Theological debate between two non-Christians

Posted: September 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Philosophy | No Comments »

Theological debate between two non-Christians

It is wonderful that we can find meaning in something that does or does not exist whereas one might ask, is it wonderful that people find meaning in Christianity?
I don’t care that it doesn’t matter whether we exist or not.
If he doesn’t think my thoughts are valuable then how can he be a good person for me to be with for the rest of my life?
If I told him even for a second that I didn’t think of music as valuable then I don’t know what he would do.
But I, even for a short period of time, compared his logic to the logic a Christian theologian would use then he clamored to me, “I am not going to hearyou again compare my logic to that of a Christian”.
When I told him I did not like this, he stated that he did not like it when I claimed his logic was similar to a Christian and the he did not like it that I didn’t let him finish what he was saying sometimes, and when I said sorry please say whatever you want he stated that he didn’t know if he really wanted to.
Previously he ridiculously said that he thought it was a waste of time to question existence instead of acting in the ‘actual’ world, when we don’t even know if there is a physical world. I say it doesn’t matter whether there is or is not but it is valuable to contemplate it. And I never said it didn’t exist, I just said that we cannot prove it necessary and that I thought it valuable to think about it and that his logic was like a Christian’s because of the following reasons:
He stated that he didn’t care whether or not this world was real, that he valued the feeling that he got from it and liked it enough for it to not matter whether or not it was real.
A true Christian does not even care to think about whether his beliefs are grounded on facts or not, what with the institution of faith, he is so happy and values the feelings he gets from it so much as to not care whether it is real or not. Someone could say to him ‘hey this is not necessarily real’ and he would say to them, ‘it is real to me and I value it enough and like it enough for it to not matter whether it is real or not’.
This is exactly what X has claimed. A. he believes more that it is real than he believes that it is not necessarily real. B. he doesn’t care if it is real or not. C. he doesn’t want to think about whether or not it is real.
He rather just go on in life like it is real and sees no value in contemplating it because he believes it does not matter if it is real or not.
I believe it does not matter whether it is real or not but I believe there is value in contemplating whether it is real or not. I believe this for the following reasons:
Due to part of my solution to nihilism, I believe this feeling, whether I or it exists or not, because I feel it, it matters, this ‘life’ matters because I feel it. So, life matters but not because it exists. It is valuable to contemplate whether it exists or not because it makes me see life differently than if I were to not contemplate whether ‘this’ exists or not and I believe that different way to be more enlightened than a life without this contemplation. I look at things differently and I think the way that I do this makes my life have more value to me than if I looked at it in a blind acceptance not worth thinking about way therefore I am defending the value of at least thinking about it.
But the way he talked to me was sure something. I was comparing arguments of theology to his thinking and that upset him to the point where he was rude to me. He got all riled up and talked to me out of anger. It should be obvious that I do not like people doing things out of anger. I would hope that he and I could have a civilized conversation whilst disagreeing with each other without getting angry and not being rational. He even defended his speech by saying that he didn’t appreciate me comparing his thoughts to that of a pure Christian. Those were my thoughts and I do not like to think that I could not share my thoughts with him.
It seems life exists just to live; rather, my perception of life is that it exists just to live.
You may seek any shade you wish to seek but night shall surely fall.
I’m on the illusion you are on the persistence of it; both are valuable in the living of it.
You disagree on so many different things and eventually you are out.
So he is sorry; he says he was in a bad mood.


here is my hegel

Posted: September 22nd, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Philosophy | No Comments »

(1) Falsity isn’t the simple opposite of truth. Rather, truth can develop out of a falsehood, and any truth contains some falsity. Explain why. [EP 2-3, and 22 second paragraph-23 second paragraph—where both whole and partial paragraphs are counted as paragraphs]

When humans focus on the binary of truth and falsity a problem occurs due to the fact that truth is constantly evolving. A five year old says, “This is me”; when he is later fifteen he again claims, “This is me”. Both of his statements cannot be true; they are incompatible with one another. Physically speaking, the fifteen year old boy is dependent on the five year old boy; he could not exist if the other had not. In this sense, the two statements are not conflicting. This is why truth is constantly evolving and not one absolute object. When the five year old boy grows older it becomes a falsity that he is five years old. As a fifteen year old, he claims, “This is me”; the truth of that statement has developed out of the falsehood of the five year old’s statement of “This is me”. When the boy claims, “This is me” at the age of fifteen, it is true but at the same time contains certain falsities. He was conceived eight months before he was born, so is he really fifteen or fifteen and eight months?
There are multiple levels of perception and awareness in the human consciousness. Through our senses we believe what we ‘see’ around us. What was true one moment ago is no longer in the next. Every individual moment adds up to time which changes all. As time moves it makes what was once true no longer so. Language, how we classify our ‘reality’, is paradoxical therefore falsity is not the simple opposite of truth.
When the boy claims, “This is me” at five and “this is me” at fifteen, it brings into question how we assign truth and how long it lasts before it becomes false and there arises a new true. Falsity and Truth fit a need for us humans to live as sensing beings in this world. There would not be truths without falsities. They are mutually dependent constantly morphing constructs separate and together. One cannot distinguish one from the other only that it is never a constant except in its constant change.

(4) Masters claim that their superiority justifies their owning slaves. Why will it prove difficult to get slaves to recognize this superiority? [If you answer this, you can’t also answer (3)] [See EP 111-113, H 39-40]

It would prove difficult for a master to get his slave to recognize his authority due to the fact that the slave is choosing to obey the master. The slave is not obeying the master because he likes him or because he thinks the master is better. It is much more logical to think that the slave is obeying the master because otherwise there will be violent and even fatal consequences if not. Therefore, when a slave obeys his master he is not making an independent free decision, or is he? The master must at least question the reason the slave obeys. Why would the slave think anyone who threatens his life is superior? Any act of obedience is a choice to abide or not; the master really is not in control. The will to live is rather what subjugates the slave. In fact, the master is actually dependent on the slave; in many situations the master may not know how to do what he desires the slave to do for him. The master needs the slave to do his biddings. The slave realizes the master’s dependence on his work but that does not make death any less imminent. The slave is free to choose between life and death while the master has no control over the slave’s decision.
The master’s superiority only can exist if the slave acknowledges it and the master can recognize the slave’s acknowledgement. The master cannot know if the slave is obedient because he fears death or because he thinks the master is superior. Due to death being imminent, even if the slave believes the master to be superior, the master can never recognize this.
The master can think he is free or feel dependent on the slave and the slave can be free and dependent on the master for life. Without close examination of the slave and master connection one may initially think that the master is in control and the slave is not free. After further contemplation one may see the true dependence of the master on the slave and the free will of the slave to choose life or death. Then upon realizing that both master and slave are dependent on each other and yet both free, in a sense, the truth of who is dominate becomes blurred. It seems we are all free and yet contingent on other consciousnesses. One moment the slave is not making free choices due to imminent death and the next, under different notions, he is as free is not more free than the master.
(9) Suppose that upper-class Atlanta society in 1908 believed that women should be ladies. This is a long-standing customary view. How does it illustrate Hegel’s ethical life as reassuring and confining? [EP 212-213, H 62-65]

In order to realize one’s self there has to be the recognition of the ‘other’. Indeed we are all connected as one but in the need to identify with the self there must be the ‘other’. Take an upper-class society in 1908 which holds the perspective that women should be ‘ladies’. Men, trying to rationalize who they are, or who they want to be, made the construct of ‘womanhood’ to be the opposite of what was desired for the identity of ‘manhood’. Men, in wanting to be superior, ego prominent, subjugated women, as to pronounce dominance over the ‘other’. Men could not have allowed women to be equals. Why when they could create the notion of female inferiority and raise themselves closer to the gods. The term hysteria is used to denote a female ‘disease’ stemming from having a womb. If men could propagate such a notion to such extremes, as to detain women from education, property, and voting rights, then they could, and have, create a world where they reign supreme over the weakened woman. Therefore, women should be ‘ladies’ so that men can feel more like men. This would naturally be self-affirming or reassuring to men and confining to women. It is also confining to men; what if a man wanted to be like a woman? All custom would be lost and men would no longer be able to justify gender oppression. Patriarchy is the key word when speaking about how women should be ‘ladies’. Men wanted to define women in order to define themselves. In defining one’s self there must be some notion of what one is not.
In our patriarchal history as humans great atrocities against women have prevented her voice from being heard, that way she could not speak out against her oppressors. A contraption much like what is put in the mouth of a horse was put into the mouth of women that spoke out of turn; most had spikes. (Maybe not in Atlanta but in Europe). It was not ‘lady-like’ to speak out of turn. In order to understand this concept further all one has to do is ponder seriously the great Shakespeare and his great play “Taming of the Shrew”. Women had to be chaste, silent, and obedient and also faced death as a possible consequence for not being ‘lady-like’, such as burning alive in front of the community or being punished publicly and humiliated. These are just some ways man has created and controlled the perpetuation of self-affirming and ‘other’ oppressing constructs. Even the notion of wanting to ‘tame’ a woman to be ‘lady-like’ is barbaric and unjust. In this previously conceived Atlanta in1908 it is a society where men require women to be ‘lady-like’. What they really are doing is creating and affirming superiority over them. One could say women want to feel like women and therefore want a manlier man. This could be so but only because they attributed that need to women; it is not necessarily inherently so. There is no such thing as ‘lady-like’ besides that which was created for the subjugation of women. Heterosexual normativism creates a binary for men and women to live in, as ‘men’ and ‘women’. Under this concept women are competitors for the affection of men rather than being seekers of understanding themselves. This keeps women in her position as a ‘lady’ so that man can feel that much bigger. In a system such as this it is possible for both men and women to be both reassured and confined. Men are reassured as to who they are but as also confined to what they have created themselves to be. Some women may have liked the place man gave them in this world; I will not do an injustice to those women who want to exist under man’s supposed rule. Long standing customary views, any view, need constantly to be under evaluation, as truth and freedom are both seemingly fleeting.

(12) ‘What is divine (gods, God) is a hidden power that controls our world.’ Why does this widespread religious view get expressed in (fictional) art, in statues (e.g., of Greek gods), paintings (e.g. of Jesus appearing to his disciples after he died), and stories (e.g., that Adam lived 930 years, according to Genesis 5). [H 84-88]

We cannot understand our world. We cannot travel back in time to see how it was created. In fact, the notion of a beginning is inside the human mind. Any notion, therefore, of a god that created this world is abstract because it is not an object that is readily in our world. Art represents a way for humans to captivate what they believe happened and create it in a substance to endure time. ‘god’ is not here with us and cannot be founded through our senses unless we create ‘god’ in some relic. Art gives humans a way to make the intangible tangible or the unreal real. If god is all the natural structures behind what we see every day then art is another way to personify the underlining meaning we can never truly perceive. ‘god’ is abstract; art is concrete. By creating religious art humans try to make what they cannot experience through the senses into something that can be experienced by all. Since ‘god’ is dead we must create him order to justify our conception.
If ‘god’ is a hidden power that controls our world, it is only natural for humans to want to bring this ‘god’ to life through the art of creation. Just as language is the symbolizing of abstraction, religious art is the symbolizing of religious abstraction. What we cannot understand we define and symbolize in order to categorize our world and live in structure. There is no true image of ‘god’ therefore the human mind creates one, naturally, in order to cope with the dire lack of understanding. If ‘god’ is life and death, destruction and regeneration, then it is perfectly represented in the symbol of the Jesus figure. One can create an object in order to feel closer to a belief; the object representing the belief on behalf of comforting the masses individually and collectively. In this way, everyone can take part in ‘god’. Is it not more logical to think that man created god in his image rather than ‘god’ created man in his image? Humans are naturally story-tellers. Native Americans, for example, personified all realms of life. The sun and ocean were alive and could be communicated with and worshiped for community gain. Jesus functions much like this; he can be prayed to, believed in, and worshiped. When man could not understand the world around him he created stories to symbolize the earth’s happenings. Where must lightening come from? For sure there must be a man in the clouds throwing it down on us. We can only understand the world through ourselves and our experiences because anything else is beyond us. This is why ‘god’ gets a human face. Religion functions as a tool for the church or government to teach the citizens moral conviction. Art has also been used as a tool to teach morality. Religion and art go hand and hand in creating certain paradigms to pass along to the citizens. The government has employed artists in order to strike deep into the mind of the public. Before mass media occurred art was a main means of propaganda. If the church (hegemony) wants to propagate to the masses something that they cannot experience through senses, then it only makes since for the hegemony to create a ‘god’ that can be experienced through senses. Would a ‘god’ by any other name smell as sweet?

so i have to write about hegel tonight

Posted: September 18th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Philosophy | No Comments »

using dialectic thinking. AH.

an interesting essay for the epistemically minded

Posted: July 29th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Philosophy | 2 Comments »

“In Praise of Epistemic Irresponsibility: How Lazy and Ignorant Can You Be?”

Michael Bishop

Dennet: Determinism and Free Will

Posted: July 29th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Philosophy | 1 Comment »

I’ve currently been studying a lot of Daniel Dennett, and in his groundbreaking 1991 work Consciousness Explained, Dennett attempts to demystify our understanding of consciousness and free will in the same way Galileo banished our misunderstanding of our place in the universe. Dennett posits that it is possible to explain consciousness fully through the lens of deterministic behaviorism. For reference’s sake:


Determinism is the philosophical proposition that every event, including human cognition and behaviour, decision and action, is causally determined by an unbroken chain of prior occurrences.
– Van Inwagen, Peter, 1983, An Essay on Free Will, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Determinism is the thesis that there is at any instant exactly one physically possible future.
– Ibid

Through determinism, Dennett rejects the assumption that there is any split between brain and mind: no Descartes-esque ghost in the shell, no spirit particles, no intermediary which acts somewhere in between. The book also acts as a cornerstone for his later works, especially Freedom Evolves and Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon. Freedom Evolves takes on free will more directly. Chapter 2 opens with Dennett listing off the oft supposed problems for determinism:

  1. Many thinkers assume that determinism implies inevitability.
  2. Many think it is obvious denying determinism gives us agents some freedom, some elbow room that we just couldn’t have in a deterministic universe.
  3. It is commonly supposed that in a deterministic world, there are no real options, only apparent options.

Dennett contests all 3 of these notions, stating that "the complacency with which these theses are commonly granted without argument is itself a large mistake."

In Breaking the Spell he gives a refreshingly logical, though always considerate, explination for the possibility that religion is an evolutionary byproduct.

Does anyone disagree with these ideas, and on what grounds? I know many people believe consciousness (and emotion, etc.) is too complex or transcendent as to be explained without something like a supernatural entity, but Dennett’s stance seems irrefutable to me thus far. Thoughts?

terrible attempt at philosophizing

Posted: December 20th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Philosophy | No Comments »

here stuff.doc (9.43 K)


Posted: December 18th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Philosophy | 2 Comments »

what is it about temptation? It draws me away from my purpose, it draws me to a new purpose, it morphs and glides and laughs at me. It offers me a fantasy to fulfill; a dream, if you will. It gets me hot. It gets me wet. It gets me into hot water because I give into it. A glance gets me going, a word lures me in, and then I succumb and find the reality far less enticing than the fantasy.

In all of the world’s religions, temptation is the beast. However, in some philosophies it is upheld as divine. Can I find divinity in succumbing to desires that make me lurch and threaten my reality? I have always found great joy in living hidden lives. It makes every day more exciting. I also want to be the good girl, sometimes…oh the curses and blessings.

What do you think?

Can any atheist explain…

Posted: November 30th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Philosophy | 23 Comments »

how our genome or any genome for that matter evolves and expands? Does the theory of evolution account for this? and, if so, how does it?


Posted: November 27th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Philosophy | 13 Comments »

There’s been a lot of talk on truth and ‘getting at the truth.’ But what is it? And how does one realize or get at ‘truth’? Does it exist at all. Or does it exist only within the mind of the beholder? The earth was at one point flat. The earth was the center of the universe. These were true. So what the hell? How can we know anything at all if truth changes so much.

There seems to be a trend in post-modern thinking, "Nothing is true, everything is permitted." Is that the case? And how does that effect argumentative discussion? If everything is, in fact, permitted can we ever come to our own conclusions or logically refute those we disagree with? Or does coming up with our own conclusions become the basis for our own individual truths?

It appears within the discussions we’ve had on religion here, "these are my opinions of which I believe and if you don’t like them too bad," is a dominant stopping point for traveling too far into the subjective experience of the individual. Brushing aside, for a moment, philosophical fallacies such as argument from anecdote, how are we to logically have a discussion on say religion or linguistic theory when these beliefs are so held dear to us that they are "true" and to not understand how someone cannot see this "truth" becomes a dominant, and inherently anger inducing, problem.

Now I don’t want this discussion to fall back into religion vs. non religion, I’d rather have a discussion on what I set up in the beginning, what does it mean to say "this is true?"

Verification and Logic

Posted: November 25th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Philosophy | 2 Comments »

As human beings we cannot help but be engrossed in the very fabric that composes our minds. One must sensibly distinguish between ideas and reality in order to gain understanding of how to further proceed from a more knowledgeable standpoint. Statements must be verified in order to find any level of understanding; one can attempt this in multiple ways. A proposition is verifiable in principal if one could take steps to prove the claim in question. For example, there could be mountains on the other side of the moon. While we do not have to actually look on the other side of the moon, this statement can still be verifiable in principle. This could technically be proved if we built equipment which would allow us to look on the other side of the moon to find out if there are indeed mountains there or not. We have in fact already made it possible to get to the other side but that is not the point. What matters as far as principle goes is if it is logically possible to prove our claim. Humans were, at one point in time, not actually able to observe the other side of the moon but it was still theoretically possible to prove and we knew what actions we would have had to take in order to prove our claim that mountains are on the other side of the moon; perhaps not in practice at the time, but in principal this was provable. Verifications with principal have meaning if they can be verified in principal, not only with actual evidence. With verification in practice we would actually have to be able to take the steps to prove our claim true or false. Conclusive verification can be said to be strong because it can be either be established true or false through experience. Partial verification can be said to be weak if the proposition is considered only probable by experience. Ayer claims that only a proposition that is a tautology can be more than strictly a probable hypothesis; if it is not a tautology then it is senseless and cannot be considered true or false. This relates to sentences by saying that a sentence can only be said to be true if it is verified conclusively. This means that something would have to be proved definitely through experience. Ayer claims that a sentence cannot be conclusively verified any more than it can be conclusively disproved.

Propositions of logic and pure mathematics are certain because they are analytic. These propositions cannot be disputed by experience because they do not make any claims on the empirical world. The only thing that is actually proved or shown is our fortitude for applied meaning, or symbols. Logic and mathematics are said to be not certain because they are based on inductive generalizations. Ayer does not agree with this. It can be said that all knowledge does begin with experience but it does not all necessarily mean that all knowledge comes from experience. The combination of experiences in one’s mind can lead to an infinite number of ideas that no longer exist in our sensory world; for example, a unicorn.

Philosophy does not define words like a dictionary which are explicit definitions but yet definitions philosophy aims for definitions that are in use. Explicit definitions are those that offer more words, or symbols, that are synonymous to the word, or symbol, being defined. Per genus et differentiam, the defining process which was focused on by the Aristolien logicians, relates in the sense that most definitions are explicit and not in use. A group of limited observations can never be used to describe or represent something in the material world. Philosophy is concerned with definitions in use. Russell helps explain definitions in use with his definite descriptions theory. He brings up statements about how square ness and roundness cannot exist in the same entity and that this statement could be phrased with the same meaning, but with different words. These statements do not have to be synonymous. Also Russell brings up with the law of excluded middle how sentences like, “the present kind of France is bald,” can only be considered true if it is true or its negation has to be true. The opposite of the statement must be true as well in order for the first statement to be considered true. Also, it should not be required that these entities referred to actually exist. Russell’s theory on description endeavors to answer questions relating to identity without calling on our sensory experiences. Russell believes that our standard grammatical structuring of propositional sentences mislead us from the actual meaning of the statement. Russell differentiates between names and the description of the names. Names have to exist to represent the entity being named while descriptions do not have to have a specific entity being represented. Names cannot be understood unless the thing being named exists, comparatively, descriptions can be understood even if the indicated is unknown. Definite descriptions signify something only if they concern only that exact item and not anything in addition to it. The statement, “God exists,” is a description and not a name because giving the entity of “God,” a name is thus describing it as something that is in existence, due to the fact that we are naming it. This description can be understood even if we cannot see or touch a god.

Frege questions identity in the way that relates to objects relationship to their given names, or symbols. For example, the statement conveying that the morning star is equivalent to the morning star is not revealing in the same way that a different statement would be; such as, the morning star being equivalent to the evening star. The morning star and the evening star are the same and the latter statement makes the claim in a more informative way. The previous statement is simply stating the obvious, A=A, rather than the latter statement being seemingly more descriptive with, A=B. The reference, being the actual entity of the ‘star,’ also known as (the planet) Venus, is shared by both the terms, morning and evening star. This is why A and B can be identical. Frege claims that we must understand the mode of presentation of the reference, or the sense of a name, in order to obtain any meaning from the term. Therefore, the two names, the morning star and the evening star, have the same reference due to the fact that they have the same sense. On the other hand, two terms with the same reference do not necessarily have the same sense. A person’s mind perception or image is not the same thing as the sense, for senses are independent from the mind and mental images are private and internal. This is shown to point out the paradoxes within language. It is perhaps too late to reformulate our linguistics in order to be logically proper but we can, in fact, through philosophy, attempt to repair and build on our already existing foundation. We cannot throw the whole structure out and start over because our very thoughts are controlled, governed, and created by the socially constructed and accepted paradigms.