BEEP! BEEP! IT'S ME.

"Begin at the beginning,and go on till you come to the end: then stop." (Lewis Carroll, 1832-1896)

Alice came to a fork in the road. "Which road do I take?" she asked."Where do you want to go?" responded the Cheshire cat."I don't know," Alice answered."Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."

"So long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation. "Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

"All right," said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone. "Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin," thought Alice; "but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!"

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I am diagonally parked in a parallel universe. Like Arthur Dent from "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy", if you do not have a Babel Fish in your ear this blog will be completely unintelligible to you and will read something like this: "boggle, google, snoggle, slurp, slurp, dingleberry to the power of 10". Fortunately, those who have had the Babel Fish inserted in their ear, will understood this blog perfectly. If you are familiar with this technology, you will know that the Babel Fish lives on brainwave radiation. It excretes energy in the form of exactly the correct brainwaves needed by its host to understand what was just said; or in this case, what was read. The Babel Fish, thanks to scientific research, reverses the problem defined by its namesake in the Tower of Babel, where a deity was supposedly inspired to confuse the human race by making them unable to understand each other.

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Saturday, March 31, 2007

"Now lies the earth all Danae to the stars,"

Spencer TUNICK : - Melbourne, Australia

"Now lies the earth all Danae to the stars, And all thy heart lies open unto me." is part of the poem 'Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal', by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

So, who was Danae?

In the Greek Mysteries, Danae was a daughter of King Acrisius of Argos and Eurydice. Now, King Acrisius didn't have any male heirs. (Usual story, the guys need a male heir.) So anyway, he asked an oracle what to do. The oracle told him to go to the ends of the earth where he would be killed by his daughter's child. (Doesn't sound too hopeful for the king so far and I figure he might be rethinking the "male heir bit.") His daughter, Danae, was childless and because King Acrisius didn't like the idea of being bumped off by the child of his daughter, he shut her up in a tower, some say cave, so she couldn't well, you know, do the wild thing. But Zeus, the head god honcho came to her in the form of a beam of sunlight, and impregnated her. Others versions of the mystery say that Zeus came to her as a shower of gold. Soon after, their child Perseus was born. So Danae is the virgin mother of Perseus, and Zeus is his daddy. Who's your daddy!

So, what's the point about Danae? Not a lot really, except that I thought the reference might be a good hook to the article I am going to share with you today. Danae, is nearly always depicted in art as naked and waiting in anticipation, I guess, for that beam of sunlight which is going to impregnate her. No doubt she was pretty bored locked up and all that, so she probably had all sorts of time to laze around naked and dream of god superheros who would do the wild thing with her. Now, one night, she must have been lying there "all Danae to the stars," (naked), when in pops Zeus for a bit of sunbeam fornication. The rest is history. Well, not quite, but history and myth seem to intertwine quite often and most people don't seem to worry nor concern themselves with it.

To be "all Danae to the stars" is to be naked, or nude. (You may not be terribly interested in the Greek Mysteries or with poetry, but I bet that got your attention.) Well, I was watching television the other night and I happened upon a documentary exploring the works of the artist photographer, Spencer Tunick. Some of you may have heard of him before. He is a photographer who takes group photos of crowds of nude people. You can see some of his work here. The documentary was about his project where he travelled around the world convincing people from many countries to pose naked for him against or near well-known national monuments or places.

He prefers to use large groups of naked people so that they become like the paint on a picture. In other words, so that their bodies become part of the medium for his installations. What struck me about the documentary was the different cultural attitudes associated with trying to get a large number of people to be part of his photographs. I think the documentary mainly concentrated on work done during the early 2000s, when he wasn't perhaps as well known, because I notice after that, he had less trouble being able to harness a large group of participants.

The brits had no problem posing for the pictures, and a few hundred turned out to accommodate his artistic vision. Even though some people might consider the brits to be uptight, they seem to be not uptight when it comes to art. It was entirely different in Japan, where even though they may have communal bathing houses etc, he was only able to get about 4 people who were willing to pose nude for him. And in France, it was a similar thing, (at least during the filming of the documentary we are talking about), as he found it difficult to get more than one or two people willing to pose nude for him in front of the Louvre Pyramid. There was a kafuffle, and he was nearly arrested. The French may be liberated in their attitudes towards art, but no posing naked without permission.
In Russia it was a similar story, there were strong cultural traditions against nakedness, so it meant that only a brave few turned up to pose in their naked glory. In Africa, ditto. In fact, in one long conversation with a woman in the documentary, she would only pose naked if money was exchanged hands. In Montreal, he had much more success, a few thousand turned up to have their picture taken. In some South American countries, he got a lot of people, but not many women. Many South American countries have quite macho cultures and according to some of the men interviewed, a woman would be lowering herself to pose nude at such an event. Which I can only interpret as, "It is ok for a male to show off his pecker."

But in Melbourne, Australia, approximately 4 thousand turned up in the rain, to bare their bums for art. The rain did eventually clear up enough so that some photos could be taken. I have to say that it warmed the cockles of my heart to see so many naked Australian bums praying to the god of sunshine. There were no reports of mysterious sunlight copulations. It must have been Zeus's day off. Or perhaps there weren't any virgins there! :)

Funny :)



Link

78 Comments:

Blogger Goader said...

Here is one of those natural orders that hint of the existence of a Designer—one responsible for the particular order of the universe. In its raw natural state, the female is waiting on the male to return from doing the things that provide for his family. She wants and enjoys receiving from him what fulfills him to give. Her receiving and he giving affirm both of their roles, and it is natural. Though they learn and practice their respective culture’s rituals and traditions, the basic order of her receiving and he giving is undisturbed.

The traditions and rituals are human creations and are subject to change with time, while the underlying fundamental order of woman and man remains constant. Women work as hard as men do and their roles often interchange. , the fundamental order remains rock-solid. In modern nations, people scrutinize women and men’s roles for fairness in treatment of one another. However, the fundamental order between men and women has not changed one iota in human kind’s history.

In a universe where the only thing constant is change, finding a law of nature so fundamental and unchanging hints of a Designer.

*Note: The capital “D” denotes a supreme entity.

31/3/07 11:28 pm  
Blogger fizzlesticks said...

Yes, there was a bit of a hiatus, in which I ate a lot of chocolate and sat in a beanbag for months. Ahh, holidays.

I do enjoy your blog. Where do you find the time to research all these topics?

31/3/07 11:50 pm  
Blogger L>T said...

ha ha! You Australians! I'm not suprised. You seem like a laid back group to me.

1/4/07 12:44 am  
Blogger Dikkii said...

Ah, the Spencer Tunick photos.

It was too early in the morning, otherwise, I would've been there.

Mass nudity's cool.

1/4/07 1:55 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

goader:

"The traditions and rituals are human creations and are subject to change with time, while the underlying fundamental order of woman and man remains constant."

What underlying fundamental order of woman and man remains constant, and how is this evidence of a designer?

1/4/07 9:57 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

fizzlesticks:

Oh a holiday. Good for you mate. I did pop onto your blog and it seemed inactive for a while, so I wondered if everything was ok.

I enjoy thinking about issues, so I guess I always find the time to write about something. But I also know what it is like to go through a dry patch. I generally have a peep at other people's blogs, the news etc, to see if I can get some ideas.

1/4/07 10:00 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

LT:

I think we used to be a lot more laidback than we are, but I think you are right, we are pretty easy going about most things as a group of people.

Typical australian saying - "She'll be right mate."

Dikki:

Yeah, I heard they had to be there at around 3:30am or something, most people are gunna be snoozing at that hour, me included. Can't say I would have posed nude for him, but I am pleased that lots of people did.

1/4/07 10:04 am  
Blogger Goader said...

I was referring to a couple of parenthetical comments you made that seemed to point out stereotypical behavior or expectations. For example, you referred to guys needing a male heir, in addition to it being okay for a guy to show off his pecker. You went on to describe the male putting away his female in the tower (like a possession) and men not wanting women to attract competition. Finally, the woman waits to receive the sunbeam inside of her and of course the man-god giving her his beam of light.

It got me thinking about how most human behaviors are changeable and flexible. Even though cultures develop their own traditions and rituals, i.e. Christmas and Hanukah or baptism and the tiny cap Jewish men wear. Those traditions and rituals can seem unchanging over generations; however, they are changeable, as for example the shift from paganism to the handful of religions today. Many generations from now those religious beliefs are subject to change as humans evolve.

A few characteristics of humanness have remained the same throughout history. One of those unyielding traits is that a woman feels fulfilled when she receives from a man—which can be anything from a single flower or compliment to a full on night of passion. On the other hand, a man is fulfilled when he gives to a woman. The natural unyielding order of human nature is that women receive what men offer and men offer what women receive. Even though both genders engage in both giving and receiving behaviors and take enjoyment in both, sexual fulfillment in women is more strongly receptive and in men more strongly giving. I use the term sexual fulfillment in its broadest sense, which covers an array of inter gender exchanges.

The traditions and rituals are created by humans and they remain human driven. They are perpetuated through generations. They are specific to cultures and are arbitrary. The unyielding and never changing order of man and woman as regarding sex and inter gender exchanges is perpetuated by something other than human behavior. Its order is like that of universal laws such as gravity and electromagnetism. You already know that I believe through these few universal laws God may be revealed.

1/4/07 11:28 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

The problem with assuming a designer is that one also needs to be able to assume the designer of the designer based on the same premise that the designer was assumed in the first place.

1/4/07 12:41 pm  
Blogger Chris Bradley said...

Guys like goader -- and they are almost always guys, aren't they? -- make me yearn for the technology to do asexual reproduction so that procreation can't be held over women's heads, as they have been for untold thousands of years.

Also, of course, he's wrong. And a sexist. But I'm still on vacation and won't have the opportunity to go into his numerous instances of bad reasoning and factual errors. I'm sure others will pick up my slack. ;)

1/4/07 3:24 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

Goader:
The unyielding and never changing order of man and woman as regarding sex and inter gender exchanges is perpetuated by something other than human behavior.
Unchanging? You realize that this isn't written in stone? Inter-gender exchanges are usually prompted by the fact that said individuals are born w/both set of genitalia, & the parents choose which to lose?
However, the fundamental order between men and women has not changed one iota in human kind’s history.
Wow, I don't know whether to laugh or envy your distinctly monochromatic POV.

1/4/07 3:58 pm  
Anonymous ted said...

Amazing Goader, simply amazing. Sorry I can't help Chris, I am as they say, flabbergasted...

Still, being from sunny Melbourne, I have to agree with Dikkii. That Spencer Tunick's a wee ripper...:)

1/4/07 4:58 pm  
Blogger under_the_mercy said...

"The problem with assuming a designer is that one also needs to be able to assume the designer of the designer based on the same premise that the designer was assumed in the first place."

If a God can't have always been then why can a universe? and life for that matter (assuming you don't believe in spontanious generation).

1/4/07 5:23 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Presupposing the properties of X serve as a philosophical artifice to halt the infinte regress. Halting the infinte regress provides faith without understanding.

1/4/07 11:16 pm  
Blogger Goader said...

Chris, Krystalline Apostate and Ted—

To dismiss an opinion by demeaning the bearer of the opinion is hardly a credible response. Additionally, casting aspersions and tossing around labels willy-nilly is a poor way of addressing an opposing point of view. (Chris, since you opened the door, is the pot calling the kettle black?)

In defense of my attitude toward others, I will say that a sexist is someone who limits the role of the opposite sex. Nothing I said does anything of the sort.


Beep!

I understand your point, however, just because one cannot explain it does not mean it does not exist.

2/4/07 12:43 am  
Blogger Aaron A. said...

We don't allow nudity, art, or history in the United States.

2/4/07 1:20 am  
Blogger Blueberry said...

Gotta love that Zeus! How many people/beings did he sire? Someone somewhere must have it written down, although I'm sure a lot of the cases are in dispute. Kind of a "my dad can beat up your dad" thing.

2/4/07 1:43 am  
Anonymous Confused, maybe not said...

you have the best blog name. i'm no coyotee, thank god, otherwise you i might blow myself up with acme's latest device. but i do wonder about your claim that a designer presupposes another designer. in a scientific discourse, which has both designed and patterned my my orientations, your claim makes perfect sense. and although i have trouble playing outside this scientific language game where reason prevails, i wonder if such claims really address those who forget there were fifteen commandments until moses dropped one of the tablets. and if not, what language-game does one who exercises faith in a supreme deity, not moronic ones who see the bible as inerrant (sp?), but ones who believe in evolution, etc. play? they are surely aware of the reductio ad absurdum of their belief in a supreme deity.

2/4/07 1:58 am  
Anonymous remy said...

goader,

There are opinions and there are informed opinions. Failing an evidence based reasonable opinion leaves others no choice but ridicule. I have to say that I am with those of the flabbered and the gasted.

2/4/07 2:04 am  
Anonymous Confused, maybe not said...

remy,
what counts as evidence for one's love for another? I don't mean necessary and sufficient conditions for love, if they exist, but for the variety of loves between people, people and animals, people and plants, rocks, or whatever one loves. I wonder if the discourse of evidence has limitations and if so, why we invest so much in it for some issues, but don't bother with evidentiary proofs with others, especially those that proofs will not satisfy. Perhaps, my position is one of wondering if one must prove one's love, what a proof would like, certainly it would be a circumstantial proof, but why does one proof in such a circumstance count over another? And in such a circumstance is one really proving, in an evidentiary way, one's love, so to speak? There's the time I told the love of my life, "I love you, (name goes here)." But I used another woman's name. oops! I often get names wrong, she knew that, but nonetheless, none of my proofs for my love for her were able to push aside her understandable hurt at such a slip. Fortunately, one proof did work, meeting the named woman. After knowing me and seeing her, it was understood it was slip of the tongue. But I'm not sure if that counts as evidence in the sense that you mean it.

2/4/07 3:25 am  
Blogger Goader said...

Remy et al—

Well, I seem to be wrong by popular demand. Fortunately, for the barer of fact, popularity does not trump scientific evidence. If this was the middle ages and you were the king, I might be in mortal danger.

I find it oddly intriguing that a group is so used to neutralizing irrational religious arguments, yet seems unwilling to go beyond pooh-poohing this particular God-design claim. Apparently, it is preferable to argue fairytales and fantasies, which no opinion can validated, rather than evidence-based phenomenon, which yields itself to observation. Your side is right and the other side is just plain wrong, is that pretty much it?

I have an open mind so perhaps, scientific evidence of gender-specific characteristics is wrong. I wonder if you or one of the others on the opposing side might humor me by stating a counter argument disproving what I said. Unless of course, you are all agoadists in which case I should just head straight away to the Maiden.

2/4/07 3:29 am  
Blogger under_the_mercy said...

I really must say I am quite curious concerning your answer to my question, would you be so kind as to humor me and answer it?

2/4/07 3:37 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

Goader:
I find it oddly intriguing that a group is so used to neutralizing irrational religious arguments, yet seems unwilling to go beyond pooh-poohing this particular God-design claim.
Actually, most of us gloss over older arguments that we've debated many times before. It's not about 'scientific claims' (because this is most assuredly NOT scientific in any way) - it's about anthropic bias. Design doesn't necessitate a designer. We want to SEE a design that relates to us (it's called pareidolia): seeing Mary's face in a taco, for a simple example.
& as BBIM points out, it becomes a matter of infinite regression: who designed the designer? Who designed the designer of the designer? Like having mirrors facing mirrors - it seems to go off into eternity.
Here's my info on the either/or gender thing.
Here's my take on Paley's Watchmaker concept.
Darwin also was, I might observe, quite enamored of Paley's watchmaker theorem, but until a watch starts giving birth to a bunch of little watches, it's really a casuistic argument at best.
Sorry if I hurt your feelings, BTW.

2/4/07 4:45 am  
Anonymous Confused, maybe not said...

Krystalline apostate,
I just read your critique of intelligent design regarding Paley's watchmaker concept. Although, I do no philosophically disagree with your conclusion, there are problems with your reasoning by analogy. (In fairness to you, I am aware that you are most likely critiquing others who use Paley's argument for intelligent design.) You argue, as do intelligent designers, through analogy and the analogy, like most, involves two different topics. Thus, when going from one topic to another, the subject changes and the resulting synthesis is, in my opinion, somewhat delusional. . For example, like a watch, the watch maker is subject to physical laws. But I have never confused a watchmaker for the made watch. The watchmaker is a creator of watches and the watch a creation, and it would be more than odd to find a watch creating little watches, but it is not odd to find a human creating watches. As you show, the watchmaker was also created. But this line of reasoning may support the theist. Biblically, the God of the Hebrew Bible evolves from throwing away creation through genocide to a God that demands beating swords into plowshares. This God is a creative God and hebraically speaking; to be created in God's image is to be creative. No where in the text does it say that God is all powerful or omniscient. Those are Greek concerns of knowledge and power that when fused with monotheism through those trying to reconcile monotheism’s creative God with Greek notions of eternity, plug into the text at after the fact. The God of theists is not a watchmaker, so any of them that employ such reasoning are falling into the discursive trap of 'evidentiary discourse,' not to mention the problems that often arise from analogical reasoning. The theists operate, or ought to know they operate, with a different grammar than the atheist. The atheist, for that matter, often confuses grammar games with theories of knowledge. Most knowledge based theories begin and defer to the grammars or discourses that produce the questions and answers. For example, Einstein was accused by the Nazis of creating "Jewish Science." In one respect they were wrong. Science is not theistically charged and Einstein’s Judaism is not responsible his theories. But it is plausible to assert that the environment in which Einstein was raised, which was somewhat Jewish, gave him some of the resources to ask the kinds questions that gave rise to his theories. Simply, I do not believe Atheists and Theists have anything to talk about. But both ascribe to a discourse of evidence or Hellenic epistemic norms, which favors the atheist. In other words, you’ll always win the logical argument. But are we really talking about that which is logical? As I mentioned earlier, and to argue by analogy ;-), my love for others cannot be charted out logically, and I have rarely found myself discussing love in the grammar of evidentiary science.

2/4/07 5:24 am  
Blogger Goader said...

Confused—

The atheist verses theist debate is an exercise in circular logic, which tests ones prejudices. At present, there can be no definitive conclusion, as both atheist and theist are subject to dimensional limitations. For example, if one lived in a two-dimensional world, all available logic would be limited by the two dimensional paradigm. Even though we live right next to the two-dimensional people, they are unaware of us. They must first speculate about a third dimension and then discover its presence. Even then, they would not have the extent of access to it that we do. However, that does not preclude them working with it once they more fully understand its dynamics. Bottom line is both the same dimensional laws limit atheist and theist; therefore, there is a futility to the debate. I would not say that we have nothing to argue though; debate is an efficient means of testing one’s own assumptions.


Krystalline Apostate—

It was nice of you to mention it, but don’t worry about hurting my feelings. I know you don’t mean anything by it.

I am not sure if you meant it the way it sounded, but it sounded like you said gender-specific characteristics are not scientific. You must have been a little mixed up, as you surely did not mean to say such a thing. I think I see why this is such a stumbling block for you and a few other commenters. It is when we strip away most of the extraneous human behaviors that we reach a reality that is difficult to explain. We reach a point where logic is insufficient to account for the phenomenon.

It does seem counterintuitive to think that gender-specific characteristics are so unchangeable. After all, nations go to such lengths to assure equitable treatment of one another. If one thinks about it though, it is for the very reason that nature dictates differences that civilized humans use law to make those differences equitable.

Thinking about how little we actually control begs the question, how is it controlled? Of course, the hugest question of all is why is it so?

2/4/07 7:36 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE goader:

"I understand your point, however, just because one cannot explain it does not mean it does not exist."

If one canot explain it, it isn't knowledge.

2/4/07 9:27 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

blueberry:

Zeus fathered a pantheon of gods. He liked virgins, but then, you know, that is a guy thing. The Greek Mystery religions are full of gods bonking all over the place, siring sons who go on to become superheros. It's great stuff, as long as you don't take it literally, but then I think the last part should apply to all religions.

2/4/07 9:30 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

And confused: I have no idea what you were getting at, it seemed like "woo" to me. maybe an appeal to emotions, as in "there must be a god because I can experience love, hate anger, disgust."

If it was an appeal to emotions, obviously I don't agree as it isn't a valid argument.

2/4/07 9:35 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Goader:

The appeal to order isn't a valid argument for a god either. Human beings intellectually process the world around them according to how it relates to them. This requires us to make basic decisions of "same or different."

The "same or different" intellectual process of elimination and pattern making means that we are continually making value judgements about the worth of various components in the natural world as to how they benefit or apply to us. We do this in order to acquire knowledge about the world in which we live.

Because of our self-awareness we synthesize the environment in this way in order to formualate meaning and purpose as it applies TO US. Therefore we are a purpose driven species. Those purposes however, are our own.

To extrapolate that because we seek purpose and meaning that another being exists whose purpose and meaning is that we have purpose through its existence, is a leap of logic, or should I say, a leap of faith.

2/4/07 9:51 am  
Anonymous Confused, maybe not said...

Goader said: "At present, there can be no definitive conclusion, as both atheist and theist are subject to dimensional limitations."

Haven't the atheist and theist drawn definitive conclusions in this logical discourse? It seems to me that the theist is misguided by trying to play in the evidentiary sandbox and ought to shift the debate away from existence and instead of answering the atheist, find areas where the atheist must concede that knowledge is limited. On the other hand, what scares me most about some theists is when belief in a mysterious God is turned into a fact or truth - as if it's obvious. For more fun on this issue, which I love discussing even though I always find myself trying to deconstruct the discussion, I recommend the following two sites.

The first is the atheistic sandbox of SteveG where I saw beepbeep playing. The second is the subversive church of a theistic, deacon who is quite the prophetic Christian intellectual. Both of these guys are colleagues in the same philosophy department, not to mention good friends. Beepbeep, I hope it's not offensive to list other blogs on your wonderful site. If so, let me know and I'll stop, and I will not be offended.

http://philosophersplayground.blogspot.com/

http://www.subversivechristianity.blogspot.com/

2/4/07 10:10 am  
Anonymous ted said...

Goader: To dismiss an opinion by demeaning the bearer of the opinion

Wasn't aware that I'd done anything like that, apologies. I was simply amazed that you managed to get all of that out of this article, that's all...

2/4/07 10:51 am  
Anonymous Confused, maybe not said...

Beepbeep, thanks for your answer. But why not appeal to emotion; I certainly would not want to exclude them from any analyses regarding such lofty issues as being discussed here. I am suggesting, though, that philosophy becomes dangerous – as dangerous as a theist’s dogma - when people demand that one reduce all meanings to logical arguments. The Nazis claim that Jews were vermin could be logically validated, and it appears under your present demands for logical validity, logically true. I hesitate to say that Heidegger suffered a logical lapse when he joined the Nazi party. What’s scary is that his early thought logically validates his allegiance to the party, at least in my opinion. Furthermore, love may involve emotions, but is certainly more than what I suspect you mean by emotions. Is your love for another, or for the text of “Alice and Wonderland” reducible to logical reasoning? Have you ever known someone when faced with the death of one loved, to consult a logical text for explanation or for consolation? One might look to logic to escape the fetters of suffering, but not for consolation. My point, love does not lend itself to valid or invalid arguments, any more than "Alice of Wonderland" does. But love is not a mere emotion, unless worry for the safety of another is a mere emotion. I hope not. If my dr. is worried about my health, I hope this worry involves more than emotion. Furthermore, one might be able to give necessary and sufficient conditions for love, which may or may not be valid, but if logical validity is what guides you through your love life, be it with a partner, child, parent, friend, pet, and so forth, I suspect you struggle to empathize with issues that are not reducible to logic, such as a when a child loses a parent. I wonder what the logic of such loss looks like? I hope my tone is not taken as harsh, but philosophically playful. I’m smiling as I write.

2/4/07 10:57 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

confused:

An appeal to emotion is a logical fallacy, that's why.

I see, so logic is evil. Luther would agree with you.

"But since the devil's bride, Reason, that pretty whore, comes in and thinks she's wise, and what she says, what she thinks, is from the Holy Spirit, who can help us, then? Not judges, not doctors, no king or emperor, because [reason] is the Devil's greatest whore." -
Martin Luther's Last Sermon in Wittenberg ... Second Sunday in Epiphany, 17 January 1546.

Let's all promote our feelings and how we feel about something as the complete truth. Then I can go on to suggest that because the nextdoor neighbour's dog makes me feel angry, this is a valid reason to implant an axe in the top of its head.

2/4/07 11:14 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

confused:
For example, like a watch, the watch maker is subject to physical laws. But I have never confused a watchmaker for the made watch. The watchmaker is a creator of watches and the watch a creation, and it would be more than odd to find a watch creating little watches, but it is not odd to find a human creating watches. As you show, the watchmaker was also created.
There's so much content, I'll just take a few swings at a bite.
Nobody ever said anything about confusing the watchmaker for the product. The point is that all creators are bound by the same laws as their 'creations' - somewhat convenient for the theist to say 'N/A'.
Also, the analogy of the watchmaker fails miserably, because it doesn't apply to biological units. The entire concept topples on closer inspection.
On most points, it's easily refutable. On a different level, 1 never sees an immutable constant change, that of parent bringing forth offspring, & the offspring growing up to supplant the parent.
Function follows form, they say.
This goes to you as well as goader:
The supernatural explanation has failed every time: there is nothing under the sky, that can't be explained materialistically.
Failing the supranormal, I have to incline towards a given track record. What that means to me, or anyone else, is a matter for the philosophers to puzzle out.

2/4/07 11:17 am  
Anonymous Confused, maybe not said...

Beepbeep, I forgot to show my cards on the God issue. I could care less if God exists. What interests me is how people conduct themselves. I am less interested in whether one believes or does not believe in God. I am more interested in what one does with one's belief in God or what one does when one does not believe in God. What I most enjoy doing in theological debates about God's existence is exploring the assumptions and beliefs of both sides, which seem to me - as said in an earlier comment - to be on the same epistemological page. And yet, perhaps I'm wrong in this, each side seems to miss how much they philosophically share. For example, Native American tribes have a very different epistemic orientation on such issues. Simply, in discussions of God, they are on a very different page. Do we want to say that they are crazy for not working their understandings through our western logical orientation? When it comes to evidence, what counts for evidence is very different in Native American cultures. One more thing, I am not coming from the teachings of Martin Luther. Please, don't insult me. :-) Just as I am critical of a convinced theist, I am equally critical of the logician who has no doubt in his or her logic.

2/4/07 11:19 am  
Anonymous Confused, maybe not said...

Krystalline Apostate, thanks for your response. You say,

"Function follows form, they say."

That's a very Hellenic Christian thought. Ideas preced action. Or, for the Christian, one must have the right belief to produce the right action. A Buddhist would say the oppossite. Right action produces the right forms. And then the Buddhist would help you empty the right form. ;-)

2/4/07 11:24 am  
Anonymous Confused, maybe not said...

Beepbeep, thanks for your critical response. I agree that an appeal to emotion is a logical fallacy. But that says more about the limitations of logic than it does about emotions. Fortunately, most people when angered by the dog do not take a hatchet to it's head. I suspect one's not taking a hatchet to the head of a dog was not learned from logic. I'm not sure where I learned not to do it, or if someone even had to teach me not to do it. I tend to leave the area when a dog makes me mad, for chances are the dog is mad at me.

2/4/07 11:32 am  
Anonymous Confused, maybe not said...

krystalline, i forgot to say, touche. great response.

2/4/07 12:01 pm  
Blogger Goader said...

Beep!—

Self-awareness is not required for life to flourish. As for nature, self-awareness is more of a hindrance to abundant life on earth. The earth and all its life did just fine in the absence of self-awareness for eons before humans arrived. Humans are the worst for disrespecting nature, why on earth would nature, which is forever renewing itself, facilitate the evolution of a creature that will eventually destroy it. If evolution is about gene modifications that occur in concert with the environment, human evolution seems like an anomaly. Wow, there is another peak at the existence of a purposeful Creator. The clues are like treasures deliberately hidden in the majesty of the universe, awaiting discovery.

2/4/07 12:06 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Goader:

"Self-awareness is not required for life to flourish. As for nature, self-awareness is more of a hindrance to abundant life on earth"

I didn't claim that self-awareness was necessary for life to flourish, I do suggest that religious beliefs spring from self-awareness.

2/4/07 12:09 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

confused:

When assessing information as truth, how one feels about it is irrelevant to its veracity.

For example: I might feel that my life has more purpose and meaning than a person's life in India. This feeling is irrelevant to the veracity of the claim. In other words, feeling that something is true, doesn't make it so and feeling that something isn't true, doesn't make it so either. How we feel about issues is an inconsistent standard upon which to accumulate knowledge.

2/4/07 12:14 pm  
Anonymous Confused, maybe not said...

beepbeep said:
"In other words, feeling that something is true, doesn't make it so and feeling that something isn't true, doesn't make it so either. How we feel about issues is an inconsistent standard upon which to accumulate knowledge."

Nothing I've written contradicts what you've said here. (If it has, please show me.) I agree with you when it comes to knowledge. And nothing I have written suggests I am arguing that feeling shows something to be verfiably true, logically speaking. Although, I have taken ordinary circumstances and have asked you logically address them. You have not addressed the examples I have used, which is fine, but it makes me wonder if I'm being clear. What am I suggesting is that we all have soci-cultural orientations from which we talk about knowledge. I am not suggesting that the laws of cause and effect are belief. I am suggesting that we understand such a law from our socio-cultural orientation, which may involve beliefs and assumptions. Why you would confuse my focus on that for feeling shows me a great deal about your socio-cultural assumptions. Furthermore, I am scared of any ideology and you seem to be ideologically gripped by logic. Don't get me wrong, I am not opposed to logic and the insights and the scientific knowledge our tradition has produced from this orientation. But beepbeep, I hope there is more going on than logical reductivism. Finally, it's too simple, in my opinion, to assume that when I am critical or trying to show the limitations of logic that I am relying or appealing to emotions as the end all. I am not convinced logic and emotions are the only categories. I hope life is more than categorical. But I hope this belief of mine in no way suggests that categorical thinking is not helpful for my life. If I have led to you conclude otherwise from my earlier comments, than I have not been clear and have failed to convey my critical posture. I am sorry for that. But thank you for your critical insights and responses. It has made avoiding my work more fun. :-)

2/4/07 12:39 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

confused:

RE: "What am I suggesting is that we all have soci-cultural orientations from which we talk about knowledge. I am not suggesting that the laws of cause and effect are belief. I am suggesting that we understand such a law from our socio-cultural orientation, which may involve beliefs and assumptions."

I agree that many people have a socio-cultural standard from which they judge information as either relevant, irrelevant, or true or false. Sometimes they even allow for another choice, such as - we don't have enough information to be able to state categorically such a position.

But, it is entirely this modus operandi that I am addressing. Belief according to one's cultural persuasion, or religious persuasion, that something is true. flies in the face of what knowledge is.

If truth is only ever defined through the cultural lens, or the religious lens, then knowledge is only ever a subjective process of accumulating information which concurs with the already held cultural or religious belief.

Which would mean that knowledge as truth is only ever relative to the culture which espouses it as truth.

A tree is a tree and has the properties and characteristics of a tree, regardless of whether it is found in Japan, China, Europe or Austalia. And regardless of whether it is called an arbre, a Baum, an árbol or an albero.

What makes the information humans have concerning "trees" knowledge, is the information standard is the same no matter which country, or which culture, or which religious belief you follow. Therefore the information that we have concerning trees, their growth, their biology and their processes constitutes knowledge, because the information is not dependent upon a cultural or religious framework to consider it knowledge.

2/4/07 1:34 pm  
Anonymous Confused, maybe not said...

Beepbeep said:
"If truth is only ever defined through the cultural lens, or the religious lens, then knowledge is only ever a subjective process of accumulating information which concurs with the already held cultural or religious belief."

Well said. I agree. The scientific knowledge is not dependent on cultural or religious framewords. But I do want to say that science is culturally practiced. For example, the cuna Indians in Panama have a birth ritual. When the woman is giving birth in her squatting position and suffering from pain, the Shahman comes in and assumes her voicie in a song and sings why the organs are in dissaray and slowly sings them back to order. Now, for me, that is not science. But strangely, science shows us that while he is singing her pain is as relieved as a Western woman receiving and epdural (sp?) for her pain. How do we account for that? Maybe that's not the best example. I'll be more blunt. Where I differ is that I believe our understanding of knowledge is subjective, although the object of knowledge is not subjective and knowing it's properties is not necessarily subjective. This position is hard for me to explain. But even though what constitutes a tree is objectively true, how one relates to the tree is subjective. In other words, knowledge is objective, but in my opinion it is understood subjectively. I cannot pluck my eyes out in order to see straight. I survey the world, or the tree from where I stand, from my subjective posture, so to speak. And although a tree is a tree, you're way of seeing the tree might change how I relate to the tree, but it does not change the objective qualities of the tree, unless I see it as firewood and chop it down. Just kidding. Does that make sense? I'm not sure we actually disagree. As one surrounded by logicians, I may overreact to your use of logic. I spend my days with people whom I consider to be part of a logical cult, so to speak. :-) I say that tongue and cheek.

Over all, I agree, a cottonwood tree in southern arizona is the same as one in australia, if you have them down there. If not, how about an Oak.

beepbeep, thanks for engaging me. This has been fun. Is your name, beepbeep, from one of my favorite cartoons, roadrunner and the coyotee?

2/4/07 2:30 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

Confused:
That's a very Hellenic Christian thought.
Ummm...no it's not.
"The origin of the phrase is traced back to the American sculptor Horatio Greenough, but it was American architectural giant Louis Henri Sullivan who adopted it and made it famous. Sullivan actually said 'form ever follows function', but the simpler (and less emphatic) phrase is the one usually remembered. For Sullivan this was distilled wisdom, an aesthetic credo, the single "rule that shall permit of no exception". The full quote is thus:

"It is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic, Of all things physical and metaphysical, Of all things human and all things super-human, Of all true manifestations of the head, Of the heart, of the soul, That the life is recognizable in its expression, That form ever follows function. This is the law."

goader:
Humans are the worst for disrespecting nature, why on earth would nature, which is forever renewing itself, facilitate the evolution of a creature that will eventually destroy it.
Because nature is blind. Evolution is blind. There is no divine hand behind either.
Further on this: why would any deity worth its salt willfully create such a creature, 1 that shites where it eats?
It's all anthropic bias, I tell ya: pareidolia writ large on the neurons of Man.

2/4/07 3:21 pm  
Blogger Matt said...

How do you explain the existence of natural laws without a Lawgiver?

The universe appears to have logical order, so why not assume that it has a source with logic as a characteristic?

A source with logic as an innate characteristic is an intelligent Agent.

''Every scientific discovery that shows the universe's logical arrangement reaffirms my belief in an intelligence that is behind it.
In other words, the more the universe appears to have intelligible order the more I will assume that it has a logical, reasonable and intelligent source.'' -me

2/4/07 4:35 pm  
Blogger Goader said...

Krystalline Apostate—

As someone who knows his shite, may I respond to your comment on the same? Nature is a closed system in as much as that which is earth stays earth. Therefore, in keeping with nature’s habit of wasting nothing someone’s shite intricately replenishes the very soil from which the precursors of shite emanate. Shite is just one more element of an ever-majestic universe.

2/4/07 7:24 pm  
Anonymous Confused, maybe not said...

Greenough and Sullivan may have said this, but their way of speaking and categorizing comes out of a Hellenic-Christian world. Hellenic Christian orientations, which is the fusion of Greek and Hebraic civ, so to speak, stands fast in our discourse. It doesn't mean one is Christian when one says such things, but it is a hallmark of this Hellenic/Christian civilization to look at things this way. Hellenic-Christian is synomous with a Western world view. That's all I mean by it.

2/4/07 10:07 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

matt:

RE: "How do you explain the existence of natural laws without a Lawgiver?"

I could go all esoteric on your aspidestra and I think I might just for the fun of it.

The natural laws of which you speak are mankind's observations and interpretations of the environment in which he finds himself and which he calls the natural world.

In this way, they are not "the laws of nature" but examples of mankind's pattern making abilities in an attempt to understand the environment and how it relates to himself. But, as with all human activity, the perspective is a humancentric one.

In other words, they are only ever a humancentric interpretation and observation of the world according to the intellectual capabilities and psychological needs of humankind.

That some humans having found order and meaning when we are a species which is "order and meaning driven" is hardly a surprise.

That some humans then go on to extrapolate that because human beings are capable of synthesising order and meaning from the world around us, that therefore HUMANS MUST, by default, contribute order and meaning to some overall plan of the universe; seems to be an over-extension of our value to the universe.

2/4/07 11:39 pm  
Anonymous remy said...

Beep'
I love you.

3/4/07 5:06 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

goader:
Nature is a closed system in as much as that which is earth stays earth.
The earth 'stays' earth due to numerous equations, 1 of which is gravity, which impacts everything.
Also, the moon rotates around the earth, OUTSIDE of the 'closed system', influencing the tides & women's cycles. Also, the sun is bearing down on our surface, thereby fueling photosynthesis, which in turn fuels a large part of our atmosphere. So, nope.

confused:
Greenough and Sullivan may have said this, but their way of speaking and categorizing comes out of a Hellenic-Christian world.
I kinda knew you were going to say that. I've heard the 'Greek vs. Hebraic' mindset argument before.

matt:
A source with logic as an innate characteristic is an intelligent Agent.
If you were a dolphin, you'd say everything has a porpoise. ;)

3/4/07 6:33 am  
Blogger Matt said...

beep,

so are you saying that our epistemology isn't reliable enough to say that the universe has order?

Are you not betraying the basis on which you call yourself a materialist?

There's a difference between applying logic and extrapolating meaning. I do the former when I observe a universe with consistent law and order and then infer the existence of a source with those inherent characteristics.

3/4/07 9:45 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

LOL Thanks remy.

Ka: Oh, I like that, "dolphins say that everything has a porpoise."

"All the thoughts of a turtle are turtle." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

3/4/07 9:57 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

matt

If by epistemology you are referring to knowledge, our basic disagreement might be the origin of knowledge and what constitutes knowledge.

Knowledge as I understand it, has a humancentric value and origin. Knowledge as you see it has a supernatural value and origin.

These seem to be the two common positions.

1.I think, therefore I am.

2.I think, therefore I am, but it is because a mysterious force outside of myself allows me to think.

The second position is a leap of faith. The first makes no such leap.

3/4/07 10:59 am  
Blogger Matt said...

Yeah, and when we talk of freewill you would say that man is qualitatively different, but you relegate him to the position of a beast when it suits your argument. And, somehow, the atheist remains unscathed by the confining generalities she draws about mankind.

The universe certainly follows natural law and order, it's not our ''interpretation.'' Truth and reality exists objectively and always, not only when it supports your claims. It's confusing to me that you lean completely on the claims of science and logic to build your worldview, but then turn around and say that even that is based on man's biased perspective of the universe.

In this way, your views aren't a solid platform for attaining truth but instead are the foundation of existential confusion and despair.

3/4/07 11:16 am  
Anonymous Confused, maybe not said...

beepbeep,
Doesn't thinking require being concious of something other than one's conciousness? Even the great solopsist came to the conclusion, "I think, therefore I am" through doubting what he perceived or was concious of. Phenomenologically speaking, I suspect we think, because someone other than oneself or perhaps even an object enters our consciousness, which suggests there is more going on than your lack of leap claim. It's not a leap to be concious of something other than oneself. In fact, one could not discuss this if it were otherwise. To be concious of oneself entails being identified as a self and this requires someone or something other than oneself. Perhaps, one is only aware of oneself in response for the other who has identified one. Do we even choose to be in response? I suspect, we may be able to choose a response, but not to be in response. For example, before I had my first monologue, (I think, therefore I am) I had been involed in dialogues, or at least others dialoguing with me.

3/4/07 11:18 am  
Blogger Matt said...

I think you're redirecting my point.

Can we trust our knowledge that the universe has law and order or not?

3/4/07 11:28 am  
Blogger Matt said...

sorry, my last comment was to beepbeep...good point Confused.

3/4/07 11:31 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

matt:

RE: "Yeah, and when we talk of freewill you would say that man is qualitatively different, but you relegate him to the position of a beast when it suits your argument."

I would suggest that the concept of "freewill" is not possible in species which do not demonstrate self-awareness.

Recognition of the self as a separate being from other beings allows for the concept of freewill to develop.

Without the concept of self-awareness, the idea of freewill is redundant.

3/4/07 12:12 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

or, without the concept of self-awareness, the idea of freewill is surplus to requirements.

3/4/07 12:13 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

That is: - The concept of self awareness expressed in "I think therefore I am" is a prerequisite for the concept of freewill.

3/4/07 12:20 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: "Can we trust our knowledge that the universe has law and order or not/"

We can trust our knowledge of the universe for as long as the knowledge best explains the universe in relation to ourselves.
Knowledge is demonstrably humancentric. There is no other reason that I can presume to assume otherwise.

3/4/07 12:26 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

confused:
For example, before I had my first monologue, (I think, therefore I am) I had been involed in dialogues, or at least others dialoguing with me.
I'll have to with 'maybe not'. An excellent point indeed.

matt:
The universe certainly follows natural law and order, it's not our ''interpretation.'' Truth and reality exists objectively and always, not only when it supports your claims.
I might suggest you apply that equally to your side.
It's confusing to me that you lean completely on the claims of science and logic to build your worldview, but then turn around and say that even that is based on man's biased perspective of the universe.
Define 'truth', if you please.
Of course it's confusing for you. You live in the world of the excluded middle, 'either this or either that', there are no shades of grey.
Does the atheist need to qualify the axioms of logic every single time?
Of course our existence defines how we perceive the world around us. Of course we attempt to thrust our tiny shadow upon the universe, & claim that is the blackness we see, the light we view. I again point to the term, 'anthropic bias'. Pareidolia is a perfect example: we see faces in tree trunks, or Japanese see samurai in crabs, or Allah's signature in the natural outcropping of a tree.
In this way, your views aren't a solid platform for attaining truth but instead are the foundation of existential confusion and despair.
What utter folderol. That's a stereotype, & an obnoxious, insulting 1 at that.
A friend of mine once said, "Your life is a work of art: make it beautiful." & yes, he's an atheist.
I find those claims so vacuous, when there's ample evidence of many atheists over the centuries who have written poetry, novels, made movies, & yes, 1 such triumphed over testicular cancer & became a 7 time Tour de France champion.

Just because you can't get by in life w/out cosmic babysitter micro-managing your little life, doesn't mean the rest of us can't, either.

3/4/07 2:34 pm  
Blogger Matt said...

KA:

You're not helping my confusion. Explain to me how having existential confusion and despair would keep people from writing poetry ect...? it probably helps.

My comment was in response to beep's claim that our observation that the universe has law and order is only our humancentric interpretation.

The ''truth'' I speak of is that there objectively is a logical arrangement in the universe (whether humans were around to see it or not). And, to say that that truth is simply wishful thinking puts us in a non-sensical universe with no objective basis for truth and nihilism (not humanism) is true; thus creating a foundation for existential confusion and despair.

And to my original point:

We live in a universe with consistent natural LAW wherein we can empirically test phenomena. That is not an interpretation, it is truth. And from that truth I infer that our universe has a source with law and order as characteristics.

If you think seeing a face in tree bark is on par with observing logical algorithms written into the fabric of the universe and inferring a source that contains logic then I guess I do have an anthropic bias.

PS

Dear atheists,

Why is matter so well behaved?

love,

(Misbehaving) Matt(er)

3/4/07 3:54 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

matt:
You're not helping my confusion. Explain to me how having existential confusion and despair would keep people from writing poetry ect...? it probably helps.
Yeesh, why do I even bother?
I cite Lance Armstrong, known atheist, who not only overcame cancer, but went on to be a 7 time champ.
Pat Tillman, also an atheist (in a foxhole, no less!), who was also an inspiration.
Harlan Ellison, who's written some of the most beautiful (& some of the more savage) short stories ever.
There were ancient Greek atheists: Democritus, who laughed CONSTANTLY.
Douglas Adams.
There's a HUGE list of people that defy this stupid stereotype. This idiotic 'all is useless, all is despair, all is lost' crap.
So small wonder I get teed off when people spout this egregious crap.

The 'truth' I speak of is that there objectively is a logical arrangement in the universe (whether humans were around to see it or not). And, to say that that truth is simply wishful thinking puts us in a nonsensical universe with no objective basis for truth and nihilism (not humanism) is true; thus creating a foundation for existential confusion and despair.

A logical arrangement? You're kidding, right? Have you even looked at quantum mechanics? Have you even tried to find fault w/said design? I ain't an engineer, but I could provide a long laundry list of absolute balls-up. For a world, a universe allegedly 'created' for us, it's a lethal obstacle course on so many levels, it's staggering.
There's tough love, & there's psychosis.
If you think seeing a face in tree bark is on par with observing logical algorithms written into the fabric of the universe and inferring a source that contains logic then I guess I do have an anthropic bias.
I don't think: I know it's so.
We live in a universe with consistent natural LAW wherein we can empirically test phenomena. That is not an interpretation, it is truth. And from that truth I infer that our universe has a source with law and order as characteristics.
So truth is defined as that which can be empirically tested against reality.
'Law & order'? Define chaos for me then, if you'd be so kind.

3/4/07 4:44 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Matt:

RE: "My comment was in response to beep's claim that our observation that the universe has law and order is only our humancentric interpretation."

Of course it is our humancentric interpretation. Don't misconstrue this to mean that without our interpretation, that the universe would cease to exist, as without our interpretation, it would only cease to exist according to our interpretation of it.

It doesn't mean it would implode in a puff of smoke. We don't keep the universe running on our thoughts, that would seem to me to be a silly suggestion. Though that suggestion is quite what many supersitious people believe, that their thoughts have the power to influence the world directly.

Certainly the universe doesn't require our explanations or permission to exist, but this does nothing to dismiss the point that the knowledge we have of the universe is humancentric.

Everything we have as knowledge is unavoidably through the human lens.

(Didn't you ever play that game as a child where you tried to imagine what the world was like through the eyes, ears, and possible thoughts of another living or non-living thing? Probably too pagan a game for most people. ;) )

A quick game of this and one is left with very little doubt that the information we consider to be knowledge is always in reference to ourselves.

3/4/07 5:55 pm  
Blogger Matt said...

AS + BB:

That's a nice list of accomplished atheists, it's a pity that it doesn't apply...for many reasons...

One being that I wasn't even talking directly about atheism. My point was that thinking the apparent order in the universe is a human construct would certainly lead to existential confusion and despair.

I see that man discovered logic, he did not invent it, and it is a tool to pierce the ''human lense'' and apprehend things that are objectively true beyond mere human interpretation.

Anthropic bias? It would seem more humancentric to think that man has some sort of monopoly on intelligence and consciousness. God, in essence, is not human at all. He is closer to pure being.

Heh, I don't know how HUMANIST atheists can accuse theists of being HUMANcentric. Maybe theists are BEING-centric?

Define chaos and clarify order? I find myself at a lose trying to justify the objective existence of natural law and order to materialists. I speak of why modern science is so reliable, I speak of the (presumed) reason why you discount miracles and the supernatural; I speak of fundamental physical laws that govern the universe consistently and reliably.

Can you, as an atheist, give me a sufficient philosophical answer (without infinite regress) why law, order and logic exist?

PS

Yeah, I caught the Lance Armstrong reference. Hard not to, I'm from Austin, Texas. I've actually met him on a couple occasions, heh, I worked at a TCBY a few years ago in his neighborhood. So, it wasn't really meeting him as much as it was serving him frozen yogurt. He would order a large white chocolate mousse shiver with oreos and then complain about the price, and he never tipped...he's pretty smug actually, but then again I probably have been too with fast food employees...and I'd be extra smug too if I were a 7 time winner and so existentially confused, jk ;)

4/4/07 4:20 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

matt:

RE: "My point was that thinking the apparent order in the universe is a human construct would certainly lead to existential confusion and despair."

The way we perceive order in the universe IS a human construct, unless you don't consider yourself to be human and in that case, I can't help you.

Why does a human explanation of the universe certainly lead to existential confusion and despair? The human explanation of the universe is all we have. If your cat has deciphered meaning and passed it onto you through some type of a feline mind meld, please let us all know so that we can provide the psychological assessment you may need.

Mankind didn't "discover" logic. Logic is a human tool used to investigate and classify the structure of statements and arguments. It is demonstrated as a human tool. The human ability to use logic is the natural progression through the use of intelligence. It is, I would suggest, an attribute of the evolving mind.

RE: "Anthropic bias? It would seem more humancentric to think that man has some sort of monopoly on intelligence and consciousness."

Mankind has a headstart on intellignece, if not a monopoly on intelligence until you can demonstrate otherwise.

Mankind does not have a monopoly on self-awareness as some of those cute little monkeys with whom we share a common ancestor, also dsiplay and demonstrate self-awareness.

Wild fantasies about gods mating with virgins will not be considered a demonstration of intelligence. It will be, however, considered to be a demonstration of a vivid humancentric imagination.

RE: "Can you, as an atheist, give me a sufficient philosophical answer (without infinite regress) why law, order and logic exist?"

By law do you mean human law or the natural laws as observed by humans?

Logic exists as a human tool. There is no evidence to suggest that logic would exist without humans. We perceive order because we are pattern-making animals. It is conducive to our survival that we can discern and synthesize information into "same or different", or "similar and dissimilar."

Regarding the idea of infifnte regress:
The artifice of god is a humancentric philosophical construct designed by humans with the express purpose of halting the infinite regress. It is just as plausible to say that there are an infinte number of gods each slightly more powerful than the previous one. This also halts the infinite regress.

But the basic problem OF the infinite regress is that it is an indication that the concept of development from the complex to the simple, which is basically what god belief is, is flawed.


It's flawed because it is observed that life progresses from the simple to the complex. Concepts progress from the simple to the complex. Language progresses from the simple to the complex. Even sentences and sentence structure progress from the simple to the complex.

There is no need to employ the philosophical artifice of a god, in order to halt the infinite regress, with a world-view that life progresses from the simple to the complex.

4/4/07 6:59 pm  
Blogger Matt said...

sigh...on what grounds don't you believe in miracles? because of the consistency with which natural LAWS govern our universe, right?

we are pattern-makers, true, but we live in a pattern-making universe. and that's why you don't believe in miracles because they defy that pattern, correct?

...that's the lawful nature of our universe that I'm addressing. Why, philosophically, does our universe have a''government.'' Why are there patterns at all? And, why do natural laws exist?

You spoke of a pattern where ''all things progress from simple to complex'', that sounds like order...why does that exist?

maybe by repetition you'll answer my question directly:

Why do natural laws exist?

5/4/07 9:41 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

matt:
My point was that thinking the apparent order in the universe is a human construct would certainly lead to existential confusion and despair.
I don't have a problem w/it. Why do you?
Define chaos and clarify order? I find myself at a lose trying to justify the objective existence of natural law and order to materialists.
Hey, you don't need to justify that at all. You need to justify why you think your source unimpeachable.
I speak of why modern science is so reliable, I speak of the (presumed) reason why you discount miracles and the supernatural;
Gee, I dunno, the fact that all of them are easily explainable by materialistic means?
I speak of fundamental physical laws that govern the universe consistently and reliably.
As do I: but you include hiccups & burps that are at best unprovable, un-repeatable, indicating that the universe has these unobservable digestive problems.
You say, "But there are exceptions, & they're called miracles!" I say, "Reproduce them." You say, "But I can't! But look, here's a book that lists them!" I say, "Hey, people lie all the time." You say, "But not this time!"
Why do natural laws exist?
They just do. Independent of our existence, I might add.
I see the issue as primarily of ego. If our species isn't the best, the brightest, the ultimate criterion, what's the use?
The use is simple: live. Fully, & happily. No need for some great cosmic ulterior meaning: make your own. Make it full, make it lovely.
This is all we have, this is all we need, all we require. Make good use of it.

5/4/07 10:32 am  
Blogger Matt said...

''They just do.''

profound, really, but insufficient.

5/4/07 10:39 am  
Blogger Matt said...

existential confusion and despair

here's an example:

beebeep spoke of how things ''progress'' from ''simple'' to ''complex.'' ultimately those are all human concepts and therefore that axiom has no ''real'' application to reality given this idea that perceived order is a human construction. it's all mere human interpretation, and, at the end of the day, the same can be said for everything we say here. So, the confusion and despair comes because there's no hope to understand the true nature of things beyond our ''human lense.'' If we lack the ability to see things as they truly are, at the end of the day, we're all just meowing.

5/4/07 11:05 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

matt:
profound, really, but insufficient.
No, more than sufficient. Just not intellectually satisfying.
beebeep spoke of how things 'progress' from 'simple' to 'complex.' ultimately those are all human concepts and therefore that axiom has no ''real'' application to reality given this idea that perceived order is a human construction. it's all mere human interpretation, and, at the end of the day, the same can be said for everything we say here.
& so? What's wrong w/that? How is that insufficient?
So, the confusion and despair comes because there's no hope to understand the true nature of things beyond our ''human lense.'' If we lack the ability to see things as they truly are, at the end of the day, we're all just meowing.
...& I think you're missing the whole point here. We do see things as they 'truly are'. In direct relation to ourselves. But it's hubris to think that we're the apogee of all things. It's pure human ego to insist that we are all there is, akin to scaling Mt. Everest because 'it's there.'
The only reason we're drawn to things larger than ourselves, is that we're hard-wired to be part of something bigger, i.e., a community. It's just gotten overly complex.
Let me add another caveat: Man is the creature who doesn't leave well enough alone.
I still side w/Feuerbach: religion is Man's effort to worship himself.
In which case, too many of us spend far too much time meowing in church.

5/4/07 2:23 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Matt
"sigh...on what grounds don't you believe in miracles? because of the consistency with which natural LAWS govern our universe, right?"

You seem to jump all over the place,I thought we were discussing the concept of the infinite regress and how this problem is attempted to be mitigated by a god concept.

RE: "You spoke of a pattern where ''all things progress from simple to complex'', that sounds like order...why does that exist?"

It is evidenced that things progress from the simple to the complex. I don't proffer this as the absolute meaning to the universe. Any explanation I can provide to you will always fall short of the one that many human beings choose, which is god belief.

The reason it falls short is not because it may not be true, but that it cannot provide you with what you want. What you want is the absolute answer to life the universe and everything. Yet you have not realized that it is the assumptions upon which your question is based that cause you the most distress.


"we are pattern-makers, true, but we live in a pattern-making universe. and that's why you don't believe in miracles because they defy that pattern, correct?"

I didn't say we live in a pattern making universe. That would require me to think that the universe has a specific individual identity and self-awareness and purpose. These things are unknown. There is no evidence to suggest that the universe works with purpose or intent. That we may perceive patterns within the universe, doesn't mean the universe is conscious of these pattern and acts accordingly to them through self will.

You have a very strong desire to anthropomorphise everything you see. You assume that because humans are consciously "purpose driven" and are capable of composing purpses for themselves, that everything else that we perceive to exist is like this also. I must say that I find it a very strange way of viewing the natural world. I wonder if you imagine that volcanos are angry as well?

My thinking about miracles is that what some humans describe as a miracle is more likely to be processes of which they have no knowledge or understanding. Or to put it another way, something of which we have not been able to interpret the pattern.

RE: "...that's the lawful nature of our universe that I'm addressing. Why, philosophically, does our universe have a''government.'' Why are there patterns at all? And, why do natural laws exist?"

Why does the universe have a pattern? You would be better to ask why do we perceive that the universe has pattern. That might prive useful information.

We perceive that the universe has patterns and laws; many of them. Our ability to do so is honed through practice and evolution. It is our intelligence which allows us to do this. This information or knowledge which is the result of our intelligence, is only displayed to such a remarkable degree in the human species. Ask an ant if the universe has patterns. Ask your cat if the universe thinks. As far as we know, WE ARE the ones who extract meaning from our environment. The meaning we extract is pertinent to us. I don't know why this concept seems so difficult for you to comprehend.

There is no guarantee that the universe is meaningful to any other living or non-living thing unless it demonstrates self-awareness. Consequently, as there is no evidence that the universe demonstrates self-awareness, it cannot demonstrate that it is "purpose driven."

RE: "Why do natural laws exist?"

They exist to us. Are they purposed? Unless natural laws can be demonstrated to be conscious and self-aware, I fail to see how they have purpose. It is our ability to perceive these patterns or "natural laws" which is exciting. Do they exist unto themselves? Do they exist unto other living things? In your desire to anthropomorphise everything you set your sights on, you have a habit of jumping the gun.

RE: "So, the confusion and despair comes because there's no hope to understand the true nature of things beyond our ''human lense.'' If we lack the ability to see things as they truly are, at the end of the day, we're all just meowing."

The "true nature"? Is there some other nature of things apasts from our interpretation of it? Even our humancentric gods are but our childlike attempts to explain processes which we do not comprehend.

Who is the say that the way we see them is not the way they really are, or is not the way they really are?

It is only "meowing" if the information isn't useful.

5/4/07 4:06 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

For all we know matt, the universe may not have coherent meaning except to us.

5/4/07 4:20 pm  
Blogger Matt said...

It's interesting that when I ask ''why'' you automatically assume that I'm asking ''for what purpose.''

If I asked you why a volcanoe errupts you wouldn't berate me for anthropomorphizing it. You'd give me a causual explanation for why it errupts.

I'm not asking you to tell me the meaning for which natural laws exist. I know that answer is easily thrown out as subjective. I'm asking a question that I don't think materialists can ever sufficiently answer because natural laws are the basis on which materialists explain everything else.

So why do natural laws exist? KA gave the answer I expected, ''They just do'', which is the atheist version of ''God did it'', whereas you tap danced around the question completely.

6/4/07 5:17 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

I didn't give you the answer you wanted, because for you, and the way you think, there must be an absolute answer and an absolute truth. This is why is suggested to you that no answer I can give, whether it is "I don't know", or "the evidence suggests that..." is never going to be enough for you.


The reason it will never be enough for you is because you expect and demand an absolute answer which will explain everything from ingrown toeatails to quarks and quasars. You are unable to realize that the assumptions upon which you base your question, may have no answer. Or that the assumptions upon which you base your question may be biased towatds an all encopassing answer like "42."

Having chosen a question the way you have, you are then unable to realize that it is the question which causes you distress and a lack of fulfillment. The only option open to you is to alleviate your anxiety by filling the gaps in human knowledge with the anthropomorphic construct of a humanlike superbeing.

6/4/07 6:48 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

matt:
It's interesting that when I ask 'why' you automatically assume that I'm asking 'for what purpose.'
That's the nutshell version of philosophy.
I'm not asking you to tell me the meaning for which natural laws exist.
Excuse me, yes you are.
I know that answer is easily thrown out as subjective. I'm asking a question that I don't think materialists can ever sufficiently answer because natural laws are the basis on which materialists explain everything else.
Let's amend that: these are questions insufficient for those seeking transcendental means.
So why do natural laws exist? KA gave the answer I expected, 'They just do', which is the atheist version of 'God did it', whereas you tap danced around the question completely.
It's called Occam's Razor.
It seems your epistemology revolves around the Goldilocks effect, which is neither profound or sufficient.

7/4/07 2:18 am  

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