Above Us Only Sky

With No Arche
Why . . . without an ἀρχή, nothing makes any kind of sense whatever!

Suppose with me for a moment. Suppose that about fifteen nano-seconds after the Big Bang all the trillion-plex trillions of atoms all joined hands together, forming their molecules, and then they all ran pell mell down the corridors of the space/time continuum, making history as they went. Some scientists think they all yelled whee! but I myself suspect it was something more like arghh! The question is hard to determine because apart from a few staff writers at National Geographic, nobody was there really.

What is not hard to determine is what this would entail, if true. It would entail John Lennon being a certified moonbeam. Go over his famous Imagine with a thoughtful eye and ear, and the only thing that makes any sense whatever would be the chord changes. But if, as he avers, the only thing above us is sky, then the chord changes making sense . . . doesn’t make sense.

Without transcendent reality, we don’t just lose transcendent reality. We lose everything down here as well. Without transcendentals, nothing coheres, nothing binds, nothing sticks. And you can’t go down to your shop in the basement and work up a transcendent reality to help get you by. I’m looking at you, Sartre. They have to be fixed, immutable, given. They have to be grounded in the character and nature of God.

A blind concourse of atoms, even when massaged by mysterious forces called natural laws and convenient processes like natural selection, cannot produce the kind of world we actually live in. They can produce the kind of world that carbon-based lust-bundles wished they lived in. Given all this materialism, the next natural step is some form of unsupported blind leap existentialism. And the central existentialist dictum — that existence precedes essence — means that anyone with a will (what’s that, by the way?) can impose that will on the plastic nature of reality around. Thus it is, though being a man, Bruce Jenner can self-identify as a woman, Rachel Dolezal, whiter than the pope’s knees,  can self-identify as being black, and now, right on schedule, a 52-year-old transgender father self-identifies as a 6-year-old girl.

I myself self-identify as the next president of the United States, and when the bad guys see what’s in these executive orders, they are going to totally panic.

And so, despite the aesthetic glories of a peacock’s rear end, the advanced engineering that went into a chimpanzee’s wrist, the nobility of a stallion on a ridge, we are invited to imagine — great word to use, actually — that there is no Heaven. Nothing ultimately matters — except of course, peace, love and understanding. But wait. Why do those three things matter? Their dome is “only sky,” just like all the other godforsaken atoms.

So then, having totally destroyed any possible basis for any kind of real morality whatever, they assert — through a shrieking exercise of raw power — that we must all submit to the system of morality that they just brought up out of their basement. But let’s have a little reprise of Lennon, shall we? Shall we turn it around? Shall we run their little ramshackle moral system through the song that eats all moral systems for breakfast?

The rape culture on American campuses? The cosmos doesn’t care, man. Americans own millions and millions of unregistered guns? Atoms configure themselves in this way sometimes, that is true. The patriarchy remains unsmashed? The universe stands aloof — indifferent, cold, uncaring, hostile . . . in fact, rather like a man. Svelte and yet buxom young women suffer under the hetero-normative gaze of fraternity boys?  The space/time continuum has no complaint department. No refunds given. Gaze away. The most obvious feature of all of this is that nothing changes no matter how grievous the issue might actually be. The American legacy of slaves in the cotton fields for centuries, sweating under a blazing sky? Above them, only sky.

This whole system must come down, and everything related to it — materialism, evolution, relativism, the works. Their tower will fall, but not because we are so adept at toppling things like that. We actually don’t need to be. The citadels of unbelief will soon enough collapse into a small mountain of pomo-rubble because their architectonic system was actually devised by some sophomores on the third day of spring break. We are not sure what the motive force behind this grandiose scheme was, but all the bikinis were a big part of it. That’s just not serious philosophy, man.

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jigawatt
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jigawatt

Oh my, where’s Eric the Red / Krychek_2 when you need him!

Ah what the heck, I’ll answer for him:

Doug, if it makes you feel better to believe that, go right ahead.

Nord357
Guest
Nord357

I myself am awaiting Randman’s entrance. Wherefore art thou Randman?

Jane Dunsworth
Guest
Jane Dunsworth

It’ll take him some time to figure out how to work his one and only angle into this discussion. Give him a half day.

Jane Dunsworth
Guest
Jane Dunsworth

Wow, he’s sharper than I gave him credit for. Only a couple of hours.

insanitybytes22
Member

Ha! I loved this, “The space/time continuum has no complaint department. No refunds given.”

It is a very juvenile philosophy indeed. “Above them only sky,” which then begs the question, why are we even having this discussion? Why does peace matter? Shouldn’t we just stop waxing lyrical and get about the business of taking what we want from the world? Doesn’t he who dies with the with most toys win?

Jane Dunsworth
Guest
Jane Dunsworth

Or better yet, why shouldn’t all our songs be about taking what we want from the world? Glorifications of self-serving, bad behavior? Why shouldn’t that be just as wonderful a thing to sing about, if we enjoy doing so?

(And no, “because we’re not rap artists” is not a sufficient answer.) ;-)

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

Atheism implies nihilism, much as the atheists hate it. And they do, the stupid ones. I suppose we should be grateful though since if they realized these implications they would probably be much worse people. The ones who do embrace their nihilism are scary.

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

Atheism implies nihilism, much as the atheists hate it.

The only solution for them is hedonism. But as any good hedonist knows, you still have to ACT like there is an actual foundation for morality. Then you can manipulate and control and bully people based on your made up moral system, thereby achieving the most pleasure for yourself.

Katecho
Member

Well said. In an accidental universe, fabricated human moralities become an exercise in word-play and manipulation. Words are simply used for their effect on others. None of them have any actual prescriptive authority, so it devolves into bullying and peer pressuring, back and forth. Folks like Randman grab whatever issue they can get ahold of and start demagoguing. He’s doing it now with the plagiarism issue.

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

But I’m going to give RandMan and Krychek_2 the benefit of the doubt. I think they genuinely believe that somehow there is a materialistic foundation for morality.

Katecho
Member

Unfortunately, the problem is not in their genuineness, or lack thereof. The problem is structural and inherent in reactionary systems. For example, RandMan might genuinely believe that a river flows to the ocean because it knows the way and wants to, however, we understand that water flows the way that it does as a reaction under the force of gravity, and not because of any proaction or intent on the part of the river. In the same way, the flow of neural firings in the brain are driven entirely by reactionary material forces. There is no intent to any of… Read more »

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

That’s true enough, but wouldn’t we respond to someone differently if we thought they were being disingenuous? I have often thought that it’s possible, if not likely, that a good many people actually believe in atheism, materialism, nihilism, and hedonism, basically in that order, one leading to the next. But then, realizing that you’re not going to make it very far (at least not in 2015) as an out-of-the-closet atheistic materialistic nihilistic hedonist, they pick some form of morality (maybe even Christianity) as a means to enable their hedonism. Nowadays enough people parrot “it’s best for human flourishing” that that… Read more »

Katecho
Member

I actually don’t believe that RandMan or Krychek_2 are closet nihilists, or that they are even prepared to retreat to a “consistent” embrace of nihilism. They are simply doing what Wilson has described as trying to hold a beach ball under water. Or, as Paul says, they are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. They haven’t worked out the consequences of their atheism/materialism, but that’s not what was driving them anyway. Materialism is simply where they ended up because they rejected Christ; it had some surface appeal. Obviously we can’t just argue them back to Christ, but we can demonstrate the… Read more »

drewnchick
Member

Referencing Cartman will hardly get you in trouble here.
However, acting like Cartman certainly will!

adad0
Member

Wait! Wait! “We’ve got thumbs.” Right ?????

Ian Miller
Member

“You’re unique!” (Great reference!)

adad0
Member

No, I am one of them “Plagiarists”!
See Wilson’s song “Science Fiction” in the video gallery of this blog! ; – )

Ian Miller
Member

(I know – my parents had the song on cassette tape when I was a wee lad) :)

adad0
Member

The animation makes it even more fun!????

Sandra Koke
Guest
Sandra Koke

Can someone please translate the Greek word for me?

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt
40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
Guest
40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN

“Imagine there’s no Lennon. It’s easy if you try.” Mark David Chapman, Covenant College’s Most Famous Alumnus

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

Um, that could be read as an incitement to violence. It could also be read as an indictment of Chapman’s religion or college. Did I leave anything out?

Michael Keith Blankenship
Guest
Michael Keith Blankenship

i don’t like John Lennon.

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

So much Wilsonian windbaggery to whip up a rhetorical dust storm to hide what is now an established scientific theory. A theory like gravity, like heliocentrism, like the germ theory of disease, that sits on a mountain of evidence. We are evolved. We share a common ancestor with all living things on earth. We are primates who have evolved consciousness. You use vaccines (evolution in action!) then deny what has undoubtably saved the lives of many close to you. It drives god into the corner where he now resides and you cling to all that is left. The transcendental argument.… Read more »

adad0
Member

Vaccines are somewhat intelligent design in action! Although the regimens do “evolve “, by design of course !????

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

Evolutionary principles were used to produce many of our best vaccines. Evolution is also one of the biggest challenges to those vaccines as the organisms adapt and work counter to the vaccines themselves. But of course you know this as it is science 101.

adad0
Member

Randi, do keep talking here. The dialogue seems reasonably healthy. Re: semantics, adaptation and evolution are not exactly the same thing. i.e. measles don’t turn into fish, as a response to vaccines, they just turn into dead or more resistant measles. The human side of vaccination is pretty much all “design”, a.k.a. “science”.

Christopher
Member

And yet the viruses are still viruses.

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

I would just like to point out that you apply a moral standard here as if it mattered. “Don’t waste this real existence” is a moral imperative. Why does the universe care and what does “waste” even mean? You have to borrow from God even to deny him.

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

No I do not. Only in your world of presuppositional apologetics.

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

On the contrary, you do. And that was just one example. Other moral cues: “windbaggery”, “whip up”, and “hide”, and that doesn’t even exhaust your first paragraph. You insist on truth, whatever that is, and give us a creed. You smuggle little bits of traditional morality into your thinking in order to blow up traditional morality. You prove too much. If you were right, it would only prove that you’re wrong.

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

I don’t need presuppositional morality to recognize bluster. You invoke god to prove god via TAG. Slick and more sticky, but ultimately merely circular logic.

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

Your moral indignation is showing. If you really believed what you say you’d be catatonic.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I don’t see that this would necessarily be true. Millions of Buddhists seem to lead happy and virtuous lives without a belief in God. I believe they are mistaken, but it is impossible to deny that they have developed a nontheistic moral code that emphasizes kindness, truthfulness, and so on.

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

I’m not disputing any of that but claiming that no one can be a consistent atheist because atheism implies nihilism and nihilism refutes itself.

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

I think you may not completely understand practical atheism. Most atheists would never say for certain that there is no god. More that there is no real evidence for god. It is not probable. As there is no evidence for the famed celestial teapot. I think most atheists would explain that claiming (as I do) they are atheists is mostly a way to plant a conversational flag.

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

Isn’t practical atheism a species of nominal Christianity? The top Google hits seem to think so. What you’re describing sounds more like agnosticism to me. I’d rather debate an atheist.

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

In what way could not believing in god be construed as nominal christianity? That is beyond a loose version of christianity. I do not believe in a god and I cannot prove there isn’t one. But I will admit an infinitesimal probability that there may be one. And there is a similar probability of a celestial teapot circling the earth.

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

In what way could not believing in god be construed as nominal christianity?

Plenty of people consider themselves Christian without buying the doctrine. That’s nominal Christianity, Christian in name alone. Any Christianity that has a form of godliness but denies its power (2 Tim. 3:5) is practical atheism in the sense that it has the same effect as belief in no god.

For your improbable, may I suggest a chocolate cake orbiting Jupiter? It’s more poetic and absurd and even less likely.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I had a dear elderly friend who grew quite upset when I said my husband was not a Christian. As a Jew, he would not have welcomed being identified as a Christian. She felt it was equivalent to saying he was an unkind person with no moral values. I think she was a believer in a purely nominal sense where Christian is an adjective for unselfish and good. But I don’t think an agnostic or atheist would make that mistake.

Jane Dunsworth
Guest
Jane Dunsworth

Right, Proverbs14:1 was written in a culture where atheism was unknown. The problem wasn’t (isn’t) that people didn’t (don’t) acknowledge God, it’s that deep down, they didn’t (don’t) believe He was real enough to matter. This doesn’t apply to the case of the person who doesn’t acknowledge God, though — that’s a different topic than “practical atheism.” That’s just plain “atheism.” A celestial teapot circling the earth is far more improbable than God. For a celestial teapot to circle the earth, it would have to violate all kinds of known realities about the earth and the properties of teapots. God… Read more »

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

Well, no atheist I know is christian in name or practice, so that makes no sense. I reference Bertrand Russell’s teapot.

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

Russell’s teapot is (not) orbiting the Sun between Earth and Mars. That’s pretty improbable but he wrote that before Sputnik. I like to think he would go for the chocolate cake now.

Christopher
Member

Most atheists are not trying to be consistent atheists and don’t care about being consistent atheists. I think RandMan for instance would more accurately be called a naturalist or materialist than an atheist.

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

Many of them at least pretend to be all about logic and reason. They mock faith as being illogical.

Aren’t naturalism and materialism the same thing? Isn’t the essence of both that there is nothing supernatural?

Christopher
Member

“Many of them at least pretend to be all about logic and reason. They mock faith as being illogical.”
True

Aren’t naturalism and materialism the same thing? Isn’t the essence of both that there is nothing supernatural?
For most instances yes.

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

Indeed jillybean. The eightfold path and four noble truths the buddha discovered is one that requires no belief in god. (And predated christ by centuries.) Buddhism merely asks you to recognize the moment as it is and accept. Accumulating presence moment by moment. One after the next. By this process to notice that the non-dual nature of the self and the compassion that follows from this realization.

But I have been a practicing meditator for years and it was one of the great discoveries of my life.

drewnchick
Member

What exactly is non-circular about your theories?

John Rabe
Guest
John Rabe

You’re saying all these things, but all I’m seeing are bleeps and blips on a screen. Molecules moving molecules meaning nothing.

Todd
Guest
Todd

How is it that Christianity is an accident of time and place, and the philosophy that you have built your view on is not?

timothy
Guest
timothy

You all know what it feels like when you look at that hilarious statue
of Baphomet in Detroit, or think about the wrath of Poseidon when you
are out on the water. You reject those gods without a thought- perhaps
even with a laugh.

I don’t. I think they (can) represent real spiritual things. I definitely do not laugh about it.

Ryan Loyd
Guest
Ryan Loyd

Ok Randman, I’ll bite about your statement on vaccines. How are vaccines an example of evolution in action? The claim seems rather unsupportable, but I assume you have a thought process behind it. I see an intelligent preexposure of an organism’s already constructed immune system to a weakened pathogen to prevent disease with later exposure. What an I missing there? Given that vaccination doesn’t change the genetic code and isn’t passed down to posterity, and even if it was it is introduced by an intelligent agent, how is vaccination an example of evolution?

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

It is the interaction with the pathogen that gives us an example of evolution Ina action. Take the flu virus. Vaccines helps yhe body make antibodies to fight those selected strains.

But since flu viruses replicate quickly and have a high rate of genetic changes or mutation, the helpful antibodies you may have developed to a previous year’s strains often can’t attach to the new mutated viruses. Adaptation helps the flu virus thrive in its environment. It survives and multiplies. In other words, it evolves.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

So, to be clear, it is the virus, not the vaccine, that is actually evolution in the natural sense? The vaccine is an example of evolution genetically engineered by humans?

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

Hi jillybean! I meant that it is the adaptation and survival of the virus in the case of vaccines that is a great example of evolution… And how our understanding of evolution allows us to ‘evolve’ the vaccines.

Ryan Loyd
Guest
Ryan Loyd

Ahh…it is not the vaccine itself, but rather the virus’ response to vaccinated (or even previously infected and now immune) individuals that is an example of evolution. Guess I get the point now, but the vaccine itself doesn’t have anything to do with evolution, and claiming that a great scientific advance such as vaccines depends on evolutionary theory is pressing your claim a bit too far. I agree that some non-scientists can throw the baby out with the bathwater as concerns evolution, but I think most well educated Christians, including those at Answers in Genesis for example, are well aware… Read more »

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

My point was that vaccines are a great window into real time applications of the understanding of evolution. Our vaccines also ‘evolve’ (not the same meaning) to combat the adaptations.

Scientists make no real distinction between micro and macro evolution. They both use the same mechanism: evolution by means of natural selection and random mutation. This is a flashing yellow light to certain christians who do not want to admit common descent tho they may give lip service to ‘micro’ evolution. But there is no real difference.

Christopher
Member

“This is a flashing yellow light to certain christians who do not want to admit common descent”
That’s another question I have due to my contrarian natur: why must all life have a common ancestor? Couldn’t several diferent evolutionary ‘trees’ have grown along side each other?

Katecho
Member

The suggestion of “evolutionary trees” might be a flashing yellow light for certain evolutionists who do not want to admit the possibility of original created kinds.

Katecho
Member

RandMan appears to be trying to find an example of something practical that “science” has produced which depends on believing in evolution (I mean actual common-descnet evolution, not the kind of evolution that simply means “change”).

Unfortunately, I’m not aware of anything in the field of vaccination that requires faith in common descent, or even a belief that man shares an ancestor with apes. Maybe RandMan can give us an example of something scientific that requires such a belief. Anything?

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

Of course that is not what I am saying. But you know that, as your main game is reframing and misrepresenting to make up a point. You have no science behind you, only rhetoric, presuppositional apologetics and word salad. I do not claim to know how we began. But the jury is in (for now) about how we journeyed from that beginning. You know that the evidence is solid too- or you would directly address it. But you do not, because you cannot without looking idiotic. So you play this game. I do not need to find practicality in evolution.… Read more »

Christopher
Member

“p.s. A ‘belief’ that we share a common ancestor with other primates! You embarrass yourself. Yes, I also have a ‘belief’ that the earth revolves around the sun. Or that I won’t just float off the planet into space.”

I would even accuse you of having faith in those beliefs.

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

We have evidence for gravity and heliocentrism. Accusing me of faith is unnecessary.

Christopher
Member

The scientific method is an infinite loop if you accept the gathered evidence and stop looking for more you have faith in the evidence.

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

Science never stops looking for new evidence to understand the how and why of things and rests happily on faith. That is what differentiates it as a way of knowing things from religion.

It is built on kicking the tires again and again.

Christopher
Member

“Science never stops looking for new evidence to understand the how and why of things and rests happily on faith.”
Science and faith, even religious faith are not in conflict. Science is done by scientits and does not exist externaly from its application. If scientists stop looking for new evidence of x they accept what they have found about x on faith.

“That is what differentiates it as a way of knowing things from religion.”
Religion is not a way of knowing things. It is the result of knowing God.

drewnchick
Member

But since the “evolution-in-action” (viruses adapting to the presence of vaccines) doesn’t produce a new virus, only a different “strain” of the same virus, how is this evolution exactly and not just–oh, I don’t know–adaptation?

Katecho
Member

RandMan wrote:

Your christianity is an accident of time and place.

This isn’t saying much. In RandMan’s philosophy, everything is an accident of time and place, including RandMan, and his preference for atheism, and his quarrel with other bits of accidental matter banging around. Given this worldview, one wonders why RandMan thinks it matters what we believe (or what he believes) about anything. Is one accident more or less valuable than another? Why does RandMan favor his accidental beliefs over ours? How has RandMan transcended the accidental nature of his own existence? Do tell.

Katecho
Member

RandMan wrote: We have an evolved morality that possibly an outgrowth of in-group reciprocal altruism, like that which we see in other primates much like ourselves. Assuming that all of our behaviors are a product of evolution, RandMan might just as well have written that: We have evolved weapons of mass destruction which are an outgrowth of out-group unilateral selfishness, like that which we see in other primates much like ourselves. Or RandMan might just as well have written that: We have an evolved theistic majority that is possibly an outgrowth of increased intelligence and symbolic communication, like that which… Read more »

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

Silly. Jumbled nonsense. Funny though. So yeah, I also could have written: We have evolved an ability to misdirect and make confusing and unconnected analogies that when really looked at make no sense whatsoever. How is evolution different from god? Evidence. And of course evolution is not the origin of anything, but an elegant mechanism that explains much. Interesting also how you always shift the conversation to morality. It is all you have katecho. And it is not much. As you sit on a transcendental mountain of circular logic. Ultimately, god because (of course!) before…god. I liked you better a… Read more »

timothy
Guest
timothy

Silly. Jumbled nonsense.

Not true. The examples he lists are observable and just as valid as your assertions.

You can’t argue with someone who proudly rejects actual evidence as valuable.

That is not true. As BJ has explained above, we have access to both faith and reason. The two are not at war.

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

Two ‘ways of knowing’ that could not be more at war with one another.

timothy
Guest
timothy

There is at times tension; we are human, we are not God. The key is to tell God the truth and confess to Him our misgivings. He doesn’t mind. There is also synergy. Did you know that a scientist I admired since I was a boy–George Washington Carver–was a devout Christian and scientist? He asked God to let him understand the peanut. Carver claims (and I believe him) that God led and ‘teased’ Carver along–like a parent teaching a child how to learn. There is also the enormity of God that swamps reason as a petty thing. St. Augustine’s account… Read more »

John Rabe
Guest
John Rabe

I’ve always been delighted by the fact that Yoko Ono sued the makers of Ben Stein’s movie Expelled for using a bit of “Imagine” in the soundtrack without authorization.

Yep, the widow made a property claim in court over her husband’s song that wistfully admonishes us to “imagine no possessions.”

Fittingly, the filmmakers won the case, though under “fair use” law rather than on the proper grounds of “rank hypocrisy.”

valerieab
Member

“Some scientists think they all yelled whee! but I myself suspect it was something more like arghh!

We know which you were yelling as you wrote this.

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

And if you didn’t hear “arghh” in Charlie Brown’s voice, you didn’t do it right.

valerieab
Member

Um…no…it was whee! I had in mind. ;^)

Jane Dunsworth
Guest
Jane Dunsworth

Actually, that’s “augggh.”

drewnchick
Member

Perhaps he was dictating…

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

“The American legacy of slaves in the cotton fields for centuries, sweating under a blazing sky? Above them, only sky.”

This of course would not have bothered them “thanks to the patriarchal kindness of their wise evangelical masters, a positive, happy, and pleasant experience for the majority of southern blacks.”

drewnchick
Member

True.

timothy
Guest
timothy

That some find Lennon’s song comforting confounds me.

ArwenB
Guest
ArwenB

It’s an amazingly horrific song.

it’s probably the song the Green Lady was strumming in The Silver Chair

Christopher
Member

I think that has something to do with ‘streangth in numbers’ or something like that.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I think it has something to do with the pharmaceutical agents operating on our brains the first time we heard it.

Benjamin Bowman
Guest

Disposer supreme, and Judge of the earth, who choosest for thine the weak and the poor; to frail earthen vessels, and things of no worth, entrusting thy riches which ay shall endure. Those vessels soon fail, though full of thy light, and at thy decree are broken and gone; thence brightly appeareth the arm of thy might, as through the clouds breaking the lightnings have shone. Like clouds are they borne to do thy great will, and swift as the winds about the world go: the Word with his wisdom their spirits doth fill; they thunder, they lighten, the waters… Read more »

adad0
Member

Not bad Bowie! ; – )

(attribution please!)

Benjamin Bowman
Guest
adad0
Member

Whoops! No attribution! Please resign you monster!????

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

Someone was kind enough to email me that I was being talked about and would I please post a link to my blog. I’ve been busy with other things and the most recent entry on my blog is over a year old, but here’s the link: http://www.nohbdyimportant.blogspot.com I hope everyone is doing well. On the merits of this particular discussion, I think part of the problem is not just different paradigms, but that we define our terms differently. I think that when Doug talks about whether things can have meaning in the absence of God, he’s talking about something different… Read more »

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

You mistake. They believe your life has meaning–transcendent meaning–even though you deny it. The actual meaning you have doesn’t comport with your metaphysics.

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

Does live have meaning without God? Yes; why would I want to live in a trashcan even for a brief moment, when by having standards of ethics and morality I can instead enjoy five-star comfort?

Is this a defense of hedonism?

By the way, it is good to see you agreeing with the Apostle Paul at least once — “If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”” — 1 Cor 15:32

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

Not a defense of hedonism as the term is commonly understood. There is a difference between doing good things versus doing things that feel good at the moment. I do a great many things that don’t feel good at the moment but that have a long term payoff.

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

But a rapist might say basically the same thing as you — “Hey Krychek_2, I’m just trying to have a good time while I’m here, just like you. I just go about it differently. What’s the problem, man?”

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

Because the standard is not whether I’m having a good time. The standard is that there are certain types of behavior that make the world a more pleasant place to live, and rape is not one of those behaviors. While there is a certain amount of overlap, the two are not identical. Spend a few minutes seriously thinking through what of society would be likely to consider rape acceptable behavior. Then ask if that’s the kind of society you would enjoy living in. Acceptance of a particular behavior doesn’t occur in a vacuum; it’s a reflection of broader social norms… Read more »

drewnchick
Member

But apes, lions, horses, dogs, whales, and every other noble creature on this planet goes around having sex with whomever they want. We don’t chastise the local Labrador for humping the Irish Setter next door, which she may or may not want just then. Why do we assign the term “rape” to humans for simply behaving like all the other animals on the planet? By the way, what is this thing called “social norms and mores” of which you speak? Where did that come from?? And who’s to say that our acting like dogs wouldn’t “make the world a more… Read more »

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

Because humans are not the same as every other animal on the planet. We have the ability to think and reason, the capacity to recognize ethical and moral behavior, and the ability to conform our conduct to desired outcomes. Specific species may do some or all of those things to a lesser extent, but show me a dog with a well-developed understanding of right and wrong and then we’ll talk. And by the way, some of the more intelligent species do seem to have developed a rudimentary sense of morality. It’s nowhere near as well developed as ours, but the… Read more »

Jane Dunsworth
Guest
Jane Dunsworth

Rape increases mortality for rapists? That’s the only way your parallel makes sense.

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

It probably does slightly increase mortality for rapists since it increases the likelihood of the rapist being sent to prison, which is not conducive to long life and good health, or to being shot by an outraged husband, father or boyfriend. But be that as it may, my dietary parallel was directed to the specific question of whether someone can decide what is “good” and “bad”, and the answer, in both the case of a high-sugar diet and rape, is that yes, it is fairly simple to determine that these things are “bad” because of the consequences they cause. Granted,… Read more »

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

Above us, only sky … and Krychek_2.

John F. Kennedy
Guest
John F. Kennedy

” Yes, gentlemen, that really is your argument.”

I think you are missing the point of the transcendental argument. The argument is not that life has no meaning apart from God, but that (apart from God) any discussion about meaning; is itself absurd; because it presupposes the existence of God. So, this being the case, apart from God, not only is it absurd to talk about meaning, ethics, purpose, etc., it’s also absurd to think you have a choice between the Ritz or a Motel 6.

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

Oh, I understand that argument; I’ve just never heard a convincing argument for why meaning presupposes the existence of God.

Tim Mullet
Guest
Tim Mullet

At this point, one could make a distinction between personally perceiving something as meaningful and objectively justifying one’s perception.

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

One could, but I don’t see that that would get one very far since the same objection would apply to Christianity: You perceive eternity as meaningful, which is not the same as being able to objectively justify it, and even if you succeed in objectively justifying it, you would essentially be making the same arguments I make for temporal meaning. And hovering over all of this are two fairly critical points that I’ve never heard a good response to from your side of the aisle. First, even if you could succeed in showing that meaning presupposes the existence of God,… Read more »

drewnchick
Member

Have you ever read “Mere Christianity” by C. S. Lewis? A thoughtful perusal of the first four chapters or so of this book might help you understand what many Christians are unable to articulate, at least not very well. Lewis takes the “classical” approach, whereas Wilson (and many others here) take the VanTilian “presuppositional” approach. Either way, when the discussion is about good-and-evil, right-and-wrong, origins of morality, and the existence of God, both sides of the argument are being completely honest only when they admit they are exercising an enormous amount of faith in their position. This is because these… Read more »

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

I read Mere Christianity years ago, and long enough ago that I candidly don’t remember most of it. Perhaps I should take another look at it. Depending on how you define “faith”, I might or might not agree with you that a certain amount of it factors into abstract disciplines like philosophy and ethics. But the existence of God is a yes-or-no question of fact, and the problem with applying faith to a yes-or-no question of fact is that those questions don’t lend themselves to faith-based answers. It would be a statement of faith for me to say, “I know… Read more »

Kyle
Guest
Kyle

Bingo.

drewnchick
Member

It is a statement of faith for you to say, “I don’t believe…” It is a statement of truth/fact for you to say, “The evidence says…” This has nothing to do with belief; in fact, some will yet disbelieve a fact or reinterpret its meaning because it doesn’t fit with their existing belief system. In that regard, what you (and most atheists) are actually saying is, “I can’t prove God exists; therefore I believe–demonstrate faith–that He doesn’t.” This IS your assertion of belief, and it become especially poignant when you thereafter assert, “I believe we all came from a cosmic… Read more »

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

I don’t know if we came from a cosmic explosion, or if the universe always existed; there is evidence for both, and my worldview doesn’t depend on either. And it’s not even that I can’t prove God exists; it’s that I don’t even see any evidence for it. And don’t forget that my original pre-existing belief was Christianity; I was raised reformed and at one time believed pretty much what Doug does. Most of the atheists I know were raised religious. So I’ve already changed my core beliefs once when I became convinced the evidence didn’t support them. And that’s… Read more »

drewnchick
Member

What convinced you? What turned you away from the evidence (historical, written records, and eye witness testimony) of Jesus’ resurrection? Let’s start there. There is more conventional evidence for the truth of Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection than–say–the existence of Ramses II, Darius, Alexander, or even William Shakespeare. If you are intellectually honest, you will grant that Jesus did, in fact, exist, so then…what do you do with him? Call him a liar or fraudulent sheister for claiming to be God? Write him off as a lunatic or a demoniac? Or, was he in his right mind and telling… Read more »

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

Other than the four Gospels, what evidence for the resurrection (or even the existence) of Jesus do you have?

drewnchick
Member

Plenty…but answer my question(s) first, please.

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

What turned me away was that I became convinced the evidence wasn’t there. And I really wanted it to be there, so I gave it the benefit of every doubt. I believe that George Washington was an actual historical character, but that doesn’t mean I believe the story of the cherry tree. Jesus may or may not have been an actual historical figure, but that doesn’t mean every word or deed attributed to him actually happened. Don’t forget that the Gospels, and the rest of the New Testament, were written in an era in which forgeries were common, expected, and… Read more »

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

And one other thing. Here’s what I think really separates us: We probably both agree that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. So, is the extraordinary claim that the Bible is true, or that the Bible is not true?

Your side certainly talks and acts like it’s an extraordinary claim that the Bible is false for which extraordinary proof is required, but I think it’s the other way around. It’s far easier to believe that someone’s followers embellished certain details than it is to believe that a man rose from the dead.

D.L.
Guest
D.L.

Seems to me it would be extraordinary if we observed you and, say, Randman and 9 or 10 others, suddenly going about proclaiming as truth something you knew to be untrue, doing it at the cost of your lives. It would strike me as extraordinary if I heard you had been stoned by the people of Iconium for your statements, left for dead outside the city, and then noticed you back in the town the following day with the same message, especially if the explanation was that you knew your statements to be completely false, but you were inclined toward… Read more »

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

The disciples may not have been the ones doing the embellishing; as I pointed out earlier, just because the Gospel of John claims to have been written by the Apostle John doesn’t mean it wasn’t actually the work of a forger writing fiction in John’s name. There is good evidence that much of the New Testament was written by people other than the apostles, who fraudulently signed apostolic names to it. Try reading the text critically instead of just mechanically taking what it says at face value. Ask the same questions you would ask of the Koran or the Book… Read more »

D.L.
Guest
D.L.

You could test your hypothesis. Try forging a gospel first. Find a group of people being persecuted to death by their government, and forge a letter as if to explain to them the basis of their beliefs, and see if they keep the letter or discard it. Next, try an epistle – forge a letter in which you drop a lot of names of people they know and love, say you are sending it in the hand of a friend they know, and see if they keep the letter. Try forging some letters to Doug’s church perhaps. Should be interesting.

D.L.
Guest
D.L.

I note that you mentioned “someone who basically turned Palestine upside down” which is accurate, although too limited; the overturn of the Roman world is rather a striking period in history hard to account for except for the message of the Gospels. Tacitus might be disappointed to learn you hadn’t examined his histories. But Luke as a historian has proven to be very trustworthy in all sorts of details you might not dispute. Why do you disregard his input, if you really want evidence?

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

Well, the Prophet Mohammed basically turned Arabia and North Africa upside down, and a Muslim apologist would argue that that period in history is hard to account for except for the message of the Koran. Do you find that argument persuasive when Muslims make it? If not, why is it any more persuasive when Christians make it?

Christopher
Member

“Other people at the time were writing and keeping records, yet other than the Gospel writers none of them seem to have noticed him.”
According to the gospels the ones trying to get Jesus noticed were demon posessed. Jesus told people not to publicize what he had done. According to the gospels Jesus tried to keep a low profile and he apparently succeded.

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

Go over his famous Imagine with a thoughtful eye and ear, and the only thing that makes any sense whatever would be the chord changes.

Well, it was kinda written by Forrest Gump, remember.

Luke Pride
Guest

Hooray to Wilson for using many comic book images. But who is that? Is it Ice Man? The guy who controls atoms from Watchmen? I don’t think it’s silver surfer…

Christopher
Member

I think it’s dr manhaten from the watchmen.

Luke Pride
Guest

They win so much because they categorize any stance about the universe, or morals, based on revelation as religious opinion and have convinced themselves that the things they believe are as objective as physical law, though how in the same breath they deny any objective law that is not physical and then cry about peace and love is beyond me.

AW
Guest
AW

Wow, you really didn’t understand the video. There is a lot that is sad and broken about it, but he obviously was not self-identifying as a 6 year old. It was a joke about the little girl wanting to be the big sister. Also, “adoptive families” are meant for support for transgender people whom have been disowned by their own family. They are not literally adopting him, let alone as their 6 year old daughter. There is a lot to be disputed in the video, but dispute the sadness and sinfulness that resulted from the transition, don’t use nonfactual exaggerations… Read more »