Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cunning linguists.

There's been some good stuff on the blogs in the past couple of days which finally gave me an idea for a rant.

It's about logic and objectivity.

Logically we are all stuck in our own minds, making every thought, experience and feeling that we have, subjective. No matter how many subjective minds, living or dead(through recorded media) agree that certain things are objective facts, there is no absolute certainty that anything is objective at all.

For two examples, it is just as possible that there is a God as it is possible that you are a brain in a bucket, dreaming the entire world.

It is all more or less a consensus on our parts that objective reality exists at all.

I just read a comment, in which, the commenter(duh!) was saying that atheism runs into trouble when it comes to to the question of morality.

" I think that the biggest question concerning the moral argument is not the question of the morality of atheists or believers, but rather the existence of an objective morality, and our recognition of the need for moral norms.", says he.

But if morality is just another consensus, by us (subjective minds) that some deeds are 'good' and some 'evil', how would it ever be possible to even have 'objective morality'?

He goes on, "I think that atheism faces its greatest challenge in this area when it is forced to give an account of the objective grounds for our moral behavior."

I thought that the religious philosophical view was that we have no objective grounds for anything at ALL really and it's THAT that gives their entire philosophy, which denies materialism, it's 'in', in the first place.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but to give God a big 'in' by denying objectivity while giving atheism the boot on the grounds that IT is not objective enough seems to me to be very disingenous word-play.

Something similar came up with a cosmological 'proof of God', starting with the question, "Is there such a thing as absolute truth?", and of course everyone is steered to say, "YES!", because to say, "NO!", is to invite the question, "Well, is 'no' the absolute truth?", and since saying 'yes' to THAT is a paradox, well, we can see how we are 'trapped' there.

Once again, we can see that this is very disingenuous. Simply by showing that a paradox is created by that question, doesn't mean that everything has an absolute truth to it, now does it?

The question of tolerance is similar. If we advocate hundred percent tolerance then we ought to be tolerant of intolerance, right? Or to put in in the previous terms, "Absolute tolerance, must, by definition tolerate intolerance.".

No? Well, you're not 'absolutely' tolerant then, are you?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Clash of the Wills

"Don't read this, if you're not going to believe it!"

You're probably thinking, "Old Ian has gone off the frickin' rails, again.", and, "Is he evar(heh) going to get off this 'horse' about 'will'?"

Well, I think that I have something new(new to me anyways) to say about it, but it's a half formed glob of ectoplasm in my mind right now, which I just HAVE TO get rid of , so I thought I'd dump it into YOUR mind and let you deal with it!

I know, I know, you're thinking, "Lucky me!", but it's my will against yours, or it's my will to say something coherent, or it's my will against reality, or something.(Shut up! Voices in my head!)

Where was I? Oh yea, that silly sentence that the top comes across as me willing you to react somehow, but the instructions are impossible to follow.

As a human you take in information and process it trying to make sense out of it, and as another human, trying to impart information, we have a kind of contract. We don't think of it like that though but that's just the way it is.

Imagine, you're a baby, you look up into mom's eyes. Mom can either smile or give you a stony look, maybe turn her head away. By looking back and smiling, mom is fullfilling her part of the contract and you smile back.

I don't imagine that I have to drone on example by example, it's obvious that every interaction cascades down from that.

Jump to you and I right now. As you are reading, I am saying, "If you are like me, you'll understand, you'll 'get it' , if you have read this far and see me as 'weak', you'll be reading this and plotting how you can best tell me that I am incoherent, perhaps stupid, never seem to make any sense, perhaps 'embody' everything that you find dispicable in people of my 'ilk'!"

Of course there are many shades here, including a very neutral one where you are willing to suspend judgement depending on whether I can remain focused or I ramble on incoherently yadda-yaddaing, 'putting-you-to-sleep', 'you-got-better-things-to-do', or 'whatever'.

Example: It's interesting to note that if we add one to fourteen thousand, one hundred and nineteen we conclude that the answer is fourteen thousand, one hundred and twenty!

Well, no. It is actually NOT interesting at all to go on explaining something to the point where you, the reader, feels like you are the 'dead horse' being 'beaten', is it?

So it's kind of a 'test of wills' where, if I want to hammer home a point, I have to be very careful to not just be grating on your nerves and still try to lull you into reading crap(if it's what I'm trying to do) that MUST be true by dint of, "It must be true!", because it, of course, must be true,(You just keep getting that impression right), kind of thing.

But, I would never do that to you, my good buddy, mypalmychum-myfriend, you have to believe that.

Hey, if you don't go along with my little plan for you, I'll kick and scream and cry and pout and hold my breath 'til my face turns blue AND when that has no effect, I'll try to persuade you with scarcasm, reverse psychology, examples of 'how I'm right' and how you, my little pawn are constrained to move only one square forward(two if you're on the beginning square) and only attack one square on the forward diagonal! And you do this only when I tell you, got that!

But now you're thinking, how come I'm all of a sudden playing by YOUR rules? Who makes up these rules? Who died and left the rule-making chair empty and who says that you were dancing closest to it the last time the music stopped?

Aha! I've GOT you! If I can persuade you that it's a puzzle really!(It's really a puzzle!) If I can persuade you that I know that puzzle.(I know it's a puzzle.) If I can persuade you that I have that puzzle 'in MY pocket'.(pfft!) If I can persuade you that I am THE(or one of THE) Puzzle-master(s), THEN I have your attention, your focus.

If I can make you believe that I can pass this knowledge on to you by various means, parables, fables, multi-level ideas which can only be understood step by step, then, I've got your mind by its balls.(wrap your head around that one 'padiwan'! HAH!)

Seems to me that it's only a question of how determined I am to plant my flag of 'my will' into your 'new land' of 'your will' as painlessly(or painfully, if you're stubborn) as I can!

But now, I'M thinking, wait a nano-second here, how do I know that someone didn't do THAT 'thing' to ME?

Oh JESUS! There they are, all these little flags of other people's wills all over my nice clean will.


(Tell me that I won this round, but, "you'll be back!"(and you'll bring re-inforcements next time!)