Quotes: Day 3

On our continuing series of posts from the gospel of Buddha, allow me to share this passage from the book.

Again it is said that the Absolute has created us. But that which is absolute cannot be a cause. All things around us come from a cause as the plant comes from the seed; but how can the Absolute be the cause of all things alike? If it pervades them, then, certainly, it does not make them.

Again it is said that the self is the maker. But if self is the maker, why did it not make things pleasing? The causes of sorrow and joy are real and objective. How can they have been made by self?

Again, if we adopt the argument that there is no maker, our fate is such as it is, and there is no causation, what use would there be in shaping our lives and adjusting means to an end?

Therefore, we argue that all things that exist are not without cause. However, neither I?vara, nor the absolute, nor the self, nor causeless chance, is the maker, but our deeds produce results both good and evil according to the law of causation.

Let us, then, abandon the heresy of worshipping I?vara and of praying to him; let us no longer lose ourselves in vain speculations of profitless subtleties; let us surrender self and all selfishness, and as all things are fixed by causation, let us practice good so that good may result from our actions.

on free will and other questions

Folks, those of you who have followed this blog know yours truly does hold the view that we don’t have free will. I have written quite a number of posts that can be found here, here, here, here and here that try to espouse my thinking on the idea or opinions by other philosophers of old on the same question. At the same time, those who have followed the discussion know of my friend whom whereas we agree on many issues, we don’t seem to find common ground on this question.

He recently did a post where again this question was raised and in which he introduces a new dimension to the conversation. First he offers a definition of consciousness and stages of consciousness that I would like to borrow, especially since I have not read much about it, but which I think is appropriate for our use. He writes,

Firstly, consciousness can be defined as the waking state. This essentially means that to be conscious, one needs to be awake, aroused, alert or vigilant. The stages of consciousness can range from wakefulness, to sleep to coma even. Secondly, consciousness is defined as experience, a far more subjective approach. This notion suggests that consciousness is the content of experience from one moment to another. Consciousness is highly personal, involving a conscious subject with a limited point of view. Thirdly, consciousness can be defined as the mind. Any mental state with a propositional content is considered conscious. Thus this includes beliefs, fears, hopes, intentions, expectations and desires.

We can agree that these definitions, for lack of a better word, represent the stages of consciousness but doesn’t necessarily tell us what consciousness is nor does it add to the knowledge of what the essence of ‘I’ as a being that thinks is.

I want to introduce a third position to this very interesting and ongoing debate. The third is the position, that I believe, Hume, the great skeptic would have offered, that we can’t know whether we have free will or not and should suspend judgement. The reason for this being that we are trying to answer a question about us as an object in itself, a cognition we are not capable of making. Whereas, this answer is not satisfactory to many, I think it is one that need some thought. In advocating skepticism, I shall in the meantime, maintain, not dogmatically, but from reason that we don’t have free will since as things in nature, we are not exempt from the cause – effect continuum.

I have been, in the past 2 or so weeks been reading Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and he writes that the following four questions are at the apex of all cosmical questions that human reason aspires to find answers but that it can at least as far as we can tell, we can’t have the correct answer. The questions are

  1. does the universe have a beginning and a limit to its extension in space
  2. do we have a soul
  3. are we free agents
  4. is there a supreme being

What are your answers to these questions and can you justify your answers. Are there any other questions that you think I[he] left out and which are these questions?

The universe does not need a creator

In this last feature, I present his argument against the creation of the universe. Many theists are wont to ask, if there are no gods then where does the universe come from. I have without resorting to cosmology and astronomy argued that what exists necessarily does not need to be created and matter being thus did not have to be created. I cannot imagine the annihilation of matter leave alone it’s creation. This being the case, an immaterial god who is said to leave outside of time and space[William Craig please explain what you mean here] couldn’t have been the cause of all causes[our natural universe].

I have included a video by world renown cosmologist, Stephen Hawking, which I hope you will find both informative and entertaining.

Our philosopher had this to say

They tell us gravely that there is no effect without a cause; they repeat to us very often that the world did not create itself. But the universe is a cause, not an effect; it is not a work, has not been made, because it was impossible that it should be made. The world has always been, its existence is necessary. It is the cause of itself. Nature, whose essence is visibly acting and producing, in order to fulfill her functions, as we see she does, needs no invisible motor far more unknown than herself. Matter moves by its own energy, by the necessary result of its heterogeneity; the diversity of its movements or of its ways of acting, constitute only the diversity of substances; we distinguish one being from another but by the diversity of the impressions or movements which they communicate to our organs.

Jean Meslier

Sunday reflections

Some foolish men declare that Creator made the world. The doctrine that the world was created is ill-advised and should be rejected.  If god created the world, where was he before creation? If you say he was transcendent then and needed no support, where is he now? No single being had the skill to make the world- for how can an immaterial god create that which is material? How could god have made the world without any raw material? If you say he made this first, and then the world, you are faced with an endless regression. If you declare that the raw material arose naturally, you fall into another fallacy, for the whole universe might have been its own creator and have arisen equally naturally. If god created the world by an act of will without any raw material, then it is just his will made nothing else and who will believe this silly stuff? If he is ever perfect and complete, how could the will to create have arisen in him? If on the other hand, he is not perfect, he could no more create the universe than a potter could. If he is formless, action-less and all embracing, how could he have created the world? Such a soul devoid of all modality would have no desire to create anything. If you say that he created to no purpose because it was his nature to do so, then god is pointless. If he created in some kind of sport, it was the sport of a foolish child, leading to trouble. If he created out of love for living things and need of them he made the world, why did he not make creation wholly blissful, free from misfortune? Thus the doctrine that the world was created by god makes no sense at all.

Jinasena (9th Century Jain master)

Perfume the story of a murderer

Perfume the story of a murderer

Now friends, today we will not talk about the Genesis story. You see last evening the missus (she is a beautiful and lovely damsel, I miss her a lot) was home [she works out of town] so I couldn’t write and we decided that we could watch a movie and settled on Perfume the story of a murderer. If you haven’t watched this movie, I recommend you do. There are very many beautiful scenes, I specifically like the scene of his sentencing. For a brief moment the people felt like they were in paradise and that the messiah had returned. It’s a brilliant movie! I seriously need a bit of that perfume, I could make use of it sometime.

That aside, today I want to take us through a biology lesson with the aim of showing you, dear creationist, there is possibly no way life forms are a result of some Intelligent design as some of you want us to believe. Since I know I make a bad teacher, here you will find a definition of what would be called design (you can agree or disagree) and here you will find examples and descriptions what for purposes of this blog we will call bad design.

I invite you to update the list that has been developed or just to have a good laugh.

We will continue with Genesis later.

Genesis Chapter 1

Image

I said I would keep this promise, eh. Before we start, in the introduction, the good book says, the books of the Pentateuch do not record historical facts…. but traditions of a people about the origin of the universe, the world and all it contains [ i have an issue with my forefathers, they forgot to write]. Now that we have that history behind us we can get into the serious business of bible study.

In verses 1 & 2, God gets busy creating earth but it still has no form. He will give it form later don’t you worry. Verses 3 to 5 he creates light and darkness[he must have been using a spotlight before this I guess] How did he know it was dark? I have always been told he was God of light and until this day of creation he was living in the dark?

Verses 6 to 8, a lot of activity going on. He separates two waters, i will wait for those who have gone to space to tell me whether they have seen this water mass or has it evaporated?

We are on the 3rd day now, he moves all the water into a basin[did we miss the creation of the basin] and then he orders fruits and seeds to appear. we now know what comes first, the plant then the seed, don’t ask again about the chicken and the egg.

For a moment i thought we were done with creating lights, here is where he creates the moon and all the stars we see in the night sky, never mind, he didn’t know about the rotation of the earth causing day and night. We’ll just assume that he didn’t care to inspire the scribes with such knowledge.

At verse 20 to 23, fifth day, the fishes, sea monsters, birds and so on got created. Forgive my not mentioning, he saw that all this was good [am wondering did he expect it to be bad?]. He offers his very first blessings on this day.

This appears to be the busiest day on the creation calender, I understand why at the end he was tired and needed rest. from verse 24, we have cows and wild animals[ why not make them all friendly to man? am just asking], even worms are made on this day. Verse 26 gets very interesting, ‘ Then God said;’ Let us make man in our image, after our likeness….’ am not sure who he is talking to, anyone with answers please? [I think this is why we have people like Kibaki and so on, there are many likenesses not all beautiful. If you must use a lot of make up to hide your face maybe you took after the wrong likeness]. He sends them on a mission to multiply, I don’t see him teaching them how to or did he know they will just find out on their own? I leave that to speculation. And as i had said earlier all this was beautiful and he blessed it. There were no conditions in the garden. I think in all fairness things should have remained this way.

We continue with Chapter 2 when the student resumes.