Whoring out Jesus to the State

Jim Wallis is a partisan piece of shit. I don’t play these political games that he and his little cadre do, but I especially don’t play those games “in the name of Jesus”. Christians need to abandon Wallis and co. to the trash heap. It’s only fitting that he spews his vitriol on the Ed Show.

Should England apologize to Alan Turing?

So this story has been circulating for the past few days now:

Now Turing enthusiasts, led by John Graham-Cumming, are petitioning the government to make a formal apology for the treatment of Alan Turing. They say this would give a national recognition to the Turing’s remarkable contributions and would acknowledge the tragic consequences of a life and dazzling career cut short by prejudice.

Link

So first the govt. forces sterilization on the man, and now it wishes to gain political points by “apologizing” to him? In what sense of the word is this “apology” meaningful? I say, to hell with British leeches (is there any other kind of political force?). Alan Turing will be remembered for his accomplishments for years after England dissipates. Great men transcend the barbaric political rituals of the earthly, temporal regimes.

Read more about the man here.

An atheist tries to refute the Argument from Reason

Here is an example of missing the point:

Even though the argument from reason may sound good, the argument is a good example of begging the question (I.E. circular reasoning). The premise (that physical sources cannot constitute a rational source) is the conclusion (That naturalism – which says physical sources can constitute a rational source – is wrong). The reason that this is hard to see initially is due to the way in which the argument is laid out.

I think this is flatly incorrect. Saying that physical causes cannot be rational is not the same as saying naturalism is false. I think it gives a good reason to reject naturalism, but it might turn out that we are not rational and naturalism is true.

The central point of the argument is that merely physical sources cannot constitute a rational source, and therefore Lewis (and others) come to the conclusion that naturalism is self-refuting. Yet this premise is left without a proper explanation, and I don’t see why merely physical sources cannot constitute a rational source – in fact, this is one of the things that naturalism argues – that rationality can arise out of a purely physical source. A person employing the Argument from Rationality simply posits as a premise that it cannot, and then claims that this makes naturalism self-refuting. Obviously, we could refute nearly any worldview in this manner. Similarly, we could claim that any abstraction – from love to opinions to ideas to art – cannot arise out of purely physical sources and our argument would be no different. Why abstractions cannot arise out of physical sources is not explained, and I think they clearly can. It’s easy to create an imaginary solution to an imaginary problem.

No, this is a clear case of missing the point. We know that at a fundamental level physical causes don’t act for reasons. The reason an asteroid hits the Earth isn’t because it thinks colliding with our planet is the best way to achieve some end. It is acting in accordance with the laws of physics, and these laws (plus relevant physical conditions) comprehensively explains the event. So we have a prima facie case against the physical constitution of rationality. Is an emergent account possible? Perhaps. Is such an account forthcoming? Doubtful. Therefore the argument constitutes a good reason to reject naturalism.

Sophistry is a joy!

Indeed.

One reason the atheism/Christianity debate won’t progress

There is a Christian mindset that makes people think they can substitute snippet for substance. We see this is the political realm, where public visibility and electability is partly determined by who can create the snappiest zingers. As many know, these one-liners may be fun, but they certainly aren’t intellectually edifying. Case in point. Surely it is the scandal of the church that they haven’t done enough to combat such senseless taunting, but I imagine it has something to do with the body count of the church pews. But anyway….

Atheists are, at least on the interweb, a beacon of rationality, reason and a source of hope for the human race. But then they revert to the same tribalistic grunting afflicting their superstitious counterparts. These people apparently believe that we can just skip the whole process of cultivating a thinking, experiencing, growing person in favor of getting the best of their one-liner interlocutor. Blech.

This is exactly where Nietzsche scholars belong

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Foundherentism

I’m reading Susan Haack’s Evidence and Inquiry, and she proposes a moderate evidentialist position that she believes shoots between the difficulties of foundationalism and coherentism, yet takes the best of both positions. Before I make any initial remarks on her arguments, I feel that this position may go overlooked simply because of the unfortunate word “foundherentism”. I think it’s a rule for analytic philosophers to come up with the most unwieldy names. Blech. Moving on….

FH1: A subject’s experience is relevant to the justification of his empirical beliefs, but there need be no privileged class of empirical beliefs beliefs justified exclusively by the support of experience, independently of the support of other beliefs.

FH2: Justification is not exclusively one-directional, but involves pervasive relations of mutual support.

Haack thinks experience is a necessary portion of justification which serves somewhere in the basic region of the foundations, but what is interesting to me is her claim that such experiences aren’t incorrigible. She uses the ophthalmologist’s fan test to show that you can, in fact, be mistaken about how something appears to you.

It seems that you can be confused about how you are experiencing a very basic sense deliverance. Are the lines the same size? Do some appear to be larger or bolder? For me personally, the answer isn’t entirely clear, which serves as a prima facie defeater of the incorrigibility of basic sense experiences.

One more wedding…

…then I’ll be back to semi-regular posting.