Thursday, July 29, 2021

Only the trads have the option of the catacombs

I don't really like the imagery of 'returning to the catacombs' for trads -- sneaking around, saying private masses. There's a kind of romanticism attached to that, and it's endemic among "conservatives", but that's because many of them have mind-screwed themselves out of even fantasies of victory. Dreaming of the restoration of the faith in all its glory, its enemies scattered? How prideful. (No more prideful than the Second Coming, but still.)

As for me: if I'm going to dramatize and fantasize, I will dream of chasing leftists and their sycophants out of the Churches. Let the traditional mass be the only mass you can say in the great cathedrals. Call it unrealistic, but if we're going to fantasize, let's fantasize about the future we want, not the future we'll endure.

You'd think this would involve fantasizing about forcing the anti-trads "into the catacombs", but that doesn't work. Not because it's undesirable, but because it wouldn't happen: if some kind of internal Catholic Reconquista takes place and the Novus Ordo is wiped out of the Church, the reaction of leftists won't be to scurry into the shadows to, fearfully but prayerfully, continue to say the mass they love.

They're just going to shrug and leave the faith behind. Or start saying the Latin mass while working to bring it down again from the inside -- somehow, some way. Perhaps using more novel means. 

But for most of them, suffering is not what they've signed up for. They wanted to be part of stamping out their political enemies, and if that's not possible, the fun is gone and they'll go do something else, freed of the need to keep up appearances. You already see something akin to this in the Churches where their victory has been a bit more complete: the Anglicans, the Episcopalians, etc. With no more enemies left to stand against, the reformers leave it all behind anyway. You only need a skeleton crew to slide on the Anglican skin-suit and, say, argue that their increasingly vague and non-committal Christian faith demands blessing polyamorous lesbian trans sexual unions.

We'd see the same if vanquishing their enemies wasn't even an option anymore. And so, that's the future we should work towards.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Let's (not) trigger the libs. Or at least, that's not really the point.

Despite being pretty firmly on the right, I don't have a let's-trigger-the-libs attitude. I don't get any joy out of really getting a rise out of those left-wing snowflakes, or whatever. 

I just don't really care what they think. If my views or acts upset them, fine. 

If my views or acts please them? Also fine. 

Are they completely ambivalent about either of these things? Well, that's fine too.

Being motivated by spite, even against terrible people, is a pretty bad way to live, and definitely a bad way to make decisions or embrace/reject beliefs. The attitude is partly rooted in a social development still taking place among conservatives, where the we're-better-than-that, don't-stoop-to-their-level, always-be-civil mindset is (rightly) reject as a mind-game and an inappropriate response to sociopolitical aggression. 

In that sense, it's a positive development: the "old, respectable" conservative approach to conflict was always a kind of psy-op and failure theatre. But when one op fails, the powers that be try to craft another one to take its place, and now the name of the game is to trick conservatives into doing things that will purportedly upset leftists.

"Dude, you know what would really trigger the libs? If WE nominated the first openly gay-transexual governor of California! EPIC PWN!"

Yeah, how about no.

At the same time, if I come to a conclusion or a belief that upsets people, well, their being strategically upset doesn't matter either. No, I don't think women should be priests. No, gay marriage isn't real, I don't care what the law says (or for that matter, any pseudo-clergy): it's all a joke and I won't act otherwise. Anger won't change this. Crying won't either. No, not even razors to wrist.

But most of all: apathy sure won't change it.

In fact, perhaps that's what I really want: I don't want leftists triggered. I will settle for leftists who are incapable of trying to force me, or anyone else, to change our views by threat, force or manipulation. 

If the monkey's paw curls in a finger and suddenly I have what I want and we can all live our lives and write our books and blog and go to church as we please (and, for most of us, as we think God commands and is right) without conflict but the cost is there will never be a triggered lib in the world again, well, I just hacked the monkey's paw because that's a great result.

The goal isn't being offensive. 

That's just, sometimes, a means to an end.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Christ's crucifixion only matters because of His resurrection

The statement seems obvious -- Christ's resurrection is central to Christianity -- but it seems downplayed nowadays.

People love the imagery of the crucifixion. Christ suffering on the cross, persecuted, a victim of betrayal and cruelty and crowd anger. Not coincidentally, the crucifixion is not very controversial.

The resurrection is.

Partly it's because humans can relate to the crucifixion. We can relate to suffering. The resurrection? Metaphors aside, that's not a human thing. It's a God thing. Or at least a supernatural thing.

Partly it's precisely because the resurrection is central to Christianity, so that's the one thing that's going to be attacked, rejected and mocked. Maybe on par with the virgin birth.

Christians, not wanting to give offense, and perhaps liking the idea that non-believing people may find at least something positive in Christ, often cut their losses. Why spoil people's admiration for the crucifixion by bringing up what followed it? They can just... learn that on their own time.

It's a bit like "love your neighbor as yourself", one of the favorite Bible quotes for atheists, particularly when they can deploy it against a Christian who upset them in some ways. Putting aside the misinterpretation of that line, the preceding and superior rule -- Love God with all of your mind, heart, and soul -- gets comparatively little talk. 

Even by Christians.

After all, people adore the love-your-neighbor line. And it's nice to have people say something nice about the Bible, even if it's in a backhanded way. The importance of loving God will ruin that -- and worse, it exposes a glaring deficiency that will be present in all non-theistic worldviews.

Again, as I keep harping on lately -- I don't mind the atheist abuses of all this so much. I mind the willingness of Christians to give up their own faith, of avoiding the more difficult aspects of it. Of letting seculars and non-Christian dictate their own faith to them.

Hardly a point to a faith like that, which is easy to see unless you're of the mindset which can airbrush out the resurrection and still see a god worth paying attention to in the gospels.

Monday, July 26, 2021

So, has the Hard Problem of Consciousness been solved by science yet?

Way back in the day -- close to two decades now? -- there was a very serious gauntlet thrown down by materialists and atheists, at least in the communities I hung around in.

The claim was simple: scientific advancement is going to solve the hard problem of consciousness, and it will solve it soon.

At the time, "within five years" was the estimate. Five years, and the human brain would be fully simulated, down to the neuron! Five years, and we'll have a brain we can interact with -- talk with, perhaps! -- and the hard problem (and any other problem you could imagine) will vanish. Materialism will win, once and for all.

Well, far more years than five have passed since those claims were made.

Did I just miss the news?

Or was it -- as I said back then -- all a complete pantload?

On other topics -- the origin of life (which is in a similar situation), the origin of the universe (ditto) -- I tended to be almost but not quite as skeptical that science was going to deliver a major discovery that could be paradigm shifting. In philosophy of mind, however, the whole thing seemed like a con game from the start.

Even now I suspect the temptation would be to say "We're almost there! Five MORE years! Five more and we'll have the brain mapped out and understood in a way to remove all meaningful confusion!"

Bullshit. And the reason why it's bullshit can be expressed simply. I said it back then, and it still matters now.

Simulate a mouse brain. Tell me if the mouse is conscious. Solve the hard problem for a mouse.

Oh, is a mouse still too complex? 

Fine. An earthworm. Simulate an earthworm.

STILL too complex? Simulate a bacteria. A single-celled organism. Tell me all about the consciousness, or lack thereof, of the bacteria.

Is even that still too complex?


Simulate a rock. 

Destroy panpsychism with science. I'm sure even my computer can give a complete, thorough, exhaustive, atomic simulation of a small rock. Tell us how your simulation completely eradicates consciousness from the rock, and that panpsychism is thus falsified.

Somehow, these minor steps -- far more modest, achievable in faster timeframes -- never were proposed to solve any meaningful outstanding problem in the Philosophy of Mind. Not the kind which touches on intentionality, the soul, the hard problem, what-have-you.

Because no one really thought they could. The reason a full and tremendously detailed map of the human brain was the gold standard is because it sounded like such an aggressive project that it would take time, and the sheer fact that the project could be undertaken seemed, in a less computer-frenzied age, to be some intellectually towering feat. That the plan could even be proposed with a serious face was supposed to put the fear of anti-God into the hearts of non-materialists.

All they wanted was time. 

It was like a Ponzi scheme: all they need is the time to get you your money. They had a million excuses as to why they needed so much time, but they could never tell you that the delay itself was the most important thing in the world, because otherwise you'd figure out that there was nothing to this and it was all a scam.

Which is why the smaller projects not only wouldn't work. No one claimed they would shed much light on anything, because those projects could be done -- or even were done -- at the time, and it was a bust. Less than a bust, because no one even had the audacity to suggest those simulations would matter at all. 

It was preposterous for the same reasons it's preposterous that a brain simulation will do the trick.

Like with atheism, once I figured out what limits there were to science -- again, The Last Superstition was essential here -- then it all collapsed. It's a better game than atheism, but not by much.

The Hard Problem is unsolved. Intentionality is unsolved. It's all unsolved and science won't solve it because science cannot. We've hit the point where science discovers more mysteries than it ties up, and what we are capable with in terms of engineering is hitting a point where the impact of minds on the development and even creation of universes -- Intelligent Design -- will eventually need to be seriously contemplated.

We do not need any more time to be confident of that.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

The Strawman Dialogues: The Pope is Dead, Long Live the Pope!

Trad Y: Welcome back from your social media break. Did you hear the news about the Pope F?

V2 Conservative X: Right as I come back? What a way to return after isolation...

Y: No, it's pretty big news you missed while you were gone. He...

X: Look, I know what you're going to say.

Y: What?

X: The same thing you always do. The Pope did something you interpret as heretical, or even malicious, and my response is always the same. The Pope is not for us to judge! He is our monarch. He is here to lead us, not be judged by us.

Y: Right, but...

X: No, no buts! I don't care what he did. But I do know that whatever he did, it is obligatory on our parts to give him the benefit of the doubt. To assume that he acts with our salvation in mind. That he is motivated not only by love, but by the Holy Spirit working through him. And we are lucky to be ministered to by so great and holy a man.

Y: ... Okay, before I tell you the news, I have to ask. What about the popes of the past?

X: With the benefit of hindsight we may discern some failures on the part of past popes, but even there, we do so with the leadership and vision of whoever the Pope is now. He, not we, determines the glory or heresy of those Popes. We are laity. And we are called to loving Christian obedience to the Pope, even Pope F, and..

Y: And he's dead.

X: ...What?

Y: Yeah. Choked on a biscuit about a day after you went into isolation.

X: That's...

Y: Pope Z is pope now.

X: Z??? But he...

Y: Hates Pope F. Hated, anyway. Actually based on his recent interviews he still hates him I guess.

X: ...

Y: I guess this is hard news to take in? You really loved Pope F.

X: Loved? That old heretic? I'm glad he finally took a dirt nap. Thank God we have Pope Z to show us how wrong we were.

Y: Huh.

X: What? 

Y: Just marveling how your definition of loving Christian obedience seems an awful lot like sucking up to whoever's in charge at the time.

X: You know, that kind of attitude is why I get invited to the Alfred E Smith memorial banquet and your priests can't even use parish churches.

Y: Indeed.

Atheists have become irrelevant to harming Christianity

Maybe they always were, really.

When I feel compelled to talk about any religious or even cultural/political topic, atheists no longer come up on the radar. Not them as individuals, or whatever arguments they advance. Dawkins and company didn't even last a decade in public prominence before not just falling from notoriety, but actually stirring up criticisms and backlash in the spheres which have been irreligious for a while. 

No less than "put God-belief on the DSM-V and throw them in asylums" Peter Boghossian -- PeteBog, the man who talked about how he spent 20 years of his life, 8 hours a day, preaching atheism and attempting to create an argument of atheist street preachers -- has been reduced to fighting for his academic life on the regular because the Atheism+ remnants morphed into general left-wing activists, and his political views were not orthodox enough for them, and his atheism has been airbrushed out of his life. The rest haven't fared much better either, even the ones who didn't get taken down by some kind of pathetic sex-related scandal.

The ones who managed to continue with the bit have largely subsumed it under other political or even entertainment topics -- the smart ones building something meaningful on Youtube tend to keep their atheism as a side bit at best.

It's not that irreligion became unfashionable -- that grows too. It's that irreligion and religion primarily grow or shrink due to other influences. It's rare that anyone feels the need to have an argument or even rigorously defined evidence to embrace one belief or eschew another. Even the ones who do cite arguments (especially irreligious) generally don't understand what they're citing, and are just waving around a talisman that they think empowers them to do what they intend to do anyway.

With more people now realizing that, the ground has shifted. Atheists and atheistic arguments are not just irrelevant, but are now seen as what they always were -- either an intellectual concern for a very small group of very curious people, or a playground for nerds and oddballs, with the latter occupying a lot of overlap with the kinds of people who can name more than three My Little Pony characters off the top of their head, or who not only knows what the "Expanded Universe" is in Star Wars but has strong opinions about it.

The real problems facing Christianity are caused by a host of other forces: pseudo-Christian clergy who clearly advertise themselves as Christians just to give themselves credibility to advance an internally-focused corruption campaign. Cultural and entertainment conflicts which amount to pressure campaigns on moral beliefs.

That kind of thing.

As a result, even as my views of atheists and atheism have if anything gotten more negative over the years, I feel less and less compelled to even acknowledge they exist. The talented ones became something different. The less talented ones are reduced to very small, isolated social media fiefdoms.

There are more important matters to discuss.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

When is Obedience to the Pope Paramount: The Pope Gregory IX Test

First, a history lesson, going back to Pope Gregory IX in 1239:

In response to a denunciation of "blasphemies" in the TalmudOffsite Link by Nicholas DoninOffsite Link, a Jewish convert to Christianity, On June 9, 1239 Pope Gregory IXOffsite Link ordered the archbishops of France, England, Spain and Portugal to seize all Jewish books and examine them. In his letter of June 20, 1239 Gregory ordered the churchmen of Paris to burn the confiscated works if they were found to contain "objectionable" content.

So, a question for every defender of Pope Francis, who insist that the true mark of Catholicism - even Traditional Catholicism - is obedience to the Pope.

Would someone who resisted Pope Gregory IX's command be committing an immoral act? Would their souls have been at risk for resisting?

The reason I ask this is simple: I don't think any of the people who are outlining conspicuous loyalty to the Pope really mean it. I think they insist on the supremacy of the Pope's orders in the case of Francis precisely because they like Francis and like his command, and they hate trads (or, at least, they are fearful of getting the clergy upset at them.)

But it is trivial to find papal orders of the past which would not fit well with modern appetites. Even the cost of saying "Well, in that time and place, yes..." is extremely high. It's easy to feign ultramontanism and insist someone's soul is at risk of hellfire if they, say, attend a renegade SSPX mass. The difficulty level spikes through the ceiling when those same people are asked whether someone who refused to burn "Jewish Books" was similarly at risk.

I don't ask this to change anyone's mind about these things -- at this point the uselessness of pointing out inconsistencies in the argumentation of people is well established. I do it to undermine assumptions about the sincerity of those giving the warnings in this case.

Right now, I see leftcaths furiously demanding that, on the heels of Francis' decree, the traditional mass be crushed. The only way they see it possible to do so is by a combination of assaults by the clergy, and -- crucially -- subservience of the laity. To achieve the former, those warnings and threats will come.

They should be ignored.