Sunday, April 26, 2009

RIP, Bea

Bea Arthur

(If any of the Pussycat Dolls are reading, I'd just like to point out that it really should be "Don't cha wish your girlfriend were hot like me?" Really, good grammar costs nothing.)

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Last Disappointment, Part 2

This is the second post on this book that I wanted to make, and I'm still not out of the Preface. Feser's entire thesis in this book is that he can make a logical argument for the existence of God. Which is pretty amazing considering the diversity in beliefs, rituals, and claims about the religious supernatural. So here's how he gets around that:

...I should make it clear at the outset that this is not a defense of an amorphous ecumenical something called "religion," but only and specifically of the classical theism and traditional morality of Western civilization, which, I maintain, are superior -- rationally, morally, and socio-politically superior -- to absolutely every alternative on offer."

The amount of sheer arrogance in that statement is mind-boggling. Realize that when Feser is talking about the "classical theism of Western civilization", he's basically talking about conservative Christianity. Also realize that Feser bases his book almost entirely on two things: Platonic ideals and the Arisotelian final cause. The two are entirely unconnected.

Feser's argument is basically that you can logically prove God exists and that he is a being of pure Being. I may or may not deal with the absurdity of that statement in a later post, if I get around to it. But nothing in Feser's claim is exclusive to Jehovah. It applies to YHWH to about the same degree as Vishnu. But Feser disregards all the other possibilities out of hand because they're not Western enough. Ooooh, scary foreign philosophies.

It's also an unfair statement because the God in Feser's logical argument isn't the God of Western Civilization, i.e. Christianity. There really isn't a religion in the world that says God is a being of pure Being and stops there. No, they all carry the baggage of specific supernatural claims with them. God is triune, transubstaniation, demonic possession, an angel that wields a sword of fire that turns every which way. You can't have just a vague, hand-waving claim about God that you say proves how superior "Western civilization" is without also claiming all the supernatural baggage that comes with the dominant religion of Western Civ.

In other words Ed, Quetzalcoatl called while you were out and, man, is he ever pissed.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Be specific!

I don't normally care for Andrew Sullivan, but he makes a good point about today's faux-grassroots teabagging parties:

But the substantive critique must remain the primary one. Protesting government spending is meaningless unless you say what you'd cut.

If you favor no bailouts, then say so. If you want to see the banking system collapse, then say so. If you think the recession demands no fiscal stimulus, then say so. If you favor big cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, social security and defense, then say so. I keep waiting for Reynolds to tell us what these protests are for; and he can only spin what they they are against.

All protests against spending that do not tell us how to reduce it are fatuous pieces of theater, not constructive acts of politics. And until the right is able to make a constructive and specific argument about how they intend to reduce spending and debt and borrowing, they deserve to be dismissed as performance artists in a desperate search for coherence in an age that has left them bewilderingly behind.