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Posted on October 27 at 10:55 a.m.
Clinton was simply lying about his behavior. Who else was he supposedly blaming ? And I suppose it's factually wrong to point out that the recession began when Bush was President.
Warping reality in order to concoct an absurd charge against your political opponents and dragging it into a discussion in which it has no relevance is a pretty good definition of Priceless.
On Graham Pressley Sounds Off on Jesse Rugge's Release
Posted on October 21 at 9:15 a.m.
A child is not a possession. And anyone who follows a dream or a voice in his head telling him to kill his child is a delusional homicidal lunatic.
On Remembering Abraham's Sacrifice — Eid-ul-Adha
Posted on September 7 at 9:20 a.m.
If philosophy of science were really a “science” of science, then, if one were to be a follower of Popper, one would have to show how its claims could be empirically falsifiable. This conversation is too muddled to give any sense of how this would be done.
Fuller’s response to Rupert Read being a critic of his work is ridiculously useless: “while he is a professional philosopher, he is also a prominent politician in the UK Green Party — perhaps the most sceptical of the established parties when it comes to science.” So?
Anyone further interested in a broader view should of course read his work but also check his Wikipedia article, which cites, in addition to Read's criticism, one reviewer as saying that one of his books is "a truly miserable piece of work, crammed with errors scientific, historical, and even theological,” of presenting an "analysis of the intellectual disputes over contemporary ID creationism [that] is almost vacuous," based on “an idiosyncratic interpretation of the history of philosophy” and “a limited grasp of the history of science”; and reviewers of another of his books as finding it to be “an epoch-hopping parade of straw men, incompetent reasoning and outright gibberish… intellectual quackery … that gives philosophy of science a bad name," as "completely wrong and … backed by no sound scholarship whatsoever,” and as showing a “mark of ignorance and historical short-sightedness.” Etc.
On Unusual Method
Posted on August 25 at 7:04 a.m.
TamI find it odd, to put it mildly, that you think I would knowingly misstate your positions. It would be a nonsensical waste of my time to distort them simply for the supposed pleasure of describing as inadequate or poorly posed things that you didn't in fact claim.
On A Mini-Discourse on Spiritual Method
Posted on August 24 at 3:46 p.m.
The only way in which I see you addressing the additional part of Russell's claim is by saying that it doesn't pass your personal "laugh test" and that the truth of your contrasting view is "incontrovertible and undeniable," on the grounds that his view doesn't pass the laugh test and yours is incontrovertible and undeniable.
On Something from Nothing?
Posted on August 24 at 3:09 p.m.
TamCiting the supposed charms of pantheism and its proponents isn't enough, nor is simply repeating, as you have in the past, that quarks must have consciousness because you can't fathom a world in which humans do but quarks don't. Words like "self," "subjectivity," "will," "choice," and the like have meanings developed over many centuries by a variety of thinkers from Augustine to Locke, Hume, Kant, and beyond, including more modern and contemporary work on personhood from psychological, anthropological, and other perspectives. That's the literature you've ignored and need to address when you claim that such carefully elaborated terms can be applied to quarks.
We know more than the Buddha about how the brain works. Do we really know more than he did about how the mind works? What have we learned about the latter that you believe would cause him to change his views in any substantial way?
Your initial comments were not about the relative humility of a generality of earlier seekers compared to that of the "best" among the moderns (where by "best" you of course mean the ones you've chosen because their statements can support your thesis, as opposed to those among the moderns who might not). You were speaking of one ancient seeker in particular, the Buddha. To establish your point, you need to refer to statements where he claims to have certainty in worldly knowledge, in areas relevant to his teachings, where the moderns you cite are willing to admit they do not. His simply saying, in essence, "I think you should try doing this if you want to find comfort in life" doesn't strike me as throwing the humbleness meter all that much out of whack. Besides, the Buddha wasn't trying to elaborate a falsifiable scientific/philosophical worldview; he was offering a possible therapeutics for people to apply to their lives.
Posted on August 23 at 4:18 p.m.
The mill has sufficient grist already.
I'm sure you understand why I don't take your laugh test and the "I can't believe you believe that" objection very seriously. In particular, having read a fair amount in philosophy, theology, and the social sciences generally on such issues as subjectivity, self-hood, free will, etc., when I read what you say about quarks having an inner self and form of self-consciousness, I laugh in wonderment at how a very intelligent person could have ignored thousands of years of engagement with the subject as though it had no bearing on the meaning of his claims.
The sheer fact of experience is primary and undeniable evidence of experience. That's it. The rest is confusion between the categories of grammar and the categories of reality (Russell) and a formulation of grammatical custom based on logical-metaphysical assumptions about how the world supposedly must be (Nietzsche).
As for your take in some of your other comments:
You say that the Buddha taught that we should "not follow any particular set of views on authority or faith alone. We should test statements, test methods, and find our own path." You also point out that "Our worldly knowledge has undeniably improved vastly since the time of the Buddha."
Somehow you manage to construe these as showing that, "Based on his own teachings, if the Buddha were alive today, it is highly unlikely that he would wholeheartedly embrace Buddhism. Why? Because human knowledge has improved since the Buddha’s time, and because we have also become more humble in our approach to knowledge."
The Buddha's teachings were based on observations about, and insights into, the general human condition. What advances in the knowledge base since his day would lead him to pull back from those teachings? And in what sense are "we" more humble in our approach to knowledge than he was?
You describe Christianity and Buddhism in particular as resting on the notion that there is no improving our collective knowledge because all has been previously revealed. However, you then point our that such traditions do in fact "evolve, through insight, dialogue, schisms, conflicts, and so on." So even if a given believer or set of believers might claim that their understanding of the world is unchangeable, history of religions shows that a dynamic tension exists in these religions that leads to reevaluation as knowledge and historical conditions change.
I must admit that I'm not a "spiritual seeker," but perhaps I'll find your future columns on "deep science," about which I've already expressed my misgivings at length, as well as its relation to the process you mentioned elsewhere "of co-creating God as Summit," more coherent than what I've seen so far.
Posted on August 23 at 4:02 p.m.
TamYou agree with only part of Russell's point; you ignore the part about his claim that it's illegitimate to go from "there is thinking" to "there is a thinker." Your partial agreement with Russell doesn't change the fact that he, I, and Nietzsche disagree with you on the fundamental issue here, notwithstanding your incredulity about our doing so.
Posted on August 23 at 8:11 a.m.
You equate "awareness" with "self." I don't. So this isn't being hung on language, but on metaphysical assumptions.
You go on to say, "we can conclude, with absolute certainty, that there is an experiencer here, now, from the mere fact of experience being here, now."
This is precisely what we can't conclude, for reasons Russell and Nietzsche point out in the material quoted in my comments on your next Mini-Discourse in this series.
Posted on August 23 at 7:15 a.m.
No, we aren't on the same page. I’m on the page with Russell's full account, in which, according to the author of the article, Russell denied “that thinking, or thoughts, entail a thinker, and he [Russell] explained the temptation of inferring a thinker from the occurrence of thoughts by appealing to what he regarded as the questionable metaphysical commitments of ordinary language. Again in his own words:‘Descartes believed in “substance,” both in the mental and in the material world. He thought that there could not be motion unless something moved, nor thinking unless someone thought. No doubt most people would still hold this view; but in fact it springs from a notion – usually unconscious – that the categories of grammar are the categories of reality.’”
And with Nietzsche in The Will to Power: “‘There is thinking: therefore there is something that thinks’: this is the upshot of all Descartes’ argumentation. But that means positing as ‘true a priori’ our belief in the concept of substance – that when there is thought there has to be something ‘that thinks’ is simply a formulation of our grammatical custom that adds a doer to every deed. In short, this is not merely the substantiation of a fact but a logical-metaphysical postulate.”
The worldly and beguiling Pink Martini returns for a special ... Read More
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