November 29, 2013

Your Brain on Naturalism

Okay, in this post, I would like to illustrate one problem I've heard with the worldview/philosophical point of view called "naturalism", also known as "philosophical or metaphysical" Naturalism to distinguish it from other forms, such as methodological naturalism. (the form used by many scientists, for example)

Philosophical naturalism is basically the point of view that, in the totality of existence, only the universe itself exists. Only physical objects exist, and anything that we think isn't can be explained away as being caused by something, or being something, physically existing somewhere in the Universe. Obviously, under such a system, nothing Supernatural can possibly exist.
As (I think it was Carl Sagan) said, "The Universe is all there is, was, or ever will be"

Note: It's quite common for atheists to follow this sort of system, however if it's by no means necessary that they do so. In other words, many Atheists are (Philosophical) Naturalists, however, not all Atheists are Naturalists. (And vice vesa, all Naturalists are and must necessarily be Atheists)

Here's the the problem: (and this came to my attention via a CS Lewis writing, so it's not like this some original argument I came up with, just FYI [I don't intend to be a plagiarist!!])

According to Naturalism, everything (and I do mean everything, from your dog to your shoes to your grandmother, to the planets, on and on) came about totally randomly, by chance, from natural processes. In fact, those natural processes themselves came about by random chance in the Big Bang. (along with everything else in the Universe) So, this means that my thoughts, and everyone else's thoughts, are all the result of random, irrational, illogical, chemical and electrical firings in my brain, which in turn evolved randomly from an ape-like ancestors lesser developed brain, which in turn evolved from some ape's brain, which in turn...well, you get the picture.

The problem? If my thoughts (and everyone else's as well, for that matter) are simply the result of totally random, chaotic, irrational chance events, then why on earth should I believe that those thoughts are in any sense rational, or true? Think about it, not only is that a problem for rational thought in general, it also means that the theory of Naturalism itself is irrational, for it is, itself,  (according to it's own, fundamental assumptions about the nature of reality) only the product of irrational, random chance.  Do we have any reason at all to presume that something that's the product of irrational chance (many times over) should be, itself, rational and logical?

To me, that just seems highly improbable, and highly irrational, to assume that Rationality, Logic, Order, Functionality, can arise form Random, Chaotic, Irrational, Chance.

*Editor's Note: I'll be adding quotes from Sagan and Lewis later. :D

My Coin Collection

Hey guys! Sorry that I haven't posted in such a long time, but I've been busy with various things. Like, for instance, my Doberman Pinscher, very to dear to me and the 'Love of my life' has passed away after 9 years on this earth. I'm actually still in shock, and depressed about it, 6 months later... she will be missed. :( RIP 

That sad news aside, I plan to make a series of somewhat autobiographical posts about my coin collection, possibly posting phots and descriptions of some of the more interesting ones. You guys are free to browse them if you want, but these posts are mostly for my own/ my family's own amusement. Fun fact: I recently found out that I have two coins in my collection that are both worth roughly $1500!!! Wow! Boy was I surprised to find that out...I thought that, at most, they had to be worth maybe $50 each?  o_0

Will be posting those in series over the next couple weeks. 

February 18, 2013

Guns and Tweets

If they interpreted the First Amendment the way they interpret the Second, the only freedom of speech we'd have would be 140 characters at a time, like on Twitter.

(This is a lot like a famous quote by one of my favorite Conservative authors/columnists, Ann Coulter, which goes something like:

"If Liberals interpreted the Second Amendment the way they interpret the First, the American public would have the right to carry personal bazookas by now. ")

One argument that liberals often like to make is "Well, sure, but the difference is, publishing news stories doesn't kill people. But guns (eg broadening the 2nd Amendment) do kill people"

Okay, even granted that point, even besides the fact that publishing news can, in fact, kill/ endanger people's lives, (Wikileaks, anyone?) it's a moot point. Theoretically, exercising you're 4th Amendment rights could also endanger people's lives, through the threat of terrorism. But you don't hear anyone complaining about that.... if anything, just the opposite, with Obama assassinating US citizens abroad, without trial. (By the way, just where, exactly, are all the loudmouthed 4th amendment nuts, who argued so passionately when Bush was in office? Huh? Where the hell are they now?)

Regardless of whether it may endanger lives, it's a Right guaranteed by the United States Constitution, it is not a "privilege" that the Government may take away nilly-willy.

January 19, 2013

Sports, Drugs, and Lance

I'm writing this post because I really think we all need to cut Lance Armstrong some slack. Yes, he used drugs. Yes,  he lied about it. And yes, he won the Tour de France while doped. But I think everyone also needs to bear these things in mind as they continue bashing Lance:

Drug usage is a fact of life in high-profile, high-paying sports. Any sport, pick a sport, if it's professional, top-level sports, then 90% of the the top performers in it are on PED (Performance Enhancing Drugs) of one kind or another. As Durianrider said, unless you're talking about archery or curling, they're likely on drugs. It's just a fact of living in this cynical, all-about-money world. I'm sorry, I wish it wasn't like that, but there it is. As I think he said, he was just part of the "drug-culture" of high-performance cycling. Do I think that means he was right in doing so? No, certainly not. I just think we could all maybe be a little bit more sympathetic to his drug usage, especially given the fact that he (had) testicular cancer as well. At least that sort of gives him something of an excuse for doping... what's everyone else's?

If you were a champion (blank, pick a sport) athlete, and you were aware of drug usage in your sport, and you were aware that essentially all of the top performers in said sport were using drugs, would you decide to sacrifice your career for the sake of integrity? After all, if you don't use drugs, there's no way you can compete with everyone else. (who, likelier than not, do use drugs) I don't know that there are many people who can honestly say that they would've made a choice for integrity. In fact, given what I hear in business, politics, hollywood, and the like,  I know there aren't many people who would've made that choice... , people sacrifice integrity for career momentum all the time, especially now, in difficult economic times.

So please, unless you can say you've never sacrificed integrity for personal advancement, and never would, cut Lance a little slack.

*Note: As soon as I can find the link to Durianrider's video on Lance Armstrong and drug use, I will be posting it*

January 9, 2013

Gawker Publishes "Gun-pages" list

Following the outcry over the Journal News publishing a mappable list of gun owners in Westchester and Rockland counties, (included among those were several prison guards, who subsequently have been taunted by convicts reciting their home addresses at them.) yesterday (Jan 8, 3:10PM) the Gawker blog published their own, 446 page list of "every licensed gun owner in New York City."

Wow. Maybe this time they'll include more, perhaps private security guards, or private investigators. (In fact, they even say "(And for the record, they are not all assholes. Some of them need guns for legitimate reasons for their jobs, like providing security for assholes.)" so there are the names of people whose careers and lives depend on the usage of firearms listed there. Way to go, Gawker. Maybe you could publish your own writer's home addresses, as well? Hmmm? Maybe let us know your home addresses, Gawker.

I should think that all this is even more scary, and more dangerous, for those who aren't on the list as for those who criminals know which houses and apartments to target.

I heard Chris Plante today say that someone should publish a list of all the women who've gotten abortions, as well, since the liberals are going to publish all of the gun owners. Tit for tat.

Seriously, since many abortions are funded with taxpayer-money, it's not such a bad idea. After all, as Gawker said, it's all in the public domain anyway. (or, by rights, ought to be) Why not?