Godless Theologians (The Mystery Of Philosophy) Part 1.
For psychological reasons I will refer to philosophers as Godless Theologians.
An old farmer and a young godless theologian are walking across the fields towards a town. On all sides as far as can be seen the land is unfenced. They come across some cow manure. Still fresh but hardened around the rim.
This is the cause of some excitement. But how can they be sure that it is in fact an example of cow manure?
They feel it. They take a bite out of it. They smell it. They climb up in a tree and see if it looks like cow manure from that angle.
Perhaps it really is an example of cow manure says the godless theologian, struggling to work back through various premises to find a cutely worded argument.
“Lucky we didn’t stand in it.” says the farmer. In this story they were indeed lucky they didn’t stand in it……
The godless theologian now faces a problem. Since bivalent deductive logic leads to the infinite regress of premises he must find a way to dogmatically section off the regress. Or if he wants to hide the nature of what he is doing he might write a massive book to convince everyone he has worked out the conclusion he wants by bivalent deductive logic.
But everyone knows that this is futile. Since we haven’t even proved that reality isn’t imaginary through this largely worthless methodology.
The godless theologian is composing words and sentences of his treatise proving the momentous event of the two of them finding the cow manure. He is working backwards so that he can talk conversationally around the subject; nudging definitions here and there, so that the last string of premises leading up to his eventual conclusion will sound as ‘syllogistic’ as possible.
The central problem with the way godless theology (that is to say “Philosophy’) has developed is that the godless theologians have confused bivalent deductive exactitude with rightful certitude.
Rightful certitude is not bivalent deductive exactitude. Bivalent deductive exactitude cannot lead to rightful certitude. Rightful certitude can be had without bivalent deductive exactitude. The two things are not related..
Consider the farmer and the godless theologian. Do you feel they have authentic rightful certitude as to the continuing, or at least historical, status of the object that they had taken to be cow manure?
If so from whence did they get such certitude? Surely they are unrightfully overconfident? Surely they brazenly or naievely ignore the works of the Bishop Berkeley and the Scotsman Hume.
In this world we get rightful certitude, not from tendentiously deducing it, but from one source and one source only.
That source is CONVERGENCE.
This cannot be proved by deductive bivalent logic but fear not. Since bivalent deductive logic has not been able to prove anything at all it cannot be the standard by which we achieve certitude.
Godless Theologians: (The Mystery Of Philosophy) Part II
As soon as the farmer and the godless theologian make it into town they do what every good citizen would do and they alert the media. News of the excitinig discovery whips around the small built-up village by word of mouth. Within a short time they are being carried on the shoulders of enthusiastic people past cheering crowds. Young Mothers hold their babies up to get a look at the new heroes above the applause…….
But in all the excitement the young godless theologian hasn’t had the time to think and put pen to paper. So he hasn’t gotten his bivalent deductive arguments sorted.
The godless theologian has a guilty secret. He is a master of taking inductive arguments and labouriously reworking them into very convincing-looking faux-deductive ones. He knows its a fraud of course.
He uses reams of paper in order to get this done and when anyone looks like they might find out what he’s up to he is in a panic. He spends a very long time ripping up his workings-out into very small shreds of paper before burning them.
In the story is there anything that the Godless Theologian can do to prove further that this was cow manure?
As the crowd carries him on their shoulder and the young single women ( and the others too) eye him lustily, knowing that the press conference will soon be upon him, he is busily trying to get some convincing bivalent deductive argumentation together.
But if he writes a whole book as large as Norman Mailers ‘Ancient Evenings’ can this do anything to increase the level of rightful certitude of the farmer, the Godless Theologian himself, and of public opinion as to whether it was indeed cow manure they found?
I don’t think it can. I think bi-valent deductive exactitude has been wrongfully confused with rightfull certitude and that this has set up a viscious circle in philosophy. Where those who wish to do the right thing have been led down the wrong path and have been made to look foolish. And wherein arguments multiply like weeds. And wherein incorrigible nihilists are made to look good and philisophically with-it.
LETS PUT A FEW BELIEFS THROUGH A BRIEF CONVERGENCE TEST. And lets see how they pan out.
Evolution: Without convergence you would have nothing. But we can have some rightful certitude about it. Though we cannot have rightful certitude about excluding some alien intervention (ie intelligent design) somewhere along the line. We cannot really have much confidence in any VIEW of evolution..
The reason we can have some confidence in the general thrust of evolution is that evidence for it converges from all sides and all angles. Any one thing on its own and you would have next to nothing.
The idea that the Universe is expanding and accelerating in its expansion:
It fails the convergence test. We can have scant rightfull certitude about this since the theory leans on the theory of red shift almost exclusively. What they ought to do is map out all the stars that they can get independent evidence for before they jump to the conclusion of how far that star is away and how fast it is moving. This is a very sloppy effort from those science workers.
The existence of the historical Jesus:
At first blush this is open to question. Since outside the movement there is only Josephus as an independent source. I would say we would have near certitude but not total certitude. However this is one case where recognising that convergence is the only source and ultimate test of rightful certitude could inspire some effort to clear up all doubt. Or to conclude that some doubt will likely always remain.