Words

Life

Myth or science?

by Andrea Elizabeth

They get to the atheist argument towards the end of this discussion

Q&A with Bret Weinstein, Jordan Peterson, and Jonathan Pageau

the question is which is the best filter for determining behavior, science or religion/metaphor. The atheist says science because it’s measurable. Then he seems to believe advantageous results are obvious. Time was called before the other two responded. The organization and Pageau’s responses could have been better, but he’s new at this.

I’ve heard Christians say the atheists are naive to believe and thus take for granted that ethical behavior is a given and obviously leads to the best societal and thus individual outcomes.

I believe they take for granted the good properties of human nature like conscience and instincts as selective outcomes rather than created gifts. However I think they could better argue from a pain avoidance pov. Then they would have to figure out how empathy logically or not extends from that. And I don’t think logic is our first decision making quality, but it could motivate creation of external influences like law enforcement. Additionally I don’t buy the perpetuation of my genes after I’m snuffed as a motivating factor either. I’d be eat, drink and be merry if it weren’t for judgment day affecting my eternity. They think I’m a bad person for that and that I deserve to be snuffed without progeny anyway.

Lately I’ve heard Peterson talk about how personality characteristics such as sensitivity, agreeableness, introversion/extroversion, impulse control and creativity in different combinations help predict certain behaviors and competence. I like that he’s also scientific, but he doesn’t pit it against myth and metaphor. He has a remarkably balanced view. He doesn’t take for granted that western atheists aren’t deeply formed by Christian sensibilities.

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What is God Like? Ep. 13 Teaching Company’s Great Questions of Philosophy. Or, a comparative analysis of inferior Christianity to superior atheism.

by Andrea Elizabeth

The philosophy professor is now saying that the Hebrews did not conceive that God was perfect. He says as the Greek Gods were capricious and flawed, so was Yahweh in that he believed certain children should be dashed against a stone. He says it was Plato who invented the idea of a perfect God, and Christian’s didn’t get him until Augustine borrowed him from Plato.

Golly. I just put “perfect” in the search box on Bible Gateway and there are lots of perfect attributions to God beginning in Deuteronomy.

About the Psalm’s dashed children. Our naturalist in yesterday’s post doesn’t believe in the wanton destruction of children. The Psalmist is talking about Babylon, the destructive captors’ children. Of course everyone is appalled to read it (though I don’t know why atheists can justify abortion. Oh yeah, see dehumanization propaganda in our previous post), but consider the possibility that it speaks more to ancient ideas of poetic catharsis. Let me back up, the professor is critiquing three attributes of God, omni-benevolence, Omnipotence and omniscience. I say if omnipotent God literally wanted Babylon’s children dashed against rocks, wouldn’t he have done it? Either by empowering his Israelite people to do it or by raising up some other nation to? What happened to the children of those captors?

“Cyrus the Great respected the customs and religions of the lands he conquered.[13] This became a very successful model for centralized administration and establishing a government working to the advantage and profit of its subjects.[8] In fact, the administration of the empire through satraps and the vital principle of forming a government at Pasargadae were the works of Cyrus.[14] What is sometimes referred to as the Edict of Restoration (actually two edicts) described in the Bible as being made by Cyrus the Great left a lasting legacy on the Jewishreligion, where, because of his policies in Babylonia, he is referred to by the Jewish Bible as messiah (lit. “His anointed one”) (Isaiah45:1),[15] and is the only non-Jew figure in the Bible to be called so.[16]”

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrus_the_Great

Hmmm.

I’ve also heard that we’re to take this dashing statement along with God’s literal and carried out wiping out of the Canaanites and other OT ites as symbolic for our battles against sin. But the earlier ones really happened. The Calvinists say of course because God is hateful wrathful and vengeful against the unchosen totally corrupt vs the chosen totally corrupt.

However, there is also the idea of incremental revelation. Since people lost touch with God after the fall, his commands suited their limited understanding. This is opposite the shrinking God atheist explanation that more scientific knowledge leads to less divine intervention. Maybe early people had to anthropomorphize God more, and maybe he even acted in that way, but things seemed to change after the Babylonian captivity until Christ who only hurt temple moneychanger’s tables. I don’t believe God changed, but his methods may vary to suit the occasion. And eventually raising everyone from the dead redeems him.

At least the professor doesn’t seem to be totally sold on the argument that God can’t be omnipotent if he can’t do absurd things like make a rock he cannot move, but he does seem to like the idea that goodness contradicts power if one cannot do bad things. He seemed proud that he can out-do God in that way. And he posed an interesting question about foreknowledge eliminating God’s deliberative choosing capability. We may agree on that since deliberation isn’t really listed in attributes of God.

I don’t know if he did justice to Anselm. He said Anselm posited that if we can conceive of a perfect being, since that would be the best being, he must exist. I see the criticism of that, but since I believe everything exists, I’m easy. Dragons, fairies, and aliens aren’t that far from dinosaurs, angels, demons, or St John’s apocalyptic beasts. And since I am also critical of western theologians, I don’t mind his criticism of Anselm, Augustine or Aquinas.

doing what comes naturally

by Andrea Elizabeth

Son Jordan reminded me of this very interesting philosophical dialogue by linking it on a friend’s post recently. It does a lot of work to make the atheist argument follow its rational conclusions. I only had one quibble that occurred early on.

The first justification was easy. It is immediately obvious to me that the wanton destruction of small children is wrong. So, I quickly determined that the truth of my position was intuitive. I explained this to him and was quite confident that if he saw things as clearly as I did, this would satisfy the question. Unfortunately, that did not turn out to be the case. He asked me, “By ‘intuitive’ do you mean you received insights by some mystical spiritual revelation?” I chuckled at this and reminded him that I had already expressed my adherence to a naturalistic worldview. “You will not catch me propounding metaphysical nonsense.” I said. He raised an eyebrow and asked, “Then, do you mean to say that this is a belief with which we are born, an innate idea by which all men can know the truth?” I thought for a few moments. With a tentative nod I said, “Yes, I think that is what I mean.” He then asked, “Why then, if we are all born with this belief, is it that we don’t all have it? I, for one, don’t see the truth of it at all. Furthermore, it does not follow that merely because we are born with a belief, that it is true. The truth of a belief is not established by naming its origin.”

If the theoretical nihilistic interlocutor doesn’t see the truth of the statement: the wanton destruction of small children is wrong, then he is a sociopath. I haven’t studied nihilism enough to know if they are all sociopaths, but if they are, then I say that they are not naturally so. Perhaps my views about intuition take too much for granted, so I’ll try to keep a devil’s advocate in my mind to see if I gain any insight.

I believe in supernatural causes, but that they have naturally occurring effects, such as conscience and intuition. These are shaped somewhat by generational culture, but it is pretty universal among people and animals that young are protected, at least by their mothers, and often by their fathers and sometimes by their social groups. Usually they have to belong to a personal group, and not just a species, but at least among humans, other cultures’ young will also be protected, unless there is an active dehumanization campaign against them. This propaganda is necessary to convince people to kill others. No one wants to kill a fellow human, but dirty scum must be gotten rid of. This is also why mistresses in fiction are often told that his wife is a raging, bestial lunatic.

Therefore it seems that God implanted the key to the survival of the species by placing an instinct of empathy towards one’s own and special protectiveness towards the young and vulnerable (women and children). The social activists try to extend that protection towards those viewed as others, and the animal rights activists try to extend it to animals. This is done by sensitivity training. Women are more naturally sensitive, especially towards children and sick people. Men are toward the women they love. Extending those boundaries usually takes conditioning, probably more to undo wrong conditioning than to introduce new and improved and more enlightened conditioning, but I’m not enough of a history scholar to know. Maybe both. Take animals, for instance, how effective would Nathan’s parable to David have been if people didn’t have affectionate relationships with pets that were also food way back then?

The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.”

Nathan caused Uriah to be seen as equally human (though Bathsheba was animalized. Where you fall below determines how you feel about that) instead of an obstacle to be eliminated. I think they call dehumanization objectification (see lump of sugar below).

Now, is the new atheistic empathy towards others evolved or are they influenced by the teachings of Christ? Apparently it goes back to B.C. Egypt. But the ancients weren’t atheists. Still, I think it is written on all of our hearts. Applying this to “others” often takes reminding or convincing however. Convincing to act more naturally (see St. Maximus’ disputation with Pyrrhus), and not to continue as if we are naturally depraved. Even animals will sometimes adopt other species’ orphans or sick.

This brings me to another essay written against atheists where the author was so hot to say how inferior animals are to humans, and therefore it’s demeaning to say we came from apes. I’m not a macro evolutionist, and I do recognize hierarchies, but that is mostly in the realm of sacrificial duties. We owe more to humans than animals if there is scarcity and choices must be made, but this is not so black and white either. Maybe animals are vital for humans. Maybe humans will damage their souls by not considering consequences to animals. Studies show that many sociopaths and murderers start out by torturing and killing animals, so there is a connection. Additionally, if someone is proud that they are higher and can explain God better than an ape or a lump of sugar, it sounds like gorillan chest thumping to me. At least sugar doesn’t do that. And not that gorillans don’t have a good application for it. I like it when Tarzan mimics them. I recognize a difference in sophistication, but I’d rather be raised by a nurturing baboon or dog than an abusive, neglectful, articulate human. But maybe I have aspergers.

 

But we like MLK

by Andrea Elizabeth

Yes, but he was a moralist. The left respects psychological moralism, which has its place, but it can’t be all you have. Not that Ayn Randian selfishness is all there can be either. But hers is a state’s m.o. Kindness is the female, subordinate, religious position. There is a difference between church and state.

The left can’t reconcile Christ’s commandments to love with his gains through suffering. And they mistake our hard line for a lack of love. Tough love is usually better with an ear towards mercy.

And their rabid greed to blindly scream racism about the above makes them the proverbial nag that no one wants to listen to. We have evolved in social moralism, and honest objectivity can see that there has been improvement in the old ways. But the lack thereof doesn’t totally discredit the past, just the worst bad actors.

All the important people died before 2000

by Andrea Elizabeth

Are there no important people left? No, but my generation, X, were the last to know them. The millennials don’t know them at all. Trump respected them. Obama and Hillary despised them. I suppose Bernie likes the unpopular ones. I don’t see anyone younger on the left coming up to carry their torch. Or maybe the progressives won’t let them. If they followed importance though, that wouldn’t stop them. The left doesn’t like anything to be more important than anything else, so they are pretty much leaderless.

The emperor’s new clothes

by Andrea Elizabeth

These are virtual quantum particles theoretically but mathematically possibly appearing in a vacuum for no length of time in a zero energy state and are immediately canceled out by their opposite. This is not the Big Bang. Nice try. But you can probably confuse enough young college students with it to help them lose their faith.

Ep. 12: Why is there something rather than nothing?

by Andrea Elizabeth

Live reaction from The Big Questions of Philosophy Great Courses lectures.

He thinks it’s simpler and therefore correct and more rational to believe the universe is uncaused than that it is caused by an uncaused being because both require uncausedness so why extend it. Has he really never talked to an ID person? That who’s make things, not what’s?!

I knew that show I watched about quantum particles instantaneously flashing in a vacuum would be the atheist explanation for the Big Bang. There, he’s using it. But they disappear as fast as they appear and they don’t interact with anything. That’s a huge leap. And who’s to say they are not an extension of an atom that already exists and are thus dependent on already created matter? But maybe God provided an out for them. He doesn’t like to entrap people.

It’s special pleading to say that rules of causation and explanation don’t apply to things existing before time. He could accuse us of that too in our saying God is uncaused, but instead he uses our supposed cheat and gives it to the universe. His criticism of invoking extra entities sounds like he has daddy issues.

Now we don’t have to assume that our universe’s criteria for life have to be the only ones. Talk about believing in the unprovable.

Boy he’s obfuscating by focusing so much on how much size doesn’t matter.

He does not address the uniqueness of earth’s sweet spot for supporting life either. That proves fine tuning.

Biopsychosocial

by Andrea Elizabeth

I’m making the Philosophy guy who thinks atheists are the only rational people wait while I listen to the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy lecturer on The Teaching Company’s Great Courses on Amazon streaming.  

In the introduction he says CBT “is very much grounded in Western empiricism, the value of rationality, and holds up the power of the scientific method.” ‘They’re not saying emotions or passions are wrong, but that we must find balance.’

I’m still waiting for them to balance faith in there as well. And to acknowledge that their faith in empiricism is only easier to defend because invisible things are more difficult. Try proving love or dark matter, for instance. But since I believe the spiritual and physical are very closely related, I also think spirit leaves trace evidence behind. And I have heard of scientific studies showing a correlation between prayer and a longer, more peaceful life. They may say it’s the placebo effect, but I say, not so fast. The placebo effect shows the power of faith and of asking for help and someone responding.

In defense of philosophy

by Andrea Elizabeth

If one has pulled one’s back wrong and wonders if it also has to do with stress, then while being laid up with a heating pad and ibuprofen, one could therapeutically watch the beautiful Netflix documentary series, Tales by Light, which highlights different exotic photographer’s techniques, instead of the usual conflict oriented shows.

In episode two, though, the photographer went to a Buddhist temple where the monks were engaging in their practice of debate where the standers approach the sitters and bring forth a position that the sitter has to debate. Unfortunately they did not record the conversations, but that would have been too conflict oriented. However their red robes looked beautiful in the Himalayas. The narrator said that this teaches the monks humility in not being too attached to their own point of view. It would help Facebook debates if trolls were agreed to argue the other side and be critiqued on their integrity.

Before this sequence I was thinking that philosophy does not necessarily lead to truth, even if the engager believes himself to be intellectually honest. It is instead the Art of War.

 

St Athanasius to the rescue

by Andrea Elizabeth

St Athanasius is the curing breath of fresh oxygen in The Incarnation. Ah, much better.

Our Saint says that Christ’s miracles prove that he is God and produced the material world out of nothing. As soon as the atheist materialist materially explain the Big Bang, I’ll remove them from the list of erroneous fringe religions. 

Science takes as fact that justified knowledge is repeatable. They have not been able to repeat the Big Bang, and there’s no discovered repetition of a life bearing planet. They claim they’ve recently created a life form from “scratch”. They made artificial DNA by replicating GTC&A and injecting it into an existing cell. That’s not ex nihilo nor from materials not already the product of life. It just shows that they are getting better at understanding how existing things physically work, not how they ultimately came to be. 

What I want to be measured is if the extra energy required for miracles is created or redirected. My hypothesis is that if a single atom can cause an explosion, then it is redirected. 

And I believe the relationship of the spiritual world to the material is very close,  such that sin alters our brains and bodies and ultimately the universe. However, so did the Incarnation.