For a while, like Queen Victoria, we were not amused.
However, we found these:
å A Little Taste of Heaven
å Cartoons attacking Creationism
å Funny Ads
å God's Vacation
å Medieval Tech Support
å The Bathing Suit
Posted by: Zeno in comment 61 on Trolling faith-heads: your efforts here are futile
The archangel Gabriel tells God he's concerned:
"You've been working pretty hard, Lord, creating stuff and running the universe and all that. You deserve some time off."
"Well, Gabe, I did rest on the seventh day, you know."
"Sure, Lord, but that was a long time ago. Why don't you knock off for a couple of weeks, go somewhere quiet, and just relax?"
"Anyplace in particular you recommend, Gabe?"
"I'd suggest one of those outlying planets where not much ever happens. How about a vacation on Earth?"
"For Christ's sake, Gabe, don't you remember? I took my last vacation there! It's a pest-hole of gossipy small-minded provincials, even if I do say so myself. I started out having a great time. Met this cute little Jewish girl, had a bit of a fling, but it's two thousand years later and they're still talking about it!"
"Hello, Dorjee? It's Karma!"
"Karma, where in hell have you been? I've been worried sick."
"I'm really sorry, Dorjee, but I had a devil of a time getting to a phone."
"Well, never mind, Karma, tell me, what's it really like?"
"So I'll tell ya'. First of all, I get a good night's sleep–11, 12 hours. I get up at sunrise, I stretch a little, I perform my ablutions, I take a walk, I eat a good breakfast. After breakfast, I relax a little, I take a constitutional, I admire the scenery–before you know it, it's time for lunch. Lunch is delicious, but very filling, so after lunch I take a little nap. I get up refreshed, I wander down to the lake, I take a little dip, I have a little sex, and–before you know it–it's time for dinner. I have a little dinner, I take a little stroll, I enjoy the sunset, and then I sleep twelve hours.""Karma, Karma, it sounds like Miami. It sure don't sound like heaven."
"But how do I know that there is not something different altogether from the objects I have now enumerated, of which it is impossible to entertain the slightest doubt? Is there not a God, or some being, by whatever name I may designate him, who causes these thoughts to arise in my mind ? But why suppose such a being, for it may be I myself am capable of producing them? Am I, then, at least not something? But I before denied that I possessed senses or a body; I hesitate, however, for what follows from that? Am I so dependent on the body and the senses that without these I cannot exist? But I had the persuasion that there was absolutely nothing in the world, that there was no sky and no earth, neither minds nor bodies; was I not, therefore, at the same time, persuaded that I did not exist? Far from it; I assuredly existed, since I was persuaded. But there is I know not what being, who is possessed at once of the highest power and the deepest cunning, who is constantly employing all his ingenuity in deceiving me. Doubtless, then, I exist, since I am deceived; and, let him deceive me as he may, he can never bring it about that I am nothing, so long as I shall be conscious that I am something. So that it must, in fine, be maintained, all things being maturely and carefully considered, that this proposition (pronunciatum) I am, I exist, is necessarily true each time it is expressed by me, or conceived in my mind."[L][ F][M2]
Descartes revitalized philosophy by his rejection of the Aristotelian and Scholastic traditions of the "schoolmen".
Descartes, in Discourse on Method and Meditation, claimed to have proved the existence of God.
In brief, Descartes’ argument runs as follows. Descartes first claimed* to have discarded all received information:
• My senses may mislead me, and I may have been deceived by a malignant demon.
So, I can only be certain of the content of my consciousness, and thus know that I exist as a thinking being – cogito ergo sum.
• I comprehend the nature of corporeal objects – a ball of wax – more fully with my intellect than with my senses. Concerning my clear and distinct ideas, I could have no assurance of the truth of my perceptions if any proved to be false.
So, as a general rule all that is clearly and distinctly apprehended (conceived) is true.
• I could be deceived about the truths of arithmetic and geometric objects, but my idea of God does not include His being a deceiver.
So, God is not a deceiver.
• Assuming that ideas conform to external things is the commonest error of judgment. Some such ideas are innate, others adventitious, and others factitious. Considering ideas as images, I note great degrees of diversity. Ideas that represent substances have more objective reality (content concerning finite substances) than those that represent modes or accidents. The idea by which I conceive a God has more objective reality than those ideas by which finite substances are represented.
Conclusion: God exists. God exists according to the preceding arguments, and because: It is manifest by the natural light [innate wisdom] that there must be as much reality in cause as effect, both for real objects and for ideas with objective reality. My imperfect, finite self could not have originated the idea of a perfect, infinite God, nor could the idea of God have come from nothing. My idea of the infinite is a true idea and not a negation of the finite.
• I did not bring myself into existence because I am not God and do not possess God’s perfection. A different God could not have created me because only one such God can exist according to my concept of God. My parents did not produce me as a thinking being, they do not conserve me from one of an infinity of independent instants into the next. God did not create me in his own image (counter to atheist claims), and I cannot complain that God allows me to be mistaken.
Conclusion: I could not have come to exist, nor be conserved in that existence except by the agency of God.
The most obvious difficulty with Descartes’ argument lies in its fatal circularity. However, problems with unacceptability of premises strike the reader before Descartes begs the question in his conclusion.
One of the most glaring errors in Descartes' argument lies in the following premise, "My imperfect, finite self could not have originated the idea of a perfect, infinite God, nor could the idea of God have come from nothing. My idea of the infinite is a true idea and not a negation of the finite."
The idea of a perfect, infinite God predates Descartes by thousands of years since the Christian God is actually the Jehovah (Yahweh) of Judaism. So, pious, Jesuit-educated Descartes clearly must have obtained this idea through Christian teachings. He conveniently*, and dishonestly, ignored this obvious fact for the sake of his highly contrived and ultimately ineffectual argument.
Descartes quickly and unknowingly refutes his own argument when he states, “But if I desire to think of a chiliagon, I indeed rightly conceive that it is a figure of a thousand sides, as easily as I conceive that a triangle is a figure composed of only three sides; but I cannot imagine the thousand sides of a chiliagon as I do the three sides of of a triangle, nor, so to speak, view them as present [with the eyes of my mind].”
In essence, Descartes tries–and fails–to prove that the subject of an idea has reality outside the idea.
* Descartes failed to discard the inculcated notion of God. To do so would obviously have defeated the purpose of his argument. Considering the religio-political climate in which Descartes lived, his bias is understandable.
Descartes’ primary objectives in Meditations were to argue for the existence of God and for the possibility of the soul’s immortality. In The Ethics, Spinoza intended that his arguments correct what he perceived as the main difficulties in Descartes’ philosophy – the potential paradox of infinite division of finite dimension, the conceptualization of God, the mind-body problem, and the question of free will.
It is worth first noting that Descartes and Spinoza held different views of God. For Descartes, God is both his creator and the creator of his supposedly innate idea of God. For Spinoza, God is not his creator, but instead equates to the totality of Nature. Spinoza views God/Nature’s essence as existence, and God/Nature as a single substance with two basic attributes – substance and thought. Spinoza proposes that God/Nature’s attributes generate an infinite number of existent or potentially existent components, including human minds and bodies.
Descartes expanded on the Cogito argument, “Thinking is another attribute of the soul; and here I discover what properly belongs to myself. This alone is inseparable from me. I am—I exist: this is certain.” Descartes claims that the essence of his individuality lies in his soul, his conscious mind, and not in his body, “I am not the assemblage of members called the human body.”
Descartes invested in two distortions for the sake of his argument–that ideas are more clear than sensations, and that the mind and body are distinct. Descartes identifies the pineal gland as the site of the inexplicable interaction between mind and body–he probably chose the pineal because it sits at the base of the brain.
Descartes’ mind-body dualism enabled him to claim both that God (author of Descartes’ innate idea of God) exists and that the soul persists after the death of the body. He claimed that mind and body could exist separately, but that the mind was tethered to the body during the body’s lifetime—convenient!
Spinoza responded to Cartesian mind-body dualism by countering that the mind knows of its own existence only through the body, “The human mind has no knowledge of the body, and does not know it to exist, save through the ideas of the modifications whereby the body is affected.” That is, the mind perceives the body through sensations that originate in the body. In essence, Spinoza is claiming that the mind perceives the body only through changes in the body, and we perceive external objects through their impacts upon our sensory organs – sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, and motion.
To Spinoza then, thought is simply a modification of the body. In a sense, he was sufficiently correct for a reawakening of interest in his ideas amongst those currently ‘meditating’ on how the brain constructs consciousness through its physiological processes. (Neurologist Antonio Damasio is author of Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain)Other : Princess Elisabeth and the Problem of Mind-Body Interaction .