2009-03-07 17:46:21 ET

I'm not getting any younger. I know because I look at even the college kids, specifically freshman and sophomores, and think of them as 'very young.' I realize also that as I grow older I become less and less idealistic in many respects. I will try to convey my feelings on this in the hopes that those of you younger than I carry the attitude that Socrates once held towards Cephalus, though I be not nearly as aged as Polemarchus' father, when he said:

"There is nothing which for my part I like better, Cephalus, than conversing with aged men; for I regard them as travellers who have gone a journey which I too may have to go, and of whom I ought to enquire, whether the way is smooth and easy, or rugged and difficult."

I once believed that what my peers and I did, listened to, watched, read, and experienced were outside the norm. That we had escaped the brainwashing effects of pop culture we so ardently believed in. We knew, even then, that stores like 'Hot Topic' were really our archenemies in disguise. Damn that Abercrombie. We would buy poorly made foreign films and underground productions, and then pronounce them superior to what we called 'cheap Hollywood crap'. I bought records at small local record stores, along with patches and rolling papers and lighters and so much other shit I've lost over the years. I made my own bondage pants and skanked the night away to no-name punk bands playing local shows.

Now, being older, I care less and less about those kind of things. I find myself more concerned about my family, my career, my future. I joined the military, the epitome of everything I once stood against, to better support my wife and provide for her something closer to the life I feel she deserves. While I will still not relinquish my ultimate goal of becoming a Philosophy professor, I do it at a different angle, considering more and more ideas such as salary, moving my family, and the possibility of tenure.

The only thing I find myself regretting about getting older is this. When I was young I was much closer to God. I've drifted further and further away from my faith. However, in being removed from Christ I've been able to consider such things more rationally and find that I still truly believe and, thanks largely to Dr. Plantinga, am finding God again.

It is a long and strange road that this life takes us down. I suppose all I'm really saying is to pay attention to those older than us. I really ought to ask my own elders the same questions which Socrates posed. Until then, however, I suppose I will continue to press on in life, finding myself new and new again in every new moment.

2009-02-28 23:32:18 ET

While in London I bought a package of pipe tobacco. I've now smoked some and it is good. A little spicy by my scale, but still good. On the other hand, I haven't smoked in several months and now have a slight headache. Oh well.

Science and Religion
2009-02-27 07:19:44 ET

In order to believe something, particularly something universal, it takes faith. The scientific method works something like this. If we perform a controlled action a great many times and have gotten the same results every time, then we can make the assumption that no matter how many times we repeat the experiement it will turn out the same.

Lets say that I make the hypothesis that that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. I test this theory, and others test this theory over and over again. Say we test it a hundred thousand times. My hypothesis has always held true. However, I cannot, nor can anyone or all of sentient life combined make the claim to have witnessed every action ever made, being made, or ever will be made. We need a certain degree of faith in order to believe that this theory is true. This is also explained in The Philosophers Toolkit: A Compendium of Philosophical Concepts and Methods by Julian Baggini and Peter S. Fosl in the chapter in which they discuss logic and reasoning methods.

Religion, by definition, also requires faith. It requires faith because, again, it is defined by the action of belief in something. Certainly a stronger, more devout faith is required, but this is still a common link between Religion and Science.

Science can then be equated to a Religion because it requires faith. Faith in the system and faith in the results and faith in the experts who tell us what it is that Science and its scientific method deem to be true.

Consider for a moment this, from Lectures on the Philosopy of Religion by Georg Wilhem Friedrich Hegel:

"We know that in religion we withdraw ourselves from what is temporal, and that religion is for our consciousness that region in which all the enigmas of the world are solved, all the contradictions of deeper-reaching thought have their meaning unveiled. . . the region of eternal truth, of eternal rest, of eternal peace."

Now, compare that with this excerpt from Science and Hypothesis by Henri Poincare:

"Experiment is the sole source of truth. It alone can teach us something new; it alone can give us certainty."

Now, it seems to me that the attributes given to religion by Hegel and the those given to experiment, and science by way of experiment, by Poincare are awfully similar. That thing that provides us with truth. Truth that can only be believed through faith, in any case.

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