thoughts out of season

In the recent past, 3 fellows were severely beaten, killed and later dumped in a river by, we suspect, cops. In the US of A, there is a similar story and elsewhere in Baghdad, some over zealous religiots blasted a building killing more than 200 people.

this brings me to my first question of the day; Has existence any worth? What is the value of human life.

A mammal is a warm-blooded vertebrate animal of a class that is distinguished by the possession of hair or fur, the secretion of milk by females for the nourishment of the young, and (typically) the birth of live young. I see an animal befitting the above description and call it a mammal. And this is designated as truth. Anyone who disagrees is a madman or a madman.

My second question of the day; What is truth?

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what is truth

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective not the truth.

Marcus Aurelius

My friend Rom[ liberty of thinking] gave us a definition of truth that am willing to work with, that is,

In ancient Greek culture, 225 (alḗtheia) was synonymous for “reality” as the opposite of illusion, i.e. fact.

In her post, what is truth? Xandra gives the impression that we can each have our own truths and call it truth. Taken to its logical conclusion, we must accept that a donkey talked and snakes spoke and walked upright for this is held as true by some people. In the same vain we must accept that Mo, piss be upon him, went to heaven, Mecca and Jerusalem on a single night aboard a Pegasus because this is true for many people.

I think, she doesn’t do justice to the question when she writes

Truth by it’s very nature is ever elusive. To explain, for a believer in God, the tenets of their religion may be truth.

In my view this is akin to the argument by some religious apologists that religion has its own language and we can’t critique it with the same common everyday words.

If truth has to make any sense, I think as a quality it has to have a universal applicability. There is no world where I think 2+2=4. This is true regardless of if you are Muslim, Hindu or Christian, well maybe not for the christian for 3=1 and 1=3 but that is a discussion for another day.

While am not a defender of Dawkins, I think attacking him because you disagree is unnecessary. It makes no sense to say you personally don’t dislike him and then describe him in not so favourable terms. But that isn’t our point here.

I take her at her word that she has

actually been told by some atheists that paranormal research is incompatible with atheism

I know I wouldn’t tell her to not study any subject of her choice. For all it’s worth, I may want to study aliens and I don’t want anyone telling me it is incompatible with godlessness.

You will allow me, since she has moved from what truth is, to what other atheists do or say and as an atheist, I can have a word or two to say.

She writes

Equally there are atheists who try to say that you cannot be an atheist and spiritually-minded or a believer in spiritualism, ghosts, or hauntings. Equally bunkum, as they are immediately equating these subjects with belief in god(s), Heaven and Hell, which may not necessarily be the case.

and I grant that maybe but ask the atheist to tell me what they mean by spirit, ghost or haunting. And if possible, show me the evidence and I will believe. I want to know if the atheist who believes in ghosts, spiritualism and so on has ventured to find out the origins of such beliefs. Don’t get me wrong. Am not say anything about whether one is a true atheist or not, I want to know what they can tell me and others what they think the paranormal is.

Nobody denies that Sir Isaac Newton was religious. We know he was also an alchemist. In his Laws of motion, there is no room for gods to play. Citing him as an example of a religious person who was a scientist doesn’t do justice either to his science or his religion and further it doesn’t tell us anything about the truth value of his religious belief. All we can deduce from it is he was religious.

I am trying to wrap my head around

However, if it is, then it logically follows that to bring a child up as an atheist is equally indoctrination.

How would this be?

Do religions deserve respect. Of course not. They are ideas and ideas ought to be criticized, ridiculed if they are worthy of ridicule but never respected. The claim that religion should be respect is one of the major reasons it gets perpetuated as a virtue. I find

Some atheists ask whether we should even respect religions, and some downright refuse to do so. Their argument is that the religious faiths in the world have nothing of value to offer. I find such intransigence to be narrow-minded, arrogant, ignorant and confrontational. There are in fact many truths within faiths which are good guides for life, and which one need not believe in god(s) to follow.

to be an impediment to enquiry. It’s not any different from saying before you critique my bible, revere it. It can’t start from reverence to critique. I should, after reading, find the book worthy of reverence but not before.

And to claim

Christianity has given us the Golden Rule; “Do unto others as you would have them treat you.” Islam teaches that practising undue usury upon an individual is corrupt but charity unto others is fruitful. Hindu and Buddhist beliefs give us Karma – that we reap exactly that which we sow.

is to me to play with the facts.

In conclusion, I respectfully disagree with Xandra on most of her accommodationist views. I don’t begrudge her for being a pacifist. I want us to have more pacifists but while at it, we can’t get there by spreading half-truths. We can’t claim that truth is culturally dependent. I don’t claim to know what truth is or whether it is desirable. And the claim that religions have given us morality is not supported by fact. We agree on so many other things with Xandra and I was hoping she would elucidate more on truth than she did attacking atheists.

God in exodus tells its chosen people[ already a case of preferential treatment without basis] not to kill and shortly after to kill their neighbours.

If we can’t be truthful, let us at least be honest both in our beliefs and criticisms.

On truth

You by now know what happens when yours truly is feeling lazy, he asks a question or several of them.

In the bybill, when Jeebus Hubris Christ is asked by Pilate what is truth, he doesn’t answer the question. We can assume that either he didn’t know the answer or he didn’t think we should know the truth. Any mention of Jeebus Hubris Christ made on this blog refers not to a real person but the narrative construct in the New Testament of the good book.

  1. What is truth?
  2. How can we get to truth?
  3. Why is truth necessary?

Quotable quotes- Truth

I have always said I will fight for any course I believe is right but avoid the death if I can. In the Wanderer and his Shadow, Nietzsche expresses the same sentiments more eloquently

Dying for the “truth.”— We should not let ourselves be burnt by our opinions: we are
not that sure of them. But perhaps for this: that we may have and change our opinions.

The only prayer you should be saying, if you must

I here below, teach you how to pray, if you must pray

O Nature: sovereign of all beings! and ye her adorable daughters, VIRTUE, REASON and TRUTH remain for ever our revered protectors: it is to you that belong the praises of the human race, to you appertains the homage of the earth. Shew, us, then, O Nature, that which man ought to do, in order to obtain the happiness which thou makest him desire. Virtue, animate him with they beneficent fire. Reason, conduct his uncertain steps through the paths of life. Truth, let they torch illumine his intellect, dissipate the darkness of his road. Unite, O assisting deities! your powers, in order to submit the hearts of mankind to your dominion. Banish error from our mind, wickedness from our hearts, confusion from our footsteps; cause knowledge to extend its salubrious reign, goodness to occupy our souls, serenity to dwell in our bosoms. Let imposture, confounded, never again dare to shew its head. Let our eyes, so long, either dazzled or blindfolded, be at length fixed upon those objects we ought to seek. Dispel for ever those mists of ignorance, those hideous phantoms, together with those seducing chimeras, which only serve to lead us astray, Extricate us from that dark abyss into which we are plunged by superstition, overthrow the fatal empire of delusion, crumble the throne of falsehood, wrest from their polluted hands the power they have usurped.

Command men, without sharing your authority with mortals, break the chains that bind them down in slavery, tear away the bandeau by which they are hoodwinked, allay the fury that intoxicates them, break in the hands of sanguinary, lawless tyrants, that iron sceptre with which they are crushed to exile, the imaginary regions, from whence fear has imported them, those theories by which they are afflicted.

Inspire the intelligent being with courage, infuse energy into his system, that, at length he may feel his own dignity, that he may dare to love himself, to esteem his own actions when they are worthy, that a slave only to your eternal laws, he may no longer fear to enfranchise himself from all other trammels, that blest with freedom, he may have the wisdom to cherish his fellow creature, and become happy by learning to perfection his own condition, instruct him in the great lesson, that the high road to felicity, is to prudently partake himself, and also cause others to enjoy, the rich banquet which thou, O Nature, has so bountifully set before him.

Console thy children from those sorrows to which their destiny submits them, by those pleasures which wisdom allows them to partake, teach them to be contended with their condition, to banish envy from their mind, to yield silently to necessity. Conduct them without alarm to that period which all beings must find, let them learn that time changes all things, that consequently, they are made neither to avoid it’s scythe nor to fear its arrival.

D’Holdbach in the System of Nature

On fatality of truth

.. it seems to me that an idea that happens to be true, or more exactly, as near truth as any human idea can be, and yet remain generally intelligible– it seems to me that such an idea carries a special and often a fatal handicap. The majority of men prefer delusion to truth. It soothes. It is easy to grasp. Above all, it fits more snugly than truth into a universe of false appearances, of complex and irrational phenomena, defectively grasped.

H. L Mencken’s Preface to the Antichrist