The decisive error of materialism and of agnosticism is to be blind to the fact that material things and the common experiences of our life are are immensely beneath the scope of our intelligence. --Frithjof Schuon
And just what is the scope of human intelligence? At its outer and inner edges, it is none other than the Infinite, the Absolute, the Eternal. It cannot be surpassed, for it is potentially total, which is to say, "adequate," or proportioned to, the Divine Mind. Hear me now, believe me later.
If those sophering from materialitis and reductionosis were correct, this total intelligence would have no cause and no explanation, certainly not on Darwinian grounds. Obviously, no other animal has an intelligence that infinitely exceeds the necessities of survival.
In other words, "survival" is the sufficient cause of animal intelligence. But what is the sufficient cause of mathematical truth, aesthetic truth, metaphysical truth? Not to mention, music, humor, love, poetry? As I said in my book, these are "luxury capacities" that are as different from animal intelligence as life is from matter.
To quote Arthur Koestler,
"[T]he evolution of the human brain not only overshot the needs of prehistoric man, it is also the only example of evolution producing a species with an organ which it does not know how to use; a luxury organ, which will take its owner thousands of years to learn how to put to proper use -- if he ever does."
And luxury is an apt word, for it is a kind of extravagant light placed in the middle of nowhere, like a brain inside Paris Hilton. How did it get there? Why does she have it? She'll never use it. It will just sit there idly, like a huge inwhoritance she'll never touch. How could natural selection produce a bunch of nothings capable of knowing the Absolute but individuals capable of knowing absolutely nothing?
As the zoologist and science writer Matt Ridley put it, there is simply no conventional scientific way to "understand how a costly investment in big brains today may be justified by cultural riches tomorrow."
To which a Raccoon always adds cultural poverty, i.e., the structured stupidity that has beset most human cultures down through history. In this regard, we are the true multiculturalists, in that we believe they're almost all pretty damn stupid. Those cultures that have escaped enforced collective blindness and motivated stupidity are the great exceptions, not the rule.
In a peripheral or possibly direct way, Dr. Sanity's post today touches on an aspect of this problem. For example, if you want your country to flourish, oy vey, don't be such a schmuck: just befriend the Jews. In this regard, you can take the Bible quite literally: I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse (Psalm 37:22). I would guess that there's just about a 1:1 correspondence between the success of a country and its hostility toward Jews, being that the anti-Semitic Islamic world is at the bottom of the barrel of bipedal monkeys.
Dr. Sanity quotes Meryl Yourish, who writes that
"People talk about the brain drain of various nations’ top scientists and doctors coming to the U.S. because here’s where the action is. But let’s not forget the incredible addition of talent America has received due to the persecution of European Jewry for the last few centuries. The waves of Jewish immigrants from Europe brought America a lot more than the Hollywood studio system. It brought us top scientists, thinkers, doctors, technologists, and authors." The anti-Semite David Duke "goes to Iran to be feted by his fellow bigots at the Holocaust denial conference, while back in America, the Jews that Duke hates so much are working hard at their respective crafts, and being recognized by the rest of the world for the valuable contributions they make."
Dr. Sanity cites the statistic that "Though Jews make up a mere 0.25 percent of the world’s population and a mere 3 percent of the United States', they account... for 27 percent of all American Nobel Prize winners, 25 percent of all ACM Turing Award winners for computer science, and 50 percent of the globe’s chess champions." Not to mention a disproportionate number of the world's great comedians -- the Marx Brothers, Woody Allen, Jerry Seinfeld, Jack Benny, Rodney Dangerfield, and dozens of others. On the other hand, nearly all Islamic comedy is inadvertent, as we shall see below.
There is a wise crack in the Talmud that says something to the effect of "every blessing carries a curse." Thus, it seems that human beings could not be given the gift of potentially infinite intelligence without simultaneously being exposed to the imbaccilus of infinite stupidity. Indeed, if you toss free will into the package, how could it be otherwise and be other than wise? Intelligence, being both free and infinite, must be free to be infinitely stupid. Which is why, in the words of Ronald Reagan, "The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so."
So, on the one hand, natural selection cannot account for an intelligence that vastly exceeds the needs of survival; but nor can it account for an "intelligence" that is so comprehensive in its stupidity that it clearly undermines survival prospects. That God placed the Muslims on top of the oil proves that he too must have an ironic (sadistic?) sense of humor. Or, as Joyce put it,
Hohohoho, Mister Finn, you're going to be Mister Finnegan! Comeday morm and O, you're vine! Sendday's eve and, ah, you're vinegar! Hahahaha, Mister Funn, you're going to be fined again!
Nevertheless, this meandertale is a grand funferall with many a smile to nondum if you're abcedminded to its claybook!
In fact, humans are so intelligent, that they can use their intelligence to explain away their utter stupidity, as demonstrutted in this hilarious interview on Muslim TV (cited by Dr. Sanity) that goes into the question of why the Nobel Prize has been awarded to 167 Jews, and to only four measly Arabs out of 380 million -- all four of whom "are considered traitors."
The interviewee answers with a series of questions: "Are we Arabs not included in the transfer of the scientific genetic code? We, the descendants of Al-Khawarizmi, Al-Jahez, Al-Razi, Avicenna, Ibn Al-Haytham, and Casey Kasem -- are we all born idiots? Is there not a single scientist or deejay among us? Are we not included in the genetic code? Is intelligence not transferred down among us Arabs?"
Yes, of course. No animal is intelligent enough to be as stupid as this person. They ought to give a Nobel Prize for Intelligent Stupidity. Oh wait. And the winner is, Al Gore.
By the way, they also give the Nobel Prize for "evil goodness," as indicated by Yasser Arafat, Jimmy Carter, and Kofi Annan. Again, only a highly moral animal could be so infinitely morally confused.
Now, let us suppose that we are made "in the image of the creator." That doesn't really explain much unless we know what the creator looks like, so to speak.
That was going to be the original topic of this post, but I got sidetracked, so I suppose it will have to wait until tomorrow.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
The Human Trifecta: Infinite Stupidity, Wicked Humor, and Evil Morality
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Jews also make up an appalling percentage of socialists, atheists, sybarites and self loathers (e.g. George Soros). I love God's covenant people but they are so very very frustrating...
Yes, the self-hating Jew is an important phenomenon. Dennis Prager has written at least one good article on the subject.
Beautiful! I love it when you get "sidetracked" (if there really is such a thing).
Evolution is not about survival, it's about passing on genes. Many would argue that dealing with the opposite gender successfully requires infinite intelligence. The brain is a "luxury" only to the extent that competing to produce offspring is a luxury. One could just as easily argue that peacocks don't need colorful tails.
As for the Nobel prize, I guess we could always have affirmative action.
"Many would argue that dealing with the opposite gender successfully requires infinite intelligence."
Peacocks do need colorful tails. But men clearly don't require colorful tales to reproduce, as for most of human history brute strength was sufficient.
Hmm, CL, that assumes that the genes are the thing surviving. But that is counter-intuitive, unless humans are viruses. In such a case, why not be viruses?
Well, as a saint once said, "Truly, the material world is vanity."
[Paris Hilton]'ll never use it. It will just sit there idly...
I was taken up short the other day by one of the Church Fathers' comments on the familiar parable of the wheat and the tares. It's not that we can't tell a weed when we see it. It is that only God knows when and whether that weed will activate covert DNA [well, the Church Fathers don't put it that way, paraphrase rough and on the hoof] and blossom as the finest food grain.
So, standing up for the potentialities of Paris Hilton's immortal soul here, hoping not to sound like a literalminded jozkcak...
cryptlife said "The brain is a 'luxury' only to the extent that competing to produce offspring is a luxury."
Having a club and being 100 lbs larger gets you all the offspring you can muster. Gold teeth and a Glock does just as well.
The brain has other purposes, and the law of the jungle has no jurisdiction there.
As to the cosmic joke of Muslims sitting on top of so much of the world's oil reserves: without Western technology, Western markets and Western concepts of property law the Arabs would still be wiping their butts with sand. We should really consider applying another western property law concept-eminent domain-to these troublesome oil reserves, and return the Muslims to their much-desired seventh century state of nature.
BTW, thanks for the Double ISS Paris-Algore Day!
"In fact, humans are so intelligent, that they can use their intelligence to explain away their utter stupidity..."
A somewhat relevant, but mostly shameless self promoting blurb from Spreading the Poison of the Ivy League - Reasons of Reason pt.4 which I finally managed to put up last night, about TIME's correspondent & other press eagerly awaiting dinner with Ahminimejihad,"If this is what you pass off as reason, something that tells you that it is not only sensible, but exciting to dine with a man who’s personal actions in recent years, and his countries over the past 30 years, have been hatefully focused upon hurting and killing Americans, the brutal oppression of his own people, exporting terrorism to the world at large and quashing those who seek political and religious freedom in his own country, then there is no reason to regard that pitiful excuse for reason as being worthy of anything but contempt and disgust."
Gotta love the stupidity of the narrowly intelligent.
Bob.f said "We should really consider applying another western property law concept-eminent domain-to these troublesome oil reserves, and return the Muslims to their much-desired seventh century state of nature."
I think you finally found a use for eminent domain that judge Souter would like even less. I kind of like it though. It'd sure be some fire sale.
Van - Not to mention "ahm-so-mad-in-da-head" consistently threatening the annihilation of Israel...
My mother recently brought this to my attention: Deceived on Purpose. A big point; New-Agers tend to have special words they use as 'triggers' like 'As above so below.' Had I not heard it in this context first I might have been taken aback. Apparently, their error is to use this phrase to deny the separation.
Makes me glad that leftists revile this place. Part of one of my favorite Gracian Aphorisms.
My supposition is, having spoken to my mother and read the description, the author is concerned at what the Purpose Driven Life might do to unbelievers; and that it may not be wholly Christian or even beneficial. I.e Chopraesque. But then, it just proves Aurobindo, Schoun, Gracian and Bob right about public acclaim. Joke about as you will, but Jesus had words about the Daily Bread.
Tares and Wheat indeed. It's a slow process, and its not 'Driven' but led, God willing, by the Spirit.
tied in celtic knots
By the by, Bob. I've discovered one of the things you've been able to do is to more or less disarm a lot of the New Agers intellectually - taking back their 'terms' and 'phrases'.
Ok all you Guys: don't knock colorful tails.
I'll bet you a room full of brains or brutes against Ioan Gruffudd(any day)for, er, reproductive potential.
Having a club, or a Glock, first requires inventing those things. Being 100 lbs. bigger doesn't help if your rival has managed to get 10 guys on his side through trickery or persuasion. Also, having a club or a Glock doesn't help after someone invents a rapid-fire plasma rifle.
River, evolution is based on the idea of the genes surviving, not the individual. It's certainly not the body that's surviving. I don't really think that would be counter-intuitive to a biologist at all.
Men don't require colorful tales, but it does make reproduction easier.
Do you have a funny side?
So your colorful tales about genes are just a way to get laid? Good luck.
Yes, he obviously does. Inadvertent, of course.
cryptlife said "Having a club, or a Glock, first requires inventing those things."
crypt... inventing those things requires the brain, without the brain, brawn works just fine for manufacturing offspring, no reason to progress beyond the level of chimps (who have used clubs, btw). Simple rutting isn't enough of an evolutionary need to crank up the growth hormones to the hatrack. We can choose to not use it, choose to rely on brawn, or glocks or rapid-fire plasma rifles, but if simple material needs is all you're using it for, you're not using it for what it's meant to be used for.
cl - As an "antitheist" you have to be flat out stumped by a natural, godless process that results in a brain with mental capacity so far beyond nature's requirement. How wasteful of nature.
you think you are smarter than most, and cute and funny, but really, you're a standard issue racist.
The transformation of Tares can occur, but only in a climate of equality and freedom.
That was some of the funniest bashing I've been subjected to. Yes, I have a funny side. And yes, some of it's inadvertent.
Your posts don't show an understanding of evolutionary theory. Have you studied anything about the evolution of intelligence? I imagine it's fairly easy to research.
You're missing the whole point!
Evolutionary theory cannot account for the presence of transcendental intelligence.
Get with the program, friend!
cryptlife said "Your posts don't show an understanding of evolutionary theory. Have you studied anything about the evolution of intelligence? I imagine it's fairly easy to research."
Oh, for the love a... as if the point was evo... oh the heck with it. What Smoov said.
At least your comment at the end of yesterday was intentionaly amusing.
Memo to anonymous:
Bob and Paris Hilton are members of the same race. Perhaps you mean Bob is speciesist, i.e., a Raccoon.
Remember the old Maverick TV westerns? The hero was Bret Maverick (played by James Garner), and some of the later shows had his brother, Bart, in them.
In one show, the two brothers were in some kind of tense situation, and the dialogue went like this:
Bret: "That's funny."
Bart: "You mean funny 'ha-ha', or funny 'strange'?"
You mean funny ha ha, or funny Cryptic?
Common sense dictates that having more brain will help you survive and, more importantly, help you protect your offspring. Unfortunately, common sense may be wrong. Our ancestors around 90 000 years ago had marginally larger brains than us and still made the infamous hand axe that was pretty much what had been going around for the last million years, perhaps with slightly sharper edges than the Homo Habilis variant. 40 000 years ago, those who lived by the hand axe were shot by those who didn't. Exactly what the brain was used to before it was used is a rather intriguing question.
I was thinking it doesn't really matter how it happened. We can come up with any explanation we like. We can sort the facts to support an evolutionary explanation for why we have the intelligence that we do. How it has happened isn't really as important as the fact that a door within us was opened and God can come through. Who are we to say how God accomplishes his plan?
Walt said "Bret: "That's funny."
Bart: "You mean funny 'ha-ha', or funny 'strange'?"
Petey said... "You mean funny ha ha, or funny Cryptic?"
Now That's funny "Ha-Ha!"
(Really liked that show)
Magnus said "40 000 years ago, those who lived by the hand axe were shot by those who didn't."
What, with a Glock?
"Exactly what the brain was used to before it was used is a rather intriguing question."
With Academic Cesspools abounding, exactly what the brain is used for now is still a rather intriguing question.
cl - Come over to the lux side of the force (it's a much happier place).
A Glock is sort of the hand axe of modern pistols so likening it to a club seems appropriate.
The refined individual chooses the truth and beauty of a CZ, Browning Hi-power or a nice 1911. Any of which show a more evolved choice than the utilitarian and soul-less Glock, elevating cap-popping to a whole new level. ;^).
Cooncur, cousin Hoarhey. If you gotta bust a cap on somebody, it costs you nothing to do it in style.
Almighty God, who created humanity after your image and
gave them living souls that they may seek you and rule your
creation, teach us so to investigate the works of your hand
that we may subdue the earth to our use, and strengthen our
intelligence for your service. And grant that we may so
receive your Word as to believe in him whom you sent to give
us the science of salvation and the forgiveness of our sins.
All this we ask in the name of the same Lord Jesus Christ.
... James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879)
Hmm, the suggestions that evolution created our big brains so MEN could get laid more often and that would be good for the gene pool is actually rather interesting. The question that pops up is; why would women then need the same kind of brain? To avoid "getting laid" by the intelligent nerd, and stick to the brute bastards? :)
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