The Whichness Of The Why

Rene DesCartes

Philosophers have nothing to say, but will take all day (or all of their lives) to say it.

In my ongoing attempts to get psychological explanations for why people – often Christians, but also Atheists – believe what they do, I kept running into philosophers. I thought that Philosophers were deep-thinkers, who used the power of their intellect to uncover important social revelations.

The more I read though, the more I realized that this was not so. One of them, like René Descartes (above) might make a significant claim, like; “Cogito ergo sum – I think, therefore I am” then the rest of them would discuss and debate it. If only one Philosopher contended a theory, it was like mental masturbation. If a group of them worried it like a dog with a bone, it was more like a circle-jerk. It made them all feel good, without actually accomplishing anything.

Often, no-one really proved anything. They just kept arguing with one another until observed facts finally showed one of them to be the closest guesser. Then folks would congratulate him as if he’d discovered something.

Even the winner of a debate, or series of debates, did not reveal, or prove, any particular truth. The champion became the victor by looking the best, yelling the loudest, and waving his hands the most. One Philosopher had a mortal enemy, another debater. There was only one subject about which the two agreed. Mr. Ego challenged his opponent to a debate, and took the ‘anti’ side. He won the debate by disproving an opinion that he held.

Despite the fact that colleges and Universities teach Philosophy, we have no Philosophers any more. What we have today are authors, bloggers, podcasters, and Christian Apologetics. All of them are full of strongly-held opinions, but if you laid them all end-to-end, they wouldn’t reach a valid conclusion.

Gilileo Goes To Jail

Case in point, a book that I recently read, titled Galileo Goes To Jail, 25 myths about Science and Religion. Seldom have I seen hairs split so finely, with no purpose other than to make the contributors appear learned and impressive. All 25 writers tiptoed through the minefield of truth and logic, but I felt the worst among them was the jackass who set out to prove that

Giordano Bruno Was Not The First Martyr Of Modern Science

Now, the first of anything is going to look different from what has gone before. This genius wanted to play the “Own The Definition” game. He started by claiming that Bruno was not a scientist, or was not teaching science. Of course not! Back then, the words, the definitions, the very concepts of “science” and “scientist” did not exist. Everything was Natural Philosophy.

‘Science’ did not exist, and Bruno wasn’t ‘teaching’ it. He did however publicly express and debate his opinions and conclusions about reality. He openly held Galileo’s position, that the Earth moved, and the sun didn’t, contrary to the Church’s dogma of a fixed and unmoving Earth. His claims were heresy to The Holy Catholic Church, which owned the definition of heresy.

Heresy they might have been, but as the equivalents of modern Astronomy, Astrophysics, and Mathematics, they were a Hell of a lot more like science than say, if the Pope might not be infallible, God did not exist in three parts, or we had to eat fish on Friday.

I try not to be hidebound in my opinions, and not get caught in confirmation bias. I invite, and delight in, discussion and debate about anything I publish. If you prove me wrong about any claim I make, I will accept defeat Philosophically. 😉

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Oops, I left a link to a 1949 Sci-Fi story at the end of this draft.  Rather than delete it –  anybody want to access and read it??

Edmond Hamilton – Alien Earth

https://archive.org/details/Thrilling_Wonder_Stories_v34n01_1949-04/page/n51

 

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Desperation

Bible

Apparently convinced that God is incapable of speaking for, or defending Himself, or the Bible, there are many Christians who take it upon themselves to speak for Him, and in their desperation to justify their beliefs, make fools of themselves and their religion.

In a recent post – On a book review, Frank Angle asked if there could be a reasonable discussion about the relationship of Science and Christianity.  The answer is yes, if the discussion is among intelligent, knowledgeable, open-minded people.

Among these vociferous Bible-thumpers, many of whom self-identify as Christian Apologetics, it seems that, the less they know, the more they have to say about it.  An American Protestant minister recently suggested to his flock that they might consider using a more up-to-date translation version of the Bible, for clarity, and ease of reading.  This was immediately shot down when a religious maven in the congregation stood up, and loudly proclaimed that, “If the King James Version was good enough for Jesus, it should be good enough for us.”

Not only do some of these Apologetics have trouble with facts and logic, they also seem to struggle with language and definitions.  One hyper-Christian seemed quite disturbed that Professors, researchers and leaders of Denominations other than his, learn about and teach things that his narrow-minded tenets won’t admit to.  Finally, with a flippant wave of his hand blog-post, he dismissed all of them with the self-contradictory label of Atheist Theologians.”

It is becoming common for Christian defenders to use the ‘Was you dere, Hymie?’ argument to any Atheist who claims to see no proof of God’s existence.  They will ask, “Have you been to every place in the Universe?  Isn’t it possible that God is hiding inside the Sun, or beneath the ammonia seas of Jupiter, or on some tiny planet wayyy over on the other side of the Universe?”

I immediately have problems with the idea of God needing, or even worse, wanting to hide from us.  Shouldn’t He be evident in all His radiant glory?  Who, or what, would God have to hide from?  And this ‘hiding’ business contradicts the Christians’ claims that ‘God is everywhere, in every thing, and in every space, permeating the entirety of Creation.’  C’mon guys…. Ya can’t have it both ways.

One of the sillier claims to appear recently was from Eddie the Evangelist, who seems to believe that some people become Atheists to appear smarter.   If this is the best desperate argument that Apologetics have to offer, it won’t take much to appear smarter than that.

I will admit that there are people who identify as Atheists, who smugly believe that they, and only they, have seen the truth, much like some Christians, and are therefore smarter than them.  It all comes back to definitions and reality.  Even if someone claims to be an Atheist because he’s angry at God for something, or to appear smarter, then he really isn’t an Atheist, because he still believes in God, the Apologetics’ claim isn’t really valid, and there’s no need of argument.

If Apologetics were absolutely, positively sure that God and salvation exists and they were right and that Atheists’ claims were false, then there would be no reason for these embarrassing, desperate claims and debates.  All the egotistical fuss they make is really about the fact that everyone doesn’t agree with them.  😛