I’d also like to take a stab at a definition of philosophy.
Philosophy: The attempt to apply rigorous objective tools to subjectively submitted questions to return the framework of an objective answer to ground contingent subjective meaning.
This definition is based on, what I feel is, the most important, but too often ignored, distinction inherent to philosophizing; the subjective/objective distinction. We are subjective seekers wanting to objectively legitimize 1) our questions, 2) the methods of processing those questions, and 3) any subsequent answers.
To be an atheist is to be good for nothing. -Mark Twain
I’ve scrapped morality. Not the concept of a code of behavior. Just the word morality. Here’s why.
Theists argue that the only source of an objective moral code would be a god. They then argue that, unless a moral code is objective, it has no value and renders subscribers to a subjective moral code amoral agents. So, the word morality has been inextricably attached to the notion of god. Those of us who reject the notion of an Abrahamic god are left feeling a bit immoral.
What’s an agnostic to do? I could launch a campaign to redefine the word morality as the gay community did the word queer. This would undoubtedly fail considering the bulk of literature that baptizes morality in theism.
Instead, let me concede the theistic connotations clinging to morality, and disparage this god-dependent morality as a notion that is incoherent, ignoble and valueless.
Last night I had a discussion with a friend on the possibility of reaching objective truth without it being tainted with subjective emotions. This afternoon, I sparred with another friend on whether an objective assessment of reality is possible. And just an hour ago I received a comment from a gentleman named Dave on this same topic in a response to my post Reasons For My Deconversion.
I responded to Dave’s comment and decided to post both of our comments in this separate post. Continue reading →
A life without emotions would not be much of a life. Just ask any computer.
You: “So, what’s it like being you?“
Computer: “Your question is meaningless. Don’t you have some numbers for me to crunch?”
Computers seem to live lives devoid of joy or sorrow or anger or affection. They just compute.
Humans, on the other hand, don’t compute well. In most domains of human activity, humans do not well calculate risks accurately. This is especially true for gambling, drinking, romancing, and eating, all which have an army of emotional gnomes pulling us towards the warmth of excess. This is also true for believing.
Most often, the force behind choosing an ideology is not what it should be; the truth value of the ideology. It is usually instead a team of selfish pestering emotions that are all, like pestering gnomes, attempting to maximize personal contentment by pushing and pulling you towards the fluffiest and warmest fiction
There are pushing gnomes and pulling gnomes. The gnomes that push are as follows. Continue reading →
Ravi Zacharias, a prominent Christian apologist has said “There are four fundamental questions in life; origin, meaning, morality and destiny.” He then goes on to suggest that only God is big enough to give a satisfactory answer to these questions. Watch Video
Science is constraining. It requires that we follow certain rules when assessing reality. These rules cannot be bent by hopes, wants or wild imagination.
Some consider the constraints of science to be uncomfortable, especially when they impinge on our emotional intuitions. When science coldly suggests that we are not the center of significance within our universe, we tend to step over the line of science and subjectively don some warm cloak of significance. When science fails to provide sources of justice, morality and human dignity, we are inclined to ignore the lack of objective evidence, and construct subjective plugs or appropriate packaged ideological plugs for these emotional intuitions. Continue reading →
The entire project of science is largely one of removing the task of assessment out of the domain of the subjective into the objective in order to approximate truth to the highest degree possible. While the subjective mind is appropriately where most of life is experienced and enjoyed, it is often not a very good source of truth as the mind is largely emotional and self-delusional. The objective tools of science help us to divest ourselves of this emotional subjectivity so that the verdict on any given puzzle has as much explanatory and predictive power as possible, ignoring the possible negative implications to the individual.
Humans, for example, subjectively want to affirm that we and our circle of friends are of at least average intelligence. However, we understand objectively that, by definition, only 50% of humans have IQs above 100. Half of all persons who imagine themselves intellectually above average are wrong. However, the impulse to mentally fix ourselves within the superior half is persistent due to our emotional dedication to the preservation of our self-image. This is why IQ tests, for example, are very rigorously designed to remove such subjectivity, and in spite of this rigor, these tests are often the target of emotional attempts to discredit the results.
I’d like to mention a few of the highly productive objective tools of science that are often irrationally dismissed when they produce verdicts that counter subjective notions of self, society and reality. Continue reading →