Saturday, July 27, 2013

TIME

If you're one of these philosophy types who imagine that time is an illusion, I want to know 'how' time is an illusion. Write me a 69 million word book on how time is an illusion. "No way! That'd take me forever!", you say? But, 'Time is only an illusion.', right? I say, "Time is all we have, it's all we got, so if that is true, and if it is an illusion, then all we have, all we are, is just an illusion." This makes the idea, the notion, that time is an illusion, silly, to me. who, if it's true, am just an illusion too. Walking, talking illusions? WTF? Wtf is your definition OF an illusion?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

When I break down.. (the potentiality/actuality comment)

"These are well defined by Aristotle." Right! So let's all imagine that we're living in the days of Aristotle! (384 BC – 322 BC) " His purpose was to respond to Parmenides and Zeno at the Eleatic school, who claimed that change does not occur. They claimed that there is only being, and non-being, and being cannot come from non-being, and being already is, and so therefore nothing ever changes." Close your eyes tight shut and think, we're back some 2,400 years now, and Aristotle is about to give Zeno a pwning! Aquinas, well, he's just a 'potentiality' as far as we're concerned, no? "But Aristotle thought this was wrong, and tried to work out why it was." " His answer is that there is a sort of middle-ground between being and non-being: potentiality. Take a glass of water on your table. It is actually on the table, but potentially spilled on the floor, potentially drunk, potentially evaporated, and so on." And of course if you've been squeezing your eyes shut tight all this time, you're still imagining that you're back in the 4th. Century B.C.E. " It has the capacity to change, and this capacity for a future state is called potentiality, by Aristotle. >the total sum of energy in the universe, even if it is finite, is sufficient to describe all instances of potentiality coming to actuality There is a lot more to the Aristotelian position. " Is there really 'a lot' to Aristotle's stuff in the 21st. Century, or is there a lot less than there used to be?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

On potentiality and actuality

Hurlbut writes this:- These are well defined by Aristotle. His purpose was to respond to Parmenides and Zeno at the Eleatic school, who claimed that change does not occur. They claimed that there is only being, and non-being, and being cannot come from non-being, and being already is, and so therefore nothing ever changes. But Aristotle thought this was wrong, and tried to work out why it was. His answer is that there is a sort of middle-ground between being and non-being: potentiality. Take a glass of water on your table. It is actually on the table, but potentially spilled on the floor, potentially drunk, potentially evaporated, and so on. It has the capacity to change, and this capacity for a future state is called potentiality, by Aristotle. >the total sum of energy in the universe, even if it is finite, is sufficient to describe all instances of potentiality coming to actuality There is a lot more to the Aristotelian position. The act/potency distinction applies in various other ways. For example, it also applies in the distinction between essence and existence. The essence of a Phoenix and its actual existence are distinct, in that knowing the one (what it is to be a Phoenix) does not tell you the other (whether such things actually exist). So the sum total of energy in the universe is still not enough to describe all potentials becoming actual, because the essence of energy is distinct from its existence. Simply knowing what energy is will not tell you if energy exists. In other words, energy actually exists, but potentially does not. And per the second premise something else must actualize the potential existence of energy. >what Aquinas would call a particle's "potentiality" could be described as an intrinsic property of the particle And if so, then you are agreeing with the Aristotelian-Thomistic position! One of the most important concepts in Aristotelian metaphysics is that of final causality: an intrinsic property of an object to do X rather than Y. If it is just in the nature of virtual particles to pop into existence out of the quantum vacuum, then that is saying that they have a final cause. And so they have a potential towards a certain end (popping into existence), and you have the act/potency distinction. >if God is pure actuality, God cannot do anything. All concepts we use to describe action – causality, creation, etc. – imply the existence of a potential change. Pure actuality would be non-temporal, because being temporal means having the potential to get older than one was. Being non-temporal, pure actuality has already done everything, from its perspective. Everything is one timeless now, and we simply move through time "tripping" over its actions as we go. Actions which are already in place. >He exists as this abstract "actuality" that exists at all possible points in time, and any changes are only changes from the perspective of observers such as ourselves (ironically enough, this is actually similar to the concept of the "block universe"). That's exactly right! >It's interesting to note that this is precisely what happens in quantum mechanics! The wave function of a particle can only be determined by probability; there is no classical mechanism that can explain why the particle changes at one time rather than another. But remember the essence/existence distinction (which aligns with potential/actual, respectively). A merely potential object does not exist, and so cannot cause anything, including bringing itself into existence. Consider a quantum particle that, by its very nature, spontaneously decays. What makes it the case that such an object actually exists, rather than just potentially? Certainly not itself, as it would then have to exist in order to make itself exist. It would have to simultaneously exist and not exist. >Time flows in arbitrary directions, and no specific point can be said to be the "beginning" or "end". This is the common misunderstanding: that Aquinas is trying to argue that the universe must have had a beginning at some point. Nothing could be further from the truth. Aquinas was well-aware of the Kalam Cosmological Argument, and rejected it. He doesn't think an infinite past is an actual infinite: http://branemrys.blogspot.com/... Aquinas is arguing for a current, sustaining cause, no matter how old the universe is, even if it is infinitely old. I like to explain it by using the concept of a receiver and a giver. If there is a receiver, then necessarily there is a giver. If the frozen lake is being actualized by the cold air, and the cold air is being actualized by the jet stream, and the jet stream is being actualized by the sun, and the sun is being actualized by its nuclear reactions, then all these are receivers, and the only possible way the chain can terminate is in an unactualized actualizer. It could not possibly terminate in an actualized actualizer, because then it just wouldn't be the termination point. The ultimate explanation of the lake's being frozen. So you see, it has nothing to do with the origin of the universe. >relies upon the fallacious idea that empirically observed phenomena can be taken as axioms that apply in all conceivable circumstances The argument is not relying upon empirically observed phenomena. It starts with the anti-Eleatic position: change occurs. It argues that if change does not occur, then change definitely still occurs on the level of your own consciousness, as you reason from premise to conclusion. But this is then incoherent, because your consciousness is a part of nature and so you would be saying that change occurs and does not occur. The second premise is argued to be logically certain as well, because a potential (non-existent) object cannot cause anything, because then it would have to exist and not exist simultaneously. And the third premise is argued to be logically certain as well: as long as something is receiving, something must be doing the giving. ............................................................................................................................. There's a 10 course meal, right there, hey? Gonna have to break this down a bit to criticize it, but for now, just soak in the ambience, if you can do that without barfing!

Friday, August 24, 2012

All we have.

I'm thinking that the atheist billboards we hear about, I've never actually seen one myself, it's not that they're too sarcastic, I like sarcasm if it's not directed at me, it's that they're not going to make Christians think about their religion. I have never been a Christian, or any other kind of theist, so on becoming an atheist I had to be sure that there were no good arguments for theism. I could just picture myself atheizing away and someone come along and say, here's a great reason to be a Christian, and thinking to myself, "WHAAA? I had never imagined that there might be such a persuasive argument!" Well, after much blogging on my, practically stream-of-consciousness, blogging along with much reading and posting on others' blogs, I've come to the conclusion that, if it's true that believers outnumber non-believers 9-1, that sarcasm isn't going to cut it. Lately some atheist bloggers seem to have came to the conclusion that they don't want jokers, trolls, those who use sarcasm to make their point or crazy people commenting on their blog and I, personally think that this is a mistake. Not everyone is educated in the fine arts of arguing rationally, rhetoric or any possible 'right way' of telling others their POV, right? Still, I think that they'e hearts are in the right place, hehe, they must be if they're actually monetized and actually trying to attract people to comment on their blogs to increase their income. Anyways, I guess that was an aside, something that came up recently, although I think it does have something to do with my view on what the atheist billboards have to say. Instead of veiled sarcasm, something simple like, "All we have is... each other, really!" Now I'm not trying to say that this is something new, since, I believe that there's really nothing new under the Sun. Sure there are countless ideas that are 'new to me' but that's not saying that we're going to run into a whole lot of ideas that are new to everyone ever all the time, right? Language and ideas, especially those ideas that we're going to put down in print, we are actually constrained by language itself to describe something 'new to you' in terms that are, at least fairly, old, right? What would be the point of writing at all if all the relevant terms were words which other people didn't know? So, to reiterate, 'All we have... is each other!', seems to be a good 'talking point' or meme to attract others, to open the door to discussion!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Nothing new under the Sun

Just recently got a new puppy and we had a bit of a problem naming him. Emma's pretty good at naming pets, she came up with Prettyboy Floyd for our cockatiel, gotta love that name. When we got the budgie, she came up with Spazzy, since he spazzes out, beating his wings as if he's trying to emulate a hummingbird while making angry budgie noises. We tried a few names on the dog, Caesar, didn't like it, I forget what else, nothin' seemed to fit him. I gave Emma a choice, Moe, or something else which I forget now. Anyways, he likes to fetch and destroy an aardvark toy, which we named Harvey! Harvey the aardvark, isn't that hilarious!? While he was doing his little trundle to get the toy and coming back all proud, shaking the life out of poor old Harvey, who has more lives than Jesus, more lives that the proverbial cat, I was praising him as Mighty Moe, the aardvark slayer! So, Mighty Moe, Moe, Mozie, it was! He's just Moe or Mozzie to us, but woe betide us is we introduce him to anyone as Moe, you can just see the disappointment on their face, changing from, the "Argh, what a cute DOGGIE, what a cute puppy!", to "Moe, eh? That blows giant chunks of, 'what, are you trying to bore me now?'. But tell them his name is Mighty Moe, what a diffencet, "HaHA! Mighty Moe, the fluffy, cute Ewok impersonator is MIGHTY MOE!", that, they can relate to. So, I looked up "Might Moe, the dog." on the 'Net, and sure enough, there's a pic of a cute, tiny butterfly doggie, with the same incongruously hilarious name! Hence the title of the post, Nothing new under the Sun. Not only that, I was explaining a bit about North American politics, "The best democracy that money can buy!", feeling all 'original', hey, it just popped into my head, just now, well before this chattering away posty stuff, say five mins. ago. Looked THAT up and it's the name of a year 2000 book! Nothing new under the damned Sun, yet again!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Hypnotism!!!

I have put a lot of thought and shit into this, looking through the web, under my bed, in the closet, quizzing confidantes, "You are in my power!", and so on, and I think it's crap.

Tell you why, I think that everyone has been hypnotized, all the time, by everyone, ever. Now I can hear you asking, "HOW CAN THAT BE?", like that, and I answer myself, "Shhh, you'll wake the neighbours!", because that is, I think, what hypnotism is.

I don't know what you think, but I'm pretty sure it's similar to what I think, and the WAY I think, HOW I think what I think, is almost EXACTLY the same as you.

Of course if I was ''written in" as an older sibling or younger sibling I'd act out that role, just as you would act out your part, since we don't grow up reading books on how siblings interact, but we're talking 'now' so if you think about it, concentrate your mind, imagine an older, or younger, it doesn't matter, brother, named Ian, just really give that idea a 'go', then that is hypnotism.

Of course you're reading this thinking, "Dubbya tee eff? He's not my brother.", but what if, in your 'head', you could imagine that I was? Just for the simple reason that concentrating on that idea would focus your mind on that idea.

But this is the same as every real idea that you have, it's just a belief. All the shit in your head is just beliefs. Your mother is really a snowman and dad is some character from a television show?

If you squint hard enough?

Of course not. You know damned fine that's not true. Point is, how do you know? You cannot tell if your most basic beliefs are true or not, since they're just passed along beliefs, they're, if you're willing to admit, beliefs that mom, dad, uncle, aunt, someone who was the best hypnotist, painted the best picture in your mind.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Norman Geisler's objection No.1... My point of view

Norman Geisler's objections:
1) “If ‘most of us most of the time come to our beliefs for a variety of reasons having little to do with empirical evidence and logical reasoning,’ then can we not assume that Loftus came to his atheistic views the same way?”

This is Mr. Geisler's objections to John Loftus' Outsider Test of Faith.

Here is the Outsider Test of Faith.

When believers criticize the other faiths they reject, they use reason and science to do so. They assume these other religions have the burden of proof. They assume human not divine authors to their holy book(s). They assume a human not a divine origin to their faiths.Believers do this when rejecting other faiths. So dispensing all of the red herrings about morality and a non-material universe, the OTF simply asks believers to do unto their own faith what they do unto other faiths. All it asks of them is to be consistent. The OTF asks why believers operate on a double standard. If that's how they reject other faiths then they should apply that same standard to their own. Let reason and science rather than faith be their guide. Assume your own faith has the burden of proof. Assume human rather than divine authors to your holy book(s) and see what you get. If there is a divine author behind the texts it should be known even with that initial skeptical assumption.

Okay, Objection No. 1.

My objection to Mr. Geisler's point here is that his is a political objection, which we can break down into two parts, which are presented to us as an 'if/then' proposition.

‘most of us most of the time come to our beliefs for a variety of reasons having little to do with empirical evidence and logical reasoning..'

Mr. Geisler is overgeneralizing here. Sure our parents beliefs were passed down to us while we were learning to speak, learning our place in the world, but even as youngsters still learning, we compare how words are used by others, which is empirical and logical.

If grandpa is joking around and tells us that the sky is green we'll quickly object that 'everyone else' knows that the sky is blue. We remember the data, mom talking about the nice blue sky today, dad agreeing, them talking about things being blue and the colour of those things being the colour of the sky, and so forth.

Of course I'm talking about how we learned when we were children and an even more political response to my example would be to get all philosophical on me here and argue with me about whether and under what circumstances the sky is actually blue.

In fact our grasp of reality is being constantly tested by everyone else and by ourselves from just about day one.

Point is that the very general, the most general case for Geisler's point isn't true although one's religious beliefs are included in everyones' lives too. i.e. Most will confirm that the sky is blue and most people in your life will confirm their religious beliefs too.

This is what the OTF is all about, and couching beliefs as stuff generally outside empirical evidence and logical reasoning, is nonsensical in the very general terms since we're not about to question all of our beliefs all the time, we've done the empirical data collecting long ago(blue is blue is blue) and our logical reasoning( the damn sky IS blue) ever since we knew the words.

"... can we not assume that Loftus came to his atheistic views the same way?”

The OTF is not about Loftus' beliefs and how he came to believe them, it's about how you can argue against faiths other than your own in one way but dare not argue for your own faith in that same way.

We can illustrate the disconnect easily enough, like one of those general I.Q. tests.

Pick out the one which doesn't fit.

1)Belief in ghosts
2)Belief in a supernatural realm
3)Belief in God
4)Belief that the motion of the stars and planets influence our lives.
5) Not believing that there are ghosts or a supernatural realm or a God or that the motion of the stars and planets influence our lives.

I know, I know, it's kind of tricky. I was thinking '4', since I don't believe in Astrology, then I realised that no matter if I believed any of the 'beliefs', no matter if any of the 'beliefs' were true, number 5 IS THE ODD MAN OUT!

As a theist(Christian, Muslim, Jew etc.) your likely to know all the semantic ducks and weaves and dodges such as Atheism is just another belief system, if I say it's not, it's just non-belief, you can retort, "Well, it's belief that there is no God then.", basically dragging non-beliers down that very disingenuous rabbit trail.

So, it would appear that our Geisler fellow, if not a completely disingenuous, intellectually dishonest asshole, is pandering to his audience who are a closed community who are more than willing to take for granted that atheism is a belief system.