Thoughts on the Roots of

Thoughts on the Roots of Error.

The basis of most of the false things people believe is something subtly false, and/or something obviously false. The first is rarely rooted out because few have the desire and intelligence to see such things, the second is rarely rooted out because man finds obvious things unsatisfying to ponder- unless he feels he discovered it himself.

Most men have preferred to hold something false that they thought up themselves, rather than something true that would make them like everyone else.

St. Thomas, who is less prone to exaggeration than any man who has ever lived, said “presumption is the mother of error” (e.g. because we know bodily things best, we assume bodily things are all that exist)

The break between classical and modern philosophy happened when Descartes inquired about the philosophical implications of error- not simply the errors of philosophy.

Pascal claims that most men are actually right, given their point of view.

We cannot choose whether we philosophize, but few choose to do it well.

 

 

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Vices Our Vices are our

Vices

Our Vices are our needs, and so they make us live as persons that must always be meeting their needs, as it is with starving people. No one can do all or even most of the things he wants until he provides for the things he needs, but our vices leave us continually in a state of need. As a consequence, our vices always keep us from doing what we want.

There were many things I have wanted to do, and that were very much within my power to do. I have done few of them. Our vices keep us too busy doing nothing to do anything. We might do what we want for an hour, or a day, or a scattered few days, But the demanding schedule of vice will crush what we want within minutes or hours or days, rendering it a wish, or a daydream… a thing that we must try to do later, or tomorrow, or some other time.

The basis for calling a certain habit a vice is that it keeps us from doing what we want. Certain uses of our ability to determine our own lives (freedom) result in habits that destroy our ability to determine what we want to do with our lives. There is room to dispute whether the habit of doing X or Y is a vice, but there can be no doubt at all that whatever is a vice is an action where we habitually do what is bad i.e. what we do not and cannot want. The ultimate problem with man is that he only has a vague idea of what he really wants. That being said, we are all clear enough on not wanting to be junkies, drunks, whores, obese gluttons, complainers, arrogant jerks, or stingy pinchpennies. None of these people do most of the things the want, and what few things they do, they do more often then not poorly or in a self destructive way.

Vice flips our lives inside out. We were meant to have our needs on the periphery and our wants and loves at the center of our lives. Vices make our needs central to our life, and our wants and loves get pushed further and further into the periphery, until everything we ever wanted out of life recedes and is shrouded in weakness and shadow.

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Random Thoughts on Darwinianism Vs.

Random Thoughts on Darwinianism Vs. Intelligent Design; Science Vs. Theology, etc.

(Point #1 too technical and too long. Points 3-8 presuppose some familiarity with a theory called “intelligent design”- a theory that I neither deny nor accept.)

2.) So Dawinianism sees no distinction between man and animal. In a certain sense, who cares? Geometry sees no distinction between a man and an animal either, since both are continuous quantities, neither does modern physics, since both are measurable corporeal bodies.

3.) Are all the fallacious attempts to talk about “two truths” or “NOMA” (“non overlapping and mutually exclusive” spheres of authority- ed.) really just bumbling attempts to say that philosophy and “science” do not have the same formal ratio? For example, a geometer can consider a baseball inasmuch as it is quantified and spherical, and a physicist can consider it inasmuch as it moving with a certain velocity- since both are true of a baseball, we could say that there are “two truths” about it, and two sciences which treat of it. We could go further and consider it merely as a being as such, and then we could talk about “three truths” and so on ad infinitum. In other words, if “two truths” and “NOMA” mean that there is a difference in ratio between philosophy and “science”, then they are true. But the idea that modern science “grasps the whole of reality” is the sophistical argument that confuses what is most known to us (material bodies) with what most truly is (incorporeal intelligence). Why doesn’t ID point out and explain this confusion? Explaining this sophistry is not optional, since it the very essence of the materialist position.

4.) The materialist philosophy is plausible only because the existence of corporeal beings is self- evident, whereas the existence of incorporeal beings must be proven philosophically. Where is this philosophical proof in ID? We must no doubt begin with the thing most known to us that is (in fact) incorporeal, and then prove it to be such- and this thing is our own knowledge. Plato’s proof in the Phaedo is good (the soul is not a harmony of bodily things), and Lewis follows it more or less- but it is not a rigorous demonstration, and platonic answers can dispose one to platonic errors. St. Thomas proves the point more exactly in De Veritate Q. 2, art. 2. This demonstration proceeds from a definition of knowledge as a middle term.

5.) What is the account that ID gives of “intelligence”? If it is “that by which a final cause is given to things” then how could ID expect to be a scientific theory in the modern account of science, since its formal ratio only admits of measurable and mathematical things? If people want merely to study things inasmuch as they are quantified and measurable, why should anyone object? This only means is that most people do not want to be philosophers- but this has always been the case. Most people also make the mistake that Socrates observes in the artisans: because they are wise about some one thing, they think they are wise about everything. Because Gould and Dawkins know something about corporeal, measurable being, they think they are qualified to talk about the incorporeal. But their opinions are really just a bunch of jibber- jabber. If these men are not open to learning philosophy, why bother with them? And if they are open to learning philosophy, why not teach them philosophy?

6.) Isn’t ID’s account of intelligence per accidens? To be intelligent does not mean to give purposes to things, even though if there is a purpose, there must be some intelligent being. Rather, to be intelligent means, “to be the form of another”. (cf. De Veritate, Q. 2 art 2, and Summa Theo. I, Q. 14, art. 1)

7.) If ID’s account of intelligence is “that which gives final cause to things” then it would seem to be a part of the science called “natural philosophy”. If this is the case, why is it that ID makes so little mention of anything in the science of natural philosophy? Where are matter and form? Where is motion? Where is the account of chance as “something that is only a cause per accidens”? Where is the account of time, or of place? Where does ID prove that everything that is moving is being moved by another? Where is the proof for the existence of God from motion which can be given regardless of whether the universe is eternal or not?

8.) Again, If ID is a part of natural philosophy, as opposed to what is today called “science” then ID is far more universal and abstract than science. But we have to ask: what is the goal, to rid a science of its errors, or to refound the lost science of natural philosophy? If it is the latter, read #7 again.

9.) Even if all of Darwin’s claims were true, would they affect as much as Darwin or his devotees think? Even if things come to be by chance, would it follow that they had no function or purpose? Would it change anything about the function of a car or a computer, or a fork if you found out that it was formed by chance? This Word Perfect program that I am writing on now would still be for writing, whether it was formed by a man, or by the random winds of a hurricane. In other words the question of “what a thing is” does, in a certain manner, precind from the question “how did it come to be”?

10.) On a similar point, If a chicken pecked out the greatest line of poetry ever, I would have no doubt that it was pecked “at random” but is the standard by which one judges the greatest poem random? Would any of the words in the line be things that signify “randomly”, or would they signify random things? Furthermore, what do the Darwinians mean by “random”, and is it justified by any experimental observation? I will freely admit to being conceived by a random sperm cell, and a random egg (no study of that egg or that sperm would ever reveal that it was “intended” to make the author of this blog) and yet it is not the case that I was conceived randomly in every sense- the act that did it was intentional.

11.) Even if humans came to be from monkeys, does this tell us anything about what a human being is? Does it change that I am a rational animal and therefore have moral obligations? Again, if a triangle came to be at random (or from a warping circle), would this change the fact that it is “a three sided rectilinear figure”, and therefore has certain properties?

12.) Does ID require anything more than the obvious observation that natural motions have some term? Ice freezes things, fire heats, water flows downhill… etc. St Thomas takes all these things as examples of “nature acting for an end” (SCG, III, c 1 “whether all things act for an end”) Why bother with elaborate scientific theories to prove ID? Why not just give people what they really want: a true speculative natural philosophy leading to God? Why not just explain Aristotle’s Physics, at least for starters?

13.) On a similar note, there is no opposition between teleology and determinism. Every determinist philosophy is teleological, for “that which the thing is determined to” is the end, and the form. The determinist does not posit intelligence, but this is only to say that he gives no reason for the determination. The one who calls himself “a determinist” and means that he denies intelligence is merely a person who refuses to answer the question of how things must be determined as they are (this determination requires intelligence).

14.) Do Gould and Dawkins show any understanding of what it means to act for an end? Is acting for an end even a disputable point, once one understands what is meant by the terms? Does Darwin show any understanding of the correct meaning of “a species” or “matter”? When they “attack” what they think is Aristotle or St. Thomas, aren’t they all just slaying straw men and chasing windmills? Why take any of them as deep thinkers?

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Liberalism and Conservatism �Liberal� and

2.) Because they are the sort of opinions that allow for mass appeal, they will tend to share the characteristics of a mass of people. Now masses are prone to overwhelming passions, they are powerful, they are often unified around some one object for a time, but quickly forget about it. Do not, therefore, expect liberal or conservative to mean the same thing over time, or in different countries. Expect it to have the characteistics, both good and bad, of a crowd.

3.) Because Liberal and conservative are variable, do not look to them as the ultimate standards for what is true or false. Inasmuch as one is liberal or conservative, they have some truth and some error in them. The labels were not meant to be entirely consistent, exhaustive world views, but rather a mass of opinion that allows for political life.

4.) Because they are masses of opinion that do not strive for absolute consistency, they will be (duh) inconsistent at points. This means that both will always be open to some extent to the charge of being stupid, unsophisticated, and hypocritical. This will allow for various people to continually pop up and make their careers o the follies of the other political group. Also, because opinion is often concrete, and can be dispensed and held without much subtlety of mind, the people who point out the foibles of the other opinion need not have much tact, intelligence, or restraint in speech.

5.) It is easier to be passionate about the things we believe than the things we know. This is not because opinion is more suited to passion than knowledge is (In fact, the reverse is true) but rather because opinion can be held by far more people, and therefore we will always have more people to egg us on, and whom we can talk to, so long as we stay within the realm of things believed, and not things known. In some sense, this is a corollary to the second point above: the mass can act more passionately than one man alone, and opinion belongs to the masses. Do not be surprised when people get worked up into a frenzy over their political beliefs, i.e. when they start railing about the liberals or the conservatives, etc. It is one frenzy out of a hundred that is not either a partial truth, error, or opinion.

6.) Political opinions are a very good means of attaining to philosophy, perhaps they are even the best way. But philosophy is not political opinion, rather it transcends all opinion. Philosophy can no more be described as �conservative� or �liberal� than it can be described as �mathematical� or �architectural�

7.) Conservative and liberal are political opinions, and politics is the highest practical science of man. If man were the highest thing, than politics would not need to be subject to some higher thing- but man is not the highest thing in the universe. So politics is contingent on some higher thing. There are two ways to be higher than political opinion: either you are higher than opinion, or you are higher than politics. Only knowledge is higher than political opinion, but knowledge, as was said above, is too rare to be a basis for political life, i.e, knowledge is for the few, but politics is for the many. So what is needed is an opinion that is about something higher than politics. The proper name for such an opinion is faith in God.

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