A General Query to all Panphysicalists and Radical Materialists

Let us cut to the chase.

Think back to the day when you first discovered that you were a meat robot without free will, without freedom, and without dignity. Did the discovery fill you with awe, rapture, wonder and gratitude?

For, if not, the discovery is false. Truth is majestic and majesty provokes awe; truth is sublimely beautiful and beauty provokes rapture; truth is startling, because it shatters the lies we tell ourselves, and the bright surprise leaves us blinking in wonder; truth is a gift to be prized above all price, and gifts provoke gratitude.

If the discovery of material did none of these things, either your reactions are miscalibrated and do not reflect reality, or your discovery was not a discovery at all, merely a falsehoods you have yet to test with due rigor.

So? What was your reaction?

Parable of the Stopsign

A reader asked me about materialism and immaterialism.

It was not the absurdly dishonest Dr. Andreassen, also known as Mechanoshakespeare-Man, so I thought it no waste of time to answer and explain my reasoning.

In case any one of my readers is a masochist, or a new reader, or a student of philosophy interested in what is perhaps the most trivial question of philosophy imaginable (radical materialism, also called panphysicalism) here is yet another round of discussing a question I discussed extensively, beyond any possible curiosity or merit.

It is also the easiest of argument to solve, once the definitions are clear.

Sadly, clarifying the definitions is very difficult, because it requires anyone brainwashed by a modern education to enter into a whole new world of concepts never before imagined.

 

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The Genetic Fallacy

A reader writes and asks for help formulating a theological argument.

He says that his friend argues that all religious belief and non belief could be explained and had to be explained through genetics. He stated that some people just had that religious inkling ingrained in them purely through genetics and others did not.

The reader asked me if there were any glaring or subtle flaws can be found in his process of reasoning?

Ironically, in asking his question this selfsame reader pointed out the very flaws I saw in the argument that genetic predispositions, not facts, evidence, experience or reasoning, explains why men come to the conclusions they reach.

Out of courtesy I listed in order what he himself had already seen, merely underlining the logical links involved.

The genetic fallacy is a specific type of ad hominem, where an assertion is made that a man’s origins, genes, astrological influences, upbringing, culture determine his conclusions and therefore the conclusion may be dismissed without being addressed.

All postmodern, leftwing and Morlockian logic is an attempt to evade, elude, flee and cower from any arguments without addressing any points actually raised.

The utility of the genetic fallacy is that it makes no sense whatsoever, hence it can be used for all circumstances. One can say, ‘You are a man, and men commit most violent crimes, and therefore cannot be objective about the question of capital punishment’ with just as much ease one can say, ‘you are a women, and women commit few violent crimes, and therefore you cannot be objective about the question of capital punishment.’ It does not matter what term is substituted for ‘man’ or ‘woman’ or what topic is substituted for ‘capital punishment.’

In this case, there is just as much evidence, namely zero, and it would be just as irrelevant if any evidence did exist, which it does not, to say that theism is explained by genetics as to say belief in capital punishment is explained by genetics.

The friend of my reader is an embarrassment to the forces of evil. I could generate half a dozen arguments in favor of atheism in my sleep and have them be more sound and logical.

Here are the problems.

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A Modest Proposal

The Rabid Puppies, led by Theodore Beale aka Vox Day, has offered for your consideration certain items for Best Related Work. These are of a trenchant and disturbing nature:

  • Moira Greyland’s account of her childhood abuse at the hands of her mother, the award-winning science fiction writer Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • “Safe Space as Rape Room”, a five-part series on the pedophiles and child molesters who have preyed upon children in the science fiction community.

Over at file 770, one profound yet unwittingly transparent thinker on the Best Related Work conversation proffers these remarks:

TW, you *do* realize that things that would be regarded now as pedophilia were a standard practice, and in one example I can think of a *mandatory* practice, in several societies other than the modern West, right?

And that our dealings with pedophilia are tainted by the moral panic that have transformed it into a modern witchhunt – the modern West as a whole can no more deal with the topic any more fairly than medieval Christian Europe could have evaluated Wicca if confronted by it. It’s just that paranoia that little Teddy Beale is trying to tap into with his childish smear campaign.

Meanwhile pages and pages of denials shout, scream and scold that no one is apologizing for pedophilia.

Please note that argumentum ad antiquam is just as much an informal logical error as the opposite, argumentum ad novem.

(If merely the fact that ancient pagans or modern savages once performed a deed made it admirable, wise, or right, then slavery would be right, and racism, and rape, and honorkilling, footbinding, and female genital mutilation. Contrariwise, if merely the fact that ancients never once performed a deed, but only moderns, made it admirable, wise or right, then loading Jews on cattle cars to be gassed to death in modern ovens would be right, for our ancestors never used these scientific methods to enact their genocides.)

Likewise for what one might called argumentum ad occidens, the fallacy that merely being Western proves a thing bad, and likewise again for argumentum ad xenon, the fallacy that merely because something non-Western proves it good. I suppose one should congratulate the pervertarian writing above: it is not often one invents two new logical fallacies in two paragraphs.

No logic is being attempted. The writer here is invoking multiculturalism, the central and sacred doctrine of the political correctness deathcult, which holds that any statement of right or wrong, by implying civilized White men are better than dusky savages, is racist, which is wrong.

Obviously, the statement ‘saying something is wrong is wrong’ refutes itself hence needs no further refutation.

The thing is not an argument, but a sacred chant, and invocation of spirits, a type of pagan magic. Merely by referring to multiculturalism, the witch hopes to curse her victims into silence.

Please recall that Christianity is the only worldview that ever denied, undermined, and outlawed magic. For the superstitious to call the rational ‘superstitious’ is beyond irony.

But I am inspired. I have a modest proposal:

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The Percent Chance that Existence Exists

It has been said by well accomplished and esteemed physicists that the percent chance of our universe having its current constitution, that is, the physical constants of the cosmos, such as the gravitational constant, Planck’s constant, and so on, being precisely what they are, is infinitesimal.

Bosh and nonsense. This is why argument from authority is illogical: because in cases like this accomplished physicists are making a boneheaded schoolboy error.

Ever since Pascal, people have had a confused notion of what probability is. He was asked by a Chevelier de Mere, a gentleman gambler, about the odds of wining at dice. Instead of telling him that math cannot predict outcomes, only aggregate outcomes, Pascal developed a mathematical way of expressing in how many trials out of a hundred a certain set of results out of a given set of possible results would obtain. The chance of getting a six on the roll of one die (or 1d6 for you D&D players) is one in six. The chance of rolling two sixes in a row is one in thirty-six.

But the chance of rolling a second six after you have rolled a first six is still one in six, because the die does not remember or care what the last roll was.

The chance if a man picked up the die in his finger and thumb and places it on the table so that the six is showing is a meaningless question, because this is not a case where random chance if a factor expressing our ignorance about the magnitudes involved.

Probability is when you express that number of results out of a hundred trials in terms of percent, that is, the number of times out of a hundred.

That is what probability is. That is all it is.

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Empire of Lies

Either there is truth or there is not. If there is, a civilization cannot long survive if it be based on untruth.

It there is not, civilization cannot be based on anything at all, but brute force, lies, and partisan loyalty.

Difference of thought between citizens in a truthful civilization can be reconciled by reference to the objective truth, and fact and evidence, nature and nature’s God will decide the dispute.

But in a world without truth, differences between the subjects of the Empire of Lies are by definition irreconcilable. There is nothing to which to appeal aside from brute power, and any attempt to appeal to the truth is held to be a disguised attempt to appeal to brute power. In the land of untruth, all arguments are settled not by what is said, but on who says it: and the stronger man wins, not the stronger argument.

In a world without truth, there is no law, no order. There is only Caesar, and whoever is the favorite of Caesar. The favorite wins all trials before any jury in impaneled.

Bromides urging partisans of opposite camps to coexistence in mutual toleration founder on the fact that, if no objective truth exists, no objective standard exists by which anyone can decide when to tolerate and when to coexist and when not. Should one welcome in intolerant Jihadists promising openly to behead all infidels into the ever-so tolerant coexistence? Then on what grounds are the Christians excluded?

This question is not merely unanswered, it is impossible to answer, in the Empire of Lies, because without truth  there is no moral imperative and no moral standard.

‘Tolerate Everyone and Everything’ cannot be the rule because it implies toleration those who seek to abolish this rule; and ‘Tolerate Whoso Follows the rule of Mutual Toleration’ cannot be the rule, because judging who follows and who violates the rule is impossible without truth and a standard of truth.

There can be no “I ought” in a world where there is no “It is”.

(A truth-free standard is a paradox, and attempts to follow it merely lead to logically absurd results, as in England, where Michael Savage is barred to travel, because he publicly called for resistance to terrorism, but terrorists are welcomed with open arms.)

For many a year, the West was able to embrace both those who believed in truth and those who believed in nothing in her bosom. A peace, or at least a ceasefire, was able to be maintained between Christendom and the Empire of Lies which opposes her.

As the Nihilists of the Empire of Lies increase in strength, and as the logical ramifications of their stance play out, that ceasefire will be ever harder to maintain.

The whores and nuns cannot live together in the same house for long: it must become either a nunnery and expel the whores, or become a cathouse and expel the nuns. The mere fact that the virgins exist offends the whores, and so no permanent peace is possible between them.

So, likewise, the mere fact that Christians exist offends the loyal Sons of Nothing, and, as time passes, their intolerance increases, and not just Christians who believe in God, but any honest man of any stripe who believes in anything objective falls under their hysterical opprobrium and deep hatred.

A society that does not believe in an objective reality, an objective standard to judge good and evil social orders, an objective moral law, and an objective standard of logic and of fact, of true and false, will always slide back into collectivism and institutional injustice.

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Darwin and Genesis

Back when I was an atheist, I was had in my arsenal, well polished from use, every argument that could be mustered against theism, and particularly against Christianity.

There were two arguments I never bothered with, both because they are illogical, that is, they cannot be formed into a properly formatted syllogism.

The first is the argument that when compared with a universe designed by a benevolent and omnipotent God, our own universe is too disorderly to have been designed. This is the atheist equivalent of the theist argument from design, and suffers from the same flaw. Since we have no other universes to which to compare our own universe, the crucial evidence that ours is either more orderly or less, that is, the evidence on which the argument turns for its persuasive force, is missing. You may, if you wish, speculate that universes not created by God would be more orderly or less orderly than this one which we inhabit, but such speculation is not supported by observed evidence. So this is an argument I never brandished as an atheist.

Please note that I make no comment about related arguments, such as whether there is evil in the universe, or whether evidence of purpose or ‘teleology’ in the organs of organisms implies a designer. Those can be properly formatted, and cannot be dismissed summarily by any honest thinker.

A second argument which rusted in the arsenal was the argument that since Man evolved from the Ape who was Darwin’s grandfather, therefore God does not exist. This is an argument akin to saying that since Zeus does not exist, therefore God does not exist. It is simply a misreading of the Christian claim. The Christians claim their God is simple, omnipotent, eternal, spiritual, omnipotent, the source of all being and the end of all being. He is not merely a local or limited phenomenon, nor is he the author of only a single chapter of the book of history, but of all of it.

The atheist argument that Darwin is true therefore a boneheadedly literal reading of the first two chapters of Genesis is false does not prove Genesis is false. It proves that boneheads should be kept away from interpreting the Bible.

Since the boneheadedly literal meaning of the first chapter of Genesis contradicts the boneheadedly literal meaning of the second chapter, even when I was an atheist, I said it was a safer bet to throw out the boneheads than throw out the Bible. An atheist who only plucks the lowhanging fruit of criticizing the nonstandard, nonauthoritative, and overly literal interpretation of Genesis will not sharpen his sword nor hone his wits, nor will he do his position any honor.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Western civilization and our literature, Genesis One says trees and grass are older than the sun, and that evening and morning came and went before the sun was made, and that animals are older than man, all men being created at once directly from his word, whereas Genesis Two says man is older than animals,and all men descend from one man, only one of whom was directly created from the dirt.

Note to boneheads: this is not what the passages mean, this is only what they say when interpreted with a boneheaded overly literal interpretation.

If I say “sorrow is the sunset of my heart” it is merely boneheadedness to point out that the heart is merely an organ that pumps blood whereas sorrow is seated in the nervous system, or to say that the earth rotates but the sun is still, therefore no such thing as sunrise really exists. No one but a bonehead will go into a phrenzy trying to explain that the heart, because it is connected to the nervous system, actually is a seat of emotion, or that sunrise, when seen from Earth’s surface, according to the laws of relativity, does indeed make the sun move and rise. Normal and sane people who know how language works can tell the difference between a falsehood and a figure of speech.

Now, some wellmeaning souls mean to forestall the alleged conflict between religion and science by attempting to reconcile the Biblical account of spiritual creation with the scientific account of the physical order of the physical universe, two things that, in my mind, are unrelated. Such persons invent parallels between the Big Bang and the Fiat Lux, or talk about how the early earth was swathed in an eternal cloud barrier that made it so that the sun did not come out until the fourth day of creation, or somesuch.

All a waste of words. Myself, I do not see how it detracts one iota from the wisdom or honesty of God Almighty if Moses thought the word was flat and that the sky was like a tent with an ocean overhead.

Who says our ideas about the physical universe are any closer to the truth? We could be at the early part of the prologue of the scientific revolution, not near the last act.

The whole problem with this approach of trying to shoehorn Biblical meanings into a modern scientific worldview is that the modern scientific worldview has a shorter lifespan than the fourscore and ten a healthy human can live.

The Space Age began and ended in my lifetime; the Atomic Age in my fathers’, and my grandfather was before the 1919 solar eclipse provided the first observational proof of Einstein’s theory of relativity. My greatgrandfather is older than the publication of Darwin’s revolutionary theory.

Modern people are parochial. They tend not to realize that the latest word of modern science lasts no longer than the latest word in women’s fashion. If the Bible is chained to an interpretation saying that ‘Let There Be Light’ refers to the Big Bang, what becomes of faith when scientists in our children’s generation discover that the Steady State theory was correct after all, and there never was a Big Bang?

What do Biblical scholars who busily reconciled Genesis with Darwin do once Darwin is thrown on the same ash heap of exploded scientific models as phlogiston and geocentrism and phrenology?

On the Sexual Nature of Man

Here below is a long essay I wrote back in 2009 under the general title Apologia Pro Opere Sui. I have recently come across both foe and false friend misrepresenting my conclusions in this matter, either through malice or negligence. To leave all such unwary tongues without excuse, I here reprint it again. Let there be no speculation and no falsehoods about what position I hold.

*   *   *

As a faithful Roman Catholic who was an atheist for all his adult life (and most of his childhood) I occupy an interesting position in the ongoing debates concerning the social turmoil caused by sexual unchastity, particularly that unchaste practice which issues forth from what is delicately called same-sex attraction.

One is tempted automatically to assume that atheists should support or ought to support the sexually liberated position that declares all sexual acts licit between two or more consenting adult partners in their right wits. One is tempted to assume that no rational grounds to condemn sexual libertinism exist, aside from the dogmas and supernatural reasoning of Christian theology.

This temptation must be resisted at all costs, since not only is it untrue, it is foolish, for the drives the conversation out of the realm of natural and logical reasons to avoid sexual immorality and into the realm of the supernatural and theological. Once the issue is falsely labeled as a theological one, it is falsely libeled as an issue where all discussion is offlimits for being a personal matter of irrational faith, then the topic is ejected forthwith from the public forum.

Allow me, then, to give a personal account of how it was that I, resting only on my human reason and with no particle of loyalty to or faith in any theological speculations (which, at the time, I frankly dismissed as egregious and base superstition), was drawn step by step against my will and very much against my inclinations away from the comfortable libertine and libertarian opinions of my youth to the conclusion that the sex act is licit only within marriage, that unchastity is illicit, and that unnatural sexual acts are illicit as well as unnatural.

There are perfectly natural and worldly reasons for a rational atheist to support the Christian position on sexual morality. The following argument shows that the Christian position is the only logical position to hold, given the realities of human nature.

One a personal level, I did not change my conclusions about sexual morality because I became a Christian. The cause and effect was the other way. After cold logic lead me to the conclusions that the only logical position to hold just so happened to be the one held by my (at that time) hated enemies the Christians, I began to look at their egregious and base superstition with a less hostile gaze.

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Defining Freedom

A rather unintentionally unserious conversation on another thread (the gentleman seemed to be arguing that that were my legal and social inferiors with no right to argue with me — a somewhat elliptical point of view to take) nonetheless intentionally brought up a deeply serious point, which I would like to address here.

I apologize for the inadequacy of my thought here, but we are now treading in deep philosophical waters. Regard this, dear reader, rather as a starting point for cogitation, rather than a settled and well articulated theory.

Someone asked me what is meant by freedom?

The context concerned political freedom only; of other type or other nuances of the word, I do not address.

Continue reading “Defining Freedom”

Rawls Theory of Injustice

I have never understood the appeal of John Rawls’ so called theory of justice which he examines in a book of the same name.

I read it in Law School, and it struck me then as now as amateurish, lazy, sloppy and sophomoric thinking about a deep subject men like Aristotle and Aquinas and even Hobbes had already examined with greater clarity and rigor. His is a second rate mind.

John Rawls’ theory was that justice consists of considering in the abstract from behind ‘the veil of ignorance’, that is, without knowing your rank in society, what kind of society would be best.

His conclusion was that a modern socialist welfare state would take care of the lower ranks well enough so that if you, not knowing where you would be placed in the ranking, want to make prudent provision for your own wellbeing, you would support a welfare-state socialism out of your own self interest.

A minor flaw here is simply to assume that the man behind the veil of ignorance would act in his own self interest rather than in the interest of the society whose ranking system he is being asked to decide. An ancient Jew might want a king, for example, because he honestly sees that kingship is needed to organize his people against the surrounding enemies, and to be like other nations, without ever once hoping he himself would get the job.

More to the point, the crippling flaw in this theory is that Rawls assumes by hypothesis that the positions in the social rank are arbitrary.

He has the hypothetical person deciding in which society to live make the decision ‘behind the veil of ignorance’ that is, not knowing his own capacities or merits or birth.

He assumes, without ever examining the assumption, that there is no justice in the ranking, and can be no justice. The one thing the veil of ignorance removes is your knowledge of what you did to earn or to deserve your rank.

In other words, Rawls asks the reader to decide about how society should be ranked without saying, or even hinting, what the ranking is based on.

If the ranking is based on birth, as it is in a class society of commoners and nobles and royalty, Rawls’ argument might almost make sense for someone more afraid of being born a commoner than eager to be born royalty, and unwilling to take the risk on the throw of the dice of fate.

Because of course bolder men would always vote for a birth-class society because the prospect of being royalty to them is worth the risk of being common. Men more adverse to risk, like Rawls, base their thinking on envy, and the envious would rather eliminate the royalty altogether than run the risk of being born a commoner.

But if the crippling flaw is taken away, and the society is not just a choice between a monarchy or a socialism, then Rawls’ theory is reduced to nonsense.

An American would always choice a free society over the soft injustice of the Welfare state or the hard injustice of Monarchy. The American would say, “Stuff your welfare bullshit. Make the rules JUST, give me liberty, and I do not care where I might be in when the veil of ignorance is lifted, and I find myself poor or rich. Give me liberty, and if I am poor I will make myself rich.”

The one thing Rawls leaves out of his theory of justice is justice.

The one option never explored is the option of leaving every man to enjoy the fruits of his labors in peace, each owning what he earned.

Instead his discussion is about how to divvy up the loot among pirates, that is, how to distribute unjustly acquired goods that fall upon you by happenstance, luck, or whatnot.

This flaw in Rawls can be made clear if we look at the analogy of a law court. Instead of the jury deciding the case on the merits, a veil of ignorance is placed on the murderer, on his victim’s widow, and on the judge, and the three of them get to vote on how severe the punishment shall be without knowing which one of them is the guilty party. By the John Rawls theory, each man out of self interest should vote for the punishment to be minor, or to have no punishment at all, because there is one chance in three that he himself is the murderer. By that logic, no one would vote to live in a society with a death penalty, because when the veil lifts, he might be the murderer.

But in real life is it not a matter of random chance whether you are a murderer, and the decision about the death penalty should not be based on self interest, but on what is a fair recompense for the magnitude of the crime. In reality, the decision should be made not based on self interest but what is best for serving the interests of justice.

Men who do not take self interest as their primary motive in voting for the laws would always vote for the death penalty, and run the risk that when the veil of ignorance is lifted, he would go to his deserved hanging without complaint because he would deserve it.

The idea that Rawls is attempting to assassinate with his argument is the idea that liberty is unfair, but he does this without ever once mentioning liberty. He speak only of the advantages of birth and happenstance, as if the prosperous and successful men in America got there by dumb luck.

Ever since I first read his trashy book (sometime in the Second Millennium) I had thought he was British. It was on that basis that I did not utterly condemn him. For I thought that if he were British, of course,  his ignorance would be excusable. The only thing the poor English have ever known are Monarchy and Socialism, a system based on class, and a system based on envy.

However, an alert reader points out that this panderer of social justice is an American. I hang my head in shame for a nation that produces only intellectuals who despise America and all for which she stands.