readers care to dish out. If I don't like it here, don't come, etc. I'm a moron, etc.

I hope Steve gives you a good beating today. Yay steve.

6/14/2010 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Too stupid, frightened, or dishonest. Which is it?

6/14/2010 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Mongoose said "can be misused by collectivists, given its bias against the Western tradition (discovery?) of the individual...
I must say that I find it a (potentially) dangerous matter--one need look no farther than the how the "social justice movement" keeps cropping up in the Catholic Church."

I haven't read either the book or your link, but as for how it's intended here, if you read the post and the comments to yesterday's post... I don't think that's a possibility - from our point of view.

But from a leftist's point of view? Remember, you're talking about a people who support suicide bombing as valid expressions of an oppressed people's point of view. If telling the truth can be labeled 'hate speech', and 'Send the Jews back to Germany and Poland... remember... they are occupiers!' can be considered worthy of consideration...

"...The world likewise cares little for the concept of “occupation” in the abstract; it is only the concrete example of Palestine that earns its opprobrium. We can be assured that President Obama will not bring up Ossetia with President Putin. He will not raise the question of Tibet with the Chinese or occupied Cyprus with Prime Minister Erdogan. Will Helen Thomas ever ask, “How can Turkey be allowed to keep Nicosia a divided city?” Will she worry whether Greeks are allowed to buy property in the Turkish sector of that capital?

There is no European outcry over the slaughter of South Koreans in a torpedo attack by a North Korean vessel. I don’t recall President Sarkozy weighing in on that particular moral issue. The United Nations is angrier at Israel for enforcing a blockade against its terrorist neighbor than it is at Somalia for allowing pirates to kill and rob right off its coast. ...
"

...then of course it can be misused, but there is nothing that is safe from that, as Vanderleun likes to note:"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood.", or to state the Truth in such a way that it cannot be slandered as lies.

Heh... wv again:cesphys
Pushing that rock back up the hill again and again...

6/14/2010 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Bob, is there any reason it can't be all three?

Dianne,
re. the formula, it's not so much an equation as a visual kind of shorthand. There are probably several ways it could be artistically presented, but one of them is a diamond shape, with O at the peak, (•) in the middle, and Ø at the bottom. The symbols used the other day are explicated in Bob's book. I'd trancelate, but my copy is still out on loan.

6/14/2010 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I think another good reason to use the pneumaticons is because so many people are turned off by religious terms. If you first understand the metaphysical principle involved -- the skeleton, so to speak -- then it is much easier to understand the religious "clothing." If you start with the clothing, then postmodern ironists will just reject it as so much mythology.

Thus, for example, if you start with the Absolute, O, you can avoid a lot of misconceptions and irrelevant feelings people project into "God." Once "God" is cleansed of these human errors, he can go back to being what he is, and you can say God instead of O.

6/14/2010 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"This is because if man denies O, he makes himself 'the ultimate point of reference in existence,' which is to say, he will 'become like God,' authorized to determine for himself what is good and what is evil. In merging with Ø, he is the god of all nothingness, or a king in hell.

And that's how you end up at MSNBC."

You always get me with the stealth gags! LOL! But seriously, I'm not getting how a troll could deny the truth of what you've said here.

"while horizontal man does not recognize O":

For instance:

"Logical fallacy!" the drive-by troll accused (without leaving any supporting evidence among the droppings).

6/14/2010 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

sour 'steve':
Bob's admonition is apt:
'If it hasn't been of help, you needn't let us know.'
and
we'll be sure'n drop by your minimalist 'blog' if we need your POV [or some sound zzzz's]

6/14/2010 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Mongoose, I think the simple answer is that love cannot be compelled by an outside force, as collectivism is.

6/14/2010 12:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

I just checked out Stevenonymous's site.

Wow.

Just. Wow.

Wow-wee.

Wow. Dude.

I stopped counting before the first fatal logical fallacy!

I'm sure he's an asshole with lots of negative attributes, so he's probably wise to stay away from cogent or any other kind of analysis.

6/14/2010 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Dupree, you're begging the question.

6/14/2010 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Thanks Julie, but I just ordered my own copy from Amazon - dar - I don't know why I didn't think of that before. :)

6/14/2010 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

One of the points of agreement between Islamic radicals and the neo-fascists known as liberals is that they are both willing to use force, and specifically the force of the state to put us in "communion". No surprise that both groups seem to be offended mainly by Israel and Christians.

Jesus never forced anybody to do anything. He just offered Himself, and said, "Come and dine". He stands at the door and knocks, but He's never going to kick the door in. He's not after compliance.

Compliance versus communion.

6/14/2010 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

Dianne, It took me about 6 months before I ordered the book and another 6 to actually pick it up and read it...all in God's timing.

Over the weekend I read and mostly comprehended ((hard to believe given where I was 5, heck 2, years ago)) Descent into Hell. The novel is considered to be Charles Williams' best. Anyway, in it "we watch a perfectly unnoticeable and respectable historian damn himself to Hell by an unremitting sequence of very small petulant choices. Nothing big. But again and again and again he will not have the Way of Exchange—My Life for Yours. At one point, it comes down to his merely having to say yes or no to some folks who are putting on a play, and who need his historical acumen to tell them whether they’ve got the costumes right. But he refuses out of sheer testiness.

Well, says Williams, if I will have it that way, then I will have it that way—forever. Naturally we all say in chorus, “George Macdonald! The Great Divorce!” And we are right, of course: “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’”

Williams likes to call Hell Gomorrah: the place beyond the city where I seek the mirror image of myself (Sodom), where I may be altogether alone with no one to get in my hair.

The images that Williams invokes in this connection are several. One of his favorites is “The City” (Augustine’s City of God), where the rule is My Life for Yours. In any earthly city we must acknowledge that rule anyway: Red lights say, “You must give way so that those people can go.” I may fume, but I must obey. In the City of God, it is a form of bliss.

Filthy lucre itself is an image, whether we will or no: The coin says, “Here is the fruit of my labor in exchange for the fruit of your labor, which I need” (for groceries, or whatever). It is all adulterated with cupidity down here: but in the City of God these exchanges are modes of joy. I can give you a hand with your luggage (Heaven) or refuse to do so (Hell). It is on every corner."

From this essay at Touchstone, where, if you read, you'll see the author's take on Williams. He was a unique undresser/dresser. Can't say I enjoyed the book, not in the way I enjoy Chesterton and Lewis, but I'm glad I read it. I think I'll be/am more aware of my moving position on the vertical scale.

O

(•)

Ø
Indeed.

6/14/2010 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger Mongoose said...

Susannah, Well I am not sure that that is the point I was getting at.

One needs to be crystalline clear in these matters. Again, as I said, these are freighted terms. The Left is much better at propaganda and twisting the truth than the rest of us. "Prince of Lies" and all that...

Speaking of "freighted terms" (but not the Devil), using different representations "outside of religion" (and here i think you particularly mean the Judeo-Christian legacy), is most useful in the context of this blog in so far as it demonstrates clearly how the thought is being mapped to traditional religion.

In the end though, I, for one, will chose remap it back to more traditional language.

I think the problem you may have encountered is that a great many have been given "crayola Christianity"; they have not been offered either the intellectual or legitimate mystical traditions of Christianity. They have not, for example, in their religious educations been exposed to Aquarius or Eckhart or the church fathers, or if they had, not in any vital way that aligned with their own experiences and yearnings. If they were expose anything close to this it may have been through a "new age exposure to people like Merton where sentimentality is conflated with sentiment. They may have been taught a mechanical set of rules based of catechism (or some non-Catholic variation there of). They may have been taught this in a mistaken conflating of order with morality. All of this is quite common for Boomers.


I do think though that in the end part of their ascent will involve coming to terms with their misconceptions of, or neurotic overlays on the Judeo-Christian tradition. I can hardly see how chucking all that for a new of jargon will be enough the end.

That is not to say the OC should change a hair on its head: it does an wonderful job at realizing its goals, and this is altogether laudable, even necessary in this day and age.

To me the thought here is subsumed by those traditions and not the other way around, at so far as salvation and redemption is concerned.

6/14/2010 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger Mongoose said...

No, he is more questioning the begging.

6/14/2010 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

BTW, Williams uses a rope in DIH for the vertical ascent/descent.

6/14/2010 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Grant Maher said...

Ok, so Steve hit a nerve. Nothing to get ruffled about. No need to take it personally.

Is there anything to the criticism that Bob is making logical fallacies?

What is a logical fallacy, exactly, and why are they bad?

We need an objective third party to take on this question.

Not every critical comment is without merit; this is how we learn things and improve.

6/14/2010 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

I don't have a site, so there's some superior skillz behind that accomplishment.

In some circles snark, attitude, and volume pass for discourse. Clearly, there's an assumption here that if I question your argument, I must be opposed to your conclusion. With defenses like that it's likely been a long, long time since you've had any insights originating outside your own head. Doubtless you attribute this to the superiority of the current state of your insights.

6/14/2010 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Agreed. No doubt whatsoever.

6/14/2010 01:30:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Mongoose: you mean, *we* know what we mean, but unless we are perfectly clear, others may catch and run with it into left field?

If so, gotcha. After Bob's first post on this author, I actually thought about recommending the book to someone I know who might like it, but immediately had a check in my spirit, as this person does tend to veer into left field.

6/14/2010 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

grunt maker said "Ok, so Steve hit a ner..."

What a maroon. The closest thing to a nerve he came to was the funny bone, and we're all (well, the cool crowd) having a good laugh over it. The rest of your comment, as usual, isn't even up to the level of funny.

6/14/2010 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

stove said "Clearly, there's an assumption here that if I question your argument, I must be opposed to your conclusion."

Yeah. So clearly reflected in the replies to Mongoose.

Here's another equation for ya'll:
Manners + Sense = Respectful Reply

If Manners or Sense are lacking, the Raccoons will be laughing.

wv:stedi
... as she goes....

6/14/2010 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger f/zero said...

Mizze, I noted that your referenced article was penned by Thomas Howard, whose Christ the Tiger helped set me aright many years ago. I haven't read any of his further works but I plan to now.

6/14/2010 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

you must see that Truth is prior to Being.

What do you mean "prior"? Do you mean "before", as in time, or "more important", or what? Do you mean that you can have Truth without Being but not the other way around?

The whole notion ontological priority seems fishy to me. I suspect that it's a the root of a great deal of confusion, including yours.

6/14/2010 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Good questions. Please return after you've considered them for a decade or so.

6/14/2010 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

You are just one fragmented object among an infinite number of others.

Ah, I see. You find the truth of the above scary and/or depressing, and so are desperately trying to undo the entire thrust of modernism and put yourself (or "Man") back at the center of the cosmos.

I have some sympathy for this project (I guess that's one reason I hang out here and pester you). However, I don't think that labeling everyone who disagrees with you a hellbound leftist fascist is really a good way to go about it.

6/14/2010 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Uh oh. You've failed yet again to abide by your laughty standard: "The right way to read them is to try to assume that what they are saying makes sense and then imagine what sort of world it is that they are making sense of. That's how I read your blog."

6/14/2010 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

The whole notion ontological priority seems fishy to me. I suspect that it's a the root of a great deal of confusion...

At least you can admit that you don't understand. Too bad you extrapolate your confusion to mean that what is said must be wrong.

6/14/2010 03:32:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, I was going to add that I encourage you to continue the practice of avoiding the middleman by asking questions of me and then answering them yourself. Then you won't need me anymore, and can get on with your life.

6/14/2010 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger Mongoose said...

geez, I see my spell checker turn Aquinas into Aquarius. Talk about infiltration....

sorry about that.

6/14/2010 03:56:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

My second comment was not an answer to the first, but a commentary on a separate bit of your writing.

The first one had a perfectly reasonable question in it. You obviously are free not to answer it, and leave the unanalyzed, undefined notion of "prior" hanging in the air.

I guess it comes down to theism, in which God is prior to the creation, in some sense. But what is that sense? Not temporal, since God is eternal. "More important" -- maybe, although that seems to devalue the world. If you can't define it, maybe it isn't real.

6/14/2010 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

If you can't define it, maybe it isn't real.

Wow. That may be the dumbest thing you've said yet.

6/14/2010 05:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

If it doesn't define you, maybe you aren't real.

6/14/2010 05:58:00 PM  
Blogger Grant Maher said...

Ok, so nobody is going to address the logical fallacy complaint? I'll have to do it myself?

Van, you seem intelligent. Can't you tell the boss something that might offend him? Would you let him know if there was something stuck in his teeth at a picnic? Or just let him make a fool of himself?

That ain't no love, brother.

If Bob is going to break out into greatness, if he's going to hang with the big boys, he's got to be sharp. SHARP. He can't get sharp if his team is too frightened to give him any suggestions. Or if he won't take any from anyone.

And he certainly won't take any from hostile bloggers.

Bob is left with the impression he is sufficient unto himself in his "brilliance" and doesn't need anyone else to give him suggestions.

How's he going to grow? Where will the impetus come from? He's a closed system without you guys. Together you're strong, but just bobbling heads you guys can't kick lefty ass.

Help him, fergodsake. That includes you, Van. Either show Bob's writing free of logical fallacies or we'll be forced to assume that Stove snuck a torpedo under the net.

6/14/2010 06:05:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

To what fallacies are you referring, moron?

Dazzle me!

6/14/2010 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Tossing out insults and attitude, while entertaining, do not help you make your case. I'm all for a thoughtful, well-considered discussion with adults, especially when there's honest differences to be explored, but I have neither time nor patience for games. The world is too beautiful and important to waste time jabbing at some poor soul.

Strength of character and confidence in ones' convictions generally negates the need for name-calling and pettiness. Ideas are much more interesting, as I hope you would agree.

6/14/2010 06:21:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

"Good theology is entirely possible without logical fallacy and obfuscation."

Do tell us who your favorite theologian is, Stevenonymous, so we can know who we are competing against.

6/14/2010 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Yes, I breathlessly await further words of wisdom from the guy who maintains that something indefinable can't be real.

Hey, Grant -

Can't you tell the boss something that might offend him? Would you let him know if there was something stuck in his teeth at a picnic? Or just let him make a fool of himself?

Here's a little etiquette 101: generally speaking, when it's important to tell someone they've got something stuck in their teeth, if you actually respect them you don't do so by shouting it to the whole group whilst pointing, laughing derisively, and calling the person names. Especially if what's in their teeth is something microscopic, while your own teeth resemble the very best that British dentistry can provide.

6/14/2010 06:27:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Oh, wait - it was anon who made the dumbest statement of the day. Steve just drove by, cried "You're wrong!" without stating where, when, why or how, and now demands that the unspecified logical fallacies be addressed.

6/14/2010 06:31:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Trolls. Is there anything they don't know?

6/14/2010 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

They don't know the secret of the ruby glasses...

6/14/2010 06:39:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

I'm all for a thoughtful, well-considered discussion with adults, especially when there's honest differences to be explored, but I have neither time nor patience for games.

Boy, are you in the wrong place.

The people here, although occasionally displaying some intelligence, instantly revert to nitwit name-calling when challenged. It's a pretty effective defense if you aren't handicapped by intellectual honesty.

6/14/2010 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

It can't be all that effective. You're still here.

6/14/2010 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

He's a leftist. Do as he says, not as he does!

6/14/2010 06:58:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

I'd say the burden of proof rests with the self-appointed prosecutor, *especially* when he claims to represent the laws of logic.

It's the random screeching of insults for the sheer joy of introducing cacophony that characterizes trolling, and deserves to be told off.

"Cogent analysis isn't your strong suit" is not going to win the trolls their case, in other words.

Or as Steve said: "Tossing out insults and attitude, while entertaining, do not help you make your case."

See, along with the manners + sense, a tad bit of self-awareness helps too.

6/14/2010 07:43:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"intellectual honesty."

Such as...shifting the subject every time you're challenged?

6/14/2010 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"I'll have to do it myself?"

Now *this* should be entertaining. :D

wv: dopidul

I kid you not.

6/14/2010 07:54:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

anone dared say "You obviously are free not to answer it, and leave the unanalyzed, undefined notion of "prior" hanging in the air... If you can't define it, maybe it isn't real. "

Coming from you with your prior comments, refusal to comment and flat out evasions... that is breathtaking in it's audacity and absurdity.

Bravo anone, a new nadir in nullity.

6/14/2010 08:51:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie replied "...you don't do so by shouting it to the whole group whilst pointing, laughing derisively..."

(hmmm...making note to try to curb natural reactions...)

6/14/2010 09:02:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

the trulls were offended with "Good questions. Please return after you've considered them for a decade or so. "

That's actually far more wise than wise crack... which explains why they took offense.

If someone actually wants to further consider the issue of Truth and Being firsthand, you could do far worse than starting with Aristotle's Metaphysics (actually it'd be best to start with the Analytics, but that depends on how dry you like your Martini), this from midway in,

"...We must state whether it belongs to one or to different sciences to inquire into the truths which are in mathematics called axioms, and into substance. Evidently, the inquiry into these also belongs to one science, and that the science of the philosopher; for these truths hold good for everything that is, and not for some special genus apart from others. And all men use them, because they are true of being qua being and each genus has being. But men use them just so far as to satisfy their purposes; that is, as far as the genus to which their demonstrations refer extends. Therefore since these truths clearly hold good for all things qua being (for this is what is common to them), to him who studies being qua being belongs the inquiry into these as well. And for this reason no one who is conducting a special inquiry tries to say anything about their truth or falsity,-neither the geometer nor the arithmetician. Some natural philosophers indeed have done so, and their procedure was intelligible enough; for they thought that they alone were inquiring about the whole of nature and about being. But since there is one kind of thinker who is above even the natural philosopher (for nature is only one particular genus of being), the discussion of these truths also will belong to him whose inquiry is universal and deals with primary substance. Physics also is a kind of Wisdom, but it is not the first kind.-And the attempts of some of those who discuss the terms on which truth should be accepted, are due to a want of training in logic; for they should know these things already when they come to a special study, and not be inquiring into them while they are listening to lectures on it... "

Aristotle goes through nearly all of the sensible question you could imagine, and not a few of the lesser sorts that our troll's think up as well (shhh... they flatter themselves to think they're being clever and new... it might shatter their fragile little mego's to find out that their stupidity was already old 2,500 years ago), and considers them from all angles and implicaitons.

Even if you disagree with Aristotle's conclusions, the sheer experience of wrestling with him through the questioning will expand and deepen your grasp of your own place in the world and it's place in you.

6/14/2010 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger Grant Maher said...

Well, I looked into fallacies. Thre are 42. One that occurs here sometimes is "Ad hominem."

"You're a leftist, therefore you can't possibly say anything reasonable."

But that only occurs in the comment section.

Steve's comment was actually a kind of fallacy called a "red herring." HIs comment on fallacies did not address the post but simply changed the subject.

On that basis I call Bob the victor here, with the caveat that we should all study up on these fallacies in order to increase the precision and force of our writings.

Steve, you down in flames tonight boy. What you say to that? Stick to the subject next time.

6/14/2010 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Please. If I were going to engage in ad hominem, I'd call you an imbecile instead of a moron.

6/14/2010 10:01:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Besides, it is axiomatic that a thing isn't true because it's logical, but logical because it's true. So stop trying to fit the source of all truth into your silly little logic box, or I will call you an imbecile, moron.

6/14/2010 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger Grant Maher said...

I will add that Bobs schematic, where a person may descend into the null O, is of variable significance depending on the time frame involved.

If there is only one life, the null 0 is a terrible fiasco.

If muliple lives are the rule, the null 0 is a correctable deviation or oscillation.

Which is correct, single life or mulitple lives?

The scanty evidence available points to the multiple scenario (Bridey Murpy, etc.)

The spiritual evolution of humanity would be hard to explain if only a single life were alloted to each human being. It is too brief to realiably allow spiritual unfolding.

How would this effect the raccoon philosphy? Probably remove some gloom/doom affect.

More time=more relaxed, more slack, less angst.

6/14/2010 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Well... I can't go to bed without following that up with the obvious - from the man who wrote the original books on Logic and Fallacies, Aristotle's books on Logic: Posterior Analytics and Prior Analytics , and you'll find the original Fallacies (including two that are highly recommended by our troll's: Equivocation and Non-Sequitor) in On Sophistical Refutations.

G'night.

6/14/2010 10:17:00 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Whatever gets you through the night is all right, all right.

Sleep well young princes, comfortable in the knowledge that you're likely already the very best person you can be.

6/14/2010 10:19:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"it is axiomatic that a thing isn't true because it's logical, but logical because it's true. So stop trying to fit the source of all truth into your silly little logic box, or I will call you an imbecile, moron."

Heh, yep. And for the silly little choppers, I'll repaste the tail end of the quote above,

"...And the attempts of some of those who discuss the terms on which truth should be accepted, are due to a want of training in logic; for they should know these things already when they come to a special study, and not be inquiring into them while they are listening to lectures on it. "

6/14/2010 10:23:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Van @ 9:02 - okay, unless it's really, really hilarious. In which case, pointing and laughing is practically a moral imperative ;)

6/14/2010 10:29:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

stove pipe said "...nces, comfortable in the knowledge th ..."

It must be so frustrating being a troll. They assemble words in elaborate patterns, just like their instruction book says they should... but they don't work?! What gives?

Psst! Here's a clue: Words have meaning, and their meaning extends beyond the pattern you've assembled, into the real world they're meant to elucidate - both backwards towards what you referred to, and forwards to what you've concluded about it. If you just put them together like lego's, but their meaning doesn't gibe in anyway with their surroundings, they become meaningless.

The first lesson of logic, the one professors immediately move to drop through examples of the "Necessary vs Contingent" ("2+2 equals Four is a necessary truth, and that there can not be round squares - because we cannot imagine it otherwise. But Ice sinking in water, is merely a contingent truth, because we can easily imagine ice sinking to the bottom of a glass of water" - absolute B.S., there is absolutely nothing contingent about the properties of ice floating in water), is that your premises must first be true, before you can use them to arrive at a larger truth.

You can't just arrange words into the form of a meaningful statement ("...three logical fallacies...") and get any mileage out of them, when there is no relation, obvious or otherwise, between them and reality to begin with. If we're missing something, you need to point it out and clarify what you are referring to - or your words end up referring to nothing at all.

But then again, you are trolls, your words never did refer to anything in reality to begin with. But they do look nice. Maybe if you take a picture of them and put them on the refrigerator mommy & daddy will give you a hug.

6/15/2010 06:10:00 AM  
Blogger anon said...

OK, I can't contain my curiousity -- why does the distinction between necessary and contingent truths upset you so? Surely there is some differernce between the truth of statements like "2+2=4", which you can ascertain without getting out of bed, and the truth of "ice is lighter than water", which requires going out and finding some ice and observing it, or trusting somebody else who has. Call them a priori and a posteriori, that's probably a better distinction, very close to necessary/contingent, although not exactly the same according to modern philosophy. So, why does this unremarkable distinction get you so hot and bothered?

6/15/2010 08:12:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

anone said "...why does the distinction between necessary and contingent truths upset you so? Surely there is some differernce between the truth of statements like "2+2=4", which you can ascertain without getting out of bed, and the truth of "ice is lighter than water", which requires going out and finding some ice and observing it... "

Why do you want answers to questions you've no interest in discovering the meaning of? If I give you an answer, it's going to be dependent upon a conceptual structure which you haven't got, and in fact refuse to even consider (and besides that, it deals with reality which, you know, you find kind of depressing)... so what good will it do you?

I know, you just want an 'answer', which because it will seem empty to you (by virture of the emptiness of your own head), you'll be able to ridicule or evade with a clear and empty conscience.

Well... I don't mind making it easier for you to abuse yourself, it is your choice after all... and though it will be meaningless to you, someone else might actually give it some further thought, so it's all good.

I've already given you several links to my site (and elsewhere) where the full explanation can be found or derived ... but I suppose this one gives the most direct overview of the questions you don't realize you asked, Dehumanism: The mystical world of the new Atheists, and it's probably the most appropriate since you've already announced your mystical (in the witchdoctor sense) view of the world. Such as:

"...Surely there is some differernce between the truth of statements like "2+2=4", which you can ascertain without getting out of bed, and the truth of "ice is lighter than water", which requires going out and finding some ice and observing it..."

No, there's not. There is no fundamental difference between them, other than you no longer need to actively complete the steps required to perform addition, having (presumably) already automatized the nature, concepts and methods of basic mathematics and the very physical realities it derives from. However, the way you state it above, is as if you believe that numbers somehow exist in some realm separate from reality, and are ruled by laws which are fundamentally different from those governing the properties of ice in water.

Not so.

To propose that the properties of Ice in water are simple 'contingent' facts, to even propose that you could alter or discard even one aspect of one property of H2O, is to propose rewriting the entirety of the laws of physics, not to mention the ultimate reality which they reflect. You cannot do so, and for wackedemics to blithely assert you can, or to assert their unimportance, is to wipe out the meaning of our concepts and our conceptual nature in one truly meaningless statement - which if you bothered to read the philosophers which you are so obviously and hopelessly enthrall to, is exactly what the originators (and not a few of those passing them on) intended to do.

The purpose of the 'contingent' ploy, is to slick people into confusing what is truly by nature contingent, that which is due to chance or choice, such as "Automobiles usually have 4 wheels, but we can easily imagine them having 6, or even 5", with what is metaphysically given, such as the nature of ice in water. The purpose of this is, in Kant's words, "To destroy knowledge, in order to save faith"... and reading your comments, you can easily see he nearly accomplished the first, with the result that he's very nearly obliterated the second as a result.

6/15/2010 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

A small and insufficient sampling from the relevant portion of Dehumanism: The mystical world of the new Atheists

"...Although I am, I shouldn’t be surprised. The Cartesian method, which starts with Consciousness as a primary (and as a result ultimately leads to its being devalued and discarded), has no way to tie either consciousness or its contents back to reality – after all, it holds that in the philosophical chain of knowledge, Consciousness precedes IT – and it's grasp of fundamental ideas such as the favorite show stopper “2+2=4 that’s an idea that precedes all else and is true everywhere!” as if the mathematical legislation for it exists ‘out there’ along with something like Plato’s forms, or which the determinists cast as pre-existing code hardwired into the genes, or in some other way preloaded into our hardware & software, is not only not the case at all, but sadly laughable.

This ‘show stopper’ is utterly unimpressive and un-mysterious, when you start with Existence, with Reality as The Primary, which comes before Consciousness, and without which consciousness would have nothing to be consciousness of! So called mysterious Ideas such as those of mathematics, all began directly through our conscious interaction with reality. It began with some Geico caveman’s fuzzy awareness that these (holding up three fingers) rocks, somehow have something in common with these (holding up three fingers) spears... and with focused consideration, and not a little bit of imagination, came a grasping of the abstraction of 'Quantity', that these were the same in some way other than in their own features, they had a commonality grasped through a highly abstract view of two sets of things stripped of all their particulars of size, shape, length, color, texture, all set aside in order to reduce them to only ‘things’, and in so doing, exposing what they had in common – quantity.

Sometime afterwards, I suspect soon after, but there’s no way of knowing for sure, but nevertheless after following on the heels of grasping quantity, came the abstraction of 'Number', that a word could stand for a particular quantity of things, and that these words could apply to the same quantity of any ‘things’ you might have in mind, and following on that would be the idea that particular numbers, could be conveyed across time and place, and could be used to combine or separate ‘amounts’ of things… and these numbers could extend even beyond just matching quantities to the digits of all of your fingers and toes.
..."


There's a lot more to it, but that's enough for you to ignore.

6/15/2010 11:13:00 AM  

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