Monday, August 26, 2013

Quote of the Week: Nietzsche on Christian Morality

When one gives up Christian belief one thereby deprives oneself of the right to Christian morality. For the latter is absolutely not self-evident: one must make this point clear again and again, in spite of English shallowpates. 

Friedrich Nietzsche, Expeditions of an Untimely Man §5.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Quote of the Week: Kelley Ross on the absurdity of life

While traditional Christian theologians, like St. Thomas Aquinas, saw the world as providing evidence of God's existence, and also thought that rational arguments a priori could establish the existence of God, Kierkegaard does not think that this is the case. But Kierkegaard's conclusion about this could just as easily be derived from Sartre's premises. After all, if the world is absurd, and everything we do is absurd anyway, why not do the most absurd thing imaginable? And what could be more absurd than to believe in God? So why not? The atheists don't have any reason to believe in anything else, or really even to disbelieve in that, so we may as well go for it!

- Kelley L. Ross, in the "Existentialism" article at The Proceedings of the Friesian School

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What should men look for in women?

* This post is the first opinion piece I've wrote on dating. If you have critical comments, I urge you to be constructive because I'm sure this post isn't very strong *

What are things to look for in a woman? You're sure to find countless writings on the best things to look for in a woman so I hope this post doesn't find you uninterested or expecting the same old information. I hope to bring something refreshing, interesting, and to borrow a phrase from Greg Koukl, to "put a stone in your shoe." This is going to be the typical Reformed Seth post in that it will be *quick* thoughts on the subject and not exhaustive thoughts on the subject.

Reason and Virtue
I'm persuaded that one of the traits to look for in a woman is reason. Is she a student of reason? Is she a lover of truth? Often, I'm guilty of this, man will look past 'reason' in a woman because physical traits are what attract him first which is understandable but if a man pursues the woman packaged with traits prized by the superficial man who is void of reason instead of the woman who is a lover of truth then he is destined to meet regret in the future. A woman devoted to wisdom, reason, truth etc. is a woman worth pursuing. You can find this out during your courtship. Ask her questions to see if she is open to following evidence wherever the evidence may take her. See if she can follow the evidence past tradition, society, and dogma.

Good reason will also lead to virtue. I'm not going to explore that idea here in this post but understand that a person of reason will also be a person of virtue. A pursuit of truth is a life of virtue because a reasonable person understands the need to let virtue and reason govern her passions, which leads to the next trait to be valued in a woman.

Some may disagree with me on this, but a woman without passion just doesn't seem right you know? Often, in literature and in film, a woman's passion is her downfall; it's frowned upon by others which is understandable because this passion that is her downfall is ungoverned passion. For example, think of the character Lorelai Gilmore in the tv show Gilmore Girls. If ever there was a modern example of a woman who is ruled by her passions it is Loerelai Gilmore. She makes one immature decision after the next without any consideration of the risks involved or the conclusions of her decisions. I think the only wise decisions she makes is in her career at the Inn she runs with two business partners. This woman is run by her passions. If you've never watched the show check it out because you can learn from this woman about the good life in that if you want such a life don't pattern your life after Ms. Gilmore. An example from literature of a woman enslaved to her passions is Emma Bovary from Flaubert's Madame Bovary which is a book worth reading.

Passion governed by virtue is the best passion. A life without passion would be just terrible wouldn't it? No laughing, longing, music, etc. Human beings, women more so than men, experience passions and not just passions but colossal passions that are destructive if not governed by virtue, e.g. moderation, to guide the ever moving from high to low ship of passion named human life. A woman who is a slave to her passions isn't to be desired but a woman who has reasonable passion is definitely a woman to be desired because she understands and seeks the balance between high and low, virtue and passion, evidence and intuition. She lets the best of her passions stand out while putting into submission her extreme passions. A woman like this understands emotions and isn't scared of them.

Physical Beauty
In Emile the author, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, goes into detail about the woman who is right for his student Emile. The young woman's name is Sophie and Rousseau writes, "Sophie is not beautiful, but in her company men forget beautiful women, and beautiful women are dissatisfied with themselves." I'm fascinated at how well Rousseau described Sophie in that short sentence. Notice he doesn't say Sophie is ugly just that she isn't beautiful which is probably compared to the superficial standard of the day but there is much more said about Sophie in that sentence than what is said about her beauty. Rousseau wrote that men in the company of Sophie forget "beautiful" women and that "beautiful" women become dissatisfied with themselves in the presence of her. Physical beauty is important to finding a future spouse, but it's not the core of a person, it's not the soul of a person. Sophie obviously is a woman of virtue. She is an Elizabeth Bennet. A woman of virtue draws men, good men, in with her mind and her heart; she cuts away the presuppositions of what is considered "sexy" and she reveals the artificiality of the women around her just by being herself. A virtuous woman can and may be physically beautiful. I'm not saying don't go by physical attraction or that it's not important. I am saying that physical beauty should be the backup singer to the lead singer, i.e. reasonable passion. 

I think the above three traits are what men should look for in a woman: reason/virtue, passion, and physical beauty. You may not find a woman possessing all three in the beginning which is fine because we are all (hopefully) maturing every day and are on different paths at different times in life. Why are these traits desirable? Because a woman with these traits means she is on the path to understand the rich, romantic essence and philosophical depth of love; the truth of the world; how to raise a family; basically learning what the good life is here on earth.

What you must find out during dating is if she is willing to try a new way of thinking about reality. Does she see the importance of reason in her life? She may be full of reason and no passion so I would ask: does she see the importance of healthy passion? What is her view on life? Does she care and see the importance of having a view of reality? You may find a woman you're physically attracted to who is going to be your partner in the grandest adventure of all from friendship to love to marriage.

This little list also isn't exhaustive. I think it's very important that two people agree on the essentials before they marry, i.e. that their worldviews match. If a couple disagrees on the essentials then their marriage will likely fail. Shared interests in movies, shows, music and recreational activities won't save two people who can't agree on how to raise a child or how to live the good life (or if there is even a good life to live).

Related posts
The Foundation of Love  
WK Blog: How Christian women can make Christian men marry without using sex appeal 

Is rolling out Affordable Care Act comparable to Apple rolling out an iPad?

Disclaimer: Ask the programmer is a guest post by a friend of the blog.


Mr President is quoted as saying, "There is no doubt that in implementing the Affordable Care Act, a program of this significance, there are going to be some glitches. ... That's true, by the way, of a car company rolling out a new car. It's true of Apple rolling out the new iPad." Is this true? Can we compare rolling out the ACA to Apple rolling out a new iPad? Also, in the same article Rand Paul says it's illegal to delay the employer mandate of the ACA. How does the President get punished for doing something illegal? Let's ask The Programmer.  

No one can foresee all the consequences of a law, I'll grant him that, and adjustments are sometimes required. However, the fact here is that the consequences were unforeseen because of the way he and his lieutenants handled the legislation in the first place. They treated it like Roosevelt's request for a declaration of war on Japan (what an antiquated concept, this notion of asking Congress for a declaration of war!) - something that had to be acted on right now for the good of the country. The truth is, the only reason it was "urgent" to pass Obamacare was because the Dems feared losing their Senate supermajority before they could get it through, and even then, they had to resort to every parliamentary tactic and "incentive" (i.e. taxpayer funded bribes to Nebraska and Louisiana) to get it done. Forget the smaller changes like tort reform and eliminating barriers to competition between insurance companies across state lines. Those had more support and would have brought eventual price drops, but why do something that will work eventually when you can blow up everything in the course of a few months on a scheme that nobody knows will work because nobody has read it?

Further, when adjustments to legislation are required to combat unintended consequences, they are implemented in Congress, not the executive branch. If the law said that the executive branch could enforce these mandates at its discretion, he'd be within his rights to do what he's doing, but it doesn't. It gives a date certain, and he is openly acknowledging that he's going to flout that because he deems it necessary (without any input from Congress) in violation of the oath he swore when he was inaugurated. Not to mention, these "unforeseen" consequences were not "unforeseen". They were legitimate objections raised by conservatives during the push to pass the law and summarily dismissed and steamrolled by the Obama PR machine, including the mainstream media. Now they want to delay the consequences they were aptly warned about until a "convienent season", like Felix in Acts 24. (How'd that work out for him?) So really, it's a false analogy, which invalidates any conclusions he might use it to support.

As for what will come of it, the answer is nothing. Is it impeachable? Possibly, but you know Congress as constituted won't take that step. I suppose it could go to the courts, but by the time the appeals wound up, Obama would be out of office anyway and any decision would be mostly moot. Not to mention that I lost faith in the court system years ago. The namby-pamby establishment politicians don't want to call Obama on the unconstituionality of these actions because when "their guy" gets in, they want him to be able to do it, too, but it's a really dangerous precedent. Seems only constitutionalists like Paul understand that. The American public sure as heck doesn't, and the lame-stream media isn't about to give them a civics lesson.

- The Programmer

Source article: ObamaCare cap on out-of-pocket costs delayed, Sen. Paul calls illegal

Monday, August 12, 2013

Quote of the Week: C.S. Lewis on 'death doesn't matter'

It is hard to have patience with people who say 'There is no death' or 'Death doesn't matter.' There is death. And whatever is matters. And whatever happens has consequences, and it and they are irrevocable and irreversible. You might as well say that birth doesn't matter.

- C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed, 1961

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Krauss is a goon

Yes he is. Krauss may be amazing in his field, his daily work, etc. but he can be and is a goon. I'm saying this because of what I've read of his actions during his recent debate with William Lane Craig. On Craig's facebook page he wrote:

Last night's "dialogue" with Krauss was like gladitorial combat! He even had a buzzer which he was pushing at various times during my speech to register his disapproval and try to disrupt my speaking!
Let me imitate the Miz for a bit and say the following to Krauss: really? Really? Really? If what Craig said is true that's what I'm left thinking about Krauss. Really Krauss? Really? Krauss has reduced seeking truth in debate to an episode of "America's got talent." Is this how man decides truth now? He decides something is true with a touch of a buzzer? That was easy. Finding truth is easy when truth is whatever lines up with your personal opinion. This reminds me of the thinking of a toddler; no offense to you toddlers out there. 

If Krauss did in fact do what Craig has said then I'm very disappointed. I cannot take Krauss seriously when he speaks of his reasonableness, his love of facts, and such. How can I? Krauss hasn't shown, to me, that he is serious about truth, that he is serious about finding the answers to life's "permanent questions." It is hard for me to believe that Krauss lives a serious life. What is a serious life? Allan Bloom wrote that, "A serious life means being fully aware of the alternatives, thinking about them with all the intensity one brings to bear on life-and-death questions, in full recognition that every choice is a great risk with necessary consequences that are hard to bear."A serious inquiry of the truth will not lead to acting like a goon in a debate. Krauss is an embarrassment to atheism and should not be taken seriously in matters of ultimate truths. There are plenty of respectable atheists out there who are serious about finding answers to life's biggest questions and those men should be the ones representing atheism in public debates instead of goofballs like Krauss. Of course, charisma, jokes, and bad philosophy are the qualifications for a good representative for atheism today right? Those things are the values that people want in their "hero" to go against theists in public debate. What a shame. I'm not saying theism is absent of such public defenders (because they're out there...) but this arrogant, intolerant, close-minded, childish behavior is more visible on the "new atheism" or "new-new atheism" side of the debate in my opinion.

Never fear though. There are quite a few debates worth your time if you are serious about finding answers to such questions on life. There are too many to list here in this post. I will list some of them though.

William Lane Craig vs Dacey - Also notice in this post, WK lists two other great debates I recommend: Craig vs Millican and Craig vs Walter Sinnot-Armstrong. Since you can find those debates in this one link I won't list them here.

Dinesh D'Souza vs Michael Shermer Some might disagree with me on this, but Shermer is definitely a respectable guy in debate and so is D'Souza. I think this is a great debate. It's one that definitely opened my mind to checking out Christianity.

1. Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind

Monday, August 5, 2013

Quote of the week: Allan Bloom on truth

Socrates’ way of life is the consequence of his recognition that we can know what it is that we do not know about the most important things and that we are by nature obliged to seek that knowledge...I am now even more persuaded of the urgent need to study why Socrates was accused. The dislike of philosophy is perennial, and the seeds of the condemnation of Socrates are present at all times, not in the bosoms of pleasure-seekers, who don’t give a damn, but in those of high-minded and idealistic persons who do not want to submit their aspirations to examination

-Allan Bloom, Giants and Dwarfs, “Western Civ,” (1990) pg 18 - 19