Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cosmology and World Views--A Primer

World Views, Including Metaphysical Naturalism

Speaking generally, what is commonly referred to as a "world view" used to be called "cosmology." Cosmology still exists, as a field in astrological metaphysics, and as a very specialized branch of general metaphysics. Because it is metaphysics, any statements about the world, the universe, and life and its meaning, are cosmological statements.

"Where Hawking sees science as writing God out of the picture, others take a different view. Physicist Paul Davies, for example, has written that the beauty and order of the laws of physics themselves suggests there must be something behind those laws, something driving the mathematical beauty and order in the universe."

Even as the purview of astronomers and physicists, as the paragraph above demonstrates, when the subject arises of how the universe came to be what it is, God winds up in the picture.

In Cosmology and Religion we read in the first sentence: "There is an ongoing battle in the United States between Young Earth Creationists and the scientific community over the teaching of evolutionary biology." This shows that cosmology is about more than astro-physics.

We also read that, "Catholics outnumber Young Earth Creationists by a large factor, and the Catholic Church has no objection to either Big Bang cosmology or evolutionary biology, which they regard as the mechanisms used by God to create the Universe and the living things within it. (See the text of a talk by Dr. George Coyne, SJ)" [It is non-Catholics who are determined to inject creationism and the resultant cosmology into the public sphere, breaking--sometimes purposefully, sometimes only incidentally--the separation of church and state.]

Cosmology, being metaphsyics, deals with a combination of nature and the supernatural. However, in Christianity's beginnings, "The early Christian tradition expresses a profound ambivalence regarding the natural world."

In the medieval ages, "The people, the bulk of Europe's population, were especially critical. They did not understand the fineries of theological thought. Nor did they understand Church government. They complained about the un-Christian lives of the higher clergy. [ ] To make matters worse, none of the people understood Latin. If and when they bothered to attend mass, they heard strange words uttered while the clergy conducted rituals and ceremonies which they clearly did not understand. If the Middle Ages was the age of Christendom, or a Christian Kingdom in Europe, then just what did it mean to be a Christian? [ ] The people began to recognize their need for their own Gospel -- they sought their own Christ, not the Christ manufactured by Rome." The History Guide Lecture 3

The Reformation, the creation of this protestant movement, was the peoples' attempt at creating a cosmology of their own. They understood the world in which they lived through different eyes than that of the Roman Church, though they did not understand Latin, could not read English, had no English Bible because it was outlawed, and they certainly didn't understand astro-physics.

There is, however, reason to take the astro-physics out of cosmology. "The Bible was written to show us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go." - Cardinal Baronius (1598), a quote cited by Galileo.
The Cardinal's cosmology included a creator, but he accepted the physics of "how the heavens go" because how they went was in his "God's plan".

It is almost a lost cause for creationists to hope astro-physics will lose its place as the dominant force in cosmology. There has been much more made of astro-physics than of religion in cosmology, in the era of modern science. But in the era of modern evangelical movements, the wall of separation between church and state is crumbling, like a brick wall too-long covered by vines whose tentacles have broken the mortar. Tentacles such as "faith-based initiatives" backed by government funds, the approval of sharia-compliant takaful insurance, and Muslim demands for time to pray five times a day during working hours are destroying the Constitution's mandate that government "make no law respecting the establishment of religion.
"Establishment" has two definitions; the one we are most familiar with means "creation", but the other means "that which exists," as in "The establishment called the Protestant Church..." A synonym is "organization," as in "faith-based organizations." When government gives funds to "faith-based initiatives," or upholds the right of Muslims to place their work on the backs of non-Muslims five times a day or to have approved takaful insurance that will be used to finance jihadism--then the government has made laws respecting the current establishments of religions. There is no parsing in the Constitution over which definition of "establishment" is meant. The cosmology of astro-physics could lose out to evangelical establishments of religion if they begin to gain the same ground as Islam and faith-based establishments.
According to the American Policy Center, the United States is only two states short
of obliterating what is left of our government's policy of protecting the separation of church and state. [see The Last Thing We Need]
My opening statement about cosmology sometimes being equivalent with "world view" probably made a few people laugh out loud, believing I was either naive or misinformed. The standard sort of cosmology since Galileo has been of the following nature, if not of the pre-eminant level set by the Massachusets Institute of Technology; some of it has been of the standard we could call "bunk":

"Observational tests of the standard cosmological model during the last decade have ushered in a new era of precision cosmology. The standard model is specified by the size, spatial geometry (open, closed, or flat), and composition of the universe as well as the nature and statistical properties of the small-amplitude initial fluctuations that seeded the formation of galaxies and large scale structure in the universe. Astrophysical cosmology focuses on measuring the parameters of the standard model and studying the formation, evolution, and properties of cosmic structures. These structures include not only galaxies and the larger structures in which they congregate but also the supermassive black holes at their cores and the gas between galaxies."

That is what astrophysical cosmology focuses on. It is why the work of Galileo to demonstrate the truth of the work of Copernicus is called the "Copernican Revolution." That revolution set the western world on its ear, challenging the idea of Earth as being at the center of the universe, and changed the whole concept of what we knew of the world, and metaphysically of our place in it.

It is the concept of "our place in the universe" that gives rise to the equivalency between cosmology and "world view."

"The ancient Greeks introduced the concept that the Earth is a sphere at the center of the universe. The moon, sun and stars are all imbedded in transparent spheres which rotated around the earth. Heaven and God were viewed as existing at an extremely great distance from earth. They were even beyond the outermost sphere, which contains the stars." Religious Tolerance.Org

In An Apology of Raymond Sebond, the philosopher and author Montaigne, (1533-1592) who popularized the essay in his book "Essays", which is still widely influential today, wrote:

"Presumption is our natural and original disease. The most wretched and frail of all creatures is man, and withal the proudest. He feels and sees himself lodged here in the dirt and filth of the world, nailed and rivetted to the worst and deadest part of the universe, in the lowest story of the house, the most remote from the heavenly arch, with animals of the worst condition of the three; and yet in his imagination will be placing himself above the circle of the moon, and bringing the heavens under his feet."

This is what is meant when comparing cosmology to "world view." If Montaign did not weld together the construction of the world as "the worst and deadest part of the universe" by using his metaphysical (world) view of it, it would not have been a cosmological statement. Cosmology, therefore, is no more than welding together one's metaphysics with his/her understanding of the construction of the universe. This view can of the construction of can be totally hidden, implicit, but it must be there to be called a "world view."

So, world views do not always contain references to the construction of universe, though by necessity a world view is always about the meaning of existence, whether one takes the objective view, as in "God made it," or whether one takes the subjective view, as in "The world is a rotten place to live."

When a person speaks about the meaning of existence, be it only his or her own existence, the existence of a village or of a nation, or the existence of existence itself, it is always implicitly or explicitly cosmological.

This is the reason that a reader can perceive an author's cosmology, i.e., his/her world view and thereby his/her metaphysics--and often the author's epistemology--if the reader is astute enough to perceive it. With Montaign's piece, his world view (through the eyes of an earlier author, Raymond Sebond,) is clear.

As "The early Christian tradition expresses a profound ambivalence regarding the natural world," one might wonder when this changed. It changed when "Abelard, Aquinas and Dante helped to construct a world view which placed Reason and Faith at the center of man's quest for truth." The History Guide Lecture 3

"Although Thomism -- as the thought of Aquinas is known -- was eclectic to the core it can be said with certainty that the greatest influence upon his thought was the philosophy of Aristotle whom Aquinas simply referred to as 'The Philosopher.' [ ] Aquinas studied Aristotle like no other man had before or since and he used Aristotle to justify his entire thinking. Aquinas' theory of knowledge is not a vision of divine truth -- you might expect that coming from this very Christian saint. Rather, his theory of knowledge is a sober statement of how men know the world. Man is a rational animal and the world can be understood by human reason. A being endowed with reason, man can understand the universe. But as an animal, man can know only that which he can experience with his senses. This is Aristotelianism to the core." The History Guide Lecture 28

Aquinas told the Christian world that "God plays. God creates playing. And man should play if he is to live as humanly as possible and to know reality, since it is created by God's playfulness. The enunciation of these theses - fundamental in Aquinas's world-view -" was taken immediately to heart. The first recorded instance of a man climbing a mountain just because it was there took place less than two years after Aquinas told men to love the world they lived in, even though he also told them in the Summa Contra Gentiles they must seek heaven after death because "it is not possible for man's happiness to be in this life."

But he set the future of the Christian world view, of man's place in the physical universe, as the direct opposite of seeing and feeling himself "lodged here in the dirt and filth of the world, nailed and rivetted to the worst and deadest part of the universe, in the lowest story of the house, the most remote from the heavenly arch, with animals of the worst condition of the three..."

This change in attitude is one reason the Christian world view is so much different than the Muslim world view:

"The key to the Muslim worldview is the word 'Islam' itself. It is an Arabic word, a kind of verbal noun which Muslims love to tell you means 'submission' (similarly, 'Muslim' means 'one who submits'). Its importance lies in the fact that it defines how Muslims understand the relationship that God intends should exist between Himself and man. The verb form is typically used of a person laying down his arms in defeat; he 'makes peace' or 'submits.' This same idea comes out in the principal synonyms for God and man used in the Qur'an: Rabb ("Lord") and 'abd ("slave"). Five times a day Muslims must address God in prayer as 'Lord of the worlds,' in the words of the first Sura of the Qur'an, and prostrate themselves to the earth as His 'slaves.'

That explanation of the Muslim world view is very familiar to the Christian world, but I didn't like having to take it from the website of Pat Robertson, whom I despise. However, all the Muslim sites I could discover paint a very different picture of Muslim cosmology from the one the west sees, with Muslims prostrating themselves five times a day, forcing their women to cover themselves, and with such anecdotal Muslim quotations coming to light, such as, "Muslim women are happiest under their husbands' boots."

On the contrary, Muslim writers paint a rosy picture of Islam, wherein "Islam originale is not a religion that breeds the miser, the cruel, the coward, the intellectually indigent, or the depraved; it is the religion that nurtures the benevolent, the compassionate, the brave, the enlightened, and the pious. In short, it is the religion of the emancipated spiritual elite." Intellect and Reason in the Islamic Worldview Babak Ayazifar

After reading that piece by Ayazifar, I wondered how seemingly most of the Islamic world can appear so miserly, cruel, cowardly, intellectually indigent, and depraved, to western eyes. It may have something do with Islam's inclusion into their world view a concept known as shura:

"Shura is basically a decision making process -- consultative decision making -- that is considered either obligatory or desirable by Islamic scholars. Those scholars who choose to emphasize the Quranic verse: "..and consult with them on the matter" (3:159) consider shura as obligatory, but those scholars who emphasize the verse wherein "those who conduct their affairs by counsel" (43:38) are praised, consider shura as desirable."

What shura translates into for Islam is the doctrine that public opinion is a process of consultation, and what the majority of Muslims believe becomes the "truth," of their civilization, "truth" which we would call "dogma" in Christianity, but it comes from the bottom up, not from the top down. Shura is the principle reason Islam does little to stop those Muslims we call terrorists; public opinion of jihad is virtually acceptable to all of Islam, and Muslims see the point of it. They also see Muslim law in it.

The world view, the cosmology, of Metaphysical Naturalism (MN) can be summed up by:
--its doctrine that individual sovereignty in politics is the only starting point in determining freedom, and that its antithesis, "the common good", begins instead from the sovereignty of "the people": and that who "the people" are is always controlled by who is in political power, leaving the individual out of the picture completely;

--the doctrine of laissez faire capitalism as the concomitant right of individual sovereignty, in economics;
--the doctrine that existence (as opposed to "this present universe") has existed always and infinitely in time--not as a supernatural creation where there was once nothing--and that this doctrine is the default position of the fact of reality itself;
--that the mind and the soul are born tabula rasa and as that they perish with the body, and are formed as the sum of all the experiences of one's individual existence, including the epistemic rationality behind the logic one chooses, logic by which to obey the laws of existence in order to control nature as he/she finds it--and therefore that men have free and libertarian will--as its doctrine of metaphysics;
--and that force against other men is acceptable only in a moment of self-defence, as its doctrine in ethics.

As for scientific naturalism (SN), it would seem to be opposed to MN in most aspects, except the aspect that in metaphysics supernaturalism does not exist. Justice seems to take a back seat to compassion, if justice can be administered without punishment that is also retributive, punishment that "teaches" the convicted person nothing.

SN naturalism believes the soul can only be supernatural and therefore believes it does not exist, and that what we seem to perceive as the soul is merely the emotional reaction of the chemicals and electricity, i.e., the physiology, of the human being, and that anyone who believes he has a soul is mistaken.

In politics and economics I can only surmise that they must be "compassionate", which leaves out the possibility of individual sovereignty and capitalism, which require "rugged individualism" and the proper use of one's mental and physical capacities. Since not all men are created equal in these respects, the "compassionate" reaction is to attempt to level any playing fields, bringing the more endowed down to the level of those less endowed. This is hardly compassionate to those who are more endowed, so compassion cannot be the standard by which SN assigns to any doctrine, including that of justice.

To conclude: every civilization, every nation, every state, every religion, cult, brotherhood, sisterhood, fraternity and sorority, and every individual, such as Dante, de Sade, Aquinas, Einstein, Mao Tse Tung, Hitler, every Pope, Bush and Obama have their own sense of life. Each sense of life is directly attributable, implicitly, unconsciously, or explicitly and consciously, to what is believed about the nature of nature, i.e., the nature of the universe, of the existence of the supernatural (or not), of the existence of any design in the universe, of the nature of existence itself, and of the purpose of the life of man.

The Free Assemblage of Metaphysical Naturalists is the SM of
The Free Assemblage of Metaphysical Naturalists LLC.
The Academy of Metaphysical Naturalism TM,
The Academy of Metaphysical Naturalism Blogger TM, and
Academy of Metaphysical Naturalism Blogger Extra TM are the educational arms of the LLC and are:

2008 by Curtis Edward Clark and Naturalist Academy Publishing ®

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sci Naturalism's Goal of Liberal Humanism

SN's Humanism Part and Parcel
of Incivility Toward Man

Yesterday I wrote, "If the goal of scientific naturalism (SN) is humanism..." I should have written, "Since the goal of SN is humanism..."

Tom Clark, the author of the Guide to Naturalism, once wrote me and said the "Guide" and the Q&A "will be a start in understanding where the progressive, humanistic implications come from in this version of naturalism."

No where that I have been able to discover do any of the websites linked to Clark's "version of naturalism" state explicitly or implicitly that there is any other version of naturalism but the one in his "Guide." When writing about his version, he simply says "naturalism this" and "naturalism that." He conveniently forgets SN was not the norm when naturalism was the dominant doctrine of Greece and western Europe, before Augustine. On the Nature of Things

What Clark's version of "this and that" is, is a scientistic, politically liberal, "father-figure" when it comes to the role of law and the courts.

To quote from a website on the subject of law, punishment, and justice, is to understand this "progressiveness" better:

"I see two assumptions embedded in your question [about what to do with someone who breaks the law]:
1. Punishment is the appropriate response to actions not in agreement with laws
2. Punishment is justice
"My first impression is that those two assumptions are more consistent with a Strict Father view of justice than that of a Nurturant Parent. Progressive justice concerns itself with patiently nurturing responsible behavior towards the community. Laws consistent with that vision can be considered fair. Actions not in accordance with those fair laws should be sanctioned, as long as the sanctions do indeed benefit the whole community, including the sanctioned individuals and their loved ones."

So, progressive justice means turning the courts and the laws into "Nurturant Parents"! The idea of "patiently nurturing responsible behavior towards the community" used to be called "civics class"--before I was born. It is no longer taught. No one any longer understand that "Individual sovereignty was not a peculiar conceit of Thomas Jefferson: It was the common assumption of the day..." Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D. American Sphinx,The Character of Thomas Jefferson

No one remembers that whites are Citizens of the Several States, while blacks did not gain citizenship until the 14th Amendment with its "citizens of the United States Clause," which in effect made them wards of the Federal government. However, we all are now wards of the Federal government.

An important provision was the statement that “'nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.' The right to due process of law and equal protection of the law now applied to both the Federal and state governments."

This was the beginning of the government's power to nationalize legislation to give it undue power over the states, such as the Interstate Commerce Commission, and the FTC, the FCC, and the military draft provisions. It is difficult for people who's individual sovereignty is crafted and manipulated by governments to remain civil under certain conditions; we call such incidents by the name of "civil unrest," and deliberate actions taken to bring attention to such unlawful manipulation is often called "civil disobedience."

But psychologically, it is possible for millions of people who feel deprived of their birth right to fail to care about the birth right of others, and to become unjustly selfish in their actions toward others, thereby forgetting that civility is the best means of accomplishing one's own life, not to mention allowing others to accomplish their own lives.

Look at the state of many individuals' incivility toward others. And when incivility is allowed, as it is today because adults are afraid that opening their mouth might get them shot or beaten, then shootings and beatings occur anyway.

"[U]ndercutting belief in free will has the effect of leading people in a more liberal, compassionate direction, or so I believe," Clark continued. "Of course, naturalism isn’t the only source of humanistic values since there are many humanistic theists."

It is certainly no wonder to me that Christians and other theists decry this form of naturalism. What they fail to understand is that this version, though it is unarguably the prevailing form, is not the only form.

Metaphysical naturalism (MN) does not "undercut belief in free will." MN seeks to provide an understanding of why human will is free will.

What I find incredible is that Clark can openly admit that he welcomes my criticism, "since that can only correct or improve my very likely flawed thinking," he wrote. Yet I have not seen that my criticism has changed one word of his web sites.

Under the sub-heading Social Justice, Clark wrote this: "But there’s another, more fundamental question about poverty [Hurricane Katrina and others] raised: what’s the moral difference between needy victims of a hurricane and those needy to begin with? If the Red Cross funnels millions of dollars to feed, clothe and house those displaced by floods, why not do as much for the homeless already among us? Instead, under cover of deficit reduction, the Bush administration and Republican-controlled Congress are bent on cutting funding for food stamps, school loans, child support, Medicaid and other programs that address the causes and consequences of poverty."

This thinking demonstrates some of the "flaws" Clark in was talking about in his "thinking". The government is not the Red Cross. The Red Cross takes voluntary donations; the government takes "donations" at the point of a gun. Try not paying your taxes, if you think I'm wrong. Without a gun, the IRS has no power at all. Look at what it did to Nat Cole, Willie Nelson, James Brown and others both famous and obscure. The IRS sold Willie Nelson's gold records--after confiscating his house and all its possessions.

Like Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," progressive, humanistic thinking, whether backed by scientism, or by theist or collectivistic thinking, shows a disregard for comparing apples to apples. Before the Supreme Court reversed itself during a more liberal and progressive period in its makeup and gave its stamp of approval to the IRS and its gun, per capita charitable donations were at an all time high, but they dropped to a near record low within two years of the implementation of the IRS.

We now have a religious-humanist incoming President who intends to increase the amount of money that goes into the Bush-implemented policy of giving public money to faith-based organizations. This is obviously not SN, but it isn't MN either, nor is it Objective. It is collectivization for the purpose of redistributing wealth, and Obama is not the only elected official who makes this goal his policy.

But every penny spent for new programs, new bureaus, new agencies costs Americans' more of their sovereignty, and undercuts what little is left of our will to be free. Our free will is limited more by government interference than by any other form of encroachment on our liberty, certainly more than Clark talks about concerning genes, memes, environment, and nurturing.

Actually, redistributing wealth is more than a goal or a policy; it is the doctrine that the common good outweighs the right to individual sovereignty and its exercise of free will. It does not outweigh that sovereignty, not morally, but only in the fact that it has the power of the gun behind it.

Republican democracy, or democratic republicanism, the political system under which America is governed, is specifically charged with the task of writing laws that take as little from common sovereignty as possible, but when it does need to take that sovereignty, it is added to what is called, by Locke and Hobbes, Rousseau and others, as "common sovereignty."

Common sovereignty does not translate into "the common good." Individual sovereignty translates into "the general Welfare" and to securing "the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity." Preamble to the Constitution of the United States (which, by the way, did not mean, until the 14th Amendment, a single entity called the United States; but instead means individual States United. That is no longer what it means, and Lincoln proved it by declaring that no states had the right to withdraw from the Union--and then kept them united.)

The Free Assemblage of Metaphysical Naturalists is the SM of
The Free Assemblage of Metaphysical Naturalists LLC.
The Academy of Metaphysical Naturalism TM,
The Academy of Metaphysical Naturalism Blogger TM, and
Academy of Metaphysical Naturalism Blogger Extra TM are the educational arms of the LLC and are:

2008 by Curtis Edward Clark and Naturalist Academy Publishing ®

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sci Naturalism's Unintended Link to Xianity

Scientific Naturalism and Christian Theology
Come from the Same Roots of Causality
Free will and the will that is not contra-causal are the subject of the metaphysics of naturalism. Metaphysical Naturalism (MN) accepts free will, denying--where scientific naturalism (SN) asserts--that free will needs to be "contra-causal" to be called free.

It is not, nor can it ever be, contra-causal. To wish it so, to want it so, to propose that it must be so before it can be called free is to contradict the very nature of naturalism's epistemic roots.

What is "contra causality"? To have contra-causal will, you would have to have the power to move the wind and the stars; the power to control your genetic pool--before you are conceived; the power to manipulate your environment by supernatural means (since we are obviously able to manipulate it by natural means, yet this isn't good enough for SN, which denies anything supernatural); and to manipulate the behavior and activities of every minute detail of reality that touches your own existence.

Because you do not and cannot have this power, SN says free will is not free because it is always influenced by something; the wind, the stars, your genetic pool, your environment, your prior actions, and the behavior and actions of all other people who have ever lived and who are living now, and whether or not you have a sore toe, a headache, have had too much caffein, alcohol, or milk--or are in need of some, and whether you are depressed, or manic, etc.

Even normality as measured by the strictest determinations of medicine and psychiatry effects us, according to SN, in such manner as to prevent our will from being free will. Normality no matter how it is determined is still the effect of all the previous causes of the being of any human.

In short SN asserts that the butterfly effect prevents what would otherwise be independent and free will, i.e., the freedom to think or not, and what to conclude from thought, and how to conclude it. The phrase "butterfly effect" is a "reference to the [ ] theory that a change in something seemingly innocuous, such as a flap of a butterfly's wings, may have unexpected larger consequences in the future, such as the path a tornado will travel."
We are caused by the flapping of all the butterflys' wings, whether those wings are literal, or metaphorical.

So while you may believe you are exercising free will, SN says the "you" that exists at the moment of exercising your will shows proof that "we are fully caused creatures" by all things that have gone before. "Naturalism holds that everything we are and do is connected to the rest of the world and derived from conditions that precede us and surround us," it says. [see same link as above]

The most notorious concept of our being "fully caused" is called, in Christianity, by the name "Original Sin." Christianity has always believed in "full causation" of the human being through Original Sin, but gives it an "out" through "redemption." For this reason Christianity believes in free will.

SN states its aim as being the obliteration of anything but scientism in its metaphysical description of the state of being human, yet it supports the most illogical of all epistemologic arguments of Christian theology, proving that even SN cannot escape epistemological mistakes that put it on par with the worst logic of supernaturalism. What SN does it takes away the ability to be "redeemed" from our "full causation" by removing the concept of freedom from the concept of will power.

SN does not disprove the Christian epistemology of Original Sin, it upholds it by using the same logic of "full causality"!

But in its defence, it must be explicitly stated that SN denies anything supernatural. It cannot therefor uphold the idea of Original Sin as a religious concept, but by using the very logic of Christian theology it gives Christianity very good reason to support the epistemology of SN while denying its metaphysics, in the very same way SN denies the metaphysics of religion.

Scientific Naturalism is Not Scientifically, But Epistemologically, Wrong

While it is entirely true that humans are shaped by such things as their gene pool and their environment, and by all the other things that science is beginning to teach us about our biology, this does not constitute what SN calls "full causation." It is not necessary for the will to be able to change these things for the will to exist as free will. Free will does not mean independence from existence.

Yet it is the independent, libertarian will that SN says is not free because it is not free from the reality of reality. "Naturalism," it say explicitly, "is the understanding that there is a single, natural world as shown by science, and that we are completely included in it."

Of course we are "completely included in it." While religion argues that we are also included in a supernatural world, it does not deny being "included" in the physical world. As a matter of fact, being released from this "complete inclusion" in the natural world is the goal of religion. SN seeks to bind us to it with no power to "fully cause" our own metaphysical existence.

SN does not state that the will is impotent. To the contrary, it states that since we know, or can know, the elements of reality that "fully cause" us to be who we are, that we can somehow control our lives better through of will power that it describes as "not free."

SN is a humanist movement. It supports "compassion" for criminals in their treatment and sentencing: compassion, not justice. Criminals are still human, have the capacity to learn from their wrongs and from their time incarcerated. Most will get out of prison. Ignoring "compassion" for justice does not mean going back to bread and water, chains and leg irons, beds of straw, lack of proper medicine, or anything that is not proper in the treatment of humans who have the free will to become better for the justice of their sentence. Proper treatment is justice, not compassion.

What SN means by "compassion" is stated this way: " Seeing that we are fully caused creatures - not self-caused - we can no longer take or assign ultimate credit or blame for what we do. This leads to an ethics of compassion and understanding, both toward ourselves and others. We see that there but for circumstances go I. We would have been the homeless person in front of us, the convict, or the addict, had we been given their genetic and environmental lot in life." [emphasis added]

This is all true, except for the "credit and blame" part. If the credit and blame are moral attributes of action, it is never true that they do not belong to us. If they are attributes of the chaos of reality over which we have no control, it is metaphysically unthinkable to assign credit or blame.

It is a case of barking up the wrong tree for SN to take note of "being fully included" in reality. No one has ever, to my knowledge, denied this. SN denies that we are included in any sort of super naturalism, and with that idea, metaphysical naturalism is in complete agreement.

If the unstated, implicit, and possibly unconscious goal of SN is some form of humanism be it termed "philosophical", "modern", or "secular", then it is not an honest doctrine, since it states its goal this way: "By understanding consciousness, choice, and even our highest capacities as materially based, naturalism re-enchants the physical world, allowing us to be at home in the universe." SN is a doctrine to "re-enchant" the world!

If its goal is to free us from supernaturalism, it forgot to "fully include" humanity in the reality of the fact that we would be absolutely nothing if not for reality itself. "In order to control nature, one must learn to obey nature."

It is in obeying nature that we find our will is free, and it is that freedom that has taken us out of the "inclusion" of being strictly bound to the earth, and opened the gateways to being "included" in the rest of the universe.

The Free Assemblage of Metaphysical Naturalists is the SM of
The Free Assemblage of Metaphysical Naturalists LLC.
The Academy of Metaphysical Naturalism TM,
The Academy of Metaphysical Naturalism Blogger TM, and
Academy of Metaphysical Naturalism Blogger Extra TM are the educational arms of the LLC and are:

2008 by Curtis Edward Clark and Naturalist Academy Publishing ®

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas, and All's Not Well With the USPS

Postal Service Restricts Mail to Military Personnel

The next time you hear someone, be it a Muslim or non-Muslim, claim Islam is a “tolerant” faith, or that America is not being sufficiently “tolerant” of the Muslim faith, ask them this question:
Is it “tolerant” for Muslim countries to prohibit a U.S. citizen from mailing a Bible or a Star of David to a member of the U.S. Armed Forces stationed in those countries?

The information below was obtained from the “Dhimmi Watch” website. It includes U.S. Postal Service regulations that restrict the mailing of “any matter containing religious materials contrary to Islamic faith” to U.S. military personnel in stationed in selected Islamic countries. (Click on the Postal Service link to read the full list of restrictions).

One would assume the Postal Service has drafted these restrictions in response to demands from the Muslim countries. So, if you want to mail a Christmas or Hanukkah gift to a Marine in a “restricted” country, and that gift is “contrary to Islamic faith,” you can’t do it.

Now if a Muslim in Saudi Arabia wants to mail a Qur’an to a family member in the United States, do you think the same restrictions apply? Of course not.

As Brigitte Gabriel writes in her best-seller "They Must Be Stopped", when it comes to “infidels” and Muslims, “tolerance” is a one-way street. Every time a U.S. financial institution like AIG offers a Shariah-compliant finance product, or every time a British city recognizes shariah courts and law, we legitimize Shariah law and the oppressive intolerance that comes with it.

This is why stopping terrorism is not enough. We must oppose the doctrine of Shariah that animates terrorism and cultural Jihad and seeks to subvert the values and freedoms of Western civilization.

Sharia Alert from...the United States Postal Service:
"Overseas Military Mail," from the U.S. Postal Service

Want to send your brother-in-law in Iraq a Bible? An ikon? A kippah? Some joss sticks? Forget it. All that is "contrary to Islamic faith." Qur'ans and other Islamic articles only, please.

Mail addressed to military post offices overseas is subject to certain conditions or restrictions of mailing regarding content, preparation, and handling. The APO/FPO table below outlines these conditions by APO/FPO ZIP Codes through the use of footnoted mailing restrictions codes (see the Restrictions page following the table).

C. Cigarettes and other tobacco products are prohibited.
C1. Obscene articles, prints, paintings, cards, films, videotapes, etc., and horror comics and matrices are prohibited.
D. Coffee is prohibited.
E1. Medicines or vaccines not conforming to French laws are prohibited.
E2. Any matter containing religious materials contrary to Islamic faith or depicting nude or seminude persons, pornographic or sexual items, or nonauthorized political materials is prohibited. [...]

ACT for America
P.O. Box 6884 Virginia Beach, VA 23456

ACT for America is an issues advocacy organization dedicated to effectively organizing and mobilizing the most powerful grassroots citizen action network in America, a grassroots network committed to informed and coordinated civic action that will lead to public policies that promote America’s national security and the defense of American democratic values against the assault of radical Islam.

We are only as strong as our supporters, and your volunteer and financial support is essential to our success. Thank you for helping us make America safer and more secure.

Long Weekend Off
I will be taking the long Christmas weekend off from publishing the Academy Blogger, but not from writing it. Come Monday, Dec. 29 I'll have fresh pickin's from the metaphysical naturalist's point of view.

Until then, may your days be merry and bright. I don't need to wish that your Christmas also be white, at least not for most of the United States. Rain and warm temps may wash some of it away in some areas, but other areas are going to get hit hard. I don't see how "global warming" can be taken seriously, when this winter is already the coldest on record for the last decade--or did they say the last 12 years?

Last year was the coldest on record in 100 years for China. Washington and Colorado had snow on their peaks in June. And if it is true that much of the North Pole melted, well, let it be known that the South Pole is at least 17 inches thicker than last year--or in any year yet on record.

The seasons and the temps are merely changing, like the scene in Washington. Barak Obama never denied he was a Marxist, though Joe Biden was honestly taken aback when a Florida reporter asked him if Obama was a Marxist. After all, it was on everyone's lips after he told Joe the Plumber he wanted to "redistribute wealth." It seems he is going to be doing an awful lot of that, as we can see already by the proposals he has been throwing out there. It sure seems Marxist to me. But Obama gets away with it by neither admitting--nor denying it.

Joe the Plumber has a new book coming out in January, by the way, but you can buy it online now from his website. Good for you, Joe. Way to go. Merry Christmas.

As for the rest of you, live long and prosper, but not by letting other men live for your sake, as Marxism demands. In the world of Obama, that may be harder to do than it sounds, and it might be awfully hard not to be coerced to live for the sake of another. You can always legally opt out of your role as "citizen of the United States", though I don't know if you can legally opt out of being a "Citizen of one of the Several States". If anyone knows the answer to that, please fire off a comment, possibly with a link to where you found the info. Thanks.
And to all, a good night.
The Free Assemblage of Metaphysical Naturalists is the SM of
The Free Assemblage of Metaphysical Naturalists LLC.
The Academy of Metaphysical Naturalism TM,
The Academy of Metaphysical Naturalism Blogger TM, and
Academy of Metaphysical Naturalism Blogger Extra TM are the educational arms of the LLC and are:

2008 by Curtis Edward Clark and Naturalist Academy Publishing ®

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Rick Warren Whirlwind and "Prop 1"

Dec. 23, 2008 Sacramento, CA
Nation's Press Institute*
Work has already begun on what is being dubbed "Proposition 1" to be placed on the 2010 California ballot. Proponents are especially angry at Christian minister Rick Warren, founder and senior pastor of the evangelical megachurch, Saddleback Church, in Lake Forest, California, whose influence and political clout helped pass Proposition 8, which denied gays and lesbians the right to legal marriage.

Warren has been well publicized for what his critics say are offensive political views, and especially for the way he communicates them. "He routinely compares gay relationships to pedophilia, incest, and bigamy, and in the process dehumanizes a group of Americans. His website notes that gay people are not welcome to join his church."

Proponents of the so-called Proposition 1 are attempting to limit the free speech rights of licensed pastors, priests, rabbis, clerics and others during a six month span prior to any election. The Proposition would also limit the same free speech rights of anyone working in a paid or unpaid capacity for any tax-exempt religious organization.

In the United States, churchs receive their privileged tax-exempt position at the cost of outright political involvement. The Bush Administration, say critics, has not been enforcing this law. The Proposition as envisioned would close any organization defined as "tax-exempt for religious purposes" for a period of three months following convition under the new law, imprison the person(s) responsible for the campaigning for not more than six months, and levy a ten thousand dollar fine against the church for each violation.

Anything But Straight; Dec. 22, 2008

It could be that Barack Obama is simply smarter than the rest of us. The first black president of the Harvard Law Review has made a career of turning conventional wisdom on its head.

When people said that America was not ready for an African American president, he ran anyway - and won. He was counseled by countless talking heads to "go negative" against Hillary Clinton in the primaries and then John McCain - but he largely stuck to his strategy of staying positive - and won. In the middle of the campaign, Obama hit an iceberg named Rev. Jeremiah Wright, injecting race into a campaign that had desperately tried to shy away from this explosive issue. Obama discarded advice to spin the crisis and instead delivered a lecture on race relations that has gone down as one of the greatest speeches in the history of American politics - not to mention it saved his campaign. So, at this point in his rocket-propelled career, it is unwise to bet against the political instincts of Barack Obama.

Still, choosing pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration seemed like a gaffe that has served, if nothing else, as a distraction to Obama's central message of unifying America. This olive branch to evangelical Christians, who largely supported John McCain, felt more like poison ivy to gay and lesbian voters, who overwhelmingly cast ballots for Obama.

After all, Warren has a program to "help" homosexuals "pray away the gay" and played a prominent role in passing Proposition 8, which prohibits same-sex couples from marrying in California. He has even compared same-sex couples marrying to incest and child abuse.

Even if scientists find that homosexuality is genetic, Warren would still counsel gay people to fight their "sin," reducing our love to nothing more than perverted impulses. While Warren presumably gets his basic needs met by his wife, he expects gay people to abandon fulfilling relationships for dour lives of loneliness, severe depression and suicidal thoughts.

Obama can talk about unity all he wants, but what he is really doing is upholding the "Great Gay Exception. Obama would never have an anti-Semite on stage in the name of common ground. If so, why did he distance himself from fellow Chicagoan Louis Farrakhan during his campaign? Obama would also never dream of giving a platform to an open racist. But, Obama seems to think we should not object to him elevating Warren, who we find deeply offensive.

My hope is that Obama's plan is to offer heavy doses of symbolism and style to power hungry preachers, like Warren - while delivering substantive policy achievements to the gay and lesbian community. When gay and lesbian leaders reacted with understandable indignation, Obama's rebuttal was, people need to "learn to agree to disagree without being disagreeable."

This phrase, that many Evangelicals are nodding their heads to in agreement, is a rhetorical trap. If they agree to this principle over the Warren flap, they have essentially forfeited their moral high ground if they get "disagreeable" when Congress passes a law that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

The only flaw in this logic is that social conservatives rarely play by the same rules because they think they represent God. It is possible that Obama may have outsmarted himself by appealing to his sanctimonious enemies, who will never return the favor, while forfeiting support among his closest friends.

But, then again, maybe he really can buy goodwill by stroking the egos of narcissistic holy men. Rick Warren begins his best selling book The Purpose Driven Life with the refrain, "this is not about you." Of course not! It's always been about Rick Warren - whose camera-ready compassion is legendary.

If any good can come from this controversy, it is that many Americans now realize that Warren is masquerading as a moderate and posing as a pragmatist. Many Americans - who previously respected Warren - now view him as a poll-tested Pat Robertson who hides hate behind a Hawaiian shirt. He seemed arrogant and out of touch on NBC's Dateline when he told Ann Curry that he wasn't homophobic because he provided protesters outside his church with doughnuts. Gee, thanks, maybe next time you take away our rights we'll get ice cream from His holiness.

The alternative storyline is really unthinkable.

In this version, Obama cynically used gay and lesbian people for money, votes and volunteers. Then before he is sworn in, he swears off equality. This plot was certainly advanced when not a single openly gay person was appointed to a high-level cabinet position.

Within a year, we will learn whether Obama's decision to choose Warren was cagey, careless or cruel. If it is the former, we will soon view this cultural flashpoint as a flash in the pan. If it is the latter, it will cause an explosion of gay activism, giving many people who were previously apolitical, purpose driven lives - protesting Barack Obama.

© 2008 Wayne Besen. All rights reserved. Anything But Straight

* Nation's Press Institute © The Free Assemblage of Metaphysical Naturalists LLC
"Proposition 1" is fictional for the purposes of illustrating how Federal law is not being enforced under the Bush Administration.

The Free Assemblage of Metaphysical Naturalists is the SM of
The Free Assemblage of Metaphysical Naturalists LLC.
The Academy of Metaphysical Naturalism TM,
The Academy of Metaphysical Naturalism Blogger TM, and
Academy of Metaphysical Naturalism Blogger Extra TM are the educational arms of the LLC and are:

2008 by Curtis Edward Clark and Naturalist Academy Publishing ®

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Condensations from Here and There

President-elect Obama has said that he would promote "wind farms" as one way to create more jobs. This idea is consistent with popular wisdom about wind energy and, therefore, sounded good while Mr. Obama was in the Senate and during his Presidential campaign.

The problem for Mr. Obama now is that this popular wisdom is wrong. Contrary to reports issued by various wind energy advocates, "wind farms" provide few energy, environmental, or economic benefits and create very few jobs - far fewer than could be achieved if the money were used for other investments. Also, wind energy has adverse impacts that advocates like to ignore.

The wind industry, its lobbyists, and other wind advocates have, for more than a decade, greatly overstated the environmental, energy and economic benefits of wind energy and understated or ignored the very high true cost of electricity from wind energy as well as its adverse environmental, ecological, economic, scenic and property value impacts. With assistance from DOE and NREL (using tax dollars), the industry has misled the public, media, and government officials. They have secured federal and state policies, tax breaks and subsidies that have:

Shifted billions of dollars in tax burden and other costs from "wind farm" owners to ordinary taxpayers and electric customers, and misdirected billions in capital investment dollars to energy projects ("wind farms") that produce very little electricity - which electricity is low in value because it is intermittent, volatile, unreliable with little of it, if any, available on hot weekday afternoons in July and August when electricity is most needed and has high value.

During the last 4 years, the facts about wind energy's true costs and benefits have begun to emerge, even in the media, but they have yet to be understood by most government officials who continue to parrot wind energy advocates.

America’s health care sector is wasteful and inefficient. Americans spend twice the amount that other advanced nations spend on medical care, yet we’re not noticeably healthier. Researchers estimate that one third of U.S. medical spending produces nothing at all — that’s about $700 billion wasted per year.

The "Church of Universal Coverage" is telling us that national health insurance will stimulate economic growth.

It also doesn’t seem to square with the facts. If anything, the economy appears to grow faster when Congress rejects universal coverage.

After Congress defeated President Harry Truman’s proposal for national health insurance in 1949, the nation enjoyed four years of robust economic growth.

The defeat of the Clinton Health Security Act in 1994 was followed by six years of robust economic growth.

The largest step Congress has taken toward universal coverage was when it launched Medicare and Medicaid in 1966. Real economic growth averaged 5.7 percent in the four years prior to 1966, but only 2.7 percent in the four years that followed.

Today’s "USA Today" tells the story of “Phyllis Smith, a 60-year-old uninsured seamstress in Yantis, Texas, [who] goes without medications for high blood pressure and diabetes because she can’t afford a visit to her doctor to get her prescriptions refilled.” The article quotes Smith:

"With the condition this world is in right now, [Barack Obama] has his hands full…. Whether I get my high-blood-pressure medicine is not going to be high on his priority list."

Sort of argues against giving some distant ruler that much control over your life, doesn’t it?

And who knows? Were those distant rulers not doing so much to make health insurance more expensive, perhaps Smith wouldn’t be uninsured.

Were they not doing so much to make routine care so expensive, perhaps Smith could afford that doctor’s visit, or have a nurse practitioner adjust her prescription.
Were they not doing so much to make prescription drugs more expensive, perhaps Smith could better afford her medications too.

Investor’s Business Daily reports on two Congressional Budget Office reports released yesterday. Both were launched and largely completed under the tenure of then-CBO director Peter Orszag, who has since been tapped to direct President-elect Barack Obama’s Office of Management and Budget.

Before becoming Barack Obama’s budget chief, Peter Orszag gave his future boss an indirect warning Thursday that health care reform will be neither cheap nor easy.

“(The first report) shows that many of the things that Obama and Congressional Democrats think will save costs, such as preventive care and information technology, won’t really save much money,” said Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute. “It also shows that covering the uninsured will cost a lot of money.”

Better preventive care and health IT would save Medicare $850 million and $22 billion, respectively, over 10 years. Over that time, Medicare is expected to cost $6.7 trillion….

“If you read between the lines, [Orszag is] saying that health care reform will be a blood bath, not quick and easy,” said Cannon.

Cannon went on to say in "USA Today" that all the forces who previously were agaisnt health care reform, forces such as National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the Service Employees International Union, and a left-leaning advocacy group, Families USA, "want to be at the table because they don’t want to be on the menu,” Cannon says of the interest groups. “Sooner or later, someone is going to be on the menu. You can’t do comprehensive reform without goring someone’s ox.”

If Obama's administration pulls off this trillion dollar socialistic debacle, it won't only be people like Phyllis Smith who lose out. The socialist health machine in Canada leaves out many people, people who must "line up" on the calendar to get basic and comprehensive care. Those who want surgery to fix such things as a previously broken nose, or limbs that work but were disfigured by such diseases as polio, may have them reclassified as "elective surgery" or "cosmetic surgery," and sent to the back of the line.
The back of the line will be the only place left when American doctors begin leaving for places that don't tell them how to do their jobs, and how much to charge. Time was when that place was America, and Canadian doctors fled here.

The Free Assemblage of Metaphysical Naturalists is the SM of
The Free Assemblage of Metaphysical Naturalists LLC.
The Academy of Metaphysical Naturalism TM,
The Academy of Metaphysical Naturalism Blogger TM, and
Academy of Metaphysical Naturalism Blogger Extra TM are the educational arms of the LLC and are:

2008 by Curtis Edward Clark and Naturalist Academy Publishing ®

Monday, December 22, 2008

Will Domestic Violence Stop Stealth Sharia?

U.S. Won't Stop Sharia-Jihad on American Soil;
Americans Are Certain To Try

We are living in very dangerous times for American freedom. It does not come primarily from overt acts of terrorism, such as 9/11. It comes from "stealth jihad", the practice of getting the federal government to either approve of sharia practices in America, like Takaful insurance, or to ignore the practice of forcing sharia principles in the workplace, as Islamacists did at a meat processing plant.

Christians should be worried because they have not had as much progress as Muslims, in their own endeavor of breaking down the walls of the separation of church and state, to get the government to either approve of, or to ignore, the practice of Christian principles. The U.S. wouldn't want to make the Muslims angry, would it, at this time in history, so the living Constitution, rather than the original Constitution, twists the Supreme Law to accomodate them.

Because the secularity of the Constitutional rights of America are not being protected by whatever particular authorities have the power to do so, such as the court system or Congress or State Attorneys General, there is a power vacuum between the People, who deserve justice, and the powers-that-be who are not willing--or who claim to be unable--to stop such Constitutional erosion.

The Constitution has eroded measurably since the end of the Civil War, and no one seems willing or able to stand up and say so. Just the opposite is happening: we have Amendments to State's Constitutions that have the sole purpose of denying rights, and we have a new incoming President who is running full-steam-ahead with the Marxist economic football under his arm.

But these are things Americans have lived with for decades or more, watching the Constitution being torn down from inside the country. We deal with it, though obviously not effectively because the erosion is like that on a mountain side with constant rain upon it and little protection from trees and undergrowth. The Constitution is going to landslide if the rain is not stopped.

Stealth jihad, however, is something new, and something the American people will not stand for--once they realize the severity of the situation. In the vacuum of official worry over sharia-compliance under the Constitution, Americans will soon come to find that sharia Muslims have powers which the Constitution can not give to Christians, Jews, atheists, and others, and that is the power to enforce their beliefs on society where ever justice fails society.

"Take special note of the shariah-compliant supervisory board at AIG," warns Act for America. "Muhammed Imran Usmani is the son and disciple of Muhammed Taki Usmani. The elder Usmani is a 'who’s who' in the Islamist world and an outspoken proponent of aggressive jihad. For example, he has issued numerous fatwas (religious rulings) that provide material support for terrorism.

"The danger of American financial institutions getting in bed with well-known advocates of jihad and terrorism should be obvious to anyone who takes even a cursory look. It was Lenin who stated 'The capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.'"

In this case we are not selling the jihadists the rope; we are condeding that they have a right to make us give them rope at our own expense. We concede their right to the rope because we are unwilling to admit that we need to take an Originalist view of the Constitution. To take such a view would cause irreparable harm to the socialism and the anti-individualism already rampant in this country.

But here is the point of this piece: in the vacuum of official power to uphold the Constitition and the Supreme Court rulings on Originalism, such as the acceptance of Jefferson's "wall of separation between church and state," some Americans are going to fill that vacuum with guns and bombs, and they will use them on any Muslim targets they see.

These Americans will be seen as "domestic terrorists," by officialdom, but they will be seen as heros by the Originalists and libertarians and conservatives and others who understand that stealth jihadism is just as insidious and evil as the things we are fighting against in the "war on terror," in our two wars are, in our efforts at Homeland Security.

The problem is, no one in officialdom is securing the homeland against legal attacks on our Constitution from within our own borders. That is partly what is stealthy about this form of jihadism; the sharia-believing Muslims don't have to use bombs against us. They can use against us our own ignorance of how much Constitutional integrity we have already lost, our stupidity, and our compassion to be fair.

Something will have to give, and if officialdom in America does not stop the sharia erosion of the separation of church and state, then some Americans are going to see that guns and bombs will, at the least, stop the jihadists--and possibly the officials--who are converting Americans into virtual Muslims by forcing us to accept that those officials are going to protect sharia Muslims as they have never protected any other form of religious practice in this country.
I would be the first to applaud those who use the guns and bombs against sharia. Those people would be the real heros, not people like me who sit behind a computer screen and tell the rest of America how far we are falling.
But it would be a wasted effort to use guns and bombs, which is why I won't do it myself. It would be wasted because officialdom is hell-bent on twisting the Constitution to their own egalitarian purposes, from the new President on down, and backward for fifteen decades.
A little domestic terrorism is only going to create domestic terrorists. Officialdom will not protect them, and they will be the losers, not the sharia Muslims.

The Free Assemblage of Metaphysical Naturalists is the SM of
The Free Assemblage of Metaphysical Naturalists LLC.
The Academy of Metaphysical Naturalism TM,
The Academy of Metaphysical Naturalism Blogger TM, and
Academy of Metaphysical Naturalism Blogger Extra TM are the educational arms of the LLC and are:

2008 by Curtis Edward Clark and Naturalist Academy Publishing ®