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Friday, March 31, 2006

Intelligent Design 2: the Anti-Christ

There are some people who assert that Intelligent Design is a tool of the Anti-Christ.

In Christian understanding of the end of days, there will come the Anti-Christ, who is the great Deceiver. In Muslim understanding, the entity named Dajjal will come, and he is the Deceiver also as his name indicates.

How best to deceive mankind? Try something new and outrageous, or try something homey and familiar? Something familiar will do; something they are familiar with, and feel comfortable with, expressed in language they understand.
In other words, the theory of Intelligent Design. As we saw earlier, Intelligent Design may be a philosophical support for Idolatry. When Dajjal deceives, when the Anti-Christ deceives, did you expect them to use exotic notions and foreign religions? Or would they use a variant of the tools at hand? I suppose you could call anything with which you do not agree to be an artifact of the Anti-Christ and that would sorely palliate the thrust of the argument. However, the argument is that Intelligent Design is not merely an argument about Biology. It is also a buttress for Many Gods, since it is used to establish the possibility of at least one extra being with God-like qualities and characteristics. I have to admit, this approach is interesting. It also sends chills up my neck. intelligent design 1

Thursday, March 30, 2006

La France

Hurrah for France!

Finally people of the EU are standing up to the lie of globalization. When I hear a meretricious media speak of "leveling the playing field", I cringe violently.

"Leveling the field" means that if I make $40/hour and someone in China makes $2/hour, our Ministry of Welfare has the objective to see both of us to end up around $42/2 = $21/hour at best. This is a windfall for China and a tragedy for me. (Note: I've gotten into the habit of speaking of the present government as if we were in the novel 1984. Of course, the ministries were self-contradictory to our way of thinking, the Ministry of Truth being devoted to Misinformation. Now you've got the idea.)

There is nothing inherent in the capitalist system which leads to globalization. It is a choice to increase the Rate of Return on investment. Please notice that the choice not to implement certain safety measures in West Virginia mines could also be seen as a choice to increase the Rate of Return.

Now that unpleasant events have forced mine owners to put these safety measures into effect, they will be forced to wait a few more years for their desired full return on investment. My daughter listens to Bill O'Reilly. I cannot. When I do, I feel like Alex in Clockwork Orange forced into behavior corrective discipline. He was speaking to an author, Jeff Faux, a few nights ago. Mr. O'Reilly had an arsenal of penny-candy notions strung out on his fingers, which he uses as an abacus to tally his debate points. The problem here was the author seemed to have been picked to be agreeable, and he could not, because he was actually an independent thinker. So Mr. O'Reilly would say that the French could not fire anyone from a job and Mr. Faux would say that this was not the case. And so on. And so on. An appropriately absurd update of Alphonse and Gaston.

The display was almost as memorable as that of certain people on the right arguing against global warming because lefties were using it to criticize the President on Hurricane Katrina. Note to righties: do NOT pick a fight with the global climate! It WILL win! Ask Hurricane Epsilon. Mr.O'Reilly seems to support globalization. One does not support a historical force which cannot be denied. Therefore, it is a choice of certain powerful people. It must be sold to the people of the US, they must be forced to "take their medicine" as Stephen King has so aptly and macabrely put it in his stories. What is the result of this medicine? Nothing more but continued subservience to those who caused your pain. And now they must devise new ways to increase their rate of return upon your backs. Not bad work if you can get it.

The point of all this being, I have actually read Leo XIII's encyclical Rerum Novarum for the first time in my life. " whose Godlike features are outlined by the Apostle St. Paul in these words: 'Charity is patient, is kind, . . . seeketh not her own, . . . suffereth all things, . . . endureth all things.' " If you do not know who Leo XIII is, if you never heard of Rerum Novarum...(I'll make it easier: if, in Spring 2003, you had never heard that William Tecumseh Sherman said "War is Hell!"); then you have just won the Babylonian lottery, first prize being the chance to repeat the bad stuff of History ad infinitum.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Conservatives and St.Paul

 Pat Buchanan

My daughter called to let me know that she had subscribed to Mr.Pat Buchanan's The American Conservative. She said that she agreed with him on every issue, except pro-choice and gay rights. I think she wanted to shock me. If not me, then certainly my brother. In fact, she made a point of saying that we should tell her uncle. Then she laughed. In the letter. In writing. A long delicious laugh. Ha!, she wrote.

Well, I could not be happier. I like Mr. Buchanan. He does not exhibit the mania of many political writers. Some women writers on the right are positive Lamia. I, too, agree with Mr. Buchanan on most issues, except gay rights. Abortion, however, is a word I can barely write without repugnance.
(When one talks about gay rights, someone usually mentions St.Paul. I'm not sure I agree with the usual interpretation of Paul's epistle's. I learned Ancient Greek in order to be able to read the New Testament. I also read Plato and Homer, but was never accomplished enough to be in St.Jerome's dilemma between immersion into Classical Lit. versus Patristic Lit.  I Learned enough to have a suspicion why he changed his name from Saul, however. I have some problems with St.Paul's writings, and I have some problems with Paul himself. This has happened recently and rather suddenly. Two months ago, I was writing a letter to my daughter about St.Paul, and as I was writing, from out of nowhere this problem presented itself. I have promised myself to devote some time to it. My daughter is the only person with whom I have communicated this. And so it will remain until I satisfy myself as to its validity. So I won't say too much about St.Paul now, leaving it to a later date.)

Let us return to The American Conservative. I defined myself as a conservative when Barry Goldwater ran for President in 1964. The only thing I admire about Neo-Conservatism is the hyphen in the middle. This year I will turn 60. The previous President was 3 days younger than I. The present incumbent is older. How do you like the Boomer Generation so far? Pretty good leaders, right?

My daughter once asked me what I don't like about the Boomers. Our parents fought wars and won. They created the threat of nuclear destruction, fought against mutually assured destruction, and won.The Boomers rejected their values. Then, mirabile dictu, the Boomers abandoned their own values and adopted values which were not exactly those of their parents, but a soulless simulacrum. We used to make fun of our parents values.
However, no matter how bizarre, funny, goofy, and nonsensical those values appeared, they had a real basis in belief in religion and morality. Compare that to the generation that brought back torture. The first George Bush was the last WWII individual to be President. He was followed by two Boomers. The emblem of the Boomers thus far is a sneer of hypocrisy from a generation of serpents.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Ecclesia vs. Galileo 1

My daughter and I had talked about Morality and Moral Relativism while we drove to Toronto a few years ago. I do not believe Moral Relativism, but I also do not believe arguments against Moral Relativism. I think Moral Relativism is a philosophy in the same sense that I could say every Thursday I have a philosophy about how to best fill the recycle bin; newspaper bound and placed beneath, milk jugs flattened and placed to the left, etc.
Ditto for reasonings and arguments against Moral Relativism. More about Moral Relativism later.

However, we did talk about the place of morality in the world and its proper function in society. I set forth the opinion that morality acts in society as a damping system. It has been said that many complex systems operate upon the edge of chaos, and the ability to perform spectacularly depends on their being at the edge. In order to prevent the complex systems from stepping over the edge and crashing, there need be damping systems which pull the system back into a normal mode. Morality should perform the function of pulling mankind back from falling over the precipice of chaos. It actually has done this.

Consider the history of the 20th century. Not too auspicious an outlook for the survival of the human species. Yet, the United States and the Soviet Union did pull off one of the greatest moral victories of human history: they did not use atomic weapons. (Inexplicably, the powers of today seem to have decided to play out this scenario again! The Atomic Destruction Scenario was played and we won. Why go through it a second time?) Many people contributed to that victory. It has been suggested that atomic weapons should never have been developed. We may render judgment after we have played out Atomic Destruction again.

All people of goodwill contribute to the establishment of morality throughout the world. When the Church put Galileo on trial, did some members of the clergy dimly perceive the murderous potential of the New Science, much as did Oppenheimer that bright, bright morning in New Mexico? Cardinal Bellarmine perceived Galileo's novelties to be a threat to the established order, but did he think that this knowledge might ever be a threat to life itself? When the second game of Atomic Destruction is played out soon, we will know whether blessed Cardinal Bellarmine had been correct.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Intelligent Design 1:IDOLATRY

When I come across a new idea, I spend some time with it. If I find that the idea seems to be fatally flawed, I usually do not call back for a second date. I had done this in a desultory way with Intelligent Design and was surprised to hear my daughter mention it in a phone call from D.C. I was surprised because I bury those flawed ideas far from the light of day, and it startles me to see their bony hands thrusting towards the sky once more.

Now I had to explain my opposition to ID to someone else, not merely to myself. An audience of oneself is a very good house to play to. I have always noticed that an audience composed of other people is a tough house.

About two months ago, there had been a court case in Kansas or Oz or one of those places, and the court had ruled that - in a nutshell - Intelligent Design was crypto-Creationism. I heard that on the morning news. I remember distinctly standing in front of my closet and looking at the television incredulously. (Looking at televisions incredulously has become my fashion over the last few years. I also listen to radios with disbelief and amazement. During the hearings about Justice Clarence Thomas, I almost ran my auto into a tree as I listened to the radio.)

I heard the report that the proponent of ID stated the Intelligent Designer need not necessarily be God. This appeared to be a dodge or ruse or scheme that provided an end-run around the imputation of Creationism. The court ruled against Intelligent Design, so its proponents in this particular case not only lost their court case, they had to deny God three times or more, and the rooster did not even crow. I asked myself, "If the Intelligent Designer is not God, then may I pray to the Designer ?" 
If the Intelligent Designer is not necessarily God, then it is possible that the Intelligent Designer is an entity other than God. Now we have an entity with traditionally God-like properties and characteristics, and this new entity may not be our traditional God. So now we have two gods. We could generate more, if it fit our needs and philosophy du jour. This denies the oneness of God. This is Idolatry.

A people obsessed with literature such as The DaVinci Code may not find this disturbing. I find it very disturbing. (Some societies become upset over depictions of religious figures. Other societies put their religious figures into popular novels. The distance in art between The DaVinci Code and the Metamorphoses of Apuleius is great, but morally they are close neighbors.) Whether we are speaking of Idolatry or Polytheism is a point to moot, but the outcome will be the same. I have read accounts that state that the Intelligent Design position allows for the possibility that Satan is the Intelligent Designer. Some people suggested that the angels are the designers, following God's plan, in which case God is the construction manager and the angels are subcontractors.

These suggestions, however, seem to be a subterfuge allowing Intelligent Design to fit into a traditional metaphysics while still maintaining the possible distinction between God and Designer. It strikes me as Monotheism with the option not to renew. We end by observing that: 1) in denying a Designer is necessarily God, the proponents of ID do not bear witness to God, contrary to the actions of the martyrs whose very name means "witness", 2) the essence of the Intelligent Design theory is to establish the validity of a possible Idolatry on a secure footing that appears "scientific". We may assume that any public figures who have embraced Intelligent Design theory must have been unaware of this aspect. We come to the question of who benefits from Idolatry? We shall talk about that later.