Friday, March 18, 2016

Hate Mail - "With religion logic goes out the window."

Well, with atheism truth is strangled, oh, so often.  Not to mention historical accuracy.  You don't get that with atheism.  Not usually.

It is especially ludicrous to make that statement because, until about the 20th century,  the realm of logic was pretty much dominated by religious believers.  And even into the 20th century and today,  religious believers are among the greatest practitioners and scholars of logic.   Going back in time, perhaps the greatest of all logicians, Kurt Gödel, was a religious believer.  He even published an ontological proof of God's existence.  Which, as such proofs go and all logic is, in the end, a matter of persuasion, not of absolute proof which, anyway, doesn't really exist outside of formal mathematics.

Although other members of the institute found the gloomy logician baffling and unapproachable, Einstein told people that he went to his office “just to have the privilege of walking home with Kurt Gödel.” Part of the reason, it seems, was that Gödel was undaunted by Einstein’s reputation and did not hesitate to challenge his ideas. As another member of the institute, the physicist Freeman Dyson, observed, “Gödel was . . . the only one of our colleagues who walked and talked on equal terms with Einstein.”

One of the things he is most famous for were his famous his incompleteness theorems which pretty much put an end to the massive project of Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead  and others, to establish an absolute logical foundation for mathematics.  And, when the atheist Russell went looking for a collaborator who was up to making the effort with him, he hooked up with his teacher, Whitehead, who was also a religious believer*. 

Obviously the atheist super-star example of a logician, Bertrand Russell, wasn't as stupid as the callow online atheists of today and most of today's atheist superstars.  But, then, today's atheism is a decadent popularization of what was current during Russell's period.  As mentioned the other day, it would inevitably have to be because it couldn't survive in the form it takes if it didn't remain mired in 19th century positivism, something else that Gödel torpedoed.  Atheism is an intellectual ruin kept alive by two things, the publicizing of the more disreputable figures among the religious and, not infrequently, the magnification and blanket assignment of guilt to people who are guilty of nothing and the TV-media based ignorance of the alleged educated class, today.   If people had an education that included the history of Western philosophy much of the idiocy spouted by online and popular atheists, today, would be known to be lies.

Going back into history and picking up on my extracts from Thomas Cahill's,  How the Irish Saved Civilization, there is the figure of Duns Scotus who is described this way in the secular Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

John Duns Scotus (1265/66–1308) was one of the most important and influential philosopher-theologians of the High Middle Ages. His brilliantly complex and nuanced thought, which earned him the nickname “the Subtle Doctor,” left a mark on discussions of such disparate topics as the semantics of religious language, the problem of universals, divine illumination, and the nature of human freedom. This essay first lays out what is known about Scotus's life and the dating of his works. It then offers an overview of some of his key positions in four main areas of philosophy: natural theology, metaphysics, the theory of knowledge, and ethics and moral psychology.

And he is merely one of scores and hundreds of great logicians and practitioners of logic who make your assertion a lie told by an idiot, fully found in slurry, clarifying nothing.  I love to be able to point out to any atheist who - generally wrongly - invokes William of Occam to, as they believe, clinch a point, that they are relying on the work of another great logician, who was also a very strictly observant Franciscan priest, one who certainly believed in God, pretty much the entire range of medieval Catholic dogma and doctrine and that St. Francis's stigmata were real and a mystical manifestation from God.  A list of such people would extend into the distant past, before Christianity and after, including today.  It would not be restricted to monotheism but the contribution of monotheists to the field are, I would guess, irreplaceable with those by believers in other religious persuasions, including that of atheists of mostly historical and cultural interest.   Buddhist systems of logic are renowned,  though I don't think they are comparable to the achievement of those in the West and the Middle East. 

So, where's your latest paper on logic published, bunky?

* See, especially the conclusion, here.

1 comment:

  1. I've stopped paying attention to people who tell me religion is the antithesis of logic.

    You can't fix stupid, and you can't educate the willfully ignorant. Good on you for trying but, honestly, pearls before swine, ya know?