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. 😉

***

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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’19 A To Z Challenge – H

AtoZ2019Letter H

What a difference a day makes (click to hear Dinah Washington, if you don’t believe me)– or a single letter. The English language has so many words, that you sometimes need to look very carefully, to be sure that you’ve read the correct one.

That was the position that I found myself in while trying to find a word-theme for the letter H. At first I thought I’d had an old-timers’ moment, and duplicated a word on my list. Closer inspection though, revealed the fraternal twins I’d like to introduce you to.

Hominy and Homily

Hominy [Hom-uh-nee]

whole or ground hulled corn from which the bran and germ have been removed by bleaching the whole kernels in a lye bath (lye hominy) or by crushing and sifting (pearl hominy).

mainly US – coarsely ground maize prepared as a food by boiling in milk or water

RELATED WORDS

porridge, cereal, samp

Origin of hominy

1620–30, Americanism; <Virginia Algonquian

South of the Mason-Dixon Line, it’s often served like mashed potatoes at almost every meal, and the coarser variety is known as grits. Or an egg is mixed into it, to hold it together, formed and baked like a bread loaf, and called corn-pone. Formed into balls and deep-fried, it’s known as hush-puppies. Its look-alike brother-from-another-mother is

Homily [Hom-uh-lee]

a sermon, usually on a Biblical topic and usually of a non-doctrinal nature.
an admonitory or moralizing discourse.
an inspirational saying or cliché.

RELATED WORDS

lecture, lesson, doctrine

Origin of homily

1545–55; < Late Latin homīlia < Greek homīlía assembly, sermon

The similarities go beyond nearly-identical spelling. Again, mostly in the American South, any precept which is not Evangelical Christian ideology or theology has its strong, supporting cover and any germ of an idea removed, ground down, and served constantly as boring, tasteless, mental-conditioning pap.

Dear Lord; You created me with a fully functional, highly capable brain. Please allow me to use it to the best advantage of myself and others. Amen!

 

Laugh – It’s The Christian Thing To Do

Nun

Two nuns are doing their grocery shopping.

As they pass the cooler full of beer, one nun says longingly to the other one, “A cold beer would go down great tonight!”

“Indeed,” the other nun replies, “but how can we show up with beer at the check-out counter?”

“Don’t worry, I have a plan,” the first nun answers. “Grab a six-pack.”

The cashier is surprised when he sees the beer, but the one nun is ready with an explanation.

“We use the beer to wash our hair,” she says, “At the convent, we call it ‘Catholic shampoo.’”

Without hesitation the cashier bends down, grabs a package of pretzels, and throws it in one of the nuns’ grocery bags, saying “The curlers are on the house.”

***

A man suffered a serious heart attack and had an open heart bypass surgery. He awakened from the surgery to find himself in the care of nuns at a Catholic Hospital.

As he was recovering, a nun asked him questions regarding how he was going to pay for his treatment. She asked if he had health insurance.

He replied, in a raspy voice, “No health insurance.”

The nun asked if he had money in the bank.

He replied, “No money in the bank.”

The nun asked, “Do you have a relative who could help you?”

He said, “I only have a spinster sister, who is a nun.”

The nun became agitated and announced loudly, “Nuns are not spinsters! Nuns are married to God.”

The patient replied, “Send the bill to my Brother-in-law.

***

ON THE OTHER HAND

I was walking across a bridge one day and I saw a man standing on a ledge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said, “Stop! Don’t do it!”
“Why shouldn’t I?” he said.
“Well, there’s so much to live for.” “Like what?” “Well, are you religious?” He said yes. I said, “Me too! Are you Christian or Buddhist?” “Christian.” “Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?”
“Protestant.” “Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?”
“Baptist.” “Wow, me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?”
“Reformed Baptist Church of God.” “Me too. Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1789 or Reformed Baptist Church of God, 1915?”
He said, “Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915.”
I said, “Die, heretic scum!!” and pushed him off the bridge.

***

Priest

The priest was preparing a dying man for his voyage into the great beyond.

Whispering firmly, the priest said, “Denounce the devil! Let him know how little you think of his evil!”

The dying man said nothing.

The priest repeated his order.

Still the dying man said nothing.

The priest asked, “Why do you refuse to denounce the devil and his evil?”

The dying man said, “Until I know where I’m heading, I don’t think I ought to aggravate anybody.”

***

One pleasant afternoon, a Priest and a Nun were out golfing. The father deferred to the Nun on the first hole, and she hit a nice ball towards the green. The Father tees up, then smacks the ball into the woods. “Damn it! #$*^&%$#%^@$# %#&^%&!$, I MISSED!” he cries. “Father!” says the Nun, “You should watch your language. The Lord will not like it.”

The second hole comes up. The father tees off, and the ball once again goes sailing into the woods. “Damn it! #$*^&^%$#%^@$#, I MISSED!” he cries. “Father!” says the Nun, “Watch what you say! It is Blasphemy!”

On the third hole, the father again tees up his ball. Once again, the ball sails wide, this time landing in the water hazard. “Damn it! #$*^&^%$#%^@$#, I MISSED!” he cries. As the Nun starts to speak, a great bolt of lightning sails down from the sky and strikes the Nun, reducing her to ash. From the sky comes a booming voice: “Damn it! #$*^&^%$#%^@$#, I MISSED!”

***

A small-town preacher was known for getting around town on his bicycle.
One day, a neighbor noticed him walking and asked him about his missing bike.

The preacher said, “Can you believe someone stole it?!”
The man replied, “I have an idea. On Sunday, give a sermon on the Ten Commandments. When you get to Thou Shalt Not Steal, really rail on it, and the thief is sure to feel guilty and return your bike.”
The preacher agreed and went on his way.

A week later, the neighbor again ran into the preacher, reunited with his bike.

“So the sermon worked, I see!”
The preacher answered, “Apparently so! I got to Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery and remembered where I left my bike.”

(Self-)Help Is On The Way

Self Help

In order to improve the lot in life of our employees and customers, Archon’s Addled Alliance is offering some free on-line courses. All you need to do is contact us and admit that you need help, and we’ll enroll you in a suitable one from the following list.

SELF IMPROVEMENT

Creative Suffering
Overcoming Peace of Mind
You and Your Birthmarks
Guilt Without Sex
The Primal Shrug
Ego Gratification Through Violence
Moulding Your Child’s Behavior Through Guilt And Fear
Dealing with Post-Realization Depression
Whine Your Way to Alienation
How to Overcome Self-Doubt Through Pretense and Ostentation
Hairstyling by Microwave

BUSINESS AND CAREER

Retire at 26 by Embezzlement
How I made $100 in Real Estate
Money Can Make You Rich
Packaging And Selling Your Children
Career Opportunities in El Salvador
How to Profit From Your Own Body
The Underachievers Guide to Very Small Business Opportunities
Tax Shelters For The Indigent
The Looters Guide to North American Cities
Mortgage Reduction Through Arson
Manipulation – The Key To Success
Hysteria – Motivation and Methodology
Preliminary to Employment Through Nepotism
Dice and Dope – Roll Your Way to Success

ECONOMICS

Counterfeiting Canadian Tire Money (Open to residents of Canada only)
Basic Kitchen Taxidermy
How to Convert a Wheelchair Into a Dune Buggy
Cat Hair Macramé
Christianity and The Art of RV Maintenance
What to do With Your Conversation Pit
Sinus Drainage (Contracts)
1001 Uses For Krazy Glue
Repair and Maintenance of Your Virginity
Burglar-Proof Your Home With Concrete
How to Convert Your Kirby Vacuum-Cleaner Into a Fully Automatic Rifle
How to Build a Patio With Prune Pits – Franchise Program
Second-Hand Tupperware Parties

HEALTH AND FITNESS

Creative Tooth Decay
Fun With Necrophilia
The Joys of Hypochondria
Exorcism and Acne
High Fibre Sex
Suicide and Your Health
Skate Your Way to Regularity
Understanding Nudity
Tap Dance Your Way to Ridicule
Optional Body Functions
The Braille System of Anatomy
Dressing Right/Dressing Left – How It Can Change Your Life
Isometric Fitness For the Lazy
Understanding Underarm Wetness and Wind Direction

ARTS AND CRAFTS

Start Your Own TV Evangelism
Self Actualization Through Macramé
Needlecraft for Junkies
Gifts For the Senile
Cuticle Crafts
How to Draw Genitals
Bonsai Your Pet
Wind Chimes As a Substitute For Religion
25 Creative Uses For a Water-Pik
Crochet Drapes From Dental Floss
Toilet Bowl Reading

Please add any courses that you would like to see offered in the future.

Something Old, Something New, Something Stolen, Just For You

Garter

“Some scientists now believe that Jesus Christ had a wife. They also believe that Jesus’ nephew called Jesus’ wife the “Auntie Christ.’”

***

Three blondes died and are at the pearly gates of heaven. St. Peter tells them that they can enter the gates if they can answer one simple question. St. Peter asks the first blonde, “What is Easter?”

The blonde replies, “Oh, that’s easy! It’s the holiday in November when everyone gets together, eats turkey, and are thankful and stuff…”

“Wrong!,” replies St. Peter, and proceeds to ask the second blonde the same question, “What is Easter?”

The second blonde replies, “Easter is the holiday in December when we put up a nice tree, exchange presents, and drink eggnog.”

St. Peter looks at the second blonde, shakes his head in disgust, tells her she’s wrong, and then peers over his glasses at the third blonde and asks, “What is Easter?”

The third blonde smiles confidently and looks St. Peter in the eyes, “I know what Easter is. Easter is the Christian holiday that coincides with the Jewish celebration of Passover. Jesus and his disciples were eating at the last supper. Then the Romans took him to be crucified and he was stabbed in the side, made to wear a crown of thorns, and was hung on a cross with nails through his hands. He was buried in a nearby cave which was sealed off by a large boulder.”

St. Peter smiles broadly with delight.

The third blonde continues, “Then every year the boulder is moved aside so that Jesus can come out… and, if he sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter.

***

If you’re singing Christmas songs on your neighbor’s lawn at night with your church group, it’s called “caroling.”

But if you’re doing it alone with no pants on, it’s called “drunk and disorderly.”

***

How come writing your lover’s name in the sand is considered romantic, but if you write her name in a snowbank…. Ew, ew, ew!

***

My wife has this red ‘Christmas’ lingerie with faux fur around the neck and cuffs and it comes with a little Santa hat.

“I hate this outfit,” I said when she walked into the room.

She replied, “Then why are you wearing it?”

***

A daughter said, ‘Mom, how many kinds of ‘willies’ are there?’

The mother, surprised, smiles and answers, ‘Well dear, a man goes through three phases.’

‘In his 20s, his willy is like an oak tree, mighty and hard. In his 30s and 40s, it is like a birch, flexible but reliable. After his 50s, it is like a Christmas tree.’

‘A Christmas tree?’

‘Yes — dead from the root up and the balls are just for decoration.’

***

A new survey found that 81 percent of parents admit to stealing Easter candy from their children. While the other 19 percent of parents don’t think it counts as stealing if you bought the candy in the first place.

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.  😛

Religious Freedom To Be Paranoid

Bible

Christianity is again under attack.  So says a newspaper article that’s as predictable as tomorrow’s sunrise.  The headline is actually ‘Freedom of religion disappearing in Canada,’ but Christianity is the only religion mentioned.

The writer gives two examples of loss of (Christian) religious freedom which I can refute quickly and easily.
The man is a paranoid, fucking moron.

What??!  You were expecting something deeper, and more considered?  Alright!

He whines about the Federal Liberal government refusing to give grant money, for the hiring of summer students, to any organization which will not guarantee support for birth control or abortion.   He, and many others, feels that this is loss of religious freedom.

Not so!  Any such church, or Christian organization, is still free to hold and teach any and all moral positions.  The Federal Government is just telling them that they cannot finance proselytizing their restrictive, judgemental views with MY tax money.  He complains that the churches can’t get back “their money,” but all churches are tax-exempt.

Locally, the Federal Government has tried and failed four times in the last 15 years, to strip a successful businessman of his citizenship, and deport him.  He came to Canada in 1948, and became a real estate developer.  He employed over a hundred people, and he and his wife were active in social causes, donating over $2 million to various worthy causes.

He was a 17-year-old ethnic German, living with his family in the Ukraine, when the Nazi death-squads arrived.  When they found that he could speak both German and Russian, they kidnapped him and threatened him and his family with torture and death if he didn’t translate for them, so that they could find the Jews and Gypsies.  Under U.N. regulations, this made him a ‘child soldier,’ not subject to prosecution.

After 50 years of raising three successful children, and giving so much to the country, the Canadian Jewish Congress discovered that he’d ‘been part’ of this hated death squad, and began fomenting for his exile.

It is not illegal, under Canadian law, to have been part, but it is illegal to have lied to immigration officers when he attempted to enter the country.  He says that, when he applied in 1948, Immigration saw him as a young Ukrainian, and only asked him, “Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party?”

Ever anxious to foster the myth of an infallible bureaucracy, the tribunal decided that, “On the basis of probabilities,” he must have lied to officials.

Skip happily with me now, out to British Columbia, to the Trinity Law School, a church-run Christian College.  They require all their students to sign a Code of Conduct.  While enrolled at the College, students may not support abortion, birth-control, or same-sex marriage.  In fact, no sex of any kind, except with someone you’re married to.

Law Societies across Canada have declared that they will not regard a certificate from this school as valid.  The College, and writers like this article’s, are howling that this is an infringement of their religious freedom.  Again, not so!

They are still free to teach and instill this code of conduct, just as the Law Societies are free to decline to take the school and its graduates seriously.  In an area of business and society where neutrality and equality are valued, “On the basis of probabilities,” it is assumed that students exposed to this constant propaganda will have, at least an unconscious bias, detrimental to the even-handed practice of law.

Freedom of religion does not include the freedom to impose ‘yours’ upon anyone else, no matter how wonderful and ‘divinely inspired’ you feel it is.  That’s the quota of ‘Rants and Rambles’ that I’m free to publish today.  I hope to see you again soon, for something sillier.