Thursday, April 12, 2018

Mathematics and Theism: A Matchmate in Heaven!

Conjecture. We accept some axioms as lemmas, because we need them as tools, but don't have to commit to them as absolutely true.

In pointless topology and point-set topology, there are some theorems in pointless topology that can be proven without the axiom of choice, but have corresponding theorems in point-set topology that do require the axiom of choice.

What does this mean? Here's what I think it means:

1. First of all, we have some ideal form of space that we want to prove.
2. If the framework is good enough (Pointless topology captures it), we're done.
3. If the framework is not (Point-set topology doesn't) we add in some axioms that do capture that ideal form (axiom of choice). And then we prove it.

So it's not the axioms or the formal framework that's important (this is formalism) but rather the ideal form we perceive (back to Platonism). Platonism got a bad reputation because so many crank philosophers glorified euclidean geometry as divine revelation... but I find it impossible to make sense of mathematical progress without resorting either to Platonism or some other divine mind responsible for capturing the forms.

Many people do not know this, but there was a movement in mathematics akin to materialism in physics called formalism, which was an attempt to take God out of mathematics. However, it is a dead movement now and I suspect as many mathematicians grow restless a return to Platonism will happen.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Could the Apostles Have Convinced Themselves of Their Own Lies?

One of the supporting arguments for the resurrection is that none of the founders of Christianity would have died for something they knew to be a lie, especially when the authority grants clemency and complete forgiveness in exchange for confession, especially when the alternative is death. However, examples of cult leaders starting to believe their own doctrines--sometimes zealously so--have been noted in contemporary times. Perhaps the best example being L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology, who started his religion by reusing devices, plots and characters from his own science fiction but later became a true believer.

Here is what Hubbard said in 1952:
Now, all this of course is—I’m just kidding you mostly. I don’t believe that you’ve been in the universe 76 trillion years. I don’t believe you have any past before birth. I don’t believe that there is any reason whatsoever for this universe to be here except some fellow called the devil or something that built it. And I don’t believe any of these things. And I don’t want to be agreed with about them. It infuriates me to be agreed with about them. [Source]
 Here is what Hubbard did months before his death:
As Techie points out, one of the surprising things we learned from Lawrence Wright’s epic 2013 history of the church, Going Clear, and then in even more detail in the final chapters of Mark “Marty” Rathbun’s 2013 book Memoirs of a Scientology Warrior, was testimony from Steve Pfauth, who was with Hubbard in his final years in seclusion, and who said that during Hubbard’s final months the frail old man was earnestly searching for those invisible, disembodied alien souls — body thetans — hoping to chase them away. Hubbard really seemed to believe his own science fiction at that point. [Source]
So apparently it is possible to convince oneself of the verity of one's own lies. The brain has a way of reprogramming itself to believe even one's own fantasy. Could the Apostles have been victims of that?

Not likely. First, there are massive differences between L. Ron Hubbard and the Apostles, the first one being that L. Ron Hubbard had never experienced persecution or duress (if anything, he was persecuting the United States government, as operation Snow White demonstrates) and was never in a position of fighting for his life. If he had been under those conditions, he probably would have confessed.

Second, there actually is a parallel to the "liar-who-believes-his-own-lies" who was put into a situation comparable to what the Apostles were under, and that was Sabbatai Zevi. He was a Jewish occultist (he practiced Kabbalah, which is most definitely occult) who believed that he was the Messiah... and famously renounced it all and converted to Islam when put into a situation where he had to confess and die.

In conclusion, considering that the closest situation in history to someone who has believed his own lies recanted completely under the duress of death and positive temptation of total clemency, it is likely that the Apostles did not make it up but instead really did believe that Jesus Christ was risen. As to what caused that belief... is left for the reader to investigate.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Christianity is not an anti-gay religion

This is exactly what it says on the tin: Christianity is not an anti-gay religion. Do you want to know what a really anti-gay religion looks like? Try this:

“Thai Buddhist authors believe that the origins of homosexuality stems from "lower level spirits", a factor that is influenced by one's past life. Buddhists view kathoeys (male-to-female transgenders and effeminate gay men) as the marking of an individual who is born with a disability as a direct consequence for their past sins.” (Source: Wikipedia)

That’s absolutely awful. You’re gay as a punishment for your past sins and because you’re “lower-level” than “normal" people. But that’s not what Jesus says: Jesus loves you regardless of whether you’re gay or straight, and Jesus never taught that gay people are more depraved or more primitive than anybody else. Not only do I believe that God exists, but I believe that the evil liar behind all false religions would love nothing more than to see gay people suffer in this life and the next one too.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Mental Dyslexia

I am starting to get to the root of the cause of the disease found in modern philosophy and apologetics for atheism. First of all, it is impossible to divorce atheism from modern philosophy because atheism has been historically speaking extremely rare before the modern era. So it is necessary for me to dissect the problems endemic in modern philosophy, which immediately disappear once the analytical method is applied to them.

As for the disease, the disease is that atheist philosophers suffer from a type of mental dyslexia.

People with dyslexia cannot focus on words, and thus have difficulty with reading. The letters jumble too much in their minds as they read, so they cannot distinguish between "unite" and "untie," for instance. With many people, it is the same but for ideas. They cannot focus on an idea and apply definitions and previous theorems that they learned earlier. This is why half of programming students are incapable of learning programming, because that same ability to focus on concepts without them jumbling is what is necessary to do good programming, as it is for non-solipsistic philosophy.

Take essence theory versus bundle theory. The contemporary notion is that "essences" are just ad-hoc nonsense while bundle theory is more "erudite" and "scientific." So defining God as the being whose essence is his existence is nonsense. But why are essences so stupid? According to the moderns, because we use the attributes of objects to distinguish object from object, while we cannot do the same for essences. But we also know that there are some things that are incidental to an object (hair color) while there are others that are not so incidental (capacity for reason), so if usage is the determining factor, why don't we acknowledge that our usage of nouns/things reflects essence/accident distinction? Because essences are "spooky." But how are essences more "spooky" than properties? Because we use properties in our day-to-day lives. Ah, but you see, the dyslexia has manifested itself now: essences are also used in daily lives, but the person arguing could not recall the definition of essence ("that which is not incidental to an object") during the discussion and consequently resorted to something (perhaps a mental image or picture thinking). 

It is my personal belief that the root of all atheism stems from this kind of mental dyslexia. All atheist thinking is possible because they cannot focus very well on one idea at a time, and when they do, they cannot pull definitions and theorems as necessary.

Friday, December 15, 2017

The "but I can't help what I believe!" argument

In this article we will consider the question of whether or not atheists have a choice regarding what they will believe. I will appeal to the following dictum.

Dictum. Living your life as if X is true and believing that X is true are one and the same.

So let's consider the atheist's question, but rephrased. Can a current atheist will to choose in the future to live in such a way as if atheism is false? If they can, then by our dictum, they can choose to believe in God. By the way, this isn't just true for theism, but for anything. If you live your life as if X is true, then that is the same as believing that X is true.

Here's a quiz you should pose to anybody who doubts that they can choose what they believe?

Question #1: Can you choose to give away all your money to a town drunk?
Question #2: Is it an easy choice for a person who worked hard all of their lives to earn their wealth to say 'yes'?
Question #3: If you've answered "no" to Question #2, then does that logically imply that the answer to Question #1 also be "no"?
Question #4: For any X, can you choose to plan your life and behave as if X is true?
Question #5: Is there any difference between choosing to plan your life and behave as if X is true and believing that X is true?

Friday, October 27, 2017

The "science is self-correcting" fallacy

Oftentimes when dealing with evolutionists the following exchange is bound to happen.
EVOLUTIONIST: *posts some evidence proving evolution*
EVOLUTIONIST: Hah! That proves that we were right and you were wrong! Stupid Christian. I just won another Internet debate.
YOU: *posts some evidence disproving evolution.*
EVOLUTIONIST: Hah! That proves that science is self-correcting. Much better than relying on some old book for knowledge! Stupid Christian. I just won another Internet debate.
It is an extremely intellectually dishonest, yet extremely effective, rhetorical trick. First of all, because it is rhetorical in nature, that means that there is a dialectical argument hidden within the rhetoric, and the argument is this:
EVOLUTIONIST: The only valid kind of knowledge is scientific knowledge, and theological knowledge is simply abstract nonsense devoid of meaning, like the sentence "colorless green ideas sleep alertly."
That this is indeed the implied dialectical argument is obvious when you notice that, the evolutionist, by claiming that science should be adhered to because it is "self-correcting" is naturally implying that all the other subjects (law, philosophy, theology, art, literature, music, etc...) should be ignored because they're not "self-correcting." He is implying that there is nothing of cognitive value in any of these other fields, and that the only value they could have is emotional, aesthetic, or sentimental, but not cognitive.

However, whether scientific knowledge is indeed the only kind of knowledge is a highly controversial claim in philosophy. The idea even has a name (positivism), and it has been considered dated and largely rejected by most philosophers.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Talk.Origins on Richard Dawkins' "Intellectually Fulfilled Atheist" Quote

The pro-evolution website talk.origins has an interesting section on Richard Dawkins's famous quote that evolution "has made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist." And I quote:
Claim: By providing a naturalistic explanation of biological origins, evolution promotes atheism. Although atheism might have been logically tenable before Charles Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist. [Dawkins, 1986, p. 6] 
Source: Berlinski, David. 1996. The Deniable Darwin. Commentary 101(6) (Jun).
I decided to double-check the source given on whether or not David Berlinski claims that "evolution promotes atheism." He never did: I used "ctrl-f" to search for the verb phrases "promotes atheism," "promote atheism," "promoting atheism," and "promoted atheism," even replacing the verb with "support" or any number of synonyms, and failed to find any textual evidence of him claiming that "evolution promotes atheism." Now what the source provided actually says is that atheists are as emotionally invested in evolution as fundamentalists are in Genesis (using the Dawkins quote as evidence), and I quote from Berlinski:
"Darwin," Richard Dawkins has remarked with evident gratitude, "made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist." This is an exaggeration, of course, but one containing a portion of the truth. That Darwin's theory of evolution and biblical accounts of creation play similar roles in the human economy of belief is an irony appreciated by altogether too few biologists.
There is no way to possibly confuse this with an assertion that evolution promotes atheism unless the person reading it is inherently confused. As long as Talk.Origins keeps this misleading citation up, Talk.Origins is spreading false data. Berlinski does not even claim that all atheists need evolution to support their atheism, as he then goes on to clearly state that Dawkins's quote is "an exaggeration, of course."