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Friday, May 08, 2015

Sci Phi Journal #5

SCI PHI Journal #5 is out. This issue is particularly strong on the non-fiction, even the book reviews are fascinating. I particularly enjoyed THE PHILOSOPHY OF SERENITY by Anthony Marchetta, an excerpt from which is posted below.

SCI PHI Journal #5 is available at Castalia House in EPUB or MOBI formats for $3.99. It is also available on Amazon. SCI PHIL Journals 1-4 are also available.

From THE PHILOSOPHY OF SERENITY

"Joss Whedon is a famously virulent and ultra-feminist atheist. He is also, of course, an excellent writer, and, in my experience, good writers will tend to echo known truths about human nature even when they don’t necessarily want to face it themselves. You can see a lot of this in atheist Douglas Adams. The Hitchhiker’s Guide books are really about a man staring into the void and seeing nothing back. The only way to keep from crying in the face of such nothingness is to laugh. Adams recognized this, and it’s this philosophical underpinning that makes the series so brilliant.

"And so it is with Joss Whedon’s Serenity. The real theme of the movie is man’s underlying need for faith. Shepherd Book says it the most clearly when he tells Mal, “I don't care what you believe in, just believe in it”  Of course, there’s something deeper going on with that line that Whedon probably never intended. He is literally saying that it’s better to believe in a lie than to look into the void and find nothing; it’s better just to make up a substitute to fool yourself.

"This isn’t only an atheist idea. C.S. Lewis explores this concept in the climactic scene of the fourth Chronicles of Narnia book, The Silver Chair. The character of Puddlegum is talking to the Lady of the Green Kirtle. The children and he are being enchanted to believe that the real world is only make-believe and the dark underworld they’re in is the only world that is:
“Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things—trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we're leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that's a small loss if the world's as dull a place as you say.”
"This seems to us like a radical line of thought. It’s practically blasphemous by modern standards. Lewis is literally saying that it’s better to believe in a lie than believe in nothing at all. But does Whedon really say anything different?

"Shepherd Book is supposedly a Christian. This entails belief in things like the Resurrection of Christ and the importance of evangelization and repentance. Mal is supposedly an atheist. Book’s number one priority, then, should be to convert Mal to Christianity. But that’s not what he does! For Book, being a Christian is of secondary importance to Mal leaving behind the black hole of unbelief he has fallen into. Book doesn’t care what Mal believes in. Like Lewis, Book recognizes that even believing in a lie is better than believing in nothing. Whedon, an excellent writer, senses this even if he doesn’t state the idea outright. Atheism as a worldview is ultimately dead; the only way to survive it is to avoid its implications.

"And so Serenity is really Mal’s story about finding a meaning and a purpose to his life in the absence of a God to guide him."

Labels: ,

124 Comments:

Blogger Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus May 08, 2015 12:05 PM  

Needz moar airshipz.

Blogger Jehu May 08, 2015 12:29 PM  

I got the impression from the show that Mal was a lapsed Christian who lost his faith at the battle of Serenity.

Anonymous Anonymous May 08, 2015 12:36 PM  

This is inconsistent with most of what VD writes about and advocates for: accepting hard truths, even when they are psychologically unpleasant. That is exactly what the athiest character is doing: recognizing that he sees no evidence for God, even at the cost of despair. To believe in a lie because it feels good to do so is exactly what VD lambasted Gammas and SJWs for in the previous post. It's fine to do so, but posting and article that supports belief in the untrue because the alternative causes bad feelings contradicts most of VD's other writings (and, indeed, contradicts the post that immediately precedes this one). VD, this blog is a great redoubt against duplicitous thoughts on the part of SJW's, but this particular article actually argues in favor of their solipsism.

Blogger Douglas Wardell May 08, 2015 12:44 PM  

Interesting points. While I can't relate to the fear and nihilism that most people seem to have surrounding the idea of an end of everything -- I find it mildly comforting -- I agree it's better to believe a lie than to allow that fear to destroy you. I don't understand those atheists who devote themselves to attacking others' non-violent, non-authoritarian beliefs. Even in the case where it is a lie and you somehow know that for certain, why try to stomp on someone else's joy?

Blogger jaericho (#107) May 08, 2015 12:44 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger VD May 08, 2015 12:44 PM  

A) I didn't write this. B) Choose a name.

Anonymous Darth Toolpodicus May 08, 2015 12:46 PM  

@jehu

I had the same thought about Map...that he lost his faith after Serenity valley.

Blogger Aeoli Pera May 08, 2015 12:46 PM  

The Silver Chair was book 6.

Blogger HickoryHammer #0211 May 08, 2015 12:47 PM  

That's the thing about Joss Whedon, and George RR Puffenstuffs too, for that matter. There comes a point for every writer where you have to be either true to your ideals or true to the way the world really works in your literature. Both of them chose to go the route of the realist in their respective Magnum Opus', and that's why john q public liked them. If the characters in their book behaved according to their (alleged) internal philosophies, they would be typing up pamphlets for local Chinese restaurants right now instead of writing books and directing movies. No one wants to read an intellectually incongruous story, not even liberal true believers. I think that's why they consume so much entertainment news instead, avoiding the blast radius of the unfunny, uninteresting entertainment that they claim is so morally righteous.

Anonymous Darth Toolpodicus May 08, 2015 12:47 PM  

Mal...out, damn autocorrect!

Blogger Aeoli Pera May 08, 2015 12:48 PM  

Aha, never mind. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Chronicles_of_Narnia#Reading_order

http://assets.amuniversal.com/628360f0a42b0132cbc1005056a9545d

Blogger Stephen Ward May 08, 2015 12:51 PM  

What did you enjoy about "The Philosophy of Serenity" vox?

Blogger Poor Guy May 08, 2015 12:59 PM  

I was thinking of sending some fiction to Sci-Phi but I am not really sure anything I would write would fit in very well.

Blogger Poor Guy May 08, 2015 1:01 PM  

BTW, anyone denying that Narnia was a Christian allegory hasn't read "The Final Battle". It could not be more obvious.

Blogger Cail Corishev May 08, 2015 1:14 PM  

I got the impression from the show that Mal was a lapsed Christian who lost his faith at the battle of Serenity.

Yes, he was, at least a believer who prayed and kissed a cross or crucifix before a battle. And was Book a Christian? I took him as a preacher of a sort of a New Age-y, future amalgam of watered-down religions. That line fit perfectly with that idea -- New Agers don't care what you believe, and will encourage you to believe it intensely, as long as you don't think it's True.

But he makes an interesting point here, that Book being created and given that line by an atheist says something different than if it'd been written by a believer of any sort.

Blogger Poor Guy May 08, 2015 1:16 PM  

that Book being created and given that line by an atheist says something different than if it'd been written by a believer of any sort

Good point!

Blogger slarrow May 08, 2015 1:18 PM  

I consider Joss Whedon to be a genuine artist and, like many such, he is better at making art than he is at understanding it.

This piece also reminds me of something Tolkien wrote about myth and how such myths, while being "untrue", would nonetheless contain some sliver of the True Myth (i.e., Christianity) which gave them their power. He rejected Lewis' contention that they were "lies breathed through silver" and rather asserted that they prepared one to follow the stories to the Truth. In that way, even "false" beliefs strengthen the muscles of credulity which must be exercised if one is to have faith.

Pratchett even does this in Hogfather, atheist though he was. His character Death says that people start by believing little lies--Hogfather/Santa, tooth fairies--so they can believe the big ones--truth, justice, mercy. "How else can they become?" he has his character state. Atheism, for all its vaunted chest-thumping about seeing what's "really there" unlike we poor benighted rubes, must nonetheless see what's not there in order to find purpose in life. Instructive, that.

Oh, and an aside: for folks who love Malcolm Reynolds and his "I aim to misbehave" line, lots of them surely do get their knickers in a twist thinking about Vox Day, don't they?

Blogger slarrow May 08, 2015 1:22 PM  

Cail, Book was indeed a Christian, unless there were other religions in the future started by a carpenter (mentioned in Heart of Gold.) He also mentioned in Serenity, "I killed the ship that killed us. Not very Christian." But the actor who played Book was a Buddhist. Funny old world.

Blogger Scott Rassbach May 08, 2015 1:28 PM  

The thing is, all stories are untrue.

St. Paul says we see through a glass darkly, and not until the perfect comes will we see truly, face to face. For now, we see in part, we prophecy in part.

Many stories are false whole cloth, and some stories have the truth in them, or reflect the truth. In our fallen world, though, the truth is incomplete; for we are not capable of receiving it, not being perfect. With this premise, believing a lie is better than believing nothing, for at least the lie may have a glimmer of truth in it, while nothing is exactly that.

Blogger Cail Corishev May 08, 2015 1:31 PM  

Slarrow, thanks. It's been a few years, and I'd forgotten those bits.

Blogger HickoryHammer #0211 May 08, 2015 1:39 PM  

The Sheppard was portrayed much more completely as a Christian during the run of the tv series. One would assume the two characters had a bit of a falling out between the book and the movie, at least that's what is implied. I think the falling out, whatever it was, informed the phrasing of that final exchange.

OpenID jamesparliament.com May 08, 2015 1:42 PM  

@Anonymous - Moreover, there's nothing actually incoherent about posting this following the previous posts.

The point in Marchetta's article (at least the excerpt) is that man cannot help believing in something. Believing in nothing - which is atheism, in essence - leads straight to death. A human being cannot endure it.

So severe is the cost of believing nothing that even believing a lie (which, you are right, VD is adamant against) is preferable. As it turns out, the truth is best of all.

Blogger Sean May 08, 2015 1:51 PM  

Christ taught many of his most important lessons through parable so that those who could understand would learn and it would confound those who could not hear. I wonder if in the same way that through stories like this the light of Christ makes its way out and an unbeliever like Whedon cannot see it, but it is there for those who can?

Anonymous Credo in Unum Deum May 08, 2015 1:52 PM  

I'd rather be slapped by the Truth, than kissed by a lie.

Blogger dc.sunsets May 08, 2015 1:55 PM  

Here I thought Serenity was just a rich character study.

Anonymous Susan May 08, 2015 1:56 PM  

What I have always liked about Joss Whedon is he is one of the very few in Hollywood who can keep his ego separate from what he puts on screen. He admitted his friends were amazed that he could put a Christian fellow like Captain America on screen, given his own atheist viewpoint. But his response to that was what put me into his camp.

He said that it is the CHARACTERS talking, not me. That is a most profound way of thinking for a Hollywood liberal to own up to. Pity that more Hollywood inmates do not follow that concept.

Blogger Zach May 08, 2015 2:09 PM  

Operative: "Do you really believe that?"

Mal: "I do."

Operative: "You willing to die for that belief?"

Mal: "I am."

blam

Mal: "Of course, that ain't exactly Plan A."

Blogger Marissa May 08, 2015 2:13 PM  

He said that it is the CHARACTERS talking, not me. That is a most profound way of thinking for a Hollywood liberal to own up to. Pity that more Hollywood inmates do not follow that concept.

Yes, much of Hollywood's screenwriting seems to equate the hero with the writer's smarmy, immature high school alter ego while the villain is Dad who made his son go to church when he didn't want to go.

Also, you're not going to have good characters if every time they walk into a room they have to salute a picture of comrade Stalin. This is what it's like when a character blusters out SJW narrative in a totally uncharacteristic fashion.

Blogger Matt May 08, 2015 2:20 PM  

<He said that it is the CHARACTERS talking, not me. That is a most profound way of thinking for a Hollywood liberal to own up to. Pity that more Hollywood inmates do not follow that concept.

But in order to subscribe to that viewpoint one must understand, at least on some level, that the purpose of art is to seek out and portray beauty and truth. Most in the other camp these days seem to believe that art is solely useful as propaganda. They possess no mental framework with which to even process the idea that their created characters might believe or say anything other than what they themselves believe and say.

Blogger Bro. Longtail May 08, 2015 2:23 PM  

The advice of Rev. Book seems disingenuous. What if Mal decided to avoid the abyss by believing in the racial supremacy of the white race and became involved in a eugenics program designed to improve humanity? Book would surely care what he believed in then. The assumption is that Mal will believe in something consistent with liberalism because he's written as being a rebel fighting against an authoritative regime.

The points that Anonymous wrote above, Vox, did catch my eye. Agreed, you didn't write the article but you did mark it out as a particularly strong article. Of course, that doesn't mean you agree with it, but then again, you tend to skewer the things you disagree with when you point them out. So your silence could reasonably, if wrongly, be interpreted as a somewhat tacit agreement with what the article is saying. And it does, to my chagrin given my respect for CS Lewis, appear to be arguing for the SJW solipsism that Anonymous pointed out.

Could I prevail upon you to straighten us (me) out on your position regarding the arguments made in the quoted passage/blog post?

Anonymous adamalan May 08, 2015 2:35 PM  

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

It may not be so much that Book doesn't care what Mal believes, but that he needs to start with where Mal is at and guide him in the right direction. Book plants, someone else will water.

Anonymous BigGaySteve May 08, 2015 2:46 PM  

Many believe that leftists don't believe in anything. Actually leftists believe in EQUALISM- the invisible cloud man that waves his hands so that Asian girls are as stupid and violent as black boys.

DON'T TAX YOU, DON'T TAX ME, LETS TAX THE MAN BEHIND THAT TREE sums up the rest of leftists belief.

Anonymous DavidKathome May 08, 2015 2:54 PM  

What I have always liked about Joss Whedon is he is one of the very few in Hollywood who can keep his ego separate from what he puts on screen. He admitted his friends were amazed that he could put a Christian fellow like Captain America on screen, given his own atheist viewpoint. But his response to that was what put me into his camp...He said that it is the CHARACTERS talking, not me.

In the first Avengers movie, Captain America says that line, "There's only one God, ma'am, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't dress like that." An atheist who watched the movie said, "Anyone else saying that would make me bristle, but in this case I just found it endearing."

Blogger Nate Winchester May 08, 2015 3:08 PM  

The Sheppard was portrayed much more completely as a Christian during the run of the tv series. One would assume the two characters had a bit of a falling out between the book and the movie, at least that's what is implied. I think the falling out, whatever it was, informed the phrasing of that final exchange.

It was during the first 3 issue Serenity comic book arc titled "Those Left Behind" which bridged the series to movie.

Yes there is a moment where Book punches Mal, and then requests to leave. I'll have to look it up but... ah here's the quote:
Mal: Look, Shepherd, I'll make this plain... it don't matter to me that you hit me.
Book: Which is exactly why I need to be away from you. Because sooner or later, it wont matter to me, either.

Blogger Poor Guy May 08, 2015 4:02 PM  

Is anyone listening to the Brian Niemeier livecast at Google Hangouts? Some of it is sort of on this topic.

https://plus.google.com/events/c4pf5eequm862cmrpjtedrutagg

OpenID kbswift May 08, 2015 4:04 PM  

@Longtail

The difference as you pointed out in your own example is between personally believing something, truth or lies, vs acting out on those beliefs and attempting to convince others. The opposition to SJWs is not so much what they believe (of course the truth is better than lies but everyone is entitled to their own opinion) but that they actively try to push their false views on others and on society in general. That is what gamergate and the puppies are about. The SJWs are pushing their false narrative down everyone's throats, so those that believe in the truth must push back. The essay only points out that believing in nothing at all is a difficult act and most people, even atheists, end up believing in something even if it's not God.

Blogger J Thomas May 08, 2015 4:09 PM  

This reminds me about precisely what was so great about the "atheist" Nietzsche. In the section in Zarathustra where it is uttered the famous quote "God is dead" (which is followed by the lament: "and we have killed him"), Nietzsche recognized very clearly the very dangerous vacuum that now threatened to engulf man, namely the vacuum and void of Nihilism.

What is so cowardly about the "new atheism" today, is it's total blind eye turned to the philosophical problem of meaning, and how religion (particularly Christianity) has been so effective at addressing that problem (and quenching the internal melancholic "infinite sadness"), and the now very dangerous slippery slope of "nihilism" that awaited those who were not strong enough to "lift their eyes" to "other shores". As Nietzsche implied: "Man is rope, over an abyss, stretched between the animal, and the Ubermensch.

Atheism per se isn't really the problem in our day, but rather a cowardly running away from the fundamental philosophical problem of meaning and purpose (which, hitherto before, only religion has adequately addressed, regardless of the question of it's "truth" or "falseness".

New atheists, feminists, SJWs, etc, all (consciously) despise meaning. Yet tragically, even they know underneath it all (subconsciously), that it's the only thing that gives lasting "meaning" to the great works of fiction (and all work in general).

Nietzsche looked to a future where even "atheists" were honest about the truth that "the greatest enemy you will ever meet will always be yourself", and in a very ironic sort of way, this matches perfectly the Christian conception of "I find another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members".

Tragically, all sorts of opposing fundamentalisms, although at war with each other, are actually in agreement on the idea the overcoming of the "self" is impossible (although only new atheists implicitly agree by never bringing up the topic).

If any more athests are to come, we need more Nietzsche's who, like St, Paul, recognized the need to overcome "the self". And only in atheists who, either implicitly or explicity, acknowledge this, will we ever see great works of fiction come from them (and really, all artists in general).

OpenID malcolmthecynic May 08, 2015 4:24 PM  

This is way cool.

Thank you!

Also, you can agree or disagree with the movie if you want to, but I'm quoting it directly. Whedon bluntly admits it's better to believe in a lie than be a nihilist.

OpenID malcolmthecynic May 08, 2015 4:27 PM  

Aeoli,

"The Silver Chair" is 6 chronologically, but 4 in publishing order.

It was published in this order:

1) Lion

2) Prince Caspian

3) Voyage

4) The Silver Chair

5) The Horse and His Boy

6) The Magician's Nephew

7) The Last Battle

OpenID malcolmthecynic May 08, 2015 4:32 PM  

Also, Book was definitely Christian.

OpenID malcolmthecynic May 08, 2015 4:37 PM  

adamalan,

Yes, that is my point. Book is a heart surgeon; he is saving Mal from a heart attack, but when that's done there's still a lot of work to be done for Mal to become healthy.

Anonymous Earl May 08, 2015 5:04 PM  

Anonymous:

In this case it is more rational and scientific to believe the lie that there is an order and a power that gave rise to this order than to believe in the dark abyss.

Because science and reason do not flow from the abyss. The lie is the only explanation that describes this world we live in. It is not brave to accept the consequences of the abyss, it is not cowardly either, it is simply neither. Nothing. Just like you and the rest of your thoughts and observations. Nothing.

Nothing.

The lie is the order that gives rise to reason, science, values, bravery, cowardice, and the rest of the human experience. Philosophy is higher than science, and the author at Sci Phi is addressing this philosophy, epistemology, metaphysics.

This is but one proof that the absurd lie of a Creator is more true than any alternative. There are other proofs.

Blogger SirHamster (#201) May 08, 2015 5:20 PM  

And it does, to my chagrin given my respect for CS Lewis, appear to be arguing for the SJW solipsism that Anonymous pointed out.

But the "lie" is not a self-centered self-serving lie, but one seeking something beautiful.

Note what happens in CS Lewis' story - that belief endures uncertainty and deception, and is proven true in the end. The love of beauty and light, and faith in it, leads through the trial and out of darkness.

Perhaps that is the appeal of Firefly/Serenity; there is something false about our feminism/PC/SJW infused civilization ... one is adrift after disappointment and disillusionment. It feels like there is something more real out there to be grasped.

And the truth is, there is.

Blogger Cail Corishev May 08, 2015 5:47 PM  

Malcolm, it looks like an interesting article. You might even convince me Book wasn't the worst character after all.

Oh wait, I forgot the space hooker. Second worst. And Wash and Zoe were pretty annoying too. How was it such a great show again? Oh yeah, Mal and Jayne.

Blogger brian May 08, 2015 5:50 PM  

The point in Marchetta's article (at least the excerpt) is that man cannot help believing in something. Believing in nothing - which is atheism, in essence - leads straight to death. A human being cannot endure it.

Then how have I survived forty-odd years? I've never believed, and I never will.

And who says that life has to have meaning and purpose?

Blogger Eli Owen May 08, 2015 6:06 PM  

"I never believed, and I never will." Never say never. Someday you may find yourself with nothing but belief. I pray it won't be too late by that point.

Blogger murphaticlaw May 08, 2015 6:40 PM  

@ Eli Owen
And who says that life has to have meaning and purpose?

The people who would rather (or maybe need to is more accurate) believe a lie than admit to the meaninglessness found in ignorance.

I'm quite impressed with so much honesty by the commentators here, because 'faith' is a palliative for the suicidal ideation that a nihilistic world-view brings, but most of the Christians I know won't admit that.

I'm reminded of an episode of Angel, the one where he takes the elevator to Armageddon, and the punchline that, "when nothing you do matters, the only thing that can matter is what you do".

Anonymous Jeanne -- Minion #0118 May 08, 2015 6:46 PM  

Apologies if this has already been asked:

Do you prefer we buy from Castalia House or from Amazon? Which gives you the better profit margin?

I read exclusively on my Kindle or Kindle App, but since the journals are DRM free, it is easy to convert them to .mobi and put them on my phone and Kindle myself. I am going to buy all 5 issues of the Journal and I am just wondering which gives you the better profit margin. I assume your own bookstore does, but wanted to check as I don't know what fees you have to pay to Paypal vice what Amazon takes.

Thanks.

Blogger Daniel May 08, 2015 7:12 PM  

Jeanne, I suggest buying the issues straight from CH. Once you get the download, you can reaccess the file very easily through CH in case you ever lose it.

Blogger Emmanuel Mateo-Morales May 08, 2015 7:17 PM  

"The point in Marchetta's article (at least the excerpt) is that man cannot help believing in something. Believing in nothing - which is atheism, in essence - leads straight to death. A human being cannot endure it."

"Then how have I survived forty-odd years?"

Because you live in the West, which still has some of its Christian moorings in place, are a moral parasite that borrows heavily when you know so or not, and because you've never lived in a place completely run by your fellow atheists, so the odds of you biting the bullet for a lack of revolutionary spirit are nil. Also, perhaps another reason you have survived is because Islam hasn't yet taken over Western Civilization and returned the world to its status quo for thousands of years until Christianity's rise and you haven't yet decided to say 'La ilaha illallah,' because you strike me as the kind of pansy who would when shit hits the fan.

"I've never believed, and I never will."

Well goodie for you. I hope that you kick the bucket in peace and can avoid having to say, 'La ilaha illallah,' to not have to kick the bucket in pieces.

"And who says that life has to have meaning and purpose?"

The person who doesn't presumably have a worldview where it'd be completely permissible to fuck your newborn child and eat them afterwards for the fun of it and where it would be completely permissible to do something the complete opposite of that at the same time because both actions are equal on that worldview.

Anonymous Earl May 08, 2015 7:40 PM  

"Then how have I survived forty-odd years?"

I?
Survived?
Years?

None of these things exist. You do not exist. Time does not exist. You are nothing. There is nothing.

Anything you tell yourself to the contrary, is a lie. Probably a lie designed to keep you from killing yourself and/or others. The only thing you can do to prove your existence is to kill yourself.

Kill yourself, and be born again in the Spirit.

Anonymous Mingo and Fanti May 08, 2015 7:44 PM  

So, Vox, as a vocal critical of "fake" Amazon reviews, what is you comment on the fact that many of the Sci Phi Journal's reviews are by contributors to the Sci Phi Journal?

Blogger brian May 08, 2015 7:53 PM  

Kill yourself, and be born again in the Spirit. which is, according to Christian teachings, the only unforgivable sin, no?

The person who doesn't presumably have a worldview where it'd be completely permissible to fuck your newborn child and eat them afterwards for the fun of it and where it would be completely permissible to do something the complete opposite of that at the same time because both actions are equal on that worldview.

And yet animals that we don't even regard as sentient don't do that.

How does believing in something with a complete lack of proof count as an improvement? You "know" there's something after, except that there's no evidence whatsoever.

So who believes the lie, really?

Blogger automatthew 0062 May 08, 2015 8:05 PM  

Limp-wristed SJW: "So, Vox, as a vocal critical of "fake" Amazon reviews, what is you comment on the fact that many of the Sci Phi Journal's reviews are by contributors to the Sci Phi Journal?"

Are you alleging that these reviews are fake? That the reviewers have not read the subject matter?

Blogger Stan Hai May 08, 2015 8:07 PM  

Book: What are we up to, sweetheart?
River: Fixing your Bible.
Book: I, um…
[alarmed]
Book: What?
River: Bible’s broken. Contradictions, false logistics – doesn’t make sense.
[she's marked up the bible, crossed out passages and torn out pages]
Book: No, no. You-you-you can’t…
River: So we’ll integrate non-progressional evolution theory with God’s creation of Eden. Eleven inherent metaphoric parallels already there. Eleven. Important number. Prime number. One goes into the house of eleven eleven times, but always comes out one. Noah’s ark is a problem.
Book: Really?
River: We’ll have to call it early quantum state phenomenon. Only way to fit 5000 species of mammal on the same boat.
[rips out page]
Book: River, you don’t fix the Bible.
River: It’s broken. It doesn’t make sense.
Book: It’s not about making sense. It’s about believing in something, and letting that belief be real enough to change your life. It’s about faith. You don’t fix faith, River. It fixes you.

Now, one can argue that Whedon is attacking the Bible's accuracy and saying "just believe in something" or you can see that Book meets people where they are at and gives them little nudges down the right road. River is broken and Book knows that faith in God can fix her. Of course she's going to assume that he means the Christian god, since he's a Christian. But he doesn't bust out the "Roman Road" and lead her in the sinner's prayer right there. The audience, like River, needs to be gently lead along. With Mal, Book's job is even harder. He has to lead by godly example, since Mal is a Christian who lost his faith and is antagonistic towards God. Book is "becoming all things to all men..."

Blogger automatthew 0062 May 08, 2015 8:07 PM  

Prediction: "Mingo and Fanti" is a liar who will now evade, move goalposts, and lie as needed.

Blogger IM2L844 May 08, 2015 8:24 PM  

Kill yourself, and be born again in the Spirit. which is, according to Christian teachings, the only unforgivable sin, no?

No.

So who believes the lie, really?

There is a complete lack of proof that there is no evidence whatsoever, yet you believe it.

There is some non-zero chance that you're right and there is some non-zero chance that you're wrong. If you're right, in the end, nobody gets the last laugh and nobody cares. If you're wrong, I win. It won't be all that long. I can wait.

How does believing in something with a complete lack of proof count as an improvement?

One tangential benefits is the palliative effect for the suicidal ideation that a nihilistic world-view brings, Just ask murphaticlaw.

Blogger Jason May 08, 2015 8:28 PM  

Pitch it and i can let you know. I can obly run the articles people submit.

Nothing to lose by pitching it

Anonymous Greg Rational May 08, 2015 8:33 PM  

You christards need to believe in a dictionary...

Faith = irrational belief with zero evidence.

e.g... I have faith in the existence of Jeebus, unicorns, immaginary friends and Father Christmas.

Blogger brian May 08, 2015 8:49 PM  

One tangential benefits is the palliative effect for the suicidal ideation that a nihilistic world-view brings

So to your mind there's nothing between having faith and being suicidal? Were that the case, shouldn't I be long dead?

Or is there, perhaps, something that isn't nihilism that doesn't require a belief in the supernatural?

I mean, if someone were to present you with absolute proof of the non-existence of God, would you kill yourself immediately? Probably not.

Blogger Russell (106) May 08, 2015 9:11 PM  

Define 'evidence' just so we understand your usage.

Anonymous zen0 May 08, 2015 9:43 PM  

@ Greg Rational

You christards need to believe in a dictionary...

Faith = irrational belief with zero evidence.


@ Dictionary

faith/fāTH/
noun

1.complete trust or confidence in someone or something.

2. strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.



Have you ever thought of selling your ass in Nevada? You know, based on some spiritual apprehension.

OpenID malcolmthecynic May 08, 2015 9:57 PM  

murphaticlaw,

I'm quite impressed with so much honesty by the commentators here, because 'faith' is a palliative for the suicidal ideation that a nihilistic world-view brings, but most of the Christians I know won't admit that.

I was more impressed that Whedon admitted atheists should lie to themselves to improve their life.

OpenID malcolmthecynic May 08, 2015 10:18 PM  

BTW - Once upon a time I would have said that Book was a terrible preacher.

But I've changed my mind. I actually think Book is very good at his job. "Serenity" is a good example of that.

Anonymous zen0 May 08, 2015 10:22 PM  

@ brian

And who says that life has to have meaning and purpose?

No one says it should. It just does. Meaning and purpose characterize conscious actions.

Or are you saying all your actions are subconscious?

Blogger Markku May 08, 2015 10:36 PM  

The official answer: Buying from castaliahouse.com gives us a slightly better profit margin, but not as much better as you might think. Buying from Amazon givees you a confirmed purchase to your review.

So, if you are going to review (and do it honestly - if you didn't think the book perfect, say so) then buy at Amazon. If you are not going to review (or you prefer the epub format) then buy at CH.

OpenID arhyalon May 08, 2015 10:44 PM  

> Aeoli Pera

The Silver Chair is Book Four. Just because C S Lewis once responded, without thinking about it, to someone asking if the books should have been in a different order in a letter by saying that maybe they should have...does not mean that the order of the books should be changed. They make much less sense in the chronological order than in their real order.

Anonymous zen0 May 08, 2015 11:07 PM  

@ Russell (106) May 08, 2015 9:11 PM

Define 'evidence' just so we understand your usage.


That was a good response, Russell, if you were dealing with a competent individual, but you had a reetard on your line. Best just club it on the head and move one.

Blogger murphaticlaw May 08, 2015 11:11 PM  

@IM2L844

Apologizes, I was in a hurry to respond to the dinner bell and rushed my thought.

To restate, one tangential benefit of faith is the palliative effect it CAN have on the suicidal ideation that a nihilistic world-view CAN bring.

@brian No of course not, but believing that this world is the sum total of our existence, that our 'consciousness' or 'ego' or 'self' is a by product of natural processes, that when our brain dies 'we' cease to exist, in the manner that a soap bubble disappears when it pops, doesn't give you a lot of support for facing the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune...or bouts of bad brain chemistry.

I'm not trying to defend anyones theology, (since I don't believe any of them I'd make a poor advocate), I'm just trying to point out that there are benefits available to the fideists that aren't available to atheists and/or agnostics.

Just because one doesn't beleive in an afterlife doesn't automatically make suicide attractive....if you're healthy, and/or have the support of a loving family and friends, and/or are enjoying more successes than failures in the pursuit of your life's goals...but the person who believes that eternal damnation is the punishment for suicide has a greater incentive to avoid it than the person who doesn't.

"...something that isn't nihilism that doesn't require a belief in the supernatural?"

That is the 64K $ question, I've yet to answer it to my satisfaction.

"...present you with absolute proof of the non-existence of God, would you kill yourself immediately?"

Today? Probably not. A few years back when they misdiagnosed me as having cancer, I was sick and bedridden and life was a chore? Probably yes.

Actually, that's an interesting question, I wonder what the suicide rates are for 'believer's vs 'non-believers'.

Anonymous zen0 May 08, 2015 11:17 PM  

@ Murphaticlaw > Actually, that's an interesting question, I wonder what the suicide rates are for 'believer's vs 'non-believers'.

Ask the Google:

RESULTS: Religiously unaffiliated subjects had significantly more lifetime suicide attempts and more first-degree relatives who committed suicide than subjects who endorsed a religious affiliation. Unaffiliated subjects were younger, less often married, less often had children, and had less contact with family members. Furthermore, subjects with no religious affiliation perceived fewer reasons for living, particularly fewer moral objections to suicide. In terms of clinical characteristics, religiously unaffiliated subjects had more lifetime impulsivity, aggression, and past substance use disorder. No differences in the level of subjective and objective depression, hopelessness, or stressful life events were found. CONCLUSIONS: Religious affiliation is associated with less suicidal behavior in depressed inpatients. After other factors were controlled, it was found that greater moral objections to suicide and lower aggression level in religiously affiliated subjects may function as protective factors against suicide attempts. Further study about the influence of religious affiliation on aggressive behavior and how moral objections can reduce the probability of acting on suicidal thoughts may offer new therapeutic strategies in suicide prevention.

Anonymous BGS May 08, 2015 11:20 PM  

Ni66ers keep on attacking fags but cops noticing it are the real problem

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/08/us/san-francisco-police-department-racial-bias-investigation.html

Blogger Russell (106) May 08, 2015 11:23 PM  

@zen0

That was a good response, Russell, if you were dealing with a competent individual, but you had a reetard on your line. Best just club it on the head and move one.

Thanks. I'm attempting to set up a Xanatos Gambit.

No answer: We can call the poster DOA.
Dodges answer: Invoke the rules of the blog and club it on the head.
Gives an answer: Well, then I'll attempt to lead it to the next phase of my diabolic plot!

(I'm planning leading it into a dark alley, conk it on the head, and riffle through its pockets for any mislaid intentions or thoughts I can sell on the black market.)

Blogger IM2L844 May 08, 2015 11:32 PM  

To restate, one tangential benefit of faith is the palliative effect it CAN have on the suicidal ideation that a nihilistic world-view CAN bring.

Yes, that's more precise, but I think Brian was just working on his adolescent troll chops until mom made him turn the music down and shut the lights off. The short bus comes early in the morning

OpenID douzeper20 May 09, 2015 12:02 AM  

Most atheists I know seem to either believe in the Ju-Che ideal, or ascribe to statism, rather than nihilism which is an actual belief in nothing... In addition, my personal impression of Book (which along with 2 dollars will buy you a sandwich somewhere) is that Whedon is attempting to write him as a real-deal sharing his faith by living it sort. Favourite quote (might be slight paraphrase, been a few years): Zoe- Don't the bible have something specific to say about killin'? Book- Very specific; it is however fuzzier on the subject of kneecaps.

Anonymous Jeanne -- Minion #0118 May 09, 2015 12:11 AM  

Thanks, Markku! Appreciate the answer! I do often review, so I'll go with Amazon.

Blogger John Wright May 09, 2015 12:48 AM  

"And who says that life has to have meaning and purpose?"

Did you want a meaningful answer to the question, or a meaningless one?

If you want a meaningless one: colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

If you want a meaningful one: then you yourself tacitly just said life has meaning, because if life lacks meaning, no questions about life can have meaning (none, not even the question you asked about whether it has a meaning).

Even in the act of denying the meaning of life, you acknowledge the meaning of life.

Because, if not, colorless green ideas sleep furiously. Just sayin' .

Blogger John Wright May 09, 2015 12:52 AM  

"
I'm quite impressed with so much honesty by the commentators here, because 'faith' is a palliative for the suicidal ideation that a nihilistic world-view brings, but most of the Christians I know won't admit that."

I would be more impressed with your honesty, sir, had you not stooped to the low trick of trying to put words into the mouths of those who said not such thing.

All they said was that half a loaf is better than no bread. Nihilism is no bread, utter untruth.

Believing a pagan lie, or some fairy tale, is better than the utter deadness of utter untruth.

Because pagans, at least, know about sin. When they grow wiser, or grow more childlike, or both, then they can hear the higher and more wondrous truth, about the magic water that washes sin away. Nihilists are too stupid to even know about sin. They think their lives are OK.

Blogger John Wright May 09, 2015 1:02 AM  

"....except that there's no evidence whatsoever..."

Other than all the experiences of mankind for all of history and prehistory before that. And the perfect match between abstract mathematics and the physical universe. And the universality of fundamental moral principles. And the existence of free will. And the existence of the universe itself. And the fact that nothing arises from nothing. And, did I mention the shared experience of all mankind for all history and prehistory?

Except for that, of course. No evidence whatsoever.

Cavemen were wise enough to revere their dead with solemn rites, knowing them only to be departed.

Historians stopped putting reports of miracles witnessed by multiple witnesses in history books not because witnesses stopped reports of seeing, say, the Angel of Mons, or the Christian Scientists stopped putting out biweekly reports of scientifically inexplicable healings through prayer, but only because the historians decided it was unfashionable to leave them in.

There were visitation of the Virgin Mary seen in the Middle East earlier this year. It is not because the events stopped happening that you stopped hearing about them.

The evidence did not change, only the willingness to look at it went away.

OpenID malcolmthecynic May 09, 2015 1:07 AM  

Bro. Longtail,

The advice of Rev. Book seems disingenuous. What if Mal decided to avoid the abyss by believing in the racial supremacy of the white race and became involved in a eugenics program designed to improve humanity? Book would surely care what he believed in then. The assumption is that Mal will believe in something consistent with liberalism because he's written as being a rebel fighting against an authoritative regime.

First off, Vox did not quote the entire article, and I did, in fact, address what you seem to be concerned with.

I don't want to give the whole game away, so here's a quickly sketched out version of my response

You are right that there is a problem with the philosophy "I don't care what you believe in. Just believe in something." In fact, I assume Whedon knows this too, because of the Operative, the villain of the movie.

The Operative is, as Inara says, "A believer". The only problem is that he uses his belief to justify mass slaughter.

So when Book says to Mal that he "doesn't care" what he believes in what Book's banking on is that Mal is a good man, and what he picks to believe in is not something he'll use to justify committing atrocities.

As it turns out, Mal makes lowercase t "truth" his God. Book would be pleased, because this is very much a step in the right direction towards the God, capital T "Truth".

Blogger The Overgrown Hobbit May 09, 2015 2:19 AM  

@suicide rates: it is not merely the negative effect of a fear of hell that stays one's hand, but the previous lived experience of joy, and transcendent love. Thus, from the depths of the black pit, into which no ray of ordinary happiness can reach, and from which no escape seems possible, or likely; there in the dark, one has a lone to hold to. A mere intellectual awareness of the promise that, even if there is nothing left but the abyss, grey, and dank and implacable, for the rest of one's days, there is Narnia on the other side.


And so you hang on, and don't walk in front of a bus. Fear of hell isn't in it.

Blogger Doom May 09, 2015 3:42 AM  

Hey, yeah. Look, I've pulled three or four(?) of them down from Amazon. While that is okay, if I haven't read a one of them yet (I will, shut up), I'd like to actually get in on a subscription (if after reading them I find it worth the bother and chump change, mind you). Is there a way? Oh, and plus, I'd rather certain people get more of the coin than Amazon. No stiffy against Amazon, more just a preference...

Any clues about how to do that? Subscribe?

Oh, and, generally, I'd like to buy more of my books right through Castellia House... is there a joiners club, or such, for that?

Yes, you will have to walk me through it as if a child. I really could be on the heart transplant list. While I am moving mountains (little ones for now), it is because they are in the way of what I see as survival. The rest of the world sort of takes a... very back burner. Want or not, if it isn't killing me, it is murder for me to figure out. Or... HELP! Bleh. Sucks to be a gimp.

Anonymous Sensei May 09, 2015 5:26 AM  

As it turns out, Mal makes lowercase t "truth" his God. Book would be pleased, because this is very much a step in the right direction towards the God, capital T "Truth".

Even a few years ago, I would have replied as Longtail did. But once I ventured outside the church social bubble and made some actual non-christian friends, I discovered it really is a step-by-step process, and there are many incomplete but right steps that are made by a thinking adult on the way to Truth.

Some people have only done "cold-approach" evangelism, where you don't have time for a process and can only lay everything out as clearly as possible, and some people don't ever actually do evangelism but want their doctrine to be as correct as possible, so the idea of process and context isn't really understood. If Book's final advice to Mal was the only thing he ever said, then yes it would be disingenuous, but they had context, and in the process of his journey toward or back to the Truth, it could be what a cynical, spiritually burnt-out man needed to hear. (It's a fictional universe anyway, you can't have your cake and eat it too)

Blogger VD May 09, 2015 6:10 AM  

Do you prefer we buy from Castalia House or from Amazon? Which gives you the better profit margin?

In general, we don't care. However, since SCI PHI Journal is an Associate, which means we don't publish it, we only get paid if you buy it from the Castalia House store.

Blogger brian May 09, 2015 8:42 AM  

"Evidence". What kind of definition did you want? I mean, evidence is just that. I drop a rock, it falls. Every single time. That is evidence of the existence of gravity.

Everything John Wright has offered is circular.

If you want a meaningful one: then you yourself tacitly just said life has meaning, because if life lacks meaning, no questions about life can have meaning (none, not even the question you asked about whether it has a meaning).

So it has meaning because if it didn't have meaning it wouldn't have meaning? We call that a tautology. Still doesn't say that life MUST have meaning.

There were visitation of the Virgin Mary seen in the Middle East earlier this year. It is not because the events stopped happening that you stopped hearing about them.

I have never once seen anything of this sort that would convince me that it was anything more than an hallucination. Nothing more than someone who has decided that there MUST be a higher purpose looking for anything at all to give them hope that they are right. Because the pain of thinking they might be wrong is too great to bear.

So all we have then is "faith MAY prevent suicidal ideation that nihilism MAY bring." And the assumption that the absence of faith is nihilism. I believe in things I can see, touch, measure.

Anonymous koan May 09, 2015 8:51 AM  

brian, do you have asbergers? not asking to be a dick.

Blogger Russell (106) May 09, 2015 9:13 AM  

Brian, how do you define evidence?

Blogger brian May 09, 2015 9:26 AM  

Koan - No. Why would you ask that?
Russell - How do you define 3? If you're going to tell me that the Bible is evidence, I'm going to say that it isn't. It is, at best hearsay, at worst a fairy tale. Something measurable. Something repeatable. Something tangible.

All anyone has ever offered is the fallacy of appeal to authority. "So and so believed, and therefore so should you."

Blogger Russell (106) May 09, 2015 9:59 AM  

Brian, so evidence for you is only constrained to material things?

Anonymous Jeanne -- Minion #0118 May 09, 2015 10:22 AM  

In general, we don't care. However, since SCI PHI Journal is an Associate, which means we don't publish it, we only get paid if you buy it from the Castalia House store.

Ah!! Bought the first two last night from Amazon since I wasn't aware of this caveat. I will go a head and buy the next 3 today from Castalia and be sure to buy all future issues from there as well. Thanks for the info!

Blogger Russell (106) May 09, 2015 10:42 AM  

Brian, I'm headed out for the day, but if you are still reading, can we agree that we can place everything material in set A?

Anonymous Earl May 09, 2015 11:00 AM  

So only Brian's narrow definition of evidence counts. All the other types of evidence that everyone else uses for many things in life, including Brian, doesn't count- on the question of theism.

Does Brian love other people? No. There is no evidence. You cannot measure love, therefore you cannot repeat it, it is intangible. Does he tell people he loves them? Does he live as though his love is a fact? Does he live as though the love of others for him is a fact? Yes. He does. Even though love does not exist.

Reason too does not exist. It is not tangible. It is not repeatable, it is not material. Or maybe he has solved the mind/body dilemma and is just WAY smarter than all of us. If not, then he believes he is reasonable, despite the fact that reason has no evidence for existence.

Or maybe he has reasoned that reason exists. Maybe he's comfortable with some tautologies, but not others.

Blogger IM2L844 May 09, 2015 11:05 AM  

I believe in things I can see, touch, measure.

Can you see, touch and measure your beliefs?

Anonymous koan May 09, 2015 12:36 PM  

brian is sounding aspie.

i say this as a person on the autism spectrum.

Blogger brian May 09, 2015 1:29 PM  

So all you've got is insults, koan?

Russell - what other set is there? If you're going to start talking about spirituality, fine, but it means nothing to me. You can tell me all about spirituality, but I have no context within which to place it. It's an emotional response that I've never experienced.

Earl - No, love does not, strictly speaking, exist. It's a chemical reaction in your head in response to emotional stimuli. Reason isn't a thing so much as a process, so it does exist.

Blogger Russell (106) May 09, 2015 1:39 PM  

Brian, so evidence can only select from set A. Can you prove that set ~A is an empty set using evidence from only set A?

Blogger brian May 09, 2015 1:50 PM  

So since you cannot prove that God does not exist, he must, ipso facto, exist?

What would you offer as proof of God?

Blogger Russell (106) May 09, 2015 2:01 PM  

Answer the question, Brian.

Anonymous koan May 09, 2015 2:33 PM  

i am also aspie, brian.

Anonymous koan May 09, 2015 2:37 PM  

the aspie brain: "i define 'supernatural' as nonexistent. thus supernatural doesn't exist. in no way am i begging the question, because i am smarter and logical and shit."

Blogger murphaticlaw May 09, 2015 4:21 PM  

@John, didn't mean to offend, but I read the remarks as basically saying the same thing as my best friend, that they had to believe in a theology to give their lives meaning.

Out of all the believers I have talked with over the years, (and I'm a PK, it's a lot), he is the only one to offer that as a reason for his choosing faith over agnosticism.

I don't have a problem with that, especially in light of the fact that he takes his faith seriously, and yet has retained the ability for rational thought.

But I don't have a problem accepting the people who believe things I don't, I just feel that his view is defensible without appealing to the supernatural.

As opposed to the authoritarian model I was offered as a kid, beleive in God or he will torture you forever.

The vending machine model I was offered when I was older, beleive in God and you can pray to him for help.

The slave model, beleive in God, accept him as your Master, and you can let him make all your decisions.

And the only truth model, beleive in God because his existence is so self-evident that faith isn't even needed you dishonest pagan scum:-þ

@ Earl, you can see evidence of 'love' in lots of places, you can even create categories to differentiate between types of love.

You can see the effects of reason and/or rational thought, so again there is evidence that reason exists, and again you can create categories to isolate the different types of reason.

I see this error over and over, just because you cannot directly see air, doesn't mean it's imaginary.

Sight isn't the only sense we use to investigate the world, and our senses aren't the only tools we have available.

@ Brian, since the chemical reaction exists, doesn't it follow that the behavior we label 'love' also exists?

Anonymous Your social autism is showing... May 09, 2015 4:44 PM  

You believe "faith" is about His existance?

Your faith in friends and family is simply a belief in their existance? Or maybe they don't exist in your tiny world...

Anonymous Earl May 09, 2015 6:46 PM  

I can see the evidence for love and reason because they factually exist and I've been loved by God and he's granted me reason.

So you are wrong and Brian is right. There is no such thing as love. He is right. He is staring into the abyss and inching toward the event horizon.

Yet he still clings to reason. He says it is a process. How that is a justification that it exists was skipped. How that is a tangible repeatable measurable thing was also skipped. Maybe he can measure the process of reason: maybe he has overcome the Heisenberg uncertainty principle in addition to the mind-body problem.

You know, my bowels are also a process. Eating my young is also a process. Stabbing Brian to death is also a process. The death of the cos.is is a process. Brian. Thinking that he has reason is a process.

So he reasoned that he has reason. He is comfortable with some tautologues.

Anonymous Earl May 09, 2015 6:50 PM  

Hi guys! I processed that I can process things! Thanks Brian.

Blogger brian May 09, 2015 7:26 PM  

I answered your question, Russell. You did not like the answer because it did not provide you the opportunity for a quick insult and dismissal.

Earl - your entire argument boils down to "God exists because God exists." How do you know that? Can you show me something outside of your own feelings that could make me or anyone else believe that God exists? As far as the rest of your commentary, you've clearly decided that since I do not share your faith in God that I am therefore too stupid to have reason.

Nobody here can answer my question for one simple reason. There is no answer to "what can you show me to prove that God exists and that I ought to have faith?" outside of your own personal emotional experiences.

Blogger brian May 09, 2015 7:29 PM  

@murphaticlaw -

The behavior, the emotional state, yes. But so many people talk about "love" as though it is a force of nature. It's not. It's an emotional state created by chemical reactions in the brain.

Blogger Russell (106) May 09, 2015 7:46 PM  

No, Brian, you didn't answer my question. Let me repeat : Brian, so evidence can only select from set A. Can you prove that set ~A is an empty set using evidence from only set A?

Yes or no, Brian.

Anonymous Earl May 09, 2015 9:26 PM  

My entire argument does not boil down to God exists because God exists, because I only made one argument, and that argument was nothing like that, it was a different argument, it was an argument that God exists because it is the least absurd lie we can tell ourselves, and my subsequent comments have implied it is the only launching point for an epistemology that works in the cosmos which we now observe. My supporting comments for these arguments included nihilistic evangelization, showing others that a Godless world lacks the foundations necessary for love, reason, and the rest of the human experience. This is also why I brought up two of the famous contradictions of science which prove that our universe is fundamentally, inescapably, absurd- Heisenberg and Mind/Matter.

But you took all this to say that "God exists because God exists"?! Meanwhile you've not really answered any of my challenges re: the two dilemmas of reason/materialism. I am glad that you at least responded to my appeal to emotion with some honesty and confessed that love is nothing but a chemical delusion.

So you are either blisteringly stupid, or a troll.

Anonymous koan May 09, 2015 10:05 PM  

aspies gonna aspie. gammas gonna gamma.

brian is a special snowflake.

Blogger Russell (106) May 09, 2015 10:52 PM  

Earl, it seem's to be a pattern with Brian. He keeps answering questions no one has asked, and disparaging intentions never implied or stated.

Koan has the right of it.

Blogger brian May 09, 2015 11:20 PM  

What does that question even mean, Russell? Anyone with a basic grasp of mathematics knows that it is not possible to prove a negative. I don't see what bearing that has on anything. You keep throwing out tautologies as though there's a point to them. Rather than beating around the bush, why not just answer the question: what proof can you provide that God exists? Because if there is no God, then there's no point in having faith in him, is there?

Koan - recovering gamma. And the more I see, the less inclined I am to believe that there's any reason behind any of it. Not a "special snowflake."

Earl - Why is it "the least absurd lie we can tell ourselves?" Why do we need to lie to ourselves at all?

That's the entire core of gammaness, isn't it? Lying to yourself to assuage all your feelings of inadequacy?

Blogger brian May 09, 2015 11:21 PM  

Earl: I can see the evidence for love and reason because they factually exist and I've been loved by God and he's granted me reason.

And how do you know you've been loved by God? What evidence do you have of this?

Blogger Russell (106) May 10, 2015 1:16 AM  

What does that question even mean, Russell? Anyone with a basic grasp of mathematics knows that it is not possible to prove a negative.

I'm not asking you prove a negative, which isn't a mathematical problem to begin with.

Let me repeat : Brian, so evidence can only select from set A. Can you prove that set ~A is an empty set using evidence from only set A?

Yes or no, Brian.

Rather than beating around the bush, why not just answer the question: what proof can you provide that God exists?

You really have no idea what dialectic method is about, do you? Rhetorical question, no need to answer that one any more than you have already.

But the answer to the first question is either yes or no. You've danced around and around, but still haven't answered the question.

Anonymous koan May 10, 2015 2:32 AM  

gammas, even self-declared "recovering" gammas, are almost always on the spectrum...

face it, brian, you have asbergers... as a fellow aspie, i know all the signs.

OpenID malcolmthecynic May 10, 2015 2:47 AM  

@ Earl, you can see evidence of 'love' in lots of places, you can even create categories to differentiate between types of love.

You can see the effects of reason and/or rational thought, so again there is evidence that reason exists, and again you can create categories to isolate the different types of reason.

I see this error over and over, just because you cannot directly see air, doesn't mean it's imaginary.


Right, but you can't actually measure reason. Or love. We know they exist because of their effects, but reason itself is not quantifiable through the scientific method. It is outside of it. In fact, the scientific method would be utterly useless without reason.

Any attempt to prove the existence of reason via the scientific method is obvious question-begging, because the only way to prove it is to use reason.

OpenID malcolmthecynic May 10, 2015 2:48 AM  

I see this error over and over, just because you cannot directly see air, doesn't mean it's imaginary.

Kind of like God. ;-)

OpenID malcolmthecynic May 10, 2015 2:51 AM  

There is no answer to "what can you show me to prove that God exists and that I ought to have faith?" outside of your own personal emotional experiences.

Yes, Aristotle and Aquinas totally didn't come up with any compelling reasons to prove God's existence.

Come on now. You really don't think we couldn't provide reasons if we wanted too? I'd just quote the Five Ways.

Blogger brian May 10, 2015 8:09 AM  

Russell - I answered your question. It's yet another tautology. And I know where you're leading with it.

No, you cannot prove that the spiritual exists using only materialism.

And that's not the question I'm asking.

The question I'm asking is this: Does anyone have anything at all beyond either anecdote or appeal to authority to prove that the spiritual exists? If not, then why should I accept that it does? Am I expected to accept it because someone smarter than me said so?

Blogger brian May 10, 2015 8:10 AM  

Malcolm - No, they didn't. At least not convincing to me. Because their arguments all boil down to "I don't know, therefore God."

That's not an answer, and it's not proof. It's a dodge.

Blogger Russell (106) May 10, 2015 9:49 AM  

Russell - I answered your question. It's yet another tautology. And I know where you're leading with it.

No, you cannot prove that the spiritual exists using only materialism.


Brian, you still dont understand, and you didn't answer my question. I get it, you are use to being the smartest in the room. So you think you understand what's going on here as well.

You keep answering questions you think I'm asking, but you won't take the time to read my actual question, or answer it.

I've said nothing about spiritual matters. I've said nothing about God. And you keep giving answers around those. You are employing pseudo-dialetic.

You are not reasoning, you are rationalizing.

It is impossible to offer any logical proof to those that won't learn.

So, again, yes or no, Brian.

Blogger brian May 10, 2015 10:16 AM  

Russell - What does this even mean, then?

Brian, so evidence can only select from set A. Can you prove that set ~A is an empty set using evidence from only set A?

How the heck am I supposed to answer this? You can't prove that ~A is an empty set without looking at {everything} - {a}. And since it is impossible to know the contents of {everything} then it is likewise impossible to prove that ~{a} is an empty set using any information at all.

So the answer MUST be no. There can't BE any other answer.

Anonymous koan May 10, 2015 11:18 AM  

malcolm... you won't get an honest reply, just begging the question. it is a serious handicap of the aspie brain. a hardware issue essentially.

took me two decades to cure myself of this gamma-defect. i can't even fathom how much damage i left in my wake. brian will either learn to overcome it, or he will not... comes down to grace.

Blogger Russell (106) May 10, 2015 12:09 PM  

Brian, thank you. See? That wasn't so hard.

The answer is no, not becuse of your reasoning but because the selection mechanism used against A can only select A, and ~A cannot be selected from elements of A.

Next question, can you prove that set ~A has at least one element in the set using evidence from only set A?

This should be easier to answer.

OpenID malcolmthecynic May 10, 2015 7:23 PM  

Malcolm - No, they didn't. At least not convincing to me. Because their arguments all boil down to "I don't know, therefore God."

I'm not going to mince words here: That is mind-bogglingly stupid.

Blogger Russell (106) May 10, 2015 10:08 PM  

@malcolm

I missed that. Yes, to summarize Aristotle or Aquinas like that is mind-boggling.

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