Nous

Random thoughts and views of Tim Young

Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

The Flying Spaghetti Monster?

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spaghetti_monster

 

The Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) is meant as a parody of intelligent design. He makes his first appearance in a letter to the Kansas State Board of Education in protest to their decision to require that intelligent design be taught alongside evolution in public schools.We are told that the FSM created the world and even regularly intervenes in human affairs by use of his “noodly appendage.” He supposedly created the world to make it look as if evolution is true, and he frequently sabotages carbon dating test so that they give inaccurate readings, leaving us with the impression that the world is really very old when in fact it is only 10,000 years old. There is even a church for this deity called The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

I say: Give it up! Please!!

First off this is nothing unique. We have the Invisible Pink Unicorn (IPU), Russell’s tea pot, supermanism, etc. All of these are really meant as parodies of theism (usually Christianity), and they are supposed to somehow show the absurdity of believing in God. Well, I’m beginning to get tired of hearing all of them (FSM seems to be the most popular at the moment). So atheists, before you’re tempted to use one of these as an objection to Christianity, please take note of the following:

By creating such superficial fairytales as the FSM or the IPU, you are really showing your superficial understanding of Christianity, and any reasonably reflective Christian will not take you seriously. Why? Well:

1. These cheesy, on the spot parodies do not at all take into consideration the historic development of Christianity given through the various works of great historic (and contemporary) figures. Everyone from St. Paul, St Augustian, Thomas Aquinas, and Anselm, to Calvin, Edwards, Plantinga, and Van Til… the list could go and on, but the important thing is that you’re failing to understand Christianity as a complex knowledge tradition, and this causes you to draw inadequate analogies between the God of the bible and, say, a flying spaghetti monster.

2. You’re mistakenly viewing the Christian God as a vacuous concept.. As if I could go from believing “God exist” to believing “God does not exist” without it having a catastrophic effect on my world view. More to the point, Christianity is a complete world view, and the Christian God is at the very center of that world view. He gives purpose to our existence, He gives purpose to the universe, He is the ground of knowledge and truth, ethics and aesthetics. I cannot answer the questions “what is right and wrong” or “what is beautiful” without making recourse to God.. The entire foundation of philosophy, science, history…in short, everything, is built upon God. To get rid of God is to get rid of an ENTIRE world view, thus one is forced to answer life’s ultimate questions by making recourse to other things, by other means. On the other hand, whether or not I choose to believe in a flying spaghetti monster, an invisible pink unicorn, a dragon in my garage, an invisible gardener, or a tea pot in orbit around the Sun between Earth and Mars, has no such effect.

So please, give it a rest!

…though I do have to admit the FSM pictures are pretty funny!

Black Anomalies 2 – Joseph C. Philips

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We all know that cookies and milk, and peanut butter and jelly are fine examples of things that were made for each other, but there is also that curious phenomenon in which two things just don’t work together. Hot cooking oil and water simply do not mix. Superman and kryptonite is a match made in Hell. Going to Universal Studios Hollywood and having fun is an example of two things that never occur simultaneously.

Now presumably “African American” and “Conservative” are contradictory concepts, but our next Black Anomaly has somehow managed to unite the two concepts in his one person, making him fully African American and fully Conservative.

His name is Joseph C. Philips. You may know him as Lt. Martin Kendall from The Cosby Show, Attorney Justus Ward from the popular soap General Hospital, or as JT Morse on the Fox series Vanish. Or you may know him for his roles in the movies Strictly Business, Let’s Talk About Sex, or Midnight Blue. He’s also made appearances on C.S.I., Las Vegas, The King of Queens, Popular, V.I.P., and Living Single among others. But most recently, in addition to writing essays, he’s managed to write a book in which he boldly speaks his mind regarding important issue like politics, family, and religion.

Now, not only does Philips hold “white” conservative views, but apparently he talks like a white boy too. In fact, He talk like a White Boy is the name of his book! Years ago while Philips was still in junior high school one of his peers commented on his speech: “He talk like a white boy!” the little girl exclaimed to their class after Philips had finished answering their teacher’s question. This ailment of his, so eloquently pointed out by his 7th grade classmate, has stayed with him since. Only now, not only does he talk like a white boy, but he holds conservative views which are often taken as antithetical to the Black community. If ever there was a glitch in the matrix Joseph C. Philips is it and this makes him my second Black Anomaly!

Written by Tim

February 19, 2009 at 3:30 pm

Postmodernism: Nothing New Under the Sun

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An insightful quote from Frederick Copleston:

The earlier Greek Philosophers had been chiefly interested in the Object, trying to determine the ultimate principle of all things. Their success, however, did not equal their philosophic sincerity, and the successive hypotheses that they advanced easily led to a certain scepticism as to the possibility of attaining any certain knowledge concerning the ultimate nature of the world. [1]

The early Greek philosophers proposed many theories about the nature of reality. Some of them were monists and thought the world was made of one substance. Problem was, they couldn’t agree on what that one substance was. Thales, for example, thought it was water and Anaximines thought it was air. Anaximander, on the other hand, was sure that it was some indeterminate substance he called the aperion. Then you had guys like Heraclitus who thought everything was in a constant state of change and flux, while guys like Parmenides and Zeno argued for the absurdity of there being any type of change whatsoever. In a nutshell, there was a hodgepodge of contradictory theories for the masses to digest.

Copleston mentions that this diversity of opinion, lack of general agreement, and the overall “bankruptcy of older Greek philosophy” [2] lead to a distrust of metaphysical speculation, and skepticism of the possibility of true knowledge. The embodiment of this skeptical attitude was the Sophist; folk who didn’t regard “truth” as knowable. They were moral and epistemic relativists. “Postmodernism” was prevalent even in those days some 2,500 years ago.

So there were relativist then, and there are “postmodern” folk now. The interesting thing is if you ask a postmodernist why she believes there is no truth, her answer will probably reveal that she is fed up with all the religious folk with their differing views claiming THEIR religion is the one true religion, and all the scientific folk with their competing theories claiming THEY have a monopoly on truth. Rather then sorting through the truth-claims, it’s easier for her to throw her hands in the air and say, “Nobody really knows anything!” BUT, not only is her relativistic claim a pretentious and arrogant one, (what right does she have to throw the towel in on a fight she really knows nothing about?), her claim is itself a truth-claim. Namely, she knows it’s true that nobody knows any truth. And that, my friends, is what we call a self-defeating statement.

Well in anycase, if there is a lesson to be learned from history, it’s that there really is nothing new under the Sun!

—-

Notes

[1] Copleston, F. (1946). History of Philosophy: Greece and Rome. Paulist Press.

[2] ibid