Monday, August 6, 2012

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New Post...  more room to comment....

203 comments:

  1. I had not realised how much some small dogs love toys. Emma had kept some stuffed toys around for her grandkids to play with if they ever came over, her youngest grandson is in his twos and he's not a 'stuffed toy' kind of guy.

    Anyways, the dog found them and now they're all over my room. She tried putting them back in the little cupboard that's in the middle of our coffee table and the dog sniffs them out.

    He's neutered yet he will hump the stuffed cat, I'm guessing because it's the right size and likely seems just the 'next' thing to do to it after he's 'killed' it.

    I'm having trouble getting him to be 'regular', but we have wood floors so it's not too big a hardship to clean up the many 'mistakes'.

    He's gotten a bit fussy with his canned dog food and will leave it there in the bowl and eat it when no-one is around, so the eat then out to poo method gets a bit mixed up.

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  2. My pug Walter loves soft plush toys, fetches them and beats the shit out of them. One of the funny things he does with the babie's larger toys, is he goes up to them and sniffs their ass..... then seems confused.... "Hey, this fluffy animal has no discernible asshole, do you people KNOW THAT?!"

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  3. Here's a weird one that shows Moe is thinking. I often get a handful of dry dog-food pellets and throw them individually for him to run and get. They're pretty small pellets and it seems to me that it's a healthy 'treat' since it's just regular dry dog food.

    Anyways, I picked him up and let him wander on the bed and, of course one of the first thing he notices is about a dozen pellets on the board I use for the computer mouse.

    I thought he was going to go right over and scarf them, but, no.

    Seems his thinking went something like, "Hmm.. those are his pellets that he throws to me. Hmm.. wonder if he'd mind me taking one?".. carefully takes one.. lies down beside me...then looks at them again..."Hmm, wonder if he'd mind if I took another one?"... carefully takes one... lays flat for a minute thinking about it.. then.."Oh well, I better not push my luck I guess.." .. and he jumped down off the bed.

    I didn't say anything about being 'good boy' or 'bad boy', nothing. Just lay there smiling at him wondering what he'd do next.

    LOL

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  4. Here's the thing Mike, we live in an absurd universe where if we try to find answers to supposedly basic questions like 'why are we here' and 'why is there something instead of nothing at all' and so on, the universe has no answers, it just is, caring nothing for you nor I.

    Camus says that when we recognise this we have three options. The first is suicide. The universe cares not for me nor anyone, I'm out of here! But it's not a very elegant solution.

    The second solution is a leap of faith. The universe, according to the faithful cannot be cold and heartless and bleak in the face of our searching for meaning, therefore 'have faith that there is a spiritual reality that makes more sense, gives you a permanent place in it'.

    The third solution is to accept the absurdity of it. Like if you get stuck in an elevator and after awhile you go through all the reasons why, why you, why now and so on. But you realise that there is no deep meaning to figure out. There is no enigma wrapped in a puzzle inside a pinata, no.

    You and I are going to live our lives, perhaps from crisis to crisis, perhaps ignoring all crises and enjoying our time on this giant blue marble, fulfilling our duty to our D.N.A. in our children, or no.(leave that to your siblings maybe), and in the end, we will have no more worries, no more debt, no more anything.

    I think that is a peaceful conclusion. Let others play their games and fight their way up the social ladder or whatever. Even a ruler of the entire World will eventually die. How equitable is that?
    ----------------
    First of all Ian mankind has a self preservation need hardwired into his/her core… The death concept is out of the question for most rational and sane people however there are a few who will sacrifice themselves for others in a moments decision.
    The cold and heartless universe is just that and nothing more. Mans need for meaning comes from within his/her soul, the feeling of being incomplete without God, knowing and feeling that the precious gift of life is the candle of God.
    Blind faith keeps man in a desperate and dark hole but faith in a God who can reveal Himself too is no more faith, it is knowing.
    The greatest problem atheist have is that they have lost the basic desire to look for God. A person must FIRST believe God is….. without believing that there is a possibility that God exist shuts the door before you can know for sure.

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  5. The greatest problem atheist have is that they have lost the basic desire to look for God. A person must FIRST believe God is...

    You must believe so that you may believe... Are you listening to yourself, Mike?

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  6. He can't see himself, Ed. That's the whole problem. Total self-blindness, as demonstrated by that completely illogical and some would say "insane" response there.

    You've just described how a person comes to believe in a lie, Mike. First you believe it, then you justify it to yourself. This is the TRAP that you fell into and seem to be content with.
    You want to be a dope, fine. Just stop trying to tell us how wonderful it is and how we're missing that boat. Stop trying to justify that which you cannot justify. Look at your last response there... really look at it... It's really nothing less than an ADMISSION of the fact that your whole faith is based on absolutely nothing whatsoever, but you think it has meaning. Nope. No meaning other than the fact that you are fooled into believing in something that there is no justification for.

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  7. Also Mike, I used to look for god all the time. I never found him. I needed to see something solid, and he never shows us anything like that. Sure, some people are satisfied with vague feelings, but I see those people in all religions, the fanatics without a brain in their head, trying to wish god into existence. You are one such person. I look at you and frankly while I see the rudiments of a decent person, I also see that you've deluded yourself to the point of uselessness. You aren't bothered when one of your ideas is not supported by any facts nor evidence, as long as it 'feels' right. Sane people ARE. Sane people KNOW how we humans are incredibly prone to deluding ourselves, and check themselves for that all the time. Religious people do the opposite.. they revel in their self-delusion, thinking they're onto the Ultimate Truth. Um, nope. You're just being simple and innocently believing that your feelings are real. Wake up.

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  8. Isn't it odd Mike, how when you tell us something that you believe will possibly mean something to us and we might respond to, it turns out that what you said had no real meaning and only gives us MORE evidence that you are wrong?
    I'd say that you should try not to do that, but since you do not have ANY real evidence or support for your beliefs, it's all that you really CAN do.

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  9. I think that you're missing the suicide factor Mike. There are quite a lot of suicides. I read one report which was talking about the soldiers in the Middle East and apparently the suicide was the biggest problem.

    Now, it's not that suicide was the biggest problem after the insurgents/freedom fighters/taliban(whatever you think they are), no. There were more Allied soldiers killing themselves than there were soldiers being killed in the course of their duties.

    "The full story... Suicide rate now higher than combat toll. Jane Cowan reported this story on Tuesday, June 26, 2012" ...

    www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2012/s3533139.htm

    Faced with the absurdity of our situation, human beings are quite capable of opting out, the hard way.

    Do you still imagine that, "First of all Ian mankind has a self preservation need hardwired into his/her core…"

    If you do, that just means that you are willing to ignore the evidence to the contrary.

    The stuff you said about the 'desire to look for God' and 'the feeling of being incomplete without God' and that is hardly inconsistent with Camus' proposition that peoples' search for meaning requires a leap of faith since the universe is meaningless.

    Accepting the absurdity of the situation we find ourselves in, working towards some kind of better future, which reasonable, sane people do all the time, in the full knowledge that the end of everyones' future is certain death, i.e. no-one gets out alive, may be too much of a burden for you to bear without your 'leap of faith', but it's not necessary for everyone.

    The only reason I care at all is that the Christian right are anti-democratic and they're willing to disenfranchise poor people, old people and allow people to be swindled by private insurance companies.

    I'm supposing that comes from the idea that everyone is 'really' a Christian but they just don't know it themselves(maybe 'yet', maybe no), but should still be forced to 'obey God's WILL'(religious leaders' will actually) because well, they have cornered the market on 'TRUTH'?

    You're not denying that religion has to do with 'obedience' to leaders couched as obedience to leaders' interpretation of God's Will, are you?

    Apparently democracy is fine with you guys only if the 'right' leaders are voted in. As long as politicians who will listen to religious leaders' opinion, conservative preachers' opinions, which has nothing to do with popular opinion, are voted into power.

    Honestly what you really want is that the leaders' of the 20% of the population who are strongly religiously conservative are basically the ones telling the other 80% of the population what to think, what is good, what is bad and what laws should be enacted to make the U.S.A. like that.

    Your idea of being obedient to your God is trying to make everyone obedient to your, which is every other strongly religiouslyconservative's opinion of what obedience to God is.

    Like you want politicians to each be an 'arm' of the Church, shepherding people, forcing people, to obey.

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  10. On the gun question: What I think needs to happen never will:

    1) The Second Amendment needs to be repealed. It's outdated by about 150 years of technology.

    2) in its place needs to be a rational amendment that preserves basic rights to certain classes of firearms for individuals who are neither impared nor have a record of violent crimes.

    3) unintentional injuries related to firearms need to be handled using the exact same legal and tort criteria as are applied to any other form of attractive nuisance.

    4) high capacity magazines should be banned.

    5) personal ownership of military style weapons should be reserved to those who are in the reserves or Guard (that well armed militia they were talking about). Or decommisioned as part of a static collection.

    6) Concealed carrier status should not infringe on the rights of others to create environments where guns are excluded.

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  11. It would almost (almost) be worth it to have a Christian Theocracy in America for a couple of years, just so everyone can see first-hand what a SHITHOLE this country would be under such a system.

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  12. They don't relinquish power easily. It would I think literally take a real civil war after that point, to get them out. And they'd have all the guns.

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  13. Accepting the absurdity of the situation we find ourselves in, working towards some kind of better future, which reasonable, sane people do all the time, in the full knowledge that the end of everyones' future is certain death, i.e. no-one gets out alive, may be too much of a burden for you to bear without your 'leap of faith', but it's not necessary for everyone.
    ---------------
    This is really so well said. I wish Mike would read it a thousand times. That is the problem, they can't even consider reality if reality means a bleak future. However, it's only bleak because we've been misled to believe that it's a frigging garden party in the sky forever.
    Once we can admit to the true nature of reality then we can start trying to make life better for everyone, now. Because 'now' is likely all we actually have.

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  14. However, even if christians choose to retain their faith, there is no excuse for them to not act AS IF now is all we have, because to do otherwise is to be neglectful of this earth and why we were put here. Mike's comment about him not really wanting to be here disturbed me greatly. Such an incredibly selfish attitude is why these people aren't too concerned with this world and so don't mind fucking it up for the rest of us, and that attitude will lead to war and destruction every god damned time.

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  15. If Mike's bible is true then god put us here for a reason and how we act here will determine whether we are saved or not. Does he really think that god would want us to live our life as if we are already saved, confident that we are saved, and so no longer caring for the very things that Jesus cared for in the bible while we are here?
    Ironically I, an atheist, sees more virtue in (most of) the words of Jesus than he apparently does. He is willing to go against them if somewhere else in the book it seems to suggest that to do so is okay. So he takes the words of other men over those of Jesus, and he still has the balls to call himself a 'real' christian. Now, that's funny.

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  16. Never occurs to Mike that the bible is a collection of writings that were in circulation at the time, and so there were writings that quoted the words of Jesus and there were also writings by other people that sought to find loopholes to those same words of Jesus, and both kinds were included in the final book. Too hard to imagine, I guess.

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  17. Mike, you probably think I'd love it if you were to suddenly become an atheist.
    Actually, I never expected that sort of thing.
    What I would love, is if you ever learned to really follow the words of Jesus, and not try to also follow the words that contradict them at the same time. That path is a lie. Jesus' path is the narrow path, and that is because it is so easy to stray off it. It's the path that takes real work, usually on one's self. Far easier to just claim that you are following Jesus when you're not. Far easier for some of the authors of the bible to say things that seem to allow you a pass. Far easier to look for loopholes. To be like a lawyer, looking for a way out.

    Nope. You either can do it, or you can't. Don't be a coward about it. Decide for yourself.

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  18. I mean, you already don't follow a lot of the Old Testament writings. How did you find the courage to ignore them?
    Oh, your peer group was already ignoring them when you started in on the religion?
    Why did they stop? They're not stoning anyone to death for disobeying their parents...
    They already pick and choose, Mike. So they already do not obey all of the bible. This is reality here we're talking about Mike, and in reality, they're picking and choosing ALREADY. All I am asking you, is to realize AS THEY DID, that you simply can't follow it all and be SANE, and so you have to separate the wheat from the chaff. You need to judge it, with your heart AND your mind.

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  19. "He[Jesus] answered them and said, 'The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.'"

    The assumption that the Kingdom exists only in the hearts of believers is incorrect for several reasons. The Greek word entos, translated "within," is better translated "in the midst of" ( Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, "Within")."

    Here's an example of the lawyering that Christians do, that Brian was talking about. The translators of the King James Version of the Bible didn't, apparently, do a very good job here, even with inspiration from the Holy Spirit Himself!

    All I have to do is read the book right? If I open it at Luke 17:20-21 and read what is plainly written, Jesus is telling the Pharisees that the Kingdom of God is within you.

    But guess what, no. 'Within' is like code, blinding us poor non-believers to 'misunderstand' since we obviously need to look up every single word in the Greek to make sure that King James translators had it right!

    Surely we can all 'see' that 'within' and 'amongst' is almost the same thing, right?

    What a bunch of crap though. Not only is God Jesus and the Holy Spirit, HE is also the Kingdom of God too?

    If you walk through their reasoning it sounds good, yea, why not? A slight mistranslation, they had a funny way of phrasing things 'back in the day', you know, when Jesus spoke like Shakespeare, right?

    Within could mean amongst or around or all around, right?

    So that Greek word could actually mean 'within' or 'all around'(after all it's a Kingdom Jesus is talking about, not a person) meaning 'everywhere BUT within', right?

    If we take their word that the word is amongst, then we have to say that Jesus isn't talking about a kingdom, not even a metaphorical kingdom, which would be the case if it WERE 'within', but not a kingdom at all, instead Jesus himself.

    The kingdom of god, the kingdom of Jesus is Jesus himself!

    How much sense does that make? Well, my Christian friend, we know that it doesn't have to, don't we? It's 'pleasingly mysterious' like a lot of the gibberish that Jesus is purported to have said, and if you're 'confused' by this lawyering, just ask an expert, they'll point you right at Jesus dying on the Cross to save your soul!

    But Jesus telling the Pharisees that he himself is a Kingdom, still won't make sense, will it?

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  20. In fact if Jesus truly said to the Pharisees, "'The kingdom of God does not come with observation..", and the Pharisees were looking right at him, he could not possibly have meant that he was the kingdom of God, if he did, he was lying to them since they obviously could see him.

    Or maybe that whole 'coming with observation' is mistranslated too! Wouldn't it be 'sweet' if every major point that Jesus made about himself, God, the Holy Spirit and everything was just a bunch of contradictory mistranslations?

    Oh yea, and when did you guys lawyer the idea that Jesus was the Prince of Peace into the Prince of Defense into the Prince of Pre-emptive Strikes?

    LOL

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  21. It's only a hop, skip and a jump from there to "Jesus the Arms-Dealer"...

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    1. I know that guy! He always has the best weed!

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  22. Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.".

    Now come on Mike, I can almost hear the toilet flushing and see little pieces of paper with FREE WILL written on them circling around the bowl when I read that proverb, can't you?

    Or, perhaps another mistranslation going on here?

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  23. 'The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.'"
    ---------------
    If 'within' is really 'amongst' then Jesus was telling them that they will find the kingdom of god amongst themselves, as in, by relating well to each other. No? Seems logical.

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  24. You must believe so that you may believe... Are you listening to yourself, Mike?
    ------------------------------------------------------
    That does sound stupid don’t it lol.
    I was talking about the possibility of Gods existence. If one closes his/her mind altogether then the chance of them finding Him is unlikely

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  25. If 'within' is really 'amongst' then Jesus was telling them that they will find the kingdom of god amongst themselves, as in, by relating well to each other. No? Seems logical.
    -------------------------------
    The kingdom is in their “midst “… which means among them or within them , with in reach.

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  26. Not if you think like a Christian, since Jesus didn't like the Pharisees and they are quite sure that he didn't imagine the Pharisees would be finding the kingdom of God, so according to them the Pharisees were looking right at him, 'kingdom of God' being shorthand for 'ruler of the kingdom of God' or 'King of the kingdom of God', I suppose.

    According to them Jesus talked in code all the time. When the rich young man called him 'good' he replied, "Why call me good, only God is good!?" and he meant, "Fucking 'A' I'm good, since I'm God!"

    Apparently God/Jesus/Holy Spirit was/is a bit of a wiseacre playing semantic games all the time, to keep the mystery going you see. No way he was coming right out and saying to the Pharisees, "The kingdom of God, you're looking at HIM suckas! And BTW, you're not invited!"

    Nono, you have to have the mystery resolve itself at the end of the story since of course as God, you know the story is being written down, right?

    Right from 'prophecy 1' they're finegeling the story. Was Jesus of the line of David through his dad Joseph? Oops no, his dad was God(only begotten Son and all that), or was Jesus of the line of David through Mary? This would make Jesus the only person ever of the line of a patriarchical society to have 'lineage' through his mama.

    But wait, both Mary AND Joseph could be of the line of David and that would patch things up a bit and Jesus could be a son by law of Joseph and a natural son of Mary and we'll forget that she was a no account woman.

    In reality the story seems to be a bunch of patches since the prophecies and Christian(weird Jewish sect) wannabe prophecies are patches and the story is patched together to suit them in a midrashic patchwork story stirred up into a spiritual Platonic version of a non-warmongering semi-spiritual Christ(Messiah).

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  27. The scripture said where is He that is born King of the Jews?
    If He was born King of the Jews then it would be safe to say the Jews were His subjects. But you have to understand what Hew is saying…. According to the scripture A Jew is NOT a Jew which is born a Jew outwardly…. A Jew is one who is born a Jew inwardly , That is to say of the Spirit and not of the flesh
    The same spiritual birth in which he told Nicademus about in the book of John.

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  28. "The kingdom is in their “midst “… which means among them or within them , with in reach."

    Last point first Mike, 'with in reach'? Within means inside, separating the with from the in makes it nonsense.

    'Within reach', or 'inside your reach'(i.e. not outside your reach) doesn't seem to be what Jesus would be saying to the Pharisees either from the Christian viewpoint that the Pharisees were 'lost' or from the viewpoint that the Pharisees could reach out and touch Jesus, since they were asking HIM about the kingdom of God and not a king/ruler of the kingdom of God, and surely everyone present understood this.

    The kingdom of God being 'in their midst' wouldn't have made a sensible answer to their question especially after Jesus claims that it's not coming with observation, they could see Jesus right there, right?

    Yea, I know, 'within' is 'in the midst' or 'amongst' or 'with in', what is this 'sense' I keep talking about anyways, right?

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  29. Mike doesn't see himself in the pharisees.... but I certainly do, and when you consider that back when Jesus said that, 'his' pharisees couldn't see that they were wrong either, one would think it would ring a bell in Mikes head.

    Mike, when you're a pharisee, more concerned with the rules and the laws and the dogma and 'interpreting' scripture in ways that you like, instead of focusing on good acts and charity and love and empathy, you literally can't see where you are wrong. You're blinded by your pride, as were the pharisees in Jesus' day. Real empathy destroys pride.... because real empathy allows you to see the world as others see it. You should really give it a shot.

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  30. Few modern christians have defeated their sense of pride and entitlement.

    Real humility is rare among them. Like hen's teeth.

    Real humility implies the idea of 'Gee, I'd better keep an open mind, because I can always be wrong.'

    That attitude is expressly forbidden among the faithful.

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  31. "Camus says that when we recognise this we have three options. The first is suicide. The universe cares not for me nor anyone, I'm out of here! But it's not a very elegant solution.
    "The second solution is a leap of faith. The universe, according to the faithful cannot be cold and heartless and bleak in the face of our searching for meaning, therefore 'have faith that there is a spiritual reality that makes more sense, gives you a permanent place in it'.
    "The third solution is to accept the absurdity of it. Like if you get stuck in an elevator and after awhile you go through all the reasons why, why you, why now and so on. But you realise that there is no deep meaning to figure out. There is no enigma wrapped in a puzzle inside a pinata, no.
    "You and I are going to live our lives, perhaps from crisis to crisis, perhaps ignoring all crises and enjoying our time on this giant blue marble, fulfilling our duty to our D.N.A. in our children, or no.(leave that to your siblings maybe), and in the end, we will have no more worries, no more debt, no more anything.
    "I think that is a peaceful conclusion."

    Floyd, we have something in common -- we both like Camus! He was one of the first philosophers (using the term broadly there!) I really got into after my Objectivist days.

    I think you've missed something in your reading of Camus, though (assuming I've understood you). For Camus, you can accept to Absurd, but you cannot be reconciled to it, and hence the 'solution' (another issue -- there is no solution, technically) cannot, in principle, result in a "peaceful conclusion." It's the tension that's entailed by grasping -- fully grasping -- both the meaninglessness of the universe and our need for meaning that allows you to live both authentically and to the utmost. The moment you concede, as you said, that "there is no deep meaning to figure out" you've collapsed the Absurd by rejecting one element of it. For Camus, you must strive to live and act as if there is meaning in the world *in spite* of your knowledge that there isn't. Remember Sisyphus? He is Camus' model of the Absurd hero, continually striving to achieve the unachievable, thus keeping hold of both elements of the absurd (I know it's all for naught, but still I act, still I revolt, still I act, for I am still a human being).

    Now this does raise a difficulty (which is why I rejected Camus early on): if one finds a kind of heroism in grasping both elements of the absurd and pushing on, then one has found a kind of meaning in the act of revolting (and in the notion of authenticity one has maybe even found an essence!), and hence has collapsed the Absurd. In other words, Camus' response is self referentially inconsistent.

    However, i still enjoy Camus, and I appreciate his honesty. He sees human beings and the human condition much more clearly than the superficial New Atheists and their ilk do. I'm happy to see that you've read him!

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  32. This is a little quick, but it's not a bad sketch of how one might reason to the existence of god...

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  33. Hmm. Well perhaps 'solution' has a connotation, or may have a connotation that I wasn't meaning, hey, I'm no 'Jesus' saying what seems to be one thing but 'actually' meaning quite the opposite, I must admit.

    Still, I thought that suicide was a kind of final solution to the 'search for meaning'/'meaninglessness' conflict.

    I thought that the 'leap of faith' resolved(or which was a 'solution to' the 'apparent' absurdity by adding in a perhaps mysterious, perhaps unknowable yet considered 'known' layer of 'existence'(you know, the immaterial part, outside of time and space that isn't simply abstract).

    The third option, the only real option is not a resolution of the absurdity itself of course, but an acceptance that it is absurd. I really do think of it as a kind of solution since it seems to me to be the opposite end of the 'leap of faith' solution.

    I think it's like the numbering of events to infinity thing, it's not possible, it's absurd to try. As soon as one tries to think of numbering events to infinity one might as well be trying to stick one's head up one's ass trying to peek out between one's teeth, maybe in another 'dimension' hey? Well no.

    Obviously we don't have a solution to the absurdity by simply admitting to it, since it's still absurd, and of course I disagree that the New Atheists are 'superficial' in that they too come to the same conclusion that you have to make your own or find your own meaning, and I think you find a subset of that in your religion/philosophy as do Muslims, Mormons and Scientologists however 'superficial' you find them or no.

    Camus' absurd hero is as absurd as God only since he keeps rolling along for ETERNITY, but we actually don't roll along for eternity, no, we die, which solves the problem very pragmaticly(sp?)((pragmatically?)) as in option(if you prefer?) one, suicide.

    Option two, the non-absurd supernatural plane denies the overall absurdity since you find a meaning through your leap of faith, which you may minimize or deny altogether, but much like one of the protagonists in Dark Star, you think you have 'found a way'.

    BTW, what do you think that Jesus response to the Pharisees meant? Was he simply fucking with them as per 'Christian response X', that although he said the kingdom of God was unobservable, he really meant that they could actually see the 'kingdom of God' if they looked at him(being that he meant the ruler of the kingdom of God, i.e. himself)? So, bait and switch, or what?

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  34. Eric, read your link... to the end of the first sentence.

    "God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of human reason, through the things that he created. (Dei Filius 2)"

    No, wrong, in error, mistaken, incorrect, not true, a fantasy, wish-fulfillment, ridiculous, illogical, and not very bright.

    Can I emphasize that even more? I would if I could.
    Don't you ever get tired of being the defender of starry-eyed idiots?

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  35. When I look at the wonders of nature and this world, all I see everywhere I look strongly contraindicates a designer or guiding hand or deity as you think of one.

    To not be able to see that clearly must be a terrible handicap in your search for meaning.

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  36. 'As Aquinas would say, there must be an "act of being" in which all entities participate.'

    Or else there isn't. Why would Aquinas say that, and why should I believe it 'must' be so?

    This 'esse' is an abstract notion, after all, if we're just brains in vats being fooled by evil scientists we don't know that we're brains, we don't know that there's vats, we don't know that there are scientists and we don't know anything about their motives.

    When you imagine that you're a brain in a vat being fooled to see what they want, you either mean that we don't know that anything is really real or there are two perspectives, only the part that doesn't know, and the whole, where we know we're brains in vats and what the scientists who we know are 'there' are showing us, plus the part where we're 'being fooled'.

    But let's say we're slikcmecjs in cocdhhds being fooled by jldsklds into thinking that we're two people communicating by computer contemplating what happens when we imagine that we're two brains in vats being fooled into thinking that we're commenting on the internet.

    Well, since we don't know the nature of the gibberish which I used to replace familiar words 'brain' 'vat' and so on, we can say we 'exist', that we're 'actual', but not that we have 'potential', and not that 'esse' exists or any of the attributes given it.

    If we change perspective and we're the evil scientists and we can show the 'brain' that it is temporary, just a process, then we cannot make any kind of logical leap about 'esse', can we?

    What is this Aquinas? What is this 'act of being' and why 'must it be' and did I really go to sleep or am I just part of a program that gets turned off occasionally?

    Is it turtles all the way down or programs and evil scientists and un-name-able things which are part of a program and so on ad infinitum, or just seemingly so since it catches up to it's tail?

    They go to a lot of trouble to suggest that this 'act of being' is an 'entity', but it's not, is it? It's an abstract notion.

    This 'act of being' is simply a way to think of existence as a separate existing thing, which it's not.

    All the folderol about it being 'infinite' and so on is unnecessary since they've already conjured a distinct entity out of an abstract notion that is merely a description.

    The 'actual'/'potential' thing is misdirection, since 'potential', 'possibility' is not a form of existence at all.

    Finally, the brain in vat thing may well prove that you are an existing mind, but a mind is a process, not an 'actuality' at all.

    As far as I can 'make out', a material thing can be an 'actuality', but a mind, or an abstract notion cannot be.

    Nice try though.

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  37. On salvia I can even see how a mind can be an actuality as in the result pf purely physical processes. I'm not saying that I agree with it necessarily, but I can imagine that because in that altered state if I choose to I can contemplate my own mind and break it down into different areas and actually sense directly the 'many minds' that occupy my brain and literally discuss and reach consensus that my normal mind can only perceive as my own single thought from a single mind. I can even break it down further and sense the individual input of smaller areas of my mind and how they're structured. Like thinking of a song and actually sensing a loop of memory in my mind where that song literally is re-played continuously over and over, and also the nearby/adjacent area of my mind that is monitoring that loop/song and allows the greater mind to access that song when it (I) wish to.

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  38. The point being, if I can sense that much additional detail in altered consciousness, there is possibly or even likely more and finer detail "all the way down" to the very atomic structure of my brain and it's interactions at the quantum level. I would say that it would likely be a fractal-like 'structure' wherein finer levels of detail reflect similar patterns at each level. The mind can possible material-based then, or at least I can imagine it as such.

    However, lest ye think I'm a materialist now, I can also see (of course) that the opposite can be true (universe as a mind) and we'd likely perceive it in this way since we're looking for an explanation that *satisfies* existing scientific rigor.

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  39. At a certain level of salvia consciousness, or let's say at a certain dose level as one has their experience and the body rids itself of the substance, I can, if I just quiet myself utterly, still my thoughts to a cold shiny bead of consciousness suspended in a vacuum (metaphorically and whimsically speaking) I can hear voices. Not whispers. Faint voices. Nothing of import... more like everything I have running around in my mind at many levels, like every word and phrase that I have in my memory, just speaking softly over and over, like millions of stars each tasked to simply repeat a phrase, the same phrase, over and over. That is, I truly think, how we remember things... they just play in a small loop over and over.... so it's a sea of soft voices, *all of them my voice,* sussurating like the sea at night. Before I discovered that 'place' I ran into what I called 'the hall of phonemes' where the same thing was happening, only not with whole words, just parts of words.... I think I've tapped into my own memory at a level so sensitive that I can directly apprehend it's structure plainly.

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  40. I'm not even kidding about any of that, btw. And I've been able to have these experiences with more and more of my waking level of consciousness present at the time... more of me to stand in awe of the experience. But more importantly, I've been able to remember more of it when I come out of that state.

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  41. I remember trying Zazen meditation. Still the mind.

    I had no idea what one can HEAR and SEE, if the mind is sufficiently stilled.

    and I could never imagine that I would ever be able to attain such a level of stillness. It feels amazing. The most relaxing thing in the whole world.

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  42. I'm not as fucked up as all of this must surely sound to you though... Just that there's no way to talk about it, really. Our language isn't designed for it. So what I wind up saying, isn't really a good picture of the experience at all... I try my best, but there aren't words to describe direct sensation of a kaleidoscopic multiverse like the experience seems to convey.

    I'm not addicted to it. It's a fascination, due to my intense curiosity of the nature of my own self and consciousness. Physically I'm healthier than before, not less... and mentally while I do notice some memory effects, nothing too dramatic and on the plus side, I am much less stressed out.

    Okay, done with that now... back to your regular program, my apologies if you are appalled at my substance usage and are uncomfortable with this line of thought.

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  43. As Aquinas would say, there must be an "act of being" in which all entities participate. This act of being must itself exist; it must be an entity. Thomas calls this entity esse, which is Latin for "to be" or "to exist."

    4. The nature of esse is actuality.

    Now that we have established that esse is an entity,

     
    Did they actually establish that or just say that Aquinas said it was so?
     
    Now potentiality is still a form of existence, but we realize that it is, in some sense, inferior to actuality. In other words, potentiality is a "shade" of existence the same way that pink is a shade of red.
     
    Potentiality does not “exist” relative to actuality in the same way pink is a shade of red, not at all!!!  Something is pink if a certain quantity and quality of light bounces off it.  Something is red if a different quantity and quality of light bounces off it.  Potentially only actually “exists” as a concept, that is to say, in our heads.   
     
    It goes off the rails from there.  But even if you continued on, step 9 rules out the god of the bible.    

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    Replies
    1. Ryan, by making that statement you're putting 'potential energy' in the non-existent category.

      Delete
    2. I think that's right. Or at least not from a philosophical point of view. I don't recall my physics 101, but potential energy is just a rock sitting on a hill right? I would agree it's non-existent. Gravity exists, the hill exists, the rock exists, but the rock is no different at the top of the hill than it is at the bottom. Right?

      A bow string has actual tension in it caused by the actuality of the arm muscles and wood of the bow... but the arrow is no different whether it's cocked or not.

      There's a transfer of actualities, but never a moment where something actually (ung) possesses actual (ung) potentiality.

      Delete
  44. Brian,
    Remember when I tried to explain the advantage of thinking certain ways. This article shows the advances in neuroscience in that area. I have tried various ways to get the link to you, and as usual I failed to know how. It is an article in fortune magazine. If nothing else You can find it by going to cnnmoney.com, the link is on that page. About half way down on the page.

    Colleagues complaining? Why you need to tune it out

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  45. I don't think that there is a reason to believe that a mind is an entity(that minds are entities) except for the sake of believing that there is a spiritual realm.

    I don't think that there is a reason to believe that an 'act of being' is an entity except for the sake of believing that there is a spiritual realm.

    The people who wrote, "But the medieval understanding of God, which St. Thomas Aquinas espoused, does not allow for doubting his existence.", assume that everyone already has that one ingredient which they all have.

    Now.

    How do we convince anyone of anything? We contrive to have them focus their mind on the thing(whatever it is) This isn't a bad thing, it's just how it works, right?

    Now we have a lot of leeway there though. We can be convincing someone of one thing in an overt way while convincing them of a different thing at the same time in a covert way, perhaps even hidden from ourselves.

    Example:- I tried to tie eating and pooing together in my dog's mind by taking him outside and feeding him. Since I keep the dog food in the fridge, it is stoney cold, and so, incidentally, I would feed the dog with a spoon so he didn't get a (relatively) giant lump of cold food in his little belly all at once.

    I stopped taking the dog outside to eat for 'whatever' reason and put it's bowl down full of food, in the corner on a metal tray top along side his bowl of water.

    Of course it was still stoney cold, but he'd doubled in weight, so, you know, you just try different things to see how they go. He would sniff the food and perhaps take a couple of licks and leave it.

    Right off I was thinking, "It's too cold for him just yet.", but no, not really.

    The missing ingredient, which I hadn't realised that I was previously supplying, was me.

    This morning I wanted him to eat then we'd go out and he'd squeeze out a good one, right? So I stayed with him and he ate! YAY!

    There must be an entity called 'lack of my presence' which wards him off a bowl of food unless I'm there, right? Oh, he'll eventually eat the food without me being there, but he's not 'comfortable' with it.

    Now this entity, 'lack of my presence' is real to the dog. It's not around when I'm there, but it is exactly the same thing as 'the darkness when there is no light', isn't it?

    I spent a bit of time explaining that dog food thing and how I seem to have gotten into his mind, so I wonder, Eric, anyone, can you see where I'm going with this?

    I certainly don't want to step through the entire 'proof' pointing out how we are deliberately 'focused' here or there to suit their purposes just to have you, Eric, quibble over a word I used 'wrongly' in your estimation, e.g. 'solution' instead of 'option', which to me would be like me blowing up a 4 ft. balloon then you popping it with a pin.

    I'm not knocking down this 'proof' point by point just to have you have us imagine that my entire walkthrough stands or falls on each particular point. You can see how that would be a rhetorical trick, a debating strategy, right?

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  46. The thing my dog needs at least once a day is for me to sit down on the floor near him. Then he's happy. If he's depressed, which is very common, this is what I have to do. Then he perks up, gets a stuffed toy, perhaps plays tug of war or fetch with me for a minute, then settles down to serious chewing of the toy... in total bliss... your story just reminded me of this...

    I see your point though.

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  47. "But the medieval understanding of God, which St. Thomas Aquinas espoused, does not allow for doubting his existence."

    Hey, that's mostly where I get my understanding of the existence of quarks too! Well, that and Wikipedia.

    They really should rename the street where he lived, just so we could laugh when we read, "St. Thomas Aquinas of Thomas Aquinas St."

    BaHAHA! That would never get old.

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  48. Yea, Brian, I see that your 'lack of presence' has power over your dog too.

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  49. Any of you right-wingers here want to explain to us how your legislators are a)laser-focused on jobs, jobs, jobs, yet are b) passing many, many bills about abortion and c) passing many bills about getting rid of 'Obamacare'???

    Anyone? Anyone?

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  50. "We can conclude, then, that even if all of your sense perceptions are false, even if you are nothing but a brain in a vat being manipulated by scientists into believing that you are reading this article right now when in fact you are not, there are two things you can know with absolute, 100 percent certainty: (1) You exist, and (2) God exists."

    Okay then let's take out bits that aren't 'important'.

    "..even if all of your sense perceptions are false, even if you are nothing but a brain in a vat being manipulated by scientists into believing that you are reading this article right now .. there are two things you can know with absolute, 100 percent certainty: (1) You exist, and (2) God exists."

    Can we not know from this that our sense perceptions are not reliable? Can we not know that some other intelligence is causing our perceptions to be unreliable? Can we not know that that other intelligence has partial actuality which we and this other intelligence share with God?

    Can we know, therefore, that since God made this deceiving intelligence whose only purpose is to deceive us, that God is a deceitful bastard WHO hides in the minds of Aquina-boys (or Tom-boys, if you prefer), who therefore must be dedicated to deceit personified, aka SATAN?

    It's no bloody wonder that God hides from us knowing full well that when HE looks in the mirror HE sees the Great Deceiver, SATAN, looking back, no?

    Or perhaps we're just taking these abstract notions about 'potentiality', 'actuality' and 'esse' a bit too far when we try to paint them as 'concrete beings', and perhaps it's just a tad deceitful to do that then, yes?

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  51. Eric, are you in agreement with the Franciscan friars in America that the Romney/Ryan budget is harmful to the poor?

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  52. "... by making that statement you're putting 'potential energy' in the non-existent category."

    Yes, yes, interesting, in the sense that it makes me think.

    I think that it depends on the sense that we mean. It makes sense to us to say, "A potential exists that..."

    I think that we're making a prediction, suggesting a possible outcome, and argument over whether some possibility is 'real' comes down to the likelyhood of a series of events 'coming to pass'.

    I think that living things are full of potential, which seems to mean that I think the opposite of Thomists who seem to imagine that they're describing a living being when they try to define God, a living being with zero potential.

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  53. Mike, check this article out:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-sandlin/i-dont-want-to-go-back-to-church_b_1732607.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

    What do you think? Are they really wrong, these ministers, in your eyes? To me they're dead-on.

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  54. Jerry, how've you been? Been a while...

    I couldn't find that link... I think they change that page around a lot. Can you send it to me or point it out again somehow? Thanks.

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  55. On Ryan's potential energy comment:

    How about the potential energy of gunpowder?

    Just curious.... I'm not really disagreeing with you, just looking for clarification.

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  56. To me potential energy is simply energy in a low entropy state. It thus has potential for work and so forth. When it gets to a high-entropy state, it doesn't have much energy available for work.

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  57. I think to say anything actually possesses some sort of real thing called potential is to ignore the actuality of all the catalyst that go into making things happen.

    My arm has the "potential" to pull a bow string, but only because I've eaten and there are sugars to fire the muscles.

    Gunpowder has no potential to explode without the actualities of fire and oxygen?

    Think about it this way, if I drop a sack of gunpowder in a lake, is anything metaphysical happening to the gunpowder or is something actually happening to it?

    Its actualities all the way down.... I think...

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  58. What I'm seeing is that the concept of low and high entropy explains potential energy adequately, but as such an object or a thing does not have 'potential energy,' just energy.
    Why is this important again? Is it the word 'potentiality?'

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  59. Brian,
    I think this article is important enough to spend a little time to find. One sentence is; "Recent advances in neuroscience have turned up some intriguing insights into how a steady barrage of negative thoughts can affect the human brain." Although this article deals mostly with the negative thoughts by others, the main source of negative thoughts that affect us is from our own minds. Hope you can find it.

    Go to CNNMoney, on that page in the upper right fill the search with, Colleagues complaining? Why you need to tune out If that does not work let me know.

    I have been doing fine, got caught up in the 99% protesting. We were picketing Walgreens to get them to resign from ALAC. I do not know how much effect we had but they did bail out a week of so ago. I had a serious problem with the group due to they did not want to get organized and have leadership, just like the occupy movement. I do not think that works well as has been shown by the different occupy movements that might as well be dead, which they might be. I do not understand the opposition to leadership, but I think we have to have it to really focus in and use the energy to its best benefit. Anyway it was a good experience, and I did use an idea for two signs from this blog, thanks.

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  60. I think potential is an attribute of a thing.(an entity) In the case of gunpowder, it has the potential for it's ingredients to turn to gas and release a fair bit of energy.

    Seems to be a play on words. Sure 'the potential' exists that something could happen, but a potential entity isn't an entity.

    An actual entity is that actual entity from moment to moment until, if the circumstances are right, it is caused to become what it had the potential to become.

    This 'act of being' thing makes no sense at all to me since it just seems to be some fancy wording, an appeal to authority(Aquinas) and insisting that it's been proven or demonstrated or whatever now.

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  61. I seriously find it impossible to believe that anyone in the 21st. Century calling themselves a philosopher, wouldn't zero in on the 'act of being', the actuality/potentiality and question it.

    I mean, "But Thomas Aquinas said it and that's good enough for me!", just doesn't cut it here, and coming away with, but I'm a philosopher and you're not, when it is so obvious that this 'act of being' is where they slip God in, and, "I guess you'll just never understand the Metaphysics!", is so bogus.

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  62. Well Eric, you're on the ropes here as far as I can see.

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  63. Jerry, referencing your comments on neuroscience and the effects of negative association, these 2 prior posts outline the mechanisms of how these associations are actually created in the brain.

    http://waywardskeptics.blogspot.com/2011/08/neuro-not-so-basics-diving-into-bit.html

    http://waywardskeptics.blogspot.com/2011/08/neuro-not-so-basics-2-late-phase-long.html

    Both are fairly basic but not a bad summary to start.

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  64. FYI, both those posts also explain why it's almost impossible to uproot religious beliefs in spite of evidence to the contrary. This goes back to Observant's comments about searching for God. If you are neuroprogrammed to build associations based on a certain belief structure you can continue to create stronger and stronger responses through coincident association. Anything that can be attributed to God (regardless of true cause and effect) gets linked strengthening the belief.

    It's why I've lost all interest in debating this stuff.

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  65. I called up your page Pliny, and got to the first illustration before my brain was screaming 'turn it off, turn it off, it hurts!'.

    Sorry.

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  66. It's why I've lost all interest in debating this stuff.
    ----------------
    I have a lot less lately myself. It's spitting into the wind. So I can relate.

    When you're dealing with the guy in the padded cell that knows that he's Napoleon beyond a shadow of a doubt, there's not much hope for a factual conversation that can resolve anything for him.

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  67. "Actus Essendi is a Latin expression coined by Thomas Aquinas. Translated as 'act of being,' the expression actus essendi refers to a fundamental metaphysical principle discovered by Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) in his Christianizing of Aristotle."

    Since Actus Essendi is exactly equal to God and a fundamental metaphysical principle, we can clearly see how theology and philosophy have absolutely no connection whatsoever under any circumstances.

    If Eric argues from a philosophical POV, well, there you go, it has nothing at all to do with God except insofar as he can 'reason' God from fundamental philosophical principles such as 'God is the 'act of being'!

    Wow! Basically, one can describe a 'thing' to one's hearts content but it's not there if it isn't there. The 'thereness' comes from God, you see now?

    Of COURSE(slapping forehead), how could I not seen this before?

    You dumb atheists don't realise that it's all metaphysical, like Aristotle said, um, like Aquinas said that Aristotle kind of said.

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  68. HA!

    Your jokes are funny because they're too true.

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  69. Christianizing of Aristotle? HA HA HA HA HA!

    These christians.... so proud.

    Is that like mormons posthumously baptizing non-mormons? Yes, I think it is a bit.

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  70. fundamental metaphysical principle discovered by Saint Thomas Aquinas
    --------------------
    Is "discovered" the same as "pulled it out of his ass?"

    Hey, I just "discovered" the principle of "Actus Inani." Put it in the books, PRONTO! It's "fundamental" in that it relates to Aquinas' fundament.

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  71. I think all catholics ever managed to really accomplish is the 'satanization' of Jesus Christ. That they seem to have done rather well.

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  72. Although I must admit, to give credit where credit is due, the protestants did it better.

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  73. Also to give the catholics their due, except for the vatican, most catholics are at least marginally sane. Not so the protestants. Egad! They started protesting against Rome and then went on to protest against intelligence and decency itself.

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  74. Too bad the popes a fucking nazi, eh Eric? John Paul wasn't too bad a deal, but your guy now looks like a sith lord and thinks like one too.

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  75. I'd bet dollars to donuts that Benedict has perped a kid at least a couple of times.

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  76. Ironically I hated the nuns the most as a kid (catholic school will do that to a sane boy) but the nuns are among the best catholics, and of christians in general. They give a shit about people.

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  77. but your guy now looks like a sith lord

    LOL

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  78. That's hilarious! I stepped through the Bush presidency and how you guys gave up a lot of freedom in the name of, "They hate us for our freedoms."

    I'm predicting that they'll pull the exact same shenanegins if they get back in power.

    Mittens is as much of a front man as G.W. was and Ryan is running for an office with, as Cheney made clear, zero accountablity!

    We can all belly-laugh at Muslim suicide bombers for believing it's straight to a heaven with a bunch of virgins, for them, but, what if you believe that all you need do is tear it ALL down, then Jesus will show up?

    What if you truly believe that?

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  79. What is really funny here is that if anyone asks Mittens what exactly he intends to do if he is elected, he actually gets away with saying the equivalent to, "That would be telling now, wouldn't it?"

    It's the old Chinese curse, 'May you live in interesting times.'

    Nevermind though, there's an Act of Being running the whole show while being unchanging and unchangeable, Eric's neurolinguistic programming tells him so.

    Oh wait, that's about as discredited as religion.

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  80. The 'brain in vat' problem rethought.

    What if we can only know what exists through the model presented to us in the world we see around ourselves?

    We don't need to imagine that we're brains in vats being deluded by evil scientists, no.

    We are, in fact, streaming consciousnesses, seeking patterns, accepting patterns, making models of the world, as presented to us by what we perceive as our senses.

    To imagine that we are brains in vats, we have to imagine that the evil scientists have presented us with a realistic model of 'actual'
    reality, realistic enough to deduce that the model given to our minds fairly accurately represents 'actual' reality in every respect excepting the technology involved in keeping brains in vats and being able to fool us.

    Still, the main points of the 'brain in vat' thought experiment isn't that the evil scientists create a false reality for us, no, it's to suggest a model, in which we are 'shown' that we, if nothing else, that we each exist.

    But there is a reason for the thought experiment to discard 'the body' and not the brain. The brain is/and isn't, the mind. The brain IS an entity The brain IS where thinking is done. If we don't say this or that about streaming consciousnesses, brains or minds, just let that hang out in the land of, "Some great philosophers have spent their lives considering this, and we don't 'want to' go into it, trust us.", leave it in a limbo between material, immaterial entity or process.

    The model, which Aquinas describes, may depend on a certain way of thinking about what it is that exists for sure if we cannot trust our perceptions since they may be contaminated, but we CAN trust that we are thinking.

    (Here's where Eric might come in and object. This is where I'm stuck at if Eric is going to come on all, "Why, you just don't understand, you haven't read the entire history of how philosophers have perceived 'the mind'!")

    Nevertheless, I plan to go on to how this proof(model) not only depends on the vague model given in the 'brain in vat' thought experiment, but how they spend some time on rhetoric, using charged words, as if trying to convince you by simply saying, "You will be convinced, you will be!".

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  81. "In fact, you can be more certain that God exists than that you are reading this article right now."

    We know he means that he is certain that God exists and he feels that he can convince us too. Obviously he is phrasing it the way he does to suit his purpose. If you can prove something you'd make bold assertions, therefore if you make bold assertions, your intention is to show us you have proof.(In fact his intention is to pre-polish his upcoming 'proof' by having asserted that it is proof!)

    "From this point of extreme skepticism, we will prove beyond all possible doubt that God exists."

    Here he is telling us that the world around us is a memory model, a mental model, which may or may not be an accurate model at all.

    Trouble is, from that position, how does one backtrack to some kind of metaphysical model from/of pure reason and discard the scientific model, the falsifiable one that is the model you hold in your mind right now, that he is telling you is the model in your mind right now.

    The root of this model is that everything you think isn't necessarilly the case, since you may well be a brain in a vat, but you know you exist. When he builds on this model, it's still a falsifiable model. It isn't transformed into a fact, or a proof.

    Seems to me that you cannot just tell everyone that they are simply ignorant of the philosophers' meaning of the terms while using that same system of philosophy to prove something else.

    If your definition of existence already includes God, then this is obviously an intricate play on words and nothing more.

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  82. If your definition of God already includes God, then the entire 'brain in vat' thought experiment is a diversion.

    You may as well say, "Since you are reading this, you exist, therefore God exists!"

    QED

    Guess it wouldn't have as much flair though.

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  83. Obviously the first sentence should read, "If your definition of existence already includes God..."

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  84. Here's another trick. The 'I' that is an entity, that 'exists', is a streaming consciousness, it is a process. At the most we could say that we're streaming consciousnesses which are aware of our streaming consciousnessness. Now no matter how our perceptions are being fooled with, we can at least say that.

    But is there any reason to believe that our basic perceptions are false? Is there any reason to go through that 'looking glass' concocting philosophical/theological meanings to ordinary words apparently designed to muddy the waters by defining words to suit your purpose?

    This doesn't prove that God exists, it proves how devious we can be when we practice to deceive.

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  85. One of my stumbling blocks has been the idea of infinite time and space.

    If time is infinite, this boggles the mind.

    If time is not infinite, this boggles the mind.

    If space is infinite, this boggles the mind.

    If space is not infinite, this boggles the mind.

    A third option would seem to be in order for both time and space.

    So I think of 'All Is Thought' instead of 'the Universe as we think of it' and it all seems to fit.

    It removes the problems with infinities.

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  86. I don't know how it removes any problems if 'thought' is not very well defined. Thought is a time consuming process. Is thought infinite?

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  87. I've tried to wrap my head around this before, but I don't think we've tried their scenario, the 'brain in vat' thing.

    Okay Brian, are you sitting in a vat? Oh, wait no, heh.

    Kiddin' aside, how does 'all is thought' fit the 'brain in vat' idea that our perceptions aren't necessarilly a good model of reality and, in fact may be a trick of some sort?

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  88. I don't know, Pboy. I'm just saying that it solves a lot of problems. If reality is more like a vast mind in which we are patterns of thought, and our reality that we perceive around us is also a display of patterns of consciousness in said mind, then it is not necessary for this display of reality to actually be infinite in time or scope in order for us to perceive it to be so.

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  89. I also think that the perceptions of beings that are composed of mostly space with almost no real solidity to them, of a surrounding universe that is *also* composed of mostly empty space with almost no real solidity to it, are suspect. We're too much like holograms or projections or something similar that we have no word for. And that's what science tells us. We're (the whole universe including us humans) made up of forces and fields, and are mostly "immaterial." It would not be unusual for an immaterial being that fancies itself to be material to perceive an immaterial surrounding reality as material. One would imagine that a sentient program in a data bank on coming across another sentient program would perceive the other as material.

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  90. But I just wanted to know how far you have thought that through and how it solves any problems? If as you say, reality is a vast mind, is it infinite?

    Now is a vast mind, or any mind, a thing? It's my contention that a mind is a streaming consciousness and memory banks, which together gives us our model of reality.

    You can't just hedge on what you mean by 'mind' to get away from the question, "Is time infinite?", since time is the passing of events, material or not.

    What you seem to be proposing is that underlying our perception that there is a material universe which is space/time/energy/matter, there's the 'real' universe which is 'thought'(vaguely defined), yes?

    How does it help? Is the perception of space/time/energy/matter, the vast mind, is that infinite? We can only view reality from our perspective, that's true, but the thoughts/ideas/information that you feel is 'realer', or a basic reality which we are not privy to, the question of whether our perspective of time and space are infinite still looms, you're just changing your perspective to somehow dodge those issues, aren't you?

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  91. ***I'm just saying that it solves a lot of problems.***

    So does classical theism. that doesn't mean either is evidenced, falsifiable or the truth.

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  92. Oh Brian, you know that matter is a form of energy and vice versa, so you're being a bit weird trying to compare some kind of tiny marble idea of a material universe with a 'mostly forces and fields' version.

    Don't you think so? Here we are at the 'level' the 'size' where stuff manifests itself as solid, liquid and gas in time and space, through electro-magnetic forces and kinetic energy.

    Does it work like this at the centre of suns or in outer space? Well, who cares, we're not going to be living there, are we? Sure outer space is a 'nice' place to visit, but we wouldn't want to stay there.('nice' means 'pretty fucking harsh' in this case)

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  93. If dualism was the "Troo Deal", then the thought experiment would NOT be a "brain in a vat" (since brains are nothing but lumps of matter); it would be a "mind in a vat".

    For all their fancy language and rhetoric, the philosophers KNOW that "Mind" is what "Brain" does, and that without "Brain", you cannot have "Mind".

    Space and time are not separate, but different aspects of the same phenomenon.

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  94. But I just wanted to know how far you have thought that through and how it solves any problems? If as you say, reality is a vast mind, is it infinite?
    -----------
    Who knows? But it doesn't have to be. Take that program in a hard drive somewhere with sentient programs on it I used in the last example. If the overall program of "The Universe" is such that it conforms to the expectations of it's sentient sub-programs (us) then if the sentient sub-programs come to believe that their Universe (the program they're in) is infinite in scope and in time, then the program will give them every impression that such is the case, *without said program having to actually be infinite in scope and time.*

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  95. The "actual" "Universe" which in this case we're discussing would be LIKE a mind, but not like OUR minds, would certainly not have to be actually infinite in order for it's projection, this visible universe that we perceive, to seem to be infinite to us in every measurable way. That is obvious.

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  96. Space and time are not separate, but different aspects of the same phenomenon.
    ----------------
    Yeah, I tried that route in trying to disprove all this stuff, but I could not do it. In such a scenario our brains, being themselves structured and ordered consciousness, would likely dictate and cause our own minds to be, but the larger field of consciousness in which our bodies are embedded would not require a body or a brain... although I do not PRECLUDE that possibility. In this scenario our personal deaths are still real and we do not recover our minds from that experience, so no afterlife as such for us as individuals. But that in no way prevents this all from being a field of consciousness rather than what we think it is.

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  97. We see space and time as the same phenomena, but both are ultimately illusory. Oh, there are patterns of consciousness, but they do not have to BE what we SEE that they are. They may delude us as to their nature, due sadly to our own nature.

    I know, I know... it's a lot like God. And I hate it for that.

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  98. Here's one hypothesis of an Infinite Mind:
    A vast non-infinite mind, but one that can grow as large as it needs to be, that can therefore store as much as it needs to store. It can never attain actual infinite size, but it can always just get larger, forever.

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  99. I guess my point is, I can't imagine an actual physical infinity nor an ageless being per se, but if MIND is all there really actually IS, I can imagine that condition as being the default condition of reality, and as such, being infinitely old and lasting infinitely long. Or if not the MIND itself, a series of them, a cycle of them. But not a being that is a creator deity in any form. More of a process than a being. Or a field... implying non-self-consciousness.

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  100. pliny,
    Thanks for the two links, problem is I cannot understand them. While I appreciate your knowledge, I am totally into the results of the process you wrote about, and have been for about 40 years. About the problem with philosophy it is partly on the type. I am a philosopher by nature, without a formal education. The brand that best identifies me would be pragmatism. (wikipedia has a good definition) Most of the philosophy I read about is little more that an educated person that read a book written by an author that read a book, written by an author that read a book, written by an author that read a book, on and on and on. The problem that I ran into in my growth is, when I realized that the only absolute I knew is "I am" it left me with no basic idea to build from. Thinking that the first question is whether to continue to live on this planet or not left me with, I will live on, if I can enjoy this life. Using enjoying life as the criteria I set out to find out the best way to enjoy life. That lead me to the influence of thoughts on my life. It did not take long before I realized I had hit the mother load. Change a thought, and the result can be, and often is life changing. Like you say about the religionist, changing a thought is not easy to do, and one has to want to first, which most religionists do not want to do, even if they knew how. Once practiced it is not that hard to change thoughts, but does take patience, and persistence. I might add that the result of my searching for the best way to enjoy life has lead me to service. Service to life as described by Albert Schweitzer's ideas concerning the reverence for life.

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  101. ".. but if MIND is all there really actually IS, I can imagine that condition as being the default condition of reality..."

    If MIND is the basis of reality, then existence of stuff in the MIND depends on MIND to exist.

    Don't you see how much like 'act of being' that is? If Aquinas hadn't put in some more steps to bridge the gap between this idea and the God of the Bible, well, it seems to me that the difference in these ideas is a difference in terminology!

    I mean from a scientific model/the model in your and my head, right now, we're semi-solid beings living on a semi-solid planet, and we can only work up and down in scale from there.

    We know that solidity is an electro-magnetic/kinetic phenomena, everything below the level of electro-magnetic interaction/bonding isn't 'solid', the way we think of 'solid'.

    How could the atom be a tiny marble with no way to interact with the other atoms? Well, it IS a tiny marble to the extent that it is the smallest particle which operates in this electro-magnetic/kinetic domain.

    Everything smaller than that are 'parts' of that, which we model as electron/proton/neutron/electro-magnetic radiant energy interaction.

    Mass is equivalent to Energy/C^2, so at some point we're going to see wtf this 'means'. Particles below the electro-magnetic threshold aren't 'solid', could never have been 'solid' since we know that an atom is 'so much energy' constituting a material packet.

    The I.D.ers relate everything to 'design' and I think that you're doing kind of the same thing here.

    There's not much of a difference between the idea that God is the overmind and we're essentially tiny bits of that spiritual-stuff, and that the universe is MIND and we influence that in a mysterious way since we are essentially tiny bits of that MIND.

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  102. I know. The main difference is that the 'overmind' or whatever, would likely NOT be sentient. In that way it's not really as much like a mind as it is a computer program.

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  103. If dualism was the "Troo Deal", then the thought experiment would NOT be a "brain in a vat" (since brains are nothing but lumps of matter); it would be a "mind in a vat".
    -----------------------------
    Good point! And as to my own thoughts, what I was saying was that our personal minds would still be dependent upon the structure of our brains. This is more of a definitional change. Since everything would be patterns of consciousness in undifferentiated form, the particular pattern of consciousness that is a human brain in action, would be the reason for our personal consciousnesses. We see the pattern of consciousness as a flesh-and-blood brain. The atoms and molecules that make up all matter however, would be bits, small bits, of consciousness... in that pattern, they can 'think.' After death, they disperse, but are still bits of consciousness... it's the pattern that is broken.

    It's virtually identical to the way we see things now. It's just that we aren't realizing that all this matter and energy is really made up of consciousness. Is that a difference that makes no difference? Perhaps to a human body or to our everyday pursuits. Yet on a macro scale it implies that all we perceive, is possibly amenable to changes over time due to our expectations of how it will manifest.

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  104. Of course, this is not only ONE way in which it is possible that all is consciousness... it still can just be a gigantic dream with no dreamer required, a communal dream in which all is illusory. That's the 'hard' interpretation... the 'soft' one is as I've described above. The 'hard' interpretation means we don't really have brains, nor bodies; we only believe that we do. The 'soft' one means that we do have brains and bodies BUT they themselves and everything else is composed of elemental bits of consciousness much as we think of a body being composed of cells and so forth. In the 'hard' version there is no real structure; in the 'soft' one there is but it's 'made' of patterns of bits of consciousness instead of atoms and molecules.

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  105. In yet another version, the atoms and molecules and quarks and leptons and all of that, are just different *kinds* of bits of consciousness.

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  106. I have no one version that I find more likely than any other. But I do see that it is possible in spite of all the science that seems to contraindicate it, that one version is true rather than our materialistic paradigm. Equally possible, in fact.

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  107. Right, but if we imagine ourselves as small applications(There's an AP for that!), this works well for the idea that everything is a process, nothing is written in stone, shit, stone isn't even written in stone! LOL

    But if our model of the World is a 'looking glass' a mental model of what the 'bricks and bolts and bars and cups fall down' world is, and we can only really have a model of this in our memory and access this model with our streaming consciousnesses, and explain that in terms of that outer world, aren't we really just going back through that 'looking glass' to re-explain the 'bricks and bolts and bars and cups fall down' world as a mental model of 'mind'?

    Remember our 'minds', are explained in terms of directed energy through a networks of neurons which compose a brain supported by a neural network which supports our body which we need to refuel our bodies so that our 'mind' will work.

    This is not simply an abstract notion, since if we quit eating and drinking, we will not be thinking at all after awhile.

    Imagining it all as information which presumably does away with any need for space/time/energy/matter as 'real' is fun since that may well open the door for us living in a matrix-like environment where we could control 'reality' to some greater extent than we can through conventional means.

    Of course we still get to control reality to an extent. For example, I could change the universe a tiny bit by throwing my cereal bowl through the window right now, but if the BB theory is true, then I might be able to 'think' the window to break, since it's my mind(me, the 'I') 'against' the consensus of what ought to be able to happen, right?

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  108. Seems to me that the BB model(models) are a way to reject the notion of God/gods and keep the ideas that 'there are more things in heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy', the idea that we can control events, outcomes, things themselves, with our minds.

    Your experiments with salvia divinorum seem to confirm to you, a bit, it kind of helps you lean that way, that nature is an illusion, which I think is the reason for it's name.

    I think it's odd that you feel this substance, deliberately introduced by yourself to deliberately affect your conscious perception of the world.

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  109. Didn't seem to finish that last thought...

    ..it's odd that you feel this substance reveals or even could be revealing anything more than an altered version of reality, a salvia induced version of reality, affecting not the material world or clarifying it in any way, but affecting your perception, affecting how you are sensing the world around you and finding it revealing in some way when you compare this to your unadulterated mental model.

    Hey, when I'm buzzed on rum, the world is a happier place! No, really.

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  110. I see all of your points, including the one about salvia divinorum.

    What can I say? This is how I think. And I'd already thought this way before I ever tried salvia. For many years. The salvia has not 'confirmed' anything for me.

    My main reasons for considering it, are things like my aforementioned problems with infinities. And the fact that my meditations SEEM to, when I focus them in a certain way, influence events in the real world. I do this all the time. I did it last week. The results? The desired result came into being. In fact, I try not to focus on my success rate too much because it might affect my ego which would cause problems with these meditations... but to be honest, I've never failed, not once. Not bragging..... but when I do 'magic' I always get the results that I'm striving for.

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  111. Last week, we got another FHA loan. At the end of the process it looked as if it might not go through. So I did my mediation on it, and the next day it did.
    No proof... but when will this NOT work, I wonder? Statistically it's long overdue.

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  112. So now we're getting a swimming pool! Cool, huh?

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  113. The thing is, the meditation produces a 'certainty.' Afterwards, I am certain that what I wanted to come to pass, will come to pass. And then it (seemingly invariably) does.

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  114. Here's an odd side-effect to last week's meditation.

    I am a smoker. (I know, it sucks)

    So before I started, I had this pack of cigarettes, and I distinctly recall that I'd put them in my left side pocket.
    Afterwards, they were in my right side pocket. This I noted, and assumed that I'd switched them without recalling the fact. Of course, that had to be it. I left them in the right side pocket without thinking about it further.
    So about ten minutes later I went for a cigarette.
    They were back in the left side pocket.

    Again, likely I (somehow?) switched them... but WHY would I DO that?

    Hey, pretty freaky.

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  115. I had a situation two weeks ago. Sitting on the bed late at night, with wife and dog sleeping near me.

    The dog woke up when I started to have 'visions' of 'walls of light' or sheets of this greenish glow moving through the room...
    I could make them move as I wanted to.

    The dog AVOIDED THEM. I got him to move to the left, then back to the right, by moving the 'walls' on either side of him.

    Also, on a related point, it is very common when I first have a vision, that my wife will talk in her sleep at the moment that I start, and also that the dog will wake up and move closer to me and watch me quizzically. So common that I eventually noticed. Keep in mind that I'm immobile and as silent as stone through all of this.

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  116. Plus I already told you about the time that I was in meditation and was trying to just 'get through' to my wife specifically... she was in a light sleep at the time. The SECOND that I did it, she stirred, woke up, and said 'WHAT?' I immediately 'woke up' from my meditations, and woke HER up the rest of the way and asked her what happened... she told me that she 'thought that she heard me say something to her.'

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  117. I should mention that when I am in these states I am still conscious in the 'real world.' So I would know if I actually said something that my wife responded to. No. Specifically I was very conscious that I was silent.

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  118. Jerry's going on and on about the power of his positive thinking.

    Many people do. It's a common meme.

    Now sure, this is most easily explained by self-delusion.

    But I have to ask, WHAT IF?

    Positive thinking pretty much describes my meditations, only I think I achieve more focus than the average person.

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  119. As you 'travel' through this life, Brian, there's certainly no reason that you should not do it in the way that works for you.

    That goes for everyone except those who imagine it's a zero sum game where removing others' rights and protection are imagined as net gains for themselves.

    Here we can see how the 'right' cannot seem to be able to tolerate a nickel out of every tax dollar being used to support those out of work but rebel against any mention of the amount that is used to subsidise businesses large or small, including the arms manufacturing industry and up to the most profitable corporation ever, since ever, and the banks who would gamble everyones' wealth away at no risk to themselves, being too big to fail and having the means, the motive and the opportunity to engineer 'products' that 'fail' in such a way as to concentrate property ownership to themselves.

    "Let the mortgage owners default, then the banks can rent the houses out to those mortgage owners!" ~ Mittens.

    We can see how Mittens is a man of the people here, people who own businesses, corporations and banks that is.

    I don't know how this can be thought of as free enterprise at this point, it's corporate welfare, it's government by the elite for the elite, who automatically feel that they deserve govt. help yet ought to be allowed to do as they please.

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  120. As you 'travel' through this life, Brian, there's certainly no reason that you should not do it in the way that works for you.
    -----------
    Why thank you. And you as well of course. As long as we do not 'travel' through life trying to change the lives of others so they're more like ours. That, is evil. (My definition of course)

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  121. Saint Brian the GodlessAugust 13, 2012 4:27 PM
    Jerry's going on and on about the power of his positive thinking.

    If you think what I have been trying to get across to you is positive thinking , you have totally missed the point. Enough said.

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  122. A. I still haven't read your link that you never provide.

    B. I was AGREEING with the idea.

    Dude, paranoid much?

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  123. Using enjoying life as the criteria I set out to find out the best way to enjoy life. That lead me to the influence of thoughts on my life. It did not take long before I realized I had hit the mother load. Change a thought, and the result can be, and often is life changing.
    -Jerry
    ---------------------
    Um... so is that the power of *negative* thinking then?

    No?

    Then what I called it, was pretty much dead-on, wasn't it?

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  124. Well, trying to change the lives of other by sharing ideas isn't necessarilly a bad thing. The ideas introduced will either match, change or be at odds with the others' ideology.

    But I think that we have no free will, and being introduced to new ideas are the only way we have to 'grow', whether we agree with them or not. Certainly if we hear some ideas that we believe are evil but they seem to match what is going on in the world, this confirms any notion that the world, or at least the prevailing worldview(ideology) is evil.

    But we have a lifetime of mish-mished ideas that we've been introduced to, some so long ago that we aren't aware of how they concur with or are adverse to some newly introduced idea, or seemingly new idea, since there's not much new under the Sun when it comes to ideas really.

    Hey, I might read the Wiki for Aristotle and get something new from that, right, through the wonders of the written word. All that, together with the fact that we love to think that we're in control, makes for people who are absolutely sure that free will exists, based on the feeling that they can change their mind if they think about something.

    I don't believe that Eric can change his mind, he's invested a lot of reading and studying in preparing his philosophical defence of Christianity, and who knows, perhaps his 'version' of 'being an atheist' simply meant slacking off when it comes to church rituals and so forth, while, while his church may agree with him, atheists, imagining that a core belief in a supernatural realm in which there is the one God, would be the one thing, right?

    (yay, I think I used '..while, while." correctly in a sentence!)

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  125. Yes, for a shallow thinker.

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  126. Jerry, what has happened to you? You used to be unfailingly nice. Now you accuse me of being a shallow thinker. What the fuck? Lately you're always looking for someone else to diss you, always expecting to be belittled or something, and so you are becoming rather caustic. Is this who you really want to be? I'm serious. I always *liked* you. I've even stuck up for you in the past.
    I just don't get it. I am disappointed in you.

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  127. You know, for a while there I was just letting loose on people... even swearing... it felt GREAT! What a RELEASE!

    Then I realized how all that looked. When I imagined interacting with someone like that, someone like me, well, I realized that it would be interacting with an asshole. I didn't realize that hatred cuts both ways. It affects the hated, but most importantly it affects the hater. In not so good ways.

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  128. "If you deny a life beyond the grave, I won't consider you foolish or even unreasonable. But if you anticipate a paradise on earth, I will consider you both. And if you work to attain such a state in defiance of morality..."
    --------------------------------

    "If you deny a life beyond the grave, I won't consider you foolish or even unreasonable.
    -Well, good I guess, because that would be very judgmental of you. Not to mention stupid, since all the concrete evidence is on our side.


    "But if you anticipate a paradise on earth, I will consider you both."
    -Oh. Well let's see. No sane person anticipates it in the near future. However to not 'anticipate' it in the sense of visualizing it and trying to steer our long-term course gently always in that direction, trying as best we can to take those 'baby steps' toward it as a very long term eventual goal, possibly unattainable but in the right direction for sure, Well, that would be working against whatever improvement we might be capable of making as a species. Such an attitude would be against any improvement in the direction of more peaceful co-existence that we might be capable of making. Now THAT would be 'evil.'


    "And if you work to attain such a state in defiance of morality..."
    -HUH? Who said anything about that? It's morality that drives this in the first place. This is nothing less than the further attempt by this person to propagate the MYTH that all peace-loving people are somehow DANGEROUS. It's typical right-wing MORON propaganda, and frankly I'd expect better from a person like you ,Eric.

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  129. Eric, tell me the truth. When you christians hear the phrase 'Visualize World Peace' it really makes you squirm in your chairs, doesn't it? You guys hate that shit. Think it's a pussy attitude.
    You laugh at us 'simpletons' that insist that it's the right thing to do.

    Funny how I see your side as the weaker one though... it's the easy path to destroy a great idea... the hard path is to try to realize it in the world against the ever-present moronic scoffers that have held back all progress since the dawn of time.

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  130. I mean, christians, people that have the unmitigated GALL to actually claim that they are Christ's followers, have come out publicly against, now get this, the "CO-EXIST" bumper sticker where all the letters are various symbols of different world religions! I MEAN, WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT ABOUT?

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  131. Back to that article by the artist or whoever:

    I am offended by the phrase "paradise on earth."

    That is pure religious propaganda.

    World peace does not equate with heaven, Eric. In a totally peaceful world there is still DEATH and disease and pestilence and much uncertainty and so forth. Just a lot less killing off those we disagree with.

    To equate that with "Paradise" is a dirty lie. It is stacking the deck in the argument.

    Reprehensible.

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  132. Christians can still have their religion if there were world peace you know.

    The question is, is that peace even possible with christians in the world?

    And other religions of course, but you guys are the champs.

    I think your religion is not designed for a peaceful world. That's what I think. It thrives on conflict and fear.

    If the world were to change in this regard tomorrow and become totally peaceful, why, the religious folk would absolutely SEETHE... it wouldn't be long before one of them or more would see to it that the peace were broken.

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  133. Of course, see how stupid I was there in that last paragraph, saying 'if the world were to change... and become totally peaceful tomorrow' as if that were even possible in the first place with religion as it is.

    (Sigh) Where are the benevolent alien overlords when you need them, huh?

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  134. How dare you guys suggest that there's death in Arcadia! I've never heard such a thing!

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  135. I;m missing the whole significance of the use of the world 'Arcadia' here.

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  136. I'm just saying that I've never heard such a thing, is all.

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  137. Isn't it a euphemism for 'primal wilderness' sort-of? Is it another Garden allegory? WTFK? (Who the fuck knows?)

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  138. Anyhow, I don't get how eric can think that that person has any intellectual gravitas when he's just another sad propagandist projecting his hatred onto us. Am I allowed to call him stupid? Or just the liar that he is? People like him keep christians in a state of denial about the very concept of world peace, and that's just a fucking evil thing to be doing.

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  139. And if you work to attain such a state in defiance of morality, then I will consider you evil, as evil as the Communists of the 20th century who murdered 100 million to realize their impossible fantasies.
    -----------------------
    Likening a desire for world peace to communist regimes is silly. For world peace to occur, power has to be decentralized with no small ruling bloc. Communism wasn't really about the welfare of the people. That was it's excuse. You know, like 'We're for jobs, jobs, jobs' is a republican excuse to destroy the social safety net and otherwise take us back to before Jim Crow, or 'God loves you' is a christian excuse for jamming a red-hot poker up your ass.

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  140. Or did I forget that 'working for world peace' is by definition against christian morality?

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  141. Big News Eric:

    Unethical and immoral people always lie in the pursuit of power.

    Communists leaders lied when they said they were for the common good. So now you people react against the very concept of being for the common good!

    Hitler lied when he said that he was a 'socialist.' No concern for the common people whatsoever. But it was a great line. So now your side has practically made a word with a really good and kind meaning a swear.

    Ironically the very people that today love to misinterpret those words and concepts, are the very same kind of people that enabled those regimes... the blind follower type that doesn't ask questions of power nor dare to speak truth to it. The Believers.

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  142. Hey Eric,

    Have you ever given thought to how when Hitler needed to pin the Reichstag fire on someone, he chose the communists? Just like many christians do?

    I tell ya, the two groups have a lot in common.

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  143. I mean, how can we even miss the similarities between today's republican party and it's bedfellow the military-industrial complex, and the Third Reich?
    Cut from the same cloth, I tell you. Same cloth.

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  144. Come on Brian, think. Eric is not a stupid guy. He'll dance away from his religion's connection to the right any chance he can.

    "Why it's a moot point that the Catholic heirarchy leans so far over to the right that it only seems even 'this side' of 'not batshit crazy' since there are a lot of politically reasonable actual Catholic people, if I'm willing to declare myself part of that reasonable crowd, or at least willing to equivocate on that."

    The fact that they'd have been dicing with heresy(perhaps not Eric though, what?) if the times had been more like it was in the good old days when kings owned everyone in the kingdom, and if the king was Catholic, everyone was either Catholic and a strong supporter of totalitarianism or better be shutting their traps!

    You must understand that in this political climate when those in control are still pretending that we have a democracy and freedom from control by the church, freedom to not be controlled by those who imagine THEY have to freedom to 'reclaim' control since they sincerely believe that they ARE the rightful lords and masters of the masses, in this political climate where, even when the kings had it all, it could still slip between their fingers, they have to be willing to do what 'seems' to be lying, cheating and stealing.

    If you give your elected leaders the power to take increasingly more power, why the American people 'have spoken', no?(vigourously bats eyelashes)

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  145. The fact that he always dances away from it is pretty telling though. It's not as if he can be proud of it. At least not in public.

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  146. I just love this. Romney picks Ryan on Saturday. Today's Tuesday. And today every republican out there is saying, either in public or 'off the record' that Saturday was the day that Romney blew the election by choosing Ryan. And I think they just might be right.

    I remember this science fiction book by Larry Niven, "Ringworld." One of the alien races that we counted as allies were the Kzin. They looked like humanoid cats, like orange tigers with hands. (Meh, not that creative...)
    Anyhow, they used to be our dire enemies, at perpetual war with us, but due to their aggressive nature *they always attacked prematurely* and so we basically kicked their asses.

    I've been thinking how much like the republicans they are, or at least hoping... I think I was right... they truly are the less intelligent party (nowadays) and they are too aggressive. So let's hope.

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  147. in R+R one would be hard pressed to find two more disconnected individuals. Oh well, that's not today's big news - Zappa is on iTunes! Now that's news.

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  148. Romney is already dancing away from his own pick since he wants it both ways.

    He's an empty suit who wants to tie up the far right vote using Ryan and the 'middle'(undecided independent) vote by being a generic 'not Obama'.

    I mean who picks a running-mate who is committed to the far side of their politics and doesn't want everyone to associate themselves with the running-mate's stated policies??

    "Yes, yes, he's just left of Ghengis Khan, it's 'govt. for concentration of wealth', 'grammas on icefloes' all the way for HIM, me, I'm not sure I'd go that far though!"

    Oh yea, so we're okay if Romney doesn't die in a tragic accident then?

    Guess if you want to be seen as 'God, mysterious ways and all that' by voters, pick Satan as your second man!!

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  149. It seems to me that he made yet again another huge error in judgment. No doubt pressured by his right wing that still dislikes him.

    Looking at it in retrospect, he couldn't have chosen a worse veep candidate from the available litter of them. Maybe Gingritch or Herman Cain, but of those he would seriously consider, this guy is a ticking time bomb of unpopularity.

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  150. Worst case scenario for them is that they'll have to go back to philibustering every fucking thing in the Senate, I suppose.

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  151. I thought the smart money was on Rubio, but he's an ex-mormon, and I guess for some reason that's a problem?

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  152. Mighty Moe Zee (Mozie) thinks that the door bell ringing on a commercial is our door bell. LOL

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  153. I used to ring the door bell if I couldn't find my dog.

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  154. Romney is still on about just wanting more jobs for 'America' and getting the economy going.

    Plan A:- Cut taxes for really wealthy people, and that'll magically accomplish it. The American economy will 'go' and the majority of people will be really, really wanting jobs.

    They don't want the USA to become another Greece or Spain who were forced to use austerity measures, no. Romney will voluntarily use austerity measures! Can you not see the huge difference?

    The Ryan plan, there's not the space of a dime between them when he's talking to one crowd, and obviously his plan is nothing like the Ryan plan when he's talking to another crowd.

    It is amazing to me how people are so easily convinced that right wing policies are good for 'the country' by using the exact same tricks that G.W. used to 'fix the economy'. We can see how Clinton created a disaster and G.W. fixed that right up, right?

    I think the main problem was, and will forever continue to be, is that no matter what is needed to actually fix the economy, to actually get people back to work, anything that isn't right wing ideology is automatically rejected, leaving only right wing ideology to try.

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  155. pBoy it all goes back to evolution (which the extreme right largely rejects) - individuals of a species only care about themselves in the here and now. The concept of planning for the future is contrary to a basic nature built upon surviving today. Except for social insects and naked mole rats, there is very little individual concern about any population save the individual.

    Extreme conservatism plays on that while simultaneously rejecting the mechanisms that make the strategy successful.

    Ultimately, it's what makes democracy inherently unstable.

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  156. Now since the right-wing ideology has become laser-focused on only one thing to do with employment, which is lower taxes for the wealthy job-creators in times of crisis, what is the incentive for the party to allieviate crises?

    Seems to me that the incentive would be quite the opposite. Create bigger and bigger crises until the wealthy job creators are completely off the hook when it comes to taxes, just create a flat rate, sales taxes, gas taxes and such, so that guys like Mittens are paying say 10,000 dollars when a teacher or a cop is paying 10,000 dollars.

    Big corporations can run their payrolls through their books and claim that every cent they send to the government is taxes they paid to the government.

    This works on the principle of who did the deed as opposed to who they did the deed for. For example if Brian gives me 250,000 to go buy a Lambourghini for him, I can quite honestly say that I bought the car.

    A big Corp. like Exxon can honestly say, "We sent a huge amount of money to the govt.", when sure it came from taxes on their workers paychecks, but Exxon sent it!

    Rich people can claim that they pay a giant portion of income taxes and working people hardly pay any, since income taxes can mean taxes anything but payroll taxes!

    Imagine the Teabaggers surprise if they get their wish to have the Congress, the Senate and the Presidency, all Rep. and they find their(the average Teabagger) worth evaporates!

    Oh there will be a core group of businessmen who will still be receiving the all the corporate welfare, and the economy will stagnate since all the money will be pooling around them, but so what? 10% of right-wing ideologues will be running the country to suit themselves at the expense of everyone else, and the most 'middle class' Teabaggers will be able to say is, 'he who does not work will not eat', 'cos that's the 'world' they 'live in'.

    Welcome to the Banana States of America! Aren't you so glad that communism was defeated!?

    Next step, the Holy Banana States of America! To be honest, the 'We the people..', really did mean, 'We the people who count...', didn't it?

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  157. "Ultimately, it's what makes democracy inherently unstable."

    I have a very bad feeling about a few people who might 'tut' about how awful it is that the many have to starve in the midst of plenty yet rail so hard against sharing it.

    Back to the 'good old Dickensian days' where the 'good' people at the top are 'protected' from the awful truth that they are quite happy to pay others to keep themselves ignorant about the effects of their own greed, quite happy to conclude that God is the consolation that the poor most need, quite happy to disenfranchise, to 'orphan' their own people, and call that justice.

    It is such a shame that they're forcing the 'Great American Experiment' to fail and blaming 'the other guy' for it as they are doing it, with the intention of making sure it's good and dead, all the while imagining that they are 'winning' some kind of moral&values victory!

    It's a real face-palmer when you think about it. What, exactly, do they 'win' if the 'win'? Big belly laughs when they can look out of cathedral size windows at the poor walking around like zombies?

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  158. Honestly, I don't think they see it at all. Politics is all about a short term gain. Only plan enough to win the next election in 2 years. As for the electorate, there is a growing electoral amyloid deposit that only responds to god, guns, gays, and fetuses.

    Most people have no clue of the extent that their own existence depends upon government handouts of the type they rail against for others.

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  159. Hmm. the weird thing is that they weren't averse to government handouts 'in principle', handouts to road-paving/repaving companies, bridge upkeep companies, that kind of thing, which keeps the economy rolling along, everyone who owns a ranch or a small farm or woodlot getting a bailout, a subsidy, never call it a bailout, even hobby farms hit by disaster scares getting a couple of hundred grand 'cos their prize bulls can't be traded for fear of mad cow, and so on, just here's a few hundred grand from the govt.

    These are the exact same people who cannot see their customer base disappearing when they can't rent out their three or four low end units, you know, can picking just won't cover it, these folk are moving into tents if they can't get the rent covered.

    I'm hating this crisis-creation for the sake of political/ideological reformation, a scary untried 1/2 libertarianism(every man for himself) 1/2 corporate welfare,i.e. don't help the poor, bail out the businessmen/landowners, who'll be 'fine' 'til they can't be bailed out for lack of revenue, until the crisis they've created is so bad, the damned hole they've dug is so deep, they can't support their supporters anymore, how's this 'job creation' at all?

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  160. Wait though. We hear the Act of Being(God) is pure Actuality having zero Potential.

    I claim that this is bogus, that no living being can have zero potential.

    What do we know about the God Yahweh that is Jesus and the Holy Spirit too?

    Well, God made a decision to cause Mary to be his mother and become God among us, according to the Gospels. Isn't that act, that decision, a potential that he had?

    What's the 'workaround' here? That God 'lives' outside of time and has always done this, it wasn't so much an action from HIS perspective? Is that it?

    Now, we know that Christians are expecting a return of Jesus! Isn't that, at this point, a potential? Of course atheists don't believe that there's a potential there, but that's for different reasons than theists have.

    Surely we cannot have a God who is without potential, but they're waiting for God to do something, i.e. act out a prophecy, a potential act.

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  161. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shruti-saini/stop-acting-like-an-adult_b_1785441.html?utm_hp_ref=business

    Very interesting article, and it relates to my older points about linear VS "lateral" thinking.

    Let the children lead us...

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  162. Pboy, you're using LOGIC against FAITH!

    That's not FAIR!

    Every good christian knows that logic is the tool of the debbil!

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  163. OMG, maybe their god really is without any potential!
    This explains rather neatly why he never did anything.

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  164. How does the theist resolve the Act of Being God with the 'God can do anything' God?

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  165. By actually worshiping Psychosis God. They're so used to holding two or more contradictory ideas in their heads at once that their brains are partitioned like an office building.

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  167. Wow Mike, that's exactly like MY coincidences! Cool!

    To bad you have to involve a fantasy into the mix.

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  168. Heck Mike, I get them more than you do! So why then is your god speaking more to me than to you, I have to wonder?

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  169. See Mike, this is what I've told you before. Unfortunately there is a power in strong belief coupled with emotion and focus. So naturally many religious people delude themselves that God is answering them personally.

    This is a complication for us atheists. No way you'd stop your blind belief cycle when you're getting 'evidence' that you're right, right? And yet, I get these things too, and even more incredible ones than what you describe.

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  170. Guys!

    You must see this video.... cooler than a Heineken commercial!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bZkp7q19f0

    It's from Korea. The southern one I assume.

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  171. Mike, just out of curiosity, what was the subject of the speech that you felt compelled by god to make? How did it go? Was it well-received?

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  173. When you say 'loving one another' does that include atheists, illegal immigrants, and other such scum?

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  174. So, just the same old crap then?

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  175. Do you think, or feel (either one) that your message was something special that god wanted them to hear? And that they heard it?

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  176. Of course, god could have as easily spoken through that original speaker, but Mike was preferable to him.... for some reason....

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  177. Mike, how are you feeling about Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan?

    Do they seem competent to you? Do they seem to be truthful? Do they seem to have moral priorities in line with Jesus' message?

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  178. Mittens and Ryan are busy praying that the old folk don't care about their kids and grandkids. Sure YOUR pension and medicare will be fine, but we're going to fuck the kids and the young 'uns right in the ass! What with all the tax cuts for the very wealthy and the giant war budget, what else can we do?

    LOL

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  179. This is becoming a trend, the old folks don't have to worry, they can still vote Rep., please believe them, for they mean you old folks no harm. Now believe them when they tell you that your kids, your grandkids, are fucked! The days when old folk get medical treatment because we respect the old folk are almost at an end.

    We'll still respect really wealthy old folks! Respecting money is what the G.O.P. stands for and they just cannot understand any money that is not covering their re-election. Money being spent to elect the 'other guy', that is sacrilege, that is blasphemy!

    No-one ever told me that freedom means you're allowed to disagree!

    Look to your roots! Are atheists or Muslims agreeing with your Christianity? Isn't THAT blasphemy and sacrilege?

    Isn't it blasphemy when people don't agree with what they tell you to believe Mike?

    It's not fucking freedom though, is it?

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  180. Ian asks,

    What, exactly, do they 'win' if they 'win'?

    They win the right to rewrite the documents of government. If 'they' can force things to get THAT bad, there will be only a few alternatives left: Too many people and not enough jobs can be solved more easily by reducing the number of people. And the best way to reduce the population is through legal mass-killing called "war". But if the financial situation gets bad enough, they can "engineer" an *incident* (wink, wink) and escalate the existing conflicts in the world or start a couple of new ones, Hell, yhey might even drag China in, and then "they" would have an excuse to use nukes to avoid losing the war... And of course, after that, they could just say to the Chinese who remain, "What debt?" and make it stick.

    Who wouldn't want this? Absolve the US of foreign debt at the point of a sword, reduce the population to line up with the number of jobs, rewrite the Constitution in their own favor, and start Armageddon to boot.

    Souuds lovely, no?

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  181. Don't think I hadn't thought of that, Ed.

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  182. Mike, that seems like post hoc rationalization on your part to me (same for Brian's "coincidences)

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  183. Oh, I had no illusions about whether any of you had n't though the thing through to it's obvious end... The Armageddon angle has been discussed before. But who except the Reptiles think we can 'win' such a scenario?

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  184. Yeah, it's when I decide what they're going to be, propter hoc, that they tend to impress me more...

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  185. So Ryan, even so, if my coincidences are all explicable 'post hoc' then so also would be Mike's in his church there. I get more of those kind of things than he does, so why is that any proof of his god? Same logic applies, no?

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  186. Back to GearHeadEd's version of a possible future...

    I don't actually think that such will come to pass.

    What I do think is, if the right wing had ALL the power and the ability to accomplish it and knew that they could get away with it, they'd do it in a hummingbird's heartbeat.

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  187. I see Mike deleted his comment concerning his preaching. He was likely offended that anyone should notice that it was the same old crap that he was 'teaching' his church that day when 'God' intervened to allow him the podium or the stage.

    No doubt Mike was proud that he said exactly what he and his church believes, eloquently enough.

    Notice how Mike completely denies free will. It was God's Will that he preach, it was God who engineered a minor miracle magically taking his friend's voice from him, to allow Mike to do God's Will.

    But how much of a difference is there from just saying, 'I'm doing God's Will', knowing full well that you're just doing what you want to do and 'giving God kudos for it', and having a little conversation with yourself, convincing yourself that God is talking to you, convincing yourself that part of your streaming consciousness is God?

    I'm not sure that it is clear where our streaming consciousness comes from since it's all split up among the various inputs, our various senses and how much we are focusing on them, how much we are focusing on what we are trying to say, perhaps an inner dialogue or an inner monologue being edited by some 'greater whole', a few rereadings of the 'idea so far' to see if we're 'saying' what we think we want to say, and so on.

    Now, imagine if you consistently have an inner dialogue, as if you think out everything in words, ".. can't think what this sentence fragment should say here.. it's getting hot already and it's only .. 11.. where is that colon again.. oh yea.. it's only 11:30.. smoke went out again.. weird bird song out there... wonder if that tylenol 3 is ever going to kick in.. what's supposed to be the point of what I'm saying here again..oh yea that a verbal monologue isn't really how we think at all..".

    So, yea, a verbal monologue isn't how we think at all is it? So how about if Mike has learned that he can get a verbal dialogue going in his streaming consciousness if he puts himself in a kind of trance which he calls 'praying'.

    (Here we can imagine wayward Catholic priests putting themselves in another kind of trance called 'preying', but the two are totally, totally different things.)

    In Mike's praying mode, he has a verbal dialogue going where one side is God/Jesus/Holy Spirit and he's the other side. I guess lots of people do this verbal dialogue thing for various reasons but we have to wonder if Mike realises this, if Mike knows that Allah speaks to Muslims in the same way?

    Don't we? Why yes we do Ian, yes we do.



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  188. Pboy, that is exactly correct, and I can confirm it because I can sense the verbal dialogue that is my consciousness very keenly while on salvia. It is ironically VERY MUCH like what you wrote above, with most of the 'voices' voicing irrelevant things at random... If one of the voices is internally designated 'god' then that voice will develop an independence of it's own. This is the beginnings of psychosis of course... We are ruled by consensus in our minds... . but one of mike's 'voices' is claiming to be god.

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  189. We can only imagine what some people might make of an inner voice which seems to be external, like schizos seeing faces on the walls talking to them, telling them that they should be killing their family!

    http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070426115312AAkilP9

    http://schizophrenia.com:8080/jiveforums/message.jspa?messageID=77622

    Don't forget to find out if your ear is magnetic! Sound advice, if you ask me.

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  190. Pboy, a lot of those schizophrenics posting about their 'voices' were devout christians and the voices were giving them christian-dogma-related GUILT.

    Do psychologists notice this shit or do they dismiss it as 'societally normal' because of the widespread acceptance of christianity and religion as a universal good? I wonder...

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