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United States of America
Making sense of the coming catastrophe.
Interests: Social ecology and sociology, psychology, economics, politics, gender relations, philosophy, theology, guns, and video games.
Recent Activity
If it's worth reading (i.e., not too inflammatory), I'll be reopening it.
A Facebook friend forwarded along the news of a political development back in my home state: Maryland may soon be the first state in the country to launch a registry for animal abusers. As early as next week, State Senator Ron Young plans to introduce a bill mandating that people... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2014 at Collapse: The Blog
One summer day in my very early youth, I witnessed a great storm. Over the course of an hour or two, this massive thunderhead formed, a deep, angry, stealy grayish-blue bordering on black. I remembered that it actually seemed to be swirling. In its center was an eye, a patch... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2014 at Collapse: The Blog
I haven't set a high bar for determining what counts as a valid source of knowledge, though. I'm simply saying that whatever epistemological system is the correct one must, of necessity, not be self-refuting, because a thing which self-refuting cannot possibly be true. You are correct to say we simply have to accept scientism's assumptions. (Scientism, by the way, is the more general sense in which I meant "positivism.") The problem is that scientism gives us no reason to do so; in fact, if we apply it rigorously, it positively disqualifies the validity of those assumptions precisely because science itself cannot furnish them. In essence, what scientism ends up saying is, "Metaphysics is bunk, except the ones necessary to validate this claim." But why should we let it make such an unprincipled exception? You are right that establishing that there are valid forms of knowledge beyond what are revealed to us by science tells us nothing about God or theistic principles in general. It's not intended to. This post was just to establish that metaphysical speculation of the sort indulged in by Aristotle, Plato, Aquinas, Edward Feser, et al., is *in principle* legitimate -- that we cannot disqualify them simply because they are nonscientific.
Toggle Commented Feb 17, 2012 on The Problem with Positivism at Collapse: The Blog
Abortion is a sacrament for the leftist antireligion -- ritualistic child-sacrifice on the altar consecrated to the human will. So says Joseph at Arimathea (h/t Kristor): Last month before the March for Life, I was thinking about an idea that I have encountered in recent years that abortion is a... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2012 at Collapse: The Blog
This isn't something we have to deal with a lot around here, but it bugs me nevertheless. Recently, a friend brought up the issue of homosexuality (the context was a revolting photograph she found online which I will not share, but which involved a half-nude gay man at a pride... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2012 at Collapse: The Blog
Long-time readers know that I regard employment as key to the health of any society. Employment integrates the individual with society in the pursuit of the common good; it enables him to discharge his duties to himself, his family, the state, and God; and it keeps him healthy, happy, productive,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2012 at Collapse: The Blog
Hello RClosser, welcome to the blog. As you say, at best science can offer us plenty of evidence for the assertion that there is exactly one line which can connect any two points in space. But then no one goes around saying "this claim [basically Euclid's first axiom] is supported by the evidence." They say that it is *true*, a judgment which science itself cannot furnish. Indeed, it cannot *not* be true, and we don't need science or even empirical observation of any sort to tell us this. Euclid predates the formalization of the scientific method by a millennium or two, after all. But I see what you're getting at, so let's take an example of something that is also regarded as obviously true which we know despite its nonempirical nature: the validity of scientific evidence. After all, scientific evidence can only be interpreted on the basis of the assumption that (a) objective reality exists and (b) our senses are basically capable of discerning its nature. A deficiency in either of these respects is sufficient to call scientific knowledge into question. But notice that these are pre-scientific assumptions. Science itself cannot furnish evidence to support them, or rather, we could only accept that evidence with an a priori assumption that science is basically valid as a means of acquiring knowledge. In any event, this is a nonscientific and metaphysical assertion. So if scientism is true, then it's impossible to know that scientism is true, since science wouldn't be able to tell us. Thus it must be the case, if it's true, that it's impossible to know anything. So it must be the case that it is, in fact, possible to know things through methods other than science. But if that's true, then scientism is false, anyway. In either case, it's false -- false because it is self-refuting.
Toggle Commented Feb 14, 2012 on The Problem with Positivism at Collapse: The Blog
A real gem from Dr. Charlton, posted in response to Bonald's humorous post about insufferable Catholic sermons relating Old Testament attitudes toward leprosy to "discrimination": @Kristor – “Just think if AIDS was transmitted that way. Think we’d have AIDS colonies? You betcha we would.” Actually, we probably wouldn’t, not in... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2012 at Collapse: The Blog
CoQuickAg, There is no "right" to gay marriage. That's all -- that's the gist of my objection. There it isn't a legitimate civil or natural right to it, nothing in the Constitution mandates it, and there's no compelling public interest to justify it. For a coherent treatment of the metaphysics underlying my worldview, which I cannot describe in the space of a simple comments box, I recommend reading Edward Feser's "Aquinas." "Hatred" or "fear" of homosexuality has nothing to do with it (hence the second sentence in the above blockquote). My point in that earlier post was that *even if it did*, the liberal argument against it is incoherent and internally inconsistent.
From early October of last year: A common objection to, say, the right-wing stance against gay marriage is that it's based on nothing but homophobia. Let's set aside for the moment the fact that this is a grossly reductive caricature of what we on the far-right actually believe; the reasoning... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2012 at Collapse: The Blog
Lots of breasts, Renaissance Ken dolls, and screaming. Skip it. Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2012 at Collapse: The Blog
Larry Auster observes that yet another word has been ruined by the sinister modern drive to dehumanize every institution by discussing it in the grayest and least personal terms available: Partner means, or used to mean, two people engaged together in some shared enterprise, or who are friends and are... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2012 at Collapse: The Blog
"Which prompted the all-too-familiar mocking question: 'Why dosen't [sic] your 'god' put a stop to it?'" All too familiar indeed. Calls to mind, say, Matthew 27:38-43.
Our sometimes-commenter Peter S. remarks over at Bruce Charlton's Miscellany: This is the key issue: how to find or create a spiritual ‘modus vivendi’ that allows one to be ‘in the modern world but not of it’? This is the terrible spiritual position of the individual embedded in modernity, for,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2012 at Collapse: The Blog
Speaking with a friend recently about abortion, I heard an old line I hadn't heard in a long time: "The fetus is just a bundle of cells, who cares about it?" (Or something like that). Well, in the modern reductionist worldview, everyone is "just a bundle of cells." That's why... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2012 at Collapse: The Blog
The amazing thing about the movie is that providing a balanced depiction of medieval Christendom was far from the producers' (Euroleftists all) intentions. It's pretty much the exact opposite of the normal Hollywood fare, in which they try to create a realistic and likable character who instead falls flat; here, they were trying to make a caricatural one-dimension zealot in Ulrich and instead, entirely by accident, produced this fascinating Byronic hero, simultaneously attractively noble and revoltingly cruel.
Rooting through the recent archives at Jim Kalb's Turnabout, I came across this: Scientific knowledge is knowledge of mechanism that enables prediction and control. If you treat that kind of knowledge as adequate to all reality, which scientism has to do to be workable, then human agency disappears. Human agency... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2012 at Collapse: The Blog
Speech? Certainly political expression, at least usually; that's why people burn flags after all. I don't see that that matters. Of course a Constitutional amendment explicitly vesting Congress with the power to regulate the desecration of the national flag cannot really be expanded beyond desecration of the national flag except by gross judicial overreach, from which we're not safe with or without such an amendment. Would a devoutly Christian society prohibit the desecration of the books of false religions?
Toggle Commented Feb 3, 2012 on On the Desecration of Flags at Collapse: The Blog
I remember briefly obsessing about flag-burning once during my college years; I seem to recall a flag-burning Constitutional amendment came within a vote or two in the Senate of being sent to the states. I also remember vacillating wildly about the issue. I haven't given it much thought since then,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2012 at Collapse: The Blog
An intriguing-seeming movie popped up on Netflix, one I'd never heard of before: Black Death, a 2010 film starring Sean Bean and Eddie Redmayne (Jack Builder from Pillars of the Earth). I was initially suspecting a bit of hokey trash along the lines of the awful Season of the Witch.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2012 at Collapse: The Blog
"The process seems to be a slippery-slope, unstoppable once started - until it destroys the society; for reasons I have tried to analyse in my forthcoming book (in relation to the phenomenon of micro-specialization in science)." Interesting that you bring up science (I have not yet started reading your book) -- the funny thing in reading your response is that what reactionary thought offers (offered) was something very like a theory of everything!
"Keep your morality out of politics" is an historically aberrant and deviant mode of thought, and for the simple reason that ethics and politics are not really distinct fields; rather they are distinct expressions of the same thing, fields of inquiry which lead, ultimately, to the same object. In fact,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2012 at Collapse: The Blog
See Alan Roebuck's "No Evidence for God?" in Intellectual Conservative for a useful treatment of the tendency of atheists to beg the question against theism by simply assuming, without basis, something like naturalism, materialism, or positivism to be true -- in other words, assuming the natural/material/empirically observable world is all... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2012 at Collapse: The Blog
How is the "problem of evil" regarded as a problem at all? The claim that God is omnibenevolent is not evidential but metaphysical: He is good as a matter of necessity. Theodicy, properly understood, then, is simply an endeavor to reconcile the fact of evil with the necessity of God's... Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2012 at Collapse: The Blog