Thursday 21st of August 2014

are we there yet?

is that all there is?

"It's a mystery..."

Scoobydoo's famous line enters the world of philosophy via Roger Scruton... or vice versa.

 

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Roger Scruton has just been in Australia to defend western civilisation.  As a guest of the Institute for Public Affairs (IPA), Scruton was brought here to be a keynote speaker at the Liberty and Democracy in Western Civilisation symposia in Sydney and Melbourne. He is described on the brochures for the event as ‘the world’s greatest conservative thinker’.

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/philosopherszone/roger-scruton-defends-western-civilisation/5471268

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Roger Scruton is an old fellow— an old fart like Gus — a passed-his-used-by-date kook... No shame in that. I kick arses for fun.

But unlike Gus, Scruton chose to become encrusted with the quiet hypocrisy of traditional conservatism illusions though he would not put it this way... To me, in his own very busy way, Scruton's philosophical wingspan does not reach that of Plato nor that of Aristotle. It could not in a million years.

When he was in a debate about beauty, Scruton set a funny trap that to some extend was very naive, especially coming from a deep thinker:

 

 

"In an Intelligence Squared debate in March 2009,[17] held at the Royal Geographical Society, Scruton (seconding historian David Starkey) proposed the motion: "Britain has become indifferent to beauty" by holding an image of Botticelli's The Birth of Venus next to an image of the British supermodel Kate Moss, to demonstrate how British perceptions of beauty had declined to the "level of our crudest appetites and our basest needs".[18]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Scruton

 

 

Well, really? Indifferent?.... At the time of the debate, would you have taken home Venus or Kate? Hum, if you are sexually motivated as per a Freudian theory with a libido the size of the Eiffel Tower, taking Botticelli's Venus (possibly an Italian beauty, and certainly not English) could reveal some deviant characteristics (would not bother me, anyway) — though you may value the painting for what it's worth on the open art market and be a capitalist first — before anything else, sexually or being a beauty philosopher or perfection specialist. Who knows... It's a poor cheap philosopher's trick trying to make dumb audiences see some light into not having fantasy sex with Kate. And his experiment showed a lot of insensitivity towards a living creature: Kate...

Jonathan Dollimore writes that Scruton's Sexual Desire (1986) based a conservative sexual ethic on the Hegelian proposition that "the final end of every rational being is the building of the self," which involves recognizing the other as an end in itself. Scruton argues that the major feature of perversion is "sexual release that avoids or abolishes the other," which he sees as narcissistic and solipsistic.[31] He wrote in an essay, "Sexual morality and the liberal consensus" (1989), that homosexuality is a perversion for that reason: because the body of the homosexual's lover belongs to the same category as his own.[32] In The Guardian in 2010 Scruton stated that he had changed his views on homosexuality, and would no longer defend what he had argued in the past.[33] Mark Dooley writes that Scruton's objective is to show that sexual desire trades in "the currency of the sacred."[34]

Scruton's book Sexual Desire was described by Alan Soble as "certainly by a long way the most interesting and insightful philosophical account of sexual desire produced by analytic philosophy".[35]

 

 

Beautifully wanking, though sexual desires produced by analytical philosophy don't do it for me...

 

But, way to go mate... Go and philosophise with our CONservatives luminaries at the IPA... It's a place where religious dogma and the illusion of freedom walk hand in hand, away from a lot of plausible knowledge, especially sciences. But I am always a bit hasty for my own good... I am like a race horse, always at the gate, about to jump at the start and go full bore to end up last in the final sprint, completely puffed out... Slow down Gus...

The contrary premises here are that I don't believe in the "soul" and second that the concept of "mystery" (borrowed by Scruton) is often used like spattle to fill a gap of knowledge, like filler on a useless disintegrating brick wall. Scientists use the uncertainty principle for good reasons. It works. The Chaos theory is full of imponderables but the word "mystery" is not one of them.

One can go in circles. One can love circles —especially if we live in a jar. Flying in circle can alleviate the boredom of sitting still... And since my days on school benches studying "philosophy" I have described this artful discipline as the study of jars on a shelf that is too high to be reached. 

Philosophy — or the "understanding of life" — is the tool to manage our illusions, personal and collective. It has many levers, from religion to sciences trying to come as close as possible to make our lives relatively pleasant — should we choose to (some people prefer pain instead of contentment). 

I personally believe that most of science is closer to the truth than religion can be. Religion is bathed in arcane and spiritual "mystery" that can easily be debunked and shown as a fraudulent expression of reality. Most scientific interpretations work.

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He (Scruton) lives on a farm in rural Wiltshire, is a proud member of the Anglican Church, a monarchist, a traditionalist and a pessimist;... 

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Scruton's views are based on ragged, dimmed and often false memories of history. If we'd listen to him we'd still be building stone palaces with gargoyles... Have you ever studied gargoyles at one stage of your life?... I have... Most of them go with middle-ages stone roads with the gutter in the middle of the street, in which chamber-maids empty chamber-pots from the second floor of huddled crooked houses... Don't be fooled. The beauty and system of governments that Scruton speaks of with glee were never democratic, and most of these "beautiful" marble statues were financed with moneys stolen from the poor — or stolen from another civilisation through wars.

In his emphatic regression towards old stuff that has long been plunged into decrepitude, but restored by trusts to embalm them for heritage listings, Scruton forgets to mention the pyramids or the Greek Parthenon — or slaves.

 

the appropriation and creation of beauty...

blue mountains, sydney.

 

In the Pilbara, Western Australia, there is a small hill called Pyramid Hill... It's a Westerner's misnomer since the hill is near perfectly conical... The Aboriginal people "held great spiritual significance" about the place. One can wonder about the reasons one adopts a place on this planet to be regarded as sacred. There is beauty in nature, but the beauty is only in relation to our illusion of what beauty is or does to our perception. To a mining magnate, the illusion of Pyramid Hill would be that of taking the minerals out of the place and selling it to the Chinese... and to dedicate a small "beautifully" crafted monument to the "spirit of the place" to keep the peace within himself and with the locals...

 

Are you with me?... The picture at top is one of the Blue Mountains, near Sydney. On most days, one can see the blue vapours of eucalyptus oil down to the bottom of the valleys, about 2000 feet below and afar to the next ridges, while being impressed by the bus load for just being there...

trouble at the fountain of evolution...

 

It is fair to say that "Darwin's dangerous idea," as Daniel Dennett has described it, has caused more trouble to the ordinary conscience than just about any other scientific hypothesis.

We cannot easily reject the theory of evolution, which explains so much that we observe in the lives of plants and animals; and we cannot easily accept it either, when it comes to understanding human beings. It is not only the religious worldview that seems so precarious in the light of it. All kinds of moral aspirations, set against what we can know or surmise about our hunter-gatherer ancestors, seem to be so much wishful thinking.

Roger Scruton


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Whoa!!! Wishful thinking? We cannot easily accept the theory of evolution?

 

Sure, we can accept the "theory", because evolution does not mean a static universal gradient but a relative changing system that has natural errors and mistake in it, with very strong chemical specifications in its mechanical constructs.

Life's changes happen through accidents, through necessity, through reactivity to the environment and to some extend, especially for the human species, to the amount of "free time" away from the necessity of survival, in which one can converse and create sounds that develop into stylistic language — apart from other "unnecessary" activities such as artistic endeavours and/or extra plumage preening. For humans, stylistic interaction leaves the simple (if we can call it simple) natural evolution of survival into the development of uncertainty of purpose. There is no mystery in this  — especially if you have followed closely all the philosophical thoughts from Gus as explained in many articles on this site. Some of these are not comfortable really, they just sit there like open brain surgery. But the science works. 

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Consider, then, the dispute over gender and gender equality. Liberals do not deny that there are two biologically fixed kinds of human being - the male and the female; but they deny that there are two culturally fixed kinds of person - the masculine and the feminine. For the liberal, the division of roles, rights and duties that conservatives defend is neither decreed by nature nor endorsed by the moral law. The response of conservatives should be to defend this division of roles, rights and duties for what it is — the foundation of the most important personal relation that we have, which is the relation that binds a man and a woman in marriage.

I don't think I have ever written a sentence more politically incorrect than that one. Nevertheless, as Galileo was wise enough not to say, if you don't like it, that's your problem.


 

 

 

Roger Scruton

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Here you are. Here is moral fudge when it should be philosophical clarity. it's anti-feminism with a gummy misunderstanding of the gamut of thoughts and possibilities with a deliberate reduction of choices. For Scruton to associate himself with the courageous Galileo is a neat trick. But Scruton is no Galileo. Galileo was an observer, he understood Copernicus and was a visionary thinker.

 

Scruton is just a regressive and pessimist idealist who is lost in time and space....

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Seeing it in this way invokes what he terms cognitive dualism. When probed about how his form of dualism operates if there is no other substance than the material and the Darwinian laws that act upon it, Scruton points to what he sees as the mistake scientists and atheists alike make when they attempt to explain ideas and concepts not immediately grounded in the physical. For him, it’s simply a category mistake, but one with far-reaching consequences.

‘When it comes to the human affairs, if we try to conceptualise the world in a scientific way, we would go completely wrong. We would never be able to have a dialogue with each other. We have a different way in terms of intention, goals, meaning and relations. This is what I try to spell out in my recent work.’

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More fudge...

One of the argument used by religious intelligent design adherents is that no organ so complex as the eye could have been created by accident. A superior being had to devise such an extraordinary item. Let it be know here that the human eye is not so perfect. Many people need glasses to see, some people are blind — and these conditions are often dismissed by the religious mob as our faith being "tested" by god. Rubbish. 

As Richard Dawkins showed on a very simple little TV show called Bang Goes the Theory for young people with inquiring minds, the evolution of the eye can be scientifically explained easily. Dawkins place the evolution of a simple eye with a lens and light receptors to about 400 generations or about 100,000 years from a simple light sensitive sensor — which is peanut, time wise.

As a diver in a tropical reef, once, I had to be aware of clams... They could "see" us. Or they could sense us by our shadows.  Clams have a range of light sensors along the lip of their mantle and even without touching them, they could close up on say a hand or a foot that came too close. The big clams that are used for baptismal fonts in churches can show how big some these can grow.  

 

But here I am confused by the "dualism" of whatever. Ah yes the cognitive dualism... "the physical and the spiritual" I guess... I do not subscribe to the spiritual at all and, yet, there is a multiplicity of philosophical views to which I don't subscribe as well... As I have hopefully explained many times here, consciousness only exists in our brains because of our memory. For some people, this consciousness can start from conception onwards and I wont argue with that — as our memory is slowly built up from cells that are reactive and activated in the process, even before we are born. We also carry the genes of life itself, genes structures that are about 3.5 billions years old. That we die, is an unfortunate part of life's own construct in which evolution accidentally became one of the pay-back.

 

There is one other interesting point as well: The way some chemicals we call drugs can affect our perceptions as well as our awareness and thinking.

 

Our brains is much smaller than our butt, though I can assure you that Scruton is totally wrong when he says: "When it comes to the human affairs, if we try to conceptualise the world in a scientific way, we would go completely wrong. etc" This makes as much sense as saying that a bicycle is spiritual because it has spokes like a cross. Obviously, Scruton is bothered by evolution... His thinking and his philosophy has not been able to make sense of it. Thus he recoils into the comfort zone of traditionalism. Its a position of the unadventurous, even if he tries to claim courage by saying stupid things about sexes and their duty in the social construct. 


People like Scruton need to be exposed for — I was going to say fraudulent, fake, hypocritical philosophy — but no it's not that, they need to be exposed because they are simply wrong. 


That people like Scruton be promoted as proper "thinkers", no matter the colour of the collar, is fraudulent. 

 

Gus Leonisky

Your local soup kitchen philosopher.

 

ps from Wikipedia:

 

World Health Organization and tobacco company funding[edit]

In 2002 it emerged that Scruton had been receiving a fee of £54,000 p.a. from Japan Tobacco International (JTI) during a period when he had written about tobacco issues without declaring an interest.[56][57] He wrote articles for The Wall Street Journal in 1998 and 2000, and in 2000 wrote a 65-page pamphlet —"WHO, What, and Why: Trans-national Government, Legitimacy and the World Health Organisation"—for the Institute of Economic Affairs, a British free-market think-tank. The pamphlet criticized the World Health Organization's (WHO) campaign against smoking, arguing that transnational bodies should not seek to influence domestic legislation because they are not answerable to the electorate. He wrote that overall he was against tobacco—his own father died of emphysema after smoking for many years—but that it was an innocent pleasure.[58]

The matter became public when a letter signed by Professor Scruton's wife to Japan Tobacco International was leaked, in which they were asked to increase the payments to £66,000 p.a., in exchange for which "We would aim to place an article every two months in one or other of the WSJ (Wall Street Journal), the Times, the Telegraph, the Spectator, the Financial Times, the Economist, the Independentor the New Statesman." The failure to disclose these payments has led to criticism of a perceived conflict of interest. Scruton was later dismissed from roles with the Financial Times[59] and Wall Street Journal.[60][61][62]

 

 

no consciousness without memory...

 

 

cover science synapse

COVER A realistic, molecular-scale view of a synapse, showing a few hundred thousand proteins. The synapse organization was measured by a combination of electron microscopy, quantitative biochemistry, and super-resolution microscopy. This three-dimensional computational model now enables a quantitative understanding of synaptic processes. See page 1023.
Photo: Image: Burkhard Rammner/Rizzoli Laboratory, University of Göttingen Medical Center

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Role in memory[edit]Main article: Hebbian theory

It is widely accepted that the synapse plays a role in the formation of memory. As neurotransmitters activate receptors across the synaptic cleft, the connection between the two neurons is strengthened when both neurons are active at the same time, as a result of the receptor's signalling mechanisms. The strength of two connected neural pathways is thought to result in the storage of information, resulting in memory. This process of synaptic strengthening is known as long-term potentiation.[7]

By altering the release of neurotransmitters, plasticity of synapses can be controlled in the presynaptic cell. The postsynaptic cell can be regulated by altering the function and number of its receptors. Changes in postsynaptic signaling are most commonly associated with N-methyl-d-aspartic acid receptor (NMDAR)-dependent long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD), which are the most analyzed forms of plasticity at excitatory synapses.[8]

 

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As Gus has mentioned before, there is no consciousness without memory... Memory is of course very complex and uses many cells and interaction between cells to sustain, acquire and "store" knowledge. Consciousness (aka spirituality et al) is the Delta change of memory to which new perceptions (internal and external) are added as well as memory adjusting itself (managing) to conflicting information, past and present. For humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) this has led to the development of a powerful stylistic ability which could seem to be removed from the chemicals' reactivities but is very much part thereof, though not necessary for survival in the animalistic world, but becomes important in the newly developed social memory in which the learning of individuals memory is shaped by the relative acceptance of shared communicated memories.

 

the babble babel lingo of god...

 

“Jesus was here, in this land. He spoke Hebrew.”

Israeli’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to the Pope.

“Aramaic.”

The Pope in reply.

“He spoke Aramaic, but he knew Hebrew.”

Netanyahu in reply.

(Biblical scholars said both men were right - while Christ’s mother tongue was Aramaic, he would have known Hebrew.)


Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/whats-up-alan-jones-isnt-roger-rogerson-a-mate-20140530-zrswa.html#ixzz33LucxPl1

And most of the bible testaments were written thereafter in Greek? It's all Latin to me...

 

more scrutinising of scruton...

 

From Roger Scruton
In his first inaugural address, President Reagan announced that “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem,” and his remark struck a chord in the hearts of his conservative supporters. American conservatives, called upon to define their position, reiterate the message that there is “too much government.” The seemingly unstoppable expansion of regulations; the increasing control over what happens in the workplace, in the public square, and even in the family; the constant manufacturing of new crimes and misdemeanors, aimed at controlling how we associate and with whom; the attempts to limit First and Second Amendment rights—these developments are viewed by many conservatives with alarm. They seem to be taking America in a new direction, away from the free association of self-governing individuals envisaged by the founders, toward a society of obedient dependents, who exchange their freedom and their responsibilities for a perpetual lien on the public purse. And you only have to look at Europe to see the result.

The European countries are governed by a political class that can escape from accountability behind the closed doors of the European institutions. Those institutions deliver an unending flow of laws and regulations covering all aspects of life, from the hours of work to the rights of sexual minorities. Everywhere in the European Union a regime of political correctness makes it difficult either to maintain, or to live by, precepts that violate the state-imposed orthodoxies. Non-discrimination laws force many religious people to go against the teachings of their faith in the matters of homosexuality, public preaching, and the display of religious symbols. Activists in the European Parliament seek to impose on all states of the Union, regardless of culture, faith, or sovereignty, an unqualified right to abortion, together with forms of “sex education” calculated to prepare young people as commodities in the sexual market, rather than as responsible adults seeking commitment and love.

Do yourself a favour and don't read more at: http://www.firstthings.com/article/2014/06/the-good-of-government

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Bravo... In just a couple of paragraphs, Scruton manages to reveal his grand misunderstandings and that the foundations of his "philosophy" are precariously shoddily built on shifting sands... Government may be the problem should we live in Utopia, and I don't mean that wretched placed called Utopia in the middle of Australia where Aboriginal people have been pushed to live in squalor. In the best of the best of worlds we don't need governments... except. Except that human nature is full of false ideals, idiots and thieves. 

We cannot legislate much against idiocy nor against false ideals. False ideals are actually protected species in "the freedom of religion acts" all over the world. But we need to protect ourselves against thieves and opportunists who will often take idiots for a ride. So what and when regulations are"too much regulations"?

I agree there are sometimes regulations that are ill-worded and ill-applied, but in general these are the exceptions. So having the freedom of abortion and sex, according to Scruton, should actually be regulated by religious standards. Why not adopt Sharia law now and be done with it. Let's go and play marbles in the street while the woman is cooking, cleaning up and giving birth all at the same time. 

What of technologies? In the 18th century, where Scruton seems to still be living in bliss and pessimism at the same time, there were not items like cars, phones not planes. Horses were not regulated... or were they? I think that "governments" had a few caveats on the value of horseshit and coach relays. Someone had to collect the tax on salt.

Modern technology demands to be "regulated" to minimise the accidents and the proceeds of robbery. Without regulation, you could not wish in hell, that banks would be nice to you by the sheer good will in their hearts — or by "competition" alone. We know that "competition" between banks often means "collusion" like petrol pricing at gas stations but hey, hush...  Or that cars would be recalled because of a "fault"... The market forces, the knowledge of faults, disadvantages and advantages are subject to a powerful media that is called advertising. Should there be no regulation on advertising, say like about advertising sexual services on kids shows? I know the idiotic punter would think the "industry" would be wasting its cash on "the wrong market"... But is it a waste — or an implant into developing brains that would certainly become to grow up into well prepared customers. That's the way religious indoctrination works.

Scruton lives in a fairyland and if he does not know it, that would be tragic. Scruton's philosophy is far less a philosophy than that of my garbage collector on life. At least the garbage collector provides a service, regulated so he does not turn up a three in the morning with clangs and bangs, while Scruton's views are still decomposing in a bog, a royal bog mind you, back then, before the American revolution in which the new world order was born: the Dollar. 

And boy, does not this fellow, Mr Dollar, need some mighty regulations and a few straight-jackets...

 

urgency beckons..

urgency beckons