A Little Noise

29Apr/140

Mental Activity

the verbal quibbling in which great minds, for want of better occupation, frequently expended all their energies.

Pike, Luke Owen, M.A. "Woman and Political Power." Popular Science May 1872. Google Books Web. 29 Apr. 2014.

Was he talking about metaphysical arguments from the middle ages, or YouTube comments?

28Apr/140

Science and Immortality

A summary of the article "Science and Immortality", by Rev. T. W. Fowle, Popular Science May 1872.

Modern science affects belief in two ways:

  1. Believers in science require proof from observable facts alone.
  2. Believers in science are biased against any supernatural explanation.

Four common arguments for belief in immortality:

  1. It is an "original intuition", meaning we were created with the belief.
  2. It is a universal belief.
  3. It follows necessarily from the existence of God.
  4. It is essential as a motive for morality.

Rebuttal:

  1. It could have arisen after creation, and must have if Evolution is true as many men of science believe.
  2. It is not universally believed. Moses made no indication of believing in an afterlife, Buddha believed that eternity was non-existence, Julius Caesar believed in no-afterlife enough to consider death too good for his enemies.
  3. To a man of science demanding proof, the idea of God is just an attempt to explain our past which we don't understand, and immortality is likewise an attempt to explain our future.
  4. Buddhists are moral, and immortality is not their motive. Pharaoh believed in immortality, and yet the resulting behavior was immoral. So it is neither necessary nor sufficient for morality.

It would be sufficient proof for life after death if a man were resurrected. Jesus was resurrected, and would be sufficient proof if the account were believed. Those who testified to the Resurrection may have been mistaken, but there is no reason to assume them to be liars. They were multiple men, who were able to see something amazing and miraculous and describe it in a sober and measured manner. We take historical testimony as factual all the time and rely upon it to be true. The only reason anyone doubts the testimony of the apostles is that it requires a supernatural element. When the miraculous is involved, then a certain turn of mind will simply assume that any testimony is always mistaken.

There is the Religious and, for lack of a better word, the "Rational," at war within each of us, and we tend to one side or the other. Do we dwell on the present natural world or on hopes for the future? The rise of scientific thinking will cause doubts about the supernatural, but it will also help clear away erroneous dogmas. The bias to one side or the other will be created and sustained by moral means. Each side, religious and scientific, has moral value to offer.

There is no intellectual shortcut to the Christian faith; we cannot logically or scientifically prove the way to Christ (and here are my favorite quotes from this article: You can’t win by shouting). The conclusion is to live as Christ taught, and so win by faith what we cannot by force.

26Apr/140

You can’t win by shouting

...denunciations of moral turpitude only harden the hearts of men who ask for the bread of evidence and receive stones in the shape of insults.

...all attempts on the part of religion to confute the "skeptic" by purely intellectual methods are worse than useless. There is no intellectual short cut to the Christian faith.... It is not because men love the truth, but because they hate their enemies, that in things religious they desire to have what they call an overwhelming preponderance of argument on their side of the question, the possession of which enables them to treat their opponents as knaves or fools or both.

Fowle, Rev. T. W. "Science and Immortality." Popular Science May 1872. Google Books Web. 26 Apr. 2014.

26Apr/140

Fools think the government can fix everything.

Minds in which the conceptions of social actions are thus rudimentary, are also minds ready to harbor wild hopes of benefits to be achieved by administrative agencies. In each such mind there seems to be the unexpressed postulate that every evil in a society admits of cure; and that the cure lies within the reach of law.

[A superstitious conciousness] may even wonder how any being can reverence a thing shaped with his own hands; and yet it readily entertains subtler forms of the same feelings.... there is a tacit supposition that a government moulded by themselves has some efficiency beyond that naturally possessed by a certain group of citizens subsidized by the rest of the citizens.

...the instinct of self-preservation in each institution soon becomes dominant over every thing else; and maintains it when it performs some quite other function that that intended, or no function at all.

Spencer, Herbert. "The Study of Sociology." Popular Science May 1872. Google Books Web. 26 Apr. 2014.

11Jun/091

Incentive

Eden: I'm not hungry. I don't want to eat dinner. What's that on the counter?
Daddy: Chocolate milk.
Eden: Am I going to drink some?
Daddy: No, you said you didn't want anything.
Eden: .... I think I'm hungry now.

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