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Three Apologies

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  • nolanhatley
    Here I hope to to explain my position on a belief in God and super- matter more thouroughly to Trinidad and George. Apology I. A Defense of Intellectual
    Message 1 of 57 , Feb 11, 2005
      Here I hope to to explain my position on a belief in God and super-
      matter more thouroughly to Trinidad and George.

      Apology I. A Defense of Intellectual Humility

      First of all, it's been reinforced by our dialoge that the most
      stringent logical position using only reason on the question of the
      existence of God can ever be agnotsicism. The basic run of that is
      this: you can't convince by way of reason to an atheist that God does
      in fact exist, just as much as you can't convince a theist by reason
      that God does indeed not exist. Time and time again, we hear that a
      belief in the unknowable is left at that. Still to echo Pascal a
      little bit (The heart has its reasons, that reason knows not of.)
      both the atheist and the theist have good reasons to believe in a God
      or believe in his non-existence, mainly due to the unobjectifiable
      personal experience with logic (or its insufficiency)and the
      universe. It is also interesting, that existentialists are generally
      found though in two camps-- athiest or theist.

      I want to reassert that I in no way could convince George of an
      existence of God using only empiricism. This is impossible, becuase
      the very foundational roots of empiricism cut away super-matter, and
      God is not only material. Nor could I really appeal to Trinidad,
      because I was not using the "right language" or correct terminology,
      nor does he find my conjectures in line with the scientific method.
      In fact, nor could I appeal to Bill, for being only in a posting
      board without relational contact, could I convince Bill of my
      personal trustworthiness, or that I have experienced enough of the
      pangs of life because of my youth. And these are all brilliant,
      intelligent observations. (And that's not sarcasm). I still find
      Plato's Socrates very admirable. He gave us the notion of
      intellectual humilty, teaching that is only through dialoge with
      other human beings that we can learn the true nature of wisdom and
      philosophy. Probabbly the best reason for having intellectual
      humilty is the seeming limitlessness of our universe, which always
      repeats to us...."It's possible. It's possible."

      A lot of questions have been pointed at me because of my theistic
      disposition. Well, I'm not an agnostic. I'm a theist with a very
      specific faith in a very relatve and universal God. Can I adequately
      prove this? Empirically, no. Does this make my position un-
      intelligent? I don't think there's adequate logic behind that.


      I hope to at least confront the illogical position that someone who
      believes in God can't be intelligent. I do not have a superior
      intellect, but logic teaches me that this is circular reasoning, too.
      Anyway, enough on that.

      Apology II. A Defense of Super-Matter


      Super-Matter: imagination, preference, psyche, personal experience,
      emotion, ideal notions of experience, romantic notions, subconcious,
      unknowables, mystery, the pneuma behind art, poetry, and music
      (barely material itself, soul, mythic, Dionysian, impulse, desire,
      fear, love, spirit, spirtual, subjective, internal vision, the
      thematic etc.


      "Where are all the good men dead?
      In the heart or in the head?"

      A good philosophical question. I sugesst neither. The problem lies
      in the internal separation of these two modes of a human existence.
      Interestingly enough, while I was thinking heavily on this little
      question I came to Richard Tarnas's epilouge in The Passion of the
      Western Mind. The "Western Mind" is something that Trindad likes to
      discuss thoroughly it is coming of age into a highly evolved
      scientific sphere of cogntion. At least two leading Western thinkers
      have fundamentally disagreed with Trinidad's theories of the
      superiority of science, and since modern science is the birth child
      of empiricsim (George's baby), it too. Richard Tarnas in the reply
      to the couplet above would probabbly say it stems from the Cartesian
      cogito. Descartes limited intellectual perception only to the
      cognitive logical faculties. Tarnas finds this the catalyst to the
      existential movement in philosphy because existentialist aspire to
      reconile meaning by reuninting cogntion to the personal realm. Tarnas
      also discusses the contributions of Freud, Jung, and Grov to not only
      pschology but also to philosophy, in that they showed us that the
      biological is somehow related to the collective conciousness of
      archetypes in a culture.

      Empricism, really an anti-existential philosophy (that thought from
      Tarnas) does not demonstrate much if anything. Nihilism is more it's
      child. This is interesting because Dudley Young in Origins of the
      Sacred says that modern science works from the intesne desire to be
      completley objective. Science reveals everything about the how's of
      the material universe, but it is insufficient in answering the
      Western question of what to do? Scienc has not adequatley explained
      the truth of fictive experience. Dudley does beter than I.....

      (From The Origins of the Sacred...Perceiving the World: Science vs.
      Myhtology) <This in itself pertains to many posts in the last week.>

      Let us return to quieter ground. Some idea of the important and
      puzzling ambiguities surrounding the "interest" science takes in
      NAture may be gathered by considering its relation to the hand.
      Science's "good hand," as it were, is the one that led us out of the
      medieval monastery, where hands were folded in prayer, and did not
      dare (or did not deign) to touch the body of this witchy wench. This
      good hand, by retruning us to the earth that bears us, delivered us
      from the paranoia that inevitably bestes the alienated and the
      disdainful. Our reward for daring and deigning to touch again the
      body that nurtures us, was, as mytho-logic would suggest, powers
      undreamed of in scholastic theology. This literally so: the
      extraordinary powerfulness of modern science arises from the fact
      that its thinking about Nature, unlike that of theology, is not only
      unconstrained by taboo, but is conjoined with and shaped by an
      experimental method that touches, orders, and manipulates the body in
      question.
      And yet this experimental touching and manipulating in
      deconsecrated space and time is also what calls forth the bad hand,
      the predatory claw that grabs and violates. Just as carnal knowledge
      explores the borderline between the nurturing hand that cradles and
      protects and the predatory hand that violates, so too does scientific
      knowledge. This ambiguity of the hand, so central to human
      experience, is a source both of endless adventure and endless
      confusion in human affairs. Its confusing aspect reappears in
      another version of the scientific story, in which we are asked to see
      the scientist EITHER as the unarmed pilgrim who walks out into
      Nature's plenitudes to see what he can gather from the world to which
      he essentially belongs, OR as the alienated intellectual who, in
      Yeat's reconstruction, chooses to do his thinking in bed so as not to
      be distacted by the senses. "Which one is it?" we are tempted to
      ask, in some exasperation: and the reply is "Both: you must live with
      the ambiguity." Heaven knows its not easy, as we shall see presntly
      when we come to consider the most imporatnt and ambigous scientist of
      the nineteenth century, Charles Darwin. But the important point
      here, and it is crucial, is that those medieval hands folded in
      prayer knew something that science first ignored and then forgot: any
      hand that is not sometimes folded in prayer will in the end turn into
      the predatory claw.
      The hand also helps to illuminate the simplest criticism of
      science, which almost everyone has heard of, that it is
      somehow "reductive," that "we murder to dissect." What is it that
      science reduces? Mankind, in a word, and with it the kindness of
      Nature, the song of kinship that sings throughout creation and binds
      us all, one to another. The hearing and singing of this song have
      traditionally been the poet's and the shaman's responsibility; and
      the scientist, for his purposes, ignores it. This would be tolerable
      if only the scientist did not exceed his brief and suggest ( either
      implicity or explicity) that such singing is beside the point - or,
      even worse, that it muddies the waters of truth. To put it crudely,
      science finds its power in abstraction, in ignoring certain aspects
      of what we percieve in order to concentrate on certain others; and
      the overall effect of this is to make life seem smaller, cheaper, and
      nastier than we know it to be.
      The matter is, needless to say, by no means simple as I am
      suggsting, but this is not a book about the philosophy of science,
      and so I will continue to simplify. The damaging of abstractions of
      science arose in the Renaissance, when it became experimental and
      mathematcial, when its reductive hand entered into its meditations.
      The science of ancient Greece is comparatively nonreductive because
      it speculates, classifies, and on the whole keeps its hands to
      itself. The best account I have read of this and the " fall" into
      modern science is Jack Lindsay's Blast Power and Ballistics ( 1974),
      particularly his description of the difference between the "pious"
      mathematcis of Kepler and the " balsphemous" mathematics of Galileo,
      an account that emphasizes the reductiveness of Galileo's
      abstractions. The comparsion of Kepler and Galieo ( contemporaries
      working in the same field ) illustrates the difficulty of
      generalizing about reductiveness in science, and yet for present
      purposes we must. When speaking againest science in this chapter, I
      have in mind chiefly the impure aspects of applied sciences such as
      physics and chemistry, where the experimental hand is most active.
      The historical sciences, such as geology, concerned with taxonomy not
      power, are indeed aspects of " natural philosophy" as hte pre-
      Socratics would have understood it, relatively benign if not
      downright virtuous.
      Some sense of these differences can be gathered by considering
      the man who is all by accounts much the best of our contemporary
      writers on matters scientific, that somewhere pre-Socratic Stephen
      Jay Gould. What distinguishes his prose, apart from its prodigious
      learning, is his vivid sense not only of the serious playfulness of
      Mother Nature as she plots and unplots her evolutionary moves, but
      also of scientist's constant duty to resist his occupational diease
      of reductiveness. It seems to me altogether likely that Gould's
      admirable prose is connected to his somewhat pre-Socratic specialism,
      paleontology, that very pure, virtually nonexperimental science given
      to the classification of ancient parts, a meditiation, in the
      broadest sense, on history. A paleontologist needs a good eye, a
      quiet hand, and thoughtfulness: all of these distinguish Gould's
      writing.
      * See, for example, the prologue to his Flamingo's Smile ( 1985 ).
      One might also suggest that to write as cheerfully as Gould does, one
      needs a clear conscience. Not only is paleontology unimplicated in
      thunderbolt aspiration, but its large perspectives keep it uninfected
      by the urgencies of our time. Some years ago a mathematician told me
      that only scientists writing pretty equations were the
      astrophysicists. Gould's second love, since childhood, has been
      astronomy.

      See, even those who don't share my same faith beliefs find science
      useful but not all-sufficient. Tarnas goes after empiricism more in
      his Epilouge. This is, after a complete survey of Western thinking
      from the Greeks until present day. Interesting enough, they both
      uplift the feminine as the next move intellectualy and
      existentially. Dudley Young goes far as to say "the feminine touch
      is the best stay against violence." One, Jarques Barzun, a hisotrian
      who wrote From Dawn to Decadence talks about how the West has looked
      East, too.

      Though this is insighful, it is their personal beleif. My personal
      belief obviously points to Christ who pointed out the beauty of both
      genders.


      Apology III. A Defense of My Own Existential Position or A Defense
      of Believing in God's Existence in spite of the suffering of humanity

      Yes, George, I have looked in the abyss too--the one of human
      nature. It might go deeper than I saw, but I care to look no more.
      What's to be afraid of when you stare into the abyss of nothingness?
      In the words of Lear, "nothing will come of nothing." Therefore,
      you, quite literally, have nothing to be afraid of. However, if you
      look in the dark and suspect something that you can't see, it takes a
      lot more existential guts to acknowledge its existence.

      Job saw better than I. He asked a lot of questions about his own
      suffering and all he got back from God was questions.

      As for God being privy to everyhting because of his omniscience,
      that's the beauty of his character. He is completly privy yet he is
      completly respectful of our existential free will.

      To Louise....have you ever thought of this beautiful paradox
      of "and"....the pure choice was purposeful....and it was purposed for
      us to choose.

      Existentially Yours,

      Nolan
    • louise
      Descartes limited intellectual perception only to the cognitive logical faculties. [Richard] Tarnas finds this the catalyst to the existential movement in
      Message 57 of 57 , Feb 28, 2005
        Descartes limited intellectual perception only to the cognitive
        logical faculties. [Richard] Tarnas finds this the catalyst to the
        existential movement in philosphy because existentialist aspire to
        reconile meaning by reuninting cogntion to the personal realm.
        Tarnas also discusses the contributions of Freud, Jung, and Grov to
        not only pschology but also to philosophy, in that they showed us
        that the biological is somehow related to the collective
        conciousness of archetypes in a culture.
        Empricism, really an anti-existential philosophy (that thought from
        Tarnas) does not demonstrate much if anything. Nihilism is more
        it's child. This is interesting because Dudley Young in Origins of
        the Sacred says that modern science works from the intesne desire to
        be completley objective. Science reveals everything about the how's
        of the material universe, but it is insufficient in answering the
        Western question of what to do? Scienc has not adequatley explained
        the truth of fictive experience. Dudley does beter than I.....

        (From The Origins of the Sacred...Perceiving the World: Science vs.
        Myhtology) <This in itself pertains to many posts in the last week.>

        Let us return to quieter ground. Some idea of the important and
        puzzling ambiguities surrounding the "interest" science takes in
        NAture may be gathered by considering its relation to the hand.
        Science's "good hand," as it were, is the one that led us out of the
        medieval monastery, where hands were folded in prayer, and did not
        dare (or did not deign) to touch the body of this witchy wench.
        This good hand, by retruning us to the earth that bears us,
        delivered us from the paranoia that inevitably bestes the alienated
        and the disdainful. Our reward for daring and deigning to touch
        again the body that nurtures us, was, as mytho-logic would suggest,
        powers undreamed of in scholastic theology. This literally so: the
        extraordinary powerfulness of modern science arises from the fact
        that its thinking about Nature, unlike that of theology, is not only
        unconstrained by taboo, but is conjoined with and shaped by an
        experimental method that touches, orders, and manipulates the body
        in question.
        And yet this experimental touching and manipulating in
        deconsecrated space and time is also what calls forth the bad hand,
        the predatory claw that grabs and violates. Just as carnal
        knowledge explores the borderline between the nurturing hand that
        cradles and protects and the predatory hand that violates, so too
        does scientific knowledge. This ambiguity of the hand, so central
        to human experience, is a source both of endless adventure and
        endless confusion in human affairs. Its confusing aspect reappears
        in another version of the scientific story, in which we are asked to
        see the scientist EITHER as the unarmed pilgrim who walks out into
        Nature's plenitudes to see what he can gather from the world to
        which he essentially belongs, OR as the alienated intellectual who,
        in Yeat's reconstruction, chooses to do his thinking in bed so as
        not to be distacted by the senses. "Which one is it?" we are
        tempted to ask, in some exasperation: and the reply is "Both: you
        must live with the ambiguity." Heaven knows its not easy, as we
        shall see presntly when we come to consider the most imporatnt and
        ambigous scientist of the nineteenth century, Charles Darwin. But
        the important point here, and it is crucial, is that those medieval
        hands folded in prayer knew something that science first ignored and
        then forgot: any hand that is not sometimes folded in prayer will in
        the end turn into the predatory claw.
        The hand also helps to illuminate the simplest criticism of
        science, which almost everyone has heard of, that it is
        somehow "reductive," that "we murder to dissect." What is it that
        science reduces? Mankind, in a word, and with it the kindness of
        Nature, the song of kinship that sings throughout creation and binds
        us all, one to another. The hearing and singing of this song have
        traditionally been the poet's and the shaman's responsibility; and
        the scientist, for his purposes, ignores it. This would be tolerable
        if only the scientist did not exceed his brief and suggest ( either
        implicity or explicity) that such singing is beside the point - or,
        even worse, that it muddies the waters of truth. To put it crudely,
        science finds its power in abstraction, in ignoring certain aspects
        of what we percieve in order to concentrate on certain others; and
        the overall effect of this is to make life seem smaller, cheaper,
        and nastier than we know it to be.
        The matter is, needless to say, by no means simple as I am
        suggsting, but this is not a book about the philosophy of science,
        and so I will continue to simplify. The damaging of abstractions of
        science arose in the Renaissance, when it became experimental and
        mathematcial, when its reductive hand entered into its meditations.
        The science of ancient Greece is comparatively nonreductive because
        it speculates, classifies, and on the whole keeps its hands to
        itself. The best account I have read of this and the " fall" into
        modern science is Jack Lindsay's Blast Power and Ballistics ( 1974),
        particularly his description of the difference between the "pious"
        mathematcis of Kepler and the " balsphemous" mathematics of Galileo,
        an account that emphasizes the reductiveness of Galileo's
        abstractions. The comparsion of Kepler and Galieo ( contemporaries
        working in the same field ) illustrates the difficulty of
        generalizing about reductiveness in science, and yet for present
        purposes we must. When speaking againest science in this chapter, I
        have in mind chiefly the impure aspects of applied sciences such as
        physics and chemistry, where the experimental hand is most active.
        The historical sciences, such as geology, concerned with taxonomy
        not power, are indeed aspects of " natural philosophy" as hte pre-
        Socratics would have understood it, relatively benign if not
        downright virtuous.
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