One sultry evening in June, 1896, a posse of around 200 unmasked vigilantes rode into the town of Bryan, Texas, burst into the county jail, and broke open the cells that held three black men accused of rape. They marched the three men out of town slowly, proceeded three miles down the Boonville Road to a lonely place where it crossed Carters Creek on an iron bridge, and then they hanged those three men from the limbs of a large oak tree.
Gillette Syndrome When an individual or organization acts against its well-being, because of the requirements of its consciously-professed beliefs.
We see in the news that Gillette has taken a major hit, no doubt largely because of its infamous commercial accusing its natural customer base (people who shave) of being sinners against the new state religion of liberalism.
Why would they knowingly offend customers actual and potential? Because nowadays everyone is supposed to agree with feminism, which requires, inter alia, badmouthing men. Continue reading
Materialism and the mechanistic world-view – the idea that the everything is a machine operating in terms of mindless, mechanical forces – has severe nihilistic implications. An alternative to this view is that the universe is alive, and that consciousness permeates it – a view called ‘panpsychism.” When his wife began to think that panpsychism might be true, Sam Harris, a famous anti-religion atheist. initially told her to remain silent about her views in case she lost all street cred. When she asked scientists she knew their own views, it turned out that many of them were also secret believers in panpsychism.
The fact that Annaka Harris and the scientists thought it necessary to lie by omission is troubling. It shows that science, as a human activity, can suffer from the usual human tendencies, one of which is the desire to belong to a group and to reach for social status. Groups define themselves by who they exclude as much as their positive beliefs, and they reward with the maintenance or increase of status and punish by demotion those who dissent. Hence, the creation of orthodoxies.
Another oft-commented upon human tendency is the desire to have something to worship. If religion is abandoned, a religious attitude will usually simply be taken towards something non-religious. Communism was atheist so the Russians simply worshipped Stalin instead, and the Chinese turned Mao Zedong into a demi-God in their imaginations. I have met an engineer with such reverence for science and his own status as a scientist that he is tremendously conceited about his ability to think about philosophical, or any other, topics beyond the scope of his expertise. He definitely seems to see himself as a priest of science – an idea that Francis Bacon, credited with contributing to “the scientific method” actually championed, including the idea that scientists should wear special robes to distinguish themselves from hoi polloi. Continue reading
H. P. Lovecraft wrote his famous story, The Call of Cthulhu, in 1926 and saw it published in Weird Tales in the February 1928 number of that pulp periodical. The story pieces itself together through the gimmick of having its narrator, the nephew of a mysteriously deceased scholar of ancient Semitic languages, sort through his uncle’s papers – among which figure prominently a cache of documents under the label of “CTHULHU CULT.” In the last few years of his life Professor Angell had fixed his interest on this esoteric topic. Evidence indicates that the cult, traces of which appear worldwide, dates back to prehistory; it also manifests its existence in the archaeology of historical religions, particularly those that center on human sacrifice. The deceased scholar had concluded that the cult’s reality extends into the present and that, after a dormant period, it had resumed its activity. As the reader makes his way through Lovecraft’s deliberately fragmented story line, he learns that Cthulhu, the entity whom the cultists worship as a deity, belongs not to the category of the supernatural (nothing in Lovecraft does) but rather to that of the superhuman in an implacably materialistic and Darwinian version of the cosmos. In the immensely distant past, Cthulhu, one of the “Great Old Ones,” descended to Earth from a distant star and enslaved the primitive humanity through his faculty of telepathic manipulation. A rival power, indifferent to humanity, checked Cthulhu and condemned him to hibernation in the sunken city of R’lyeh in the South Pacific. In the final paragraphs of the story’s first section, the executor describes a sheaf of newspaper clippings that Professor Angell had collected. These items, the narrator avers, “touched on cases of panic, mania, and eccentricity,” which betoken Cthulhu’s return to potency. As the nephew records: “A fanatic [from South Africa] deduces a dire future from visions he has seen; and “a dispatch from California describes a theosophist colony as donning white robes en masse for some ‘glorious fulfillment’ which never arrives, whilst items from India speak guardedly of serious native unrest toward the end of March 22-23.”
“Michael” writes: “Freedom and determinism are empty categories; they cannot be employed to distinguish any sequence of events from any other.”
Logically, this could be because all events are free or because all events are determined. It seems likely that the writer thinks all events are causally determined.
Presumably by “events” the writer includes “actions.” However, without the concept of freedom there are no actions per se. Actions are performed by an actor, an agent who is a center of decision-making. In determinism, there are no agents. There is only a series of “sequences of events” – a constant stream beginning when time began and ending when the physical universe ceases to exist. Each event is the result of a prior event in mechanical fashion, and each event will cause some future event. Continue reading
“Cosmos is not Chaos, simply by this one quality: That it is governed.”
“Gluttony and mutiny are in his heart, and he has to be bribed by high feeding to do the shows of obedience.”
Thomas Carlyle, Later-Day Pamphlets (1858)
In our fallen condition, each of us hates life under law. We hate life under the law in spite of the fact that laws are the substance of the Cosmos in which we live, and move, and have our being. We hate them in the way that an insane mountaineer might hate the rope that holds him suspended over an abyss, or in the way that a shipwrecked sailor, utterly deranged, might hate the broken spar on which he floats. Continue reading
This is part 3 of a three part series on Scholasticism and some topics in the philosophy of science, loosely organized around a review of Edward Feser’s new book Aristotle’s Revenge: The Metaphysical Foundations of Physical and Biological Science.
This is part 2 of a three part series on Scholasticism and some topics in the philosophy of science, loosely organized around a review of Edward Feser’s new book Aristotle’s Revenge: The Metaphysical Foundations of Physical and Biological Science.
This is part 1 of a three part series on Scholasticism and some topics in the philosophy of science, loosely organized around a review of Edward Feser’s new book Aristotle’s Revenge: The Metaphysical Foundations of Physical and Biological Science.
Rule of Law is often cited as one of the distinctive characteristics of the West, and of Western cultures, which has enabled the West and kindred cultures to rise above despotism, corruption, and poverty. And so it is. The keeping of the Law is traditional in the West.
But, the Law is only as good – can do only so much good – as the men who keep it. It is men who by their acts keep to the Law, enforce and adjudicate it honestly and as fiduciaries of the nation, or who do not; who transmit the tradition they have inherited, or who traduce it.
Rule then is always of men.