Re:virus: Nothing

joe dees (
Sun, 21 Feb 1999 17:57:58 -0500

At Sun, 21 Feb 1999 14:30:58 -0500, you wrote:
>>Date: Sat, 20 Feb 1999 17:16:41 -0500
>>From: "joe dees" <>
>>Subject: Re:virus: Nothing
>>To cite is not to cower behind. Do you see farther
>>because you stand on the shoulders of those giants
>>who came before you, or cower behind those
>>shoulders and see nothing but the asses of armpits?
>As you related before, it depends entirely on how
>you use the tool of citation. You were saying
>"Not only do I hold this statement to be meaningless,
>but so does my powerful buddy Dan." My reply
>"You don't have a clue what Dan thinks."

Au Contraire; Dan has written many tomes of wisdom in an attempt to tell me exactly what it is that he thinks, and I have read the lion's share of them. I also have been philosophically trained, and have the cognitive tools with which to understand his explanations (even where I disagree with them; Jerry Fodor wins the dispute over the status of visual imagery).

>Furthermore..if he did agree with you, you would
>both be wrong and I'd be disappointed in him..
>becuase I expect someone brilliant enough to write
>the books he does to know better.

You'd be disappointed in his error any time his opinions differed from your own? Methinks your egotistical pudendum is showing here.

>You were using the citation as a shield becuase you
>know that you can't win the argument using logic
>alone. You embody my central point: logic alone
>NEVER wins an argument, because people have
>the inalienable right to ignore it. You can't avoid
>negotiation by asserting a complex of arbitrary
>rules. As our buddy Dan tells us:

You may withdraw into delusion, but when you do, you still lose; it's just you are not aware of it, but everyone who does not share your delusion is.

>[please imagine "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"
>playing in the background..softly at first, but
>building to fierce crecesendo by the end]
>"If you want to teach your children that they
>are tools of God, you had better not teach them
>that they are God's rifles, or we will have to
>stand opposed to you: your doctrine has no glory,
>no special rights, no intrinsic and inalienable merit.
>If you insist on teaching your children falsehoods---
>that the Earth is flat, that "Man" is not the product
>of evolution by natural selection---then you must
>expect, at the very least, that those of us who have
>the freedom of speech will feel free to describe
>your teachings as the spreading of falsehoods,
>and will attempt to demonstrate this to your children
>at our earliest opportunity. Our future well being---
>the well being of all of us on the planet---depends on
>the education of our descendents."
>--Dan Dennett
>_Darwin's Dangerous Idea_
>Do you think that is about religion? Look deeper!
>It's about dogmatism. It's a about algorithmic rule
>following. Dan has stood up an said:
>"Look, you don't have any special access to Truth.
>If you keep saying all these silly things then you
>should expect the rest of us to resist you every
>step of the way. And don't think violence will
>deter us..just becuase we are rational doesn't
>mean we won't do whatever it takes to preserve
>freedom of expression. Our lives and liberty
>are less important to us that the well being of
>the collective. Oh, and don't think that you have
>some special right to preserve the ways of your
>father by imposing them upon your children.
>We are all in this together, and they are our
>children, also, to love, protect, and teach as best
>we can."
>Like I said, he is one bad ass philosopher.

Check out my post about the spread of Islam in response to Prof. Tim; I said much the same thing there.

>>If everything were a koan, equally nothing would
>>be, for the very word "koan" would lose all definitive
>>power (and yes, I am "cowering behind" Merleau-Ponty's
>>criticism of Sartre's concept of absolute freedom by
>>applying its form to the content of your contention).
>Richard has already countered that argument. We are
>all human, does this make the word "human" meaningless?

Is the planet Uranus human? Are donkeys human? Is a magnolia tree, a mountain, or a river human? There are plenty of entities to contrast "human" with (in fact the overwhelming preponderance in the Universe), and that fact grants the word its meaning. I'm disappointed in you here, Reed. If you couldn't have come up with a better argument than this one you should have practiced the wiser course of forbearance.

>Things which we all share are a strength, not a weakness.
>As George Lakoff points out (and Dennett has made
>analagous arguemets) it is a direct result of our incredible
>commonality that we understand each other so well, with
>so little bandwidth to go on. We are each human, and it
>is the basis of this shared experience which is the bedrock
>of communication.

No argument here; but it's irrelevant to my assertions.

>Even so, I really liked:
>"If everything were a koan, equally nothing would be"
>I'm with you up to there.
>>If you believe in error, you will lose.
>Interesting..I see your point. That's a dangerous
>statement, though, becuase one interpretation points
>toward light and other towards darkness. It's a test
>of will you interpret me?
>I interpret it as:
>"If you don't have faith in yourself, then you can't

No. If you have a faith in your position that is contradicted by the facts of the matter, you will still lose (though you may sail up the Egyptian River of Denial about it).

>>whether or not you have the necessary cognitive abilities to
>>realize it. Others will realize it for you.
>Good. So very true. Feedback is critical to each of us. To be
>isolated from the collective is the road to madness.
>>If A, B or C and if ~A and ~B, then C.
>That's an assertion, not a proof. It is
>inappropriate to say QED unless you establish
>a statement based on a set of premises. To do
>that, you have to take a step back and show
>the premises:
>If A then ~B
>If B then ~A
>If C then ~A, ~B
>If A then ~C
>If B then ~C
>Those are the premises.
>I assert:
>If ~A, ~B then either C or ~C
>Look, this abstract shit is boring me. I do
>it at work all the time, could we talk about
>people instead?

Sure, but A v B v C, or to say it another way ~(A*B), ~(B*C), and ~(A*C), were assumed (that truth, falsehood and meaninglessness were mutually exclusive categories), and that ~D (there is no statement which is neither true nor false nor meaningless). I should have restated these in the premises, but if you disagree with them, it is up to you to provide a disproving counterexample, or admit that you can't.

>>>You do understand! That was great!
>>I have understood for quite a while now;
>>the contention is about the things you do
>>not yet understand.
>Cool. What are they?

We're discussing them as these posts proceed.

>>>The isn't over yet, is it? I still warming up.
>>Not until you submit or quit.
>"You can't win, Darth. If you strike me down,
>I shall become more powerful than you can
>possibly imagine." -Obi Wan Kenobi
> "Star Wars"
> George Lucas

"Come over to the logical side, Luke! I am your father!" (Darth vader, paraphrased)
> Reed Konsler
Joe E. Dees
Poet, Pagan, Philosopher

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