# Rationalism and religion

by Narkissos 72 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

oops

• ##### myauntfanny

and oops again, sorry, I don't know how that happened.

• ##### myauntfanny

Okay, trying again.

Terry

The __method__reason employs is LOGIC--and logic is the art of NON-CONTRADICTORY measurement.

Maybe you could define it that way, but I studied logic while doing my maths degree, and the idea of non-contradictory measurement only really applies to maths. If you get a contradictory result in a maths problem, then your premise is wrong or your deductive process is wrong, and you know it. When applied to words and ideas, however, you can't pin them down to start with, nor anywhere in the process, nor measure the outcome. How do you measure an idea?

Also, 1=1, but words have infinite definitions and nuances, one for each person really, although we struggle and struggle to match them so we can understand each other. And, as Descartes pointed out, ideas can change in midstream, without you even noticing it. Because of this, I do not believe that logic is the final answer to giving us reality. It is merely a tool, a very useful one, but not infallible because the users are not infallible.

Logic is also limited because it is never a closed system. This has been mathematically proven, and what it means is that logic cannot, logically, ever give us reality. Whatever we establish logically is established within an incomplete logical system. It is all provisional, and when the logical system expands, some things will always be found to have been contradictory in the larger system that were non-contradictory in the small system, and vice versa. Flatland showed this beautifully.

acquiring knowledge. The rejection of reason leads to men acting REGARDLESS of the facts of reality.

Different people have different perceptions, and logic cannot make up that shortfall. We don't have the facts of reality, and we never will. The FACTS that are provided by scientists still stem, originally, from perceptions of scientists, who are people. Behind those perceptions are also assumptions. Scientific logic is as inherently limited and vulnerable to invalid premises as anyone else's, because of the nature of both logic and human nature.

BELIEF is blind acceptance of propositions without regard to evidence.

It's not at all clear to me what belief is, and what is the relationship between knowledge and belief. Yet what I see in believers is that they often believe based on evidence, but it is the evidence of their own experiences and perceptions and feelings. I think it is rather disrespectful to invalidate this as any kind of evidence. Isn't it enough to say that this is not good enough evidence for you to base your own beliefs on?

Faith, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel. [Ambrose Bierce, 1911]

LOGIC, n. The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human misunderstanding. (Ambrose Bierce)

• ##### Narkissos

Terry:

They are both mystics!

Sure. Except Kant! Laying an epistemological foundation for bourgeois religion and ethics is not exactly mysticism IMO. But I agree there is mysticism in Nietzsche's atheism.

"Religion and mysticism" might be an interesting subthread...

Neitzche gave us Hitler.

Come on. Ever read Nietzsche? Heard him scoffing at antisemites and German nationalists?

Or perhaps you mean Elisabeth Nietzsche...

• ##### Narkissos

SNG and Euphemism:

Thanks for your judicious remarks and corrections. Shortly after sending my first post I realized I should have made a better distinction between rationality and rationalism -- but it was already too late for editing.

I agree with both of you that the JW's rationality is flawed in many ways, as much as their rationalism (in the weaker sense of lip commitment to rationality within their presuppositions) is fervent.

• ##### Terry

Terry:

They are both mystics!

Sure. Except Kant! Laying an epistemological foundation for bourgeois religion and ethics is not exactly mysticism IMO. But I agree there is mysticism in Nietzsche's atheism.

"Religion and mysticism" might be an interesting subthread...

Neitzche gave us Hitler.

Come on. Ever read Nietzsche? Heard him scoffing at antisemites and German nationalists?

Or perhaps you mean Elisabeth Nietzsche...

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Kant did his best to destroy confidence in man's ability to know anything by means of sensory perception. He replaced data with duty. Duty to god and man is, of course, a matter of who is barking out the duties to whom. This gives us the religious elite in charge of everything since it is they who love to tell us what our duties are. If this isn't Mysticism, what is?

Nietzsche gave us the WILL TO POWER and the SUPERMAN who has the right and the duty to change the world by virtue of his superiority. The SUPERMAN must be a law unto himself beyond authority and religion. A generation of downtrodden German nationals lapped it up and Hitler found his audience. Nietzche admonished the superior to use force on the inferior and that is what Hitler was able to do.

When the "right" (i.e.dangerous) Philosophy meets a people hungry for it the door is opened for them to do what they are longing to do. The Philosophy (or religion) is just the pretext for what follows.

Kant and Nietzche have a lot to answer for.

Without Nietzsche you would have no Post-Modernism, no derrida, no foucault, no camus, no existentialism of any kind, no Heidegger either because Nietzsche singlehandedly ended Western Metaphysics, no wittgenstien, no really anybody who followed him...That's why he's still taught, that's why he's important; practically every philosopher who followed him up has an essay about him . Look it up. Only PLATO influenced western philosophy more.

• ##### Narkissos

Terry,

Kant did his best to destroy confidence in man's ability to know anything by means of sensory perception. He replaced data with duty. Duty to god and man is, of course, a matter of who is barking out the duties to whom. This gives us the religious elite in charge of everything since it is they who love to tell us what our duties are. If this isn't Mysticism, what is?

Kant's "religion" rests in the background of his epistemological field, as a necessary (in his eyes) transcendental limit to it. The same goes for Descartes, for instance. That makes them metaphysical thinkers (among the last ones of the kind). Not mystics (or you have a far too broad definition of this word).

Nietzsche gave us the WILL TO POWER and the SUPERMAN who has the right and the duty to change the world by virtue of his superiority.

So I was right: it was Elisabeth. Try a search on Der Wille zur Macht someday.

Without Nietzsche you would have no Post-Modernism, no derrida, no foucault, no camus, no existentialism of any kind, no Heidegger either because Nietzsche singlehandedly ended Western Metaphysics, no wittgenstien, no really anybody who followed him...That's why he's still taught, that's why he's important; practically every philosopher who followed him up has an essay about him . Look it up. Only PLATO influenced western philosophy more.

My, my, all the people I love...

1. The kind of "objective thinking" you advocate was built upon the scientist postulate (myth) of a "universal observer", which according to me is nothing but an avatar of the metaphysical "God". How long do you think this "universal observer" can survive the "death of God"? Or, how long do you think "objective thinking" can survive the death of both?

2. You repeatedly suggested that your rationalistic view of reality is frightening to the mystic mind. That is certainly true for some people. But has it ever occurred to you that it might as well be just boring? Making up too shallow, or too narrow a "reality" where at least some people don't feel like living?

It's pretty obvious that we deeply disagree, and there is no harm in that. But it may be useful to both of us to understand how and why we disagree.

• ##### myauntfanny
But has it ever occurred to you that it might as well be just boring? Making up too shallow, or too narrow a "reality" where at least some people don't feel like living?

That's what I think. Fear isn't the problem, or anyway for me neither religion nor atheism solve the problem of fear. I was just as scared about the existential issues the whole time I was an atheist. After all, the idea of just ending, of going to hell, of living forever in a perfect heaven, and of coming back over and over, are all equally anxiety provoking if you think about any of them too long. But I found it so boring and empty being a skeptic and restricting myself only to what could be scientifically proven. No challenge, no excitement, no surprise. The only real pleasure in it for me was feeling right all the time, and that palls after 20 years.

Myauntfanny,

• ##### LittleToe

I'm really enjoying your exchange, guys.

It looks like I have lots more reading to do. Boy am I glad I don't have to worry about the "big A", so I can enjoy the process.
It's just as well, as I already have a pile to get through!