Saturday, April 09, 2005

All We Are Is Dust in the Wind, Dude

Achilles did not choose immortality. He longed for home, wife, and children. He hoped his grandchildren would remember him and then he would be gone. But Fate had it differently. For love of a friend, Achilles struck the blow that would shake and shape the world. Since that day, many have been tempted to be Achilles, to live forever in the soul, body, and consciousness of man. Man or Myth, Achilles drives us all.

John Paul the Second is dead. This week we watched the “greatest funeral of all time” and then went on with life. Has John Paul II changed us forever? In 3,200 years will men read his story and be filled with wonder?

A Soviet author, Lydia Chukovskaya, a forgotten writer from a now forgotten country, tells how the communist party “faithful” struggled to support that forgotten dream. In the story “the party ladies”, Sophia Petrovna and Natasha, spend a day decorating for the “New Year’s” celebration. They decorated the “New Year’s Tree” with red stars and Stalinist slogans. Beneath the tree, Sophia carefully arranged the Baby Lenin in his manger box and the gifts the baby Lenin will “bring” the children. In the midst of all their “New Year’s joy”, both women are consumed by their love for the same child, Koya, Sophia’s son and Natasha’s lover. When the communist monster takes Koya away, the child Linen and the Christ Child too, are rendered meaningless. In the horrible ending of the story, Natasha disappears and Sophia is forced to forget her son.

As a history teacher I spend a lot of time making lists of men and women; folks who sought immortality in the twentieth century might include:

Teddy Roosevelt
Baden Powel
William II
Woodrow Wilson
Lenin
FDR
Hitler
Mussolini
Tojo
Joe Stalin
Mao
Winston Churchill
Macarthur
Gandhi
JFK
Gorbechov
Ronald Regan
Bush and Bush
And what’s his name
John Paul Two
And me
And you.

Where have all the heroes and monsters gone? Even the gods grow dim. Wouldn’t it be best to share Achilles dream and not his fate; to have family and friends, to know our grandchildren, and then be gone?

In the end there is only Achilles and fate, the rest of us are dust in the wind, dude.

39 comments:

A_Shadow said...

What an interesting thing when we live in a age that makes even dust important. Of course it was 4.4 billion year old dust, but that's the article I read yesterday.

It's a tough thing, the question of fate. I don't really believe that anything is chosen for us, but simultaneously believe that the ends of us all are known. Hmm...

But your list was rather comprehensive, I'm making that before the reading of "me and you". Which makes that fact obvious. I would find it hard to believe that anyone mentioned in a history book was ever looking to make their stain on humanity. It is possible... But I doubt that they all would have set out with those ends.

I do what I think is right, and hopefully that will leave some mark to be remembered by. I think that there are plenty of people like that. The firefighters and policemen of 9-11 probably weren't thinking about all of the glory their going to get out of saving the innocents from that burning building...

But I guess their the dust...

Ares said...

Perhaps the firefighters and police officers that died on 9/11 were not looking for glory but were just doing their jobs. But to say that no person mentioned in the history books was looking for glory is a bit shortsighted. Perhaps you remember the three G's that Spanish Conquistadors sought? God, Gold and Glory (not necessarily in that order). Ring any bells? I also daresay that people like Stalin or MacArthur might have had something like that in mind, even if it wasn't their primary goal. Not that I'm saying that MacArthur was like Stalin apart from wanting to be written about in the history books. But that's beside the point.

I think that it is also a very natural thing for human beings to want to be remembered, not something that should be sneered at. But you are right, we should simply do what is right according to natural and eternal truths and let them govern our lives. Be excellent to each other.

Dan Simpson said...

Stalin didn't so much want to be written about, as he wanted to dictate history.

A_Shadow said...

You have all watched that movie recently and I am jealous of it...

But I was saying that I wasn't sure that they all did, nor that every human being does or would. I haven't decided, myself. In some regard I wouldn't mind being remembered for some huge, world shaping, breakthrough. But then, I'm a shadow, and I would almost just prefer that my family and friends know me as great and let them share it with the world. Just be a good guy that people knew as such.

Not doing a good job with either, but statistically I should have a few years before worrying about it.

But then DannyBoy brings up a good point. Some of those listed didn't want to be remembered, they wanted to tell you what to remember/dictate history. Interesting...

Ares said...

But correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't dictating the history that will be remembered also be "putting your stain on history", as Shadow puts it? If Stalin wanted to dictate history, doesn't that mean that he will be remembered? I suppose that in and of itself doesn't but I think that it's a pretty fair statement that if you want to change history, you will be put into it somewhere.

The whole statement of "dust in the wind" though is interesting. I think that it implies that once we are gone, that's it, no one remembers us. But I think that a part of us lives on in our children and those whom we touch. I didn't know my great grandfather, but just because he is gone, doesn't mean that he hasn't touched my life. I am influenced by the decisions that he has made and I will remember that till the day I die and I will strive to make my children and grandchildren know that. I don't know of anyone who won't influence someone. We all touch each other, for good or bad. That's a fact of life. We cannot escape humanity.

A_Shadow said...

Ok, it's a different kind of staining. The stain that I was referring was like a wood tarnish, it's something to seal and put your mark/color to history. Stalin's like a blood stain on the fabric of history...

Additionally it's not about being remembered for Stalin. It's about HOW he's remembered. If he wanted to be remembered he would have been content with killing all of his comrades. But he wasn't, he wanted to dictate HOW history would remember him. Might makes right, the victors right history, that sort of thing. It would be as though Achilles ran around annhialating other cultures and then writing down in history that he was a benevolent ruler, sort of...

But actually you didn't do too much to rebuff the statement. Dust particles are faceless, nameless, and countless. Much like the "average joe" throughout history. Sure, he impacts those around him, weathering them into new shapes as he touches each of their lives. But he's hardly making an impact on the whole. The way I see it people form a sort of warp around themselves. Just the fact that you were in the room with someone at one point shifted and changed that piece of history. But you're hardly going into the books for being in the same room as someone important, that is unless you were already someone important.

Dust in the wind really replies to the fact that once you are gone, only those that you touched (however briefly) will even have an inkling as to what/who you were. Only your close friends and family, and perhaps those that you dealt with daily that don't fit into that categorical type, would even know your name.

You die, and pass on like a grain of sand in an hour glass. You have a particular spot in history for sure, but it didn't dictate or alter the course of the whole.

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Ares said...

Shadow,
Of course everyone is dictating history as we live. You said that yourself. But perhaps you are right when you say that just because we impacted someone or something, it doesn't mean that we will be remembered. One probably can't name every person who was Iwo Jima (unless you have a very special tie to it), but it was a very influencial event in our history.

Lysis,
Perhaps someone who should be added to you list is someone who dictated a lot of history, Karl Marx. But then again, his influence has all but died out, as we have already discussed. So perhaps not.

Anonymous said...

Blowhard here . . .

COST BENEFIT ANALYSIS -- NOT!

The moral justification for collateralization advocated by many here at the Agora seems a very popular kind of moral justification. Commonly moral cost benefit analysis consists of making moral determinations by the process of weighing outcomes against a variety of different "moral/immoral" criteria -- ie; body counts, amount and degree of torture, amount/degree of pain, or who is acting or defending etc.-- thus justifying ,or not, a person's or country's moral culpablity on a scale of the "greater/good".

Lysis' hypothetical, for example, stipulates a family that is held hostage by a murderer whose intent seems to be to kill them all one by one. Police officers choose to rescue the family, but in doing so one of the children dies, but the rest of the family is saved. Lysis weighs the outcome; the loss of life of one innocent child, against the potential loss of life of the whole family and determines that the "greater good" survival of the remaining family outweighs the collateralized death of an innocent child -- it was sad; it was tragic; it was necessary!
However, true moral decision making never happens in such an artificial way. Now, consider this hypothetical from the perspective of an individual who must make moral choices according to ABSOLUTE morality An Absolutist understands that in order to be moral he/she must OBEY the moral maxim, "Thou Shalt Not Kill". To him/her it means what it says. His /her moral status is determined BEFORE the action by faithfulness to the maxim, not from cost benefit analysis afterwards! Will he kill for self defense? Will he kill to protect a loved one? Will he kill for country? Will he kill for religion? Will he kill for God? Will he kill for the greater good? Will he kill or risk killing inadvertently? HE WILL NOT!

But, let us consider other possible scenarios to Lysis' hypothetical that moral decision making could be affected by. Remember, NONE of the outcomes would be knowable before the decision by the police to "attack" the murderer.
(1) The father talks to the assailent about God's mercy and the assailent is so moved by the faith of the father that he lets the family go, but too late, the police attack and kill (a)the assailant or (b)inadvertantly kills the whole family or (c)inadvertently sets off a bomb that kills everyone or (d) the police got the wrong address and a whole family of innocents is killed. Or . . or . . .or -- How many potential scenarios are there Lysis? Are all of them morally equitable? Is the mere INTENT of the police to do good sufficient moral justification for any outcome? Even the most marginalized moral relativist would require something more than "good intentions" for a moral justification.
Collateralization is nothing more than moral cost benefit analysis with all kinds of "spin" and "political" equivocation -- ie; "Our collateraliation cost fewer lives/dollars/pain/horror than "their" collateralization which makes our "moral unequivalency" a greater good than theirs. Ya but, your collateraization examples are old history and our collateralizations are nothing like that now.

How many of these "pissing contests" have we read at the Agora and how many more?

So, the "wanna be" Absolutists thump their chest and proclaim to the world that they are absolutist-ists. But there is NO SUCH THING as a little bit absolute, or mostly absolute, or 99.9% absolute, or even the greater/good, to a REAL absolutist.

OK! Let's walk the talk. Just say No!
No killing. All killing is immoral. Tho shalt not! Shalt Not! Shalt Not! Ten times.
No more justifiable war!
No more greater/good killing.
No more collateralized justifications!

But, it is clear; read any Agora posting -- these are not "turn the other cheek" moral absolutists. These are "kick ass" "Don't tread on me or mine" "love it or leave it" "war is sometimes a solution"
RELATIVISTS!

-I offer none of these comments from what should be considered a moral "high ground". I know a few (precious few) moral absolutists. I do not know if it is a good thing. I do not know if I could recommend it -- but, I do respect the commitment to the absolute that these people guage their morality with.

Anonymous said...

This is the other Anonymous for Blowhard.

In trying to prove how "relative" everyone really is you have proven your "absolutism".

My experience with so called "relativists" are that they are extremely intolerant "absolutists". They absolutely know that they are right. They can't give a straight answer of what is right, but they can tell you that you are wrong. In fact that you are "absolutely" wrong.

Hypocrisy is another issue that you love to accuse the world of. Or at least the world that believes in an "absolute" solution for issues. So when someone does not agree or follow blindly the slippery slope of relative or progressive thought you are quick to accuse and belittle but not quick to answer the question "what is right" or "what is wrong" with anything less than it "depends"

It is easy to not be a hypocrite when your position is that you can't have a position that you are willing to stand up for other than "it depends".

Relative thinkers usually set themselves up as judge and jury, the source of all that is truth. So when you are always right and what is right depends on the situation you will never be hypocritical on any issue.

So the emotion that you put into your writing (anger and frustration) is entertaining to me. Being on the attack to show us that we are all stupid hypocrites makes me for one laugh out loud you know (lol)

I find your comments today interesting because they are not really germane to the topic. They were with the last post, but not with this one. Your points did not make it past our "relativism" filters just as these comments will not make it past your "absolutism" filters.

Relativism can be a very comfortable way through life. Absolutism can also be a very comfortable way though life. Most of us are "relative absolutists" depending on the topic at hand and our personal experience with it. Do we know someone effected by what has happened in a certain situation or not.

I have read everyone’s comments about the Iraq situation with distance. I have approached the war as an absolutist. They just announced that a contractor was kidnapped in Baghdad. My neighbor is a contractor in Baghdad. He is the father of four, grandfather of 4 more. All of a sudden I am looking at the war in a more "relative" light. Does that make me a hypocrite, or do I now just have more "skin on the table".

I still think that it was and is the "right" decision to go. But I hate it.

In a relativist point of view that cognitive dissonance would mean that the decision to go was wrong because of my discomfort.

So blowhard use your anger and frustration to do something positive in the world, not just try to prove that we are a bunch of morons that can't think for ourselves. Because in the end who is right and who is wrong?

It depends :-)

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, Blowhard, but I think that you are a day late and a dollar short with that comment. Perhaps you should try commenting on the topic at hand here. It helps sometimes. I wouldn't say anything if you had said that on the previous post. But there you go.

Anonymous said...

By the way, that was a different anonymous.

Ares said...

Shadow,
By the way, the reason that I didn't rebuff most of your argument was because I agreed with most of it.

Lysis said...

To my friend Blowhard . . . My support of the “police officer” in our hypotheticals has nothing to do with outcome. Everything has to do with Justice. My belief in “not killing” is not based on The Ten Commandments, nor any god’s pronouncement. Justice, based on Right Reason, is co-eternal with the mind of Divine Jupiter; it is not a rule He or any other force has arbitrarily created. “Thou Shalt Not Kill” without the qualification of Justice is not the moral maxim. To your extensions of the hypothetical let’s apply the absolute of Right Reason. Can one kill in self defense? Ask why one must defend oneself. Should one kill to protect a loved one? Depends on why the loved one needs protecting and from whom. Will he kill for country? That depends on why the country needs people killed. Will he kill for god? A nonsense question – God doesn’t need anyone to kill for Him. Will he kill for the greater good? One must then consider the reason why death is required. None of these examples entices relativism, all require Right Reason to answer. Right Reason demands the existence of Truth – and that Truth must be absolute. In each case there is, as Anonymous (who I will call vegimatic) tells us, a right and wrong! To answer “the vegimatic’s” question, who is right and who is wrong? “It depends!” IT DEPENDS ON JUSTICE, IT DEPENDS ON RIGHT REASON, AND IT DEPENDS ON ABSOLUTE TRUTH!

The absolutist is the one who knows there is a truth that will enable justice, the relativist is the one who makes up a rule and them mashes it down onto every situation. There is a REASON that the terrorists are wrong in killing and the defenders of life, liberty, and justice are right. When you can see that then you can judge.

To those of you kind enough to comment on “Dust in the Wind” I agree that there are many "great" men and women who have affected the world for good or ill. But did they achieve the Achilles like immortality they may or may not have sought? Herodotus memorized the names of all 300 Spartan heroes at the “The Gates of Fire”. The questions are; did their grandchildren know them, did their grandchildren love them?

TaZa said...

Although we all may be dust in the wind, can we not increase are own area of impact by how we live our lives.

A_Shadow said...

Wow, I can't believe I'm saying this, but I like Anonymous. Now I suppose it was "the vegimatic" as Lysis calls him/her (why? I might ask...) But Blowhard continues to miss the point, yet bringing to bear more interesting points. If he wants to play with the moral maxim, let's play. This ought to be a parallel to debates that I've had on abortion from both sides, moral maxims after all.

Ok, so you issue forth the ultimate as Thou Shalt Not Kill. Wonderful, so now we're debating with a Christian concept that we can narrow down a ball park with. Let's blow this out of proportion here. So for a minute, forget the past, because I'm going to be using your own slime ball relative tactics against you. "Know thy enemy and know thy self..." after all.

So here we go: Thou shalt not kill. Do you eat Anonymous? I know it's a bit of a silly question, of course you eat, you have to in order to get the nutrients you need. So in that case are you Omnivoric, Carnivoric, or Vegitarian? I hope you know the roots of those words, I'd hate to get into the "black hole of expaining" with you again.

So what is killing? In order to use the least amount of definitions as possible (as dictionary.com lists 11 of them, not all pertinent here), Dictionary.com lists the definition of kill as:
1. To put to death.
2. To deprive of life: The Black Death was a disease that killed millions.
To put an end to; extinguish: The rain killed our plans for a picnic.

Feel free to look it up. So what is it that you eat again? If you ingest anything short of a nutrient soup that is so completely artificial as to have been made up in a laboratory, you have killed something. You bastard! You killed that piece of lettuce! That tomato! That chicken. Perhaps not directly, but it died to sustain your life! Hypocrite! Liar!

Now that I'm seperating myself from your wonton acts of childishness... See what playing with the moral maxim does? It brings about an uninterperable answer that has an infinite number of "ifs", "ands" or "buts". So next time you pray, meditate, or just think about it, wonder how ABSOLUTE is absolute. To take the ABSOLUTE of THOU SHALT NOT KILL you would have to ingest nothing but a nutrient soup, or things that died on their own. Otherwise the demand of your body for sustenance drove the market on murder and you killed that tomato to save your life.

We're not arguing moral equivalency any more than you are if you defend that stance on THOU SHALT NOT KILL as your moral maxim. It doesn't say thou shalt not kill a man, human being, cow, cat, anything that breathes, etc. It says: "All killing is immoral. Tho shalt not! Shalt Not! Shalt Not! Ten times." As you so eloquently stated it: ALL KILLING IS IMMORAL. Your words, so sad...

Going to war to free innocents from Tyranny is just. Freeing hostages from a situation at a bank robbery gone bad is just. Defending another helpless individual is just. That is abslotist. Once again must we point you at the mantra of this site? Absolute truth exists but can't be known, live by faith and reason, a paraphrasing that I pray Lysis will forgive me for. That doesn't give us any oaths that say that we MUST live by the absolute truth. If you're going to play that game, heads you lose, tails you lose. I lose, you lose, he loses, she loses. You shouldn't play a game you can't win.

You're arguing a battle that's unwinnable on a losing side fighting against someone who can't win. Because I occasionally like to devour lettuce and tomatoes, I will have to deal with a God that rules with the absolute of THOU SHALT NOT KILL. But because he's commanded us throughout his guide for us to kill a goat, sheep, or some other sacrifice at one time or another, it is my REASONING that he won't damn us because we killed something. There's obviously some unwritten mittigating circumstances. And if you strictly adhere to the belief that you shouldn't guess at the will of God, then there's nothing left to say other than he tells you to burn him sacrifices, and then tells you THOU SHALT NOT KILL.

Tough break. In the words of Admiral Ackbar: "It's a trap!"

Apollo said...

My friends, Party on and be good to each other! Socrates was a very wise man. He wanted life and obtained it through death. It is a marvelous thing, death. You never know how people will take yours. Mine for example, I havemany friends, but they would just probably forget abput me in a year or so, with the exception of a rare few like Ares. Think about it. How would your friends and family mourn your death nad even deeper, how would they benefeit from it? In truth we are just dust in the wind. We are just instruments of men to break down the world and it happens a litlle at a time. We are nearing the end and we need to face it but not fear it. I think we will be okay. We may just be dust in the wind, but we are dang valuable dust!

Anonymous said...

Blowhard here . . .

Lysis posts:

"My belief in 'not killing' is not based on the Ten Commandments, nor any god's (small "g") pronouncement. Justice, based on Right Reason, is co-eternal with the mind of Divine Jupiter; it is not a rule He (Capital H)or any other force has arbitrarily created." -my insertions

Holy "escape clause" Batman, What could Lysis, AKA the Riddler, mean by his last posting?

Well, Robin , let's consider this analytically. "Divine Jupiter" seems to be the god/God that the riddler worships. That must mean he is an absolutist --believing in God and all . . .

Q: But isn't Jupiter a myth -- a Roman god/God who rules the pantheon?

A: Yes, but you know what they say about one man's myth being another man's . . . you know.

Q: So, in his debate with Blowhard over absolutism/relativism Lysis "creates" a NEW absolute whose maxims ONLY he is privy to --suddenly he has sought to maneuver relativistic terminology like "IT DEPENDS" into some kind of claim upon ABSOLUTE morality. Holy convoluted obfuscation Batman!

A: Well, the debate was over absolute vs relative morality and suddenly Riddler feels like he can change the meaning of the word absolute into anything he wants, or, pardon me, anything Divine Jupiter says it is. . . apparently "Divine Jupiter" talks with Riddler and not the rest of us.

"Justice and right reason are co-eternal with the mind of Divine Jupiter."
What does that mean? And what happened to faith? -- has faith been demoted from the "Trinity" of Justice, Right reason, and Divine Jupiter?

Q: Are you referring to the riddler's most famous riddle; "In a world where absolute truth exists, but cannot be known, one must live by reason and faith."?

A. Yes, suddenly reason gets changed to "right reason" and faith is left out entierly. And what about justice? -- how many absolutes are in this Godhead anyway? The Riddler doesn't sound like a monist or a dualist, he sounds like a Pantheist.

Q. Well, in a Pantheistic universe, when EVERYTHING becomes a god/GOD, what happens to terms like ABSOLUTE morality?

A. In a Pantheistic world absolutes are relative -- just a lot of relativistic chaos -- Jupiter couldn't even keep it straight!

Shadow:
You choose to extend the moral maxim "Thou Shalt Not Kill" to a reductio ad absurdum position about the death of plants and amoebas and what I eat? That is your idea of a water tight case?
Your claim to have used this argument in "other" debates means it must be an old habit -- kick it.

A_Shadow said...

What a beautiful sight. Childishness to the core. You take a moral debate and put it into context about a comic book character? Holy jehosaphat. You're too much.

Way to side step that one anonymous. Here we go, you totally dodge your own words thrown at you. What would it take for you to admit that you, yourself, were wrong? That's what was issued up as the chriterion for a relativist. Esentially it is as easy as they are all right, or none of them are wrong. With absolutists we believe that someone is right and someone is wrong. Who cares of how that person identifies himself? A bit of irony coming from someone who chooses anonymoty as his name... "A rose by any other name..." I suppose if you need the quote, it's Shakespear. With all your litterature based knowledge you know that, I hope.

But you missed it didn't you, I didn't take it to that degree. I was merely using what you and the definitions found in dictionary.com say. You say that "Thou Shalt NOT KILL." But you don't define what it is to kill. Is killing murder, is killing just participating in the death in any abstract or concievable way? Because if we take the latter, the "reductio ad absurdum position" is that I am every bit as responsible (as are you) of the actions of the U.S. soldiers in Iraq because we allowed the guy to be voted in that sent them there. A little too far outside the box, I'm thinking. Dictionary.com references kill as " 1. To put to death." It doesn't give any ifs, ands, nor, but, for or anything else. You refuse to place a definition to your "moral maxim" so I took the liberty to apply your belief that it should be defined in the extreme.

You kill plants, bastard, hypocrite. It's a trump card, much the same as any other "cheap trick" you might try and throw our general direction. A royal flush wins outright against any hand played against it. I'd be hesitant to lose that hand if I ever had it to be played, so no, I think I'll keep this one.

Do try and attack the points this time. "All killing is immoral. Tho shalt not! Shalt Not! Shalt Not! Ten times." That quote still rings so true to your own hypocrisy. If we're really going to get into something as immature as mudslinging and who the "real" absolutists are. Try getting out of the pig pen first.

Ares said...

I knew it! Blowhard does have split personalities! Proof has been seen by you all, he had a conversation with himslef right here in front of all of us!

But seriously folks, I have often times wondered how I will be remembered, and I have come to the conclusion, however contrary to previous posts, that I wouldn't mind following in Achilles' footsteps, i.e. only being remembered by those who really loved me, regardless of what anyone else remembers me as.

Apollo,
trust me, if you were to die, you would be remembered for a great longer time that just a year or two, by many, many people. Don't sell yourself short. Why, if you were to die, who could we trust to say stupid things on here besides Blowhard?

Blowhard,
I apologize for that, I don't really mean it. And I also apologize if I have ever seemed uncivil towards you.

And last but not least, Shadow,
I like you more every day. A man after my own spirit with the Star Wars comment!

-Ares

Lysis said...

My friend Blowhard: The line about “Truth co-eternal with the mind of Divine Jupiter” is actually a quote from Cicero – I was quite sure you would recognize it. First of all – I do believe in God. If He exists; that is an absolute Truth, if He does not. then that is one. I do have faith that He does. I also don’t think He cares what one calls Him. Think about this way. In Japanese – admittedly the only language I “know” besides the little English I use – the word for God is Kami Sama. I think when a Japanese says Kami Sama, God knows what that Japanese means. When a Roman Mother went to the temple of Jupiter and asked for a blessing on her sick child, I don’t think God said – sorry, wrong name, no blessing for you. So when I use Cicero’s “word” for God, I am assuming that name as a suitable word to be use for any name of God. So although, to you, Blowhard, different names for God mean different gods, to me, and I believe to God, different names are to Him all the same.

Now, I would argue that if there is no God at all, by any name, Cicero’s statement is still true. For the divine mind is the one shared by gods, if there are any, and men. The mind that is capable of recognizing Truth. That Truth is eternal, and if God is, that Truth is co-eternal with Him. If there is no God, Truth has still always existed even before there were men with minds to recognize it. Thus it is the eternal nature of Truth that is godlike, and the ability of man’s mind to recognize it that make man likewise divine.

Now do you understand what I mean when I say Truth is “co-eternal with the mind of God”? I will try to say it again in another way to make it clearer. If there is an eternal divine mind (The mind of Jupiter, what ever anyone may call Him) it has always recognized the Truth which has also always existed. If there is no god; it doesn’t matter to the Truth. The Truth is still eternal and recognizable by right reason. If there is a God; I will accept that He is capable of right reason, if there is no God; right reason would still be the recognition of truth.

As for me being privy to any truth – I never claimed that, but I have given arguments to support the existence of right and wrong, and my reason for believing that in the case of the War in Iraq, America is justified in fighting for life, liberty, and self government, in the face of terrorism and tyranny. I do claim that this is the truth. But it is hardly original with me. Our nation’s founders copied Cicero’s words as freely as I have.

If you disagree with me, show me how the acts of the terrorists and Saddam are just, how fighting against them is unjust. Don't just talk about words!

I clearly say that Truth exists but that I do not know it. Reason and “faith” are my only tools to seek it. Reason made possible by absolute and unchanging Truth; faith made possible by my willingness to seek.

Blowhard – I appreciate your determination to clarify and force me to clarify what I am saying. I enjoy the challenge very much, and though at the moment I am satisfied with the explanation I have given, one which Shadow seems to accept and support, if you can show me Truth to counter my error – I would be grateful. Please keep trying.

A_Shadow said...

Silly Lysis. Blowhard's never quoted anything analytically minded. He quotes poetry and things to tug at your heart strings...

And I'd argue that maybe the founders got a bit more from Locke than from Cicero. But perhaps Locke was reading Cicero. Just the same thing once removed.

But it's interesting to hear you talk about God in that way. Not because it hurts my eyes or ears and makes me cringe, but it's much the same as I've approached the subject. That's why it's a tough question to answer when people ask what religion I follow. Their much the same at their core teachings... Anyways, that could spawn a whole topic in and of itself. But it was an interesting note.

Apollo said...

I think I speak for all of us when I say that Blowhards' comments are a bit strange to say the least. I don't think we need to bring that out though. Sorry, I don't have much to say at this time. I'm just like John Kerry! Only I'm not trying to exploit false points.

Lysis said...

Fearing I have been obtuse in my attempts to explain how one can say, “it depends”, while maintaining the truth is absolute; I will attempt to come to the point. The absolute truth is like a ruler – the type one measures things against. Opinions are like random bits of stick of undetermined length. On the ruler “inches” are accurately, “truly”, marked. Any opinion can be measured against the true inch. Any number of relativists can put forward their bits of stick claiming adamantly that they are an inch long. The absolutist answers, “that depends!’ Then the true inch can be held up and the opinion inch measured. If it fails the test, it is not an inch long no matter how determined the insistence of its proponent. Thus we say, “It depends, on what the truth is.”

Dan Simpson said...

Lysis,

I think another way to go at the explaination is thus. Blowhard is misunderstanding the difference between an absolute "truth" and an absolute "statement". Killing is always wrong is a statement, and it is absolute, there is no equivocation. However, that does not make it true. Killing is sometimes right and sometimes wrong is a relative statement, but it is an absolute truth. The two are not synonomous.

Example: I could say blacks are always inferior (an idea many hold), this is an absolute statement. However, the truth that is absolute is that it depends. Some black people are inferior (in intellect, or ability), and some white people are inferior. Because race has no bearing on ability the truth is it depends on the individual. So while the first statement is absolute, it is not true. The second proposition, it depends, is not an absolute statement but it is an absolute truth.

Blowhard offered an absolute statement, killing is always wrong, and then said "here, defend this if you are truly an absolutist." The problem is the he did not show why the statement was true. I believe that reason shows us that killing can sometimes be right and sometimes wrong. Because the statement is not absolute does not mean it is relativist.

The fact is that absolute statements rarely coincide with the truth.

Anonymous said...

Blowhard here . . .

Lysis:
"In a world where ABSOLUTE TRUTH exists but cannot be known, one must live by reason and faith."

Response:
"What I'm driving at is the notion that before the beginning of the earth, before the sun and the stars were formed, before the primal generation of anything, the ABSOLUTE TRUTH existed? (. . ."Truth is co-eternal with Him")

"Sitting there, having no mass of its own, not in anyone's mind because there wasn't anyone, not in space, because there was no space either, not anywhere, the absolute Truth still existed?
If the ABSOLUTE TRUTH existed, then I honestly don't know what a thing has to do to be nonexistent, It seems to me that the ABSOLUTE TRUTH has passed every test of nonexistence there is. You cannot think of a single attribute of non existence that the ABSOLUTE TRUTH didn't have."

-Robert Pirsig, sometimes. Blowhard othertimes.

And for Shadow -- just to pull at his "heartstrings", some poetry to sooth the raging beast . . .

""Beware the Jabbberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!'"

If "Him" and "ABSOLUTE TRUTH" are "co-eternal" I am going to argue a "Trinity" that is "co-eterna".

Him, ABSOLUTE TRUTH . . . and the Jabberwock.

His/her, the Jabberwock's, definition is situational, "it depends". But, for now, a kind of ruler that can measure the other rulers to bring them into conformance.

Yes, Shadow, tell me that this is absurd and "childish" nonsense. I shall happily agree.
-Better Batman, Robin and the Riddler than a kitchen appliance.

Let's have some more outrage for the fans -- it still needs a little practice though, still sounds fake.

Apollo said...

First off-
I would like to welcome back DannyBoy2. Good to have you back old friend. I was getting worried I would never here your highly opinionated views.

Secondly-
Blowhard I would like to answer you with a poem back.

" The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville Nine that day;
The score stood four to two with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought if only Casey could but get a whack at that –
We’d put up even money now with Casey at the bat.

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey’s getting to the bat.

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despised, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,
There was Jimmy safe at second, and Flynn a-hugging third.

Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, Mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey’s bearing and a smile on Casey’s face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ‘twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Casey’s eye, a sneer curled Casey’s lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped –
“That ain’t my style,” said Casey. “Strike one,” the umpire said.

From the benches black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
“Kill him! Kill the umpire!” shouted someone in the stand;
And it’s likely they’d have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey’s visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, “Strike two.”

“Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered, “Fraud!”
But one scornful look from Casey, and the audience was awed;
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn’t let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Casey’s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville – Mighty Casey has struck out."

Even the "absolute truth", Casey in this case, sometimes falls to insurection.

Apollo

Anonymous said...

Blowhard here . . .

Ahh, a once familiar breeze blows again at the Agora -- refreshing.

Dan says:
"The fact is that absolute statements rarely coincide with the truth."

Response:
-Does the above qualify as an absolute statement?

All Greeks are humans.
All Athenians are Greeks.
_________________________

Therefore all Athenians are humans.

Is this an absolute statement?
Is this a true statement?

How "rare" is it?

Deductive "truth" is as close as rationality can get to "truth".

Probability is the servant of Induction, not "truth".

Dan is about to tell me that "validity" is not "truth".
Then I will ask him if he would like to discuss little "t" truth or big "T" Truth and also what the difference might be.

Shadow, on the other hand, will point out that the "obvious" difference is that of case -- one is a capital letter and one is lower case. Then he will mock the whole argument, threaten to stand on his head in a corner and stick out his toungue until someone responds.

Absolute morality, which was the subject, must be founded on subscribing to God's will. GOD gives it to man -- sometimes in the form of a commandment, ie; "Thou Shalt Not Kill" -- ,but it is not discoursive; there is no discussion between God and man. It is an ABSOLUTE injunction to obey God's will, whatever. Those who conform to God's absolute will I would suggest are Moral absolutists.
"Thou shalt not kill" is an example of a moral absolute that "absolutists" subscribe to as having come from "some" ABSOLUTE moral authority.
I do not think it makes much sense to take "God" out of absolute morality. Obeying God's word is what moral absolutists seek to achieve!
However, God's will, to my knowledge,has never been satisfied by doing post hoc cost benefit analysis and in weighing with "eternal truth" the "greater/good" afterwards.

Collateralization is a relativist position because it must rely on after the fact "postmortem" moral cost benefit analysis -- absolute morality before, relative morality afterwards!

A_Shadow said...

Oh how little we know about which we speak, Blowhard. Let's get into this one more time, I'd just like to remind everyone that you decided to bring God into this mess when you sought "Thou shalt not kill" as your absolute truth.

God, and because you keep driviling on about the commandments, we'll use the Bible as our reference here. Have you ever read the Bible? What a silly question, I'm sure you've read at least a few passages, or had them at least quoted to you. What about the story of Soddom and Gomorrah?

Here's the strict context taken out of the King James translation of the Bible. I'll even reference the scriptures further so you can read them in context yourself:

Genesis 18:23
"And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?"
18:24
"Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not space the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?"
18:25
"That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: shall not the judge of all the earth do right?"
18:26
"And the Lord said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes."
18:32
"And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake."
18:33
"And the Lord went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place."

And now another bit of a jump:
19:14
"And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place: for the Lord will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.
19:15
"And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, thake thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here: lest thou be conssumed in the iniquity of the city."
19:17
"And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life: look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain: escape to the mountain lest thou be consumed."

Well I think that's a little much already, you should understand the context of the story from there. Or do I need to drone on in sickening lenghts like Blowhard?

Basically what that passage is saying to me is that God participated in "collateral damage". If you don't know what happens next, Lot's wife is turned into a pillar of salt as she looks behind her at Soddom and Gomorrah being consumed by fire and brimestone. The interesting note for me was that Lot's family, which was consumed in with all of the wicked, are righteous. They just didn't heed the alarm. Sounds like God's doing a bit of collateral damage to me...

But that depends on our each individual interpretation. Uh, oh. It depends. Heaven forbid.

Your quite right though, Blowhard, I mostly do stand in the corner sticking my tongue out at your ludicrous statements. About 10% of the latest ones have made me think, but more along the lines of what I do and don't know, not what I do and don't believe.

And in lack of your first post having little coherence (second to last is more precise and leaves less room for misinterpretations), I'll just have to skip into the second one. I wasn't smoking the same Pejote as you, I suppose.

Blowhard, an absolute statement is one that has no room for differing arguments or dissenting views. The sky is pink. Absolute statement, absolutely wrong. If you want to get into some sickening and childish game of coming up with one or the other (absolute with truth and absolute statements without truth) we could do that. But I don't have that kind of time. Absolute statement, see? Is it absolutely true? Probably not.

Yes, Athenians are Greeks, Greeks are Humans. But because all Greeks are humans, does that mean that all Humans are Greeks? If you asked Hitler the only REAL men were Blond haired, blue eyed, Aryans. An absolute statement. Is it true?

That's not the point you need to be making.

And speaking of which: How many times did God break his own commandments? Seeing that I have much of the Bible left to read, I already have a disturbing death toll. We have Soddom, Gomorrah, and every first born Egyptian (even the freakin' animals - cattle, etc.) And that's only up to the beginning of Exodus (the second book for those of us who might not know).

So perhaps the Old Testament isn't what you want to be using as your wedge here. Do it, argue the fact that it was improperly translated. I'd be inclined to believe to a degree. But if you're going to use the Bible like that, it's a two edged sword in that regard.

So if you ABSOLUTELY agree that the Bible is the "moral absolute" the keystone of moral absolutist faith. Then perhaps we need to define what the Bible is really saying... Do you believe in a God that is above his own laws? Because right now nuking Soddom and Gomorrah and then decimating Egypt to prove he was God is a pretty decent way of leading by example. Especially when shortly thereafter he says "Thou Shalt Not Kill."

Oh, and I just stick out my tongue whenever you make an ass out of yourself or sidestep an issue that's rather crippling to your argument. If you don't address all of that, who are you convincing of what? And since you do that about every other post at the very least, it happens quite often.

Ares said...

Blowhard,
Not to steal Lysis' thunder, but don't you think that it was wrong to kill before God gave the commandment to Moses? I would go along with Lysis (seeing as how I have heard him make this argument before) and say that it was wrong before Moses got that commandment and the fact that God had to tell the people didn't make it any more or less wrong.
I would also go so far as to say that Truth has existed as long as intelligent beings have existed. It is always the way of intelligence to determine right from wrong. Thus "T" Truth has always existed (if you believe that intelligent beings have always existed, which I do) and is co (Co meaning also) eternal with God (also eternal).

Shadow,
Keep right on a goin'. Don't let Blowhard get under your skin, just remember that relativists can always be pinned down eventually. If you pursue them long enough. A daunting task to be sure, but one that must be pursued.

DB2,
Glad to have you back.

Lysis said...

Dannyboy – Perhaps our argument has become one of semantics; a problem of definitions.

Blowhard – I claim absolute truth is unchanging truth- eternal truth. Dannyboy clarifies by explaining that absolute statements are (as I understand him) strongly held opinions that exclude other opinions.

Blowhard – It seems that you have arrived at a similar point; for now you too are questioning the eternal nature of truth. You seem to want to support the position of relative truth by arguing that there was a time when nothing existed – hence truth could not have existed either.

Why does "anything" material need to exist for the truth to be true? When our Paleolithic ancestors thought the stars were campfires in the sky, did the fact that “no one was there to know the truth about the universe” mean the stars were not?

Cicero asks, “If there had been no law in Rome at the time of Sextus Tarquinius, would the rape of Lucretia have been just?” Would the fact that the law (small l) against rape did not exist in any mind make it not a Law?

Blowhard - Let’s consider your statements by follow the arguments of Shadow and Dannyboy – If you define an elephant as a large, gray animal, (if that is your concocted truth), does that make a gray whale an elephant? You concoct a few “definitions” of non-existence and apply them to absolute truth and claim it is non-existence.

It seems to me that, as relativist truth is concocted on the spot in the mind of the “beholder”, it can only exist if there are minds to concoct it. But since absolute truth does not need minds to concoct it, nor even stars to shine on it, whether stars or minds exist is irrelevant to the existence of eternal truth. If there was a time before material thing existed, the immaterial, and the time, did exist. I would go farther than Ares – before there was intelligence to comprehend it was there, the truth was.

Ignorance of the truth is the same as lack of intelligence, and yet ignorance of gravity did not cause the stars to fall.

That rape, and slavery are wrong are absolute truths; if there was no one to enslave or rape it would not change these truths. It is good to be free, life is precious, service brings joy; these are truths that were already in existence when the first thing came to be; when the first thought was thought. If something or some thought – some god – has always existed then He and they are co-eternal.

Blowhard wonders about the idea of truth without mass . . . What is the mass of an idea?

Blowhard wonders about truth without space . . . How much space does the truth take up?

Blowhard implies that, when there was nothing there was no truth. Was that true at the time there was noting? That sounds like an absolute (eternal) truth to me. It is the ultimate relativist trick to claim absolutely that truth is relative.

Dannyboy – I am also glad to hear from you again.

Lysis said...

I would also like to add a poem to this discussion. It is by my mother’s favorite author, Rudyard Kipling. I too love Kipling, but even if you feel otherwise please take some time to consider his words. I think this poem apply to the original post about our being dust in the wind and to the discussion which as developed on the nature of truth.

The Gods of the Copybook Headings

As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market-Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-born like the Gods of the Market-Place;
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch.
The denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch.
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had wings.
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul:
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew,
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true.
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four –
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

. . . . . . . . . . .
As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man –
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began –
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copy book Headings with terror and slaughter return!

A_Shadow said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
A_Shadow said...

I was reminded of an old topic of which my father used in a debate on religion once, a question of which I feel is one of the ultimates that I would like to answer. His question:

At some point there had to be nothing, didn't there?

I didn't quote it as I don't remember the quotes. But he was arguing with a coworker that believed in sciences ultimate answers and that the big bang and evolution spawned life. Ultimately, did there have to be nothing?

Intriguing and altogether mind boggling...

Anyways, the relevence here is that we've reached the same state with the truth. My father might have answered his question with "There was nothing but God." And then God created everything.

God is that eternal truth. Everyone believes in eternal truths, even relativists. But it's importance here is that the truths of nature and science existed before scientists. As has been stated. The laws of God began when he said let there be light. It's tough to say if they existed before that. At last check, none of us were around then.

But that's ok. I'll listen to Blowhard's comments of "If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" and "If the truth exists but no one is around to comprehend it, does it exist?"

My answer is "Of course." Does that make me right? Not necessarily. I dare any man to prove me wrong.

Anonymous said...

Blowhard here . . .
"In a world where absolute truth cannot be known . . ."

Well, Lysis seems to be "knowing" A lot more about absolute truth than the above claim indicates,(paragraphs 7 & 8) or is he not of this "world" -- Considering that his last post was about what I didn't "know" about absolute truth.

It is an epistemological question -- Lysis: How do you know what you purport to know?

If "absolute truth" cannot be known (Lysis' words not mine) then how can statements about it have any meaning? -- IT CANNOT BE KNOWN!
No reason to believe ANYONE who wants to make claims about it anymore than my claims about the Jabberwocky.

'Credo un Intelligum' --belief precedes knowledge. Lysis uses the word "know" when he should be using the word "believe".

However, that would make all of his "arguments" "testimonials", which he seems reluctant to do(I really think most of his arguments are testimonials). Lysis thinks it makes his arguments more credible to CLAIM the standard of "knowing" -- but that standard is a ruthlessly empirical and objective standard; ie; see scientic method.
The personal intensity of one's belief might SEEM like "knowledge"; but, given all of the different "sincere" beliefs in the world, it is an ostensibly relativistic opinion about an absolute question that EVERY WANNA BE absolutist answers in his own particular way.
Lysis prefers a standard of "empirical evidence" from other bloggers, but scoffs as "relativistic" a requirement that he provide even one characteristic of "non-existence" that his "absolute truth" doesn't have. Can't walk on both sides of the street at the same time.

I am NOT attacking absolute truth, justice, or the American way; I "Believe" in all of them -- it is you who do not believe -- You know!
And by your own words "knowing" can have no claim on the "absolute" truth! I agree!
That is why belief in and obediance to God's morality is imperative.(Shadow: You cannot be an absolutist and question ANY God's methods/judgement/ethics/will! Don't play "scripture chase" with God. Absolute morality means God says jump and you say . . . nothing . . . on the way up.
Absolute moralists OBEY and jump.)

A_Shadow said...

I'm not attacking an absolute God. I'm attacking your blind acceptance of anything written in the Bible as his most holy word. The book says that itself, but he tells you not to kill and then kills. That seems to me to say that he's a relativist. I don't believe in a God that lives by "Do as I say, not as I do." If you do, that's great.

The absolute truth can't be known, sure. The difficulty is that there are so many innumerable and incalculable variables that make it difficult for something to be 100% Grade A truth. The difference is that a relativist doesn't believe in 100% Grade A truth. No one here said they were perfect, no one here said that they knew the absolute truth, that's you - Blowhard - jumping to your own conclusions.

Find me a quote of Lysis saying that he is the way, the life and the truth, or that he has any of those. Find me a quote instead of that, asking you to prove him wrong. Let's correlate the numbers...: He asks, all but pleads, for you to prove him wrong. The thing is that you haven't, and until very recently haven't done anything but claim anything yourself, unsupported. Simultaneously throwing out/ignoring anything said in response.

You come in here and tell us, or those that agree with Lysis in any way, that we are wrong. To prove someone wrong you need to have the answer. So, blowhard, you have all the answers? You are guilty of the same accusations that you fling at lysis. Back to the scriptures: How can you seek to pull out the splinter in your neighbors eye when you can't see past the log stuck in your own.

Back to absolute statements, absolute truth and your belief in God. This one came running back to me on the walk home:

Statement: Knowledge is Power.

Statement: Power corrupts.

Now it's just math: If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does not absolute knoledge corrupt absolutely? So what does that say about belief in an all knowing, all powerful God? Which would you rather toss? Those two statements, or your belief in a BENEVOLENT all knowing, all powerful God.

Welcome to the murky depths of Absolute truth. Each of them in a vaccum has their own merrit. Put three of them in the same room and only one can survive. I don't believe that truth exists in a vaccum.

Lysis said...

My friend Blowhard, I join Shadow in calling for some support for your claim that I claim to know anything. I do not claim to know anything. As you continue to reference my “by line” eschews knowledge of anything. Like Socrates, I only know that I know noting. Which means that I might even know something – I just don’t know it? I live by reason and faith according to my beliefs.

Here are the things I claimed to believe in the post above. Please show me where I am wrong in any point and I will be in your debt for saving me from error.

1. Stars are distant suns, galaxies, nebula, etc, not distant campfires.

2. Rape is always wrong.

3. Elephants and gray whales are large, gray animals.

4. Ignorance and lack of intelligence is the same thing.

5. Slavery is and always has been wrong.

6. It is good to be free.

7. Life is precious.

8. Service brings joy.

9. Ideas have no mass.

10. Truths don’t take up space.

11. Blowhard is absolutely claiming that truth is relative, or at least not “eternal.”

12. I am glad to hear from Dannyboy.

As for “The Jabberwocky – Blowhard ought to read it in context in Through the Looking Glass. Jabberwocky is Lewis Carol’s (a mathematics professor) bitter satirical attack on relativism. Just before concocting definitions for all the nonsense words in the poem, Humpty Dumpy say, “When I use a word it means exactly what I want it to, nothing more and nothing less.”

Blowhard, have you been taking lessons.

Dan Simpson said...

Blowhard, you are still missing the basic premise that I made. You put forth the logic model. a=b b=c thus a=c. This is a standard rule of logic and math. I cannot argue with it. However, what makes the equation work is the truth of the statements.

I could say

All flowers are green
Roses are flowers
All roses are green.

Now, all of the statements are absolute, but because the first one is not true, it doesn't matter that it is set up in the logic model.

Your argument made the following point.

All killing is bad
Collateral damage is killing
All collateral damage is bad.

Now, IF the first statement is true, then it follows that your argument is also true. However, that is the step that you skipped. You never showed why your first statement is correct.

You make some references to the Bible, but you can't really be using that as your foundation. If we look to the Bible, we can see that though God did say "Thou Shalt Not Kill" He also commanded that His people go to war, and set up a set of laws that called for capital punishment.

The problem with your argument was that you made an absolute statement, assumed it was an absolute truth and then said, "see you guys aren't absolutists because you don't uphold or defend the statement I just made."

So that I don't fall into the same trap, let me explain a little of why reason tells me that Killing is not always wrong.

First, defense of others. If someone was going to kill someone in my family, or even just someone that I saw, and I sat back and did nothing, then I would be complicit in the act. If I had the power to stop the act and didn't, then I think that blame would lie on me.

Reason tells me that if I have the power to stop that which is wrong, and I sit by and allow it to happen, then I am implicitly approving of the action.

Reason, and history, also tells me that if this happens on a large scale, it encourages the bad act to increase. WWII is a perfect example. The longer appeasement went on, the wider the scale of the atrocities spread.

I will quit expanding because I fear that I will make some minute point that you will fixate on to the exclusion of my actual argument, that seems to be your m.o.

Health Blog said...

But you are right, we should simply do what is right according to natural and eternal truths and let them govern our lives.