Archive for March, 2007

Because you’re worth it!

Posted: March 30, 2007 in Theo/Philo

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A few days ago I had a health screening ,I was asked to wander about in a dressing gown and my trainers !I found myself asking the nurse if I could put my shoes back on, after being weighed. I felt vulnerable and dependant on the medical staff to tell me what to do and when. I didnt realise it, but I had regressed!How quickly and seamlessly is the ‘decision making’ person reduced to the patient who cannot make any decision for themselves. There is a need to reduce people down to something less than on an equal footing with there ministering expert. Ivan Illich claimed that patients are defenceless, and are encouraged covertly to become dependant on the system.The implication is that the expert knows best and from the expert our needs are not only met but initially prescribed.

The growth of the ‘Expert’ has been spectacular in recent years; specialists have sprouted up in the most unlikely places, due in part to the increasing technical nature of society.Witness the number of Quangos (Quasi Autonomous Non Government organisations) made up of non elected members making decisions, often of a technical nature, which affect the lives of the electorate. So maybe the technocrats are really running the show?

Ivan Illich regarding the power the expert may weald:

Experts and an expert culture always call for more experts. Experts also have a tendency to cartelize themselves by creating ‘institutional barricades’ – for example proclaiming themselves gatekeepers, as well as self-selecting themselves. Finally, experts control knowledge production, as they decide what valid and legitimate knowledge is, and how its acquisition is sanctioned.’

Here then is the danger, as experts are ever increasing and ubiquitous, so as a society we have to ask if we can put our shoes back on.Witness the green lobby, or the potency of the materialistic evolutionary paradigm which is so powerful that to question the underlying assumptions, can lead to ridicule and possible career suicide for those within science.We have been prescribed too by experts, that global warming is our fault and so we need to do something, that something, the technocrats prescribe.

For the life of the Christian in church, the rise of the expert can mean the notion of personal ministry is overlooked and recedes, as we depend on the ‘full time’ professional.Os Guinness: “The old priesthood is dead! Long live the new power-pastors and pundit-priests!”

.Another reason for the loss of individual power, in tandem with an increasing technical society is, the growth of the expert as a response to our needs led, consuming society. Tony Walters considers that a reversal of the Beatles song “All you love is need” is the foundation upon which society operates.

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When thinking about the dominating view of how life as we currently experience it came to be, and the way those ideas have been expressed; it seems that there is a propensity to anthropomorphise.

As Francis Schaeffer has remarked, there has been a tendency for many who have rejected the idea of a personal beginning, to constantly return to talking about nature with a capital ‘N’ and personalising nature as ‘mother nature’ ‘she’ and  ‘her’.As a quick example, scanning through the’ New Scientist’ this week, I found this headline:

CLIMATE CHANGE – NATURE REAPS HER TERRIFYING REVENGE’.

I always though revenge was a characteristic only a person could be attributed with?

Wiki defines revenge as:
Revenge or vengeance or retribution or vendetta consists primarily of retaliation against a person or group in response to a perceived wrongdoing.’
I have yet to see any evidence supporting the hypothesis that nature has personality and can perceive wrongs done to it, then on the basis of that perceived wrong, act in revenge.

It seems living and thinking within an impersonal origin is difficult when referring to purposeless forces, if you cannot live with honesty and non-contradiction within your worldview, perhaps the worldview is at fault?What is it about people that make them want to refer to phenomena and entities as personal?Of course we use metaphor, something which aids explanations and enriches language, such as describing forces as blind.When a specific phenomenon is characterized as impersonal and this is emphasized again and again, why then do random collections of atoms such as science writers keep referring to the impersonal in ways that attribute personality?It is not using metaphor that I am concerned with, but specifically, assigning characteristics exclusive to personality and agency to that which is reckoned to be devoid of intent or personality.Where intent and agency are most conspicuous by there total absence, is the very place where they creep in through the semantic backdoor, that is in the theory of evolution.

We have genes that are selfish, we have selection and no selector, we have modification and no modifier, we have advantage and no one to assign a certain event as an advantage, except other specific groups of genes, for example the entity known as Richard Dawkins.

Moving on from the tendency to personalize the presupposed impersonal; there seems to be something of a false scaffold built around the theory of materialistic evolution, a scaffold that is more in keeping with Scientism than science.The issue is that terms used are either inappropriate or unfounded.What data can we point to that demonstrates that there are higher or lower creatures?

The late Stephen Jay Gould:

“If an amoeba is as well adapted to its environment as we are to ours, who is to say that we are higher creatures?” 

What data exist to show that a cell cares if it survives or dies?Who says survival and replication is an advantage?

James Barham:‘…just as purpose presupposes intelligence, so too intelligence presupposes purpose. In order to understand how it is possible for all living beings, including single cells, to behave intelligently, we must recognize that things matter to them in a way that things do not matter to machines.,Also

James Barham quotes Leon R Kass:

‘The desire or tendency of living things to stay alive and their endeavor to increase their numbers, which are among the minimal conditions of the theory, are taken for granted and are unexplained.’ In other words, to say that cats have been “selected” to like milk explains very little; it is actually much more informative to say that cats like milk because it’s good for them. Natural selection cannot explain this sort of goodness because it presupposes it, and no theory can explain its own premises.’

Freiheit

Posted: March 23, 2007 in Theo/Philo

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Inge Aicher-Scholl (sister of Sophie & Hans Scholl) wrote: “Perhaps genuine heroism lies in deciding to stubbornly defend the everyday things, the mundane and the immediate.

If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed.”–Benjamin Franklin 

Totalitarian Ideals come in two flavors as far as I can see, the kind that allows for other views to exist and the kind that does not. I’m using the term totalitarian in the absolutist sense rather than in regard to a state sponsored ideology.

The modern ideal of Political correctness, a totalitarian notion, rests upon the idea of tolerance and equal opportunities for all; it seeks to be inclusive and to offend no one. This sounds nice and friendly doesn’t it?The assumption of this attitude is that old structures of thought and language were instruments of oppression and exclusivity and so must be removed.

The modern day irony is that this attitude itself has become an instrument of oppression and control and as such is both totalitarian and in as much as government edicts follow this formula, and also a type of neo-fascism.

The freedoms which are currently enjoyed in the west are as a product of the Judeo Christian worldview as was held by the west up until the turn of the century (more or less).
These freedoms are associated with being made in the image of God, that ‘Man’ is Individual, moral, free and responsible. The loss of the Judeo Christian worldview means that these freedoms have an ever crumbling basis upon which to rest, Francis Schaeffer has postulated that currently only the memory of the Judeo-Christian worldview keeps these freedoms in place.

Recently in Germany the state decided that 5 children should be removed from there families and placed in state custody.

The crime that precipitated this response was judged by a court in Saxony, to be, that  these five children were being home schooled, and hold attitudes similar to there parents, who are Christians.
From a report found here, the international Human rights group president Joel Thornton said:

“Apparently, Germany has decided that it can determine when and where the children go to school; and where they live while doing so….The youth welfare, supported by the police force, can take the children out of the home at any time with or without notice.”

This state action certainly has strong echoes of a previous time in German history where freedoms were removed bit by bit. Now parents in  Germany no longer it seems have a right to any say in how there children are educated.It is the freedom to think differently from that of the ruling ideology , that led to Sophie, Hans, Alexander,Christoph, Willi and Kurt ,collectively known as the  White Rose  to make a stand against Nazi Germany , which cost them there lives.

It seems that this freedom to think differently is once again under attack in
Germany

By the Sea.

Posted: March 18, 2007 in Uncategorized

picture-0121.jpg Here are some photo’s I took recently of old Portsmouth,im still trying to understand what the evolutionary advantage of doing this is …but I guess someone will eventually make up a story.This picture  shows the Spinaker tower and gunwarf.

(Sorry if this takes a while to load, my computer is kaput  (im using one from work, which doesnt have any image compression software)Click on the images for a full size version.

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This is Liam standing in the arch from which  160,000 convicts were sent to Australia during the 17th cenury.

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Sunset’s in Southsea.close to here the Tudor war ship ‘The Mary Rose’ was raised.In the distance is the Isle of wight.

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Thinking Christianly

Posted: March 12, 2007 in Theo/Philo

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Not unrelated to the last post regarding Weltanschauung;here is a quote from Os Guinness defining the act of thinking Christianly.Notice how this definition involves every aspect and interest in life no matter how specialised.

‘Thinking Christianly is not simply thinking by Christians, nor is it thinking by Christians about Christian topics, nor is it thinking by Christians about or in order to develop a ‘Christian line.’ Thinking Christianly is thinking by Christians about anything at all in a profoundly Christian way. Where their minds are so informed and influenced by the truth of God in terms of their principles, perspectives, and presuppositions that they begin to see as God sees, though it will be in an imperfect way.’

Check your Weltanschauung!

Posted: March 10, 2007 in Theo/Philo

 

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Dominic Lawson columnist for ‘The Independent‘ recently wrote an insightful article prompted by the synchronicity of the murder of a schoolboy in London and the publishing of a report that British school children are the most wretched in the world!

Larson identifies the loss of moral values as a primary cause for both events, and shows the tension between this idea and the dominant Marxist ideology as assumed by the social service agencies both in practice and in academia within the UK.

Lawson says:

‘The Marxian loathing for organised religion is more widely appreciated, partly because it was faithfully practiced by avowedly socialist governments right up to their collapse at the tail end of the last century. It was not just that Christianity represented an alternative source of belief. That alone would not have made it so subversive. It was that at the heart of Christianity is individual salvation based on the notion of personal responsibility for one’s actions. Karl Marx’s view was that we are all mere creatures of economic determinism. What we do and what we think have nothing to do with personal autonomy. We are simply cogs in a class-war machine. ‘

Worldviews such as Marxism provide the nearest thing to a ‘systematic theology’ for the Godless,guessing a ‘direction’ in a otherwise shoreless sea.

The potency of any worldview as Udo Middelman writes, is to provide ” a continuity of categories” that is a worldview must be consistent not only internally,so that there is no logical contradictions but also externally,by which we mean the world we experience correlates with our Weltanschauung,there are no tensions.

The father of the worldview is identified as Immanuel Kant, who created the term which literally  means Welt -world,schauen-to look.

Lawson pinpoints a few tensions within the Marxist worldview he says:

‘It is slightly less well known that Marx believed that the traditional family was itself an instrument of oppression, designed by the bourgeoisie to oppress both women and children: “The bourgeois sees in his wife a mere instrument of production … The bourgeois claptrap about the family and education, about the hallowed correlation between parent and child, becomes all the more disgusting”. Strangely, Karl Marx was an exemplar of the hypocrisies of the Victorian father: intermittently devoted to his many children, leaving the exhausting business of home-keeping to his long-suffering wife, while keeping a mistress on the side – the family servant, Helena Demuth.’

Lawson goes on :

‘The Soviet communists had realised that a society in which the bonds of family life were stigmatised and undermined led inexorably to an ungovernable state of social breakdown – and they were the governors now. It is unsurprising that the social scientists on Britain’s campuses – and indeed American ones – have not universally embraced the revisionism which saved the Russians from complete social breakdown. The people running such departments are very unlikely ever to be called upon to teach the worst human results of their theories. ‘

The ultimate tension arising from a disdain for family and a denial of individual responsibility, as practised by those who cling to the failed experiment that was Marxism. is not just intellectual inconsistency, but death dealing,worldviews as the twentieth century showed; kill!

Philosophy is the only unavoidable occupation,we all have a worldview, a filter as Schaeffer says through which we view the world-how do we develop it ?

Is it caught by the culture around like a common cold or do we develop and refine it through time with added thought and experience?

What effect does worldview have on epistemology ?

What ever your opinion, a persons worldview is the most important thing about them ,and yet for many I think the worldview remains largely unexamined and unacknowledged.

G.K.Chesterton expresses the importance of worldview for its potency to manipulate history:

‘But there are some people, nevertheless — and I am one of them — who think that the most practical and important thing about a man is still his view of the universe. We think that for a landlady considering a lodger, it is important to know his income, but still more important to know his philosophy. We think that for a general about to fight an enemy, it is important to know the enemy’s numbers, but still more important to know the enemy’s philosophy. We think the question is not whether the theory of the cosmos affects matters, but whether, in the long run, anything else affects them.”

Dominic Lawson says:

‘The Soviet communists had realised that a society in which the bonds of family life were stigmatised and undermined led inexorably to an ungovernable state of social breakdown – and they were the governors now. It is unsurprising that the social scientists on Britain’s campuses – and indeed American ones – have not universally embraced the revisionism which saved the Russians from complete social breakdown. ‘

When will the academics in social sciences departments wake up ?

 

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 “The formation within geological time of a human body,”  remarked to the logician Hao Wang, “by the laws of physics (or any other laws of similar nature), starting from a random distribution of elementary particles and the field, is as unlikely as the separation by chance of the atmosphere into its components.”
This is a somewhat enigmatic statement. Let me explain. When  spoke of the “field” he meant, no doubt, the quantum field; Schrodinger’s equation is in charge. And by invoking a “random distribution of elementary particles,” Godel meant to confine the discussion to typical or generic patterns — what might reasonably be expected. Chance, again.
Under the double action of the fundamental laws and chance, Godel was persuaded, no form of complexity could reasonably be expected to arise. This is not an argument, of course; it functions merely as a claim, although one made with the authority of Godel’s genius. But it is a claim with a queer prophetic power, anticipating, as it does, a very specific contemporary argument.