Friday, September 30, 2005

Intelligent Design as Philosophy

The World is composed of facts, not of things.
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

Woe unto you, lawyers! For you have stolen the key of knowledge. You have not entered in yourselves, but you tried to hinder those that have.
LUKE 12:52

[This was intended as a comment on the continuing discussion of Intelligent Design at Winds of Change, but is posted here for reasons of bandwidth economy. When nobody reads what you write, you save a lot of bandwidth.]


Gathering on some of the comments above, if Intelligent Design is understood as philosophy, then what does it have to offer philosophy?

I think the broad conclusion of philosophy vis-a-vis religion is not the "Death of God", but the Socratic wisdom that our metaphysical knowledge is severely finite.

At this point the hard empiricist stops, draws a line in the dirt, and says "This marks the absolute outer limits of science and reason. Beyond this, everything is imcomprehensible and should be ignored. If anything beyond this point exists at all, which it probably doesn't."

Of course, that empiricist is wrong. Even science doesn't respect that boundary. Physicists and cosmologists have been out in weirdo territory having a ball for years. Sometimes even the mathematicians are jumping the fence and running wild. The laboratories are left behind on these excursions.

Wittgenstein said "Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent", as if we had to observe a reverent silence towards all that fundamentally unknowable Great Beyond. Hume had already gone him one better by threatening to burn all the books that sinned against empiricism. But we're not going to shut up and we're not going to let anyone have our books until they pry our cold dead fingers off them, so that's out.

Furthermore, we know very well that scientism, which sneers at a God that it can't define, can't even understand itself. The logical positivists tried to help out here, and made a huge mess. Thomas Kuhn showed that science doesn't all work as smug and neat as it's supposed to, and Godel and Heisenberg showed some of the reasons why. So we owe science due respect, not absolute obedience.

So my point is this:

Either we acknowledge that science doesn't teach us everything that we want to know, and does not express everything that we need to say (this is the correct conclusion - nudge, nudge), or we try to push that empirical barrier way the hell out into Kingdom Come, so that we can stuff everything into a proper knock-down scientific understanding.

Unfortunately I think Intelligent Design is going straight down the second road. In a handbasket.

Who gave them leave to do this? You guessed it - the worthless God-forsaken Postmodernists, that's who. They showed that you could invent an entire philosophy out of totally bogus jargon and get away with it clean. Think of what you could do with impressive-looking mathematical equations (better yet, statistics!) instead of meaningless run-on sentences. Another four-lane cloverleaf highway straight to Hell, in nothing flat.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Why Roe V. Wade Must Be Overturned, Encased in Lead, and Sunk to the Bottom of the Marianas Trench

There to Lie Forever Among Tubeworms and Busted Russian Submarines

Enough is enough is bloody well enough.

Let us leave aside the merits or demerits of the legal reasoning in Roe. Leave aside the moral objections and rationalizations of abortion, of judicial activism, of settled law, of reproductive rights, of stare decisis and lex idioticus ad infinitum. None of these things are relevant to the present discussion.

The salient point is this: Roe V. Wade has had a disastrous and insidious effect on the highest judicial process in the country. It has hijacked an entire branch of the United States government, which means we only have two left. It has reduced all public discussion of constitutional law to one word: ABORTION. The grand legacy of John Marshall, John Jay, and Oliver Wendell Holmes is now represented by a single lump of tissue: ABORTION. The evolution of judicial thinking in the greatest nation on earth has been stopped dead by ABORTION. The vitally important democratic function of reviewing and choosing suitable candidates for the greatest court in history has been gruesomely hewed down to a single splinter: ABORTION. Blind-folded Justice is almost mute; she can only croak the word ABORTION.

Socrates, what is truth? ABORTION. Conan, what is best in life? ABORTION. What's the atomic weight of Germanium? ABORTION. What is the very meaning of existence itself - what single word breaks the silence of those infinite spaces that filled great Pascal with dread? ABORTION, ABORTION, ABORTION, ABORTION, ABORTION.

Like I said, enough of this monomaniacal cretinism. Enough already.

This one-note ukulele again played incessantly during the present confirmation process, which was all about Roe V. Wade [ABORTION]. Griswold V. Connecticut made a comical cameo appearance, but not even anti-Catholic bigots (well-represented among Roberts critics) are silly enough to believe that Roberts is going to confiscate all the prophylactics. Invoking Griswold was just an amateurish McCarthyite tactic intended to point the finger at Roberts' religion: i.e., to remind everyone that Roberts is a Catholic who might be insufficiently enthusiastic about ABORTION. So unenthusiastic, in fact, that he might overturn Roe V. Wade, even in defiance of the Pope. (So far as liberals are concerned, the Pope is Mario Cuomo.)

Hillary Clinton, the Karma Chameleon of the "New" Democratic Party, has turned the same old tacky color in this debate: She can't support Roberts' nomination because his "failure" to answer questions about [ABORTION] make him unfit to stand as a guardian at the constitutional Shrine of [ABORTION].

Make no mistake, then - the Supreme Court is no longer the Supreme Court of past fame. It is now the National Abortion Tribunal, and its members are no longer jurists, they are the Keepers of the Abortion Toggle Switch.


]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]Fig. 1A. Abortion Toggle Switch, closed.
]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]Suction motors will engage.

As we can see from the schematic diagram above, the Abortion Toggle Switch is currently in the closed (ON) position. The entire purpose of the so-called Supreme Court, as current wisdom understands that purpose, is to stare at this switch all day wondering whether they should play with it or not.

Now this is a sad state for this once-great court to have fallen to, and makes me wonder if we don't need another court to assume the neglected responsibilities of the current one. Then the Abortion Toggle Switch could be moved to some remote corner of the public's attention, and the various abortion partisans could play their endless game of Keep Away without buggering up the entire constitutional process.

However, this would require amending the constitution itself, with all attendant fuss. The simpler course is to push for Roe V. Wade to be overturned, so that the Supreme Court can get out of the abortion business. And stay the hell out of the abortion business, forever.

At once the Pro-Choice legions arise in anguish, complaining that they will never be able to survive the savage Darwinian environment of American politics without the protection of Roe V. Wade. Well, cry me a freaking river. It's about time that you gelatinous sob sisters learned to paddle your own canoe. If you haven't got the guts to make it in the real world, you'll have to use something other than the United States Constitution as an artificial life support system.

If you believe in it, go out and fight for it in the state houses and the legislatures, like an American. If you can't handle it, go practice on some more elementary front of the culture war, and get yourselves trained up. Sisters are supposed to be doing it for themselves, you pussies.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Concluding Postscript on the Death of Yassir Arafat

There was an old man from Ramallah,
Who unexpectedly went to see Allah.
When asked, "By what deed
Were you made a shaheed?"
He said "I choked on Gâteau au ricotta."

Saturday, September 10, 2005

September 11th

On Tuesday, dreadful Mars did come
To the Church of St. Romanos, dripping,
Smoking with the blood of Christian men.

Venus stood, draining tears into cupped hands,
Weeping for the young men and the virgin girls.
Mercury cried out, in comfort or lament,
"Aphrodite, Aphrodite, why are you crying?"

High in the sky, the Moon keeps its distance,
Wondering and trembling with fear,
While all the elements of Heaven
Pour like tears for the City.


[From my journal, September 11th, 2001]:

“No distinction will be made between terrorists and those who harbor them,” the President said tonight. We’ll see.

“I blame this on Senator Church,” somebody just said on FOX News --- referring to the 1973(?) Church Committee that gutted the intelligence services. The news anchor who heard this blinked in incomprehension, obviously having no idea whatsoever who “Senator Church” was. Someone else noted earlier that intelligence has been operating under a recent restriction that won’t allow them to recruit anyone with a “violent” background. So much for infiltrating terrorist organizations. We’ll have to leave that to the Israelis, who are less eaten up with silly “scruples” written by high-ranking ninnies and soccer mommies.

200 firemen dead, at least. 85 policemen missing, at least. Portable morgues are being set up on street corners.

The fashionable mind, in this situation, blames the United States and takes fault with all official actions or inactions. That’s what they’ve been taught is the intelligent position, and "intelligent" people are expected to ape it ("intelligent" people are not expected to actually think; that went out with the Age of Reason, three hundred years ago). At the lower end of fashion are the anti-Arab racists, who are slathering the internet with a thick coat of “Death to Islam, beat up an Arab near you,” etc. (These are the people who never did figure out, over the course of an entire year-long hostage crisis, that Iranians are not Arabs.)

The problem with this country are the people who are ready to tear it down as their first instinct, first reaction to anything. It’s precisely those people for whom this bloody display was intended. It was staged for their benefit. Hopefully they enjoyed it.


Rumors of mysterious explosions in Kabul, probably false. We wouldn’t hit Kabul, and terrorists wouldn’t either. Rumors of an attempt to blow up the George Washington bridge, also probably false.

Celebrations in the Palestinian territories. But Arafat, Kaddafi, the Taliban, and the Iranians have all condemned the bombings, no doubt mindful of the Tomahawk’s long reach. The UN timidly evacuating their missions in Afghanistan to avoid soaking up any “collateral damage”. The UN, incidentally, has made no useful comments at all. Hell, even Castro is being nice to us, but those UN guys are real hard cases.


3500 Dean Witter employees missing. Number of missing firemen up to 300. Pentagon dead at least 800.

The hijacked flights all took off from airports recently fined for lax security. More careful planning. They boarded early morning commuter flights, when people get irate with airport personnel if any delay occurs, so security precautions are weakest at that hour.

JEREMIAH 8:20 - The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.

[Journal, September 12th, 2001]

NATO Article 5 invoked. One for all and all for one, the theory goes.

The dull, insipid face of normalcy is starting to surface. Logan Airport, which contributed two hijacked planes to the debacle, announced new FFA regulations. The nice spokes-lady was chirpily happy to report that most of the new measures were things that Logan had already implemented! You can bomb us, hijack us, and slaughter us by the thousands, but we will emerge as dumb as ever ...

Ugly rumors crawling around: at ___, students were watching footage of the second plane crash when some foreign students stood up and cheered. This one made the rounds at the office. Sounds like rear echelon paranoia to me.

When we launched sudden war on Iraq, the networks all adopted a little “war logo” --- each network had their own within the first hour. Now everybody’s using the same phrase: “Attack on America”. Each network has a different little graphic to go with it: CBS has a green sweeping radar screen that’s a little creepy. No sense in critiquing something that somebody spent about five minutes thinking up.


All signs point to Osama bin Laden --- no surprise there. His bio states that this Saudi rich boy became a devout Moslem while studying economics. Horse hockey. No one ever looked up from Keynes or Veblen and suddenly gave their heart to Allah.

What Osama bin Laden learned from “studying economics” was a lot of Marxist trash about colonialism and imperialism, starring the US as the villain. That’s his real motivation, not the Koran. You can’t blame him for hiding his Bolshevism under a turban ... it allows him to keep his billions without looking like the hypocrite he is. Besides, the Middle East masses want to follow Islamic zealots, not cynical Marxist hacks.


Hardest to see are the people who are wandering the streets with pictures of friends of relatives --- little homemade photo displays or desktop publishing jobs --- asking if anyone has seen them. 5000 people missing right now.

JOB 12:22 - He discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Ecclesiastes 11

Cast your bread on the waters, and after many days you will find it again. Give a portion to seven, and to eight; for you do not know what evil shall be upon the earth.

If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves on the earth; and if the tree falls to the south, or to the north - wherever the tree falls, there will it be. He who watches the wind will never sow, and he who fears the clouds will never reap.

Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is to behold the sun.

But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all: Let him remember the days of darkness, for they shall be many.