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Month: August, 2012

“Do you have proof atheism is ‘true’?”

This is a challenge often made by the author of the posts on that dreaded creationist website.  Of course, anyone who now knows my thoughts on ‘glorb’ from my first post will have an inkling of what my starting premise is on this issue.

In any case, the question is nonsensical.  Is feminism true?  There are simply people who categorise themselves as such as a reaction to their society’s stance on certain issues.  People who choose to label themselves atheists do so since this label conceptualises their stance:  they don’t share the cultural tradition, or the active belief, that the theist does. 

Of course, this isn’t what the author means.  What the author is trying to express is:  What makes you believe that your absence of belief in a god, or [more controversially in my opinion but how some categorise their stance] active disbelief in a god, is the correct position?  That it is true that there isn’t a god?

To this, I could respond, simply:  can you prove that ‘glorb’ doesn’t exist?  Or molarb? etc. etc..  It’s very much in line with Carl Sagan’s dragon that lived in his garage;  a treat for those who have not come across it before:  http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/Dragon.htm*  How can you defeat an irrefutable concept, if you engage it head on?

To engage with the question ‘Does god exist or not?’  is already to have lost since the moment you take the first step towards answering it you are already entering a specific language game;  granting certain facts as given; legitimising the rationality of such a question being posed.  The problem of bi-valency:  either something is the case or it is not the case;  something is either true or not true.  There are various types of nonsense and this question should be recognised as one type.  What distinguishes this word from any other that language is capable of creating?  Its use throughout history.  Is there anything more than that?

I am ever so appreciative of Bertrand Russell’s efforts;  especially his famous essay:  http://www.users.drew.edu/~jlenz/whynot.html,* which for so long gave me so much satisfaction and reassurance.  Years later, though, I can’t help but feel that he’s just another example of someone who shouldn’t have engaged with the game, despite his ambitions being in the right place.

*Links chosen at random following a google search.


Clearing the Mud from the Water

The first thing to say is that this is all very new to me;  blogging, I mean.  The reason I have jumped into this was because I had the misfortune of encountering this monstrosity:


The second thing to say, at this point, is that I have very strong views on religion, deism, belief, ethics, and above all, language.  And what, ultimately, I take issue with is how people use language to express themselves regarding religion, deism, etc..

The above link provides good examples of people–  not just the author, who is a very particular sort of person that I will touch upon another time–  who are gripped in a fundamental confusion caused by misunderstanding the grammar of language.  By this, I mean philosophical grammar as opposed to everyday syntax.

I rarely, if ever, get involved in engaging with the authors of such drivel;  however, the fury it sparks in me does have the benefit of occasionally firing up my philosophical inclinations, which otherwise come sporadically and are few and far between.  When they do come, I sometimes jot my thoughts down for my own personal reference at a later date.

On one occasion, a friend, who was experimenting with an internet project / magazine / web-zine(?), asked if he could use something I had written just to try and generate some interest.  For this, http://so.andso.co/issue/2 and http://so.andso.co/issue/6 happened.

I think it’s important to provide those links as they summarise my views quite well–  the result of an argument I had in a pub with someone almost a year ago to the day now.

My intention is occasionally to type down some of my ‘philosophical’ musings but, more importantly, to provide a platform for me to address and discuss some of the confusions I feel I’m witness to in my day to day meanderings.  This format also has the added benefit that, should anyone be so inclined, people can comment on these thoughts and, should they criticise me in any way, one of two positives will occur:  either I will see where I need to clarify the expression of the idea;  or, I will see where corrections need to be made.

I should also add, and soon it will become sickeningly apparent, I am obsessed with the writings of Ludwig Wittgenstein and feel, whether rightly or wrongly, that I am at least one fly that found its way out of the fly-bottle.