samedi 24 novembre 2012

Adam's Sin, Christ's Sacrifice, a few glosses

Christ, who sacrificed his life for Adam's sin, is the Eternal Son, in whose image He Himself made Adam. He was not giving His sacred life for "a remote hypothetical ancestor He never knew anything about" but He knew from Paradise what Adam's sin was like. And, of course, how Adam's sons could be made to detest it properly without detesting themselves or their ancestor. But Dawkins is time after time interrupting, as an impatient schoolboy who cannot see why Latin has to have those bothersome six cases, and who therefore sets out to interpret a Latin text on the presumption that SVO or possibly SOV will get him right every time.

Adam's sin is inherited by all humans (except the Blessed Virgin Mary and Her Son, Jesus). What kind of doctrine it is? The most easily observable of any Christian docrine. Even evolutionists see such traces of Adam's sin that they are quite willing to put it down to the primitive herd mentality of Apes./HGL

Continued, Sunday:

It is not usually for me to preach the Gospel about the Resurrection. The witnesses were most often the twelve minus Judas the Traitor, thus the eleven. Matthias was added to them and on Pentecost they preached, most specially St Peter, who went on when the others were silent. Their successors are the bishops and the bishops delegate the task to priests and deacons, and I am neither bishop, priest, nor deacon. I usually limit myself to this: when you and people like you calumniate either Creation or Resurrection accounts as untrue, I answer that by reasons for believing these accounts. Here we are dealing with something else, not "untrue" but "immoral and horrible if true". I am provoked to say my mind about it.

And in order to make that point, Dawkins takes part of the story and leaves out the rest. It is not as if he were taking the story and leaving out the theology, which as an atheist he thinks erroneous, which is how I as a Christian think we may (if at all) reasonably read Iliad and Odyssey. It is not as if he were taking only one part of the story as such, what he can believe possible, while leaving out what he calls impossible, though he obviously may be doing so on other occasions, and that being done in a way as to treat the story told with a real double standard about the evidence. No, he is not only doing that, but dealing with part of the theology of that part of the story, while leaving out other parts of the theology.

Now, as I wrote yesterday, dying for the sin of Adam and Eve was to Christ not like dying for a stranger. He was the God who both created them and forbade them to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. He died to free people he loved.

In every story that is about freeing captives that is really great, the deliverer walks himself into the trap to break it. In the Franco and Moscardó story, it is actually Moscardó we admire most, even if Franco did him a due homage by freeing him. But now to stories where the deliverer is great: Ulysses to free his wife Penelope walks in among her unwelcome suitors who are dealing with his and her home as with their own robber's den. He walks in and gets treated like a beggar by people who do not treat beggars very well. Conan walks to the castle of Thulsa Doom to free king Orlik's daughter. Mankind admires even Schwarzenegger for just acting out Conan, even Homer for making fine verses about Ulysses. And you think it is "bad news" that God is behaving like a brave man, like the men to whom Schwarzenegger and Homer did homage? Orpheus gets down to Hades and fails to free Eurydike, and you complain about God loving men as Orpheus loved his wife, you complain about God being the true Orpheus who succeeded in freeing his Eurydike?

Oh, if you wonder about Christ as "helpless victim" of such a decision, it is precisely because he is in His Divine Nature equal to the Father that He is rather a free volunteer.

Which is perhaps the most urgent reason, apart from the truth itself, why Nicea affirmed Trinity, affirmed full divinity of CHrist, and condemned Arius.

God could have - as you said - just said to Adam and Eve: "I forgive you, nothing changes, as far as I am concerned you did not eat the fruit I forbade you". And spontaneous human death and spontaenous animal death would have been non-occurrences. He preferred to say: "You shall truly die" - and then to get down to Hades to free them himself. What sense of story do you have if you think that is a "horrible story if true"?

It is a bit like reading the story of King Solomon's Judgement and stop at the order of parting the baby in two with a sword. "What a horrible story, King Solomon killed a baby" and that is it. And then to cling to that idiotic misunderstanding even when learning about the rest of the story. I presume you know it, otherwise it is in III:d Kings.

Now, Christ dying for us is in two different ways like the Solomonic Judgement.

First of all, the fall of Adam was a kind of paternity test. "Whom does the baby obey?" Disobeying God and obeying the suggestion of the old snake gave a very bad outcome to the paternity test. God makes a second paternity test, quite in line with Solomon's maternity test. "Who wants the baby to live?"

Satan who did not directly control all about the region of Hades where Adam and Eve were waiting four thousand years for their child and saviour, but who was still ruler of Hades and at least had the power to shut these souls out from Paradise and from Heaven above, had such power because of Adam's sin and on top of that because of personal sins. In Christ he found neither. He was quite willing to kill a man - and his virgin mother, St Mary's heart would have broke on Calvary but for a miracle - who was innocent. After all it was a man, and he as angelic being was superior to men. He forgot about the guilt part. He lost the paternity test quite as clearly as the "mother" who said "go ahead, part the child in two and we each will have half".

God died so as to give us back life - now who won that paternity test?

You know the answer. It is as clear to you as to St Irenaeus and to C. S. Lewis (when he wrote about the White Witch and her deal with Aslan), as to Shakespear whose Shylock plotted for more than the due pound of flesh, as to me and to everyone else.

If the story as we receive it is true, God did. He won mankind back for a very dear price, his flesh and blood on Calvary.

Are you still calling it a horrid story? God should maybe have - on your view - done better to "just forgive and forget about retributive justice"?

There can be said to have been in Heaven another Solomonic Judgement about exactly that proposition. Mercy and Truth, Peace and Justice come before the King of Heaven. Now, in this case none of them is a deceiver. None of them can just be pushed off. Each of them is a true daughter of the eternal father, a true aspect of the eternal son, of the wisdom of the father. St Bernhard tells the story of how Incarnation, Calvary and Resurrection were planned in Heaven.

Oh yes, this is interpretation, it is not in the Bible itself. But it is obviously well founded in it.

I will start with a story. It was told by the twelfth century preacher, Bernard of Clairvaux. The sermon has this intriguing title: The Four Daughters of God. They are Truth, Justice, Mercy and Peace. In the sermon the Four Daughters come before God after our first parents fell, that is, after Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. The held a kind of trial:

Truth spoke first. She pointed out the obvious: Adam and Eve had every advantage, but they turned their back on God. Next came Justice. She said that the man and woman did not deserve a second chance. They knew the rules and they deliberately broke them. But Mercy said, "Yes, I agree they do not merit a second chance, but, still, I plead for them." Finally Peace said that if God did not do something for Adam and Eve, there would only be enmity between heaven and earth.

God faced a dilemma. He loves all of his daughters - but how can he affirm one without losing another? Strict justice seems to exclude mercy. Keeping the peace seems to require hiding a bit of the truth. Here on earth we sometimes fudge the truth in order to keep the peace. But it cannot be that way in heaven. How does God keep his daughters together: Justice with Mercy and Peace with Truth?

God came up with a this solution: He would himself become man.

Cited after another sermon, The Four Daughters of God which beyond St Bernhard adds that the Beatitudes - which Christ himself lived to the full - show him as bringing precisely these four. By the way - as I recall the story, which I read elsewhere, part of the reason is His saying in essence: "it is my fault, I have to fix it" (He being, as Council of Nicea said, obviously God the Creator, not just subordinate to Him). The story gives a Bible reference to the words before He produced the Flood and shortened human life span.

I am not sure that believing the moral of this story comes easy to you. To me it is actually the "god" you prefer who seems a horrid distorted shape of the old betrayer Satan.

The fall was a corruption of free will. Not a total corruption, as Calvin pretended, but a corruption. Now, let a cancer patient live a thousand years with a cancer, and after a thousand years you bet he is miserable because there is more cancer than healthy body in him. As to Adam and Eve, yes, they could live nearly a thousand years and still not corrupt all that much, because they were sorry for their deed and because they were waiting for the promised saviour. Nearly thousand years on earth and then in its entrails more than four thousand years - as a French Christmas carol makes clear - for the saviour. People like Cain or his latter descendants in Nod took such a lifespan in a worse fashion. Imagine what they would have done if granted an immortality continued despite the fall! But now we are talking free will rather than tissue. If cancer is bad, what about the unchecked ongoing corruption of free-will?

You may deny there is free-will. In that case you are, as Chesterton noted about Shaw, a Calvinist minus the remains of Christianity that there are in the usual Calvinist. And in that case you are no longer dealing with "what if the story is true, is it a good or a bad story", you are simply denying part of the story. And a very relevant part for all that.

If we were automata and God an administrator whose task was to make us happy automata, yes, you could argue that God was pushing the wrong buttons. Or that he was pushing exactly the right ones. One part of being happy is being conscious of not being an automaton.

But we are not automata, on the terms of Christianity. We are endowed with free will, with the duty of using it to love God - really love and not just appreciate as a decent administrator - and to love our neighbour as ourselves, and whatever rights we are endowed with (indirectly enumerated in the Decalogue, if you want the correct enumeration) are founded in that endowment fo our nature.

The kind of "god" you seem to prefer, who forgives without any measure of justice, because he is omnipotent, reminds me of certain modern trends in administration (perhaps because many of it agree with you about how you would like a god you could find it decent to believe in). Offenses traditionally punishable by death - well, pardon from death penalty is an many modern administrations automatic, because the state is "almighty" (or thinks itself so) and because "mercy rather than justice" is a kind of "duty" for any "almighty" according to that philosophy: so these offenses are just not punished by death. Does that mean that the offender is happy about being parodned death penalty and now he can go and do something else, and let's hope he has learnt a lesson? Ah no. Such mercy to him would have (in more than one case, especially with relapsed offenders of heinous crimes) been cruel to other citizens. So he is usually locked up. Now, that is merciful to other citizens, because they are spared a dangerous man, but also to him because he has not been killed.

Is it all that merciful to him? Look at the lives of people who are spending life time in prison. Look at the lives of people who have come out after twenty years in prison. And especially, at locking up way beyond the usual prison sentence fora certain crime!

So, why is a "merciful rather than just" administration doing it to him? Out of mercy (and not exactly justice: some would perhaps deserve to be in danger) to everyone else.

But if it is not a question of justice, purely of mercy, why stop at keeping dangerous criminals in prison? Why not do the same with people who might be dangerous in the future, even if they have so far not committed any crimes?

Well, the society you get with that is pretty much described in the SciFi story recently a film with Tom Cruise: Minority Report. That is a film with an unusually happy ending for such a scenario. Take A Clockwork Orange, see the end from where he is caught up to the point where he is crying because he can no longer enjoy Beethoven. THEN assume that he is considered cured and let free. THEN turn on the film from the beginning anbd assume that is how the story continues after the end. Now, that is a very realistic view of what happens if people are by pure mercy going to be cured of potentially dangerous to society tendencies, against their will, even before they do any ill. People submitted against their will to therapies get angry and feel anguish, and there is no medicating away the possibility that some crimes are committed by the objects of such "mercy" who would otherwise have lived perhaps if not totally straight at least more or less decent lives.

That is what comes from preferring the kind of "god" you pretend to be ideally a better guy than the one we Christians believe in. As lukewarm Christians agree with it and atheists and certain other non-Christians push it, society is getting worse and worse by the day.

I was in prison. I had not beaten up any fellow citizen. I had not resisted arrest for suspicion of any crime. I had resisted - only on the third occasion - getting locked up with "merciful" shrinks and with their other objects of "mercy" by taking the gun of the policeman who helped doctors bring me there. In first trial I was freed. Putative self defence. In second trial I was condemned, the assessment of first judge being overturned since I admitted being fully aware that the police officer was a police officer. He got a flesh wound that ought to be healed by now (10 cm in the hip). I got, nominally, three and a half years. People who think that what he police officer was doing for me was merciful are still trying "mercifully" to subject me underhand to treatments of the type "behavioural therapy". My so called offense was 5th of February 1998, Anno Domini. I was out for three weeks after first trial. I got back to liberty last of June 2000, after serving 2/3. The other third would have brought us 14 months later, 2001, last of August. I have been condemned for no offense after that. And there are still today people who "mercifully" are giving me lessons, and which lessons are doing to my life about as much happiness as being with fellow inmates does to a prisoners life. Except being out of prison I am not around those all of the time. Justice does not demand it. The ordinary acceptation of mercy does not demand it. It is only in the logic of a system where "mercy" is seen as ultimately far above justice. Where mercy is no more itself, because it is a label tacked conveniently on to punishments that reach a level of uncontrolled revenge because they are not checked by retributive justice. Again: retributive justice would have set me free at the latest last of August 2001. We are dealing with 14 years of my life rather than 3 and a half.

And it was also "mercy" uncontrolled by justice which put me in position to defend myself in the first place. Defending myself I got nominally 3 years and 6 months. Not defending myself I would have gotten life time in and out of that unhappy kind of institutions, at least it is what I thought I had valid reasons to fear.

If you see flying saucers and are taken to hospital and they ask you after a week whether you are still seeing flying saucers, and you say no, then if you are not a Roswell believer, nor think such views are the devil's work even before sane eyes (but in that case you might not have been telling your experience carelessly enough to get shut up), but you think they were patological as much as your shrinks do, you can feel a hope of not getting back in such "merciful" places again. They will tell you to hope to see no more flying saucers and you will believe them.

If you are being put there, as was my case, for either doing nothing in particular or for doing what you thought and still think right, then you are not agreeing that psychiatry locked you up for what was really your own good. If you think you are not ill, and are locked up "until better" by people who thereby indicate that they disagree with you, you may legitimately feel concern about psychiatry as a kind of mafia.

In my case, either psychiatry itself has been, or some other network has been acting underhand, "mercifully" of course, since for "my own good", which apparently I am "not well enough to understand". If mercy without justice provokes what it terms a crime and then replaces the 3 and a half years of justice with 14 years of "mercy", then you bet I prefer a God who gives justice its due.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
BpI, Georges Pompidou, Paris
Sunday, St Catherine of Alexandria

jeudi 22 novembre 2012

The Kalam argument against God, courtesy of TheoreticalBullshit

  • P1: Nothing which exists can cause something which does not exist to begin existing.
  • P2: Given (1), Anything which begins to exist was not caused to do so by something which exists.
  • P3: The universe began to exist.
  • P4: Given (2) and (3), the universe was not caused to exist by anything which exists.
  • P5: God caused the universe to begin to exist.
  • C1: Given (4) and (5), God does not exist*

P2 is given as a restatement or immediate conclusion of P1.

Sorry if that degree of absurdity is what he finds the Five Ways of Aquinas to be.

Because, if P1 is true in any sense, it is in the sense that only already existing things can be caused to exist somewhat otherwise.

Whereas P2 is only obverse of it if P1 is taken to mean what it clearly does not mean (and what TBS has denied it means) that it is the non-existent alone which can cause anything to exist.

It boils down to:

  • Nothing begins to exist.
  • The Universe began to exist.
  • The Universe is nothing.

Well, if nothing begins to exist, maybe the universe which is not nothing did not begin to exist but always did.

Or, if the universe began to exist, then something at least began to exist.

But the underlying principle for P1, which TheoreticalBullshit has defended, is that no real existence ever begins, whatever begins is only a modification of things existing far before and maybe very far otherwise than itself.

Like - as is very popular today - of atoms, having gravitation, electro-magnetic force, nuclear force, explaining thereby everything else as by-products.

I have dealt with that in two ways:

a) mind cannot be a by-product of atoms with those forces,
b) gravitation does not explain a steady state universe very well.

a) somewhere else : Atheism Very Shortly Stated - and Refuted

b) Triviū, Quadriviū, 7 cætera : Considering Newton … Gravely

If I would like to add something to the former, it is basically this:

Since mind and matter exist:
either mind is a by-product of matter
or matter the by-product of at least some mind
or matter and mind just coexist.

But if they just coexisted, they would not be influencing each other. And besides the fact that mind obviously is no by-product of matter, the way in which they influence each other even in our experience suggests that mind is more primary.

Therefore material objects in the universe had universally a beginning, not just a beginning for such and such a configuration, and that universal beginning is a mind. OR, if it existed always, that mind has always kept it in existence.

Now, if you would say that I am relying too much on intuition, as some atheists clearly would, so are you on the intuition that beginnings only take place of configurations of pre-existing materials.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou, Paris
St Cecily's Day


Is Peter Kreeft proving God as St Thomas Aquinas did?

A quote:

Look at the steady state theory. The Universe is there, it always was there, it always will be there, it is the sum total of all things, there is nothing else.

In that case there is no beginning. There has already been an infinite amount of time in the universe. So, what?

Well, from that beginning point some philosophers argue that you couldn't have reached today if there is an infinite time, because you couldn't go through infinite amount of moments of time and actually reach today if there is an infinite time, because you can't go through an infinite amount of moments of time, and actually reach today if you have to go through an infinite amount of days or hours or whatever in the past.

I don't think that works, it is the fallacy of Achilles and the Tortoise, by Zeno, the ancient Greek philosopher.

But Aquinas doesn't use that version, he uses another version. He says:

If there has already been an infinite amount of time, then there is enough time for every possibility to have become actualised.

Now, if there is no God, every other being than God can not be. There is no being that has to be necessarily. Everything can cease to be, everything can die.

If there is enough time for everything to die, why is anything still alive?

If in infinite time every potentiality is actualised, then at some time everything in the universe will cease to be. And once nothing exists, nothing can start up again, so how come we are [still] here?

Source: The Thomist Cosmological Argument (Peter Kreeft)

Modern Atheism has actually dealt with it in a way. Not by saying that there is no necessary being, but by calling atoms or smaller particles or energy that necessary being.

It is a shame for them that atheists don't say that when confronted with the argument. But refuting that is not saying atheists don't deal with it. It is stating how atheism cannot deal with it properly. That is the difference between logical dialectics and rhetoric.

Atheism as believed by Science Believers is actually not denying any argument of the five totally.

  • It is identifying "first unmoved mover" (1) with energy (kinetic and other).
  • It is identifying "necessary existant" (3) with (older) particles or (newer) with quanta of energy,
  • Preservation (2 minus what 1 already states) of movement neither changing speed nor direction is regarded as quite as much a preservation as preservation in unchanged stillness. Attributed to matter and to energy.
  • Wisdom of rule (4) is attributed to every failed state of system already having failed. Those are the various atheistic theories of evolution.
  • Best thing (5) is considered an illusion or as by-product of biological evolution, and therefore as relative.

To give us Thomistic Theist Philosophy, it is no longer enough to quote the five ways. One must also show how conclusion of five ways cannot be for instance, anything composed.

And a probably-so theoretical fault underlying this belief system is Newton's first or second law meaning that preservation in movement needs no cause beyond preservation of moving object and absense of forces changing the movement.

That is also not something observed directly on earth. One can thus hardly say it is based on experience. We throw a stone, and it continues flying through the air a while, then it falls to the ground. Newtonians say that is due to gravitation of earth. Of course things do tend to fall to the ground. But is the downward bend of the stone's orbit entirely due to gravitation or is it due to a weakening of the initial momentum of the throw?

That could be tested, actually. Measure impact of two projectiles thrown same force on same weight (can be arranged by machinery), one on a target set high up at beginning of orbit, one on a target further away and lower. Will the low and far target have to measure less of an impact than the high and close one - or more?

I think it has been done. I think you have greater chances of surviving a bullet or arrow hit if it comes from afar. Of course a Newtonian may answer: "yes, agreed that not only is the projectile lower due to gravitation, it is also less forcefull, BUT that is accounted for by friction."

His explanation of the case agrees with the data, but is obviously not the only one that does so.

Of course, he could say his explanation can be tested by the fact that bullets loose their force easier in water than in air and easier in solid objects (like that Bible in a breast pocket that saved a man's life: afterwards he started reading it and became a Christian). And the Aristotelian or semi-Aristotelian might agree that higher friction makes projectiles loose force earlier, but say that this is not the only cause, the prime one being that motion is an imposed thing which cannot remain for very long on its own in an object.

And that is why St Thomas Aquinas - unlike Peter Kreeft earlier in this video - makes locomotion, i e change in place, the most obvious example of change, the most obvious thing requiring a first mover.

Newtonianism essentially makes "inertia plus forces" the first mover.

Materialism goes one further and makes all other change an epiphenomenon of locomotion. Even chemical change is essentially locomotion of electrons to it.

Now, that is not the usual answer of an atheist when confronted with St Thomas Aquinas. His reaction is: "Aquinas is philosophy, not science. In philosophy he has been answered by Hume and Kant. Therefore I answer this Christian appealing to philosophy by an appeal to Hume and Kant. Obviously Hume and Kant are as much later than Aquinas as Tycho Brahe is later than Ptolemy. Ergo as much trustworthier." And if the Christian does not agree that later means trustworthier within each discipline, then he thinks the Christian an oddball.

Now, he could have done what my analysis does for him, say: "I agree there must be a first mover. We no longer call it God, we call it energy. Prove it is not impersonal as we believe, will you?"

If Peter Kreeft had taken the road of using all the five ways, he could have answered: "we see things obeying a wise overall design. Therefore there is a designer wiser than us who has also the power to impose his design - by fiat on inanimate objects or by obedience of angels - on the whole universe."

And the Newtonian and Materialist atheist happens also to be a Heliocentric-Acentric Einsteinian as well as an Evolutionist. He thinks that the designs that do not work have all and sundry been eliminated not by choice of a designer, but by failure of every design other than the one we now enjoy.

And of course he would not agree that the Universe is only the sum of everything that can exist and cannot exist as well: he will call everything that can not exist, such as solid objects and life and conscience, an epiphenomenon of what he considers ultimately necessary existence. If what Mendeleian Chemists use the word atom for is composable, no doubt the Demokritean atoms are even smaller than that. Particles. Quanta. Whatever. Or he resorts to Heraklitean panta rhei materialism: it is all an epiphenomenon to the flow of energy. So his answer is: while everything we see can as well not exist, it consists of smaller things which can only exist. When the things we see cease to exist, that only means the smaller things rearrange.

NOW Peter Kreeft might agree that proving theism indeed goes by the five ways, but has to include a refutation of the atheist's way of dealing with the five ways. Their real way, when doing their science or science based speculation, not the phony way of appealing to Kant or Hume, which is actually just a way of telling Kreeft and company: "get out of the way, I want to discuss with people who have something to say."

These do include Christian Creationists. Kent Hovind is currently in prison. You might contribute to his defense fund, if you like. When he was out, I do not find atheist refutations of him from that period. But now he is in, a certain thunderf00t is making so much fun of him, and refuting so short clips from him, that I think he was on spot.

Creation vs. Evolution : thunderf00t ... did you actually say that? (part 1)

Creation vs. Evolution : thunderf00t, did you really say that? (part 2)

Now, when St Thomas aquinas proves God to be personal, he first of all proves that God is not composed. Something which creationists will make a case of.

"Who created God?"

"Since God is not composed of anything at all, but is his own being, he needs no creator."

Quoted from memory from a creationist site.

Now, how does St Thomas Aquinas set about proving that God is simple?

First he deals with God not being - as such - a body. And here he uses at the very first an argument where Materialist Newtonism would disagree:

First, because no body is in motion unless it be put in motion, as is evident from induction. Now it has been already proved (2, 3), that God is the First Mover, and is Himself unmoved. Therefore it is clear that God is not a body.

"Protest, your honour! A body in order to move does not need to be continually set in motion."

Sungenis gives an explanation where the turning of the universe around a central no-mass location or same location occupied by earth can go on and on and on for billions of years.

On its own. Without having, for each moment of its movement, a first mover.

You may perhaps now see, why a thoroughgoing Thomist should not try to accept everything presented as modern science, even if it has centuries of unanimous acceptation in the scientific community.

You may also see why now more than ever it is necessary to insist that cognitive events - thinking or realising - cannot be epiphenomena to locomotive ones in bodies.

Now, there are some reasons why St Thomas Aquinas did not take the C. S. Lewis proof.

First of all, it is a composite proof, where first part leads to a junction where Averroism is a clear option. He knew very well how to refute Averroism, but he may not have wanted to bring it up first.

Second of all, the thing is so obvious he might not have considered it needed saying.

Third, he was not dealing with people who actually seriously said that events such as knowing or loving can have sunbjects such as purely bodily objects. The closest you came to Atheism among serious options back then was Averroism, which admitted there was a mind with known truth of eternal validity, only denying that these other lesser minds that we have exist also.

Now, proving God is neither impossible nor even very difficult. The problem is some people make it more difficult than it need be by accepting too much of the modern scientific options. Some of them are refutable as purported facts. Others are at least refutable as purportedly known facts.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
La Clairière, Paris
St Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr

PS: St Bonaventura's version which Kreeft said was Achilles and the Turtle fallacy, is not so. Reaching a part that equals zero by smaller and smaller divisions is mathematically impossible. Reducing serial things like time or numbers to a start like 1 is not so. You cannot have whole numbers lesser than one. Zero is not a number. "Minus one" is not a number. You can say that "plus/minus zero" and "minus one" are valid as relative numbers - I prefer to call them numeric relations - but these repose on numbers. "How many more or less than ..." requires a related object of "how many". Which is where you do not come lower than one.

dimanche 11 novembre 2012

Atheism Very Shortly Stated - and Refuted

I do not believe we can expact an answer to the question of why anything happens, nor do I see how the answer to this question has any relevance for our understanding of things. A question of purpose should be properly phrased in the context of consciousness, which itself is an emergent feature of the evermore complex nature of the brain. By all accounts advanced brains are a relativeley small scale phenomenon of the cosmos. But even a grand design of purpose, would not, I propose, give us a satisfying answer to the question. Consider a univers that just exists, and one brought into the existence of a creator who just exists. Both seem equally meaningless to me.

source, youtube > AndromedasWake > Atheist

There are more than one meaning of the word "why". One is final cause, i e for what purpose. But there is also efficient cause, i e by what driving force, material cause, i e from what matter, and formal cause, i e of what not just shape but actually nature.

As a Christian I believe all of these, not just the question of purpose require God to be correctly answered. God being efficient and final cause of all things (i e His purpose with creation is Himself, to realise His capacity of sharing His Glory but also that anything that produces any effect whatsoever ultimately does so because God is producing all effectivity). God is not identical with material or directly with formal cause of created things as the Pantheists think, however.

Now, there is a very important difference in explanation between a universe that just is there and a universe created by a creator that just is there, at least if the universe that just is there is the one you describe, in which mind is a byproduct of brain matter.

(source: wikimedia

No science even begins to explain how mind can be a byproduct of the material "information processing" roughly parallel to that done by computers. It is basically, and I have said it before, as if beads on an abacus were to gain, as an emergent feature of abacus counting, an understanding of mathematics. They do not, they only illustrate our understanding of mathematics. Same is true for computers. Same would be true if brains were only matter and mind no primary.

In other words: if mind is no primary, mind cannot exist, because mind cannot be an emergent feature.

That is exactly where a universe created by a "mind that just is" explains more than a mind emerging from "matter that just is".

Now, if we are to correctly refute not just atheism, but pantheism as well, we may add that if God were identical to the material cause of universe and to the forms inherent in material objects, there would not be any other mind than God's. And then the supreme mind would be in error each time anyone thought something erroneous, or the erroneous thought would not be a thought, both explanations being absurd.

Since there are other mind's than God's, the universe is not identic to God, but created by Him.

You said yourself in the continuation of those words, that a universe created by divine purpose is one where we can never fully understand the purposes of so many arbitrary choises God made.

However, if you recall that starry night, you can be sure that beauty was one of them, supposing my explanation to be correct. Supposing it not to be correct, I would like to see a refutation of this essay.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Public Information Library (BpI)
of Georges Pompidou, Paris
St Martinsmass

Update 29-IX-2015 : the video I quoted and linked to is now private.

mercredi 7 novembre 2012

So, Dionysus was a Copy of Moses, may One Presume?

Acharya S (a k a D. M. Murdock) does it again. And so presumable she will be doing for some time, I do not want her to stand uncontradicted though.

Here she quotes Voltaire, so the following is my quote of Voltaire via Acharya:*

The ancient poets have placed the birth of Bacchus in Egypt; he is exposed on the Nile and it is from that event that he is named Mises by the first Orpheus, which, in Egyptian, signifies "saved from the waters"… He is brought up near a mountain of Arabia called Nisa [Nysa], which is believed to be Mount Sinai. It is pretended that a goddess ordered him to go and destroy a barbarous nation and that he passed through the Red Sea on foot, with a multitude of men, women, and children. Another time the river Orontes suspended its waters right and left to let him pass, and the Hydaspes did the same. He commanded the sun to stand still; two luminous rays proceeded from his head. He made a fountain of wine spout up by striking the ground with his thyrsus, and engraved his laws on two tables of marble. He wanted only to have afflicted Egypt with ten plagues, to be the perfect copy of Moses.

OK. Possible. Let us take chronology. Dionysus is a Greek divinity so recent that Homer (c. 800 BC he wrote Iliad and Odyssey) does not know him. That is well after Moses. Time enough for the old Hebrews to remember him correctly and for Pagans to remember him wrong.

I have previously reasoned or guessed that Deukalion and Pyrrha (the Flood surviving childless old couple in Greek Mythology) are based on:
1) Noah and Family (Flood survivors)
2) Abraham and Sarah (a so far childless old couple when visited by three angels who announced also the coming destruction of Sodom)
3) Lot and two daughters (hospitable survivors of a disaster similar to the Flood, though geographically limited, and faced after being saved with some conundrum about how to repeople the world (in Genesis it is only an imagined conundrum, imagined by the two daughters who thought the world had been destroyed but for them: when they soaked their father drunk he made them pregnant with Moab and Ammon).

If Orpheus (supposing Orpheus the husband of Eurydice to be the one to whom Voltaire referred as to "the first Orpheus") said such things about Dionysus, he might have similarily been getting the story of Moses in a distorted fashion.

I think Pagans had a reason to distort the stories. Step one, they leave out things they do not want to believe. Step two, they put in things, preferrably from stories already known and which may well be true ones too, to fill the gaps in the story.

What is left out in the Deukalion and Pyrrha story? The Miracle of Sarah's pregnancy and the fact that Sodomy was the third and final of the Sins leading God to decide the destruction.

The first of these woud to a Pagan, used to judging hopes and fears after how things usually go, as a foolhardy miracle to hope for and a stupidity to believe in.

As to the second, since the time of Hercules (reputed a lover of Iolaus), Greeks had more and more been lenient on sodomy, if not in legislation at least in talking about peopple outside their own jurisdiction.

Now, Voltaire analysed himself that the one thing left out from the story of Dionysus, if a copy from that of Moses, are the ten plagues. Not quite left out though. Pentheus would in such a case echo the Pharao. But in the main yes.

Reason? Well, Moses had argued that the Pharao insulted the law of the one God whose chosen people the Israelites were (as the Catholics are today, by the way, though with other duties to those outside, since that is indeed for all nations).

Would that not have struck a false note with people who believed in many gods and in equal or nicely graduated degrees of favour by the gods?

And furthermore, the Israelites were described as being held as slaves: those being the chosen people might very well have struck a Pagan who believed slaves were such by nature or divine decision as very awkward to believe or accept.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Georges Pompidou Library
St Carina and martyrdom of
Bishop Jón Arason (in 1541)
7 - XI - 2012

*Stellar House Publishing : The Moses-Dionysus Connection

Appendix : Egyptian evidence for Moses

If above is correct, the Dionysus cult is, from Orpheus on a Thracian and from after Homer but before Hesiod a Greek independent testimony for the existance of Moses.

But would not Egyptian evidence be even better?

We might have exactly that. But first a piece of Chronology. Here I state that I believe Protestants to be wrong and Martyrologium Romanum to be right in Chronology. Now, Protestants would place the Exodus from Egypt in B.C. 1446, the Martyrology places it 1510 years before the birth of Christ. This means Moses striking the Egyptian Overseer to death was 1550 years before Christ.

Keep that in mind as we read following extract from the article I link to on that one.**

One of the last kings of the 12th dynasty was Sesostris III. His statues depict him as a cruel tyrant quite capable of inflicting harsh slavery on his subjects. His son was Amenemhet III, who seems to have been an equally disagreeable character. He probably ruled for 46 years, and Moses would have been born near the beginning of his reign.

Amenemhet III may have had one son, known as Amenemhet IV, who was an enigmatic character who may have followed his father or may have been a co-regent with him. If the latter, Amenemhet IV could well have been Moses. Amenemhet IV mysteriously disappeared off the scene before the death of Amenemhet III.

Amenemhet III had a daughter whose name was Sobekneferu. It is known that she had no children.6 If she was the daughter of Pharaoh who came down to the river to bathe, it is easy to understand why she was there. It was not because she had no bathroom in her palace. She would have been down there taking a ceremonial ablution and praying to the river god Hapi, who was also the god of fertility. Having no children she would have needed such a god, and when she found the beautiful baby Moses there she would have considered it an answer to her prayers (Exodus 2:5–6).

But when Moses came of age he identified himself with the people of Israel and was obliged to flee from Egypt. This left a vacuum on the throne, and when Amenemhet III died there was no male successor. Sobekneferu ascended the throne and ruled for 8 years as a Pharaoh, but when she died the dynasty died and was succeeded by the 13th dynasty.

And a little further on David Down identifies the last pharao to have a scarab in Kahun, Neferhotep I, with the Pharao of whom Moses demanded the release of Israelites.

According to Manetho, he was the last king to rule before the Hyksos occupied Egypt ‘without a battle’. Without a battle? Where was the Egyptian army? It was at the bottom of the Red Sea (Exodus 14:28). Khasekemre-Neferhotep I was probably the pharaoh of the Exodus. His mummy has never been found.

*HGL's F.B. writings : Disagreeing about age of flood. (et c)

**I link to:
CMI : Searching for Moses by David Down

Appendix B : what about Kontiki Viracocha? Another Pagan calque of Christian figures?

If missionaries came to anywhere in Northern South America or Southern North America or Central America before Columbus, say in Roman times, and were not in the end followed by a population surviving to our times, the legend of Kontiki Viracocha alias Quetzalcoatl (which seems to be Aztek for Geek/Scholar or something) may be a distorted memory thereof.

As distorted as Dionysus from Moses or as Deukalion and Pyrrha from Noah et c.

The man is white and haas a beard. That would mean some kind of European or Mediterranean.

He orders human sacrifice to cease. That is one thing a Christian missionary would do.

His orders were not obeyed. This is what would have happened if a mission failed. And a failed mission would explain a persistent Paganism quite able to distort the story so as to leave out more specifically Christian parts, or so as to attribute what a missionary attributed to Christ to the memory of the missionary rather than that of the God-Man he came for./HGL