Friday, September 8, 2017

A Philosophy of Mind Retrospective

I glanced over at Victor Reppert's blog to see the esteemed host arguing philosophy of mind with Keith Parsons. Some things never change. But it got me to thinking back of the many years I've spent on his blog, and what originally got me into it to begin with - clawing around, in a younger age, for insight and answers on questions of God, metaphysics, and the philosophy of mind. It used to occupy a lot of my thoughts (is that ironic? not sure), but lately it hasn't. I asked myself why, and I had my answer immediately.

It's no longer interesting, because the fight is over. And the anti-materialists won.

God, if you guys could only remember some of the claims. I remember, about a decade ago now, the resident atheist neurologist talking about these *exciting* happenings in neurology that were going to explain consciousness. Oh, they weren't ready for primetime yet - he couldn't even explain the gist - but it was exciting, it was addressing the hard problem and this and that. We just had to wait, and soon that check the materialists had written would be cashed. Any day now, any day..!

Complete load of crap, of course - nothing came of it, and nothing will. The hard problem is as hard as ever. The soft problems, as Feser has pointed out, are even harder than expected. The arguments came from all angles - some of them very old and updated for modern audiences, others more modern and sophisticated expressions of skepticism - but the replies never materialized. Dennett, once a rising star, has faded into academic shadows, respected by peers that nevertheless few others care about. Consciousness remains a mystery. Puzzles and problems raised by the anti-materialists have remained, grown, and largely are recognized as legitimate.

And by now, thanks to the internet, a larger audience than ever has heard the claims of promissory naturalism, and have lived long enough to know that they'll die before seeing the check paid.

Watching Keith Parsons do that sad little dance of 'well maybe it IS all physical after all', after all these years, just seems sad now. These were the foot soldiers in the army of reason, armed with the power of science, to dispel skepticism of the great materialist worldview? Some army that turned out to be. Some reason.

Still, it was the opposite of a waste of time, and the arguments are of value to this day. But as it stands, the tigers Reppert and Feser and others sought to fight, are now quite defeated. Other concerns need attending to, and thus my attention drifts (though both, particular Feser, remain extremely relevant in other contexts.)

Good job, guys. To all you anti-materialist intellectual warriors of the past, take a moment - in these days of nevertheless intensified insanity - to congratulate yourselves on a job well done.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Religious Trump Effect

The one nice thing about the Trump effect is this: it's, at least in my experience, been making it harder - a lot harder - for "principled religious conservatives" to be taken seriously. In fact, things are graduating into open contempt. And it's funny to watch 'principled conservatives' panic when they realize that trying to capitulate to the left while shaming the right not only is resulting in scorn from the left (they're used to it) but scathing hostility from the right.

Calling John McCain John Cuckstain is one thing. But watching milquetoast preachers get their intellectual backs to the wall - especially those who try the tiring-as-shit "I'm a REAL man, I ride a motorcycle, now let me tell you why feminism is a good thing..." preacher routine - has been absolute gold.

Christianity - Catholic and non-Catholic both - will advance once 'religious leaders' realize that their flocks can see through their capitulation routines for what they are.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Integrity and Character

As Obamacare is made the law of the land, because the Republicans found themselves too afraid to repeal the law that they've been fundraising and seeking re-election on for years... just remember this.

Donald Trump, who pushed and pushed hard to repeal and replace Obamacare, was the guy team NeverTrump said lacked the character to be president.

McCain, who voted repeatedly to repeal Obamacare until the very moment it was actually possible, was cast as the man of integrity and good character.

Give me the asshole with the temper and the foul mouth over the celebrated, principled cucks who not only love to lose, but whose principles can't even withstand actual personal tests.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Refusing to tarnish your principles

A refusal to compromise on your principles is, for a Christian, only admirable if your principles are commanded by God. Otherwise, the premiere example of someone who refused to sacrifice their principals regardless of the cost was Lucifer.

Friday, May 19, 2017

A sense of horror hanging in the air

While the show continues to go on - complete with ever more frantic, ever more speciously sourced leaks (we're at anonymous quotes of secondhand information about unconfirmed targets now), I think a certain sense of worry is starting to descend on our would-be ruling class. Specifically, that whatever story is playing out right now, it's not really following the script they've written.

Shades of the campaign all over again. Remember, when Trump was near-universally condemned for his comments about illegal immigration - that we weren't exactly getting heaps of law-abiding America Firsters crossing the border - there was this certain *script* that was supposed to be followed. Everyone on TV would condemn him, he'd apologize, the country would hate him, and then Jeb Bush would waddle his to a primary win. Or maybe Rubio.

Of course, that's not what went off. In fact, we had a whole primary campaign season of called shots by experts and elites, hardly a one of which landed, until the final insult was delivered courtesy of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. The crazy ol' bastard won, and his Deplorables had a champion.

So, after recount attempts and defecting elector attempts and more all went awry, a new strategy was cooked up: impeachment. Scandal. It'll be like Nixon all over again! The media will play along, they hate this guy. The GOP elite will play along too - THEY hate this guy!

What's unspoken is the fact that one more group needs to play along: Trump's supporters.

And they don't seem willing to budge.

Really, the utter skepticism (even contempt) of lurid accounts of Russian entanglements and obstruction of justice are regarded with a combination of disbelief and apathy by a large section of Trump's supporters. Oh, he worked with the Russians to fuck the DNC? Prove it. And more than that, who gives a shit? The DNC isn't the loyal opposition, kids; they're a group of people who despise the GOP. Oh, but it's improper to rely on foreign agents to influence elections? Funny, the Democrats seemed quite at home with that strategy - see illegal immigration and fervent hostility to vote fraud investigations.

That people honestly think lurid tales of Putin will stir some kind of anti-Trump revolt. You can practically hear Egg McMuffin talking to his hirers. "These guys love Rambo, and they hate Russia! They still think Russians are communists!" Lo' and behold, not so much. At least not enough to make then entertain the thought of going all in on what is plainly a coup attempt.

Hard to blame them, anyway. What will they get out of it? "Restore dignity to the office of the Presidency?" Go fuck yourselves. We just had 8 years of a wannabe autocrat (who probably was born in Kenya anyway, and was either an atheist or a muslim and lying about it) sympathizing with black rioters and talking about how justified shooting victims 'could have been his son'. It was almost won by the world's least accomplished and most corrupt female politician since Marcos. But the black tie soirees will have more dignity with someone other than Trump in there? Tough.

Which leaves us in a situation, which is starting to look like a cook who notices the frog has left the pot, and is trying to tempt him back in by lighting the rest of the kitchen on fire. Make it hot enough, fast enough, and surely the frog will regard the pot as the best place in town, right? Surely the frog will do so before the fire's out of control and the whole kitchen is going to burn to the ground, right?

Stay tuned.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Requirements of Religious Freedom And the Proposition Nation

Claim: Religious freedom in America requires that religious traditions be given protections, even if most of society finds their beliefs and practices wrong/superstitious/even harmful.

Problem: Many muslims practice child marriage and justify it on religious grounds.

Conservatives and Liberals argue whether this means we must allow child marriage for all, or religious freedom for few/none.

The alt-right humbly suggests: maybe we shouldn't let people who practice that come to the US to begin with so this question is moot.

Being direct: it's obvious that some cultures and religious practices are utterly incompatible with American government. Why does no one admit this?

Now and then the argument surfaces about the 'proposition nation' where you can identify an American by the set of values they espouse and ideas they cling to, and these ideas can be had everywhere - from Bangladesh to Taiwan. But I don't think anyone takes this idea seriously. If they did, I'd have a question for them: what do you do with those American citizens who do not subscribe to that supposedly sacred list of ideas? If we're a proposition nation, and a lot of citizens reject those 'propositions', what then?

It's hard to get an answer for this, and it's clear why: we'll have to conclude our nation has been invaded. The Proposition Nation is occupied by people who reject the propositions, and these bastards are voting in our elections. They're even promoting their ideas above and against our nation.

Unless... we water down the Holy Propositions sufficiently. Enough to make sure that America's muslim and Somalian refugees, latin American illegal immigrants, west coast liberals and Trump supporters all accept the same propositions.

Not coincidentally, this also seems like the surest way to destroy a proposition nation.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A question for Ben Shapiro

Lest I take aim too much at W4, a simple question for the Shapiro-minded.
Our interests ought to prevail because our principles ought to prevail: limited government, individual liberty, God-given natural rights, localism in politics, religious freedom, freedom of speech and of the press, and so forth. If America ceased to believe those things or stand for them, we would not deserve to win.
Stirring words. I can mean that, you know; I can find some value in them.

But think about what this means on the local level.

Do we disown our family members for disagreeing with us about limited government, individual liberty, God-given natural rights, localism, religious freedom, freedom of speech?

Does Shapiro disown American jews who are pro-abortion, pro-big-government, and reject God's existence altogether, and more? (Hint: this is going to mean a whole lot of jews.)

Do American blacks, who are overwhelmingly opposed to the lion's share of that list, 'deserve to lose'? I bet you can come up with some creative interpretations of God's immanent justice if you walk down THAT little path.

I do not believe in utter clannishness. I believe there are limits to family loyalty, and tribal loyalty. I believe in kindness, by default, to those outside of one's 'tribe'. But there are limits because there are tight bonds to begin with. Shapiro knows them, and embraces them - ferociously. Our family and our tribe is our responsibility. If they are lost, we may fight them. We may even cast them out. But they are ours to look after - we do what we can to protect them, and to guide them right, and to keep that from happening.

Shapiro suggests a world where this is wrong - and worse, it's wrong for everyone BUT he and his. He and his go by a different set of rules, different considerations.

I want the right to look after me and mine as well. Shapiro, and Lydia, and (if more meekly, perhaps) Jeffrey S will snarl and call me names. That will not shake me, since I have this idea in my head that what I am urging people to protect - urging everyone to protect, in fact - is worth defending, come what may.

I do not need Ben Shapiro's blessing to do this. No one does. And screaming 'Racist!' or 'Anti-Semite!' does not change the worthiness of defending those people. Not 'this ideal', but 'these people'.

Now there's an idea that may catch on...