I’m Philosophical About It

Bias And Presupposition

Like the student who was asked by his English teacher if he would begin stacking firewood in the middle of a pile, many people, (especially Christian Apologists) who believe that they are deep thinkers, unwittingly start in the middle of an argument.

A young writer who considered himself to be a (at least developing) philosopher, posed the following questions.  While innocent-enough looking, they are fraught with assumptions and beliefs.
What is the nature of the universe?

What is man’s place in the universe?
What is good and what is evil?
What is the nature of God?
What is fate and what is free will?
What is soul and what is immorality?
What is the order of man and state?
What is education?
What is mind and matter?
What is ideas and what is thinking?

What Is The Nature Of The Universe?

The Universe has no “Nature!”  It is a brute fact which each of us must endure in our own ways.  It is supremely indifferent and insensible to the wants and needs of any person, in the same way that we are unaware and uncaring of a red blood cell in our veins – more so, because we at least can become aware of a drop of blood, while the Universe sails serenely on, completely unaffected and unaltered, despite our actions.  There is no intrinsic purpose or meaning to the Universe.  Any ‘meaning’ is only one which each of us imbues it with.

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players!

What is Man’s Place in the Universe?

Here is the first place where the presuppositions become obvious.  There is no Cosmic airline hostess to escort us to our preordained seat, from which we may not move.  People who ask questions like this often assume that our place will be in First Class, when in fact, we are lucky to get a spot in coach, and not be stuck in the Baggage compartment.

‘My place’ in the Universe is in front of my computer, trying to understand people’s thoughts and actions.  Your ‘place’ will probably be somewhere else.  Each (wo)man’s place, and each group of (wo)men’s place, is wherever we strive and succeed in making it.

What is good, and what is evil?

Good and evil are imaginary concepts, dreamed up by people who want to feel good about themselves, their lifestyle and their choices.  What they do is good – what you do is evil.  I have even had self-righteous folks who admit that “you” did good things, but you did them for the wrong reasons.

Good is what is beneficial to me, and evil is anything which causes me loss or pain.  This definition applies to everyone, so there are countless definitions of “Good” and “Evil.”  The only commonality is when evolution-caused empathy makes it apply to larger and larger groups of people.

Hitler did not think that he was doing evil when he invaded Poland, or executed Jews and Gypsies.  He was trying to improve the standard of living for him, and his German people.  The victors write the History.  Aside from becoming psychopathic about it, his main problem was that his field of empathy was not wide enough.

What is the nature of God?

This is another assumption, like the one above, of the nature of the Universe.  At least the Universe can be observed.  First, prove that God is real, then we’ll discuss/argue His nature.  Either He does not exist, or He is the winner of the longest game of Hide And Seek ever.  The Old Testament portrays Him as a vicious, vengeful, spiteful, capricious, contradictory, ill-focused, incoherent, destructive old man, while the New Testament shows Him as a petulant child.

What is Fate, and what is free will?

Fate is the delusional excuse that ‘believers’ of all stripes give to the evidence that the Universe is supremely indifferent to them.  It is almost always applied negatively.  If they win a lottery, it’s egotistic entitlement.  If they lose – “I guess it’s just Fate.”  Call it fate, luck, karma, God, Satan – they all operate at the exact frequency as blind, random chance.

If God exists, free will is another delusion that does not, and cannot exist.  God knows the future, and there is no deviation from His perfect plan.  If God does not exist, free will looks a lot like this.

What is the soul, and what is immorality?

The soul is another imaginary assumption.  There have been a number of, both scientific and non-scientific, studies searching for it, and the results have been universally negative.  If it is anything different from ‘consciousness’ (which is another big, not-completely-understood phenomenon), no-one has been able to demonstrate it.

Like ‘Good’ and ‘Evil’ above, morality/immorality are subjective, man-made concepts, invented by power-hungry religious leaders, anxious to have and hold control over their obedient followers.  What is moral now, was not moral then.  What is moral here, is not moral there.

What is the order of man and state?

What is the meaning of this question?  These deep, ‘philosophical’ concepts are deteriorating into chaos and confusion.

Man came first, and when groups of men became numerous enough, they invented the concept of ‘state.’  Is he asking if the individual man should be more important than the state?  Clear, concise communication should be the first order of business.

What is education?

Why does he ask?  Did he not receive enough to know?  Does this person, who wishes to discuss philosophy, not have a good enough grasp of language to do so?

The act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.  Modern usage generally assumes the transmission (or guidance of transmission) of knowledge from one person to another, but there are those who ‘educate’ themselves – known as autodidactics.

What is mind and matter?

If you don’t mind, then it doesn’t matter.

The mind is a delusion of self.  It is the mostly non-physical, bio-electrical, neurological process of the physical brain.

Matter is also an illusion, and a delusion.  While it looks and feels solid and strong, it is really 99.999% empty space.  Infinitesimal particles group together to form, what used to be called, The Basic Building Blocks – protons, electrons and neutrons.  Different numbers of protons dance around each other to form atomic nuclei.  Different numbers of electrons orbit around these nuclei at relative distances that make the Sun and Pluto look like close friends.

Despite the apparent distance, the electrons whirl around the center so fast that, no matter what side other atoms approach from, the electrons are ‘always there,’ shunting them away.  Various atoms get together to form molecules, but even there, they are none too cosy, leaving a lot more empty space.

Different numbers and arrangements of particles and atoms give different pieces of matter different feels, looks, and properties – but they are all made up of the same basic little bits.  What are these basic bits made up of, you ask?  Tune in to the TED Talk next week, when the smartest scientist in the world says, “Beats the Hell outta me!  We’re still trying to figure that out.”

What are ideas, and what is thinking?

I have no idea, and I was thinking that someone should have checked with a dictionary, which says that IDEAS are:

any conception existing in the mind as a result of mental understanding, awareness, or activity.
a thought, conception, or notion
an impression
an opinion, view, or belief

Thinking is:

Having a conscious mind, to some extent of reasoning, remembering experiences, making rational decisions, etc.
Employing one’s mind rationally and objectively in evaluating or dealing with a given situation

Ideas are formed in the mind by the process of thinking, which is the action of electrons running around in the brain’s neurons, and leaping the synapses between them.  Serious, professional scientists are still studying the brain and the mind, but despite considerable investigation, are still not entirely sure how it all works.

If our amateur philosopher wanted to credit a God for this, or any part of the above, no indication, much less proof, has ever been found.  If he wanted deeper or broader information, his communication skills appear lacking.  He seems to have ended up right where he started – in the middle, and in a muddle.

Giving Thanx For Comedy

Since so many people like a drumstick at Thanksgiving, geneticists developed a six-legged turkey.  No-one knows what it tastes like because they can’t catch one.

A collection of quotes about Thanksgiving, from people you may know.

I celebrated Thanksgiving the old-fashioned way.  I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had a big feast, and then I killed them all and took their land.
Jon Stewart

Thanksgiving is an emotional time.  People travel thousands of miles to be with people they see only once a year – and then discover that once a year is way too often.
Johnny Carson

Cooking tip: Wrap turkey leftovers in aluminum foil – and throw them out.
Nicole Hollander

Thanksgiving, man, not a good day to be my pants.
Kevin James

I took me three weeks to stuff the turkey. I stuffed it through the beak.
Phyllis Diller

I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage.
Erma Bombeck

The Thanksgiving tradition is, we overeat. ‘Hey, how about at Thanksgiving we just eat a lot?’ ‘But we do that every day!’ ‘Oh. What if we eat a lot with people that annoy the hell out of us?
Jim Gaffigan

If you stand in the meat section at the grocery store long enough, you start to get mad at turkey. There’s turkey ham, turkey bologna, turkey pastrami. Someone needs to tell the turkey, man, just be yourself.
Mitch Hedberg

Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread and pumpkin pie.
Jim Davis

If you want to save a species, simply decide to eat it. Then it will be managed—like chickens, like turkeys, like deer, like Canadian geese.
Ted Nugent

Most turkeys taste better the day after; my mother’s tasted better the day before.
Rita Rudner

Last Thanksgiving I shot my own turkey. It was fun. That shotgun going, Blam!  Everybody at the supermarket just staring. Why track them when I know where they are?
Kenny Rogerson

We’re having something different this year for Thanksgiving. Instead of a turkey, we’re having a swan. You get more stuffing.
George Carlin

Even though we’re a week and a half away from Thanksgiving, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Richard Roeper

You can tell you ate too much for Thanksgiving when you have to let your bathrobe out.
Jay Leno

If you wish to make an apple pie truly from scratch, you must first invent the universe.
Carl Sagan

I got to go home for Thanksgiving and sit at the adults’ table. That’s ’cause, you know, somebody had to die for me to move up a plate.
Andre Kelley

Thanksgiving is America’s national chow-down feast, the one occasion each year when gluttony becomes a patriotic duty.
Michael Dresser

An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day.
Irv Kupcinet

I’m from Canada, so Thanksgiving to me is just another Thursday with more food. And I’m thankful for that!
Howie Mandel

Thanksgiving is a magical time of year when families across the country join together to raise obesity statistics.
Stephen Colbert

Here in my city, the Canadian Thanksgiving becomes the first weekend of a 9-day Oktoberfest, where over-drinking and overeating go hand-in-hand, like Hansel and Gretel.  I am thankful that I don’t have to drive through that insanity anymore.  If you’ve seen one drunk guy with bare legs, in leather shorts – you’ve seen one too many.

 

Reality Is Weird

Weird

A Christian Apologist shut his mouth, and in doing so, (almost) shut mine.  I found him under the above title, making claims like

Either (1) an infinite and eternal consciousness called God chose to create our universe with a purpose… OR! (2) Our universe randomly appeared out of an infinite and eternal nothingness by itself for absolutely no reason at all. These are the only two reasonable options.

I left him a response that he apparently did not like.  He posed another question, but I could see that he wouldn’t like the answer to it either, and it would cease being a comment, and become a blog-post of its own.  I went back in my ‘notifications’ to pick up the beginning, but he had disappeared.  I accessed his post, and found that he had disabled all comments.  I did not realize that him doing that erased all existing comments on my site.  The following first bit is from fading memory.

Neither of your options is reasonable, and you limit your argument by claiming that there can only be two.  A little thought and research would show that there are more then that.  (1) You have not proved that “God” created the Universe, or that there is/was a purpose. (2) Your random appearance from nothing, for no reason claim is so highly unlikely that no reputable astrophysicist would espouse it.

Can you provide any other scenarios?  Either there is purpose, or there isn’t.

This is what he missed.

Imagine a race of spaceless, timeless beings.  One of them, the equivalent of an eight-year-old boy, possesses the singularity which will become our Universe.  Perhaps it is a function of the non-space where he exists, that it occasionally spits out singularities.  Perhaps he found and kept it, like a fossil – or perhaps it’s a toy that his kindly uncle made for him.  He’s been told to keep it safe on a shelf, but accidentally knocks it off, and it falls to the floor and opens up into our known Universe.

Forget about those possibilities, and let our little extra-dimensional kid grow up a bit.

Now he needs a project, like a volcano, for science class.  He decides to build a little mathematical model to demonstrate the laws of physics within material matter.  As he is winding it up, he gets a little goo from a non-material pseudopod on it, and one of the perfect orbs develops life on its surface, like mold.

In the first scenario, the entity which caused our Universe to exist, was not the Creator.  There was no ‘Choice.’  There was no purpose!  In fact, it was an unintentional accident.  The Instigator can hardly be regarded as “God.”

In the second scenario, the Creator, and the Instigator, are the same Astral Squid – which still doesn’t qualify as “God.”  The act of creation, and the resulting Universe, are both intentional, but the creation of life – Us – has no purpose.  In fact, if the Nebulous Nerd knew that his science project was contaminated, he/she/it/they might want to polish the planet clean…. Oh, wait, that Noah flood wasn’t rain; it was Poly-dimensional Purell.

Well, now, the question should be: out of these two equally-weird explanations, which one is best supported by evidence, logic, and reason? Which one is more Possible, Plausible, and Probable? Which one is most believable?

Actually, the question is: which of these two equally-weird pairs of explanations is best supported by evidence, logic, and reason? Which one is more Possible, Plausible, and Probable? Which one is most believable?

I know that most Apologetics would dismiss my hypotheses as childish, but they both are as probable – likely more so – than either of his restrictive offerings.  If a rank amateur like me can easily come up with two alternatives, surely intelligent, educated scientists can come up with more, and better.

Religion

No True Atheist

Koran

Like “No True Scotsman”, no “Real Atheists” can exist, because Nada insists that they would all kill themselves to escape the evils, ills and woes of life – among other foolish claims.

I say….
No ‘real Atheist’ would be fool enough to claim that it is impossible for God to exist. Only a few are arrogant enough to even insist that He does not exist. What Atheists have evidence of, is that your particular delusional description and definition of God does not, and can not, exist. The proof of that are the continued skeptical denials in the comments to your heated claims.

Thanks dear! I sincerely appreciate your reply and it got me curious. So what is the atheists’ conceptualization of God? And what’s the solid scientific evidence of such conceptualization? (P.S.: I did not actually present a description of God … but let’s assume I did anyway)

That’s it, Nada; push those goalposts back another 10 yards. Begin with the baseless assumption that they have one, and then demand not only a description, but scientific proof for something that Atheists don’t even believe exists.

I hesitate to speak for others, but I’ll try to explain Atheists’ conceptualization of God. It is very much like their conceptualization of Bigfoot, but with less hair; like fairies, without their tiny wings, much like their concept of leprechauns, but without the pot of gold.

It very much resembles the inside of a whiskey bottle, after you’ve drunk all the booze. There’s nothing there, but it distorts your perceptions, and makes you feel good.

I have heard, literally, hundreds of similar-but-different descriptions of God. Is yours like that of ‘Good Christians’, Catholic or Protestant? Does it resemble the Yahweh of Orthodox Jews? Does it agree with the Allah of observant Muslims? Heard all those and still don’t believe them. Is it like Joseph Smith’s, or L. Ron Hubbard’s, or even worse, Heaven’s Gate??! All sizzle – no steak! All claim – no proof!

If you have a definition which varies significantly from any of these, I would be most interested to hear it, likely entertained, and probably amused. 😳

So you’re saying that for atheists there’s a notion of a potentially existing God but it is also a mythical non-describable being that created all of this??!! Is that it? That’s what you prefer to and find logical to believe?
Please don’t misunderstand me for making fun, I’m genuinely bewildered

To sum up my thought: I find it incredibly bewildering that an atheist is willing to believe anything, any theory unproven yet, any ridiculous illogical argument for the non-existence of a proper All knowing Creator , but vehemently opposed to the possibility of a Creator.. it’s almost like they hate the idea with a vengeance despite all the good that may result from such a proposal, even if it was a myth that people chose to believe.

I too am genuinely bewildered. It must be all the unfounded assumptions, the sweeping claims and questions, and your tendency to put words in other people’s mouths. You ask about what Atheists think/do/feel/believe, as if they are all one cohesive bloc. There are as many opinions, as there are Atheists. The only thing that they all agree on, is that they have never been presented with a description of a God, potential or real, that they find believable. They do not find it logical, and their preference has nothing to do with it. No, I don’t ‘say that’, nor does any other real Atheist.

I am bewildered that you disapprove of Atheists supposedly believing unproven, “illogical” scientific arguments, but believe the idea of a personal God on blind faith. You don’t seem to understand the difference between the active pursuit of proof of the non-existence of God, (which can’t be done) and the passive lack of belief of claims that He does.

There are some few, usually not ‘Real Atheists’, but failed Christians, who desperately claim that He does not exist. Many Real Atheists that I know, would welcome His existence, and would have the honesty to accept Him. I mean, Who Wouldn’t? I would! – Salvation?? – Forgiveness?? – Heaven?? – Eternal Life?? There’s just that little sticking point of no real proof. The loudest of the Christian Apologists not only do not provide it, but, if you’d read my Dec. 11/19 30 Day Challenge, you’d see that some of them offer theories so crazy illogical, that disbelief is almost mandatory. 🙄

You expect me to believe that a universe that I even cannot see all of, let alone imagine its boundaries and content exists just like that… by itself.. no beginning… no instigating force… no management?

On a percentage basis, there are as many arrogant, deluded Atheists, as there are Theists. I don’t make any of the above claims. I don’t expect you to believe anything! I stated that my mind was open to evidence, and the chance of change. You clearly stated that I would not change your mind. For a self-avowed Science-lover, you seem disturbingly ill-informed. Your glass-of-water analogy shows that you don’t understand the concept of nascent properties.

Time and Space are inextricably interwound. Time only began when the hyper-dense singularity blossomed to become the Universe. Before that, it existed in a timeless, spaceless “place” where all happenings occurred simultaneously. Therefore, it could be infinitely old, yet have been ‘created’ yesterday.

The construction of your objection does not make your intent clear. Universe…. boundaries and content exists just like that The Universe is a brute fact, which must be accepted as is. It exists, and has existed, the way it does…. Because! Did you mean, ‘without an identified Creator’??

by itself.. There may have been previous Universes. Perhaps a property of that trans-dimensional space, is to occasionally shit out baby Universes. There may be an infinite number of co-temporal ‘Multiverses,’ but we can’t reach them to prove that they do, or do not, exist. Again, are you looking for a Creator?

no beginning… The ‘Beginning’ of the Universe was 13.78 Billion years ago, when the Big Bang caused the singularity to unfold, creating time and space. Before that, it was only an unrealized potential.

no management Why would it need management? The Universe possesses a number of immutable laws, which control the grand scheme. The very purpose of the variable minor details is to create change and improvement. If I plug in an electric alarm clock, it needs no management. I don’t have to reset the time each day. The Universe is not like a car, which needs to be constantly steered.

no instigating force… It is possible that an entity, existing in that non-space ‘space’ reached out a tentacle, and nudged the singularity, causing it to expand. The creature which ‘instigated’ the Universe may not have ‘created’ it. In any case, you are conflating the concept of a Creator, with a God, or in your case, Allah. Even if I specify to the existence of a being which created the Universe, I, along with many others, see no evidence of a personal God/Allah – no miracles, no answered prayers, no care or concern about what we eat, drink, think, believe, say, do, wear, or have sex with.

I’ve Run Out Of Punny One-Liner Titles

Comedy

For chemists, alcohol is not a problem….
….It’s a solution.

Despite the high cost of living….
….it remains popular.

I before E, except after C….
….disproved by Science

Please cancel my subscription….
….to your issues

Lif is too short

Couldn’t claustrophobia be cured by just thinking outside the box?

Some people are wise….
….some are otherwise

We’ll, we’ll, we’ll….
….if it isn’t autocorrect

Rick O’Shea….
….Is a bulletproof Irishman

My relationship with whiskey….
….is on the rocks

I hate it when people accuse me of lolly-gagging….
….when I’m clearly dilly-dallying.

After my friend turned vegan….
….it was like I’d never seen herbivore

My wife says I’m the cheapest person she’s ever met….
….I’m not buying it

If a midget smokes weed….
….does he get high, or just medium?

I accidentally handed my wife a glue-stick, instead of a Chap Stick….
….She still isn’t talking to me

Some people are like clouds….
….When they go away, it’s a brighter day

What’s black and never works?….
….Decaffeinated coffee, you racist

Life and beer are very similar….
….Chill for best results

Terrible summer for Humpty-Dumpty….
….but he had a great fall

I’m diagonally parked….
….in a parallel universe

Screw You

SDC10824 SDC10822

This is another in the series of ‘Old Shit I Own.’ Do any of you know what this thing is, or what it was used for?  It’s another piece of long-lost memorabilia I discovered in the protracted Autumn Housecleaning.

The younger ones in my readership may find this hard to believe but, there was a time, not that long ago, when homes were not provided with numerous electrical outlets – or power points, or even wireless recharging of all those indispensible electronic gadgets.

This is a screw plug. It was used in rooms of homes where there might not be even one wall-socket electrical outlet.  You unscrewed the light bulb from an overhead fixture, screwed this in instead, and had a place to plug in things like my Mother’s washing machine, which rolled out to the middle of the room on little wheels.

Double socket

The problem then was, all work had to be done during the day, or the room would be dark. That problem was quickly solved by the development of the above little gadget.  You could screw the bulb back in to see what you were doing, and insert the socket on the other side of the Y.  I used one of them for a while, until I managed to install a light fixture over my basement workbench.

I know I am truly older than dirt, and born and raised out on the frontiers of the universe. I was too young to do so, but I have seen people using telephones which were a big box on the wall, with a speaking funnel on the front, and an earpiece dangling from the hang-up hook on one side.  You picked up the earpiece and turned a little crank on the other side, which attracted the attention of a real, live, operator.

CFL Bulb

Edison’s incandescent light bulbs, with an output of 60 watts or more, have been outlawed in Ontario, and replaced with CFL Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs, or now the LED style which produces more light and less heat, and save power. The only thing more ancient than incandescent, may be wall sconces with flaming torches – and you can’t plug a radio into one of those.