Christianity and morality

A lot of Christians argue that atheism must be nihilistic, and that nihilism cannot possibly oppose or resist the self confident moralizing of the progressives.

There are three problems with this theory:

  1. The pagan Greeks had Gods that were no better than men, and for the most part a good deal worse, and yet the Greeks did not suffer from nihilism until after they suffered social decay. Social decay and childlessness caused nihilism. Nihilism did not cause social decay. We could do with their heroic and manly morality, in place of the excessively feeble, defeatist, and other worldly Christian morality.
  2. Progressives are atheist or New Age, and their new age spooks are easily recognizable as what used to be called demons and the evil undead, hating life and the living, the beings that used to be mocked and appeased at Halloween and Samhain, the evil fairies and gibbering ghosts of Samhain. And yet progressives are full of self confident self righteous anti morality, not nihilism, the atheists even more than the New Agers.
  3. The reactionary atheist branch of the PUA movement, though defeatist, is not nihilist, but rather evinces the manly and stoic spirit of the Greeks, a manly morality ultimately rooted in Darwinist teleology.

Since Darwinism, no one takes a creator God very seriously. CS Lewis celebrated those medieval thinkers that took theology as serious account of the world that had to make sense and explain the world as it is, while he himself wrote children’s stories. Christianity is down to a mustard seed, while progressives take over the churches, empty out the old bottles, and fill the old bottles with progressivism. God is dead.

What did Auster do about progressive takeover of the Churches? If Christianity is going to defend us against progressivism, where is the defense of Christianity against progressivism? Only Dalrock and Sunshine Mary are resisting the progressive takeover of Christianity, and they are heavily influenced and motivated by the atheist reactionary branch of the PUA movement. It is the atheists influencing Christians to put aside nihilism, rather than the other way around.

221 Responses to “Christianity and morality”

  1. Thrasymachus says:

    Progressivism is a Christian heresy dating to the Reformation. The Reformers had valid criticisms of the Roman church, but unleashed forces that deeply undermined Christianity. The hedonism of the PUAs isn’t the answer to this.

    • Red says:

      The reformers had valid criticisms? Like how Martin Luther’s primary argument against indulgences was that indulgences were a form of usury? Luther then proceeded legalize usury so that the bankers would fund his war against the church. The man wanted power. Nothing more, nothing less.

      As always, watch what people do, not what they say. Martin Luther started a war that cost Germany between 1/3 and 1/2 it’s population.

    • Johnny Caustic says:

      Hedonism isn’t the answer. But hedonism isn’t the only thing the PUAs have contributed. They’ve also contributed a realistic understanding of human sexual behavior, especially female sexual behavior. Which is one reason why the smarter PUAs understand much better than the Churchians how liberalism causes civilizational decline.

  2. Ransom Culhane says:

    Attributing only children’s stories to C.S. Lewis is underestimating and ignoring his large and varied body of work.

    • jim says:

      Among his large and varied body of work is studies of medieval theologians who actually took theology seriously as an account of, and explanation of, reality. The difference between the studier and the studied is apparent.

  3. Simon says:

    At least have a crack at trying to understand Christianity, and its ends, rather than make up a meaning that fits into your “Darwinian teleology”.

    • Baduin says:

      Or, perhaps, the other way round – YOU could try to understand Christianity – it is a very difficult thing to do, and not many people do understand it. I do not pretend to.

      I find, however, that reading Jim’s blog has improved my understanding of Gospel tremendously. It helped me to see, for example, that Gospel is filled with the contempt and hate towards morality&law, and those who profess to be moral&lawful.

      Eg this:

      http://blog.jim.com/culture/puritanism-and-purity.html

      and this

      http://blog.jim.com/culture/origins-of-leftism.html

      explains this:

      http://kingjbible.com/luke/11.htm

      Luke 11:37-52
      “37 And as he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat. 38And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner. 39And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness. 40Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also? 41But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.

      42But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. 43Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets. 44Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them.

      45Then answered one of the lawyers, and said unto him, Master, thus saying thou reproachest us also. 46And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers. 47Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. 48Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres. 49Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: 50That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; 51From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation. 52Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.”

      • Simon says:

        Well, if you believe that you ARE a fucking idiot and there’s not much I, or anyone else, can do about it.

        • jim says:

          According to you, Baduin is a fucking idiot for quoting a part of the New Testament you would prefer did not exist.

          Which would suggest his grasp of Christianity is better than yours.

          Obviously Christianity does not oppose morality, but it does oppose moralizing in the sense of the inflexible application of rigid rules, and especially the inflexible application of rules so as to empower some mortals and denigrate others.

          Jesus was a latitudinarian, Paul was a latitudinarian, and the disaster of Puritanism suggests that there were and are good reasons for such a policy. Zero tolerance is always a power grab.

          • zhai2nan2 says:

            Jim, do you believe that Jesus performed miracles?

            I ask because my reading of the Gospel is that Jesus was primarily interested in miracles.

            Jesus seems to have been interested in talking to spirits, attaining mystical insights, curing the sick, casting demons into swine, raising the dead or comatose. When his mother complained about the thirst of wedding guests, he replied, “Madam, what concern is that of mine?” and absent-mindedly produced wine from water. (The message I take from that story is that the human concerns of weddings are much less important than whatever spiritual energy Jesus was contemplating when his mother so rudely interrupted his reverie.)

            When supplicants approached him, he tried to ignore them, and he only noticed them if they touched his aura, whereupon he exclaimed, “Who touched me? I felt the power go out from me!” as if he were charged up with qi or prana or some such thing.

            The Gospels, so far as I can tell, are all about making the “eye” “single,” so that the whole body will be full of light. (Matt 6:22)

            Jesus seems to have regarded the material world as just so much “Maya” or “Samsara,” and he seems to have regarded exorcism as vastly more important than child-rearing.

            • jim says:

              It is interesting that those Gospel writers that write as if they were there for some of these events, or directly quoting people who were there, neglect to mention Jesus turning water into wine.

              If Jesus was so good at miracles, it is odd that his prophecies were so unimpressive. It is a lot easier to know if a prophecy was made before the events, than to know if a miracle really happened.

              On the other hand, that his prophecies were unimpressive indicates that the gospels were written in substantial part during his ministry, or very shortly afterwards, as does the fact that the gospels attribute similar, but not identical, words to Jesus. If the synoptic gospels were similar to Mark because copied, they would copy the words Mark attributes to Jesus identically. Instead, his words vary by about as much as one would expect of any two independent accounts of the same event. If the similarities between gospels was due to copying from a common written source, they would agree on the ancestry of Jesus and so forth. Therefore, the similarities have to be due common oral sources or different witnesses to the same events, hence the high degree of similarity indicates most gospels in substantial part written early – they agree too little to be based on a common written source, agree too well to based on oral sources with large passage of time.

              Further, if written long after the events, his prophecies would have been a whole lot better.

          • Nick B Steves says:

            Fact is a lot of Christians, especially some trad-minded Catholics, are on board with many principles of Dark Enlightenment. We were certainly never big fans of the first one. Sure we’re a bit skeptical of AI and certainly of any singularity (which has a distinct chiliastic odor itself); we’re not convinced governments will eventually have to actually exterminate the unproductive. But as for the biggies: evangelistic democracy (bad), the power of exit and adaptive fitness (good), hordes of us are lining up.

            Baduin is certainly no fucking idiot.

            Christianity has a big corpus of literature. Like most such corpuses, pieces of it can be taken out of context of the whole and magnified to create a deformed view of the whole. Historically such errors have been called heresies. We, reactionary Christians (and especially Catholics) criticize our own progressive co-religionists for this–co-religionists with which we share a name only: the internecine hatred between progressive and… erm… anti-progressive arms of the various Christian sects is unsurpassed I think by those of any major religion. Heck we’ll even criticise the pope if he speaks crap that he has no special authority to speak.

            Look, the hippy-dippy liberal Jesus is the one that progressives believe in. This is not the Jesus that the Church, taken as a whole, has believed in for 2000 years. We, reactionary Christians, disbelieve in him with fervor equal to your own.

        • thyju says:

          “Well, if you believe that you ARE a fucking idiot and there’s not much I, or anyone else, can do about it.”

          Fantastic rebuttal. Really. I’m impressed.

      • Bill says:

        To me, these verses say “Jesus hates Puritans.” The contempt is directed at the Pharisees, who are instantly recognizable as Puritans, at least as that word is used here.

        • Baduin says:

          Of course, but this is not all.

          http://www.drbo.org/chapter/54003.htm
          2 Corinthians 3:6-8

          “[6] Who also hath made us fit ministers of the new testament, not in the letter, but in the spirit. For the letter killeth, but the spirit quickeneth. [7] Now if the ministration of death, engraven with letters upon stones, was glorious; so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses, for the glory of his countenance, which is made void: [8] How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather in glory?”

          http://www.drbo.org/chapter/52008.htm
          Romans 8:6-15

          “[6] But now we are loosed from the law of death, wherein we were detained; so that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. [7] What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? God forbid. But I do not know sin, but by the law; for I had not known concupiscence, if the law did not say: Thou shalt not covet. [8] But sin taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. [9] And I lived some time without the law. But when the commandment came, sin revived, [10] And I died. And the commandment that was ordained to life, the same was found to be unto death to me.
          [11] For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, seduced me, and by it killed me. [12] Wherefore the law indeed is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. [13] Was that then which is good, made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it may appear sin, by that which is good, wrought death in me; that sin, by the commandment, might become sinful above measure. [14] For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. [15] For that which I work, I understand not. For I do not that good which I will; but the evil which I hate, that I do. ”

          There are two problems with law (for Jews, there is only one Law, Halakha, which includes morality, religious rules, and civil and criminal law).

          1) Law is a finite system of rules, and it cannot describe and contain the infinite reality. That is why the “letter” of law is useless – the rules will be always inadequate. They are, of course, necessary – men are evil, blind and stupid, and cannot live without rules.
          The rules are holy, since they come from God. But if they are taken to be valuable by themselves, without God, they became a Golden Calf, an idolatrous image.
          2) Secondly, Law is death, since it forbids to do many things which men want to do, but gives them no power to refrain from doing it.

          For the above reason, the Law is Death, even if it is used correctly – to avoid doing stupid and damaging things. However, this is not the way the law is typically used.

          Usually, law is used to prove that one is good, and in fact better than others. When used in this way, law&morality is pure and unmitigated evil. A major part of the Gospel is devoted to the condemnation of morality&law used in that way, using the strongest possible language.

          Of course, it didn’t stop anybody.

  4. Candide III says:

    Hm. You have probably noticed the unusually concentration of Catholics in and around reactionary circles (not PUA circles). What is your explanation for this phenomenon?

    • Thales says:

      “Divine Right of Kings”

      • Bill says:

        Divine right of kings is a Protestant theory. It’s the theory the Protestants used to convince kings to convert their subjects by the sword. That and the promise of booty amounting to around 20% of the productive land of their respective countries.

        • Thales says:

          Sure, but I’ve seen plenty of modern traditional Catholics suggesting a return to Royalism under the premise, even if they don’t use the term.

          • Bill says:

            Presumably, you would count me one of them since I am a monarchist. But I don’t believe in the divine right of kings. Kings don’t have to be obeyed if they are governing in a manifestly, pertinaciously, seriously unjust way. And, for traddie Catholics, the Catholic hierarchy and ultimately the Pope is the arbiter of when they are so governing. Divine right theory says that kings have to be obeyed, period.

            It’s the difference between saying “nobody is over the King” (which I do say) and “everyone is unconditionally under the King” (which I don’t). The Church is, while not exactly independent of the King, sovereign in its own sphere and available to adjudicate disputes between the King and the people.

          • Thales says:

            If you believe that God alone is sovereign and he delegates that sovereignty to his Pope who then delegates it to various kings, and that chain is deemed perfect and inviolate, I’d say that makes you a Catholic monarchist.

            If instead you believe that sovereignty is revocable by the subjects themselves for crimes, real or imagined, then you’re not far afield from Jim’s practical stationary banditry-ism.

            • jim says:

              A reasonably secure stationary bandit has incentives similar to those of the rightful King, and is more likely to be personally bold and competent. This was pretty much the government that the colonialists provided, before the British empire went anti colonialist.

    • jim says:

      Not sure they are Catholics exactly: I think their attitude to Catholicism is similar to my attitude to Christianity – that irrespective of the truth or falsity of Catholicism, it is a pity that the Roman Catholic Church is succumbing to international pressure to cease to be Catholic.

  5. Barnabas says:

    Christianity does not exist to make your life more comfortable, to help you get a date, to help you make more money, go give you more political power or freedom. It does not exist to prop up your civilization or empower your race. All who judge Christianity based on utilitarian measures are being short sighted. This life is brief and unfulfilling. For most people who have ever existed it is a time of privation and suffering. The offer of Christ is the offer to give up what’s in your best interest in this world in return for the promise of eternal fellowship with him.

    • red says:

      If so, then Christianity is soon to be a dead religion.

    • jim says:

      But Christianity used to do all these things, and if it has stopped doing them, then this looks suspiciously as though progressives have taken over, emptied the wine out of the old bottles, and refilled the bottles with progressivism, while keeping the old labels

    • Nick B. Steves says:

      That is not to say that Christianity, if well and widely followed, might not just happen to make your life more comfortable, at least statistically speaking.

      A False Religion may or may not be maladaptive. But a True Religion cannot be maladaptive, because it must comport with the Truth, and Truth must not be maladaptive.

  6. Nick B. Steves says:

    A broad-brush criticism of a genre of paintings which make heavy use of broad brushes.

    There are as many nihilisms as there are things to be opposed to, so yes the “nihilism” critique falls flat in a way. But your manly stoic virtues could just as easily be nihilism to me. What after all is the point? What is the point of dying for our people and their (conveniently imagined) gods? But what is the point of preserving civilization? But what is the point of increasing the net ratio of hedons/dolors? But what is the point of your comfort? Wouldn’t we all be better off if we were unconscious?

    Just because great minded people of the past couldn’t conceive of a Cosmos without a creator doesn’t mean that Darwin changed that much. He pushed back on an infinite regress and managed one tiny little step, which results in… a yet infinite regress. God is therefore no deader now than he was 500 years ago. If it turns out that there is something rather than nothing because nothing is unstable, well who (or what) do you think might have set that system up?

    • jim says:

      Design is an argument for a creator like ourselves, a mindful creator. Mere existence is not evidence for a mindful creator.

      One theory that I find plausible is that the fully symmetric vacuum undergoes rapid cosmic inflation and is unstable. It has been expanding forever, and vast portions of it collapse in spontaneous symmetry breaking, from time to time. Each collapse is different, as each pane of glass shatters differently, producing a different asymmetric vacuum. What we think of as the laws of physics are the consequences of spontaneous symmetry breaking. Some of these collapses produce conditions and physical laws compatible with life, so, from time to time, life evolves, and perceives the aftermath of the collapse that produced its physical laws as a big bang. There is considerable evidence both from cosmology and high energy physics for this theory: The universe is chaotic, violent, and unstable, and everything we see is an accidental consequence of chaos.

      • Nick B Steves says:

        Well that is an interesting theory, Jim, but I don’t see how it necessarily gets rid of telos. (Nor in fact do I see how one could falsify other universes.) Words like chaotic, violent, and unstable may be exactly how sentient beings dependent up “ordinary” matter, something resembling “ordinary time”, and occupying the space somewhere in the ballpark of the geometric mean between the size of the universe and elementary particles, would describe the Universe. But that could just be how the Universe was designed. After all, if everything we see is an accidental consequence of chaos, it yet remains a remarkable accident.

        • jim says:

          But that could just be how the Universe was designed

          A rabbit looks designed. The universe looks like the result of instability, vast explosions, and general chaos.

          it yet remains a remarkable accident.

          Cosmic inflation with spontaneous symmetry breaking implies infinitely many accidents. Some of them will be quite remarkable.

  7. Simon says:

    Jim, your Aspergers is coming through strong again. Christianity is not the “New Testament interpreted by jim”. You do not get to tell Christians what Christianity is.

    I also find it amusing you actually compare yourself to the pagan Greeks. I imagine the Greeks would find it amusing that a man whose political philosophy is that he should be left alone to masturbate in his bedroom has anything remotely in common with them.

  8. […] Christianity and morality « Jim’s Blog […]

  9. Barnabas says:

    The point is that if the Bible is true then you have bigger problems than the decline of Western Civ. If the Bible is not true then why look to it for solutions. Jesus said “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you.” But Christ is not a stepping stone or a meal ticket. There were plenty of people in the gospels that also wanted Jesus to give them political power, food, miracles. He made it clear that those people did not understand what he was doing.
    There are plenty of Christians out there just as pure and orthodox as Paul if look for them. Thy this on for size…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRLluVmkrJ8

    • Thales says:

      “If the Bible is not true then why look to it for solutions.”

      That is a purely rhetorical question, and you know it.

      Scientology may not be metaphysically true, but the part about not drinking beer on the sofa all day is most certainly true. The bible has more testing of and more truths in it than “Dianetics.”

      • Barnabas says:

        Not rhetorical at all. Paul said that “If Christ has not been raised then your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied.”
        And also, “If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”

      • Barnabas says:

        We’ve been trying to wring some use out of the bible without actually believing it since it was written but on a large scale for the past 200+ years. It’s not working. Even if it did work, what does it matter if you are going to blink out of existance in the near future. Even if you found some fulfillment in the future of the human race that is also limited. Some day used up fossil feuls, nuclear war, meteor, supernova will end the race and the planet. Melancholia is the athiest’s Revelation.

        • Thales says:

          Seriously? That you believe nothing matters in the ephemeral universe, to people who can either suffer or thrive, is not some divine revelation, just your opinion. Don’t you have friends and family? If you thought there was no God, would you give them the Susan Smith treatment?

        • R7 Rocket says:

          Question, is Barnabas an American evangelical?

          • Barnabas says:

            I am an American. Evangelical is not a term with a clear definition. As far as I have been able to determine, the most scripturally faithful denomination would be reformed Baptist (as close to Presbyterianism as I can get without the paedobaptism). I think that the importance denomination is far secondary to being in the company of regenerate Christians being faithful to scripture and loving one another in a biblical manner. As called to travel for education and work I have been part of congregations of several different denominations.

    • jim says:

      The point is that if the Bible is true then you have bigger problems than the decline of Western Civ.

      Such is life.

      It is possible, indeed probable, that a long established religion is going to be correct about the things of this world, which are easier to verify than the things of the next.

  10. Agnostic Reactionary Steve says:

    I’m sympathetic to the ideals of reactionary Christians, but let’s face facts. Christianity has been subverted by progressivism. The most popular and widespread Christian sects now preach the blackest progressive-modernist heresy, with the possible exception of the Russian Orthodox.

    I certainly wouldn’t attack reactionary Christians for their beliefs, but the problem is that reactionary Christians are a tiny minority of extremists in today’s society. I can’t reasonably join a reactionary Christian church in real life and hang out with other reactionary Christians. So if I became Christian it would mostly involve reading stuff on the internet, unless I joined a heretical progressive-modernist real life Church, where I would spend my time groveling before progressives and performing charity work on their behalf.

    If God wanted us all to convert to Christianity, he shouldn’t have allowed his holy church to become heretical. He should have offered us a church worth joining. Maybe this is his way of telling us that we should remain unaffiliated for the time being, because increased moral flexibility will be required in the coming years.

    Non-Christian reactionaries and Christian reactionaries should work together to cleanse he heresy from the church. That way people in the future can be offered the choice that we never had; a church worth joining.

    • Bill says:

      Christianity has been subverted by progressivism.

      Christianity has been “subverted” by lots of things lots of times in the loosey goosey sense of subverted you seem to mean. The institutional Chruch looked pretty sucktastic for a while during the Renaissance, to name just one example.

      I can’t reasonably join a reactionary Christian church in real life and hang out with other reactionary Christians.

      Bullcrap. For Catholics, there are the Fraternal Society of St Peter, the Institute of Christ the King, and the Society of St Pius X (and other smaller ones). You got one of these in pretty much every metro area in the US and some not so metro areas. There are also crypto groups in any number of more typical parish churches. Find one which has a scola and join it (the parish and the scola). Protestants have their similar splinter groups.

  11. Barnabas says:

    If you guys are going to chose a religion based on ability to win friends and influence people, why not join the Cathedral? They may talk down whites and males but Charles Murray will show you that you’ll do just fine as long as you have a high IQ. They have money, social status, stable marriages and successful kids. Biblical Christianity (I hate to use the term traditional because it has been coopted by utilitarians) will not gain you any respect outside your own home or well chosen local church. The future of biblical Christianity is going to look more like the 1st century than the 20th. Orthodox (small “o”) Christian congregations are not as hard to find as you guys like to pretend but you won’t stick around once it gets around to the taking up the cross and dying to self parts. Anyway, leave some room in the pews for those of us that actually believe this stuff.

    • jim says:

      If you guys are going to chose a religion based on ability to win friends and influence people, why not join the Cathedral?

      Self hating belief system, officially true beliefs about this world that are demonstrably false.

      But Charles Murray will show you that you’ll do just fine as long as you have a high IQ. They have money, social status, stable marriages and successful kids.

      I disagree with Charles Murray’s analysis. Another way of interpreting the same data is that as part of the Cathedral, you have to be very very good to just barely get by.

      An above average white Cathedral male will have an OK marriage, two point five children, and no grand children. An above average Cathedral female will have cats. An above average black thug will have a great marriage, a wife half his age, half a dozen girlfriends, numerous friends with benefits, thirty kids, and a hundred and twenty grandkids.

      If we want everyone to have two point five kids and a stable marriage, the most elite males having two point five kids and a stable marriage is not a starting point, but a problem. The most elite males having a stable marriage, only two point five kids, and only one or two additional kids through their numerous mistresses should be a side effect of all the good woman getting married young and virginal to less elite males, thereby limiting the available pool of mistresses for elite males.

      For example Dennis Rodman’s father fathered twenty nine children by sixteen women, most of whom he had some kind of permanent relationship with.

      If the reason top Cathedral males had so little success was widespread virginity and chastity, then we might cheer that they only had one wife and two point five children.

      As someone sarcastically observed, he longed for the days of the Droit du seigneur, when an ordinary male like himself could not only expect a wife, but a wife who had only slept with one alpha male before getting married.

    • asdf says:

      You’ve already established that your goal isn’t “truth” but “getting me outcomes I want.”

      Christian truth is mostly about the next life, not this one. It promises nothing in this world.

      The Cathedral does just fine in getting what you want, especially if you double think around its more silly nonsense. Most Cathedral members don’t live the way they talk.

  12. Thales says:

    “If you guys are going to chose a religion based on ability to win friends and influence people, why not join the Cathedral?”

    Who has said they’re going to do this? Seems like a straw-man. Discovering and sharing truth is inimical to the Cathedral, which is what the host and majority of the commentators are here for.

    • Barnabas says:

      As Pontius Pilot said, “What is truth?” My truth is based on a book that I believe to be the infallible word of God. Where do you find truth? Can there be conflicting truths and if so which one trumps the other? Do you have a claim to truth beyond whatever seems to be the most functional for you? The Cathedral seems very functional to those within the system and I don’t see a lot of other options in the ideology/religion department for the modern educated man such as yourself. You would like to have the advantages of living in a Christian society without having to make any commitment or make any sacrifices. You want to benefit from a kind of social/religious herd immunity. Trad/athieist/utilitarians want to live in rebellion against God (for generations) and still have him bless you. Good luck with that.
      And Thales…If you have some wisdom to impart please elaborate beyond a sentence or two.

      • Barnabas says:

        A population of people living by according to Christian morality because it works and not because they believe in eternal judgement would be a classic prisoner’s dilemma when you think about it.

      • Thales says:

        Sorry, you’re just preaching. There’s no discussion to be had here.

      • jim says:

        Where do you find truth?

        From the senses. Of course one person’s senses are necessarily limited, so you have to rely on other people.

        So you have to check out are those people relying on their senses.

        Of course most people, being stupid, don’t do this, and cannot reasonably be expected to do this. Those people need official truth backed by power, and if they don’t get it, will find some snake oil salesman who claims to be providing it.

        Unfortunately official truth backed by power tends to be lies. The official truth of traditional Christianity was pretty good about the things of this world, and as for the next, who can say?

        • K says:

          To teach the mass the truth about the things of this world, the rulers must package it with stories/lies (ie religion, story of the next world), to compensate for the masses’s recognized inferiority in this world by learning the truth. eg: you must not covet others wealth -> recognize that oneself is inferior to the one whose wealth he covet -> but you can go to the heaven (compensation).

          • Thales says:

            Must it, or is that simply historical coincidence?

            Religion is a throw-back to the days of bicameral man, but he gave way to conscious man for whom religious concepts are completely beyond the experience of his senses.

            • jim says:

              You are not using “conscious” in the standard sense, and I don’t know what you mean by it.

              My analysis is that the lowest level is Zoism, and the highest level is Rationalism, and that our culture is moving down the scale from rationalism, as exemplified by Reagan, to Zoism, as exemplified by Oprah

              1. Zoism – a zoistic society has no religious beliefs – it is not that they do not believe in the supernatural, but rather that they do not believe in the natural. Everyone at a zoistic level of culture engages in magical thinking, attributing to themselves and other people capabilities rationalists would consider supernatural. See Oprah

              2. Manism. Some special men are attributed supernatural powers, much more than regular men. These men engage in mystical chants, and rattle magical stones and necklaces, as for example, the expert witness in a silicone or asbestos lawsuit. These special men can small out other men who use their magical powers to do harm, thus witchfinders and radioactive pollution. The ghosts of real and alleged great men also have magical powers, and manists routinely interact with them: See New Age and Hillery Clinton

              3. Deism. Most of our presidents claimed to be deists or rationalists.

              4. Rationalism: There is no supernatural, or if there is it is far, far away, and long, long ago, in the next world, not this.

              To fix this problem, impose deism, or, failing that, Deism filled with enough saints to keep the manists happy.

          • K says:

            Religions are essentially stories, and people enjoy and find comfort in it the same way we enjoy stories and art. The difference is that unlike common art, a religion is a behavior art in a permanently on mode; a believer find comfort throughout his life and do not require explicit suspension of disbelief.

          • Thales says:

            @Jim, I’m using it in the sense that Julian Jaynes does in Origin of Consciousness. His theory is that ancient man had a very different psychology from you or I, religion as we know it today being an attempt to preserve the experience of the old gods.

            @K, Scientology is a religion without stories, or more accurately a religion without a narrative derivation. Hubbard eventually created one, but mostly as an afterthought, and a classified one at that.

            • jim says:

              Jim, I’m using it in the sense that Julian Jaynes does in Origin of Consciousness. His theory is that ancient man had a very different psychology from you or I, religion as we know it today being an attempt to preserve the experience of the old gods.

              I am aware of this. The guys who wrote down the Epic of Gilgamesh did not seem to me to have a very different psychology to me. Seems to me I have a lot in common with the writers and intended readers of the Epic of Gilgamesh, and very little in common with Oprah or Hillary Clinton.

              What he calls consciousness, I call authorial use of POV as a character. We see this in the epic of Gilgamesh, when authorial point of view changes from that of Gilgamesh to that of the inn keeper looking at Gilgamesh from the outside, so it is not all that new, though modern authors have developed it to a far greater extent.

              And, of course, as Enkidu approaches death, the authorial pov changes to that a spirit, outside of time and life.

              When the POV changes from Gilgamesh close third, to inkeeper close third, surely the authors are thinking about thinking, thinking about how we know what we know?

          • K says:

            @Thales, Dianetics, the precursor of scientology, was pseudoscience, similar to the astrology or some new age stuff. You may call the belief system a story (in a general sense). I don’t think it can be called a religion until it developed a proper world setting.

          • Thales says:

            K, I was talking about Xenu.

        • asdf says:

          I think your truth detection abilities are way more insufficient then you think they are.

          We are mostly in this mess because high IQ people thought they knew a lot better then tradition and blew it all up.

          • jim says:

            The Cathedral transliterated traditional Christian beliefs about the next world from the next world to this world, resulting in incoherent and disastrous nonsense.

            The problem is not that they were mistaken, but that they were deliberately mistaken, that they lied to themselves and each other, and continue to do so.

      • Nick B Steves says:

        As a former Evangelical I understand where Barnabas is coming from, but I think he is trying to make Christianity, and especially its Bible, say too much. That is why I became Catholic. There is nothing terribly unique about Christian (qua Christian) morality. Any culture will succeed to the extent the last 6 (by Catholic counting) of the 10 commandments are normative. Jesus spent remarkably little time explaining the moral law. He presumes that Jews (and most everyone else in the world) already knows it, and he specifically says he did not come to change or abolish it.

        (The few novelties of Christian moral teaching need especially to be handled with care, otherwise you get progressivism. In order to handle them with care, you need a powerful heirarchy with its own toes nailed to the floor by past magisterial teachings.)

        Smart Christians spent the first 4-500 years AD baptizing all that was good and right in pagan culture and made it part of Christian teaching… some of it you get in the Bible, some of it you don’t… but all of it is quite obvious from, in evangelical terms, the “General Revelation”.

        St. Paul writes of Christians being the most of all men to be pitied if the dead are not raised. He is writing from the perspective of the individual as a tiny minority: Yeah, it will suck if you follow a higher law and everyone else doesn’t. He is not making a prediction about civilizational development 1500 years down the road based in part upon some higher law… Christianity, and more specifically the Catholic Church, built Western Civilization, in part by cobbling together the very best of Semitic and Pagan European thought (and anathematizing the erm… less than best). Even if the dead be not raised, that is still a remarkable achievement, which might not have been foreseeable to St. Paul, but of which he would no doubt have taken much pride.

        It is not at all clear whether the center (ha!) of Western Civilization can hold without the overbearing, in some instances positively stifling, influence of the Institutional Church. Although I personally favor such a level of influence, say in the person of a devout Catholic “Executive”, that avenue seems unlikely (“Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.”). Failing that, a Secure, Responsible, and Effective Executive of any kind seems promising and slightly more likely.

        It is a truism that Christianity has been taken over by Progressivism. But the progressives have their own problems running the place. Perhaps the main problem for them is that their “religion” doesn’t make for very devout “believers” in any of the usual measurable ways: church attendance, monetary donations, numbers of children, and the likelihood of those children staying in the “faith”. Over time, this fundamental weakness will spell the death of progressive Christianity. The “reactionary” arms of all the Christian (and non-Christian) sects are, on the other hand, growing like crazy. 100 years from now, virtually all Jews will be Orthodox, virtually all Catholics Throne & Altar conservatives, virtually all Baptists (and other “low church” prots) fundamentalist, and the populations of Amish and Mormons will be staggering. Progressivism may still be around but I think it will “move on” from its roots in institutional Christianity–and it will consist largely of sour old hippies.

        • jim says:

          It is not at all clear whether the center (ha!) of Western Civilization can hold without the overbearing, in some instances positively stifling, influence of the Institutional Church.

          Restoration Anglicanism avoided being stifling. But, sending its enemies off to colonize America instead of sending them off to cut sugar in the West Indies turned out to be a very bad idea.

          Trouble is, if you repress Galileo, you don’t get the scientific and industrial revolutions, but if you fail to repress William Wilberforce, you get replaced by holier than thou fanatics.

          Lyell was correct, so the Anglican Church was right to tolerate him. William Wilberforce was a pharisee, so they should not have tolerated him. The fact that he was correct meant that they should have been twice as intolerant, and the fact that he really was holier than they were meant that they should have been four times as intolerant. They should have shipped him off to the West Indies to cut sugar cane for rum.

  13. Red says:

    “Fact is a lot of Christians, especially some trad-minded Catholics, are on board with many principles of Dark Enlightenment. We were certainly never big fans of the first one. Sure we’re a bit skeptical of AI and certainly of any singularity (which has a distinct chiliastic odor itself); we’re not convinced governments will eventually have to actually exterminate the unproductive.”

    The early christens made a mess of things by stuff like banning infanticide, encouraging mass immigration, and in general screwing up the population by keeping too many worthless people around. After the fall the catholic church fixed a lot of these mistakes by ignoring infanticide(as long as it wasn’t public, but nothing like our current worship of abortion), supporting the local population first over other peoples, and creating nunneries and monasteries where they could ship worthless people off to prevent their reproduction and to keep them orderly. They created a form of genetic cleansing without the massing killing or starvation. Even better they were able to get productive work out of such people and turned worthless humans into useful and productive members of society.

    Civilizations breed and create parasites that need to be cleansed at some point. The catholic church created one of the most humane and useful ways of handling this problem in the history of the world and almost no one recognizes them for it. They could do it again.

    • jim says:

      On reflection, one hell of a lot better than the usual, the usual being slavery and genocide, which is what I had in mind.

      That could work again. The trick was to provide worthless people with discipline, meaning, purpose, and community, while the usual solutions provided only discipline, if that.

    • Nick B Steves says:

      I think it is the worship of Freedom as an unalloyed good and inalienable right that is to blame. Peoples of diverse abilities require widely divergent levels of institutional coaxing to become productive (or at least something other than a huge net negative externality on society). Our chief memetic complex cannot even think such thoughts, much less implement them. Heirarchy, however, is written into the cosmos. It is (for a time) yet preserved in the natural family. But we have abolished it almost everywhere else. This is inefficient, but also… ultimately… inhumane.

    • frank says:

      > nunneries and monasteries where they could ship worthless people off to

      People in the monasteries enjoyed a substantially higher quality of life. They ate a *much* better diet and did far less drudgery in an era when common people literally spent half their life beating grain with a stick.

      I don’t think there’s any evidence for your claim that the benedictine path attracted the dregs of society. It was probably the opposite: thoughtful people who wanted more than days spent beating wheat with a stick were drawn to it.

      • jim says:

        It is clear that some people, many people, were shipped to monasteries and nunneries against their will. Some monasteries and nunneries, were nicer than others, some positions were nicer than others. Some were for getting rid of excess daughters of the elite without the embarrassment of marrying them off to people of lower status, some were for stashing common people who otherwise would have made trouble.

        Some, at some periods, like welfare, became rather too comfortable. Some, at other periods, did not.

      • Red says:

        There’s evidence to support my case from the end of the monastery system in England. After the abolishment of the monasteries English laws became much harsher on things like vagrancy(death for the 3ed offense) and there were a lot more reports of people starving to death in the streets because they couldn’t manage their own lives. This seems to indicate there was an increase in the number of dregs living in public than before the abolishment of the monasteries.

        Catholics seemed to be interested in giving everyone a place, even if that place required them not to reproduce and required harsh discipline. Protestants seemed to have much more of a do well in life or die attitude, which then transitioned into work house slavery/ship Impressment type slavery/ect. I.E. Jim’s normal genocide and slavery type systems.

        • jim says:

          Catholics seemed to be interested in giving everyone a place, even if that place required them not to reproduce and required harsh discipline. Protestants seemed to have much more of a do well in life or die attitude, which then transitioned into work house slavery/ship Impressment type slavery/ect. I.E. Jim’s normal genocide and slavery type systems.

          People need someone to live with, someone to live for. Providing no hopers with this coercively is the only way they are going to get it. Voluntary community and voluntary cooperation is hard to negotiate, even for the best of us. For the worst of us, authoritarian discipline backed by brutal coercion is likely to make them happier than abandoning them to sink or swim.

  14. asdf says:

    “Social decay and childlessness caused nihilism. Nihilism did not cause social decay. ”

    This is a statement without evidence.

  15. asdf says:

    Why don’t you convert to political correctness?
    Since you can’t do anything about political correctness, why not just make the best of it?
    Why not exploit the situation instead of moaning about it?
    Do what is expedient – why not?
    *
    Why not make a successful career out of PC – like so many others?
    Why not surrender your private mind to PC, in the same way as you have already surrendered your public behaviour?
    By having any reservations at all, you are making yourself miserable – why not simply cast-aside those reservations?
    Just say an inner yes to what you will, anyway, be forced to do…
    *
    Since you necessarily inhabit the thought prison that is political correctness – then why not, at least, become one of the ‘trustys’ among the inmates – to assist with the smooth running of the gaol, and get yourself a few privileges.
    Why not, indeed, strive to become one of the guards? Somebody has to do the job? Maybe you could temper the severity of the regime?
    And herein lies the particular temptation for the intellectual elite – a temptation few resist.
    That (literally) soul-destroying pragmatism by which (for eminently sensible reasons) we quietly, by gradual degrees, change sides in the spiritual battle of the world: that unseen warfare between The Good and that which opposes The Good.
    *
    Well why not?
    There is no earthly reason why not.
    In a world of pervasive and powerful PC, there is really only one compelling reason for holding back and resisting in any way, shape or form – which is that embracing political correctness will shrink your soul.
    *
    If you do not believe in the soul, this reason will carry no force at all: so by your own calculations you are stupid to resist PC.
    Or, if you believe the soul is inviolable, and that nothing you think or do can affect the soul: then also, by your own calculations, you are stupid to resist PC.
    If you do not believe in Natural Law (innate knowledge of The Good), and that breaking Natural Law harms the soul: then logically you should learn to love PC.
    *
    If you do not believe in the reality of transcendental good – then you might as well go with the flow, allow yourself to be re-programmed: to learn, by regular practice, to re-label lies as truth, ugliness as beauty, evil as virtue; until PC has entered into your heart and soul, as well as pouring into your ears and out-from your mouth.

    *
    But political correctness is nihilism; therefore it is not merely political: it is also existential.
    To fight against political correctness is therefore ultimately an existential act: a battle to preserve the eternal soul.
    *
    But if you do not believe that political correctness will harm your eternal soul: then you would be well-advised to suck it up.
    Why not?…

    • Simon says:

      asdf, there is little to no point posting that here. I highly suspect Jim suffers from extreme Aspergers; he does not (can not?) respond (even consider?)directly to points put forward by opposing parties, in fact I have never seen him do it. I find it hard someone as unwaveringly dense as Jim does not suffer from some sort of debilitating social dysfunction.

      • Red says:

        Someone who comes into your place, shits on everyone, and then whines about his questions not being answered while insulting the host is little more than a sophist troll. It’s never good to feed the trolls.

        • Simon says:

          The host can silence me at any time. I certainly would.

          This does not detract from the validity of my observations. I am not whining about my questions not being answered, I was merely commenting on an established trend with regard to Jim’s responses (or lack thereof) to viewpoints he does not personally hold.

          • jim says:

            The host can silence me at any time. I certainly would

            Of course. You are totalitarian scum, and know full well that you cannot win a fair debate.

            I am not whining about my questions not being answered

            You had questions? I failed to notice.

          • Simon says:

            Freedom of speech is evil, and should not be tolerated, as any good reading of history will tell you. In any decent society you would be hung by the neck until dead.

            Once again, Jim, you could benefit from a primer in close reading. You are right, I did not have any questions. I still don’t. I was merely commenting on your heavily Aspergerised online presence, something I noticed since I first observed you crawling your way through the internet.

      • jim says:

        I am not aware that you have made any points. If you think you have some points, try to be a little clearer.

    • Red says:

      asdf – Your jumping to conclusions because Jim doesn’t share your religious beliefs.

      “If you do not believe in Natural Law (innate knowledge of The Good), and that breaking Natural Law harms the soul: then logically you should learn to love PC.”

      Take a look here:
      http://jim.com/rights.html

    • Nick B Steves says:

      One trait that the illuminati of the Dark Enlightenment, of whom Jim is no doubt a founding member, seem to share is a great love for Truth, Beauty, and Virtue. PC fails epically on the Truth aspect, and ultimately on the others as well. Just because he offends no particular god in giving in to the “Light Side of the Force”, doesn’t mean he would not in doing so offend prior axiomatic commitments… and in a sense abandon a type of faith.

      • Thales says:

        I prefer the term “Endarkenment”, brought into service over a decade ago. However, it seems “Dark Enlightenment” is a meta-concept refering to a greater awareness of the actual decay as denoted in the former.

        That it’s gone from lone voices in the wilderness to those voices earning the status of founders is progress, I guess. 😉

        • jim says:

          Endarkenment: Lies shout down truth, art is crap, architecture is ugliness, science is dogma and pompous pretence. Technology continues to progress, but in ever fewer fields. In one field after another, technology stops.

          Dark Enlightenment: Noticing this and explaining it. Or, equivalently, the disturbing and ugly truths that the enlightenment denied and lied about.

  16. Agnostic Reactionary Steve says:

    “Well why not?
    There is no earthly reason why not.
    In a world of pervasive and powerful PC, there is really only one compelling reason for holding back and resisting in any way, shape or form – which is that embracing political correctness will shrink your soul.”

    I want a lot of white Neanderthal great-grandchildren.

    Not a moderate amount of mulatto and mestizo Sapiens great-grandchildren.

    Cathedral can’t offer me that.

  17. K says:

    > Why not join the PC?

    I can’t believe you guys are asking such a simple question. Because PC lends to decay of human biology and civilization in the long run (actually, not so long now). As a person who concerns these more than the immediately gratification of the offer from PC, one would naturally repulse PC and seek a different path. The asethetic of advancement of physical form, civilization and knowledge has an innate appeal to many people.

  18. Agnostic Reactionary Steve says:

    Oh and I’d like to spend my old age in a country with a bright future, a strong sense of community and safe clean streets with polite and friendly people and some awesome new technologies.

    The Cathedral can’t even offer me that, unless I magically become a member of the top 1%. Most of the more optimistic scenarios involve me ending up in a dirty, inefficient state run NHS style hospital staffed by surly, resentful minorities, where I’m eventually put on an accelerated death pathway to save money.

  19. RS says:

    > One theory that I find plausible is that the fully symmetric vacuum undergoes rapid cosmic inflation and is unstable. It has been expanding forever, and vast portions of it collapse in spontaneous symmetry breaking, from time to time.

    Do you truly believe, at the bottom of your heart, that those words mean or demonstrate anything or that you understand them?

    The question is WHY should an infinite void be inflationary or unstable? Why is there a nomos for this expansion, collapse, or loss of stability? Why does this nomos exist instead of some other nomos or no nomos?

    To me this is just a rhetorical trick to claim that you have a ‘meta’-level physical nomos that is, thus, not a nomos. To me it is CLEARLY still a nomos and all the usual questions about it apply, viz, where does it come from?

    If you explicitly say that it is a pure chaos and no nomos at all, perhaps you would get somewhere with me. But is a sheer chaos somehow less ‘mysterious’ than a nomos? It seems to me that this is what the religious heart is really seeking — mystery, which basically means infinity. I might suggest that this is what the West has lost contact with through Scidolatry. Alrenous, any input on this?

    • K says:

      Science never claim to explain all “why”s. It just try to construct the best framework to describe what we experience; for those we don’t know we just say we don’t know. We don’t know why there is quantum collapse or what is the nature of it, but the bigbang / inflation theory is one of the better theory that conform to our observation of the universe, eg the background radiation pattern, the property of stars and planets, etc. The is nothing, absolutely nothing, in our best scientific theories that hints that there is/are some intelligent creator(s) designing all these work. So as far as our science knowledge can say, there is no (evidence of) god.

      • RS says:

        I don’t really believe in an intelligent creator. I tend to believe in a vast mystery that demands our fundamental orientation towards it — toward kosmos. Without this I think something is missing, maybe the most important of all things.

        You and I may be fairly close together — in most ways — actually…….

        where asdf (whom I admire) seems to think that my disbelief in a Providence or an infinite Good strictly entails my sole concern with hedons-dolors and mesolimbic dopamine.

        ‘God’ has not contacted me ; god has never radio’d me, even when I meditated, did high-dose psychedelics, walked through thunderstorms, and read the holiest books. But I haven’t developed a bad attitude about him at all ; he is still free, subject to any limitations he himself may face (Mencken and Malick among others pondered this possibility) to dial me up any time.

        Kosmos rings me up every single morning (I don’t recall dreams, usually): HI! Hence my ‘pan(a)theistic’ Spinoza, Zen, or Alrenous type outlook.

        • K says:

          I think the mystery of the universe is the fundamental drive of our intellectual energy, all others are secondary. Or, one can take a shortcut and believe in a religion, which provides an instant answer but commits intellectual suicide.

          If mankind manage to know all that’s there to know, I suspect that either we will become effectively gods ourselves, or we will commit intellectual or physical suicide to escape the sheer boredom and nihilism, or a combination of both. But that’s too far away for imagination. For now I am content with being a humble knowledge seeker.

        • Alrenous says:

          My input is basically ‘yes.’

          Inflation is order, not chaos. Symmetry is order, not chaos. The question as always, is why this order, rather than some other order? Why not simply disorder? Therefore, infinite-universes fails to address the infinite regression issue. Second, unless we can somehow measure them or otherwise feel their effects, then it is indistinguishable from having exactly one universe, and dies to the hard version of Ockham’s razor.

          “But is a sheer chaos somehow less ‘mysterious’ than a nomos?”

          I’ve never felt the need to justify nonexistence per se. (Where do fairies not come from?) Only nonexistence in the context of possible existence. (Why are fairies not possible?) Though before just now I’ve never considered the difference between forbidden existence and failure to exist.*

          Do you feel nonexistence, chaos as opposed to cosmos, needs justification?

          Certainly, if chaos obtained, nobody would be around to worry about justifying it.

          *Forbidden existence respects non-contradiction, whereas failure to exist could be a form of embodied contradiction, if it is a manifestation of chaos.

          I’ve been thinking that physicists have proven our universe is perfectly orderly, but now I have to think about whether failure to exist can be a fragment of chaos.

          • jim says:

            Therefore, infinite-universes fails to address the infinite regression issue. Second, unless we can somehow measure them or otherwise feel their effects, then it is indistinguishable from having exactly one universe, and dies to the hard version of Ockham’s razor.

            Spontaneous symmetry breaking implies that our current laws of physics do not go all the way back to infinite density and infinite temperature, that they originated in an accident early in the expansion, at some finite temperature and density, corresponding to temperatures and densities accessible to today’s particle accelerators. If accidental, not every where the same. If not everywhere the same, many universes, far far away. Spontaneous symmetry breaking implies that if the universe is infinite, the laws of physics will be different from place to place, thus in this sense, many universes.

            Spontaneous symmetry breaking means that not only do what we think of as the laws of physics break down at infinite temperature, infinite pressure, and infinite density, they break down at entirely finite temperature, pressure and density, thus, in an explosion, when the temperature drops to levels that allow what we think of as normal physics, we are not likely to get the same laws of physics when the dust settles after any two explosions.

        • Alrenous says:

          It did not at first even occur to me that your ‘this’ may refer to the Scidolatry bit. Interesting. I don’t think it was concidental, either.

          Anti-mystery is secular anti-consciousness, if we’re talking the sensation and not simply the fact of not knowing a thing.

          Roads and le Corbusier buildings are not mysterious, even if you know nothing about how they’re made. My canonical example for a mystery-feeling invoking thing is a flower on a tree in the evening.

          The scientist explains what the flower is made of, and what it does. Perhaps the better scientist even explains its history and environment. Then they tell the layman that they’ve wholly explained it.

          The layman feels wrongness. In fact, the scientist has not addressed their question at all. The scientist gets smug and/or self-righteous because the layman cannot articulate what is wrong. Nevertheless, the layman is correct.

          I have no idea what mystery is.

          My primary hypothesis is that it is a response to a real, external thing, because otherwise it must be adaptive to invent whole sensations so as to report on something that does not exist – but only particular things that don’t exist, not others. (To put it backwards, how can an organism suffer from lacking a hallucination?)

          My secondary hypothesis is that it is an appreciation that comes as an unavoidable side-effect of being conscious.

      • Nick B. Steves says:

        So as far as our science knowledge can say, there is no (evidence of) god.

        Certainly, except for the fact that there is such a thing as knowledge… and such a thing as evidence… and reasons we can and generally do trust both. It’s probably been said somewhere better than I can, but why would we expect the disciplines of science to be able to confirm all knowledge whatsoever? This is sophomore category error. Yes, physicists get “amazingly accurate results”… but reality consists of more than perfectly spherical cows in a vacuum.

        • K says:

          > why would we expect the disciplines of science to be able to confirm all knowledge whatsoever?

          Because knowledge means things that we actually know, and science is the discipline of describing what we know. Otherwise it is called belief. Our knowledge and our knowledge-guided best-guess theories of the universe leave little place for an intelligent supernatural, so our knowledge suggest that there is no God in our universe. On a metaphysical level, one may suggest that God may exist beyond our universe, and it may even somehow created our universe, and our soul may be transported beyond our universe to reach God. Our current knowledge of the universe is logically compatible with it (but may become incompatible in future). But metaphysics is not knowledge, because knowledge is what we can know and the universe is all we can know for now, it is meaningless to talk about a knowledge of God beyond the universe and therefore beyond the reach of knowledge.

          • Nick B Steves says:

            …it is meaningless to talk about a knowledge of God beyond the universe and therefore beyond the reach of knowledge.

            Indeed, based on a definition of “knowledge” which precludes knowing anything that doesn’t conform to scientific testability–which is literally question begging, and which definition certainly is not itself subject to its own dicates, but instead the domain of metaphysics–so, self-refuting as well I guess. Look, I am not trying to convert anyone here–only responding to a far too simplistic argument against theism/deism. As I’ve said or implied elsewhere on the thread, the ultimate, whatever or whoever that is, is strictly outside the bounds of falsifiability. You believe in it (or him… or god forbid her) because of pre-rational commitments (axioms). Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But you don’t get to prove axioms by axioms.

            • jim says:

              As I’ve said or implied elsewhere on the thread, the ultimate, whatever or whoever that is, is strictly outside the bounds of falsifiability. You believe in it (or him… or god forbid her) because of pre-rational commitments (axioms). Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But you don’t get to prove axioms by axioms.

              And that is the big difference that natural selection makes. Before Darwin explained natural selection, you believed in a creator God, a mindful being, a designer as we design, a maker as we make, or else you were an idiot. You could doubt that Jesus rose from the dead, you could doubt that men had immortal souls, you could suspect that the creator God viewed mortals as we view flies, but you could not doubt that there was a creator God, a thinking being like us, but greater. Now, however, we look at the universe, and see no trace of minds, other than our own, merely the residue of very large explosions.

          • K says:

            > based on a definition of “knowledge” which precludes knowing anything that doesn’t conform to scientific testability–which is literally question begging, and which definition certainly is not itself subject to its own dicates, but instead the domain of metaphysics–so, self-refuting as well I guess.

            It is not that we deliberately define knowledge as science, but that science is the best method that we’ve come up to describe what can be objectively agreed as knowledge. Religions used to be called knowledge because back then they actually made gestures pertinent to the knowable universe, like miracles, explaining formation of life by intelligent design, explaining why environment behave as it is, an account of history, and as words from some authority regarded as a reliable source of knowledge. Nowadays all these are supplanted by science and religions retreat to pure metaphysical level. On this level things are limited to conjections in one’s own mind, subjected to his own feeling, people just cannot objectively agree that such mental activities present reliable information, ie knowledge. Since language is to be used objectively, you don’t get to call it knowledge beyond your religious circle.

        • K says:

          (Cont.) Ironically, to preach a religion the preacher usually rely on in-universe things presented as knowledge — holy books, miracles, testaments, intelligent design, etc. But science has already shot down these as unadmittable. So religions face a delimma, either they concede that their God is unknowable and stop their preaching method, or confront science directly as the correct discipline of describing knowledge. Most choose the later route (some choose the former, like Buddhism and mystism), but so far science keep winning.

    • jim says:

      The question is WHY should an infinite void be inflationary or unstable?

      Why a god?

      Mindlessness expanding as it shatters into huge explosions fits the way universe looks a lot better.

      To rephrase: What are the characteristics of the creator?

      If the rabbit is the product of conscious design, the creator is a being with mind. But we see no evidence of design, so, no mind, therefore not a being. Cosmic inflation fits the bill.

      Shear chaos, existing for no reason we can comprehend, seems more plausible than mind existing for no reason we can comprehend.

      • Nick B. Steves says:

        Shear chaos, existing for no reason we can comprehend, seems more plausible than mind existing for no reason we can comprehend.

        But how could we ever possibly tell the difference? It’s not like either proposition is terribly falsifiable. It seems to come down to pre-rational commitments… by which we will, we must if we are rational, filter all past, present, and future information.

        It seems that the process that “designed” the rabbit, now that we understand it somewhat, is a pretty good one–I see no reason infer a lack of consciousness in that process (the design of the design). It seems to be simply a metaphysical black hole–as you say something we cannot comprehend. Mindless, purposeless universe(s) and creator fit that bill about equally well.

        You ascribe a lack of mind to chaos too quickly I think. You admit that the chaos is unknowable, and therefore have no reason, other than pre-rational commitments, to infer the lack of mind therein. Who knows? a lesser being’s chaos could be a greater being’s fine clay.

        • Thales says:

          But we’ve observed quantum foam and asymmetries. These things suggest our universe was created by natural physical means, and thus all universes created by natural means.

          What we have not observed is a creator god.

      • josh says:

        If something is causally prior to the physical universe, it must be non-physical. So we need, by way of explanation, a non-physical and necessary being that has the ability to be a cause. We say, by way of analogy, that the closest thing we know of is a mind. But we do not mean that God is a mind like our mind, but merely an analogy. If you believe in specific Judeo/Christian revelations, this makes sense, and God is sort of kind of very much like a mind, but if you do not, you are stick with something analogous to some degree to a mind.

        • jim says:

          If something is causally prior to the physical universe

          To me, causally prior implies time, so what you are saying is that if time had a beginning, it must be god that began it. It is not clear that time had a beginning, nor that if it had a beginning, what began it must be mind. Cosmic inflation has no beginning.

  20. RS says:

    > The asethetic of advancement of physical form, civilization and knowledge has an innate appeal to many people.

    Right, in other words one can worship, revere, and/or love kosmos, man, self, art, etc, without believing (necessarily) in a providentially Good god, or an immortal soul.

    Bruce intentionally ignores this — ignores ‘Hellenism’, paganism, with its mortal and improvident gods — because… he wants to. He’s a great thinker, just not honest on this particular front.

    I do not exclude the possibility of my living on after death. Regardless, I do not wish to be degraded during my life, or for man or kosmos to be degraded after my death. No, I cry out for the opposite, and that’s a sort of natural law perhaps — ‘comes from the nature of the kind of beings we are’.

  21. RS says:

    > The Cathedral does just fine in getting what you want, especially if you double think around its more silly nonsense. Most Cathedral members don’t live the way they talk.

    BTW asdf I don’t wish to deny that wirehead hedonism — to basically broaden or generalize what you are talking about — is a serious philosophical problem, and a serious human temptation. Very serious — I don’t wish to blithely claim that it is dismissed.

    And of course I hardly deny doing tons of hedonistic BS myself, I just try to minimize it. Even Aristotle admitted, you basically have to do some of it. By hedonism I really mean indulgence, in the sense used by Carlos Castaneda, though the word is clear enough without reference to Castaneda. Highly elevated sexuality for instance would be akin to the spiritual or artistic world. Just ‘fucking’ is fine as far as it goes — which is to say insofar as it does not approach wireheading — it’s just not the same thing, is all.

  22. TMG says:

    My father is very religious, and it pains him to see that I have left Christianity. But I have been subtly and politely feeding him red pills for a few years now, and he’s proven much more perceptive than I expected.

    The last time we talked about it he pretty much coughed out “I don’t blame you for leaving” and mentioned Isaiah 4:1

  23. RS says:

    >> After all, if everything we see is an accidental consequence of chaos, it yet remains a remarkable accident.

    > Cosmic inflation with spontaneous symmetry breaking implies infinitely many accidents. Some of them will be quite remarkable.

    Just to give people a ‘signpost’, I guess this boils down to strong v weak anthropic principle. It’s a technically difficult question — or often thought to be) — which I personally, in past, have found strains my intelligence.

  24. RS says:

    > You’ve already established that your goal isn’t “truth” but “getting me outcomes I want.”

    What’s wrong with that? I mean there /is/ something ‘wrong’ with it, but the Good v the True has been at least a minor tension recognized/felt (by some) in Western philosophy for 2,500 years, and presumably elsewhere. Various attempts to resolve this tension have been made. As an abrahamic believer, the usual abrahamic attempts work for you I guess (I’m no expert in them) but I am not such a believer.

  25. RS says:

    > Where do you find truth? Can there be conflicting truths and if so which one trumps the other? Do you have a claim to truth beyond whatever seems to be the most functional for you?

    Kind of…

    > The Cathedral seems very functional to those within the system and I don’t see a lot of other options in the ideology/religion department for the modern educated man such as yourself.

    I have very high O, sensu ‘five factor model’, so I have no problem at least considering Zen, Taoism, Nazism, Communism, Maoism, Heraklitosism, Judaism, biblical Christianity, Islam, eremitism, hunter-gathererism, Spinozism, humane eugenicism/transhumanism — or even just cessation of philosophical-spiritual inquiry. Most of these are obviously unsatisfactory or seem to obviously require considerable-to-radical emendation, but the possibilities are basically endless. I feel a dazzling surplus of possibilities rather than a paucity.

    > You would like to have the advantages of living in a Christian society without having to make any commitment or make any sacrifices. You want to benefit from a kind of social/religious herd immunity.

    Arguably true, although I have been planning to at least wage a strident polemic against the blithe, obscurantist, and self-satisfied ontic-epistemic materialism of SWPLdom, AKA scidolatry or scientism. By obscurantism I basically mean people like Dennet who claim to have materialist explanations of free will that are… utterly obscure and seem to have nearly zero correspondence with common ideas about freedom. Similarly I think the Churchlands are either ‘p-zombies’ or obscurantists. They would presumably reply that most or all ‘common ideas’ are illusions, and I would probably reply a la Heidegger that some of them seem ‘pre-discursive’: more essential than all ‘replying’ and thinking, or even sensing. I admit that this leads to a cul-de-sac for productive debate — in most ways.

  26. RS says:

    > The difference is that unlike common art, a religion is a behavior art in a permanently on mode; a believer find comfort throughout his life and do not require explicit suspension of disbelief

    Yes this is exactly my feeling about religions/spiritualities ‘cluttered’ (from my perspective) with positive claims which I doubt and cannot verify.

    They are very beautiful, in some cases almost painfully beautiful and glorious. I tried to explain this to ordinary liberals who can only focus on say the female genital alterations of Islam, which I don’t really like myself… whereas I tend to notice both perspectives. This attempt was unsuccessful.

    I would probably have more success explaining such feelings to a less-aspieish member of Less Wrong who would focus on existential risk (to human existence) posed by Islamic or other religious fervor (which I too recognize as a possible hazard).

  27. RS says:

    > I think your truth detection abilities are way more insufficient then you think they are. && We are mostly in this mess because high IQ people thought they knew a lot better then tradition and blew it all up.

    There seems to be virtually zero disagreement between this post and the one you replied to.

    At least not if you believe tradition originated precisely from the senses — from people sensing and informally tabulating what factors elevated men and what factors ruined them. Sensing, and perhaps also partly intuiting. We might have certain intuitions ultimately caused by, say, DNA.

    Of course if you think tradition came partly or wholly from revelation, it may be a different story ; again, I realize you are a Christian believer.

  28. RS says:

    > Christianity, and more specifically the Catholic Church, built Western Civilization, in part by cobbling together the very best of Semitic and Pagan European thought (and anathematizing the erm… less than best).

    Well, I prefer unadulterated Hellas — but I admit that it died endogenously. So as far as that goes, it did kind of suck. But one could reply that Western Civ as you defined it may only have lasted/ be lasting a few times longer….. then again who would be indifferent to his own life being ‘a few times’ longer or shorter.

  29. RS says:

    > William Wilberforce was a pharisee, so they should not have tolerated him. The fact that he was correct meant that they should have been twice as intolerant, and the fact that he really was holier than they were meant that they should have been four times as intolerant. They should have shipped him off to the West Indies to cut sugar cane for rum.

    Curious what you mean. Do you hold that slavery, or more especially tropical slavery — which I understand to be a worse infection-ridden meat grinder than Dixie slavery — really was awful…………… but that Wilberforcian reform/ sentimentality has an unstoppable snowball aspect that almost inevitably results in mortal peril for the entire West?

    If so, how do you remain at the right or wise level of sentimentality, stably? Nietzsche like Stirner saw, with great clarity, sentimentality snowballing around them………… but the searing radicalness of their reaction was surely (alongside material conditions and conditions of ethnic conflict) a major wellspring of nazism’s ultra-denial of pity or sentimentality.

    Where’s the bug? Is it just that people as talented as these two men are frequently quite hysterical — fonts of wisdom, yet unwise insofar as their hysteria pervades them?

    • jim says:

      The problem was not Wilberforce sentimentality, but Wilberforce sentimentality weaponized as a power play so that people like him (puritans) could take over from people like the colonialists. It seems obvious to me that even though the takeover was a good thing for many of the slaves, it was generally a very bad thing for the subjects of the empire. For example one of the major factors provoking the Indian revolt was land reform – government do gooding directed at people far away, not company profit seeking. Observe that the colonialists of his time are depicted dressed like cavaliers, (google images east india company officers) while William Wilberforce is depicted dressed like Cromwell. Wilberforce wins, and the colonialists start dressing like Wilberforce.

      For a present day analogy, consider the utterly disastrous effects of US do gooder imperialism on Haiti. We removed the Duvaliers, who were doing a pretty good job, no shit in the streets, criminals go to jail, low level of political repression, brutality mild by the standards third world dictatorships, economy improving, and install Aristide, who was a complete disaster with totalitarian terror and economic catastrophe. He burned his opponents alive. He had the pregnant wife of one of his opponents opened up with a machete, her baby scooped out, petrol poured in the cavity, and set on fire. With his own hands he gouged out the eyes of one of his subordinates.

      When the Haitians revolted, not so much against brutality as against economic collapse, we then said, oh, the problem was low IQ black rulers, so we will send high IQ NGO PhDs to rule them directly. This turned out to be less brutal than Aristide, Harvard PhDs being more squeamish than black Marxists, but even more economically disastrous, as our Harvard NGO PhDs set about morally improving the Haitians by eradicating their property rights, leading to shit in the streets, starving people eating mud, and the spread of deadly cholera. Believe it or not, Harvard PhDs are worse for your economy than third world Marxists, bad though third world Marxists are.

      William Wilberforce’s boys set to doing to the colonies what we have been doing to Haiti.

      William Wilberforce wanted power for his belief system, power for people of his belief system. Such people are dangerous. No one was more saintly than Pol Pot. If William Wilberforce was more saintly than the slavers, he was less saintly than Pol Pot. The more saintly such people are, the more they need killing.

      If someone claims power on the basis of saintliness, we should kill him, then ostentatiously ridicule him by checking his body on the third day.

      In the twentieth century, we saw the results that good will managed to produce as the consequence of human action were often stupendously bad, that those with the best intentions of all were the most evil of all, for they were the ones holding the kulak’s child in the fire to force the mother to reveal where the seed corn was buried.

      The torturers were not only willing to kill and torture in order to achieve the universal goal of a universally unselfish society, but also they were willing to be tortured and be killed in order to achieve the universal goal of a universally unselfish society.

      This does not make them any better. Like a suicide bomber, it makes them considerably worse.

      Recall that in the movie, “The Two Towers” the evil of the orcs was illustrated by the orc sapper detonating the explosives in Helm’s Deep without a fuse, and without the orc commandos pulling back from the sapper as he goes in to detonate the explosives. If we accept Kantian morality, that should prove the orcs to be the good guys, since they are clearly prepared to take what they are dishing out – their will is universifiable, but the movie goers had more sense than Kant.

      That the orcs are evil incarnate is shown in the move “The Two Towers” by the orcs displaying the same characteristic that Kant argues is the defining characteristics of Good – the Orcs are wholly willing to elevate universifiable duty over their personal interests.

      • RS says:

        That is fascinating and horrifying knowledge, but doesn’t really answer my question about how to stay wise and sane.

        I guess you pretty much already answered it, above and in your extensive meditations over many months. We need a king and an Established religion/philosophy/spirituality, and Wilber has to be recognized as a recurring psychological type who seeks power by being holier than the king. His type has to be repressed, however unfortunate this may be per se. Humane and sentimental reforms can hopefully be made in a sane, non-snowballing way by people who are less holy than King & Establishment, or willing to pose as less holy.

        And men need to permanently realize, I suppose, that holiness-based attacks or reformations of King & Establishment have bad outcomes. All such reformations should be treated with suspicion, but if any are to be supported, it can only be those rooted in the utterly commonsense, PC-proof mentality you characterize as pervading the soldierly psychology and psychological type. To wit, “fuck me, I would seem to have about two seconds to get behind that rock, or get zipped right through the neck. OK go.”

        To an extent, you have a Madisonian system of reciprocal checks. The soldier may poorly instantiate humane values from moment to moment, and will probably lack them altogether if not conditioned by an Establishment — as argued at length by that famous Dutch-born Israeli military historian, who said that the pseudo-enlightened attempt to ban or suppress organized armies only serves in the end to conjure utterly savage spontaneous militias. Generally random dumb peasants who are fantastically cruel to other random dumbs.

        And yet, reciprocally, only cold and direct soldierly logic (if that, even) can ever be any good for changing King or Establishment…….. priestly-holy logic soon turning disastrous when it tries to effect such change (snowballing, etc).

      • Cavalier says:

        So…the regicidal Puritan Oliver Cromwell is the source of the omnipresent white collar?

        • jim says:

          Looks like it.

          His successors dressed like him, the opposing faction dresses like cavaliers, his faction wins, everyone starts dressing like his faction.

      • peppermint says:

        Orcs were losing a lot of Orcs in that phase of the battle and there was a large concentration of men and elves he could blow up if they didn’t know he was blowing them up. He did the right thing for his race and nation (except that he should have despaired like Theoden and Denethor because the Orcs had no future. Maybe they could lay down their arms and beg the Elves and Valar to repair Morgoth’s genetic damage).

        The googlers and chinks have sadly been burned and chiseled by their years apart from us, while the Skype people have devolved into horrifying and horrified parasites with the minds of men. We have the technology to fix them.

        When the desert savages brave all dangers to come to our lands to access our institutions what it shows is that they want to be freed from the mud they’ve collected over the bitter millennia. We have the resources to give them those institutions and fix them without them needing to come here.

  30. RS says:

    > Science never claim to explain all “why”s. It just try to construct the best framework to describe what we experience; for those we don’t know we just say we don’t know. We don’t know why there is quantum collapse or what is the nature of it, but the bigbang / inflation theory is one of the better theory that conform to our observation of the universe, eg the background radiation pattern, the property of stars and planets, etc. The is nothing, absolutely nothing, in our best scientific theories that hints that there is/are some intelligent creator(s) designing all these work. So as far as our science knowledge can say, there is no (evidence of) god.

    I specifically agree with this post, virtually in every last letter.

    I think Alrenous and I are both highly committed to accepting all that we regard as proper canonical results of science. We or I object to the widespread blithe/lazy ‘mood’ or zeitgeist that almost says, science explains ‘virtually everything’ — therefore, let’s also just file away sentience and cosmic origins as things nearly certain to be ‘science-like’ in nature, ie onto-epistemically material.

    Those who are not blithe/lazy usually try to take the path of emergentism or non-reductionism — which I think usually regards itself as outside of science proper, but philsophically quite rigorous — but which Alrenous and I find just awful on a logical level. These people say the boiling point of water does not exist in a single water molecule, or would not exist at all if only one such molecule existed. It only exists as an emergent property of having many H2Os in a glob. I say this is nonsense: there never was or could be any such thing as ‘water boiling’ as an ontological fundamental ; it’s simply one, entirely non-special thing that water does, and like all the other possible things globs of water can do (move around, scatter, etc), it is /entirely reducible/ to the electronic and gravitational properties of water (plus some quantum indeterminacy that rapidly averages out in macroscopic phenomena). I leave out the strong and weak nuclear forces as negligible in this context.

    We both understand and take seriously the anciently-recognized problems with dualism, such as, how can sentience affect the physical world. (At least, I try to understand. Alrenous may have a better handle on it than I.) As one physicist basically put it, “if you aren’t a monist materialist, you are saying a physical particle experiences or exerts some force that we do not observe by experiment — so basically you’re crazy”.

    I simply observe that observing my mind is radically, unutterably different from observing objects, and I just feel unshakeable in this belief, so I am open to something like epiphenomenal panpsychism, where awareness exists in all or many kinds of matter — perhaps not much awareness, unless the matter be specially arranged — but has no effect on the physical world. (Therefore, there is no free will, even though quantum randomness ensures the world is not deterministic a la La Place.)

    I think Alrenous finds all epiphenomenalisms unsatisfactory, though, because if sentience cannot effect the physical world, it cannot evolve by darwinian evolution. His lack of satisfaction here makes perfect sense to me.

    So I guess I have no even-minimally satisfactory outlook at all. Alrenous may have one, but I am still trying to make my way through his highly technical posts, which strain my abilities, as all this stuff generally does. (‘You can’t argue with a zombie’ is a fantastic essay from another author, Jaron Lanier — I can tell it’s very worthy, but I can tell I cannot or have not fully grasped it.)

    • jim says:

      That consciousness is a collective property of highly organized matter is starting to seem more reasonable.

      Increasingly AI techniques are using methods where you take some information, mix in some randomness to generate hundreds or thousands of copies of this information each transformed in a different random way, then do a statistical reduction on the hundreds or thousands of copies, techniques somewhat analogous to Monte Carlo integration, for example random forests.

      As an emergent property of matter, consciousness can effect matter as much as temperature can effect matter.

      • RS says:

        Well, I am quite conscious that I cannot categorically refute you, especially when I lack that math.

        However, I don’t accept temperature as an ontic fundamental. It doesn’t exist at all, except by convention ; it’s the mean velocity of some set of particles. I don’t think any two sets have the same (approximate) temperature — in reality. They just have the same mean velocity.

        We share this ontic agreement: one type of entity that exists, is particles, all of which have a velocity in space-time (though we don’t know ‘why’). –Also, most of them have mass, and most or all of them ‘feel’, according to their kind, one or more of the four fundamental forces (though I gather we mostly don’t know ‘why’). But for me temperature does not emerge, for it does not exist. Nothing at all (fundamental) emerges, as far as is known. The only ontic kinds — of MATTER — are particles, the four forces, space-time, and the three(?) laws of motion. All material phenomena are determinate, reducible, decomposable composites of these few physical kinds: hence no (known) emergent phenomena at all. (I neglect particle-wave duality and quantum shit and stuff, because I don’t really understand it at all.)

        Strictly speaking, I do actually believe consciousness could be an emergent property of matter — only this theory looks very, very bad in occamian terms, because there is zero precedent or motivation for it, because matter has zero other emergent properties — zero known emergent properties, anyway.

        So, particles exist, they all have velocity and heed the laws of motion, most of them have mass and/or feel some of the four forces……. yet they have no other fundamental or irreducible properties….. and have no awareness (that interacts with their physical properties)….. nor do they gain such awareness through adopting any known configuration…. nor do they gain any known fundamental or irreducible properties or traits of any kind through adopting any known configuration.

        I don’t know, man. This will always be a strain. I think I can at least make my case better than I did in college.

        • jim says:

          However, I don’t accept temperature as an ontic fundamental. It doesn’t exist at all, except by convention ; it’s the mean velocity of some set of particles.

          I pick up a hot object. Ouch.

          Temperature seems to be at least as real as consciousness, regardless of whether it is an ontic fundamental. Temperature is at least as real as the stone that Samuel Johnson kicked to refute Berkeley.

          Often collective properties of matter, for example superconductivity, are rather weird, magical, mysterious, and hard to explain. We don’t really have a scientific explanation of actually existent superconductivity. We explain it by the Bose Einstein condensation which is an excessively drastic idealization of something a good deal more messy and mysterious.

          Consciousness might be something like temperature, a statistical property that summarizes the behavior of large numbers of neurons, which is what the current approaches to AI hope it is, or it might be something like superconductivity, involving mysterious quantum magic.

          It is certainly a little like temperature, in that Monte Carlo integration and dimensional reduction are a little like temperature.

      • Alrenous says:

        The core of consciousness is sensation. What you’re talking about is information processing. Any claim that such a machine is conscious I can simply reconstruct as not conscious, without loss of predictive fidelity.

        (The randomness bit is probably on the right track, though my proof of that is…not robust. )

        This is the kind of thing that provokes the hypothesis that consciousness is illusory or nonexistent, with the small hitch that I have some, and an illusion of consciousness is consciousness of an illusion.

        • K says:

          This is a non argument. What is sensation anyway? Could it be that sensation is 1-1 correspondence to information processing? What makes you thinking that the person you are talking to is consciousness and not just a bunch of information processing neurons?

          • jim says:

            The person resembles myself sufficiently that I can model him as consciousness.

          • Alrenous says:

            Sensation is an additional property and must have additional causal effects, or we’re positing a property of no properties.

            The argument usually goes, “This is what computation looks like on the inside.” The counter-argument is, “Why does computation have to look like something on the inside? I posit it doesn’t look like anything.” I don’t lose predictive fidelity.

            • jim says:

              I don’t know that what minds do is computation, or capable of being adequately represented by computation, and rather suspect that it is not.

              But matter can do things that are not well represented by computation.

          • Alrenous says:

            If a thing in physics cannot be represented by computation, then it can’t be represented by equations. In other words, theoretical physics would not work on it. Which means, effectively, it’s not physics.

            Can I get an example of something that can’t be predicted by math?

            • jim says:

              When I was at university, we could calculate the energy levels of the deuteron from first principles, but not the triton, and as for larger nuclei, it was quite hopeless. Maybe the triton has fallen since then, but I doubt we have gotten far. Similarly, superconductivity in any interesting material. Energy transfer in chloroplasts is an infamous example of an incalculable biological process. Whether solar system planetary orbits are stable over geological time is still an open question.

              There are lots of things in nature that to calculate would require (n^3)! steps, where n is a reasonably large number.

          • Alrenous says:

            Those are all examples of non-analytic problems. They’re non-analytic not because they don’t have solutions, but simply because we’re unequal to the task of finding them.

            Taking a long time to find a numerical solution is not the same as it being impossible to find a numerical solution. Again, it is most likely human ignorance, or trying to calculate qubit mechanics with classical computers.

            • jim says:

              taking a long time to find a numerical solution is not the same as it being impossible to find a numerical solution.

              Any possible computation is limited by the age of the universe, etc.

              And even if computation is possible in principle, as it is for all unsolved non quantum problems, the practice is unlikely.

          • Alrenous says:

            If it is possible to compute, then the universe’s time evolution is equivalent to computing the solution. Prediction or simulation is limited, because it is trying to herd computing components into also computing other components.

      • Koanic says:

        Incorrect. Conscious cannot be solely an emergent property of matter. Whatever the physical side, it must be also fully supernatural. See proof here: http://www.koanicsoul.com/blog/mathematical-proof-that-the-supernatural-exists/

        • jim says:

          This proof is refuted by Samuel Johnson’s stone.

          The skin of apple really is red. It is real, material object, which tends to scatter red light, while absorbing other wavelengths.

          The skin is real and material. The light is real and material. Some of the scattered light falls onto the retina of your eye, which is a surface of your brain, exposed to light. So red light from the skin of the apple, a material thing, physically impacts your material brain, the impact being a real material event. This material event has material consequences which ripple through your physical brain.

          Where in this process does the material stop and the supernatural begin?

          • Koanic says:

            Sure, I’ve never gotten around to contemplating the philosophical implications of rocks and apples. Give me a little credit here.

            “It is real, material object, which tends to scatter red light, while absorbing other wavelengths.”

            Oh, by “red” here you mean “a certain wavelength range of light”. I agree.

            “The skin of apple really is red.”

            Oh, here you mean the qualia red, a deceptive switch.

            “Where in this process does the material stop and the supernatural begin?”

            Where does red stop and yellow begin? It’s the gradient fallacy. You’ve proved yellow doesn’t exist? No.

            The qualia, as experienced, is purely supernatural. There are indeed related physical processes, or a remarkably consistent illusion thereof. The fact that we can coherently suppose that the physical processes are an illusion, demonstrates that the qualia in itself is not physical. For it would be incoherent to suppose that the qualia exists and does not exist.

            A much shortened version of my proof, to be sure, but suitable for a comment box.

            • jim says:

              Oh, by “red” here you mean “a certain wavelength range of light”. I agree.

              “The skin of apple really is red.”

              Oh, here you mean the qualia red, a deceptive switch.

              I think I really see the real red, as Samuel Johnson really kicked the real stone.

              You argument depends on an absolute and unbridgeable difference between qualia and material things, but when you try and draw a line between qualia and things, you are going to find it hard to draw that line.

          • Koanic says:

            “I think I really see the real red, as Samuel Johnson really kicked the real stone.”

            Then you sir, are very bad at philosophy.

            You do not see red spectrum light. I assure you the photons stop well before your brain, even if your consciousness was really just your brain.

            Assuming the physical universe exists, Samuel Johnson really kicked a real stone. No problem. But his experience of kicking a stone, was not the actual stone, or leg, or shoe.

            “You argument depends on an absolute and unbridgeable difference between qualia and material things”

            Correct, in that they are not the same, incorrect, in the sense that they cannot be connected in causal chains by some supernatural linkage.

            “but when you try and draw a line between qualia and things, you are going to find it hard to draw that line.”

            The line is drawn. It’s up to you to muss it.

            • jim says:

              I assure you the photons stop well before your brain

              Embryologically, the retina is a part of the brain’s surface. The original bilaterian had its retinal surface inside its brain. Presumably it was small enough to be semi transparent, also, it had no bones, thus no skull.

              Seeing the stone is the reverse of the process of kicking the stone. If we cannot see the real stone, cannot kick the real stone.

              Even if the mind is supernatural, for everything that happens in the mind, there has to be a corresponding physical thing happening in the brain.

          • Koanic says:

            Embryologically and evolutionarily, far back enough everything is one cell. But let’s not split hairs. If you want the retina as part of the brain, fine.

            I am not denying a connection between the material and consciousness, which seems to be the only objection you’re interested in. Rather, I am resolving that dilemma in the only proper way. It seems you disdain this sort of philosophy because no one has done so yet, until me.

            “Even if the mind is supernatural, for everything that happens in the mind, there has to be a corresponding physical thing happening in the brain.”

            Presumably there can be supernatural minds without physical bodies, however as for us in a practical sense I agree, at least while we’re alive.

            • jim says:

              I am resolving that dilemma in the only proper way.

              Seems to me that you are recapitulating Kant, Bishop Berkeley, and the rest.

              If one walks down that path, one will find oneself in some very strange places, so I decline to take the first step on that path. I reject that whole lot on the grounds given by Samuel Johnson. I really kick the real stone, and if I really kick the real stone, I see the real red of the real apple.

          • Koanic says:

            They all went down the tunnel, the difference is I came out again, to the same normal stone-kicking place you’re at, minus the philosophical incompetence. You are scared to go down the tunnel because people got lost there. I’m not. Your position is fine as a practical one, but it isn’t philosophically rigorous, and is an admission of defeat much like the Christian who declines to engage in apologetics because he’s scared to think about his faith.

  31. RS says:

    > I think the mystery of the universe is the fundamental drive of our intellectual energy, all others are secondary. Or, one can take a shortcut and believe in a religion, which provides an instant answer but commits intellectual suicide. && If mankind manage to know all that’s there to know, I suspect that either we will become effectively gods ourselves, or we will commit intellectual or physical suicide to escape the sheer boredom and nihilism, or a combination of both. But that’s too far away for imagination. For now I am content with being a humble knowledge seeker.

    Again I co-sign virtually every word. I think so would Nietzsche, virtually. He wrote about these issues a lot in his ~1,200-pp corpus and perhaps ~7,000 pages of notebooks, so he was apparently less content about it than ourselves. And maybe we too are both a little restless about it as well.

    In particular he was rather horrified by the possibility of ‘complete knowledge’ that would end life’s quest……… and horrified that infinity of time might entail infinite, eternal recurrence of the same events — but I don’t think logicians/cosmotologists superior to himself have generally agreed to such an entailment.

    Apparently asdf and I independently felt the same thing when we two read about late Rome’s civil wars. There was no common meaning left — nihilism or something close reigned — so, if one was a strong provincial governor, one simply marched on Rome when possible, almost like a robot. Not much reason not to, right? Maybe not everyone, but many did. Whether you wanted to upgrade your concubines, gratify an Alexander-like eros for ‘the world itself’, be immortalized in histories — I don’t know why, but “everyone was doing it”, just marching on Rome at the drop of a hat. To the extent that it ‘feels’ decadent and pathological to asdf and I in what I suspect are very similar ways.

    I think Nietzsche felt that what you call ‘humble knowledge-seeking’ was not necessarily enough to effect Western palingenesis, or produce a golden or silver age more generally — a eudaimonistic civilization, meaning one where “the tree ‘man’ has reached a lofty height and form”, and where “pleasure and pain are not opposites: the feeling of power”.

    Instead, he (probably) thought that what you, I and he would all consider an intellectual suicide was needed for most people…… but that it had to coherently channel our ‘mystery eros’ in some way ; there had to be some shared belief at some level, even if multiple cults coexisted as in Hindusim. (‘Religion’ after all means tie-together, like ‘ligament’ or ‘DNA ligase’.)

    He may have further thought that non-suicides needed to come to partial agreement in how they expressed and lived within the great eros for mystery, experience, and truth. He certainly believed Scidolatry could not fill this bill, but like Goethe, came to believe that the actually-existing Romantic movement was decadent — sick — sick qua reaction against science, qua reaction against the loss of judeochristian faith — sick and unsatisfactory in general. Hence their search for an alternative, a quest in which they both cherished Spinoza.

    How to actually do anything about any of this was what I was trying to write about at U-Res the other day, however lame my sketches may be.

    • jim says:

      “Scidolatry”?

      • RS says:

        More commonly called ‘scientism’ by philosophers.

        Basically the proposition that science explains everything pretty near perfectly (I mean, no theory of quantum gravity, yet) — close enough — and there is nothing for so-called ‘philosophy’ to do. Except argue about values. –But these too may be best illumined by scientific inquiry into human beings.

        Scientism is a term used, usually pejoratively, to refer to belief in the universal applicability of the scientific method and approach, and the view that empirical science constitutes the most authoritative worldview or most valuable part of human learning to the exclusion of other viewpoints.

    • K says:

      > he (probably) thought that what you, I and he would all consider an intellectual suicide was needed for most people

      Most people already commited intellectual suicide. If not spending their life in religions, then in status bickering, face saving, kid popping, new age, PC, etc. Execpt kid popping, which is partly a evolutionarily predefined instinct, the rest are mostly rituals invented to kill intellectual anxiety and existential nihilism. Mind is to seek comfort by default, not truth, and not everyone has the capacity to be an Einstein. Truth seeking is for those nothing less than truth can make them feel comfortable. There is little evolutionary advantages for stubborn truth seekers, in fact many face disadvantages, so it is bound to be a abnormal minority.

      • RS says:

        > Most people already commited intellectual suicide.

        Oh, surely —

        But what I was specifically saying, was that Nietzsche (probably) thought that these suicides needed to have significant shared aspects, commonalities, if you want a coherent civilization. –Or if you want one capable of a High Age, ie capable of supporting widespread eudaimonism — flourishing, blessedness, heroism, transcendence of pleasure/pain, “growing to a great height”.

        As manifest in great art, widespread authentic (sexual) romance, authentic emotional and spiritual and family life, etc.

        (Of course, ‘authentic’ is one of the most difficult and unexplained concepts in Stirner and perhaps especially Nietzsche.)

        • RS says:

          Only I don’t think kid popping is necessarily a kind of intellectual suicide, usually.

          It could be a kind of affective suicide, if it goes wrong, but its tendency towards ‘authenticity’ tends to be fairly robust.

          (Not that I have actual experience of marriage or kids.)

          • K says:

            I was referring to the people whose life mission is to make as many kids as possible. And what to expect of their kids? To make as many grandkids as possible of course! It is partly intinctive and evolutionarily advantages, but it is as much an attitude to esacpe the anxiety and emptiness of life.

  32. RS says:

    Actually, ‘scidolatry’, which word I invented two days ago, is somewhat distinct from scientism.

    It’s a word for something discussed by Alrenous. And what something is that?, you ask. Well I’m not Alrenous, but I think it’s a sort of mild, but widespread self-alienation, caused by ontic materialism — specifically by materialist view of one’s own and others’ sentience.

    Widespread in and characteristic of the post-Enlightenment West, especially the educated elites.

    The (speculated) psychological effect is mainly, like, a mild malaise about life in general.

    • RS says:

      I think part III of Nietzsche’s /Genealogie/ is kind of about this, or tangent to it.

      –It is also rather hasty and incoherent, to my mind, compared to Jenseits, Twilight, and the rest of Genealogie.

    • Alrenous says:

      It can be severe. For example, it contributes to the self-doubt of one’s gut judgment of dangerous individuals. “I feel like staying away from that guy, but my consciousness isn’t important, so I’ll discount it.” Guy proceeds to inflict severe injuries.

      Another major one is school. “I hate it, but my consciousness doesn’t count, it’s probably not that bad.” Hint: it’s worse.

      See also; distrust for police, gut rejection of political candidates vs. intellectual ‘should support’ reactions.

      • jim says:

        Surely this is a problem with progressive rejection of “discrimination”, not materialism. Why should materialists not have confidence in their guts? We are, after all, the product of a long line of survivors.

        • Alrenous says:

          First, there’s a reason I call it secular anti-consciousness, not materialist same. We’re also from a long line of what would now be called superstitious thedes.

          Second, I’m talking here about what is, not what should be. Secularists often, usually, reject their consciousness as an epistemic entity, and this is an opportunity for totalitarian scum.

          • jim says:

            Communism and Fascism both go back to Kant, Marxism to Kant via Marx, Nazism to Kant via Heidegger and Barres.

            Kant, Heidegger, and Barres all took consciousness as primary and the world as unreal. Marx rejected the senses as a source of truth, bringing him close to Barres’ position.

            Kant, Heidegger, and Barres were not materialists. Marx claimed to be a materialist, but rejected the primacy and reality of the senses.

          • jim says:

            I don’t see that progressive, nazi, or commie secularists reject their consciousness as an epistemic entity. It is more that they reject the external world as epistemic entity (“Discrimination!”)

            Hence Ayn Rand’s analysis that it all began with Kant, which is true in the sense that bad philosophy leading to Marxism began with Kant, though I put the rot as starting with the British anti slavery movement, which required left Christians to toss their bibles.

            They could have rolled back slavery in a more Christian and less confrontational way, buying out the existing slaves, and making enslavement illegal under ever wider circumstances. (Enslavement has always been illegal under some circumstances. “He who stealeth a man and selleth him shall be put to death”, but had they opposed slavery in a way consistent with their religion, it would not have given them power.

            So I would say that in the mainstream, Christianity died in the anti slavery movement, and Kant stepped up to the place, one of the many attempts to fill the vacuum.

          • Alrenous says:

            It wouldn’t be the first time a philosophy has gotten inverted due to being discredited. Kant in particular I’ve seen fall victim to fashionable poo-flinging. However, it probably isn’t inverted, and Kant was a carrier rather than patient zero.

            Marx rejected whose senses? His own senses. Reported through the consciousness. Rejecting everyone else’s senses is a reasonable extension of this conclusion. (Indeed, in the hypocrisy circuit’s view, that’s the point.)

            Indeed most idealisms are anti-consciousness. They reject most parts of consciousness in favour of pure logic, which is neither (obviously) part of the material world, nor requires the existence of minds to be true.

            “It is more that they reject the external world as epistemic entity “

            That’s just humans. Most people most of the time reject physical reality in favour of social reality. Zoism is most natural, is it not?

            Thing is, proggies reject in the internal world as well. Nihilism is worse than Zoism. Their idealism is such it thinks it could survive the annihilation of humanity. It could also survive the death of the universe. Two plus two is four even if nobody knows it, and even if there’s no actual particles to add together.

            While Christianity can be somewhat anti-consciousness, it’s also clear that progressivism (or Sophistry more generally) was still somewhat pro-consciousness in the time of anti-slavery. The anti-slavery thing rests ultimately on disgust with slavery, and pity for the slaves. Current feminism, by contrast, only relies on pity for women in peasants. For the elites, it’s all about logical consistency. A false and shallow consistency, but it’s not like they can tell the difference.

            Incidentally, rejecting physics due to idealism is just bad philosophy. In fact, idealism and materialism imply each other’s consequences. Materialism must assume consciousness is a kind of material; in idealism, physics is the property of some sensations/ideas to be consistent across observers. Which should not come as a surprise because they must account for the same observations.

            I find that zero equals zero is a beautiful truth, but only in the presence of a consciousness to implement the beauty.

        • Alrenous says:

          I should mention I think progressive stigmatization is indeed a cause. However, without the anti-consciousness support, it wouldn’t work as well. I’d like to say it would hardly work at all, but that’s probably hubris.

  33. spandrell says:

    ” I think the mystery of the universe is the fundamental drive of our intellectual energy, all others are secondary. ”

    ROFLMAO.

    You guys gotta come to China.
    Really nobody gives a shit about the mystery of the universe outside of this blog. And maybe a couple of others.

    • Simon says:

      But spandrell, you’re going to ruin all these guys’ fun. lol.

      Reading the insane drivel spouted on this blog, and others associated with it (atheistic, leftist, utopian, materialists) makes it very easy to understand why all the massacre states of the twentieth century existed. These people are insane. Completely devoid and disassociated from reality. I finally understand why they killed Aikenhead – they must be stopped, at all costs.

    • Koanic says:

      Brodawg, I’m in Shenzhen. And u?

      • spandrell says:

        Shanghai.
        If you‘ve met any smart Chinese who shares 1/100 of your philosophical drive, bring him here and I’ll wine you and dine you both.

        Of course you’re also welcome alone. AA? though.

        • Koanic says:

          There are a few such, but they’re few and far between, even at Tsinghua. I would most likely bring my silly girlfriend. Thanks, likewise if you’re in Shenzhen. AA?

    • K says:

      I guess you are not in for a discussion anyway judging from your ROFLing attitude, but here’s is my short response:
      I was refering to the fundamental drive of some behviors of mankind as collective, which is different from the expression of individuals and what they consciously think. And I know China much better than you.

      • spandrell says:

        Is that so.
        ????????????

        I’m not really getting the fundamental drive of people beyond their conscious behavior. What I see as people’s fundamental drives are survival of self, integrity of the tribe, and other extremely simple motives.

        Really I’m not a ranty smartass who’s against philosophy in principle, not at all. But why do you have to complicate what is very simple? Most people don’t care about knowledge or truth.

      • spandrell says:

        Ok I just read above that you take social ritual as a way to kill off intellectual anxiety.

        Really? Not just to enhance the integrity of the tribe? People seek other people, then chat and gossip and sing and dance and do lots of irrational stuff.
        How is that not an expression of our evolving in tribes?

        Surely people feel like crap when they are lonely. But not because they think about the mystery of the universe. You just feel unsafe. Sure some people do go on thinking and get nihilistic. But take a random Yanomami alone and he won’t go Nietzsche.

        • K says:

          I am don’t have time for lengthy discussion, this is my shortened attempt to explain, so either you get it or we’ll agree to disagree.

          Consider this: all religions and pseudo-religious are attempts to the mystery of the universe. And you told me the mystery of the universe is relevant only to the few fellows of this blog? Human consciousness, what they consciously think, is a very small part of mental activity, and an even smaller part of the culture. Followers follow without knowing what makes them follow.

          With higher intelligence, intellectual anxiety become a bigger part of our drive. In simplier words, to kill boredom and uncertainty. Social rituals are developed as a result of all drives combined. Without the intellectual drive, social activities will be very different.

          > Surely people feel like crap when they are lonely. But not because they think about the mystery of the universe.

          And why do they feel bad? Assuming survival isn’t a problem, it’s because otherwise they have nothing to do and life feels unfathomable and nihilistic and ultimately drive people crazy. So they need stuffs to give meaning and certainty to fill the intellectual void. Most importantly, we have religions and cultural or tribal pursuits. People often go on to have kids citing the reason that it gives them a meaning of life otherwise life feels empty. Not that it is bad thing. It is no accident that many (most?) high performing intellectuals prefer being lonely and avoid social rituals, because there are more important things that occupy their intellectual needs.

          • K says:

            Correction: I didn’t mean social rituals were initially developed to kill intellectual anxiety, but that social rituals are good ways to kill the anxiety.

          • K says:

            More correction: Just noticed that it was you who first said “social ritual” and I was somewhat misled in my reply. Originally I said that those are mostly rituals to kill anxiety, but didn’t say all social rituals are to kill anxiety.

          • jim says:

            Consider this: all religions and pseudo-religious are attempts to the mystery of the universe.

            This not apparent to me. New Age takes the universe as given, and supposes it to work by magic, or just does not think about how it works at all. Christianity, Judaism, and to a lesser extent Islam is about a creator god, but Hinduism is not.

            Communism is not about the mystery of the universe, but, like Hinduism, primarily about the mystery of social reality.

            Buddhism, like New Age, takes the universe as given, and when it thinks about the universe at all, which it seldom does, turns into Hinduism.

            Progressivism is, roughly speaking, Christianity transliterated to this world, (thus abandoning interest in the mystery of the universe) plus, with the influx of Jews, a large dose of Marxism, which was never interested in the mystery of the universe in the first place.

          • K says:

            @jim

            You just have a narrower definition than what I meant. I don’t mean functionally understanding how it works. Except communism and its associates, which I don’t consider as pseudo-religions, the rest are attempts to settle the quest of making sense of one’s existence in the universe, the mystery. “Work by magic” qualifies a stop sign to the quest.

        • K says:

          I re-read my original post and there may be some misunderstanding. Points restated:

          I think the mystery of the universe is the fundamental drive of our intellectual pursuits.
          People perform religions and life rituals to kill intellectual anxiety but this also kill any rational intellectual pursuits associated with it. Hence an intellectual suicide.

          This doesn’t mean most people are consciously thinking about the mystery of universe. Most people just feel bored and insecure without some life rituals. Hope that clears thing up.

          • spandrell says:

            I think people evolved in groups and without constant group support they feel unsafe.
            Of course smart people can avoid that to some extent, but they still get lonely. Tribalism is half the brain.

            As Jim says, most religions, and most religious people. don’t really care about the mystery of the universe. Mysteric religions were mostly imposed, people left to their own devices simply throw a party regularly to ask for rain or thank for a good harvest.

  34. spandrell says:

    Jim, I am very unimpressed with the inability to input Unicode in your comments. I won’t sleep tight tonight if I can’t answer Mr. K’s brag.

    • jim says:

      Testing unicode ‰

      Works for me using & # notation

      • spandrell says:

        Well Chinese wasn’t working.
        ??????

        • jim says:

          If you directly paste chinese in, it will not work. However you can enter chinese in a painful manual manner by using
          & #21488; & #21271;
          台北

          • spandrell says:

            Well you’d better fix it if the brave Chinese are taking over the economy as you like to say.

          • jim says:

            OK, fixed

            台北

            I can now directly paste chinese into comments, so I suppose that you can also.

            [预告]代表团将酝酿协商国家机构组成人员人选
            [民意直达]网友“E提案”连续三年走进全国两会
            [最受关注代表委员]刘丽 赵本山 郁钧剑
            [热词、热语]政协闭幕 “征婚”视频是个误会

  35. […] Christianity and morality « Jim’s Blog […]

  36. RS says:

    > I pick up a hot object. Ouch. Temperature seems to be at least as real as consciousness, regardless of whether it is an ontic fundamental. Temperature is at least as real as the stone that Samuel Johnson kicked to refute Berkeley.

    It’s not hot to the thermophile bacterium Thermus aquaticus, who does not say ouch.

    The hot water does not say ouch. A simple robot designed to recoil/retract from damaging temps does not say (feel) ouch, that we know of. Only you and Johnson do. Your pain is a matter of consciousness, not of the physical world insofar as we are able to give an account of it. If Berkeley and other idealists more or less denied the physical world, that was their folly ; Bill Clinton and I feel your pain.

    Many emergentists would say boiling point is an emergent property, but the water doesn’t know it’s boiling. It just knows “hey, my momentum just exceeded my electromagnetic affinities for other waters (polar, van der Waals etc), so I’m going flying off, bye!” Therefore, what happened during boiling is nothing special — whatsoever — until someone came along and called it special. A drop of water flexes or deforms, a tide ebbs, then the next moment ebbs a little faster: this is just as special. An O-H bond rotates within a water, as happens some ungodly number of times per second: this is equally special.

    • RS says:

      Of course I can’t really say the same about superconductivity, being too weak mathematically to begin to study such topics

    • jim says:

      Thermophile bacterium do not know what is real. I know what is real. Obviously to know stuff needs a sufficiently large and functional system. A part of that system is not going to know anything.

  37. RS says:

    > It can be severe. For example, it contributes to the self-doubt of one’s gut judgment of dangerous individuals.

    Not to get all godwin, but now that I think of it, it could probably also contribute (something) to putting people in camps and lining them up and shooting them and all that good stuff.

    • Alrenous says:

      It could, yes.

      “This feels wrong. But that’s subjective, and lebensraum is objective…”

      • jim says:

        That is not in fact the position taken by the Nazis, who were subjectivists, or, in modern terminology, intersubjectivists.

        Nazis, like progressives, held that truth was relative to the group, defined by the group.

        To a progressive or a Nazi, If the scientific consensus of the right people is X, then X really is true, just as when the supreme court says that the constitution means X, it really does mean X. That, to them, is what “true” means.

        The disagreement between Nazis and progressives is merely who/whom. Our right people are better than your right people.

        • Alrenous says:

          Jim, you misunderstand my position, as you just argued for it, not against it. This misunderstanding is probably because I said something in a stupid way, so I’m going to try several ways in the hope that one of them isn’t misleading.

          Scientific consensus defines what is objective. While in practice it is of the right people, it is supposed to be by the right methods. Impersonal methods. It’s a humanism that tries to deny humans any role in its machine.

          Put another way, it isn’t particularly intersubjective, because it denies the validity of the subjective nature of the subjects. What you observe is not valid because it was not observed scientifically. All things which can only be observed subjectively are considered to not exist.

          I think that bears repeating: the scientific consensus is that what you feel is invalid. It is “really true” that you don’t feel certain things that you in fact feel. For example, if the right people agree that someone isn’t racist, they can feel utter contempt and disgust for another race, without being racist.

          If they were consistent, they would have to deny the observations of the scientists as well, as all observations are subjective at base. In practice, they deny the scientific observations of the wrong people, and contort into pretzels to anoint the observations of the right people. “Scientific” epistemology is used as a bludgeon to beat the kulaks. Unfortunately the kulaks don’t know any better but to accept this bludgeoning, as their only clue to its utter wrongness is their instinctive rejection of it, which is unfashionable to think, let alone notice out loud.

          • jim says:

            Well, at least now I know that I don’t understand what you are saying.

            Galileo and Feynman explained that scientific consensus was not. To say the same thing less cutely, consensus is anti scientific. In my terminology, consensus elevates intersubjective “truth” over the reality of the senses. A consensus of supposed scientists will always have the same social dynamics as a conclave of Bishops, generating doctrine, rather than reporting observation.

            Perhaps you are saying that a conclave of bishops that pretends to itself that it is a committee of scientists generating scientific consensus is apt to produce totalitarian doctrine, whereas a conclave of bishops that actually knows it is a conclave of bishops is less likely to produce totalitarian doctrine?

            I think that bears repeating: the scientific consensus is that what you feel is invalid. It is “really true” that you don’t feel certain things that you in fact feel. For example, if the right people agree that someone isn’t racist, they can feel utter contempt and disgust for another race, without being racist.

            I don’t see this at all. It is just who/whom, as, for example, in the racist attacks on Clarence Thomas. I don’t see science invoked as justification, or indeed anything except power invoked as justification.

          • Alrenous says:

            I’m not familiar with Clarence Thomas.

            I’m talking about a conclave of specifically secular scientists, possibly specifically modern proggie scientists.

            Originally they rejected consciousness because it stank of Christian souls. They rejected the soul and thus the consciousness that rested on it. Now, they use the suppression and denigration of consciousness and the internal world so as to denigrate and suppress acknowledgement of the external world.

            We’re talking about this phenomenon, yes?

            “B-but, you’re looking right at me.” “Senses can be fooled!” In other words, the consciousness is irrelevant, to consensus-science. You did not observe what you observed yourself to observe. (Ad infinitum.)

            I don’t see much point in determining if they’re materialists or idealists, though. Perhaps secular now means the combination of anti-idealist and anti-materialist.

            • jim says:

              I’m talking about a conclave of specifically secular scientists, possibly specifically modern proggie scientists.

              Originally they rejected consciousness because it stank of Christian souls. They rejected the soul and thus the consciousness that rested on it. Now, they use the suppression and denigration of consciousness and the internal world so as to denigrate and suppress acknowledgement of the external world.

              We’re talking about this phenomenon, yes?

              The cartoonist depicts them as Bishops, or possibly archbishops, not scientists, depicts them wearing full religious regalia, speaking literally ex Cathedra, that is to say, speaking out of the Cathedral. The cartoonist explicitly invokes the Christian roots of Cathedral pseudo science, through their dress, and through the high tower from which they speak.

              I, and presumably the cartoonist that you link to, interpret the phenomenon of which you speak as the post Christian heretical spawn of Christianity seizing and conquering science, in the same way as they are seizing and conquering the churches of the religion of which they are a heretical offshoot.

          • Alrenous says:

            Do we agree that love is a good thing? If not, substitute anything you find beautiful.

            What happens when a secularized peasant feels love? Their first response is to wonder if they’re really in love. This blunts it directly.

            [Due to an editing accident, I unfortunately deleted most of your comment]

            • jim says:

              It is not apparent to me that this comes out of the scientific worldview. The scientific atheistic worldview, which we find on blogs such as heartiste, is that natural selection makes each kind to enjoy doing what it needs to do to survive as an individual and a species, that since in the ancestral environment it was hard for children to survive if raised solo, therefore sociobiology, natural selection, shaped people to need someone to love, someone to live with, someone to live for, and if progressivism makes a world where this is hard to achieve, and makes people for whom this is hard to achieve, that is an indictment of progressivism.

          • Alrenous says:

            So, do you think I should pick a tag other than ‘secular’ for this phenomenon?

            I picked secular because science is not inherently anti-religion, but this phenomenon is.

            • jim says:

              Doubtless individuals, groups, and philosophies that count themselves secular cause the problems that you describe., but “secularism”, like “racism”, or “hypocrisy”, is an official Cathedral word with an official Cathedral meaning. The official Cathedral meaning of secularism is the separation of government institutions, and the persons mandated to represent the State, from religious institutions and religious dignitaries.

              The artist of the cartoon, like myself, seemed to doubt that secular institutions have in fact been separated from religious institutions and religious dignitaries.

          • Alrenous says:

            It has an official Cathedral meaning, but there’s also the set of institutions officially defined as secular. My prediction is that when someone plays up their secular status, they will also attempt to spread these problems.

            For example, you seem to call yourself materialist, not secular materialist.

            • jim says:

              My prediction is that when someone plays up their secular status, they will also attempt to spread these problems.

              Quite so, but the real meaning of “secular” is not separation of Church and State, but “our belief system is true, and should be imposed by the state, and your belief system is false, and should be crushed by the state”

              The bad outcomes of secularism are not directly the result of them adhering to the pretended meaning of secular, except in the sense that the pretended meaning is always and necessarily going to be hypocritical.

          • Alrenous says:

            I hope you’ve enjoyed this discussion; I’ve found it most helpful.

            That said I just realized materialism has the illness too. It fails to accept its ignorance about the causes or even the adaptive hooks of human sensation. The result is that most if not all materialists cannot look at sensations in and of themselves.

            Other ages accepted and pondered vastly more sensations than our age does. In my opinion, all the worthwhile ones have been discarded, ignored as much as possible.

            • jim says:

              Seems plausible, but I am not aware of concrete examples.

              On the the contrary, we see in earlier works a tendency to use far third where moderns would use close third or tight third, for example in Xenophon’s famous scene were the Greeks see the sea. During that scene the point of view employed by Xenophon the author cannot acknowledge Xenophon the warrior’s own personal sensations.

              Perhaps you could suggest some examples.

          • Alrenous says:

            Does your blog backend let you move your reply?

  38. spandrell says:

    That was fast.

    K: 我还真没感觉到你对中国有什么了解。

  39. RS says:

    > As Jim says, most religions, and most religious people. don’t really care about the mystery of the universe. Mysteric religions were mostly imposed, people left to their own devices simply throw a party regularly to ask for rain or thank for a good harvest.

    ‘Mystery of the universe’ may be a little misleading if you take it literally.

    It — spirituality, the fascinations of the high-born man of high affect and philosophic inclination — is more about the mysteries of life, human life. Violence, love, sacrifice, friendship, character, sex, death, drugs, affect, choice, suffering & despair, loyalty, illness, discipline, community, intuition, hope, exaltation, elevation of mind and style.

    But yes it’s certainly also cosmology and theology in a narrower sense.

    Numerous people do care about these things, and personally I think they used to care about them more. Of course they were as interested in the beauty of those things as in knowledge of them. As I was going on about in Foseti’s 60s thread, much of the value of traditional life was in orienting average people somewhat more towards what Evola would most succinctly describe as ‘above’. By ‘above’ he largely seems to mean some sort of supernal realm with some sort of actuality ; I myself don’t necessarily mean that. Nietzsche would just say ‘higher’.

    Since I despair of abstraction taken unmixed, I’ll mention again how everyone knows there are higher and lower faces of sexuality — whether you are actually in a horizontal attitude, or just scoping some chicks in a university lecture. When I would get all into indulgent leering at girls (unfortunately it would help here if you could fully appreciate the word ‘leer’ as a native speaker), some mescaline would blow all that out of my head for weeks, perhaps to a small extent more permanently . . . I would just see them more gloriously and beautifully, with a purer appreciation — not without cupidity, but a little less like a hankering goat, you know? As per usual I consider the psychedelics to be socially toxic in present context, and scarcely advocate their proliferation.

    Scidolatry, I allege, rather works against all that. Of course so do a lot of other things.

  40. […] discusses solutions to this problem, as did I, People of Negative Economic Value, and Red in a comment Many of these, particularly the whites, are people who could get a job if the alternative was […]

  41. RS says:

    > Communism and Fascism both go back to Kant, Marxism to Kant via Marx, Nazism to Kant via Heidegger and Barres. && Kant, Heidegger, and Barres all took consciousness as primary and the world as unreal.

    Who do you know that actually read Being & Time. I haven’t. (As a lad I worked through 150 pp of early Heidegger, all of which I have utterly forgotten. But I wasn’t very smart then.) The only person I can name is Paul Gottfried, and (presumably) two profs I had that worked on Heidegger.

    What you say about nazi ontology is true to my understanding (Judenphysik, etc), but fairly incidental. Fascism is not a matter of ontology so much as a deracinated and very hystericized version of the high-classical Anabasis eudaimonist ethics you praise in this post. I don’t mean to assert that ontology and ethics are 100% separable, just separable.

    In contrast to Sein und Zeit, Stirner and Nietzsche utterly pervaded Germany from the first war. The Duce read both ; it doesn’t necessarily matter that much that Hitler may not have read either, though he claimed some familiarity with Nietzsche according to Riefenstahl, but expressed a preference for Fichte or something. (But N is not in the famous Hitler library, so that proves he never read it!). It was in the very air if you believe Aschheim’s The Nietzsche Reception in Germany, which to me has the voice of credibility. There’s plenty of simple objective evidence, such as Zarathustra being common government issue on the WWI front along with the bible. Aschheim is broadly Nietzschist on nazi origins, like me and Nolte (not that I have their learning), but a very subtle and reconsidering one.

    • jim says:

      Communism and Fascism both go back to Kant, Marxism to Kant via Marx, Nazism to Kant via Heidegger and Barres. && Kant, Heidegger, and Barres all took consciousness as primary and the world as unreal.

      Who do you know that actually read Being & Time. I haven’t. (As a lad I worked through 150 pp of early Heidegger, all of which I have utterly forgotten. But I wasn’t very smart then.) The only person I can name is Paul Gottfried, and (presumably) two profs I had that worked on Heidegger.

      I have read enough of Kant, Engels, Lenin, and Barres. My Heidegger is entirely second hand. My Marx is mostly second hand, but my communism is from real communists.

      There’s plenty of simple objective evidence, such as Zarathustra being common government issue on the WWI front along with the bible. Aschheim is broadly Nietzschist on nazi origins,

      But if Nazism comes primarily from Nietzsche, one cannot blame concentration camps on doubt on the existence of consciousness, since Nietzsche had no doubt that consciousness existed.

      Hitler’s criticisms of the Jews in “Mein Kampf” were realistic, but not such as to justify huge persecution, let alone extermination. As mistreatment of Jews escalated, so did Nazi rhetoric to justify it. Extermination caused antisemitism, rather than antisemitism causing extermination.

      I would say that the roots of Nazi genocide are environmentalist. Hitler believed that there were too many people, and if some people were to prosper, others had to die. Might as well be Jews as much as anyone else. Observe current left wingers on the food to fuel program.

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