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« Why Christians Know They Have Eternal Life (Right Now) | Main | Ethical Behavior: Does Motive Matter When Considering “Good Works”? »

May 23, 2013

Comments

Otto,

It seems I’ll have to add a few posts to allow this to “take”.


You suggested this: “Your phrasing suggests that you count empathy among these "cruel behaviors"


It is funny that you appeal to mathematical frequency to define Good. That road takes us to some harsh places, where such is used to define Good, that is. Whatever Nature does, and whatever it does lots of, is, well, what is Good. Now, we can veer off of this path but to do so we must invoke a set of Supra-Natural lines in the sand which Nature and its slave Nurture both insult or contradict, which invokes God, for if Nature does not define herself then some greater Something must do so, or, we must invent a fantasy, which invokes nonsense. I’m not really interested in fantasies and fairy tales, Otto.


As to your suggestion: I never said that. You said empathy exists, and I agreed, and then added the ugly stuff (which you’ve yet to embrace) and then you seem to never come back to touch on this, which to me suggests that this makes, in your mind, null and void the “evilness” of the empirically verifiable existence of, say, the massive slaughter of our last one hundred years, or, things like sex trafficking, or, things like the slaughter yet ongoing in Africa, and so on. And, of course, the itches which yet drive the male of our species to abuse and misuse our female counterpart. And so on. Again, as we’ve observed, we need not stop at these crimes against Personhood, though. No. We need not stop there at all. The list goes on, Otto, though you’ve yet to embrace the empirical in these matters. The various forms of slaughter yet embraced by the evolutionary process, which yet impugn the genome’s self-ish-ness, reek of love-less-ness.


But you like Frequency. Very well.


When it comes to the vast ocean of Time thus far in play and to the biological oddity of “life” that is to this universe a statistically, shall we say, insignificant, blind cul-de-sac within the vast ocean of Life-Less-Ness, it seems Mathematics (your appeal to Truth insists we go here to define Value) shows us yet more bad news for your assertions. Where Life is concerned, if, say, a few billion years is the overall Clock, the Whole-Show, let us look at the last few milliseconds, Otto, to see just how “far” “love” has come (on naturalistic terms).


You want us to use Mathematical Frequency to see how “far” love as “come”. Okay.


To begin well into this Clock of billions of years, while tooth and claw yet rule, which the past 100 years has trumped even still, we find a slaughter-filled nadir eons ago in some sort of ice-age where “what happens is good” (there are no moral oughts which out-weigh our neurons, per your own concession) and Life tasted the truth of the matter. And, eons ago we find yet another slaughter-filled nadir in some form of massive flood and Life tasted just no “bad” thing at all, per your definitions. And, in the last millionth of a second on the world stage we find another slaughter filled nadir in the wars of the last one hundred years amid an animal called homosapien in which natural selection’s valued itches show us they are still alive and well. More recently, in the last ten-millionth of a second on the world stage we find natural selection’s valued itch-sets yet pushing to the front as massive tribal (protect the We at the expense of the Them) dissections of one another in Africa are found yet ongoing even today, some of which may be fueled by more “evolved” homosapiens on other continents. Yes indeed, the self-ish-ness and love-less-ness of the genome is alive and well right there with all the empathy and “good” “itches”. I say “itches” because I really do not believe you hold love to be anything more than an irrationally conditioned itch. In a clock of but 24 hours we find the Ugly Nadirs riding right up into the last ten-millionth of a second. It seems Mathematical Frequency really is telling us what Nature and its slave Nurture value.

More posts to follow hopefully.....

Otto,

To continue:


We’ve only scratched the surface, Otto, of your Grand-Clock:


“The creatures cause pain by being born, and live by inflicting pain, and in pain they mostly die. In the most complex of all creatures, Man, yet another quality appears, which we call reason, whereby he is enabled to foresee his own pain which henceforth is preceded with acute mental suffering, and to foresee his own death while keenly desiring permanence. It also enables men by a hundred ingenious contrivances to inflict a great deal more pain than they otherwise could have done to one another and the irrational creatures. This power they have exploited to the full. Their history is largely a record of crime, war, disease, and terror, with just sufficient happiness interposed to give them, while it lasts, an agonized apprehension of losing it, and, when it is lost, the poignant misery of remembering. Every now and then they improve their condition a little and what we call a civilization appears. But all civilizations pass away and, even while they remain, inflict peculiar sufferings of their own probably sufficient to outweigh what alleviations they may have brought to the normal pains of man.” (C.S. Lewis)


You seem to call these (ugly stuff) a “regress” as if they are new upon the world stage, when the fact is that they’ve never left, Otto, or you seem to call these a “regress” without telling us how this definition of regress is tenable on naturalistic terms given that Life-Less-Ness affronts no innate moral ought in this universe (per your own concession) and when all the evidence points towards Life-Less-Ness as the greater reality, the statistical norm, in this universe on the whole. Statistical norms. There’s something to consider. Life-Less-Ness. Just no life at all.


You do seem to appeal to Mathematical Peaks as the “Good”. Well then:


"Look at the universe we live in. By far the greatest part of it consists of empty space, completely black and unimaginably cold. The bodies which move in this space are so few and so small in comparison with the space itself that even if every one of them were known to be crowded as full as it could hold with perfectly happy creatures, it is still difficult to believe that life and "happiness" are more than a mere by-product to this universe's forces. As it is, however, the scientists think it likely that very few of the suns of space....perhaps none except our own... have any planets; and in our own system it is improbable that any planet except the Earth sustains life. And Earth herself existed without life for millions of years and may exist for millions more when life has left her.” (C.S. Lewis)


Life-Less-Ness. Statistics and Mathematics may, as you asserted in a prior post here, define Good, but I do disagree with you, Otto, for, I hold that Life is innately and eternally better than life-less-ness.


You have no grounds at all to make such a claim, yet you go on and on as if you can find such philosophically coherent grounds.


When the universe faces you with no life at all you seem to think this is, shall we say “magically “bad” while life is, shall we say, “magically” an actual “good” yet your appeal is to “what happens is good” and to mathematical peaks of frequency both in the Whole-Show and on this planet’s Clock right up till the last ten-millionth of a second. Now, if you have a moral ought which outweighs actual events which actually happen such as Life-Less-Ness both before the Big Bang and most certainly soon to come again on our planet before much time at all has passed (time relative to the universe on the whole) then I will be happy for you to show us such a moral ought. Yet you seem to insist that all of these definitions exist merely within the reverberating fantasies inside our skulls. You are all over the map in your definitions and assertions, Otto.

And this is the startling and disturbing inconsistency in all your appeals to “good”. You claim, “No, good and evil are not Necessary, Immutable Truths which precede or outlast us” and then proceed to dialogue as if life is “Good” and slaughter is “Evil” and that such assertions about Good and Evil are somehow something more than fantasies inside our skull, or, are some sort of universal reality. Well, there is reality and there is fantasy, Otto. Which will it be? Yes, there are statistical norms too. Yes, there is Mathematics and unfortunately it does not rescue you but instead only serves to defeat all your lines of logic on frequency and density. Life-Less-Ness is the stubborn foe which negates all your philosophy.

Otto,

To continue......


Again, reality or fantasy. Which will it be? You seem to dance back and forth. What do you have to say about Life-Less-Ness and Mathematics and Biology in the Whole-Show that is this universe? What defines “Good”? Frequency? Are you sure you want to use mathematical frequency to define Good, Otto?

The itches which drive us to shout of life, “Tis-good! Tis-good!” simply swim amid and among their biological blood-brothers: the itches which drive the male to so abuse, so misuse, his female counter part, to take life, to slaughter, to embrace, to help, to take, to harm, to have empathy, to deceive, and so on. Psychic phosphorescence, Otto, and you have yet to show us how this is not the case.


Shall we speak of Mathematical Frequency in this Whole-Show, Otto?


I want to see if you really do believe “life is good” and “slaughter is evil” is some sort of universal law which just exists and transcends “events that happen”, or, if you really do realize that, on your terms, such assertions boil down to the very same itch-sets which drive us to harm one another. The last ten-millionth of a second on the world stage, the Whole-Clock, has been rather ugly, Otto, and, even worse, the Whole-Clock is saturated, dense, yes very, very dense with Life-Less-Ness.


In particular, I want to see how it is you assert that life is “Good” and Life-Less-Ness is “Evil” or “Less-Good”, and so on in some vector that is not just an itch-set (the drive to shout such things) which is merely swimming amid yet other biological blood-brothers which are themselves itches which also potentiate the genome’s proliferation but which we find quite ugly, yet which we continue to do.…..right up till this last ten-millionth of a second in what is a Clock of Billions and Billions and Billions of days, years even. Indeed, all those ugly things which have never left the world stage. They’re still here, Otto, alive and well. I’m trying to see how you rise above the ceiling of itches inside our skulls (you seem to want to do this, but have yet to succeed) and I’m trying to see if you’ll embrace statistical norms (Mathematics, Truth) where Life-Less-Ness is concerned.


You seem unwilling to define good based on mathematical frequency. Is there a Good which Nature cannot herself define?


More to follow hopefully...

Otto,

To continue....


You commented: "empathy" is "cruelty" in your logic”

I don’t know how you got to this. I think you are just being evasive with this sentence. Empathy exists, I said, “So too.... the ugly itches….”. Now, “too” means “also”, and does not mean “does not exist”. I think you got that but are simply growing tired with having to be evasive. I keep coming back to the ugly things which you seem to avoid defining with terms of actuality and reality rather than in terms of our various fantasies and itches, all of which are alive and well here on planet Earth, the good (empathy) and the evil (the list of what has never left us is quite long), and so on. Empathy’s biological blood-brothers are numerous in nature’s family clan of slaughter, deception, and so on.

You commented: “you attribute assertions to me that have nothing to do with my stated position”

I am attributing these following assertions to you, and have been all along, based on your own terms of natural selection in one corner and Life-Less-Ness in another corner and mathematics in another corner and the utter non-reality of any moral laws in the fourth corner:


1) The assertion, the feeling, that the Proliferation of life is “Good” ultimately dies the death of a mere fantasy bubbling up inside the lipid bi-layers of irrationally conditioned neurons, just like its biological blood-brothers there in those itches of the male to so abuse, so misuse his female counter part, to slaughter, to have empathy, to hate, to deceive, and so on. All these irrationally conditioned neuronal itches exist now due entirely to natural selection, and all have benefited the perpetuation of the genome quite will (that’s why they’ve been selected for). There is no innate moral distinction at all anywhere for us to lay our finger on other than fantasies (itches) inside our skulls, for as your philosophy concedes, “No, good an evil are not Necessary, Immutable Truths which precede or outlast us”.

2) It is true after all: there is no moral-ought which was insulted by life-less-ness prior to the Big Bang, and, there is no moral-ought which is, right now, insulted by the taking-of-life, for life-less-ness is not an innate crime in this universe, and is in fact the Mathematical Norm, the Highest-Frequency, and violates no Innate Law although it may violate the fantasy of some monkey or human or lizard as they yet (the ugly stuff has never left the world stage….right up till this last ten-millionth of a second) prey upon their own species and other species outside, and, also, there is no moral-ought which will be, once life ends on this planet we call Earth (given the evidence, such will most likely come about), insulted by such life-less-ness once it actually does come about. Statistically speaking, that is to say, Mathematically speaking, Life is on the whole an incredibly insignificant blind alley in this Whole-Show, and a rather cruel one, right up till this last ten-millionth of a second. Who knows what our itches will bring in the next billion years as the sun expands and the earth implodes.


You wanted us to apply evidence-based Mathematics to our value systems of biology. Well, we are.

Otto,

To continue:


It is worth repeating: Statistically speaking, that is to say, Mathematically speaking, Life is on the whole an incredibly insignificant blind alley in this Whole-Show, and a rather cruel one, right up till this last ten-millionth of a second. Who knows what our itches will bring in the next billion years as the sun expands and the earth implodes. You wanted us to apply evidence-based Mathematics to our value systems of biology. Well, we are.

You commented: “the universe is cruel, and ... um, well, God is Love!” (obviously disagreeing with such a notion etc.)

This sentence is helpful as it opens many doors:


1) If you want to lay down your assertion that Love is the Final Ethic, the End of all Regress, then we do disagree here on the ultimate ethic and all your appeals to empathy and love are also laid down for you would have to concede that the ultimate ethic is “what happens” and thus embrace the vast ocean of Life-Less-Ness as the greater good (statistical norms and mathematics, Otto).


2) Or, if you want to insist that life outweighs Life-Less-Ness in this universe and provide evidence for little green men out there then we can reconsider how Moral Ought out-weighs Physical Statistics in Theism but not in Atheism.


3) Or, if you want to ignore the pain and suffering in this world and think it is all somehow “non-existent” then we disagree. But I think we agree that such exists, though you are evasive in claiming such itches as a “valued customer” of natural selection.


4) Or, if you want to assert that the universe is in fact full of cruelty (evil) and love (good) then we agree and suddenly Atheism in general and your adjusted version of it in particular run into a problem whereas Love’s presence at the end of all regresses (God is Love) does not, and that problem is to explain how this is all actually Good and Actually Evil in a way which is higher than the atheist’s ceiling of mere itch-sets and fantasies inside our skull juxtaposed to their biological blood-brothers found in yet other itch-sets which drive us to so misuse one another right up till this last ten-millionth of a second. Nadir after Nadir after Nadir…..they just keep coming and the reason is because nature and nurture (which is nature’s slave) just do whatever works (your words, not mine). Well, it seems C.S. Lewis was correct in his analysis.

I’ve seen nothing in anything you’ve written which provides us with any notion of innate value to Life in general and to Personhood in particular, and this by your own concession. I’ve seen nothing in what you’ve written which provides us with Love as a necessary ethic in general nor as a final ethic in particular, nor as our necessary end of all regresses, and this by your own concession. And all the while you scream, "Mathematical Frequency" as your shield and yet even now, in this last millionth of a second on our Grand Clock, all the math is still betraying you.

Again, Otto, your entire philosophy is a walking contradiction because all your philosophy betrays and rejects ultimately your passion for unearthing love’s innate-ought-ness and yet you cling blindly to your philosophy all the while struggling to believe the fantasy of “Love-Ought!” And this despite the fact that all the Mathematical comments on Frequency wholly reject your appeal to “life is better than life-less-ness”.


Now, where the Whole-Show is concerned, we find a description of the Whole-Show readily accessible and which maintains as concrete actualities all those things which you keep shouting about but which you cannot rescue from the realm of mere fantasy, of mere itches which swim with all their biological blood-brothers in those ugly itches. Things like Volition of Consciousness, Volition of Reason, Ought-Love. Things like Moral Oughts which transcend simple mathematics of physical system densities, which transcend Time, which transcend whim and itch.

As your fist-shaking testifies of the truth of such things, that this Whole-Show actually possesses such Actualities as all these things there is that which this entire opening piece (initial blog post) has been about all along, and it is scripture’s description of the horrible pain and misery which Love-Less-Ness brings within the fatally and Eternally-Isolated-Self, and of the fullness and resolution of all tensions which Love brings within and by Love’s Eternally-Sacrificed-Self.


The pain of Love’s destruction by the Self’s Volition which leads to that fierce imprisonment within the Eternally Isolated Self is necessarily available to any Created Self due to its Volition accompanying its innate Insufficiency and we find that Love rescues such fatal moves of any Created Self quite easily by Love’s Eternally Sacrificed Self for the Self which forever empties-out thus readily forever fills-up the Self thus Isolated as Love forever pours Him-Self out for His Beloved. In-Sufficiency is herein forever filled-up by All-Sufficiency, worlds without end. The interior vectors which comprise Power’s Will towards Love’s begetting of yet more Love are eternally found within and among these everlasting rivers which cannot run dry, which forever empty-out and which forever fill-up there within Love’s necessarily triune I-You-We wherein the Whole-Show ultimately takes us according to every verse and every chapter where all of scripture is swallowed up as all vectors converge ultimately within God-In-Man finally, Man-In-God finally, that is to say, Love-In-Man finally, Man-In-Love finally, for God is love.

Otto,


William Lane Craig makes an notable comment where natural selection is concerned: ".....what shall I say in response to your final paragraph? "C'mon Man!" You know better than that. You can be a theist and a Christian and accept the documentary hypothesis of the Pentateuch as well as a Darwinian theory of evolution, if you think that's where the evidence leads.”


Link here. Now Q&A #253 (“Evolutionary Theory and Theism”) and Q&A #269 (“Who Speaks For Science”) touch on this as well.


Scripture both embraces and maintains all that we find in this world, the Ugly, the Good, the Evil, and so on, and it does this while providing for Volition of Consciousness, Volition of Will, and Volition of Reason all embodied and tied into, yet free from, purely physical systems, and it provides for Immutable Ought which transcends Time, which transcends Itch, and which transcends Physical Systems and yes, which even transcends the naturalist’s god of the Highest Frequency (which is Life-Less-Ness).


The key problems with all your philosophy is that you are not letting Nature define Good. The Highest Frequency is, first, Life-Less-Ness, and, then, where Life shows up, we have our Clock of Billions of years, and you seem to evade embracing everything, right up till the last ten-millionth of a second, as that which Natural Selection finds useful and thus retains. You are subtly trying to smuggle in through the back door the notion that there is a distinction to made. But where and at what time?


When Man appears on the stage, all our records, all evidence, shows us Man as we now find him where social traits are concerned, where tendencies are concerned, where learning is concerned. We find Man alive, Man at war, Man in love, Man learning, Man in the fight for his life, Man in Worship, Man in pain, Man in hate, Man in cruelty, Man in empathy, and so on. Your entire story of some sort of imaginary plane of progress, where Evidence for Mankind is concerned, shows us nothing which is not still with us as all that we find has never left us. Unity and Division. Love and Hate. Empathy and Cruelty. Learning and rising to Joy and rebelling against Light and falling into Misery. All can be traced back to whatever evidence we have on Man eons ago, and, all are still right here with us today.


Your show of plane of progress is both imaginary and also without real evidence.


There has been zero progress since Eden, since our earliest records of Man Alive on the Stage, though, thankfully the Light of God’s Love and of Christ’s teaching that there is innate worth in ALL people, that there is no value distinction between male and female, Jew or Gentile, Free nor Slave, whore nor priest, thief nor saint, sick nor healthy, adult nor child, and, that Christ tells husbands to lay down their lives for the happiness of their wives, to surrender their “Self” for her “Other”, and, that Christ tells the slave owner to treat his slave like he is Christ Himself, despite the mammoth economical consequences such will one day have on the slave-owners, thankfully all of this has been spreading over the globe and displacing, over the last centuries, much of the cruelty we find. Now, Natural Selection will call all these “notions of equality” mere fantasy for as you yourself tell us, there are no such things as any moral oughts. You said that, not me. “Innate equal value” is an Ought which is fantasy, per your philosophy. And thus as our population grows the idea of what works (your language, not mine) will once again be cheap slave labor in order that there will be the least pain, the least want, the least lack. Well, it certainly is tenable, given food and population and energy issues, and so on and so on: there is no ought-not as you yourself concede where natural selection speaks to these future vectors soon to weigh in on our species. But in Scripture and in theism there is an ought-not as the Light of Love’s teaching is one day laid aside for the “benefit of the species”. What works will still be “bad” while you will have to call it “good”.


Our Grand-Clock has yet more nadirs yet to come, given the evidence of Mathematical Statistics where population densities, food densities, energy densities, and so on and so on all weigh in. Well, whatever “works” right?


Whatever Nature does, and whatever it does lots of, is, well, what is Good. “What happens is what is good”. Now, we can veer off of this path but to do so we must invoke a set of Supra-Natural lines in the sand which Nature and its slave Nurture somehow insult or contradict, which invokes God, for if Nature does not define herself then some greater Something must do so, or, we must invent a fantasy, which invokes nonsense.


You want us to use Mathematical Frequency to see how “far” love as “come”? Yet you provide no evidence at all for any time in Man, with evidence, where War and Love, Empathy and Cruelty, and so on and so on are not all alive and well, right up till the last ten-millionth of a second on Man’s Grand Clock of eons. Yes indeed, the self-ish-ness and love-less-ness of the genome is alive and well right there with all the empathy and “good” “itches”. You seem to call these a “regress” without telling us how this definition of regress is tenable on naturalistic terms given that Life-Less-Ness affronts no innate moral ought in this universe (per your own concession) and when all the evidence points towards Life-Less-Ness as the greater reality, the statistical norm, in this universe. Are you sure you want to use mathematical frequency to define Good, Otto? The last ten-millionth of a second on the world stage, the Whole-Clock, has been rather ugly, and, even worse, the Whole-Clock is saturated, dense, yes very, very dense with Life-Less-Ness.

You seem unwilling to define good based on mathematical frequency. Is there a Good which Nature herself cannot define? “What happens is what is good”. Now, we can veer off of this path but to do so we must invoke a set of Supra-Natural lines in the sand which Nature and its slave Nurture somehow insult or contradict, which invokes God, for if Nature does not define herself then some greater Something must do so, or, we must invent a fantasy, which invokes nonsense.


We find that scripture accounts for all that you account for and more. Your philosophy and scripture are both fully embracing all that we find before us on the world stage. There is no nuance of cruelty, no nuance of love which go unaccounted for within scripture, but, where your philosophy attempts to bridge into Ought we find it not only hopeless, but also in self-contradiction for “what happens is what is good” allows no moral lines in the sand to be drawn between Cruelty and Empathy for both are being valued by Natural Selection right up till this last ten-millionth of a second. Where scripture goes back in time and proves the knowledge of Actual Good and Actual Evil, Natural Selection can only look at the Whole-Clock with all of its ugly and nice itches and shout of everything, “Tis-Good! Tis-Good!”


As per William Lane Craig’s three Q&A’s touched on earlier, natural selection in general provides no problem for theism in general. But reality as we know it provides all sorts of problems for natural selection in general.

It is worth repeating: You seem unwilling to define good based on mathematical frequency. Is there a Good which Nature herself cannot define? “What happens is what is good”. Now, we can veer off of this path but to do so we must invoke a set of Supra-Natural lines in the sand which Nature and its slave Nurture somehow insult or contradict, which invokes God, for if Nature does not define herself then some greater Something must do so, or, we must invent a fantasy, which invokes nonsense.

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