Another “both/and” principle: Socrates

socrates_louvre

Intelligence directs the change that we see in the world around us every day. Let me illustrate with an analogy. Someone might see Socrates sitting in prison and seek to explain why he is there. One person says that he is sitting there because of the complexity of his muscles, ligaments, and joints and how they expand and contract. They have expanded and contracted in such a manner that has caused him to sit in prison and there he sits. Another, more correct, person would say that the reason Socrates is sitting in prison is that he has decided it better to accept the punishment of his government than to run away. In other words, Socrates’ intelligence has directed his joints and ligaments for the purpose of justice. But, it could have been otherwise. He could have decided to run and we would see his joints and ligaments expand and contract in just that way. It is precisely this kind of explanation that accounts for intelligence in the universe.

Why do things happen in our world in just the way they do? Why do they not happen another way? An egg turns into a chicken. But, why does not the egg turn into a goat? Why do trees produce leaves instead of budding into faeries? When I push my finger against metal it does not give. But, why does it not change color upon touch or vibrate? Why do I type here instead of doing the dishes? Why does a pumpkin go on being a pumpkin? Intelligence is the answer. For we know the universe could have been quite different. Things could have worked a totally different way. And we cannot explain these particularities without recourse to intelligence. A mind must be directing it all. To explain it all by saying, “Well, that’s just the way it all developed from the beginning of the universe”, is not an explanation. Moreover, it’s a lazy man’s explanation and completely redundant. If I ask someone why Socrates sits in prison and they tell me “because things just happened that way”, they just told me my own question. For that is the very thing I’m trying to explain: why it happened that way. Intelligence is the answer for Socrates and it is the answer for the universe.

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Purpose is not a thing?

Key points I am responding to:

1. Purpose is not a thing, therefore if I create purpose, I do not create it out of nothing.

2. Purpose does not exist in space and time, cannot be pointed to or painted and such.

3. Purpose does not exist independently from the person that has it.

4. Purpose is not capable of causing effect.

5. Purpose is a word to describe intentions being fulfilled.

 

I agree with some of what you say here. Purpose is not a piece of matter existing in space and time causing effect. A agree that “purpose does not fall into this category.” So how does purpose exist? You ask me to show it to you, to point it out; and you want me to do so on purpose. You ask me to purposely paint it, or purposely do something to it. The problem, as you ask it, is that purpose is not something you can look at; it is something you look along with. Purpose does not cause effect; it is the guiding factor in the cause and effect fulfilling a specific intention. Purpose is something we apply or use to achieve specific ends or goals. As such, you cannot look at purpose; you can only look along purpose towards the end or goal it points to. And if you actually meet or fulfill the goal you set out to achieve, you can actually say you did it on purpose. Otherwise, if the goal is not met and something different is accomplished, you cannot say you did it on purpose.

But, if purpose is something we use, apply, or look along with, that does not relieve us of the responsibility of accounting for the fact that we have it. It is not material but it is there. To say it is not there, is to say so on purpose and to contradict one’s self. You say that purpose is not a thing; but a thing is just a certain kind of being, and being is the most comprehensive concept that we have, applying, as it does, to everything that exists. But, if purpose does not exist, that is to say, there is no guiding factor that we can use to achieve specific ends or goals, then no ends would be fulfilled except by happy accident. And we could not even take advantage of the circumstance to our benefit because we would be doing so on purpose, and as we have said, “there is no purpose.” Here is clear evidence for purpose — that we point to certain ends and goals and actually reach them repeatedly. We intend to grab a soda and actually do. We intend to paint a wall and actually do. We intend to type on the keyboard and actually do. If the same actions produced random, inexplicable, and unexpected results maybe we would never know purpose at all. It is repetition of the same causes with the same effects that shows purpose. Chains of cause and effect in this world that produce random results actually give us a contrast that highlights the purpose we do see.

You say, “Not only can I create purpose, any purpose assigned to me as the causal agent can only come from me.” And here is where you are confused. You are implicitly indicating that throughout the whole process of evolution from beginning to end nothing had purpose, not a single solitary thing; but all of a sudden at a certain point in man’s evolutionary development, man was the first and only one to have purpose. It’s like saying everything was blue throughout evolutionary history until man appeared and then he was red, but there was no such thing as red before man. Here is where you have to admit that purpose was there all along or else you abandon logic; because you are an effect of which the evolutionary process is the cause, and the cause cannot give the effect what it does not have. If the effect has purpose, so did the causes of that effect in some way or another. The only things that we know of that have purposes or give things purposes are causal agents, therefore it follows that a causal agent existed and included purpose in evolution in various ways in order to produce YOU who now have purpose and give purpose to things you make. A causal agent giving the universe purpose is what everyone usually understands to be God.

You say, “purpose is not an independent thing…” and I have to disagree with you. Logic leads me to. It is true that purpose comes from causal agents like yourself, but purpose also exists in the things that we make. For instance, a coffee maker contains purpose and its purpose, which we gave it, is to make coffee. Purpose exists in the coffee maker because we guided the materials involved to form a chain of cause and effect in such a way that the materials would produce coffee every time we push the button. Now, it doesn’t just work for the person who made it, it works for everyone else too. But, they didn’t give the coffee maker purpose. They didn’t form the chain of cause and effect to produce the specific effect of making coffee. They just have to push a button, and actualize the cause and effect chain. Therefore, the purpose that exists in the coffee maker is independent of its maker and anyone else, though it could not have contained it without the maker, and cannot be used without someone pushing the button. It’s clear that purpose once given to materials becomes independent.

Backwards Ignorance of Evolution

elephant_christmas_rug

The truth most needed today is that the end is never the right end. The beginning is the right end at which to begin. The modern man reads everything backwards. He is like a blind man exploring an elephant, and condemned to begin at the very tip of its tail. But, he is still more unlucky; for when he has a first principle, it is generally the very last principle that he ought to have. He starts, as it were, with one infallible dogma about the elephant; that its tail is its trunk. He works that wrong way round on principle, and tries to fit all the practical facts into his principle. Because the elephant has no eyes is its tail-end, he calls it a blind elephant; and lectures on its ignorance, superstition, and lack of education. Because it has no tusks at its tail-end, he says that the tusks are a fantastic flourish attributed to a fabulous fanciful creature. Because it does not as a rule pick up things with its tail, he dismisses the magical story that it can pick up things with its trunk. He probably says it is plainly a piece of anthropomorphism to suppose that an elephant can pack its trunk. He becomes a pessimist; the world to him is not only an elephant, but a white elephant. He does not know what to do with it, and cannot be persuaded of the perfectly simple explanation; which is that he has not made the smallest real attempt to make head or tail of the animal. He will not begin at the right end; because he happens to have come first on the wrong end.

Having arrived at the wrong end, we have a problem: the problem of induction. The inductive method, this superstitious belief in the unchanging repetition of the universe as we know it, continues to see its own reflection as it glances at the history of the world. Perhaps we should call this tendency to see its own reflection “Inductomorphism”. The scientist has grasped evolution by the tail because that is the only thing he can grasp; and has declared, by the power of Inductomorphism, there were no “eyes” in its beginning. He sees no purpose at the end and declares the same for life’s beginning. He has grasped his ignorance and called it intelligence. Now, only the religious man keeps the scientist in check because the religious man has always started at the beginning.  It is the religious man who sees the world rightly as being backwards. He is not afraid to give modern intelligence its rightful name: ignorance. Only when we look backward in time without our modern spectacles do we see how much younger is the Tree of Knowledge than the Tree of Life.

(Much of this is an adaptation of Chesterton and Barfield.)

Our Definition of Evolution is Illogical

The man who says there is no philosophy has made a philosophical statement. The man who says there are no metaphysics has made a metaphysical statement. In order to deny philosophy and metaphysics, one has to know something about them, and therefore take on the role of a philosopher or meta-physician. It is as if a man were to declare all hammers evil and make his point by smashing them to bits with a hammer; or condemn all war as evil and wage one gigantic war to end all wars. In the same way, the man who says there is no God has elevated himself to the position of theologian. He has made a theological statement, for he must know enough about gods to know that they do not exist.

Similarly, when one defines evolution as containing no divine purpose, he must know something about divine purpose to know that it is not there. Words like “unplanned” and “unguided” creep stealthily into the realm of theology. These are theological words. However, granting that evolution is true, humanity is in the total control of evolutionary forces right now. There is no way for a mind in the grip of purposeless forces to break free and elevate itself to the realm of purpose. A being in a universe devoid of purpose cannot possibly know anything of purpose. It does not exist in his universe. He cannot even purposely know chance when he sees it. If he knows something about chance, it is completely by chance. If he knows anything at all, it is by chance.

Let me illustrate. Think of a universe composed completely of metal. Your body and eyes are made of metal. Your brain and your very thoughts are made of metal. How could a completely metal being in a metal universe conceive of wood? They could not. Even if they came up with the word “wood” it would be a completely vacuous word because they could have no concept of what that substance is.

It comes down to the principle of proportionate causality, which states “what exists in the cause will exist in the effect in the same way.” The cause cannot give the effect what it does not have. So, if purpose does not exist in the cause, it will not exist in the effect. If chance exists in the cause, chance is all the “effect” will ever know or understand. So, how is it that we can know and understand purpose, if purpose was not involved in the universe or evolution? The answer is that we should not know it at all.

Yet, some evolutionists purposely say there is no purpose. It’s the hammer they use to smash all hammers. They think they have rid the universe of purpose, but one purposeful statement (the definition of evolution) still exists to provide evidence of purpose in the universe. If they deny that and say that what we perceive as purpose is just an illusion, one might as well ask, “Did they say that on purpose?”

The god-man

An enthusiastic address given to the brightest minds of our age:

 

“My fellow atheists, If we are to dispense with the old understanding of the universe which is touted by the religious as a purposeful universe, proving that we can live a moral life without God is not a sufficient tactic, moreover it is delusional. We only need to destroy the idea of God in man. As soon as all men have denied God, a new era will emerge in which all things will be lawful. Morality will no longer be relevant; indeed, it will become incoherent. And, it will not help our cause.

This thought should not be a bother. We must face it with courage and unflinching steadfastness. Let not your heart be troubled, as has once been said. A new beginning will arise, and men will band together to consume from life all it has to give. Consideration for the past and the future will be discarded for the joy and happiness of the present. The universe will glorify the image of man and the man-god will at last appear. Moment by moment he will be driven with a sense of nobility and gratefulness being cognizant of the improbability of his existence and his privileged position. Conscious of the fleeting momentariness of life, he will not despair of his end, but will live life all the more, loving his brother without desire for accolade; a love which has heretofore been dissipated by thoughts of life beyond the grave. He will extend his conquest of nature through the sheer power of his own will utilizing the methods of science until all things are put under his feet.

But, let us not delude ourselves with the old and fallacious notions of morality. The god-man need not justify anything; indeed, who would he justify it to? There is no law for gods. Where gods stand, the place is holy. All things are lawful for the man whose very essence is the source from which the law emanates. We did not understand this before when we accused God of immorality. Can swine say unto the farmer, “what doest thou?” when the farmer does not eat the same slop in the trough nor reside in the same cage as they? Is the farmer immoral because he does not live by the rules of the swine?

Even so, men, not being used to forming laws, but only recognizing them where they find them already formed, ignorantly judge God by those laws. I repeat, there is no law for God or there would exist a being greater than He. So it is, that there is no law for the god-man, or there would be one greater than he. As it was for God, so it will be for the god-man. It is essential also to note, that neither is there any law to which the god-man can appeal that mediates between the contentions of men. If there were, clearly, there would be a God; and we would cease to be the god-man and become a slave. The very idea of God was tyrannical in nature. While we held it, we were never free. We must break free of these shackles.

Let us not think, however, that there is a new morality operating by the axiom “all things are lawful.” There is no morality. Consider, if you will, that in the absence of God, men who have realized their divinity can divinely approve their own actions. And, since no two men have ever agreed on every single issue, nor indeed has any man always agreed with himself, all actions of men are both divinely approved and disapproved. The same things, then, are holy and unholy at the same time. Do you not see, now, how the very concept of morality is incoherent? Therefore, let us leave it aside and quit trying to be “good without God”, for there can be no such thing. That thought is a product of our imagination and a delusion that indicates we are still holding on to some infinitesimal notion of God.

Brethren, may we move on into the next stage of evolution where everything is determined, and mankind can no longer be moved; an era without morality, an era without God, an era where there cannot possibly be any change, and thus no possibility of redemption. Let us accept things as they are and live in the bare nakedness of that honesty. Then, indeed, will the old conceptions of the universe fall away. And, let us accept neither delusion nor imagination to comfort us and quell our anxieties. For there is, now we know, nothing but us, and we must go on with courage.

Thank you and goodnight.”

Who searches for truth and who has the truth?

Richard Dawkins questions God:

“The cheetah is superbly equipped for killing gazelles. The gazelle is superbly equipped to escape from those very same cheetahs. For heaven’s sake, who’s side is the designer on? Is he a sadist who enjoys the spectator sport? Did he who made the lamb make thee? Is it really part of the divine plan that the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the lion eat straw like the ox? In that case, what price the formidable carnassial teeth, the murderous claws of the lion and the leopard? Whence the breathtaking speed and the agile escapology of the antelope and the zebra?”

It reminds me of a previous questioner of God:

“Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? Ye shall not surely die. For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”

And yet I’m reminded of God’s questions:

“Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof? Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? He that reproveth God, let him answer it.”

Scientific Protestants dissenting from the Church of Darwin

Protestants are to the Roman Catholic Church what David Berlinski is to Darwinism.

In scientific observation we have but one Master, the natural universe, and it is our only acknowledged creed-book. I have endeavored to observe materials in the natural universe as though no one had seen them before me and I am as much on my guard against observing it today, through the medium of my own views yesterday, or a week ago, as I am against being influenced by any foreign name, authority, or system whatever, especially the dogmatism of Darwinism.

Click on the picture of David Berlinski below to see the video and join in the dissension.

You Just Don’t Understand Evolution

Some scientific intellectuals have elevated themselves to the point of priesthood. The common man hasn’t attained to their level of knowledge on the subject of evolution so when someone points out holes in the theory, they just say that you don’t understand how evolution works. They have become the new saviors of mankind, the new messiahs. We should all just trust their expertise. We should all read the same books and trust the authors know what they’re talking about. After all, scientists are the only ones with no bias, and with perfect reasoning. Once again, the truth is only accessible through the ones who can “interpret” correctly. It sounds pretty religious to me.

We need to be saved from these scientists just like we need to be saved from religious cults.

Farewell to Dr. Coyne

Whyevolutionistrue,

You said, “Frankly, I’m tired of your trolling”

Frankly, I’m tired of your willful ignorance. No other opinions can be heard, huh? If you want me to leave, just ask me to and I will leave you to your glorious bastion of atheism where opposing views are only allowed to be heard a short time and then silenced; where you congratulate yourself on how intellectual you are. If you didn’t want to hear me, you should have asked me to leave at the first comment. What’s the point of saying evolution is true when you get flustered at reading an opposing viewpoint? You obviously feel that it can’t stand up to the scrutiny. If your view is true, have no nothing to worry about. But, how will you know it’s true unless you allow yourself to be challenged? At least I traveled beyond my own religious box to be challenged, which is why I came to your site. I enjoy the debate, but if your going to get all offended, it’s not enjoyable anymore. Moreover, I can’t consider your version of truth seriously. I’m not done considering evolution, but I am done considering your views. I hope your right. If you are, it’s going to be purely by chance.

Evolutionary Contradiction

Can anyone find the contradiction in this picture?

Humans being a product of natural processes are being held responsible for their natural actions which pollute the world. Humans which were created by cause and effect brought about through natural mechanisms, cannot be held responsible for actions they have no control over. On the atheistic view, this is a natural product of the universe which seems to want to destroy itself through the actions of humans. There is no morality here, no obligation, just an observation of the natural outcome of the natural processes.