Showing posts from 2012

The Paradox of Existence

"Cogito Ergo Sum" - I think therefore I am.  When the French philosopher Rene Descartes dug to the bottom of his philosophy, the only thing he found there amid the tattered ruins and bombed out shelters of his former beliefs, was the reflection of his own doubt.  Those doubts  "became a fundamental element of Western philosophy, as it was perceived to form a foundation for all knowledge. While other knowledge could be a figment of imagination, deception or mistake, the very act of doubting one's own existence serves to some people as proof of the reality of one's own existence, or at least that of one's thought."

"The statement is sometimes given as Dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum (English: "I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am"). A common mistake is that people take the statement as proof that they, as a human person, exist. However, it is a severely limited conclusion that does nothing to prove that one's own body exists, let al…

Walt Whitman on 9/11

This is a tribute poem to 9/11 stitched together purely from various poems by Walt Whitman. In other words, I like to think of it as Whitman’s tribute to 9/11.

When the thunder-cracking guns arouse me,
and million-footed Manhattan unpent descends to her pavements,… I will sing you a song of what I behold …Libertad.When the facades of the houses are alive with people, when eyesgaze riveted tens of thousands at a timeWhen Broadway is entirely given up to foot-passengers and
    foot-standers, when the mass is densest,
I too arising, answering, descend to the pavements, merge with the
    crowd, and gaze with them… To us, my city, Where our tall-topt marble and iron beauties range on opposite
    sides, to walk in the space between,

To-day our Antipodes comes.
it moves changing, a kaleidoscope divine,
it moves changing before us.
When the fire-flashing, when rude clouds canopy my city When gorgeous the countless straight stems, thicken with color
your legs are bent and broken
My stars and stripes f…

9/11 - 11 years later

11 years already since that day in September when everything changed    oh how I remember
A warm sunny day  the summer's last kiss  ended in tears for those we miss
 as the sky was ripped open  and the world was awoken,
from a dream to a  nightmare of “bombs bursting in air”
when Giuliani became The countries mayor And police and fireman,  heroes without compare
Great Britain played our national anthem in Buckingham square to remind us we’re not alone in the grief we all bear
11 years since a nation turned to God in prayer and we told all those we love just how much we care
since vigils and candles scented the midnight air and God Bless America rang from the Capital stairs
since bucket brigades tirelessly worked beneath the halogen glare and red, white and blue
blossomed from everywhere
since we forgot about
 “who wants to marry a millionaire” and we longed for those days of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire
     it’s been 11 years       since our great despair  when time itsel…

The Paradox of Motion and the Motion Maker

Another argument offered by theists as evidence of God is the argument from motion. This argument says that, because things move, God must have moved them. God, so the reasoning goes, is the "unmoved mover" who makes all things move. God, in other words, is the Motion Maker.
On its face, this argument relies implicitly on the division made between potential vs. actual motion, which is a division based on an Aristotelian world view.  This world view, however, is as outdated a belief as that of a geocentric universe.  "The Michelson-Moreley Experiment of 1887 undid much of Aristotle’s world view" and, by extension, Aquinas’s argument (since the latter is premised on the accuracy of the former). "Special relativity further explained how “motion” is no longer a property of just “one thing” – the observer or the object – but of both the observer and the object," independently or simultaneously.  Special relativity, then, helped show how the belief in an “unmo…

The Paradox of Perfection - The Dilemma of Degrees of Perfection

Using Degrees of Perfection as a yard stick to prove the existence of God leads to the problem of the  Paradox of Perfection. This paradox has three parts. Part one is how the imperfect can only see the perfect imperfectly. Imperfect beings, in other words, are too imperfect to ever know, recognize, or even accurately judge something as completely perfect.  The second part begs the question, why would such a "perfect" God create such an incredibly "imperfect world,"? And the last part is how 'perfect perfection' necessarily implies the existence of its evil twin, 'perfect imperfection.' This second part illustrates how "perfection," ironically enough, sometimes breeds imperfection. And the last point demonstrates how the argument does not prove the existence of one god, but proves there is either no God or at least two gods or more.

 To understand how imperfect beings see the perfect imperfectly, we need look no …

Degrees of Perfection and the problem of Christ

In my previous post I wrote about a number of problems with the argument from, and thus the difficulties of applying a yardstick of, Degrees of Perfection (DOP). The argument assumes that "degrees of perfection" implies the existence of a "perfect being" that can be called God. This assumes, of course, that “degrees of perfection”  is not only objectively real, but culminates in the embodiment of God.  A question that the argument fails to answer, however, is why we must assume that “degrees of perfection” indicates a "perfect being" any more than degrees of temperature indicates a perfect temperature. 
The DOP argument assumes that, at some point, we can reach the ultimate perfection of God, or that perfection, by being infinite in degrees, should be called God. Either conclusion is problematic, however. If we say the DOP can reach an "ultimate perfection" then we are reducing an infinite God to some finite standard. On the other hand, if we s…

How Degrees of Perfection Disproves God

The Argument from Degrees of Perfection is an argument often used to try to logically "prove" the existence of God. The argument basically says "not all things in nature are equal, some are better, more perfect than others in many ways. But things can be compared only by a standard; "better" means closer to the best. More perfect means closer to absolutely perfect. Thus, if degrees of perfection are real, then perfection is real. And that is another name for God: a really perfect being."


The miracle of this argument is how it makes the invention of a human ideal a God, and then concludes that there must be a God or we could never have been clever enough to conceive of such a human ideal in the first place.

"Degrees of Perfection" are simply a measurement of human invention applied through our faulty and ever changing human perception. "Perfection" is often a subjective thing, the product of time, place, and audience. A perfect p…

An Atheist view of Miracles

An atheist can admit that "miracles" happen,  but what the atheist means by "miracles" and what the theist means by that same term can be two very different things indeed. For the theist, a miracle is as easy to explain as it is impossible to comprehend, because it is simply an act of God. As such, no further investigation is necessary because all further investigation is futile. After all,  it's a miracle!

For the atheist, on the other hand, miracles are simply things we do not yet understand, and nothing more. They may just be the result of powers of the mind over our own body that we have yet to fully understand, for example. After all, it has been demonstrated that people can use their mind to alter chemistry in their body.  But in any event, assuming them to be anything more than a giant question mark is a dubious interpretation at best or a deliberate act of manipulation at worst. The only thing we all know for certain is that a "miracle" is eit…

Follow up on Fr. Barron and Ex Nihilo post

In my previous post about Fr. Barron and Ex Nihilo Nihil Fit, I commented that Fr. Barron's "God" was a contradiction to the rule Fr. Barron was using to prove the existence of God. Ex Nihilio Fit may not readily appear to be such a contradiction, but it is, and here's how.
On its face, it seems that God is not a contradiction at all, because since "nothing can come from nothing," the universe came from God, and God always was. Thus, there's no contradiction. Or so it would seem.
 There is a hidden contradiction, however, in the idea that the universe came from God. That contradiction is this: If nothing can come from nothing, then the 'contra positive' of this statement is that everything comes from something. But Fr. Barron believes that God didn't come from something. And something that did not come from something contradicts the rule that "everything comes from something." Hence, the contradiction of accepting God as the auth…