Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Just a tease

I've got a biggums coming soon, but here is a quick TSTIHAD from TGWNA BFF Joe Morgan:

Joseph Feldstein (Stamford, CT): Behind Glavine, Maine, Perez, and Pelfrey who should be that 5th starter until Pedro returns?

<span class=SportsNation" height="11" width="24"> Joe Morgan: I really like Maine and I think he will be a very good pitcher. I think the Mets are going to win the East.

Honestly, if you're one of Joe Morgan's kids and you read this chat, you've got to be a little worried about the pops, right? Doesn't he sound like he's going to be forgetting where he put his teeth soon? (Correct answer: Wrapped around Frank Robinson's dick)

Anyway, I've been reading The God Delusion, and despite the fact that I'm only about 100 pages through after a couple of days, it's already beginning to adjust the way I see things (obviously not in terms of religion; more in terms of how I view people who continue to believe in things despite mountains of evidence that proves the opposite is correct). Here's another Q&A from the Morgan chat:

Muggsi (Newport, Rhode Island): Hi Joe, please answer a Tigers question for me. I'm curious about the work that Lloyd McClendon is doing with Curtis Granderson. He's not striking out as much (for now), and he seems to be a little more patient. But he always seems to be in 0-2 counts. Should this be addressed, and if so, will he become a better hitter because of it? Thanks for your response.

<span class=SportsNation" height="11" width="24"> Joe Morgan: He will be a better hitter with patience and and once he learns how to handle pitch counts. You do not want to be 0-2. I talked to him last season and he is a very smart player, and I think he will be a very good player. I think McClendon can really help him if they work together.

While this really is the perfect example of a Joe Morgan response to a question -- he doesn't actually ever answer the question, he mentions that he talked with the player at some point and has something obliquely nice to say about said player, thinks the player will be "good," and gives some unnecessary dap to a manager/coach that only Joe Morgan thinks is actually competent -- that's neither here nor there. What is important is that Joe's not alone in thinking that 0-2 counts are a product of poor pitch counts/discipline. While this certainly can be the case, I wonder if it really is?

That's a rhetorical question; I already know the answer. I'll write more about this, and other TGD-inspired perspectives, after I manage to get the other half of TGWNA the F off my couch.


Anonymous said...


I once promised you an argument for the position that believing in God is rational. As you've brought up the subject again, and as I'm back from Iceland, allow me to fulfill that promise in much the same way that Jesus will fulfill his promise to return by splitting the heavens...that last part was a joke.

First off, all this talk about whether or not God exists is pointless. That's not the central question, in my opinion, because there's no way to actually know. Shifting the rhetoric from metaphysics to epistemology, the question becomes framed like this: is it rational to believe in God and/or is it irrational to believe in God.

As a quick aside, when I use the term 'God,' I'm not referring to Jesus, Allah, Siva, or anything else. I'm not even referring to the classical notion of God as an all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful being. Rather, I'm simply referring to the being(s) who created mankind. The only attributes I can derive about this being is that (s)he's more powerful and more knowing than mankind, but (s)he's not necessarily omniscient or omnipotent. Finally, I make no claims about his/her morality. In short, I'm simply proposing that the concept God refers to a being who is more powerful and knowledgeable than us. All believers will want to push this definition much, much further, but in my opinion that would be irrational.

The argument is a two-parter. I'll save the better one for last. First, in consciousness studies, there a debate about the “Hard Problem,” which simply stated, is how does consciousness originate? Some scientists believe, incredulously in my opinion, that consciousness is merely a physical process and so they go about studying the brain hoping to make the link between physical processes and consciousness. Until they can make that link, which of course I (and numerous other scientists, philosophers, and theologians) don’t think they ever will, it’s rational to believe that consciousness is not merely yet another physical process, especially when the empirical evidence leans (if not proves) that consciousness is fundamentally different than physical processes. Awareness of a physical object and the physical object itself are two fundamentally different things, and cultures all around the world have historically recognized this by making the distinction between mind and body. Again, I’m not trying to prove that consciousness isn’t merely a physical process; I don’t have to. I’m simply suggesting that until scientists can prove otherwise, it’s rational to believe this. Of course, if consciousness doesn’t come into being through a physical process, then it must come into being through a non-physical process. So there you have the first argument: it’s rational to believe in God (as defined above) because it’s rational to believe that consciousness came into being vis-à-vis a non-physical process.

Second, I’ll accept whatever science concludes about the origins of the universe, but then I’ll ask: what caused it? At some point along the causal chain, scientists will not be able to answer this. To be more specific, what caused the Big Bang? And by the way, if fifty years from now it turns out the universe wasn’t created through the Big Bang but through some other process, my question will remain: what caused it. Getting back to the Big Bang, it seems to be that there are a few options for theorizing its origin: nothing caused it, God caused it, we don’t know caused it. I’ll simply write off that first option since it violates Logic 101. As for the third option, the one that most scientists profess, if we don’t know what caused the Big Bang, then it’s perfectly rational to believe that it was caused by a being. After all, it was either caused by a physical process or a conscious process, and since, according to option 3, we don’t know which, then it is perfectly rational to believe that a conscious being was responsible. Actually, I’d go so far as to say it’s the more rational choice, because if the Big Bang were caused by a physical process, then it’s unclear why scientists have no epistemic access to this information. Maybe they’ll invent a new mathematics for this in the future, that’s certainly a possibility, but in the meantime, believing that a conscious being powerful and knowledgeable to begin the Big Bang is a rational position to take.

There you have it, dude. A rational defense of theism.

D. Suave

St said...

Oh boy, is this good timing. For the record, Doyle, I have not spoken to Seth about this subject since our epic argument about this exact same thing last Tuesday night; in fact, I've spent most of the intervening time in a hospital, and so couldn't possibly have. But it's interesting that his first point is exactly what I was arguing -- down to the much-debated word "consciousness" -- and that his second point is similar to mine as well.


Anonymous said...

he he he...God works in mysterious ways...