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Dec. 18th, 2007 @ 01:46 pm who is ioz? I'll tell you who
A recent commenter introduced me to IOZ and it has become my favorite blog. He has a true gift for the unexpected, which renders him both fascinating and hilarious - he gets me with sudden lols and I'm not a big loller. I don't know what he's talking about sometimes but even then he never loses my interest.

Here's today's: The Wooo-Wooo Atheism:

To quote the unfortunately effable drummer Neal Peart: "Why are we here? Because we're here." This sort of answer makes Western religionists uncomfortable because it doesn't accord them a privileged position in creation. All of the questions about purposefulness and consciousness that they raise; all of their insistence on the immaterial nature of the mind and the conscience; all of their objections about mechanistic explanations; these ultimately boil down to the last trench in their long battle to maintain a cosmology centered on man. Privileging human consciousness as uniquely unfit for natural inquiry is finally a bulwark against the idea that we are incidental to the universe: geographically, cosmologically, biologically, purposefully.

Haught would call this nihilism, which is really his way of saying that his own mind is too impoverished to imagine a moral order without external justification. In a word, authoritarian. In the absence of third-party validation, he can't accept any action or thought as virtuous.

(Emphasis mine.) Emphasized not because I have much comment - just that it's sooooo true.
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From:tahoemph
Date:December 18th, 2007 11:50 pm (UTC)

begging the quote

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When I first read this quote I immediately thought it was fairly one sided in that it uses the scarecrows of "western religionists" and their inability to accept a nil answer to one of the big philosophical questions as support for not asking those questions. But I think the rest of the article is worthwhile read as I believe the target is a lot larger and the argument less one sided. The final paragraph is one that I think bears rereading, reminds me of an (I believe) Arthur C. Clarke quote about being sad that morality is owned by religion in western society, and my own belief that just our use and definition of the words "ethics" and "morals" leads us not into a position of discovering truth but having to first free thought from those afraid of thinking.

Oh, and independent of what Neal Peart says he is an amazing drummer.
From:blogger74226314
Date:December 19th, 2007 05:21 am (UTC)

A new Sartre?

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Not long ago, Berlinerblau wrote
Nonbelievers of late have been churning out loud, unsubtle, anti-religious manifestos. The world would be a better place, they all seem to suggest, if religion and all of its associated personnel were simply to disappear. In this regards the new nonbelievers seem stuck in the `90s--and by this I mean the 1890s. This calls attention to one glaring problem with atheism and agnosticism today: it lacks new ideas. The movement abounds in polemicists, but has not produced a thinker of real substance since perhaps the days of Jean-Paul Sartre.
Who would you say is the most substantial nonbelief-thinker extant?
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From:extempore
Date:December 19th, 2007 03:35 pm (UTC)

Re: A new Sartre?

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Since atheism mostly consists of stating the obvious, it's little wonder it "lacks new ideas." What a retarded criticism.

"2+2=5."
"No, 2+2=4."

[Offscreen, it's proven beyond doubt that 2+2 can't be 5.]

"2+2=6."
"No, 2+2=4."
"Bah, don't you have any NEW ideas?"

I don't know what kind of groundbreaking thinking anyone expects in the area of stating the obvious. There is room for breaking ground in convincing people of the obvious - but a hundred new sartres aren't going to help with that.
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From:pdsheen
Date:December 22nd, 2007 05:38 pm (UTC)

Re: A new Sartre?

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I recently came across this, hopefully not here. That crazy Occam..

http://img403.imageshack.us/img403/9234/occamsrazorbu0.jpg
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From:extempore
Date:December 22nd, 2007 07:32 pm (UTC)

Re: A new Sartre?

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Megalol.
From:wealthandtaste
Date:December 19th, 2007 05:28 pm (UTC)

scrabble softness

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From:blogger74226314
Date:December 19th, 2007 08:58 pm (UTC)

A Russell quote

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Ran across this earlier, and it seemed peculiarly related (though if you'd rather stick to the IOZ specific, I'll shut up). From What I Believe:
A drop of water is not immortal; it can be resolved into oxygen and hydrogen. If, therefore, a drop of water were to maintain that it had a quality of aqueousness which would survive its dissolution we should be inclined to be sceptical.
Note how Russell puts man at the center by saying "we should be...sceptical" here [the statement is perhaps rhetoric, but still sloppy, I submit]. Sartre, on the other hand, was more inclined to try to devoid (quite ruthlessly at times) his thought processes from such influences. As you indicated regarding conviction, this might be more apropos than Berlinerblau's blather (one can easily suspect his ivory tower world, where intellectuals are of dominant import, and thus "new ideas" are the cry of the day) - nonbelief should expect advocates who are willing to adhere to their apodictic conclusions [and, perhaps more difficult, not to elevate mere sentiments to such a level - it is not enough only to "state the obvious" but, complementarily, anything "nonobvious" must also be unflinchingly relegated to a lower status].
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From:extempore
Date:December 23rd, 2007 05:32 pm (UTC)

Re: A Russell quote

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The universe may not be centered around man, but the universe as we experience it is. It's pretty inconvenient (not to mention rather difficult) to escape that entirely, given that our forms of communication assume it in a hundred different ways. One might have to compromise in order to retain sufficient richness of language.
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From:johndhi
Date:December 21st, 2007 12:29 am (UTC)
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Wow, you mentioned poker. I completely forgot that the reason I started reading Paul is for his poker insights. Shows how far my interests have diverted that I still read (about as far as Paul's have).
From:adspar
Date:December 21st, 2007 01:44 am (UTC)
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I feel the exact same way.

Paul, glad you're enjoying IOZ. He's awesome.