Sunday, 31 October 2010

okay, i sent my last post to my grandfather, who i hold in VERY high regard.

and here is his response

Dear Harry

Oh Dear!
I was worried by your Blog - it looks as though you are turning into your Grandad. Is there anything I can do to help stop the rot?

Despite that I liked what you had to say and the way that you said it.
Religion and Belief Systems are really important aspects of human existence and we have to try and understand them both for our own sakes and so that we can understand what makes other people tick. Unfortunately you are likely to spend an awful lot of time and effort before you reach the conclusion that it is all based on nonsense. God (at least the version who is an old man with a white beard wearing a dressing-gown) is a delusion as Dawkins keeps pointing out. I believe (!) that you can’t just take someone else’s word for that. With religion or anything else for that matter you have to go back to the source material to find out the facts. Do not believe anything you read in the newspapers (or books) without checking the facts.
(I coined an aphorism once: ‘the spurious authenticity of the printed word’ by which I mean that if you see something in print you are inclined to believe it to be true, just because it is printed.)
Your Blog:
First of all, according to fundamental Christians, (ranging from Jehovah’s Witnesses to the Salvation Army), the Bible is the Word of God, no human involvement at all except for the few who were in direct communication and could write very quickly. (Digression: the advantage of theC.of E. as a Belief System is that you do not actually need to believe in anything to belong to it - there was an Archbishop of Durham called Jenkins who went on record to that effect).

So yes, according to the Bible, God was bored and lonely so he created Angels, Seraphs and Cherubs before he created the Earth: these were the ‘Sons of God’, thousands, maybe millions of them. They included Jesus (called Michael, confusingly) and Satan. See Job1:6, 38:4-7 Isaiah 6:1-3,7 Ezekiel10:1-2 Genesis 19:1-26 for starters. Maybe God just liked to party? However, if he was perfect then He didn’t need to party to take His mind off things.
Do not agree that humans are motivated by a pursuit of perfection. Here I might digress onto a different subject but I’ll try not… essentially the vast bulk of humanity do not aspire to anything beyond gratifying their immediate physical needs. It is only the Europid branch of humanity, and precious few of them, (starting off with the Cro-Magnons) who are imbued with a sense of dissatisfaction with their lot. That is why we invented art and technology. The problem with Pot, Hash, Mary-Jane is that it removes the sense of dissatisfaction and the possibility of personal and human progress.
More on that if you want it.

The Bible lays down that all of God’s works are perfect and that all of his intelligent creatures are endowed with free will (Deuteronomy30:19, 32-4, Joshua 24,15). Satan was created perfect but used his free will to go his own way. In the Garden of Eden he argued that God wasdepriving A & E of their rights (Genesis 3:1-5), they agreed, went on strike, ate the apple, made the Boss cross and the s*** hit the fan (Genesis 3:6-19). So Satan is the cause of human suffering - a dodgy argument when the Boss is supposed to be all-loving, all-powerful etc.
Incidentally, a load of other Angels joined the Satan party to ‘satisfy their sexual cravings with the daughters of men’ (Genesis 6:1-4) - the Bible is full of good stuff, you really should read it. They became Demons and are responsible for some of the problems we have to put up with (Mathew12:43-45, Luke8:27-33).
Strikes me that God runs a pretty slack ship.
Despite which I don’t entirely rule out the possibility of a celestial watchmaker who set the whole shebang ticking…
More if you want it?
(Boring boring boring - but I spent a year reading the Bible at bedtime so’s I could argue with a couple of Rev gents and quote the facts at them - they wanted to recruit me but gave up)

i thought you lot would like to hear what he has to say, i think he makes a few good points as well as adding a bit of humor :)


A perfect God, continued Matt response.

"There is nothing he needs, nothing he desires, and nothing he must or will do. A God who is perfect does nothing except exist. A perfect creator God is impossible."

"While it's true that God, triune in nature, is lacking nothing in terms of community. He needs no one to fulfill Him in His perfection, and He needs no one to keep Him company. But that in no way means He cannot desire something. Do you need the albums you buy at the record store? Of course not. But you do desire them. Desire is not related to need. Need is related to need."

But isn't desire in it self a imperfection? a perfect being would not desire any thing? a perfect being would be content with what he had and would want for nothing else. so again a God that desires renders him imperfect, a Perfect God that desires is impossible. 

"What is perfect cannot create anything imperfect, so God must be imperfect to have created these imperfect humans. A perfect God who creates imperfect humans is impossible."

"This is another false assumption. According the the Bible, evil existed before Eden. Evil was born in the heart of an angel, and that fallen angel deceived the first humans into sinning by disobeying God's commands. I believe most Christian theologians use the term "innocent" rather than "perfect" when speaking of the first humans."

If evil was born in the heart of an angle, then i have to assume that this perfect God created the angle capable of being evil, as nothing perfect can create something capable of being evil, so yet again, the idea of a perfect God is impossible. 

"It does not matter how just, kind, and generous they have been with their fellow humans during their lifetime: if they do not accept the gospel of Jesus, they are condemned. No just God would ever judge a man by his beliefs rather than his actions."

Matt "The Bible teaches that the only punishment befitting the crime of sin is death. Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9). Jesus came from Heaven as the only perfect sacrfice for sin. His death secured eternal forgiveness for those who would, by faith, believe so. Simply being good does not atone for sin, because sin can only be paid for through death. No sorrow, no penance can pay for sin. Only death. Our death or Christ's death. This is the clear teaching of the Bible."

But these people never had a chance, they had never even heard of the gospel? so from that logic they are dammed to eternal torment simply because they hadn't heard of the gospel? regardless of how good they have been to fellow people. this unfortunately leads me to believe that God, is just like us and is fickle and like all things has evil within him. Rendering him imperfect. 

im also introducing a new writer into the blog, his name is Jack and he will be making his own posts. 

i will mark my posts his my name- Harry and he will do the same with his. 

i look forward to your responses to these questions.  :) 


Thursday, 28 October 2010

God. a perfect being?

okay, this is for the sake of argument, this is not my beliefs.  but i would like you all to read it and counter my argument.

and i would like to know what you all think of this.

A perfect God

What did God do during that eternity before he created everything? If God was all that existed back before the universe was created, what disturbed the eternal equilibrium and compelled him to create? Was he bored? Was he lonely? Did he some how need to create? God is supposed to be perfect. If something is perfect, it is complete--it needs nothing else to be perfect.. We humans engage in activities because we are pursuing that elusive perfection, because there is disequilibrium caused by a difference between what we are and what we want to be. If God is perfect, there can be no disequilibrium. There is nothing he needs, nothing he wants or needs, and nothing he must or will do. A God who is perfect does nothing except exist. A perfect creator God is impossible.
But, for the sake of argument, let's carry on with this chain of thought. Let us suppose that this perfect God did create the universe. Humans were the crown jewels of his creation, since they were created in God's image and have the ability to make decisions with their gift of free will. However, these humans spoiled the original perfection by choosing to disobey God.
If something is perfect, nothing imperfect can come from it as that would be a contradiction. Someone once said that bad fruit cannot come from a good tree, and yet this "perfect" God created a "perfect" universe which was rendered imperfect by the "perfect" humans. The ultimate source of imperfection stems right back to God. What is perfect cannot become imperfect, so humans must have been created imperfect. What is perfect cannot create anything imperfect, so God must be imperfect to have created these imperfect humans. A perfect God who creates imperfect humans is impossible.

The Christians' counter to this argument involves freewill. They say that a being must have freewill to be happy. The omnibenevolent God did not wish to create robots, so he gave humans freewill to enable them to experience love and happiness. However the humans used this freewill to choose evil, that caused imperfection into God's originally perfect universe. God had no control over this decision, so the blame for our imperfect universe is on the humans, not God.
Here is why i find the argument weak. First, if God is omnipotent, then the assumption that freewill is necessary for happiness is false. If God could make it a rule that only beings with freewill may experience happiness, then he could just as easily have made it a rule that only robots may experience happiness. The latter option is clearly superior, since perfect robots will never make decisions which could render them or their creator unhappy, whereas beings with freewill could. A perfect and omnipotent God who creates beings capable of ruining their own happiness is impossible.
Second, even if we were to allow the necessity of freewill for happiness, God could have created humans with freewill who did not have the ability to choose evil, but only to choose between several good options.
Third, God supposedly has freewill, and yet he does not make imperfect decisions. If humans are miniature images of God, our decisions should likewise be perfect. Also, the occupants of heaven, who presumably must have freewill to be happy, will never use that freewill to make imperfect decisions. Why would the originally perfect humans do differently? following this line of reasoning leads us to the conclusion that we humans were created imperfect because of the decision to make us in the firsts place.
The point still stands: the presence of imperfections in the universe disproves the supposed perfection of its creator.

God is omniscient. When he created the universe with the humans as its crown, he saw the sufferings which these humans would endure as a result of the sin of those original humans(Adam and Eve). He heard the screams of the damned and scorned. Surely he would have known that it would have been better for those humans to never have been born (in fact, the Bible says this very thing), and surely this all-compassionate deity would have foregone the creation of a universe destined to imperfection in which many of the humans were doomed to eternal suffering. A perfectly compassionate being who creates beings which he knows are doomed to suffer is impossible.
God is perfectly just, and yet he sentences the imperfect humans he created to infinite suffering in hell for finite sins. Clearly, a limited offense does not warrant unlimited punishment, we do not accept this in modern society, and it goes against logic. God's sentencing of the imperfect humans to an eternity in hell for a mere mortal lifetime of sin is infinitely more unjust than this punishment. The absurd injustice of this infinite punishment is even greater when we consider that the ultimate source of all human imperfection is the God who created them. A perfectly just God who sentences his imperfect creation to infinite punishment for finite sins is impossible.

Consider all of the people who live in the remote regions of the world who have never even heard the "gospel" of Jesus Christ. Consider the people who have naturally adhered to the religion of their parents and nation as they had been taught to do since birth. If we are to believe the Christians, all of these people will perish in the eternal fire and damnation for not believing in Jesus Christ. It does not matter how just, kind, and generous they have been with their fellow humans during their lifetime: if they do not accept the gospel of Jesus, they are condemned to eternal torment. No just God would ever judge a man by his beliefs rather than his actions.

okay as i said, this is just some thoughts i have been musing on for a while, i would like to know what you think..

as i said at the start of this post, this NOT what i believe but they are still my thoughts. 
at this moment in time i am agnostic, but sampling the ideas in religion, there are facts in it that i find disturbing and questionable. the above is a prime example of this. 

and i just want to add this. Every human has faith in something, because it fills a gap in our understanding of existence that nothing else can.
Atheists claim to have faith in logic, although logic itself would favor creationism.
As our scientific understanding goes, in order for something to exist, it has to be created.
So who created this creator (god)?
Probability, which is mathematical and logical, would favor that it is much more likely that a single being --that just always -was- outside of our understanding of existence -- created all of what we know to exist, rather than everything creating or being infinite itself.

okay guys. discuss. 

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

In response to Matts comment. "How can we know any thing for certain?"

"If we talk about all of these possibilities and then say we could likely never prove one is right, then we have to accept them all as plausible. In other words, we all have to believe that no one can know anything for certain, a rule we would break if we all agreed to that sort of thinking. The quicker question is this: how do we know for certain that nothing can be known for certain? If we cannot know for certain that we can know nothing certainly, then we believe what we believe, in part, by faith, and not because we are certain that what we believe is true. Or right."

They are all plausible yes, but some have more merit than others, well in my mind they do, but maybe thats just because i dont want to accept something that is clearly quite radical and potential disturbing. 

things can be known for certain takes maths for example 

2+2=4 no matter what we do or how we twist this, this simple sum will always come out as 4, there is no getting around it. 

however there are a lot of things out there that we do not know for certain things in my ever day life for example, how many people will look at the blog today, i cant know that for certain.  
and things in science like how the universe has been formed, was it god? or was it just all fluke and coincidence? we just cant know. 

or well until one or the other is proven, if it can be proven that is... 

now let me ask you this, and i believe this is an important question, if we cant prove it, why should we believe it? 

im open to any response, weather its just a simple "have faith" i dont mind. 

i look forward to your comments. 

Thanks to Matt for his in depth comment. 

Monday, 25 October 2010

“Reality isn't a word we should use with simple confidence” a quote from Richard Dawkins

“Reality isn't a word we should use with simple confidence”

Everything is not as it seems, or at least that is what Richard Dawkins is telling us. We are stuck in the “middle world” where everything isn't very big or very small (light years and atoms); our minds can't imagine such sizes coherently as this wasn't needed in our fight for survival. We needed to know that a rock is hard and we can use it to break open a nut shell, not that it is made up of billions of atoms that are massive distances from each other in comparison to their size. This is what Dawkins is trying to get across, our reality is only what we perceive, and we see only a narrow strip of the picture that is reality.

However, even this wider picture of reality may be wrong. If you take Descartes" “malicious demon” he asks us how do we know that everything we see isn't just fed to us from this “demon”? How do we know that the reality that we see isn't just lies made up by a scientist in a lab? (Putnam’s “brain in a vat argument”) Descartes brings up a point that is disturbingly believable and completely ludicrous, believable as we can’t disprove it, but ludicrous as it is beyond our comprehension that something could possibly feed us a false reality. Descartes tries to discredit this himself with his famous quote “I think, therefore I am” meaning that as you are able to doubt yourself you therefore must have a self in order to doubt and “think” in the first place.

Now let's go back to Dawkins, in his book the “Delusion of God" he talks about a quantum theory called the “Many Worlds”. It is not so much a theory but an interpretation of a theory. The reality this theory presents is mind blowing. The “Many Worlds” reality is dominated by a vast multitude of parallel universes all “mutually undetectable” except through narrow holes of “quantum-mechanical experiments”. Each of these universes are different, in one, your hair might be slightly longer or a different colour maybe, and in some, I might even be Prime Minister! Now, if we apply that to our own reality it really does mean we can't use the word "reality" with any real confidence at all. It would mean that we wouldn't see only a narrow band of reality; we would only see, maybe, a pixel of the greater picture. This understandably plays with our common sense and rationality, however unpleasing it may be, the experiments and mathematics add up. This doesn't mean it's true though; there are many other interpretations of quantum theory that also fit the bill.

So, our reality could be some elaborate ruse made up by a scientist in a lab feeding our brain sensory information about our life, or similarly a demon whispering lies into our head, making a false reality in which he can lead us to and fro, or maybe our “world” is one of an infinite number of other parallel worlds all connected by small port holes of quantum mechanics. Whatever is the truth, or the perceived truth, we will still live in our narrow band of reality and will continue to do so no matter which theory turns out to be right.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

sorry about the color on the last post.

i did something to it and im unsure on how to change it back :P

i dont want to post something with out any philosophy in it soooooo

favorite philosopher and the one you think is just bat shit crazy

for me i think maybe lock, and descartes.. the nutter

Awareness is one of the key things that distinguishes a person from a non-person.

"Anonymous said...

Awareness is one of the key things that distinguishes a person from a non-person. I believe you become a person when you are aware of consequences, yourself and of others.Without this understanding of a higher level is impossible. No matter the amount of rationalisation, you'll never be able to attribute this to anything in the world."

okay, well if we approach personhood from your angle, i still believe we can attribute person hood to come animals. 
i want you to look at this experiment and tell me that these monkeys are not showing they are aware of what there actions do to others and the consequences that come with it. 
okay, imagine an experiment were you have two monkeys in separate cadges. there are two chains. chain A will give the monkey a load of food, and chain B will only give him a small amount. they let the monkey experiment with this a few times so it established that chain A gives more food and so would pull that when given the choice. however the experimenters then started shocking the other monkey when ever the A chain was pulled. 
after seeing the other monkey in pain when it pulls the A chain stopped out right. as this experiment was carried out on several monkeys to make sure it wasn't a fluke, the results all conform. every monkey stopped pulling the A chain, 2/3 of the monkeys would only pull the B chain that dosnt administer any sock, were as the final 1/3 just stopped pulling any chain, and actively staved them selfs to avoid hurting their companions, one even when with out food for 12 days before reliving its self. 
now this to me shows that they understand what is happening when they pull the chain, yes they get food if they pull the chain, but they will hurt their counterparts at the same time, by choosing not to pull the chain they are demonstrating they are "aware of consequences, yourself and of others." 
your thoughts?
any counter arguments? 
and are you aware of any other experiments like this? if so i would like to hear of them :) 

Saturday, 23 October 2010

tool making requires intelligence? well in that case say hey to the crow.

in this video a caledonian crow is clearly shown to be using tools to achieve its goals. This clearly shows that the crow is using rationality to see that the wire needs to be bent so it can be used as a hook to get the hood up. 

what are you thoughts on the crows ability? 

to be able to rationalize is another big point in my view of personhood. although and im going to quote here 

"different needs cause different characteristics to develop. Our capacity for rational thought does not make us superior to nonhumans. I was pointing out that a cheetah is suited for its needs, just as humans are. The idea that the capacity for rational thought means an organism is superior to one that does not have the capacity for such is purely an anthropocentric view." 

i agree, different needs have caused each animal to develop different characteristics, physical or mental. In this case of the cheater, the cheater in my view is a magnificent hunter, one that is agile and extremely fast, but in light of all of this, it still isn't rational or self aware, it isn't able to look at its reflection and know that that is its self looking back at it. 
now i know that the cheater hasn't evolved to be self aware, but what im trying to establish is that, they are not intelligent. they do not have personhood. they are neither superior or inferior to us, but they lack personhood. 

as i said in the beginning of this blog, i am still trying to establish my views, they are crude and not yet fully formed, so any contribution will be a great help :) 

leave comments below :) you can now comment without an account on here so enjoy :) 

Friday, 22 October 2010


right, stepping aside from fantasy and scifi for a moment, lets take a look at persons.

Is to be human a gift? Is it… special? Are we, in some way higher than every other life form? If so, what makes us so special? Is it our ability to invent and to create, what sets us apart? Or maybe, it’s our personhood. The fact that we are persons, we have characteristics that define it, and we have established what it is to be a person. We… understand. But what about your loving and caring dog, he has emotions and little quirks that set him apart from other dogs, surly he’s a person? But how do you know that he isn’t just “caring” because you give him food, which his body tells him he needs, he doesn’t understand why you give him food, or were it comes from, when you scold him he won’t know why or understand why. He… it, is not a person. Or… is he?
When talking about animal persons, we need to be careful. We have a habit of going around and giving random animal human traits and linguistic skills, a good example of this are the Disney films. But actual and real animals can’t communicate in a dialect we can pick up, however they can be taught to speak... in a sense, the chimpanzee Washoe for example learnt 250 signs to communicate with. This was only achieved as she was bribed with food and treats to learn the signs.
With language use, comes in my view the next essential criteria for person hood, self-awareness, most animals are not self aware. We can do tests to prove this, but sometimes, these tests prove otherwise.  In 1977 an experiment conducted by Gordon Gallup was carried out with Chimps, Gallup introduced mirrors to the chimps, after a few das the chimps were able to recognise themselves in the mirror. Gallup then marked the Chimps above their eye brow.  When the Chimps saw their reflection they saw this mark and actively tried to get rid of this mark. This, it seems is irrefutable evidence that these Chimps have self awareness.
So Chimps so far have self-awareness it seems and language skills...looking pretty person like so far... let’s see if other animals from the same family can reflect, upon themselves or others.
In 1960 an experiment placed a monkey in a cage and was taught that when a chain was pulled the monkey got food, the monkey picked this up and another monkey was placed in another cage. The first monkey could see the other but not vice versa.  Now this time when the monkey pulled the chain he still got food but the other monkey was hit with an electric shock.  After observing this a few times the monkey stopped pulling the chain for food, and went for long periods of time rather than giving the other monkey an electric shock. This suggests that the monkeys can reflect on others feelings so, they can sympathise with one another, and rationalise, the monkey is rationalising that if I pull this chain that monkey is  going to get hurt... so therefore I won’t do it. This is showing a level of social understanding, rationality and the ability to reflect on others feelings... a remarkable feat for a “mere animal”
Now putting animals aside for a minute, Machines, cold, heartless, thoughtless, or maybe, understanding, rational and self-aware? Machines of today, can in no circumstances be called persons, some would say, the laptop I’m working on now is possessing the keys I type in but isn’t understanding what I’m actually writing. Searle’s Chinese room backs this up, he wants us to imagine you’re in a room, pieces of paper are dropped into the room, the symbols mean nothing to you however, you have with you a sophisticated manual, that tells you what to do, the manual tells you  what symbols to pass out when certain symbols are passed in.  Theses “symbols” are sentences in Chinese, the ones going in are questions, the ones going out are answers. To a Chinese person looking into the room, they would think that you understand Chinese as you are answering all of the questions correctly. However this is not the case as you are only processing what you see, you do not understand it.  This is that modern day computers are said to do. But in future maybe computers will understand... maybe, AI may be as intelligent as us. 

Chimps the linguistic champions, Monkeys the benevolent beings, machines... calculating or maybe just processing masters, When saying only humans can be persons, we are saying that nothing, not even aliens that could have completely different set of attributes attached to there personhood, can be persons, that we as humans are only allowed the right to have the incredible status of a person.  But this is for a reason, we can’t start handing out personhood “badges” to any anima/machine that starts to look like they possess the characteristics of person, or we might just start belittling its meaning.  

what are your comments and quires? do you think that animals can be persons? or is it a attribute olly we can have? 

fermi's Paradox

This is perhaps one of my favourite so i thought i would start with it :) as well as making a poll to see what you all think of it!

Right so in case you aren’t familiar with the paradox, here it is.

Fermi was sitting around with a bunch of his mates having a bit of a philosophical talk, as you do. Some were in this conversation Fermi asked "so, were are they"? by "they" he means aliens, yes aliens, the little green men in flying saucers. by asking this simple but rather profound question, he kind of hit the nail on the head.

Were indeed are they? The amount of stars in the sky, the pure number of planets out there, surly one must harbour intelligent life? there areeee loooads of different theories each with their own quirks and such, some with a lot more merit that others, for example its easy to believe that they simply don’t want to talk to us, but its a lot harder to believe (in my own view) that we are entirely alone, but who knows, each to their own.

here a few of the other reasons why old ET hasn’t visited earth for a spot of tea..

We are the first in the galaxy
Life is new to the galaxy and evolution takes time. We are the first intelligent civilization. Problem: the Sun being an average star, if other stars formed a million years ahead of us, then they would be a million years ahead of us technologically speaking. This would be pretty insane if you put into consideration how fast we as a species has advanced since we started out.
God has no room for ET in his plans, and created only humans to eventually rule the stars.
Life is difficult to start and to evolve to an intelligent and technologically advanced stage and we're the only one in the galaxy.
Advanced civilizations destroy themselves on short timescales. (Let’s hope not...)
They are here unobserved
They were here and they left material evidence:
UFO's, alien artefacts, ancient astronauts. Problem: evidence for aliens is non-existent. This kinda dashes that whole theory in my mind.
Zoo scenario
The aliens are here and they are keeping us in a well designed zoo (cut off from all contact) or there is an treaty preventing contact with young races. Problem: this scenario can't be tested. Only one ET could break the embargo.
They are us
Humans are the descendents of previous alien civilizations. Problem: where are the original aliens? where are all the other alien civilizations?
and the last on my list, maybe they are all just to busy fighting each other. for all we know there could be a vast multitude of civilisations out there all fighting it out for stakes on colonisable planets, and simple don’t want to invest in communicating with fledgling species. Porblem: wouldn't we notice this big intersteller war going on?

that’s a few of them there are others, if you want to find out more about it just Google it :)
if you have your own idea please tell me by commenting :)

Introducing the blog :)

Iv recently started a philosophy course at Cirencester college. Iv made this blog to outline my current ideas, and to show how they change, as i am introduced to new ideas and theories. My blog won't just be about how my ideas are changing but they will also address paradoxes I have not been taught about, but non the less find extremely intriguing. I wish to look at animal persons to god to the fermi paradox. I hope you will read the blog and find it interesting as well as thought provoking. Replying to new posts and the ideas within them with your own would be greatly appreciated :)