Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Well you can't argue with "logic" like this. Or can you?

I remember studying Descartes in high school and being extremely excited about the simple statement that we can know nothing other than "I think, therefore I am."

However in the next chapter Descartes completely undermined the brilliance of his argument, by succumbing to his own weakness and need to believe.

Descartes seemed unable, or unwilling, to recognize that the concept of a perfect God was not born out of whole cloth, but rather an evolving perception that went through multiple stages before settling on what for him was an undeniable truth.

I think that was the first time that I was completely aware of how dangerous self deception could be even to those with a powerful intellect.

34 comments:

  1. Anonymous3:16 AM

    Let's assume the argument is brilliant (I have no idea if that's the case). But one could replace "God" with anything and the same argument would brilliantly argue for the existence of the replacement. That is, the argument is not specific to anything. Go ahead, replace "God" with "Santa Claus" or "Easter Bunny". See what I mean?

    For me, this is just an example of confirmation bias. The person arguing has a belief ("it must be true"). They're just trying to convince themselves (or others) that their belief is based on sound logic or reason. This is really hard to do in modern civilization where the threshold for belief is much higher -- we're very skeptical of supernatural explanations of any phenomenon.

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    1. Boscoe7:02 AM

      yeah, I've heard creationists use the rationale that "the universe is based on orderly principles, so clearly someone had to create that order". What's interesting to me is that I look at it the opposite way: If an all-powerful magical being created whatever he wanted, why would everything conform to uniform, orderly physics?

      Delete
    2. fromthediagonal8:08 AM

      Creatonists' circular arguments at best.

      Delete
  2. Anonymous3:18 AM

    Blah, blah, blah, atheists are the only true smart people, blah, blsh, blah.

    This crap gets old really fast.

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    1. Anonymous5:07 AM

      It's obviously over YOUR head.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous5:28 AM

      Did 3:18 strike a nerve?

      Delete
    3. Anonymous5:43 AM

      Try thinking a little instead of reacting.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous6:35 AM

      haha What gets old really fast is xtians refusing to listen to an opposing viewpoint because it implicates them in their brand of blasphemy.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous6:52 AM

      3:18--Why are you here then, since it's Gryphen's blog, you know he is an atheist and often posts about his opinions, so what exactly are you expecting?

      Delete
    6. Your knee jerk reaction is what's getting old.

      Delete
  3. Anonymous3:55 AM

    Rumor this mornimg Trump sent private plane to get palim for hee endoresent tonite in iowa via @maggiNYT

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  4. Anonymous3:55 AM

    Rumor this mornimg Trump sent private plane to get palim for hee endoresent tonite in iowa via @maggiNYT

    ReplyDelete
  5. Boscoe4:11 AM

    I guess Descartes didn't get around to "if there is an all-knowing all-perfect God, then why do babies get bone cancer?"

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    1. Or, "if there is an all-knowing all-perfect God" why is there such a thing as a Palin?

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  6. Anonymous4:12 AM

    Actually, it is quite possible that Descartes was an atheist. The dogma of his time, however, required that he not contest the doctrines of the Church.

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    1. Anonymous6:31 AM

      He was probably smart enough to declare himself whatever creed it took to keep himself alive.

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  7. Alan Watts said, "Irrevocable commitment to any religion is not only intellectual suicide, it is positive unfaith because it closes the mind to any new vision of the world.

    "Faith is, above all, openness -- an act of trust in the unknown... No considerate God would destroy the human mind by making it so rigid and unadaptable as to depend upon on book, the Bible, for all the answers.

    "For the use of words, and thus of a book, is to point beyond themselves to a world of life and experience that is not mere words or even ideas. Just as money is not real, is not conssumable wealth, books are not life.

    "To idolize scripture is like eating paper currency."

    From: The Book of the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are.

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    1. Boscoe7:07 AM

      Ooh, I love me some Alan Watts (the zen teacher and philosopher, not Alan Watt the crazy radio show conspiracy loon)

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  8. Anonymous4:32 AM

    Are high school students today ever introduced to any of the world's great thinkers, including Descartes?
    Beaglemom

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  9. Anonymous4:46 AM

    Self deception is dangerous even to an atheosexual such as yourself. Always gotta fire off your "intellectual firearm" to feel superior to others.

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    1. Anonymous5:20 AM

      So you personally insult Gryphen instead of offering a different alternative. Because making a convincing case for your belief system is beyond your capabilities? Or you just come here to do the exact same thing you accuse Gryphen of, i.e., indulging in your own self-perceived superiority? Whatever, from what I recall of my long ago religious indoctrination, your "witnessing" is an utter failure, and simply an exercise in Pharisee-ism. Go back to Bristol Palin's fake Christian blog, after all, you're paying for it.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous6:27 AM

      Soooo:

      1. Who made your god?
      2. If god KNOWS all that was/is/will be - Why didn't he realize his first creations (Adam and Eve) would fuck up right out of the gate?
      3. If god knows all (etc.), How and why did he NOT see the battle w/ satan coming?
      4. Why is there absolutely NO Historical Evidence from the First Century C.E., for jesus? And/or, earthquakes, 3 hours of darkness? The Romans kept pretty good records...
      5. Why is there NO historical evidence for the Exudes? NONE - ?
      6. Why would an all-knowing-god reduce itself to a brutal BLOOD sacrifice - just like so many other religions of the same area/time?
      7. Why would god only reveal itself to illiterate bronze age Hebrews? And before any method of recording such?
      8. God is love? Before he sends you to HELL for ETERNITY - for NOT believing and UNBELIEVABLE story? Would you do that to your kids?
      9. If the Buy-bull is 'the inerrant word of god' - then why so many inconsistencies and contradictions? I.E.: 'God cannot defeat iron chariots'...
      10. Talking snakes? Virgin birth? Talking/burning bushes? Living in a big fish for 3 days?

      I could go on - But my 'intellectual firearms' might SMITE your ignorant ass...So tell me again how your beliefs are so SUPERIOR to Gryphens LOGIC?

      Waiting...

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    3. A consistent response from so many believers is the immediate need to feel victimized when an atheist argues his beliefs. In general atheists don't feel superior to believers. They just have different points of view. You drive car A while your neighbor prefers car B. That doesn't make your neighbor's choice superior to yours.

      This blog is consistent in its views on religion. No argument or criticism offered, no matter how offended one feels, is likely to change that. No doubt there are plenty of other blogs that are more consistent with your beliefs.

      Delete
  10. Descartes ("I think, therefore I am") went into a bar and ordered a drink. When he'd finished his drink, the bartender asked if he'd like another.

    "I think not", he replied. And promptly disappeared.

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  11. Anonymous5:35 AM

    Descartes clearly was a great man who loved science. I don't know if he fucking loved science like Gryphen, but he loved it nonetheless.

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    1. Boscoe7:12 AM

      Maybe Descartes was a man who loved science *just* enough to avoid getting burned at the stake by the church like Giordano Bruno did.

      Delete
  12. Anonymous5:51 AM

    Just reading here after nearly a week off...no mention of MLK yesterday is a bit disappointing.

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    1. Anonymous6:56 AM

      Yes, you missed it. Gryphen posted one about some idjit anti-abortionists having a ralley somewhere, and that it was an in-your-face affront to MLK, since he was an ardent supporter of Planned Parenthood.

      Delete
  13. Anonymous6:00 AM

    This is interesting:
    http://thinkprogress.org/health/2016/01/19/3739370/mental-health-first-aid-2/

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  14. Anonymous6:41 AM

    Remember that Rene Descartes lived in the seventeenth century. He challenged people's thinking at the time and I don't think that we in the 21st century should be so hasty to damn the very forward-thinking minds of a time so long ago. "I think therefore I am" was an amazing statement of intellectual independence for the seventeenth century and one to be admired today as well.
    Beaglemom

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  15. Anonymous7:04 AM

    That quote in the picture is a real circle jerk.

    I think, therefore I reject religion.

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    1. Anonymous3:52 PM

      Good one.

      Delete
  16. Anonymous1:11 PM

    DesCartes was 17th century. He had his Meditations vetted by the church before publication. Not surprising that he ended up with that conclusion, as would anyone who didn't want to be subject to indefinte house arrest or worse.

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  17. Anonymous4:38 PM

    Apparently, he never met Elvis.

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