Sunday, November 19, 2006

unicorns too

* damien has more discussion about the existence of god, here. here's my position: i'm willing to acknowledge that the world isnt necessarily as we interpret it. evolution gives us a certain toolset to interpret the world around us - which may or may not be complete. probably not. damien argues that because we don't know whether or not god is hiding behind alpha centurai then maybe god exists.

yeah - maybe. unicorns too.


damien said...

damien argues that because we don't know whether or not god is hiding behind alpha centurai then maybe god exists.

I did state that but only in the context of a specific philosophic argument, and then only with qualifying remarks. I disagreed with the idea that "God is fiction" is a provable statement. I also pointed out that any religious statements from people are essentially 'private' statements, not open to independant scientific assesment, and that they may be real or fanciful. And that, accordingly, people are free to reject any such religious beliefs out of hand. That's hardly a raging support for unicorns.

Ultimately, people should believe whatever makes sense to them. I have no religious views to press on others. But each person is the sum of their experiences. I mentioned in the comments section that many people occasionally get a feeling or a question of "what's life all about?" I made the brief point that for over thirty years that feeling or question has simply not been present within me, not even for a second. Is there a philosophy or religion attached to that? No. But the effect has made me more tolerant of people who want to find some meaning in their lives by the use of religion or any other form of sincerity towards life. All I care is that people show a fundamental good faith towards themselves and others. Within this framework I don't care what they believe.

Simon said...

"There is nearby a wide steppe, and there dwells, it is told, an animal smaller than a camel, but taller than a bull. Its head is the head of a ram, and its tail is a bull’s tail. Its body is that of a mule and its hooves are like those of a bull. In the middle of its head it has a horn, thick and rouisnd, and as the horn goes higher, it narrows (to an end), until it is like a spearhead. Some of these horns grow to three or five ells, depending on the size of the animal. It thrives on the leaves of penof trees, which are excellent greenery. Whenever it sees a rider, it approaches and if the rider has a fast horse, the horse tries to escape by running fast, and if the beast overtakes them, it picks the rider out of the saddle with its horn, and tosses him in the air, and meets him with the point of the horn, and continues doing so until the rider dies. But it will not harm or hurt the horse in any way or manner.

"The locals seek it in the steppe and in the forest until they can kill it. It is done so: they climb the tall trees between which the animal passes. It requires several bowmen with poisoned arrows; and when the beast is in between them, they shoot and wound it unto its death. And indeed I have seen three big bowls shaped like Yemen seashells, that the king has, and he told me that they are made out of that animal’s horn."

Unicorn denial. Pah :-)

damien said...

I'm not following this idea Simon? Can you clarify please?

damien said...

It's ok Simon...just for a second there (and only for a second) my brain stopped working. It's up and running again.

People should really be noticing my latest 9/11 postings here and here.

And, of course, nobody has an explanation for the other commercial airliner flying around in downtown NY on 9/11.

Simon said...


I read your posts and felt them. You read twice. I see you see what I say about unicorns. A parody then. Not my words except for the last two and then an extra emotive exhalation. To explain - Luke gave me a notion in his title for the post. I wasn't trying to be funny in the bigger sense but I was in a slightly contrary way (as is my whim). I won't diss God and I won't diss Unicorns. Men (and mankind) still believe in both in large part. I always believe that the two sides of an argument are equally valid. Even if one is ultimately false. To claim that unicorns never existed is no different from arguing that Saddam never had WMD. Time moves on. Unicorns can't be seen and neither could the weapons. They died out. It doesn't mean they never existed, but on the other hand, it doesn't disprove that they didn't at some point exist in reality.

On 9-11, the fact that you can see an airliner (flying quite low) doesn't add to the 'conspiracy'. It was heading to land. All planes were called down or went where they were going ASAP. I have spent literally years following the debate (battle) between Eastman, the Webfairy, Holmgren, Desmoulins, Haupt, Hoffman, Kaminsky, hrossthjof, FONEBONE el al. All I can say is that no-one is looking at the motive. The no-planers (Vs the planehuggers) are locked in a crazy battle which verges on denial on the part of some (all?) on one side who saw what they did on their TV screens that day. Such is the emotion of 9-11.

To explain it from my perspective, from '88 to '91 I was a technician trainer in the Royal Saudi Air Force, instructing on a brand new Panavia Tornado squadron. I was there, ostensibly, as well as looking after the planes, to teach young Saudi lads what we called 'technical aeroplane english'. That is about 700 words of mechanical language. In reality they (the smart ones) spoke well in English, and all, to a man, hated America. They told us all about that, in fact sometimes they wouldn't talk about anything else. Why? For the robbery and for the hypocricy that they all felt.

They saw it coming, they wanted it to happen, indeed some of them would have given their own souls for that that happened. A few of us (Englishmen) who were there at the time saw that day coming too because we saw it in them (the Americans that were there were far too brash, they never saw anything, coming or going, at them or not).

Do not ever believe that Saudi men did not fly planes into the World Trade Center Towers. They did. Collectively even, they gave me (personal) advance notice. When it happened I wasn't surprised. I knew who did it. Before they even said the word 'Osama' on the TV. Shock? Yes. IF America doesn't change its tune, there might be a few more shocks to come. They told me that too.

Kathleen said...

Simon, I sure as hell believe you, especially since the 9/11 highjackers all entered our country through our own Embassy in Riyadh. Srely, if we were going to fight the terorists where they live, Riyadh is where we should have used force, not Baghdad. Anonymous in Imperial Hubris makes the case that Osama is one of our "assets", which to me explains why we haven't "caught" him yet. How can we have a "War President" without our favorite Boogey Man?

Simon said...


Did you ever hear about something called "Report from Iron Mountain"?

(C+P from an earlier post I did somewhere else which was cribbed from somewhere else again - I forget)

>>>This most likely goes back to 1963 and the Kennedy administration who (allegedly) commissioned a select group of analysts and scholars to evaluate the problems inherent in a post-Cold War society.

Entitled 'Report from Iron Mountain on the Possibility and Desirability of Peace', its conclusions and validity have been hotly debated since its supposedly "unauthorized" publication in 1967.

Written in cold, empirical think-tank language, the report postulates that war is the fundamental basis for all political, social, and economic unity.

The report defines the sociological implications thusly:

War, through the medium of military institutions,has uniquely served societies, throughout the course of known history, as an indispensable controller of dangerous social dissidence and destructive antisocial tendencies .... No modern political ruling group has successfully controlled its constituency after failing to sustain the continuing credibility of an external threat of war.

The war system makes the stable government of society possible. It does this essentially by providing an external necessity for a society to accept political rule .... An effective substitute for war would require "alternate enemies"...

A paranoid and fascistic national security establishment, no longer primarily focused on the "external necessity" of an outward military threat (e.g: the Soviet Union), must inevitably turn its attention towards the ever-present specter of an internal threat - the "alternate enemy."

The report states: ...the motivational function of war requires the existance of a genuinely menacing social enemy .... The "alternate enemy" must imply a more immediate, tangible and directly felt threat of destruction....

Does this ring any bells? Anyone for 'terrorism'?

damien said...

Simon, thanks for your post. I did get the ideas of your original post after my initial confusion (minor brain lapse). The God issue is a relevant one in some circles. But this is a political blog, so it's obviously better that the focus stay on that.

Re the extra plane in NY. It makes sense that the extra airliner sighted on 9/11 may have been coming in to land somewhere. I just found it odd that it was so close to the city and it didn't crop up in other accounts. Minor point: this particular plane would have not have been coming in as part of some general order for planes to land. That didn't happen till after 9.30am, as I recall. This plane was flying around NY at 9.00am. But it was probably just coming in for a local landing. Your explanation is fine. Thanks.

Also, I'm quite comfortable with the idea that Saudi hijackers were involved in 9/11, and your comments re Saudi sentiment are entirely believable. I've just never been sure about the involvement of others. The more I look at the physical evidence discrepancies at the Pentagon, the WTC towers and WTC 7, the less impressed I am with the official account.

Do not ever believe that Saudi men did not fly planes into the World Trade Center Towers. They did. Collectively even, they gave me (personal) advance notice. When it happened I wasn't surprised. I knew who did it.

That's astonishing Simon. I'd be pleased to hear more on this idea one way or another. Thanks for your thoughts.

Simon said...


I spent a long time with those that many over in the USA see as their enemies. They weren't, they were foes. There is a difference here beyond an English dictionary. That is, they are comrades of kin on opposite sides in a battle of wills. Arabs understand history and an eye-for-an-eye. Americans simply don't understand either.

Understand Kissinger's Twin Pillars policy. Initially it supported Saudi and Iran. Later Israel and Iraq. All against each other to the American advantage. It (the policy) couldn't stand still. That is (PRECISELY) why the towers fell. Who did it then? Pick four of four?>>>

The Pentagon is a different matter. As is WTC7. Not sure who did those...

lukery said...

D - apologies if that came across as misrepresenting your position. i agree with the premise that religion is fine so long as it leads to good, or is neutral, in both the individual case, and in sum.

it seems to me there are two possible reasons why people think god exists - either because they have had some chat with Her, or because they think the world is too weird not to have been created. fair enough, those discussions can be had on their merits. but that seems to me to be a different argument that maybe god exists becuase we can't prove otherwise - that argument, to me, is equivalent to the unicorn/fsm argument.

damien said...

Thanks Lukery. You cite 3 possible reasons why people think god exists - (1) either because they have had some chat with Her, (2) or because they think the world is too weird not to have been created.... maybe god exists (3) because we can't prove otherwise - that argument, to me, is equivalent to the unicorn/fsm argument.

We worked it through. We take different views on how one can deal with 'god' statements, both in terms of epistomology (the theory of what and how we can know anything) and proof theory (whether we can prove something scientifically or otherwise). I understand that your arguments (1) (2) (3) are a shorthand way of writing more nuanced and detailed ideas and the basic concepts are clear enough. While I accept your reasoning in regard to (1) and (2) I'm not convinced they're a sufficient account of what people actually do as a part of the 'god' belief phenomena. As far as (3) is concerned I would never argue that because I can't prove Collingwood is a bad football team that it must be a good one. That would be bad logic indeed. I advanced some reasoning to do with the general limitations occuring in epistomology and proof theory that I believe would make it difficult to 'prove' atheism. But we gave it a good going over. Thanks for your thoughts.

Kathleen said...

Simon, I vaguely remember Report From Iron Mountain. Thanks for reminding me. A simple Sociology 101 test can easilly demonstrate that an enemy can make a group cohese and forget their differences. Back in the early 70's I took an inter-racial, socio-ecomonically mixed group of kids on a two week camping trip in the very deeep back woods of Maine. It was an 8 mile hike to the nearest and only store with a candy bar. During the day, the kids were vicious with their name calling, the inner city blacks and the Native Americans were actually the worst, calling each other Aunt Jemima and Broken Arrow, but come nightfall, when they all knew there were huge bears behind the trees, they all held hands.

Seems especially diabolical for those in power to manufacture an enemy to maintain their own power and profit.

Simon said...


Wikipedia has RFIM as a satirical hoax. As we all know, satire is often a powerful tool because it can come across as more poignant and more genuine than reality itself actually does. The same goes for the so-called Protocols of the Elders of Zion. No-one can seem to agree whether these documents were originally genuine, or were completely fake from the very beginning, or whether they were originally genuine but then later portrayed as false because they were simply too close to the bone for some to be comfortable with.

Seems especially diabolical for those in power to manufacture an enemy to maintain their own power and profit.

Very true, but how else can they justify defending us if in reality there is no-one out there we need defending against?

Kathleen said...

Remember Studs Terkel's The Enemy Within?

The Elders of Zion and the RFIM could very well be totally true, but purposely called satire to deter people from acting against them. I'm so totally cynical these days I'm going to have to take a big break from politics in order to regain a fresh perspoective, if that's even
possible at my age. Might as well read fairy tales.