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Once again… it comes down to faith
Posted: 07 August 2009 08:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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eudemonia - 07 August 2009 11:27 AM

IMO this is the danger with ‘faith’ and delusion, and the reason for books like Sams and Dennetts and Dawkins. Once any of us tread into the world of magic, where will it take us? Depends on each of our mental states and mental capabilities I would think.

This particular story would provide an example of the extreme obviously, but it does indeed happen, and more often than it should.

Great civilizations of the past have been built around oracles who spoke from a world of magic.  For example, ancient Greek rulers regularly consulted the Oracles at Delphi and Pythia.  Pythagoras built a cult around inspiration from trances listening to the divinity of number.  The application of the truths gleaned from these oracles has become a part of the rubric of our own age in the same way that a hammer and nail can be overlooked as ancient aspects of our present civilization.

In the age of science much of the phenomena that the ancients thought of as magic is understood in terms of forces arising as a function of mass or acceleration.  But there are still aspects of consciousness that are opague to observation such as the concept of intentionality (see Dennett).

[ Edited: 07 August 2009 08:18 AM by John Brand]
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Posted: 07 August 2009 08:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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John Brand - 07 August 2009 12:16 PM

But there are still aspects of consciousness that are opague to observation such as the concept of intentionality (see Dennett).

Is there any basis for taking “intentionality” seriously as a physical phenomenon other than as an aspect of human behavior? Pedophilia is also a human behavior somewhat opaque to observation, since it is usually very private, until the kid is involved, but Dennett doesn’t write about that aspect in quite the right tone, so I guess it’s not very important, since Dennett is being treated here like fucking God. Pedophilia and intentionality are both barriers to living without conflict; let’s keep our eye on the ball here.

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Posted: 07 August 2009 10:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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goodgraydrab - 07 August 2009 11:14 AM

Perhaps your point is true to some extent with regard to reason. Regardless of motivation, failure to acknowledge the harm that is caused and doing nothing about it, either in word or deed, is worse.

Agreed. But how useful the words or actions are is determined by the scope of consideration before the words and actions.

For example, take the case of a bowl of cold soup served at your favorite restaurant.  You know the chef and you, also, know that he would not be happy to know that the soup he has made is being served cold.  You determine that something must be done even it amounts to a complaint to the management about the service being below par.

Your concern here is with the chef as well as your enjoyment of what the chef has made up in his head and, then, created in the form of a bowl of soup. 

Someone else might simply say, ‘its dreadful!’ and leave the restaurant without eating the soup or paying for it.  “It is just water, meat and vegetables, anyway; I can get that anywhere.”   

Talking about religion as the creation of someone to fulfill a specific need is something like this illustration.  A theist is concerned about the design in the mind of the chef, etc..  If an atheist can overcome the nonexistence of the chef and think about the various ends and the means to them, he will be a tremendous asset in the critical enterprise. 

When I think of the critique of religion from Dennett, Dawkins, and Harris, I think of them as deconstructionists:  The soup is nothing.  It is water, meat and vegetables.  I think that they are missing a vast component in the whole matter of religion.  For example, Dennett thinks that the mind is no different from a Coke machine (See Evoltion, Error and Intentionality and especially, Section 2: “The Case of the Wandering Two-Bitser”).  His analysis doesn’t answer the question:  How does the program get into the Coke machine?  This is the oapacity of consciousness that I think we should acknowledge and, then, concentrate on the dysfunction of the machine when compared with its design.  As opposed to saying:  “Its just metal and plastic, anyway.”

I thought of you today, believe it or not.

I thought of you a couple of days ago when I was wondering where everybody went. Good to see you Johnny.

Its good to experience the welcome.  Thanks.

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Posted: 07 August 2009 11:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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John Brand - 07 August 2009 09:11 AM
burt - 07 August 2009 01:40 AM

Welcome back John, always enjoy your posts. As for your comments here, I think there is also and issue of who holds the faith, what is their moral status, how do they handle their faith, do they hold it in restraint with critical thought?

Hi, Burt. Thanks for the welcome.  Isn’t Chinese Madyamaka theory an example of holding to a form with critical thought?  In the west, the philosopher Karl Popper advocates both orthodoxy and unorthodoxy being held in a tension so that each can allow for fasification of their own structure. Of course, the pragmatic value of a theory or the moral status of the adherant of a faith is the whole point.  Getting at the essence, in each case, can only enhance the pragmatic value.  I would agree that we should always recognize our own dysfuntion (the Madyamaka theory) and move toward better and better ways of doing what we are trying to do: ‘we learn to do things by doing the things we are learning to do’ (Aristotle).

This reminds me of the verse from Dante, (Paradisio)
“As my sight by seeing learned to see/the transformations which in me took place/transformed the single changeless form for me.”

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Posted: 07 August 2009 11:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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Traces Elk - 07 August 2009 12:32 PM

Pedophilia and intentionality are both barriers to living without conflict; let’s keep our eye on the ball here.

This statement doesn’t make any sense.  Dennett says it is ‘aboutness.’ How are you defining intentionality?

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Posted: 07 August 2009 11:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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John Brand - 07 August 2009 03:03 PM
Traces Elk - 07 August 2009 12:32 PM

Pedophilia and intentionality are both barriers to living without conflict; let’s keep our eye on the ball here.

This statement doesn’t make any sense.  Dennett says it is ‘aboutness.’ How are you defining intentionality?

It’s precisely because “intentionality” lacks a definition that it is a barrier to living without conflict. Stop playing dumb with people if you are not actually as dumb as a stone. Pedophilia is a problem precisely because not everyone accepts pedophilia as natural. “Aboutness” yields nothing except “intentionality”. That is in the nature of a tautology. Try to be less impressed by tautology, Johnny.

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Posted: 07 August 2009 12:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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Traces Elk - 07 August 2009 03:50 PM

“Aboutness” yields nothing except “intentionality”. That is in the nature of a tautology. Try to be less impressed by tautology, Johnny.

Not so fast, Mr. C. I think I know what JB is getting at.

There are plenty of reasons to take “aboutness” seriously as a phenomenon.
I know that you are familiar with physics, so the following analogy may prove useful.

Consider the inherent “mountainness” (if you will) of a common volcanic Devonian rock formation as they can been found in the Andes.
One can argue that its intrinsic structure has been compromised by erosion, various human endeavors, eons of tectonic pressures and so on.

However, lets view this from any non-human perspective . Let’s take any old critter that may frequent such a mountain range, like, say, a North Peruvian ground sloth. The sloth’s possible interpretations of “mountainness” could be equally valid constructs and they could very well blur any meaningful description of “mountainness” far beyond what we can possibly measure in a laboratory.

And yet, does the sloth perceive the “mountainness” of his environment differently merely because his diet of fruits and berries tends to draw his attention mostly groundwards ?  And if so, does that call into question the very reality of the mountain, or the whole universe for that matter ?

No, I think that it is safe to say that it doesn’t.

So I think I have illustrated the significant metaphysical trap-door* that one creates if these types of solid arguments are summarily dismissed without setting some concrete discussion parameters.

Similarly, can it not be said that the “inaneness” of some internet discussions about philosophy can morph,in a matter of hours, from a barely audible twitter to a deafening cacophony of shrills and shrieks, not unlike the cumulative audio output of 12 disgruntled tomcats forced together in a closed sack?


* For full disclosure; this isn’t (of course) my own thesis since I am a non-scientist. However, I am a fairly enthusiastic amateur and I can wholeheartedly endorse Mortimer Howitzer’s book on this subject; it is the first in a series of 14 volumes (so far I have only read 2 but they were both delightful and thought-provoking) in which Howitzer describes various attempts to climb up his own colon.

I must lie down now.

[ Edited: 07 August 2009 02:55 PM by Lapin Diabolique]
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Posted: 07 August 2009 01:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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First things being first, let me make the unprecedented announcement that I agree, at least in part, with Clay that this guy was not motivated by a love a jesus;  he was a very disturbed man who at one point evidently announced that there were 30,000,000 eligible women in the USA, and not one of them would give him the time of day.  Whereas most of us would conclude that we were doing something wrong, he evidently concluded that there was something wrong with all 30 million of these cruel and rejecting women.  He may have pasted a little god on at the end, but this guy was in no way on jihad.

Of course, this only establishes that there is more than one type of mental illness in this world, and in no way exonerates Clay’s delusion that an invisible 2,000 year old goatherder gives a shit about him or what he does.

John Brand - 07 August 2009 08:43 AM

Perhaps some clarity can come from using your language vs. literature illustration.  At the time of the Scottish enlightenment, the philosopher Thomas Reid talked about the idea of natural language which he argued was behind the various artificial languages (i.e. French, German, etc.).  A facial expression, for example, is an expression in the same way that a word is an expression.  Literature attempts to draw a picture in words of human experience that can be expressed through words, expressions, riots, art, etc..

“A facial expression, for example, is an expression in the same way that a word is an expression.”  A word is a sign to signify some other thing.  A politician’s smile may also be a sign, meant to signify “I’m happy to be here.”  A grimace when I twist a fundie’s testical is not a sign, unless you believe that a dog engages in a linguistic act when it bares it’s teeth or tucks it head between its legs.

I’m unfamiliar with Thomas Reid (in fact, coming from a long line of Scots, the phrase “Scottish Enlightenment” sounds like an oxymoron to me), but the concept of a “natural language” behind “artificial language” does not sound like a very useful concept. 

“Literature attempts to draw a picture in words of human experience that can be expressed through words, expressions, riots, art, etc..” Actually, I could argue that literature attempts to reveal human experience which CANNOT be expressed with words.  In other words, literature is not somethin written by technical writers to accurately describe some act or condition, but rather an attempt to explore the ineffable—to describe that which cannot be described.  Hence the use of word-play and over-determined signs in good literature.

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Posted: 07 August 2009 01:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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Bad Rabbit - 07 August 2009 04:58 PM

Mortimer Howitzer

LOL

I must lie down now. It has something to do with my slothness (not slothfulness, per se, but rather, slothness, sensu strictu).

I will deal with Devonianness later. It will be a dissertation on trilobiting satiricality. Or volcanicness, sometimes referred to as volcanicity. One hopes it will lead to effusive laughter and other eruptions.

Volcanitude? Slothication? Devonianicity?

There is a kind of flirtatious attempt to becloud the issue. I might call it “obfuskankin’”.

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Posted: 07 August 2009 06:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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First things being first, let me make the unprecedented announcement that I agree, at least in part, with Clay that this guy was not motivated by a love a jesus;

Wow, that is unprecedented teuchter…but I won’t let it go to my head. 

I read his journal from start to finish (the OP) and I thought it was pretty clear that faith had little to do with his “plan” to “end it all”.  This guy seems to have completely removed himself from society and listened to nothing but his own narcissistic thoughts and blog entries.  His inability to socialize with women or find satisfaction in his work and successes drove him to complete self-pity and despair…the shooting was just an elaborate suicide and fit of rage, based on his overly developed hatred of women and sense of hopelessness in life. 

No conspiracy theories or religious ties need to be read into this story at all.

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