Friday, September 12, 2014

God Made Me a Loser!

"What better way to feed subjectivist belief," asks Rizzi, "than to propound that their belief is given by science?"

Thus, for example -- because he is such a reliable example of subjectivist assoulery backed by science -- "Once you throw out the brain as the creator of experience, it's plausible that the mind creates experience." Therefore, "Getting outside the brain is easy once you accept that the mind is running the show."

This would explain Deepak's militant leftism: it works perfectly so long as you disregard objective reality and accept that your thoughts and feelings "run the show." Again: if one begins in the mind, one ends up out of it.

Why not begin in the senses, as does every developing human, since there is no other alternative anyway? Ever see a baby begin with a feminist theory about the degrading role of mothers?

A human being is not a brain-on-a-stick, but an incarnation, or body-and-soul. That primordial idea is how the West was won -- or rather, how the West won. The adoption of its antithesis is why we are losing, or at least frittering away our victory. For to embrace subjectivism is to reject the world. But the world will not go away quietly; nor, as Obama is finding out, does it fit under his bus.

Is Obama really a subjectivist? Yes, and what's worse, like all subjectivists, he implicitly believes that his subjectivism is the last word in objectivity. Or, as he said,

"Implicit... in the very idea of ordered liberty was a rejection of absolute truth, the infallibility of any idea or ideology or theology or 'ism,' any tyrannical consistency that might lock future generations into a single, unalterable course..."

Got it? The slippery truth is forever etched in Jello. Or, our gelatinous principles are spelled out with wet noodles.

Subjectivism necessarily equates to nihilism, and furthermore, renders real community impossible, since each mind is an isolated monad. No longer is it THE truth, only my truth, which is of course no truth at all.

But the very existence of science itself "is a continual refutation of nihilism, because it continually trusts that the world is understandable; even more, that it is understandable by us" (Rizzi).

Thus, the exercise of science rests upon a very naïve, trusting, and childlike metaphysic -- in a good way! For just as we trust that our parents won't screw us, we innocently trust that mother nature will not steer us wrong and let us down. Deep down we know that nature will reveal her secrets. To believe otherwise is to be incapable of science.

Even so, "it appears that science has hatched, or helped hatch, a culture with elements that are potentially destructive of science" (ibid.), almost to the point of suicide. And this suicidal attitude is not coming from the right. You might say that leftists are not necessarily "anti-science" per se. But they are nearly to a man anti-the science-before-science.

Now, this science-before-science implies both a ground and a destination, or origin and end. Or in other words, the ontological assumptions that make science possible carry with them certain entailments that make God necessary.

To pretend to have the one without the other is to cut off one's train of thought before it arrives at its logical destination. But it works both ways, because there are indeed some fundamentalists who obviously believe in God but who reject the scientific -- or terrestrial -- implications.

I don't want to dwell on it, but I actually flipped through a popular evangelical book that shall remain unnamed, and read this arrant nonsense (which is as utterly nonsensical and anti-Christian as anything Deepak could come up with): God

"decided when you would be born and how long you would live. He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death.... God left no detail to chance. He planned it all for his purpose." There are no accidents or contingencies, just pure necessity, from the Holocaust to his child's suicide -- both are just part of the Big Plan.

This weird philosophy goes by another name: Islam. It is not Christian but Mohammedan. Quoting Allah himself, "No soul will ever die unless it is God's will. The length of each life is predetermined according to the Scriptures" (in Bynum). You're all just little cogs in Allah's big wheel, so don't bother trying to figure out how the cogs work. God only knows, and God is irrational, so science is an exercise in massive presumptuousness, a recapitulation of the Fall.

The Koran suggests that it doesn't matter, say, if you become a suicide bomber or a stay-at-home mullah, because "those of you who were destined to be killed would have died regardless." Absolute predestination breeds unrelenting nihilism and futility. Unless you're a little dense, or a global loser, in which case I suppose it will be some sort of consolation. Indeed, losers will be very much attracted to this philosophy, since it frees them of any responsibility for being one. God made me a loser!

Here we see how Islam and predestination merge with the neo-Marxism of the modern left, in that their first principle is that it's all someone else's fault! The left may not have a God, but they have a whole gallery of convenient demons to choose from in order to explain away their failure: race, class, sex, whatever. With leftism you are only free to choose your demon, while the demon is responsible for all the heavy shirking.

With predestination, whether Marxist, Mohammedan or modern Christian, human agency is eliminated; guilt and responsibility are God's business, not ours. So you can wreck the world and blame a mechanical demon of your own imagination. What deviant child wouldn't love that?

And if that offends you, don't blame me. God made me this way.

47 Comments:

Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

But the very existence of science itself "is a continual refutation of nihilism, because it continually trusts that the world is understandable; even more, that it is understandable by us"

That is an excellent point and one I hadn't connected before. Or rather, I hadn't noticed the implication of them being mutually exclusive.

9/12/2014 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Ah, the joy of crossing the streams...

9/12/2014 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

With predestination, whether Marxist, Mohammedan or modern Christian, human agency is eliminated; guilt and responsibility are God's business, not ours.

One of the things I find especially troubling about the belief in predestination is how heartless and hopeless it must necessarily be. If someone believes this, and then suffers in any way, it isn't simply because bad things can happen to anyone, but rather because God wants you to suffer horribly. I have similar objections to the "pray enough and God will reward you" crowd. In the US, it's pretty simple for people to fall into that mindset, but what about places where Christians are suffering horribly for their faith? I cannot believe that God wants their children to be ripped in half or sold into sexual slavery by fanatical Muslims, for any reason. But if you believe in predestination or prosperity faith, that's pretty much what you believe. They don't suffer because bad people do bad things to decent people when they get the opportunity, but because either God wants them to suffer, or they didn't pray enough. Probably both.

9/12/2014 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"Again: if one begins in the mind, one ends up out of it."

Davilla level stuff right there.

9/12/2014 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Ahhh. Yesterday's post and todays post, I'd like to copy and paste each paragraph as a comment, followed by a "YEAH!!!"... but this will have to do.

9/12/2014 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger Roy Lofquist said...

"Thus, the exercise of science rests upon a very naïve, trusting, and childlike metaphysic -- in a good way! For just as we trust that our parents won't screw us, we innocently trust that mother nature will not steer us wrong and let us down. Deep down we know that nature will reveal her secrets. To believe otherwise is to be incapable of science."

May I disagree?

This is the royal road to scientism, "an exaggerated trust in the efficacy of the methods of natural science applied to all areas of investigation (as in philosophy, the social sciences, and the humanities)".

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/scientism

This quasi-religious belief has been fostered over the past few centuries by both the undeniable accomplishments of science and its enthusiastic publicists. It has only been in the last hundred years or so that the limitations of science have become apparent.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_unsolved_problems

The theoretical (mathematical) understandings as to why this is so have developed with the advent of digital computers which spurred the studies of computational complexity, information theory and chaos theory.

This realization compels the determinist to accept that there are mysterious causes unexplainable by materialism, the proof by necessity of the supernatural.

9/12/2014 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

roy lofquist said "May I disagree?"

You seem to have no choice.

"...compels the determinist to accept ..."

Ok, that's funny.


(autism?)

9/12/2014 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Subjectivism necessarily equates to nihilism, and furthermore, renders real community impossible, since each mind is an isolated monad. No longer is it THE truth, only my truth, which is of course no truth at all.

There are a whole bunch of people who seem to believe this and who had better hope and pray they never actually convince me it is true.

They will not like it.

9/12/2014 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Roy, don't be silly - of course you may disagree. And now I'm going to disagree with you :) Or rather, posit that your interpretation is off-base.

I think you've been reading here long enough to know that Bob is no advocate of scientism. Quite the opposite! But you seem to want him to throw the baby of science out with the bathwater of science worship.

The world - horizontal reality - exists. It has laws and properties which may be known and trusted, explored and understood. It is intelligible, and we have been complementarily graced with the intellect to grasp it. This doesn't mean that it is exhaustibly so (thank God!), nor that we will be able to understand and solve every riddle of existence in scientific terms. But we can learn, apparently, how to "talk" to atoms. Paradoxically, this doesn't solve the riddle of the universe, it only deepens it.

The fact that there are laws which govern the world does not cancel out the truth that there must be something preceding those laws. In other words, the science before science.

9/12/2014 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Mushroom, good point. If subjectivism is reality, I can't think of any good reason whatsoever to refrain from just flat-out exterminating all the bad people in the world, along with their enablers. I mean, if it were up to me, I'd be sorely tempted to just nuke Mecca instead of trusting that God has a plan, and is in charge of the vengeance department.

9/12/2014 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

As far as our Reformed evangelical friend goes, this comes of reading Calvin (bless his heart) instead of reading Scripture.

Romans 8:29 says, "For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son ...".

We are going to be conformed to the image of the Son. That's the ultimate destiny, and God knows that. How He gets us there is a dance between us and Him.

If what my brother says is true, why would God bother to give the Law or any kind of revelation of Himself?

Why would He have a prohibition against murder when the murderer is merely carrying out God's will?

In reality, murder not only denies the validity of the victim's life and liberty, it is an attempt to wrest control away from God and put ourselves in His place.

9/12/2014 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Yes, I would nuke Mecca. I might nuke Washington, D.C. first.

9/12/2014 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Yeah, that would be pretty tempting, too...

9/12/2014 12:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Roy: you may be missing the point that there are sciences before and after science, i.e., metaphysics and theology. Scientism collapses these three into one, but science as such is perfectly legitimate on its own plane.

9/12/2014 12:38:00 PM  
Anonymous nightfly said...

Hm. "No longer is it THE truth, only my truth, which is of course no truth at all." I'm having some Jim McGreevey flashbacks. How fitting that after his fall from political grace, he went to an Anglican seminary.

9/12/2014 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

In other science news, yikes. I hope FL's school is not one of the red dots. Jenny McCarthy has much to answer for.

9/12/2014 12:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Donnie Wahlberg said...

Don't worry, I'll spank her for you.

9/12/2014 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger Roy Lofquist said...

@Van Harvey,

"You seem to have no choice."

Correct. I am an absolutely miserable failure in the study of catechism, religious or otherwise.

'"...compels the determinist to accept ..." Ok, that's funny.'

The major current focus of cosmology is the search for the tres mysterieux "dark matter" and "dark energy". These "things", which cannot be detected in any way, must exist in order to balance the equations of the current "big bang" cult. The proof by necessity.

"(autism?)". OK, that's funny.

@julie

"to know that Bob is no advocate of scientism."

Of course I know that Bob, our "Brother From Another Plane(t)", is a staunch foe of that delusion. The problem is that the dichotomy between determinism and spiritualism seems unresolvable given the extant arguments. An understanding of the limitations of science seems to me to be a logically rigorous argument refuting scientism.

"But you seem to want him to throw the baby of science out with the bathwater of science worship."

Hardly. I have been steeped in science and mathematics for more than 60 years. I had a long and fairly lucrative career making computers sing and dance for the rubes. I would sing the praises of science to the skies if my voice didn't make the dog whine.





9/12/2014 01:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Dingo said...

Oh, wicked, bad, naughty, evil Jenny! Oh, she is a bad person, and she must pay the penalty!

9/12/2014 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Roy,

The problem is that the dichotomy between determinism and spiritualism seems unresolvable given the extant arguments.

Not sure I follow. The point of the post is that strict determinism is strictly impossible, on pain of putting the lie to all existence. In that sense, of course it is incompatible with the spiritual.

An understanding of the limitations of science seems to me to be a logically rigorous argument refuting scientism.

Sure - not that that seems to stop any scientist invested in the idea of a godless universe.

9/12/2014 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

On a lighter note, speaking of losers and Jenny McCarthy, I thought I regretted my yearbook pictures.

Mr. Bigglesworth seems to be saying, "You're kiddin', right?"

9/12/2014 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger Roy Lofquist said...

Julie,

You wrote "Sure - not that that seems to stop any scientist invested in the idea of a godless universe.".

I have worked with many scientists and engineers over the years, more than one of whom can be found in a Google search. I can't recall any of them who were "invested" in philosophical ideas. They seem to be than open to new ideas.

I have not seen the argument proposed, material science limitations vis a vis scientism, formally advanced anywhere in my readings. The idea is advanced peripherally in:

http://www.discovery.org/articleFiles/PDFs/DNAPerspectives.pdf

Regards,
Roy

9/12/2014 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

The scientists I had in mind were along the lines of a Hawking or a Tyson. I'm sure there are plenty who are lesser known and just as adamant in their refusal to accept the possibility of God. Much more sexy to delve into string theory, anyway. Perhaps I should have just said "atheists" instead.

Re. discussion of the limits of science vs. scientism, you might find what you're looking for in discussions of, say, intelligent design or embryonic stem cell research, though whether any of it is in the form of a serious work I couldn't say.

9/12/2014 03:24:00 PM  
Anonymous neal said...

If humans did not try to cheat in the first place, then mastering space would have naturally lead to mastering time. That tree is off limits, not ready yet. Need more time. That is funny, and why changes in physical constants are not very understandable from a linear persepective.

You see, same rules, different management, for now.

9/12/2014 06:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found this particular article to be extremely off kilter. We fight a spiritual battle and attacking Christians is the exact wrong thing to do in that battle. Catholics allow theologies of predestination or arminianism, and neither is heresy. Catholics call the two views Thomism and Molonism. Protestants have both theologies, sometimes within different denominations, and sometimes within the same denomination, and call them Calvinism and Arminianism.

9/12/2014 06:53:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I doubt if Molonism is orthodox, but in any event, I would regard it as a metaphysical cop out. Either our freedom is real or it is not. There's really no middle ground that isn't sophistry.

Also, I'm not attacking Christians. I have no problem with Christians who don't believe in free will, so long as they choose the good.

9/12/2014 07:15:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

I have long studied, because subjected to it in my 25 years' wanderings amongst Anglicans, the entire argument of Calvinism and Arminianism. This conversation is not that conversation. I pair this non-local noodling with that of a few months ago regarding our creative cooperation in God's eternal creation.

It's Bob's planet, we just visit here and turn over the trash cans and rummage for tidbits.

9/12/2014 07:36:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Even so, "it appears that science has hatched, or helped hatch, a culture with elements that are potentially destructive of science" (ibid.), almost to the point of suicide. And this suicidal attitude is not coming from the right. You might say that leftists are not necessarily "anti-science" per se. But they are nearly to a man anti-the science-before-science."

Aye, if one is grounded in a false a priori principle then one cannot be open to the truth.
Or what truth they do stumble across will be twisted to fit their false belief.

This is how crap like Common Core gets created.
Besides containing much more leftist propaganda in everything except the math, it completely ignores and kills the imagination of the children it is designed to indoctrinate.

And the problem with the math isn't that it's wrong per se, but that it ignores the basics that enable students to learn more advanced techniques.

If leftist teachers cannot teach basic math why do they think that they can skip that step and get good results?
I would add also that imagination in math is also crucial if we want kids to not only learn math but to be creative with it.

No, Common Corpse is designed to create more slaves to the State not to educate.
Of course, the public education system without Common Corpse is also designed not to educate so it's no wonder.

9/12/2014 07:57:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Speaking in general of the business of isness, on Vanderleun's sidebar today is this tasty tidbit, apparently originally posited by Confucius.

If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success. When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties and music do not flourish. When proprieties and music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded. When punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot. Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the names he uses may be spoken appropriately, and also that what he speaks may be carried out appropriately. What the superior man requires is just that in his words there may be nothing incorrect....

Anyway, what strikes me about the passage is how it relates to blasphemy, which is an attempt to separate Name from Truth, and by doing so wreak destruction.

9/13/2014 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger ted said...

AO Scott's article this weekend is making waves: The Death of Adulthood in America. This resonated with me, as someone who is pushing 50, I see plenty of people around my age interested in many of the same things people half their age are.

9/14/2014 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Scott's article in the NYT was a perfect narrative of the decline. He really made some uncomfortably salient points. Only a few bad assumptions, most notably that women had been dealt the worst lot in the patriarchal arrangement. Otherwise a solid critique that puts me in mind of the Star Trek episode about the "Grups."

9/14/2014 06:37:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

From the article,
"Noting that nearly a third of Y.A. books were purchased by readers ages 30 to 44 (most of them presumably without teenage children of their own), Graham insisted that such grown-ups “should feel embarrassed about reading literature for children.”

Not to argue the main point, but the 'grown up' authors and publishers should be ashamed that no Adult is going to find any hint of imagination or morality in the 50 shades of 'adult' fiction they regularly publish as 'legitimate, fiction', fit only for the stunted cynics of modernity.

There are of course plenty of suitably imaginative adult fiction to be found, but very little that has been published in the last 50 years, and to find that, you'd have to be an adult already; you'd have to be able to find the Minotaur in the Hunger Games, or the Republic in the Divergent, or the Plutarch at Hogwarts.

The secret protects itself.

9/14/2014 07:21:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9/14/2014 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Did anyone else think AO Scott sounded a bit like a whiney child? Try this, same theme, better stated:
The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization

9/14/2014 09:01:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Yeah, it didn't quite resonate for me, either. There were some good points raised, I agree, but I think in his lament of lost adulthood he missed the forest for the trees. Or rather, the causes for the signifiers.

9/15/2014 12:31:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Oh, I don't think it has "resonance" or any revelations, but the guy who wrote it is a reviewer, not a philosopher. I think I enjoyed it on that level-- that the decline is clearly observable to anyone paying attention. Or maybe I liked the idea of a fish discovering that its wet.

However, my first reaction was that I've heard every point he made while attending church. Now that NYT is saying it, must we therefore conclude that it is no longer "preachy" to bemoan our cultural degradation?

9/15/2014 03:22:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

On a lighter note, anyone notice how there seems to be a new player in the anony-spammer world? And it looks like the upstart 'French labor laws' just might edge out old guard 'Tramadol' for the win.

Hmmm.

Nope, nothing wrong with this world.

9/15/2014 05:33:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

They're spamming the deuce out of the "Geryons and Ligers!" post right now. It's been taking off exponentially this morning.

Backta captcha I guess!

9/15/2014 05:36:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Joan - "Now that NYT is saying it..."

Yes, but only when they say it, and only in ways that bash Americans.

In the light of day, and after further thought, It strikes me that his list of American books he doesn't like have another theme than merely "written for young adults": they all represent adventure, growth, independence, virtue... things he interprets as an escape from adulthood, but which I always read as leading toward adulthood. Or perhaps, rather, maturity, which is not exactly the same thing.

9/15/2014 05:43:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

I like your new image, by the way - both lovely and fitting.

9/15/2014 05:44:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Julie said "...they all represent adventure, growth, independence, virtue... things he interprets as an escape from adulthood, but which I always read as leading toward adulthood..."

Exactly. He seems to actually think that the Mad Man guy is a representative of ideal male adulthood, rather than evidence of its absence.

I'll take 'Hunger Games' over what self important fools (aka: children w/o the charm of being children) any day of the week.

9/15/2014 05:49:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

'have to say'
Take some Tramadol and fit it in somewhere in my previous comment.

9/15/2014 06:06:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

And yep, ditto on the new image Joan.

9/15/2014 06:07:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

I was ell-oh-elling at the homo-erotic implications of HuckFinn. ;)

But I am fascinated to see a fish start to suspect the water its been swimming in. You have to remember, its little bowl has been relegated to the constrictive size of Hollywood. For a foray into into deeper suspicions than a mere review, I'm all for encouraging fish to find out they're all wet.

9/15/2014 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Next up: Is "Let It Go" good advice for little girls?

The hub and I were discussing how we hated "Frozen" and "Hunger Games" but felt bound to watch them since Hollywood drives the cultural touch-points for human interaction.

9/15/2014 06:47:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

We haven't watched Frozen yet. Don't think we want the kids to get hooked on it; I have been decidedly unimpressed with "Let it Go" and all it implies; maybe I'm off-base, but it seems like the perfect womyns studies anthem. Though admittedly, without the context, maybe I'm missing something.

9/15/2014 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Joan said "The hub and I were discussing how we hated "Frozen" and "Hunger Games" but felt bound to watch ..."

I haven't heard about 'Let it go', not sure what that is, but my wife & I & two of our kids had heard all the raves about Frozen from friends & media, and so we sat down to watch it one night, looking forward to a 'Beauty and the Beast' sort of movie, but from almost the first scene, it might even have been the first scene, we all began to have this uncomfortable 'uh-oh' feeling. By about 15 min in I don't think any of us were able to really be watching the movie anymore, instead we were trying to see what others could have possibly have seen in it when they watched it.

All I could see was a ham handed slop of regurgitated cliches and stale musical hooks. A really bad movie, IMHO, and I'm still amazed at how small a minority that view is.

But then again, I really liked Hunger Games, the books first, then the movie (as usual, not as good as the books but better than expected), and of course I was reading it from a slightly different perspective, 'Hunger Gaming the Minotaur'.

I suppose that depending upon your angle, sometimes you look through the fun house mirror and are delighted by what you see, and sometimes you are amused or repulsed by the reflection you see; the interesting part is that what's being reflected remains the same.

9/15/2014 07:30:00 AM  

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