Monday, June 7, 2010 148 Comments

President Colacho makes you his bitch

For those who haven't yet seen them, the aphorisms of Nicolás Gómez Dávila.

148 Comments:

Anonymous Paul Milenkovic said...

Without intending respect for the O.T. prophets, whole portions of the Bible are devoted to the prophets essentially offering up a scolding -- you guys blew it, you sinned, you kept idols and worshipped foreign gods and done a whole bunch of unmentionable things, and now you are suffering in exile or worse and you deserve all of the misery you got, but not to worry, here are a some Messianic prophesies that Jews and Christians will get to disagree about some centuries later, and things will get better.

Essentially it is the narrative that decadence leads to decline and we need to don sackcloth and ashes (carbon footprints, anyone? Anyone?)

The thing is, it seems that the core of the Bible narrative is parked inside what is known as the First Dark Ages, or the Ancient Greek Dark Ages. What is the Exodus, circa 1200 BCE? It is not known what Pharoh got wupped, but the general idea is around the time of Ramses II, who represented perhaps the peak of Pharohdom, and it was all downhill in Egypt ever after.

When did Solomon build the First Temple -- 1000 BCE? When did Israel (the Northern Tribes) get conquered -- 800-ish, and when was the fall of Judah -- 600-ish?

That timeline seems to be smack dab in the middle of what is believed to be the First Dark Ages, and Jerry Pournelle has this thing that they were really dark, not like the Medieval Dark Ages where the darkness is some kind of propaganda.

One consequence of this is that Bible history has so little corroboration in other cultures, making the Bible suspect as a historical account. Do you suppose the cultures who could have corroborated it were in decline? The Greeks lost and then completely reinvented their system of writing during that period.

The other aspect to it is that Israel had its Golden Age during this Dark Age, and Israel's decline and captivity corresponds to the Great Powers of that part of the world and time getting their, ahem, "stuff" together.

So Israel is sacked by the Assyrians, then Judah is taken captive by Babylon (Iraq), and after that becomes a client state of Persia (Iran), and after that, a client state or a puppet state under Alexandrian Greece and later Rome.

Apparently the Persian sponsorship were good times as the Persian kings kinda, sorta, tolerated the Jewish religion. That Persia fell to Alexander brought on bad times as the Alexandrian Greeks (all of those Selucids, Pelucids, Ptolemies, or who have you) were clueless as to Jewish religious sensitivies, and as for the Romans, you are into the "Life of Brian" account of how that went.

The point of this being that Israel kind of snuck through the cracks of whan the Near Eastern and Middle Eastern Great Powers weren't so great, allowing Israel to be great under Solomon, but once the Great Powers got back on their feet, Israel was forever after a client state or a vassal state of one or other Great Power, and there was not much they could do about it whether they were good or sinful, and any relief from this was punted into some future Messianic or apocalytic prophetic time.

Is there some lesson in this? It seems that the greatness of Israel was the result of some greatly disrupted equilibrium, and when things got back to "normal", Israel got back to being pushed around, which was the normal state of affairs for a country that size.

Some of the greatness of America has to do with a disturbed equilibrium of the upheavals of the 20'th Century, and when Europe and China get their "stuff" back together, maybe America will trend back to the kind of agrarian backwater that was its place in the world before being stuck center stage. On the other hand, both Europe and China seem to be having a lot of trouble getting their "stuff" together, so maybe America has more time left in the sun.

June 7, 2010 at 7:39 PM  
Anonymous evil rocks said...

I know little about early American history, Paul, but I've been reading accounts of what is now the United States and S.A. supporting massive (albeit technologically unmotivated due to [in my analysis] food abundance) populations before European diseases arrived to kill off some ~90% of the local population. I don't really get your "agricultural backwater" comment in this context and would welcome further clarification. 1491 is where most of my information on this topic comes from (and archaeologists in the family) so I'd also welcome some further reading for insight into the "backwater" comment.

Unless we're on the same page, in which case, whatever. I get it. They had enough food and population controls to avoid having to advance up the tech tree.

June 7, 2010 at 8:42 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

I've also heard the theory that the Bible is so unreliable even that period of "greatness" may be made up. The Exodus story is widely thought to be bogus.

June 7, 2010 at 9:11 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

What new revelations are published in 2005 by magazine contributor Charles Mann about the year 1491, which convince someone that pre-historic tribes in a food glut are not in an agricultural backwater or worse?

June 7, 2010 at 9:58 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

Mencius, if you don't let my comments through I'm gonna find you at the next Star Wars convention and beat you.

June 8, 2010 at 6:15 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Jesus, TGGP, could you at least link to articles not written by retards?

What does the electability of the Pharaoh have to do with the morality of killing the first born?

Try to read folks who aren't choking on the cock of democracy, will you?

June 8, 2010 at 7:28 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

Palmer,

CTFO.

June 8, 2010 at 7:59 AM  
Anonymous jkr said...

gina palmer gets sensitive when her christian faith gets dragged into it. she even begins her comments with incantations to jesus.

June 8, 2010 at 8:09 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Sigh.

jkr--really, you're quite boring and often wrong.

Josh--there's nothing to chill the fuck out about--TGGP's anti-religious bias is causing him to quote someone who is equally blinded by democracy.

Even the most naturally atheist reactionary (possibly a contradiction) like MM knows that religion is useful, if not essential to an ordered society.

June 8, 2010 at 10:41 AM  
Anonymous jkr said...

We're all often wrong, dipsh*t.

Am I wrong now? Notice you don't deny or affirm your Christian belief, while jumping all over anyone who's comments run afoul of Christian dogma and accusing others of "bias."

We all have biases. Some state theirs plainly, others conceal them.

June 8, 2010 at 11:03 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

sigh.

at the obvious risk of feeding you, i've never denied my "christian belief" as you put it.

that has little to do with my upbraiding of tggp, however. if he's got a hard-on for disproving ancient texts, he can have at it but he'd do well to choose arguments by people who aren't obviously idiots.

and humanity's propensity toward error doesn't validate your arguments. tu quoque is a dead bird, bub.

June 8, 2010 at 12:06 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Palmer, why is Yudkowsky obviously an idiot? The guy is certainly misguided about a number of things (first and foremost the power of his own intellect), but he's hardly what I would consider an idiot. If you're going to go around calling all believers in democracy idiots, you're going to find yourself in an Only Sane Man situation rather quickly. Calling such slander "obvious" is not a substitute for actually explaining it.

Also, I can see why Moldy has shied away from posting lately if these first few comments are indicative of the level of discourse of his readers. Maybe it's time to flex some of that elitist muscle and start moderating comments more heavily.

June 8, 2010 at 2:53 PM  
Blogger Colin said...

The point of noticing that the pharaoh was unelected was to suggest that if the people had elected him, then they might plausibly be thought to share some of the guilt for his deeds. Since he wasn't, the punishment of the Egyptians with plagues seems perverse and unjust. Not to mention the whole heart-hardening bit. That's not democracy-worship. I do think it's odd that if things happened as described in Exodus, that there is no corroborating evidence of it. You'd think people would not quickly forget a demonstration like that.

June 8, 2010 at 3:20 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

I'm definately enjoying Colacho's aphorisms... the brief overview of his work is also interesting. I bet there's a wealth of continental authors who've yet to be noticed or translated into English.

June 8, 2010 at 6:06 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

This one sounds like Mencius' whole program:

#915
If only the philosophers of the 18th century would rise from the dead with their wit, their sarcasm, their audacity, so that they would undermine, dismantle, demolish the “prejudices” of this century.
The prejudices they bequeathed to us.

June 8, 2010 at 6:11 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Michael & Colin

It was hardly unjust as the people were the Pharaoh's responsibility and his inaction caused them to suffer greatly.

June 8, 2010 at 6:12 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Anti-religion bias? I have always denied being a secularist (or humanist) because I merely regard religion as untrue rather than particularly harmful. I don't know whether it's beneficial, but it seems nearly universal for the modal human being, so I just accept it as given. I suppose like most normal Americans Yudkowsky he gives democracy too much credit, but relative to the average he strikes me as significantly less enamored of it. In terms of raw IQ I think Yudkowsky is way out there, though he doesn't seem as rational as Hanson or Hopefully Anonymous. Moreso than our host at least.

I didn't even remember anything about democracy in there, just about the discrepancy of records regarding the Hebrew people and the extent of Egyptian domains. I have made plain with Yudkowsky my complaints about his meta-ethics and stated that I had no problem believing in a God whose behavior violates whatever man-made shibboleths are the current fad.

June 8, 2010 at 6:42 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

TGGP,

Granted, I haven't read your blog in a while, but it came off awful Hitchensy.

'Course, I've got that plank of pro-religion bias in my eye, but as I say, I try to be aware of it.

The "unelected Pharaoh" quip was far too much--as if the fact the Pharaoh was a king somehow made the plagues an even worse punishment on the people of Egypt. Sheesh.

A note about the historicity of it all--apart from any shaky historical/archeological evidence--obviously the Hebrews had some contact with the Egyptians, even if it was "inflated."

Ah well.

June 8, 2010 at 7:17 PM  
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June 9, 2010 at 3:00 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Paul Romer seems to have given up denying the accusations that he's a neo-colonialist:
http://chartercities.org/blog/144/luebeck-as-the-first-charter-city

June 10, 2010 at 9:53 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Well, it seems like something is trickling down.

Thanks for the link TGGP.

June 10, 2010 at 10:00 PM  
Anonymous The 27th Comrade said...

If Don Colacho gets you hard:
Here, and here as well. In the league of Ecclesiastes.

Meanwhile: what is this garbage about it being unjust for God to do whatever? How can an atheist judge a God he doesn’t believe in? (Or judge His prophets, who, after all, “are just acting out their phenotypes necessarily”?) And how can a God be judged at all?

June 11, 2010 at 2:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God wasn't even elected. If he did exist, America would have to color revolution him and arrest his angels. Divine sovereignty, my nutz. Democratic revolution!

June 11, 2010 at 1:00 PM  
Anonymous Rollory said...

"And how can a God be judged at all?"

Somebody's gotta do it.

Who else should an atheist trust with the power of making such judgements? A fundamental philosophical underpinning of atheism is the decision that one is individually capable of making moral judgements to whatever extent is required by the individual's life. It means being an independent adult in the truest and most final sense.

It may not be possible for any human to actually reach the wisdom required to exercise such judgement, but proving whether one has or hasn't isn't easy.

June 11, 2010 at 5:40 PM  
Anonymous God said...

Dude, you can't even spell judgment, let alone exercise it.

God 1, philosophical atheist 0.

June 11, 2010 at 7:10 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

When belief in god fails, god's belief in us also fails. That's our biggest loss. The will to do great things with confidence is lost. Why would anyone risk life, limb, family and men for a great and hard task, if one does not feel god's belief in one's self and one's task? Why should an individual oppose evil if he doesn't believe he has at least one vote of confidence? This of course has nothing to do with the existence or nonexistence of god, but only the belief in that existence. The belief in god makes decisions much more black and white, with far fewer backdoors out of duty (one's family, one's reputation, one's own life and well being) A kind of spiritual sponsor is needed for man to always do right, even if its only one god among many greater and lesser gods. Without that belief, life becomes much more nuanced, i.e., more cowardly.

June 11, 2010 at 8:00 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

I'm an atheist and I believe there is no objective basis for moral judgments. Mencius has also indicated that he thinks the is-ought gap is unbridgeable.

Bakunin said if God really existed, it would be necessary to destroy him. I think the quip occurred independently to this geek.

For those of you interested in theology, Austin Bramwell has some recommended books you can find online.

June 11, 2010 at 8:26 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

God wasn't even elected. If he did exist, America would have to color revolution him and arrest his angels. Divine sovereignty, my nutz. Democratic revolution!

June 11, 2010 1:00 PM


There are ancient rumors of such a color revolution against God.

Thankfully, the sinister democratic revolutionaries failed and the Cosmic-Authoritarian-Patchwork emerged triumphant. Unfortunately, that was the last time democracy was held back.

June 11, 2010 at 8:36 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

I'm an atheist and I believe

Atheists have faith in everything but God.

June 12, 2010 at 7:22 AM  
Anonymous jkr said...

GM, I see you're trying your hand at the aphorism. Hint: they're supposed to make sense.

June 12, 2010 at 11:24 AM  
Anonymous jkr said...

TGGP, yes, if such a thing as god or gods did exist, we would have to either a) be their slaves, b) destroy them, c) destroy ourselves.

The idea that there are super-beings of unlimited power and knowledge, out in the ether, with no requirements to sustain their life, and yet who are modeled on man - a somewhat comical, somewhat frightening primate in the eyes of all other creatures - is the most anthropocentric blasphemy and myopia ever dared by mankind in its long, daring history.

June 12, 2010 at 11:46 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

JKR:

The sentiment is not mine but attributed to Chesterton.

The "modeled on man" quote was cute.

June 12, 2010 at 11:55 AM  
Anonymous jkr said...

We have undoubtedly created God in our own image and continue to do so.

At one point god was a hero and a warrior, the sponsor and mascot of every warlike tribe...

At a later point God became a serene and virtuous philosopher, not far in advance of a Socrates in bearing and manner.

Once god was a jealous and angry despot, craving honor and submission, and smiting scores of men when his fragile honor was injured.

Finally God has become a fatigued and gentle modern man who listens to and helps the common man with all his troubles and hardships, and does not offend anyone. He is now the domesticated and democratic servant of every man and woman and all their most petty concerns and desires.

The development and metamorphosis of the conception of God shows man how far he's declined and deteriorated from former times. God has become a ghastly sight, able to lift the spirits even of the most wearied and sickliest.

June 12, 2010 at 11:59 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Also it states clearly in the New Testament that we are to be slaves to God.

And Bob Dylan makes a pretty good case too.

As the Doctor said, the Devil was the first Whig.

June 12, 2010 at 11:59 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Ah, presentism--the favorite faith of the progressive. I suppose you'll be singing about the singularity next?

June 12, 2010 at 12:01 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

Not merely slaves - that would be tolerable and not without its honor - but his purposeless and comical machines and automatons. If god existed everything would become a macabre farce. I'm not sure we could endure the indignity. We would have to abolish not god, but ourselves, in such a case.

June 12, 2010 at 12:10 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

In any case, if God did exist, man would be well advised to put down and stop eating the fruit of knowledge. Because there is no way to reconcile the one with the other. For man to be a contented machine and slave, he could not suffer books and thinking.

June 12, 2010 at 12:17 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

The existence of God does not extinguish free will.

June 12, 2010 at 12:17 PM  
Anonymous The 27th Comrade said...

Rollory says: “Who else should an atheist trust with the power of making such judgements? A fundamental philosophical underpinning of atheism is the decision that one is individually capable of making moral judgements to whatever extent is required by the individual's life. It means being an independent adult in the truest and most final sense.”
The atheist is wrong in expecting that we should have an infinite series of judges. If you don’t agree that there necessarily must be an unjudged judge, you are probably one of those people modern fools call wise. “But who created God?”, and other such what-comes-before-the-beginning things. However, if you think that you are the terminus to this chain, you are wrong. (I just judged you, O atheist.)
Atheism may imply “being an independent adult in the truest and most final sense”, but also remember that logical positivism meant being logical in the truest and most-final sense. Now, go and put flowers on that grave.
Do you know that “Übermensch” shouldn’t even make sense to an atheist, even though only the atheist pines after it? Or, as Don Colacho puts it, A philosophy’s atheism consists less in denying God than in not finding a place for Him.

God says: “Dude, you can't even spell judgment, [...]”
You created Brits. Your bloody fault.

TGGP says: “I'm an atheist and I believe there is no objective basis for moral judgments.”
If you’re an atheist, you cannot believe there is an objective basis for anything. (Doing so would be a fatal self-contradiction, especially if it is couched in such a sentence. And they wonder why William Lane Craig has them for lunch, repeatedly.)

The only problem you have to deal with now is that you also don’t believe there is a basis for objective meta-moral judgement (which is what your sentence is). Self-refutation is easier than people think.

But to try my hand at an aphorism (and fail): A wrong plus “everything is subjective” makes a right.

June 12, 2010 at 12:55 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

"Atheists have faith in everything but God."
Did I say I had "faith" in something? Am I not to entertain any beliefs, from my current location, to arithmetic equalities to laws of physics? If I had instead said I believe there IS an objective basis for morality in the absence of God you would of course lambaste me for pseudo-atheism.

jkr, are we excluding the possibility of merely existing indifferently, as the Piraha perhaps do? My old ultra-Calvinist God (resembling nothing so much as Azathoth) predetermined everything, making slavery unavoidable and destruction of an omnipotent being impossible. Even if we did destroy ourselves, we would merely be acting out his inscrutable plan.

"The existence of God does not extinguish free will."
It's not necessary, since the concept is incoherent at any rate.

June 12, 2010 at 12:56 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

GM, I do admire your ability to affirm faith in God alongside your intellectuality. It's an interesting ability, like juggling.

Can you elaborate on "presentism?" I'm sure I'm not guilty of it, but it sounds interesting.

It's all about sharing. What good is being intellectual without it? So indulge me.

June 12, 2010 at 1:08 PM  
Anonymous The 27th Comrade said...

TGGP says: “Did I say I had "faith" in something? Am I not to entertain any beliefs, from my current location, to arithmetic equalities to laws of physics?”
You have faith in the workings of your mind, for example, even though you do not state it like that. You have faith in an ape mind. That should trouble you at least as much as it troubled Sir Charles Darwin.
And since you know what Hume says on induction (which is where we get our cherished “laws of physics”), you know that we cannot take regularities in physics to be laws, but rather to be historical records. Unless we have (blind, gut) faith.
And also, you have never verified that “Humans evolved bipedal locomotion to be able to see over high weeds,” but you believe it by (blind, gut) faith.
A wise Brit once said “[Science] must die, like any other, when its roots in the Tao are cut.” Have faith, TGGP: it birthes everything, and it is nothing to be ashamed of.

June 12, 2010 at 1:10 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

TGGP, I covered that incidentally in the next post, where I said yes, but we should then do away with books and thinking, as all slaves should, who wish to be contented with their lot. Man seems to be capable of adjusting to almost any circumstances, and possibly flourishes most in the harshest (under God's whip?).

That's one of the biggest problems I've perceived in economic and utilitarian thinking. People don't have any idea what is "good" for them. Neither consumers nor entrepreneurs can lead us into the promised land. We can't even remember back two generations. Our grandfathers' promised land was entirely different from ours, and so it was with theirs.

Whatever circumstances we are plunged into, we adjust to and find our measure of "happniness," so that with every generation, some people think they live in the best of possible worlds, even if they live in the worst, in the most intolerable degradation to an earlier generation's taste and inclination.

Capitalism, all its merits aside, cannot be the one true path to the "good" of mankind. We will find "happiness" (i.e., contentedness, resignation) even in the sewer. If we only knew how much worse it will get. Imagine only how our great grandfather's might shrink in horror if they could have seen into the future.

We seem to be willing to swallow almost anything with a stupid grin.

That's why books (knowledge of the past) is so disruptive to life, and dangerous to social stability. At present, no one living "caused" our present state. No one wished for it, but millions will endeavor at all costs to preserve it.

June 12, 2010 at 1:28 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

"But to try my hand at an aphorism (and fail): A wrong plus “everything is subjective” makes a right."

Exactly. Perspective is the fundamental condition of life. Everything is subjective, because everything looks out from it's own little corner at what it calls "the world." There is no "god's eye," because there is no god.

If there was a god, his mind would be the most cluttered chaos of confusion. What would he see if could could see out of the eye and into the mind of every insignificant little creature, including man. Every creature, every species, every person, is dominated and immersed, almost 100%, in its own paltry perspective and condition of existence.

God would have very little to learn by peering out of the eye of every living glob. Aside from the utterly limited and utilitarian view each creature possesses, nearly all of the perspective would be pointless overlap, even among learned men...

As for "morality," the shifting sands of this blown-out conception have always been just the beach front property of a specific perspective, a class of men, and their internalized justification of their condition, interests, and power. Moralizing starts as a weapon and becomes a confused habit.

June 12, 2010 at 1:44 PM  
Anonymous The 27th Comrade said...

jkr says: “Exactly. Perspective is the fundamental condition of life. Everything is subjective, because everything looks out from it's own little corner at what it calls "the world."”
You still don’t see that what you say is not subjective?
Saying “There are no objective truths!” is like saying what the logical positivists said, and going as they did.
The denial of objectivity is self-refuting, and incurably-so.

“If there was a god, his mind would be the most cluttered chaos of confusion.”
Is this subjective, for example, or objective?
How can one make a fiercely-objective set of pronouncements the proof and back-up of the claim that “Nothing is objective”?

“God would have very little to learn by peering out of the eye of every living glob.”
You are wrong—objectively. God doesn’t learn anything; the universe doesn’t grow hotter.

Moralizing starts as a weapon and becomes a confused habit.”
The rejection of morals (and the objectivity thereof) is itself a moral pronouncement. Do you realise that your charge against the “class of men, and their internalized justification of their condition, interests, and power” is a moral one? And one you intend to be objective, at that?

June 12, 2010 at 2:01 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

"You still don’t see that what you say is not subjective?"

Of course it is. Man can't escape from his own skin... To say something is true is to say it is true from our perspective.

"You are wrong—objectively. God doesn’t learn anything; the universe doesn’t grow hotter."

Right. So there is no objectivity, only subjective perspectives. The sum total of all doesn't equal an objective one, just a multipilicity of conflicting perspectives. That is, so far as we (I) are able to ascertain with our own subjective perspective.

"Do you realise that your charge against the “class of men, and their internalized justification of their condition, interests, and power” is a moral one?"

It wasn't a charge at all, but an interpretation. Ha, I would never venture to judge morality.

June 12, 2010 at 2:18 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

27th comrade,

Everything anyone posits can be reduced to meaninglessness, yours included, by your set of statements.

When we aim to characterize "the world," the best we can do is aptly characterize ourselves in our own language. For that to work, we have to assume we are speaking the same language, which is a leap. All language dilutes and reduces a thing to its most common denominator, and usually misses the mark.

F*ck, talking on a comments thread is little more than intellectual masturbation. It's only an attempt at intercourse.

June 12, 2010 at 2:28 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

Now let's get out of the mindfuck tunnel and try to get back to discussing the world, i.e., our world. Our paltry human nook, where our common thought and language work.

June 12, 2010 at 2:38 PM  
Blogger Deogolwulf said...

TGGP,

Why such faith in a poor figment of an eighteenth-century philosopher’s mind? If you really do believe that there is an is-ought gap, then don’t you also believe that you ought to believe so? Mind you, that’s not a problem if you abandon an obligation to rationality, an abandonment which is all the rage these days, as much if not more so amongst those who fancy to call themselves rationalists. Perhaps we ought to call that obligation an old dogma to be rejected by all free-thinkers.

Here is a little argument for you, incorporating that hidebound dogma:

I. There is an is-ought gap.
II. A rational animal ought to accept what is.
III. I am a rational animal.
Therefore,
IV. I ought to accept that there is an is-ought gap.
Therefore,
V. Oh dear.

By the way, you seem to have slipped into making philosophical claims again (“is-ought gap”, “no objective basis for moral judgments”, “the concept [of freewill] is incoherent”) in spite of your fancy to eschew them. Doing philosophy carelessly or unawares does not constitute its avoidance.

June 12, 2010 at 6:30 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Presentism is a word MM used (I think) to describe the idea that "now" is substantively different from "back then."

June 12, 2010 at 9:17 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

G.M., ass-backwards as usual.

Wikipedia: "Presentism is a mode of historical analysis in which present-day ideas and perspectives are anachronistically introduced into depictions or interpretations of the past."

This is the whole thing which makes almost every historical movie unwatchable to me. At the same time, it is the one thing which makes most movies watchable and marketable to the average viewer. Without presentism, "the people" would be unable to watch and enjoy any movie set more than 20 years back.

Once more we see the utter incompatibility of genuine culture (and any real intellectuality) with a mass commercial society. And we see the basic egoism of the petty individual who takes himself as the center and extrapolates backward and forward, to infinity...

A hilarious parody of this is the recent movie "Year One" with Jack Black and Michael Cera. Also, any 1950s-60s depiction of the future, say a Twilight zone epi set 50 years ahead, where its just the 50s still, with "futuristic" technology, though of course conceived of at a 1950 level of knowledge.

The lesson of "presentism" is that it was different "back then," not the reverse, as you stated.

June 12, 2010 at 9:59 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

Mencius on presentism:

"One easy solution is to apply the standards of the present to the past. This is called presentism. In general, the results of presentism are so dire, comical, and infamous that we cannot avoid concluding that something is terribly wrong either with the method, or the present, or both. Surely this pattern holds true for evidentiary standards.

For example, a common present standard of truth is that the New York Times is always right. We could follow the logic of presentism and apply this to the past, by saying that just as the New York Times of 2009 is always right, the New York Times of 1909 is just as always right. This, in turn, can be easily refuted by showing that the two occasionally disagree.

We also could be pastists and apply the standards of 1909 to 2009. This would be much more fun, and probably produce better results. But at a philosophical level, it is no less gay."

http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2009/06/evidence-in-current-history.html

June 12, 2010 at 10:05 PM  
Anonymous Look Think Do said...

I'm a bit late to this fracas, but seeing god-ists claim that atheism (a very unsatisfactory term, telling you not what one is, but what one is not; I prefer rationalist myself) lacks a moral underpinning, I'm compelled to dispel this notion. See my post on this very subject:

http://look-think-do.livejournal.com/609.html

In fact, morality is much more cogently explained from a rationalist-evolutionary perspective rather than as a dos and donts list given out by an entity with as much evidence of existence as Santa.

June 13, 2010 at 12:56 AM  
Anonymous The 27th Comrade said...

jkr says: “Man can't escape from his own skin... To say something is true is to say it is true from our perspective.”
Man can escape from his own skin (even though other animals may not be able to). He just has to believe in God, because God only sees from the objective viewpoint. If you are informed of God, you are informed of the objective.
But you modern people don’t believe in other minds, so there is little hope for you to ever even believe, for example, that even “Everything is subjective!” would have to be objective.

Like I said, self-refutation is easier than most people think.

“That is, so far as we (I) are able to ascertain with our own subjective perspective.”
Why do you make objective pronouncements, then, such as this one (regardless of the pseudo-censored “we”)? I mean, do you know the meaning of “objective” and still take this your sentence—“So there is no objectivity, only subjective perspectives.”—to make sense?

“It wasn't a charge at all, but an interpretation.”
It was a charge. I’m not a modern, around whom you can dance with a thesaurus that is masquerading as a dictionary. (See how carefully I place my commas, for example!)

jkr says: “Everything anyone posits can be reduced to meaninglessness, yours included, by your set of statements.”
Unless you believe in God. When people tell you that rejecting God leads to meaninglessness, don’t let them think they are being original. You yourself just declared it.
You need a forever-and-always-objective viewpoint—God’s—if you will flee the alternative, which is where (as you put it) everything anyone posits can be reduced to meaninglessness.
If you see the moderns—“freedom is slavery”, “life is not designed”, Orgel’s Second Rule, “gay marriage”, “all humans are equal”, “God doesn’t exist”, “physics is our metaphysics”, “democracy is free and fair”, “everything is subjective”—in that your charge, congratulations: welcome to the pain.

”When we aim to characterize "the world," the best we can do is aptly characterize ourselves in our own language. For that to work, we have to assume we are speaking the same language, which is a leap. All language dilutes and reduces a thing to its most common denominator, and usually misses the mark.”
For starters (d’après Wittgenstein), there is no possibility of a single-user language. I hope you see the problem that this poses for metaphysical naturalism. And in particular, I hope you see that, based on the impossibility of private language, every human mind concedes that there are some objective truths, regardless of what philosophy or Übermenschish ideology may bully that mind into repeatedly confessing the opposite garbage.
Secondly, you see correctly that we only rely on faith (and moreover faith that never fails, for it is of God) when we understand that what both you and I are speaking is the same language.
Thirdly, understanding language involves the unfortunate result of those Intelligent Design people being correct, because it is a protracted, intense case of what they call “design inference”. As a result, I laugh when I see a purported refutation of their “fallacious” design inference stuff that requires me to, using design inference, understand what language it is written in and what it means.

Like I said, self-refutation is easier than people think.

“All language dilutes and reduces a thing to its most common denominator, and usually misses the mark.”
No, and no. Objectively.

June 13, 2010 at 1:31 AM  
Anonymous The 27th Comrade said...

jkr says: “Now let's get out of the mindfuck tunnel and try to get back to discussing the world, i.e., our world. Our paltry human nook, where our common thought and language work.”
Sure thing. I don’t usually comment here (or anywhere else, for that matter). It’s just that, this time, my friend Don Colacho made the front page.
Meanwhile, your phrase “our paltry human nook, where our common thought and language work” doesn’t make sense in a purely-subjective world. That you can make it, and that it makes sense, is proof that we aren’t in such a world.

Look Think Do says: “In fact, morality is much more cogently explained from a rationalist-evolutionary perspective rather than as a dos and donts list given out by an entity with as much evidence of existence as Santa.”
How can a rationalist be skipping over the is-ought gap like this? Did you even read Deogolwulf’s comment? Or are you called Dr. Sam Harris when you give TED talks?
Either you are not a rationalist, or you cannot derive a list of dos and don’ts from an evolutionary explanation.
Or are you called Prof. Peter Singer when you are honest? Is rape on the do side, or on the don’t side? “It’s in my genes; it’s my orientation,” therefore it is moral?

As for God having only as much evidence of existence as does Santa Claus, well ... Santa Claus’ existence is not in debate. Eye has seen, ear has heard.
Or do you get aroused by category errors?

June 13, 2010 at 1:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dead bloooooooggg...goonnnna put it on you.

dead bloooooogggg. . .goonnnna put it on you.

June 13, 2010 at 9:29 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Oh jkr, unable to read between the lines.

If you go around applying today's standards to yesterday it's because you find some special difference in now as opposed to then.

As mm says, instead of flipping and being pastists, which is just as flawed, we should aim for honesty and pragmatism.

June 13, 2010 at 1:28 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

The 27th Comrade:
"You have faith in the workings of your mind, for example, even though you do not state it like that"
I did not state it at all or reference the accuracy of my mind. There is a substantial heuristics & bias literature on the ways on which our minds systematically screw up. If you want a blog devoted to that topic, try here, though it gets a number of things wrong as well. Assuming I was making a mistaken assumption about my own accuracy, how should I then update my beliefs in light of that information?

We may provisionally accept the laws of physics while holding open the possibility of revising them. I am not assigning a probability of 1.

"And also, you have never verified that “Humans evolved bipedal locomotion to be able to see over high weeds,” but you believe it by (blind, gut) faith."
In fact I don't believe that. Richard Wrangham makes a good case that the reason is just locomotion rather than vision. The evidence for the fact of evolution is more imposing than that for the particular reason for that adaptation.

"A wise Brit once said “[Science] must die, like any other, when its roots in the Tao are cut.”"
Who? I don't speak Tao, so you'll have to translate.


jkr:
"Man seems to be capable of adjusting to almost any circumstances, and possibly flourishes most in the harshest (under God's whip?)."
What does it mean to "flourish"? To be fruitful and multiply? The highest growth rates seem to occur with enough modernization to reduce child mortality and ensure above-Malthusian resources but not enough for the "demographic transition".

"We will find "happiness" (i.e., contentedness, resignation) even in the sewer."
If you believe happiness surveys, richer nations are happier than poorer ones and within nations richer people are happier. I don't really buy into that and instead try to rely on revealed preference. Again, people don't choose the sewer if they have capitalism as an option. I do agree with the "meta-ideology" of the Thousand Nations folks. We cannot know in advance that capitalism is superior to any other system. If something like the Israeli kibuttz works better, fantastic. As it happens they are dying out, but other experiments are always possible.

"That's why books (knowledge of the past) is so disruptive to life, and dangerous to social stability"
I disagree, I think they have little effect. Google books makes the really old ones freely available, and nobody notices. Our very educational system has been forcing children to read old texts. And of course there is the Bible.

June 13, 2010 at 4:40 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

The 27th Comrade:
I don't think the logical positivists didn't believe in any objective truths. That sounds more post-modernist. I don't reject objective truths either, though I don't care to tackle that subject at this time & place.

"the universe doesn’t grow hotter."
So there won't be any heat-death of the universe?

"The rejection of morals (and the objectivity thereof) is itself a moral pronouncement."
Meta-moral, I'd say.

"Do you realise that your charge against the “class of men, and their internalized justification of their condition, interests, and power” is a moral one?"
If one frames it as "against". One could also take the Voltairesque position that truth is distinct from desirability.


Deogolwulf:
I myself did not cite an eighteenth philosopher. I referenced Mencius in order to characterize his position, and used the phrase because he used it.

"then don’t you also believe that you ought to believe so"
I don't recall saying that.

"Mind you, that’s not a problem if you abandon an obligation to rationality"
I think I have stated elsewhere that I don't care if others are irrational qua irrational and don't view them as obligated to change their beliefs. I could probably have more accurate beliefs if I devoted more effort to it, but I'm content to be "rationally ignorant" to an extent.

"Perhaps we ought to call that obligation an old dogma to be rejected by all free-thinkers."
That sounds like you're positing an obligation.


The 27th Comrade:
"If you are informed of God, you are informed of the objective."
To be "informed of God" does not entail being informed of all of what God is informed. My recollection of the book of Job is that it would be preposterous for a human to think they could attain such a state.

June 13, 2010 at 4:40 PM  
Anonymous The 27th Comrade said...

TGGP says: “I did not state it at all or reference the accuracy of my mind.”
Whatever you refer to, the gateway is your monkey mind. Unless you are allowed blind, gut faith, you are not allowed any faith in anything you perceive.
After all, your faith in the perceived in inaccuracy of your mind suffers just as much as would faith in perceived accuracy. At any rate, you are just another brain in just another vat.

“Assuming I was making a mistaken assumption about my own accuracy, how should I then update my beliefs in light of that information?”
Without faith, you can’t do anything to mitigate the fact that you are relying on the unreliable (mind of an ape). Only (blind, gut) faith can say that this is okay.
If there wasn’t so much to gain by not being rational (where “rational” is defined as you moderns do), there would never have been such a massive flourishing of what you moderns call irrationality.

“We may provisionally accept the laws of physics while holding open the possibility of revising them.”
There are no laws, TGGP. There are only historical records. It’s Hume’s (allegedly-non-original) point. Laws are the preserve of us irrational faith-heads who believe in such quaint anachronisms as “final causes” and a “Creator”.

“Richard Wrangham makes a good case that the reason is just locomotion rather than vision.”
Should I take it that you do not accept this by simple, blind, gut faith, then? That bipedalism evolved (if I understand you well) because of the need for bipedalism? Prof. Jerry Fodor has an interesting new book out.

“The evidence for the fact of evolution is more imposing than that for the particular reason for that adaptation.”
Did you know that the evidence for the fact doesn’t say anything about the mechanism of the fact, or the “drivers” of the changes? I hope, at any rate, that you realise that the fossils we have of the evolution of the iMac from the Apple II far out-number those of human evolution; and any way to tell the mechanisms and “drivers” of evolution apart in the two cases are not contained in the fossils themselves (or in the homologies, or whatever other things there may be). Point being: can you disqualify the iMac from being a result of neo-Darwinian “Selfish Power-Button” evolution? No.

TGGP says: “I don't think the logical positivists didn't believe in any objective truths [...] I don't reject objective truths either [...]”
The phrase “There are objective truths” qualifies for rejection by them. And also, you cannot believe in the reality of objective truths and remain rational, as jkr has successfully pointed out here.

“So there won't be any heat-death of the universe?”
I should have said the universe doesn’t get more energy in it. I should have known the use of heat to surrogate “thermodynamics” is a bad and out-modded idea.

“To be "informed of God" does not entail being informed of all of what God is informed. My recollection of the book of Job is that it would be preposterous for a human to think they could attain such a state.”
Of course, but to be informed of God is revelation: to know God is to hear from Him (be it natural or special revelation).
Essentially, you can say that murder is objectively wrong because of the ex cælo “Thou shalt not murder,” which is due to our being informed of God (and His numerous petty legal issues). Nobody can know all of God (and we know this because we know some of Him). No human can comprehend infinity (as in set comprehension).

June 13, 2010 at 6:19 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

tggp:

What I meant by "flourish." It's not exactly clear, is it. I didn't mean it merely demographically. I guess what I meant was the greater and greater development of inequality, the development or advancement of mankind as the greater differentiation, branching out, individualizing, etc. Conditions which choose, select, favor the higher natures, higher types, stronger willed, more far-sighted... It's hard to define without subjective terms and valuations. But if you can kinda get my meaning, I would say that times of great danger, uncertainty, strain, produce the strongest and greatest personalities. And people find the greatest happiness alongside the greatest pain. Comfort, prosperity, and eternal boredom seem to tend toward the deterioration or dulling of the highest human qualities. I'm expressing myself very poorly, but wanted to give an answer.

Second, I didn't mean poverty by "the sewer." In many ways we're living in the sewer today. I mean to say that people adjust to their conditions and circumstances, whatever they are, and assume that those conditions are the normal and natural standard by which everything else may be judged. People don't know if they're happy, they don't know how much "better," or "worse," things could be. They have no means of judging. They just know their own conditions, what they are familiar with.

Third, I didn't mean books are disruptive to the common or social life, to society. Rather they're often very disruptive to the life of the individual who decides to open them.

These were all very poor answers, and I wish I could elaborate and express myself better. Sometimes the words just won't come though.

June 13, 2010 at 10:01 PM  
Blogger Deogolwulf said...

TGGP,

You say:

“I myself did not cite an eighteenth philosopher. I referenced Mencius in order to characterize his position, and used the phrase because he used it.

You originally wrote:

“I believe there is no objective basis for moral judgments. Mencius has also indicated that he thinks the is-ought gap is unbridgeable.”

You implied that your belief in a lack of an objective basis for moral judgement is based upon your belief in an unbridgeable is-ought gap, a thesis most famously set forth by an eighteenth-century philosopher whose name you need not cite when assuming his thesis. But I am not much interested in catching slippery fish. You either do believe in such a gap or you don’t, and I am suggesting that there is not much reason for doing so, that indeed it strikes against a commitment to rationality, and that furthermore it would be odd for someone who claims to believe that all philosophy is rubbish to take as sound a poor-fangled and shaky instance of it.

“I don't recall saying that.”

I don’t recall saying that you said that. I said: “If you really do believe that there is an is-ought gap, then don’t you also believe that you ought to believe so?” (Emphasis added.)

But you seem happily to have slipped your way out of any engagement therewith.

“That sounds like you’re positing an obligation.”

You missed the sarcasm. I posit many obligations. Rational life --- that is also to say, human life --- is full of them. Beasts of field and sea, on the other hand, are not so burdened, a carefree condition which seems to excite the envy of free-thinkers, happy-go-lucky liberals, and other nihilists.

June 14, 2010 at 4:03 AM  
Anonymous Look Think Do said...

@the 27th comrade:

I see that having your thought decided for you by geocentric sexually repressed monks has stultified your brain. If you'd read my post objectively you would notice that the fundamental evolutionary drive for all living organisms is maximization of long term genetic transmission. This, by definition forms the basis of the ought factor.

It follows therefrom that morality is only a code of behavior evolved to maximize social reproductive potential.

Btw, WTF is it with the Santa link? It only documents the mythological origins of the belief, and does not constitute a relevant riposte to the fact that there is as much proof or lack thereof for the existence of Santa as for god. Or did you think I don't inspect provided links like you?

bonus god-ist question: if god is omnipotent and omniscient get him to tell you the serial number of a 100$ note in my pocket and I'll donate it to any cause of your choice. And don't tell me god is busy or doesn't give a damn. That contradicts the god-ist claim of an omnipotent omniscient entity.

2nd godist bonus question: why doesn't god grow amputated limbs back? If he(how do you know it's a he? If there isn't a she-god does god wank off to relieve the horniness?) can cure cancer and blindness and all sorts of internal diseases why not do something that can be tangibly measured like a limb?

June 14, 2010 at 4:13 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

To this non-theist, the is-ought gap is not bridged by philosophy, but by our 'monkey' instincts, which is not really a bridge at all. I am perfectly comfortable with the idea that there are no logically certain objective 'oughts', while I behave in line with my personal subjective values (which are very similar to, but not identical with, those of other humans).

June 14, 2010 at 4:52 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

Do you think if we talk about Froude, MM will come back?

June 14, 2010 at 4:52 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

1st theist answer:

If God wants $100 to go to that specific cause, you'll just donate it anyway. There's no need for spiritualist mumbo-jumbo.

2nd theist answer:

Because pain and loss are frequently important. Why do people think we're only supposed to be carefree and happy? It certainly doesn't say that anywhere in any religion. Pain and loss are parts of life.

atheist bonus question:

why do you want God to solve all your problems for you?

2nd bonus question:

if God were going to solve all of our problems what would be the point of creation?

June 14, 2010 at 5:22 AM  
Anonymous Look Think Do said...

@G.M Palmer:

"If God wants $100 to go to that specific cause, you'll just donate it anyway. There's no need for spiritualist mumbo-jumbo."

how do you know that? Did god tell you so? The point of this exercise is that if you were really in communication with some sort of supernatural being, you should be able to answer questions that you wouldn't know the answer to but that entity would.

So don't tell me what god woulda coulda etc. Ask him and give me an answer. Don't tell me what you think.

"Because pain and loss are frequently important. Why do people think we're only supposed to be carefree and happy? It certainly doesn't say that anywhere in any religion. Pain and loss are parts of life."

Sure. So why punish murderers or help a dying man? What god wants will happen anyway.

"why do you want God to solve all your problems for you? "

I don't. I might as well expect Santa to.

" if God were going to solve all of our problems what would be the point of creation? "

I don't know man. Be sure to ask kind merciful omniscient god and tell me what he said eh? Now excuse me, I need to converse with Santa.

June 14, 2010 at 6:24 AM  
Anonymous Look Think Do said...

Many people suspected of suffering from schizophrenia claim to see people who are not apparent to others. Nobel prize winner John Nash was one. A solution to this situation is to ask the sufferer to ask the entity a question that the sufferer would not know the answer to but the entity would.

The above 100$ question is one such. It's an objective, un weaselable and verifiable question that all godists should try and answer to themselves.

June 14, 2010 at 6:35 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Jesus responded, "The Scriptures also say, 'You must not test the LORD your God.'"

So why punish murderers or help a dying man?

We know the God who said, "I alone have the right to take revenge. I will pay back." God also said, "The Lord will judge his people."

Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God."

and just for fun:

Can you catch Leviathan with a hook or put a noose around its jaw?

June 14, 2010 at 6:37 AM  
Anonymous Look Think Do said...

@G. M Palmer:

Why should I, or you, a priori, care what Jesus said? Why not Mao or Mohamed? It's all about cultural indoctrination man.

It occurs to me that there's a very good reason why Jesus doesn't want his god tested. I wouldn't want Santa put to such a test either.

So god didn't tell you the serial number after all eh?

June 14, 2010 at 6:46 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Dear Look Think Do,

Why are you so combative?

I care a priori what Jesus said because Jesus was "the son of man," and "the Word of God." Now, you may have "to do science" on that but I don't.

I enjoy my faith--don't know why it's so threatening to you.

June 14, 2010 at 6:54 AM  
Anonymous Look Think Do said...

@Palmer:

Do excuse me if I came across as brusque and flippant. I mean that.

Nonetheless, may I request that you consider my arguments, without the provocative tone of course.

June 14, 2010 at 7:09 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Your $100 bill question is absurd.

Not because of impossibility, but because you're asking God to prove God's existence--which existence alone is enough to prove.

June 14, 2010 at 7:14 AM  
Anonymous Look Think Do said...

@Palmer:

May I invite you to take a look at the following passage and tell me, apart from your religious preferences, whether in and of itself the argument is cogent?

http://look-think-do.livejournal.com/609.html

June 14, 2010 at 7:17 AM  
Anonymous Look Think Do said...

@Palmer:

"Your $100 bill question is absurd.

Not because of impossibility, but because you're asking God to prove God's existence--which existence alone is enough to prove. "

It seems like a circular argument to me man. Can you try and elaborate?

June 14, 2010 at 7:21 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Simply that the physical laws of the universe and the universe itself are either here by accident or design.

I find design far more likely than accident.

June 14, 2010 at 7:54 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

I'll look at the LJ post tonight--it's blocked at work.

June 14, 2010 at 7:54 AM  
Anonymous Look Think Do said...

@Palmer:

" I find design far more likely than accident. "

But was the designer here by accident or design? My view is that given the time scales involved it is best to not apply our instinctive views, which are accustomed to a far smaller order of magnitude; something like not applying our constant mass assumption at relativistic speeds.
So the assumption that the universe even has a beginning might be incorrect.

Anyway, this could go on for ages.

Do get back to me on that post.

June 14, 2010 at 8:25 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Timescale schmimescale.

Think of it this way--what works out better, children raised chaotically or children raised with consistency?

(note, pscychopathy notwithstanding)

June 14, 2010 at 8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dead bloooooooggg...goonnnna put it on you.

dead bloooooogggg. . .goonnnna put it on you.

June 14, 2010 at 8:57 AM  
Anonymous Ace said...

Do you think if we talk about Froude, MM will come back?

Perhaps Moldbug is waiting for "jkr" to shut the fuck up? If he is, we will be waiting a long time.

June 14, 2010 at 11:31 AM  
Anonymous jkr said...

New Solzhenitsyn translation available here.

http://www.ethnopoliticsonline.com/archives/ais/ais%20chapter20.html

June 14, 2010 at 1:07 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

Ace, I would gladly cease commenting at this blog if the owner wished. My understanding is that MM welcomes critical as well as supportive comments, and that his sole rule is that comments be generally interesting, not just to the commenter or to MM.

MM has written tons of material, he's probably just in a dry patch. He doesn't work for you and me. Instead of whining about it, go back and read some of the hundreds of posts you missed or just skimmed. Or the billions of words he's linked to and suggested.

June 14, 2010 at 1:46 PM  
Anonymous The 27th Comrade said...

Look Think Do says: “I see that having your thought decided for you by geocentric sexually repressed monks has stultified your brain. If you'd read my post objectively [...]”
You think I’m here to run after pseudonymous Internet pseudo-skeptics who think they invented skepticism? I don’t read poor grammar: is that a good-enough defence on my part?
Like the sexually-repressed monks, I am not into sadomasochism. Most-importantly, unlike you, I don’t yearn for a non-stultified brain any more than I yearn for letting my finger-nails grow à perpetuité.

How can you take a historical narrative—the evolutionary narrative—and make it the base of what should happen? Is this the garbage I am supposed to spend my time refuting? Is rape on the do side, or is it on the don’t side? I see that you didn’t answer that question. This is the trouble with you pretend-rationalists: the uneducated educating, the socially-inept re-engineering society.
Sorry; I don’t engage poor thought. You say that a behavioural code is “evolved to maximise reproductive potential”; so is mass murder of all men who are not myself a good thing? And how can you justify homosexuality?
Have you even ever heard of the evolutionary argument against naturalism? This kind of echo-chamber evolutionary-chanting ape cranium is what you expect me to busy myself with? Evolve.

“if god is omnipotent and omniscient get him to [...]”
God doesn’t obey me; I obey Him. I don’t want to teach you the Lord’s Prayer: it’s two thousand years old, and only some sentences long. Use Google.
I’ll ask you a question in my turn: why are all Internet atheists perpetually sixteen years old?

“why doesn't god grow amputated limbs back? [...] how do you know it's a he?”
Go away and delete your comments and blog. Shoo!
Why don’t you obey me, if you exist? Delete your puerile comments and blog posts, and I will believe that you exist. (If you don’t do that, you do not exist.)

I can’t believe I’ve replied to an Internet atheist. I’m pretty sure there is danger of hell-fire for this waste of time, if for nothing else. Such accidents are bound to happen when I fall from Grace and fall into a comment thread.
Gina, dear, please don’t feed this pre-pubescent troll.

josh says: “I am perfectly comfortable with the idea that there are no logically certain objective 'oughts' [...]” (Emphasis mine.)
But there are no objective truths whatsoever, not even that idea that you speak of. It is an objective statement, but you have no justification for the truth of any objective statements—even objective statements denying the truth of objective statements. The problem with human thinking is that it needs some objective truths (at least one?) to be true; we often call them axioms.

June 14, 2010 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Gina?

So 27th--are you blogging anywhere interesting these days?

June 14, 2010 at 1:57 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

Sorry GM, I think I started the Gina thing. But you started it, with your denigrating comments on my forays into fiction, namely the Harry Potter series. After that snipe, it was on between us.

June 14, 2010 at 2:29 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

An outright religious war is brewing here. All because the first commenter on the thread, Paul Milenkovic, happened to make some historical-textual analysis in his post. Let's please treat each other with a little comportment, and let God sort us out. Eternal paradise or eternal hellfire should be sufficient reward, we don't need to judge and punish each other in the here and now, too, do we? Let earth be our purgatory, where we can at least enjoy our sins if indeed we sin. You needn't suck up to God, by your faith you're already in His favor. After all, you represent an Almighty power. Show a little magnanimity to us sinners, and those destined for the heavenly BBQ.

June 14, 2010 at 2:40 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

It's okay, I just was checking if the comrade meant me.

And rowling is hardly an insult.

Also, eternal BBQ is not assured as there's a comforting passage in Romans about how nonbelievers will be judged.

June 14, 2010 at 4:19 PM  
Anonymous Look Think Do said...

@27th comrade:

for the time being I'm going to ignore the ad hominems and address your questions on the basis of the assumption that you really have not understood what I've been trying to convey.

Why should you not kill all other men?

Because it is evolutionarily unfavorable for you to do so. Many of those men carry the same genes as you. In addition you need their input to survive. Who'll grow your food or cure you of infection? So there has evolved an implicit social contract with injunctions on some kinds of behavior like murder, enabling us to direct our energies to productive purposes rather than the unproductive pursuit of perpetual war against one's neighbor.

But conversely, if one or some of those men do not extend the same reasoning to you, then it is in your genetic interest to take action against him.

See how thoroughly this explains socially acceptable behavior?

How much more cogent and nuanced is it than you shalt not kill??

"is rape a do or don't?"

It's a don't because, as I mentioned above, application of coercion will lead society down an unproductive path. If there are two societies, one which practises coercion, and is thus perpetually at war with itself, and another that subscribes to the codes of behavior that allow time for resource generation and technology development, the latter will outcompete the former.



Regarding homosexuality, it is clearly unfavorable because it impedes genetic transmission. I consider it a major drawback of current society. Nonetheless, i wouldn't prescribe coercion for the reasons elucidated above. Also, to the extent that homosexuality is genetic, I suggest letting it be, so it goes out of the gene pool after a while.

To the extent that it is a socially learned behavior, I would recommend measures like allowing only heterosexual parents to adopt etc.

Isn't this a far more intelligent explanation than that god said homosexuality is bad and then made some people gay?? Is that screwed up or what?

So, to sum up, the evolutionary-rationalist purpose of life is to maximize genetic transmission. This principle explains pretty much every aspect of human biology and sociology such as why children are cute and desirable to why murder is proscribed.

In my view, the simple truth is that medieval man, with limited information and education needed some kind of scary scarecrow to do the right thing. Now that we know better, it behoves us to discard primitive beliefs.

June 14, 2010 at 6:16 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Ltd,

First, man has known God far longer than medieval times.

Second, we're no different from those ancient men.

June 14, 2010 at 6:25 PM  
Anonymous Look Think Do said...

@Palmer:

" First, man has known God far longer than medieval times."

So? Man also thought in those times that the sun revolves around the earth. The length of time for which a belief has been held is not a thinking man's basis fir acsribing it validity.

"Second, we're no different from those ancient men. "

I suggest you speak for yourself in this context Palmer. Like those ancient men do you also hold a geocentric view and believe that disease and natural disasters are god's punishment? If so, why help those affected by them?

Can I also remind you about the post I'd mentioned?



sure.

June 14, 2010 at 7:02 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

See how thoroughly this explains socially acceptable behavior?

and

So, to sum up, the evolutionary-rationalist purpose of life is to maximize genetic transmission.

What happens when society has to choose between endorsing mutually exclusive social behaviors that are all roughly as good at "genetic transmission"?

For instance, if you were building a Western European nation from scratch on an alien planet would you want your new country's citizens to practice the most extreme forms of Muslim polygamy or Christian monogamy?

A case could be made that both are equally good at "gene transmission".

Muslim polygamy would be better at passing on "Alpha" male European genes because the most talented men would have multiple women to pass their genes on to.

On the other hand, Christian monogamy helped create more stable and advanced civilizations with a thriving middle class because monogamy gave most "Beta" males hope for happy marital relationships. And stable civilizations have normally helped the most talented members of society produce many offspring.

So which option is "morally" better from the perspective of genetic reductionism?

The answer is that "it depends what your values are" and there is no objectively right answer to this type of question.

You can't always derive "ought" from a genetic "is" and Hume was right.

June 14, 2010 at 8:31 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

G.M.,

"Second, we're no different from those ancient men."

Do you really believe this? I find it hard to believe that you would believe this. We're no different, really? Perhaps we're very different. There is so much difference between different groups, classes, ethnic groups, of present day men. How can we claim that we're no different from "ancient man"?

Isn't man the ever-changing animal? Subject, much like our domesticated animals (e.g., dogs), to tremendous selective pressures by civilization? This isn't conjecture, it's historical record. Men took wolves, applied selective pressure, and created out of it the myriad forms, monstrosities and varied types that are our Dogs. Extremely unnatural creatures, many of them, btw.

Well, man is also a domesticated animal, with a like manner and multitude of types, and also monstrosities, and a few fine strokes of luck. Civilization is the record of breeding Man, of human domestication. Sometimes conscious, more often unconscious, but never without consequence.

Just think for example of the caste system of India, where by means of religion 5 distinct groups of men were simultaneously bred.

There's every reason to believe we're different from ancient men, perhaps immensely different.

June 14, 2010 at 9:26 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

And then you read the earliest writing and find we are no different. Gilgamesh and Job are our contemporaries.

June 14, 2010 at 9:42 PM  
Blogger Studd Beefpile said...

Well, there's always the Flynn affect, but we don't know how long that's been going on and how strong exactly it is...

June 14, 2010 at 10:01 PM  
Anonymous Malak said...

"I'm an atheist and I believe there is no objective basis for moral judgments."

Then how do you derive your values TGGP? In order to make decisions?

June 15, 2010 at 12:15 AM  
Anonymous The 27th Comrade said...

G.M. Palmer says: “Gina? [...] So 27th--are you blogging anywhere interesting these days?”
The Gina bit was after I saw this here fellow use it. You see, I latch onto first names whenever they are made available. I think I shall rescind it, now that I know the correct origin.
I don’t blog anywhere interesting. It is curious, though, that I found you in Cassandra Goldman’s comment boxes back when I thought that was still very derrière-garde of me to be in such a place. You and I go back way longer than you imagine.

“Also, eternal BBQ is not assured as there's a comforting passage in Romans”
It is why Romans is required reading for all humans; and why I think the reformers were right on this (ironically, contra Roma). There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. And since Paul first establishes that works are not necessary to be “in Christ Jesus,” leaving only faith, nobody sensible should go to the barbecue spit. Ah, but “Ye shall be as gods” is still as tempting today: witness the comments I first replied to.

jkr says: “There's every reason to believe we're different from ancient men, perhaps immensely different.”
And yet we are no different from our ape-cousins? We are apes, but we are not the humans who pre-date us by less than the lifetime of a tree?

June 15, 2010 at 2:42 AM  
Anonymous The 27th Comrade said...

Look Think Do says: “for the time being I'm going to ignore the ad hominems”
Ad hominem attacks are often justified; especially on the Internet. In this case, leaving them out would have been reckless. After I realised that you didn’t recognise the use of the Santa link, I gave up hope of civilised discussion. I’ll tone down, though, since you have become more-respectful of those of us who believe in the Lord God, Our Father.

“[...] address your questions on the basis of the assumption that you really have not understood what I've been trying to convey.”
I used to give your arguments. I was probably your age, as well, at the time. I understand them. Indeed, I don’t think you understand them, as is evidenced by what you write beyond that, and which I am going to reply to. To summarise: an ethics cannot also be its own rational justification. See also: Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems. Whatever you say is moral, why should I do the moral thing? Rational humans cannot disprove the “Moral is immoral” proposition.

“Why should you not kill all other men? [...] Because it is evolutionarily unfavorable for you to do so.”
Do just love tautologies, circular arguments, and affirming the consequent? Killing is bad, because killing is bad? You should not kill because killing is bad? Not killing is good, because it is the good thing? (You would have no such problem if you could be irrational and appeal to divine decree and faith; but you are a modern rational person.)
It is an oxymoron to say that it is evolutionarily unfavourable for anyone to do anything. This is the reason a logically-trivial theory cannot be used to develop anything but a tautology, much less a prediction. Apparently you do not see that if I kill all men, then it is adaptive of me to do exactly that. Hitler came at the long end (even Aryan Übermenschish end!) of adaptation. Got it? We do not determine what is adaptive before it is expressed. As they say: “If it is absent, it is mal-adaptive; if it is present, it is adaptive.” You need to read some Gertrude Himmelfarb. By what basis do you tell me that it is evolutionarily unfavourable for me to do something that is the most-adaptive? (You can only provide such a basis if you derive an ought from an is. But you rational people don’t do that.)

“Many of those men carry the same genes as you.”
It’s the selfish gene, not the selfish genome.

“In addition you need their input to survive. Who'll grow your food or cure you of infection?”
For most of everyone’s evolutionary history, such questions did not come up. This retro-fitting of evolution to fit whatever thesis is being forwarded is pretty central to the evolutionary psycho-babble genre, but ... orang-utans don’t need doctors and supermarket managers.
Or are we no longer going to appeal to our ape-ness? This your sentence (and what follows it), concerning itself with such things as “social” and “right and wrong” as it does, cannot be foundational in an ethics, seeing as it presumes what it purports to invent. Circular arguments are not for rational people. (I admit that they commit them the most, though, and always out of necessity.)

Indeed, the concern for social fabric, which is not only missing from the struggle-for-survival model but outright verbotten from that model, is one proof of the incompleteness of the Darwinian account in the face of ethics. Competitionism cannot say “Thou shalt not compete,” which is the (René Girard-ian) definition of ethics. It may also point to the Darwinian explanation being insufficient to explain ethics, but such an assertion thoughtcrime today.

An ethics that cannot compel me to help the stranger, the orphan, and the widow, is wrong.
In case you hadn’t recognised it yet, the question is not “What is the right thing to do?” The question is “Why is the adaptive thing the right thing to do?”
After all, your world will die in a suicide bombing inferno.

June 15, 2010 at 2:47 AM  
Anonymous The 27th Comrade said...

“But conversely, if one or some of those men do not extend the same reasoning to you, then it is in your genetic interest to take action against him.”
You are going to butcher the whole world.

“See how thoroughly this explains socially acceptable behavior?”
You make me want to stab you in the neck with a dinner fork, and you did not explain that (or G.M. Palmer’s failure to follow my example).

“How much more cogent and nuanced is it than you shalt not kill?”
No wonder you are an atheist, if you think “more-cogent and nuanced than ‘Thou shalt not kill’” is a good thing. At times like these, I am very glad that I am not intelligent.

“"is rape a do or don't?" [...] It's a don't because [...]”
And Genghis Khan has more living seed than any other man of his epoch.
Why is Genghis Khan immoral, again?

“Regarding homosexuality, it is clearly unfavorable [...] I consider it a major drawback of current society. Nonetheless [...]”
So, in your evolutionary explanation, is survival of the fittest the yardstick, or the kind of coy rationalisation of atheist, Darwinist irrationality that makes Michel Onfray want to spit the American atheists in the eye?
I’m a bit saddened that you didn’t realise that the question is why we should do the adaptive-moral thing. The Romans used to kill people who got themselves castrated. Me, I kill those who don’t. Who of us is right? Or is your ethics like neo-Darwinism: it is the fittest, because it was judged the fittest? It is moral because it is judged moral?

“This principle explains pretty much every aspect of human biology and sociology such as why children are cute and desirable to why murder is proscribed.”
A logically-trivial, tautological basis can explain everything and anything—including its opposite. Even with empirical questions. (“Homology is due to convergent and divergent evolution, both.” “We murder because that is adaptive, we don’t murder because that is adaptive.” “We philander because it is adaptive, we are faithful because it is adaptive.” “We are rational because it is adaptive, we are irrational because it is adaptive.” “The eye is bad design because it evolved, sans guide, the eye is good design because it evolved, sans guide.” “The theory is complete fact, these findings are ground-breaking.”) Do you know of a way you could falsify that cute-children assertion of yours? Read less Dennett and more Gödel. I did mention Prof. Jerry Fodor’s new book, earlier.

“In my view, the simple truth is that [...] it behoves us to discard primitive beliefs.”
You view is wrong, and that is not a truth. Indeed, you should discard these your primitive beliefs. One wonders why you, who will be absolutely dead and absolutely gone even before this bush near my house turns a cycle (followed by all your kin in quick succession) should care at all what humanity believes. One wonders how one can be so inconsistent as to be both a metaphysical naturalist and concerned with morals at the same time. You would benefit from shaking off the medieval residue of your society. Reject morals; for you cannot justify your assumption that it is immoral to be immoral.

June 15, 2010 at 2:49 AM  
Anonymous Look Think Do said...

@27th con rade:

I see that you like strawmen, presumably because of their resemblance to your voodoo god. Or maybe you're not capable of thought having to believe crap like virgin birth. If you were born in North Korea, your defense of the dear leader would no doubt be equally pig-headed. None are so blind as those who will not see.

Nonetheless, I shall restate my position for the benefit of those readers who've not been subjected to child mind abuse.

The fundamental axiom of the rationalist-evolutionary man is the maximization of long term genetic transmission. It is the application of this principle that is the basis of all dos and donts. It is noteworthy that all godist commands are consonant with this principle despite the complete absence of any explanation or reasoning.

Even societies that subscribe to a different Santa or no Santa at all follow precisely the same dos and donts. Murder and theft are just as proscibed in China or India as in godist societies claiming to possess some sort of oh-so-special wisdom. This points clearly to the evolutionary rather than godist origins of morality.

A particularly apt example is the prohibition of incest. No coercion or fraud need be involved yet it is universally outlawed, even in societies that owe absolutely no alleigance to Jesus or the figment of Jesus's imagination. Why would this be so?

Only modern biology provides the answer; homozygous recessive genetic disease, to which children of closely related individuals are particularly vulnerable. Because of it's detrimental effect on long term genetic transmission, incest must be prohibited.

Ever since the Renaissance, superstition is in headlong retreat. Heliocentrism, microbial origins of disease, the nature and size of the universe, are all historic discoveries indicating the victory of thought over voodoo.

I urge the open minded to think without shackles.

June 15, 2010 at 6:06 AM  
Anonymous Look Think Do said...

@undiscovered Jew:

I'm not convinced of the suggestion that polygamy and monogamy offer equal-ish benefits. It seems to me that all other independent parameters being equal, a polygamous society would, over the long term have a better genetic transmissibility, because genes associated with success would be preferentially passed on.

The suggestion that monogamy played a role in Europe's industrial revolution seems unsubstantiated. 1500 years after the advent of Christianity in Europe polygamy permitting China was still the more advanced civilization, and I don't see how it's subsequent decline may be attributed to polygamy.

Anyway, I'm open to the possibility that I may be missing something here. Do you have a basis for your claim?

June 15, 2010 at 6:23 AM  
Anonymous Holothurian said...

monogamy creates the moral climate for the romantic scientist. it's not monogamy by itself though.

the christian god combined with European mysticism, the faustian worldview is essential. If you do not wish to see the basically irrational and phantasmagoric impulse that leads to scientific investigation it's simply your own problem.


the fact that something works doesn't make it less crazy.

June 15, 2010 at 6:35 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

1500 years after the advent of Christianity in Europe polygamy permitting China was still the more advanced civilization

Which is why they made all those great advances in art and exploration. Oh wait.

June 15, 2010 at 7:10 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

"Which is why they made all those great advances in art and exploration. Oh wait."

Are you saying they didn't?

June 15, 2010 at 7:36 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Compared to Europe circa 1600-1700, I would say no.

June 15, 2010 at 8:37 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

Perhaps, but the Chinese were arguably ahead on both fronts a mere couple hundred years earlier so I'm not sure you can get away with attributing their success to Christianity.

June 15, 2010 at 9:28 AM  
Anonymous The 27th Comrade said...

Look Think Do says: “I see that you like strawmen, presumably because of their resemblance to your voodoo god.”
I do not know what my God looks like.

“None are so blind as those who will not see.”
Your aphorisms are terrible.

“Nonetheless, I shall restate my position for the benefit of those readers who've not been subjected to child mind abuse.”
Not many pay attention to inane link-jacking pre-pubescent pseudo-sceptics who think they invented disbelief. My replying to you should not fool you into thinking you have an audience. For all you know, this text is generated by an evolutionary algorithm (and you know, don’t you, that evolution implies no designer). You are still being subjected to child mind abuse, it would seem.

“[...] the rationalist-evolutionary man [...]”
There exists no such thing.

“It is noteworthy that all godist commands are consonant with this principle despite the complete absence of any explanation or reasoning.”
You created your principles to work towards an equivalence with these “godists”, as is proven by your failure to justify why you presume that to do your moral thing is itself a moral thing. Why is morality moral? I maintain that it isn’t, and that burns away your philosophising: do you have a rational counter to that? Do you know Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems, or am I talking to the standard issue teenager? I recommended your fellow atheist, Michel Onfray, earlier; have you used Google yet? Do you even know how to use Google?

“Even societies that subscribe to a different Santa or no Santa at all follow precisely the same dos and donts. [...] This points clearly to the evolutionary rather than godist origins of morality.”
Do you know so little as to not realise that the very existence of natural law is contrary to your position’s assertion? Do you know, I ask again, about the evolutionary argument against naturalism? You should read about natural revelation, one day. (It is also called general revelation.)
I assume that will run to an altar, once you find that St. Paul beat you by two millenia to predicting that all societies would have a moral ethics similar to that of the Jews? Read Romans 2:14-15. It is even clearer than your teenage blatherings.

“Only modern biology provides the answer [...]”
St. Paul was a modern biologist? Quelle surprise! Now your scientism will also be taken care of in your new faith. The song says “There is room at the cross ...”

“Ever since the Renaissance, superstition is in headlong retreat.”
Europe is not the World, you Eurocentric little child. There are more believers in God today than there ever were before in the history of the World. Those Catholics, for example, have more new applying seminarians today than ever in history. I could write a second version of The Irrational Atheist on you alone, but I trust that you will grow up one day (or, as I like to put it, evolve). I was born well after the Renaissance, and I can tell you one thing for certain: to God be the Glory, through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

“I urge the open minded to think without shackles.”
Metaphysical naturalism, scientism, logical positivism: these are the shackles you should be worried about.

June 15, 2010 at 9:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dead bloooooooggg...goonnnna put it on you.

dead bloooooogggg. . .goonnnna put it on you.

June 15, 2010 at 10:01 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

anon,

What are you referencing?

June 15, 2010 at 10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's from a bit in Eddie Murphy's "Delerious" (or was it Raw?), a stand-up joke he tells about when he was a kid and found a dead bird and threatened to put it on his sister.

Dead bird....gonna put it on you!

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

June 15, 2010 at 4:28 PM  
Anonymous Look Think Do said...

@27th Comrade:

I see that reading comprehension is not your forte, as you have mentioned before. The rationalist-evolutionary principle is a fundamental axiom, much like the geometric axiom that a line is the shortest distance between two points. It is the very definition of morality. Ny comparison, you say that morality is what some guy who made bombastic claims but then miscalculated and got crucified 2000 years ago said he heard something no one ever saw or heard tell him to tell you.

Presumably geometry is also beyond the pale for you.

" You created your principles to work towards an equivalence with these “godists "

incorrect as usual. Those principles follow from an application of the fundamental axiom, as anyone with a brain would gave deduced.

" I maintain that it isn’t, and that burns away your philosophising: do you have a rational counter to that? "

So your definition of morality is rational because some guy who made bombastic claims but then miscalculated and got crucified 2000 years ago said he heard something no one ever saw or heard said it was so?

A fundamental axiomatic disagreement isn't resolvable. If you disagree that a line is the shortest distance between two points that isn't going to "burn away" geometry.

Natural law is in fact entirely consonant with rational-evolutionary principles because it arises as an evolutionary competition between social memes, allowing those favorable to the survival of their host societies to predominate over time. Or are you just completely divorced from causality?

I shall read godel's theorem in a while and respond accordingly. Yes some of us really do make an effort to be open minded.

And google was invented by guys who believe what I believe, your kind gave us the dark ages.

June 15, 2010 at 5:40 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

G.M.?

Do you realize how sickly and sensitive the average American/European is today? I don't think the average present-day European or American would be fit for slavery in the ancient world. There's tremendous diversity between human beings of different groups, and that includes past/present. If you think the mess that present humanity has become is equal to the ancients, then you must rightly despise humanity as an abortion, then and now and always. Our politics isn't an accident, it's a sign of our deterioration.

June 15, 2010 at 6:18 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

I don't agree with everything in this article, but it's interesting.

The Fall of Man: Richard Lynn’s Dysgenics
http://www.toqonline.com/2009/06/the-fall-of-man/

For example, do you realize that the average life expectancy for the English working class in the 1600s was 20.3 years? And even the upper classes, average life expectancy was only 29 years.

June 15, 2010 at 6:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Much of that is accounted for by infant mortality/childhood death though.

Oh, and dead blogs.

Gonna put it on you!

June 15, 2010 at 6:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Much of that is accounted for by infant mortality/early childhood death though.

That and dead blogs.

Gonna put it on you.

June 15, 2010 at 6:53 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

So what. That would only be relevant if infant mortality were purely random. In fact whether the infant lives or dies has to do with the health and constitution of the infant and the mother, like anything else which effects the life or death of a person from conception onward.

June 15, 2010 at 9:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's relevant because you raise it as if the average adult would be dead before 30, though of course being you, you'll now deny that, and claim you were only making the entirely uninteresting, unoriginal observation that pre-modern societies had high infant mortality, even among the upper classes.

Oh, and that dead blogs should be left for dead. Or gonna put it on you.

June 15, 2010 at 9:25 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

Anon... if you refer to the article, it makes your exact point, right after the data-point I noted. Anyone who's not a fucking idiot would know that "average life expectancy" doesn't mean the average person lives to 20, or 29. Of course it's skewed by infant mortality. What do you think your a genius for figuring this out? Or maybe you learned it recently and want to wave it around? Fuckin idiot.

June 15, 2010 at 9:31 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

Quote: "This didn’t mean that everybody died when they were 20-30 years old but that more of the lower classes were dying in childhood before they could mate."

Fuckin dumbass.

June 15, 2010 at 9:34 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

If everyone was living into adulthood and then croaking at 29, AFTER reproducing, the data point would be completely IRRELEVANT and uninteresting. You really are THAT stupid, aren't you, anon?

June 15, 2010 at 9:45 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

jkr

Anon (get a handle, DeadBird) is just punting out that mortality statistics are bunk.

When did the average person who lived through childhood die?

That's a bitter question.

And all that shit be related to foodstuffs and cleenleeness.

June 15, 2010 at 11:08 PM  
Anonymous The 27th Comrade said...

I don’t believe it. Maybe Anonymous is right; we should let dead blogs lie.
I’ve been discussing with a “rational” atheist drawing up “rational” morals and ethics, without knowing Gödel’s Theorems? Obviously, this is not the same blog I used to visit those years ago.

Look Think Do, the theorems basically say that you need faith at the core of all consistent logic (“rationality”); mathematicians call that proper classes. Your homework is to draw the similarity between them and properly-basic beliefs (à la Prof. Alvin Plantinga’s reformed epistemology).

Also, Google was not done by atheists any more than the Principia Mathematica was done by long-haired Christian mystics, any more than literacy was done by bare-chested God-worshippers, any more than common law was done by unshod five-foot apes. Non-English speakers gave you the Grand Masters; how do you feel about that? Do you ever argue from more than I-must-be-right-therefore-I-am? What puerile nonsense is this that you burden the comment thread with?

By the way, yes: my kind gave you the Dark Ages, about which you know nothing whatsoever. You are probably the subject of The Irrational Atheist. Read it: it will make you a better atheist at arguing, by informing you of your position better. You could fix your ignorance of the Dark Ages by a simple Google search, which turns up things like this.
Your kind also gave us more murders by 56 atheists than all the independent killings in the history of Mankind put together. But I don’t make such arguments, because the truth of a world-view is independent of the actions of the tenants thereof. (You could now do the silly “Atheism is not a world-view; theism is the one that is a world-view!” line.)

For now, though, I should give you time to grow up. Anonymous is right; this blog is dead. Look (Think, Do) at the gunk that cakes the posts here. I always felt 2008 was the real high point here; once at and past the Patchwork series, and a few of the Introduction series, le déluge.

Permit me to ignore you henceforth.

June 15, 2010 at 11:39 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

If it's dead, it probably died about the time Mencius went from "ninja" to "nigga."

That or when Sibyl was born--having kids does tend to take the mickey out of you.

Or when Mencius ran out of money.

These might coincide but I've no wish to do such searching at 2:46.

27c: know any good publishers?

June 15, 2010 at 11:46 PM  
Anonymous Look Think Do said...

@27th comrade:

" ..without knowing Gödel’s Theorems? "

My personal preference is to make observations, read what material I come across and make up my own mind without reference to social fashions. Name dropping of this sort leaves me decidedly unimpressed.

" the theorems basically say that you need faith at the core of all consistent logic "

I have read the description of the two theorems on wikipedia, read Godel's attempt to draw up an ontological godist proof similar to Anselm's and read some godist literature seeking support from the theorems.

Briefly, for the benefit of other readers, what the theorems state is that not all observations that clearly APPEAR true can be PROVEN to be so. For instance, the Euclidean postulate that a line is the shortest distance between two points is borne out by day to day observation, but cannot be PROVEN, mathematically, to be true.

What this implies, is that some things must be assumed, without proof, to be true.

Such assumptions are the kind that we make every day, such as the line being the shortest distance between two points, or that released apples fall to the ground.
The assumptions, such as those mentioned above, that Godel's theorems require, are backed up by CONSISTENT OBSERVATION, but not proof.

This is not to say however, that any conjecture that cannot be disproven is true. It cannot be disproved that there are tiny green men on the moon, and an infinite number of such speculations, but there is no sane reason to assume so without SENSORY OBSERVATION.

Godist circles claim that the UNPROVABILITY of some apparent truths means that for logical consistency it is necessary to refer to a "higher" being.

Presumably this also implies that said higher being also created the earth and everything in 7 days and then sent his son there, born via a virgin (why the antipathy to sex?), who then got himself crucified as per the plan.

Note what I wrote earlier. The UNPROVABILITY of some observations means that they must be taken as axioms. But this refers to those that have a good reason to assume, that have been observed, seen, heard, confirmed by SENSORY experience every day without fail, such as the line being the shortest distance between two points. This does not mean that tendentious postulates not backed up by any of the 5 senses should be assumed to be true, which is what godists want to do.

Likewise, dumping apparently true but unprovable observations on a completely evidentially unsupported does not solve the problem, Godel's theorem simply applies on a system with another unsupported variable.

I urge all interested readers to do a bit of reading on this topic to see the intellectual desperation and trickery involved in trying to distort these theorems to arrive at completely unsupported preconcieved conclusions.

June 16, 2010 at 8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lots of comments for a dead blog. Too bad MM doesn't respond to popular demand.

June 16, 2010 at 4:05 PM  
Anonymous friendly stranger said...

@Paul Milenkovic:

You said,
"whole portions of the Bible are devoted to the prophets essentially offering up a scolding -- you guys blew it, you sinned, you kept idols and worshipped foreign gods and done a whole bunch of unmentionable things, and now you are suffering in exile or worse and you deserve all of the misery you got"

The philosopher and psychologist of morals, Herr Nietzsche, traced the genesis of this mode of moral reasoning to the later OT prophets who experienced the decline of power of Israel, to which you allude.

He asserts that this mode of reasoning was inserted retroactively to explain the failure of the god of the Israelites to provide for their good and well-being.

Psychologically, in order to hang onto their god they had to reevaluate everything from the moral standpoint to explain this failure.

See passages 25. and 26., here.

Quote: "The history of Israel is invaluable as a typical history of an attempt to denaturize all natural values: I point to five facts which bear this out.

Originally, and above all in the time of the monarchy, Israel maintained the right attitude of things, which is to say, the natural attitude. Its Jahveh was an expression of its consciousness of power, its joy in itself, its hopes for itself: to him the Jews looked for victory and salvation and through him they expected nature to give them whatever was necessary to their existence--above all, rain.

Jahveh is the god of Israel, and consequently the god of justice: this is the logic of every race that has power in its hands and a good conscience in the use of it. In the religious ceremonial of the Jews both aspects of this self-approval stand revealed. The nation is grateful for the high destiny that has enabled it to obtain dominion; it is grateful for the benign procession of the seasons, and for the good fortune attending its herds and its crops.

This view of things remained an ideal for a long while, even after it had been robbed of validity by tragic blows: anarchy within and the Assyrian without. But the people still retained, as a projection of their highest yearnings, that vision of a king who was at once a gallant warrior and an upright judge--a vision best visualized in the typical prophet (i.e., critic and satirist of the moment), Isaiah.

But every hope remained unfulfilled. The old god no longer could do what he used to do. He ought to have been abandoned. But what actually happened? simply this: the conception of him was changed--the conception of him was denaturized; this was the price that had to be paid for keeping him. . ."

June 16, 2010 at 11:00 PM  
Blogger Studd Beefpile said...

Lots of comments for a dead blog. Too bad MM doesn't respond to popular demand.

To be fair, to give in to such democratic impulses would be awfully hypocritical.

June 17, 2010 at 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if some of you are in the vibe for hispanic/latin american thinkers, I would strongly recommend (for those who don't already know him) the reading of Ortega y Gasset. His most notable work (and also the only one I've read, time and time again) is the essay "The Revolt of the Masses", which I found available in english here.

June 18, 2010 at 11:25 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Yo link ain't work anon.

June 18, 2010 at 11:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

trick link! hehe
I'm sorry, here it is:

http://www.globalchristians.org/politics/DOCS/Ortega%20y%20Gasset%20-%20The%20Revolt%20Of%20The%20Masses.pdf

I found it on google and only read the beggining and the translation looks ok.

June 18, 2010 at 1:29 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

Very informative post on the archeological vs. textual history of Israel/Palestine. Was just reading it now, very interesting.

Jerusalem: Lost and Found

June 19, 2010 at 5:36 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Jkr,

Interesting stuff indeed. If true, I wonder how the eastern meditteranean got conflated with western Arabia.

June 19, 2010 at 7:38 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

Yeah, me too. Maybe there was a Zionism 1.0 way back then. Maybe there was a Cyrus Declaration, Canaanite territories and a Babylonian Ahmajinedad.

I wouldn't underestimate the Jewish rabbinate in manufacturing Holy backstories for their varied political projects throughout the ages.

Of course, that's just a conjecture. I know almost nothing about the veracity of biblical historiography.

June 19, 2010 at 8:17 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

I think there's probably a better argument in there--like xyz happened and then we got our shit all fucked up and we got promised abc and now everyone is dead and we have these legends/scraps of text, etc.

June 19, 2010 at 9:27 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

I agree G.M. But what you just said is as good a description of zionism as any I've seen. Who's to say it wasn't like that the first time around too? "Yo caananites, we got our shit fucked up by the Babylonians... this used to be our land n shit, now fuck off. No? no? Yous terrarists. God gave us this land." Maybe there were even Persian neocons, and an Alexandrian flotilla incident.
Just a fun thought experiment. A little presentism to brighten up the day.

June 19, 2010 at 9:43 PM  
Anonymous Michael S. said...

The irredentist is that practitioner to whom a defeated people go to get false teeth.

June 20, 2010 at 6:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael S,

Clever, if I get it. I think I get it. I love metaphors that are hard to get.

June 20, 2010 at 11:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where the fuck is that lazy ninja Moldbug?

June 21, 2010 at 8:32 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Where the fuck is that lazy ninja Moldbug?

He's tanning himself on the beach and smoking a joint. Let him enjoy the summer and the joint. Especially the joint.

June 21, 2010 at 10:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are a great many lengthy MM comments at Abu Muqawama.

MM is clearly more interested in taunting the PC COIN crowd than he is in writing his own blog.

June 21, 2010 at 10:16 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

I guess bcuz he's an educator he thinks he gets summer off. There's a certain mencian logic to it. j/k mencius, we love ya. we all miss storytime.

hopefully he's enjoying summer and recharging his batteries.

there are many enemies yet to be verbally skewered by our resident reactionary. eat your spinach, smoke your weed, decompress, M.

June 21, 2010 at 11:27 PM  
Anonymous josh said...

He did promise an e-book on the anti-versity. Could be working on that.

June 22, 2010 at 4:55 AM  
Anonymous CNBC Alerts said...

Guy's killin' his own blog. He should pay some ghostwriters, just to keep the economic value of the blog up.

I remember reading somewhere that the blog or domain was valued at 30k+. Bitch is tanking now. Flash crash at the MMXSE.

June 22, 2010 at 8:19 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Haven't been following things here, but some racialists/HBDers think victory is near:
http://racehist.blogspot.com/2010/06/emerging-left-globalist-consensus-on.html

An attack on C.O.I.N from the left (analogizing it to communism! in a bad way!) here. Andrew Bacevich was actually invited to a C.O.I.N party and dropped a deuce in the punchbowl.

June 22, 2010 at 9:57 PM  
Blogger Björn said...

You remind me of Demosthenes and Locke. You ideas are resonating with my own world view. Keep at it.

June 23, 2010 at 1:38 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

RE: judging God. Read Psalm 50 (or 51 for those who base their text on the Masoretic): the astute translator renders the line, 'and that Thou shouldst be justified in thy words, and prevail when thou art judged.'

It is clear that from the very beginning man is judging God (consider Eve.) It is not (as Job finds out) useful to judge God, but we do it anyway and God seems to accept the fact it will happen. In fact, the book 'Till We Have Faces' is very much about 'judging God/the gods'. Orual discovers that her well written treatise against the gods is merely the scribbles of a petulant child.

The Atheist strictly speaking cannot disprove God, just as we believers cannot prove him. The atheist usually gets around this by converting God into an idea (the Scholastics and Philosophers had done this already) and then refuting or disbelieving in that idea. Christians - 'believers' we should call them - believe in his existence via faith, not through some manner of logical proof which ends up being insufficient to either prove or disprove not just God, but any person at all. When I see another human being, it is by faith, that is knowing the unseen we should say, that I know the other person is 'there' and it is not merely an illusion. It is so common an experience as to fall away from consciousness, but as the Apostle said, 'We handled Him.'

Tell me the god you don't believe in and you may discover that I don't believe in that god either.

The Prez here is very agreeable; certainly to my sensibilities. Thanks for the link, MM.

June 24, 2010 at 9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two questions:

1. Is Mencius dead?

2. May I suggest we all give Palmer the silent treatment so that he'll go away and stop clogging up the internet arteries of his betters? The guy is good at nothing but sucking Moldy cock and producing a stream of words that serve no purpose but to allow him to fantasize that he's about 30 IQ points smarter than he is. I've hated him from the very first word he shat onto this blog. Why the hell do people engage this idgit?

June 24, 2010 at 9:32 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Anon,

1: as folks have said above that MM is riling up PC COIN folk, I doubt it.

2: How about no.

June 24, 2010 at 10:13 PM  

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