Monday, January 09, 2012

Good Answer!

So, there's a blogger I read who occasionally gets into very deep teleological waters. This suits his deeply-held religious beliefs very well; that's not what this posting is about and I'm not going to argue with you about Who or If Anybody is flyin' this thing, let alone if there is a Destination to it all.

Not gonna argue with him, either, but I couldn't resist snarking along the general lines of, "You can't eat it, heat with it or ride it to market, so what's the point?" This is a tiny corner of the general scientific argument against teleological explanations of natural phenomena, "because whether they are true or false is argued to be beyond the ability of human perception and understanding to judge."

If you look at that long enough, though, it will dawn in a delightfully Gödelian spiral that it is also beyond human perception and understanding to know the truth or falsity of that statement. (And so on).

So, as I asked, why bother to defend (or, for that matter, attack) teleology?

His reply was not a stern lecture on philosophy or the weight of history, not an argument from utility (and I've observed him do that quite brilliantly). Nope, simply this:

Hey, it's the Internet! Why not?

Good answer!

It doesn't sidestep or confront unknowableness; it subverts it. There may, in fact, be a higher purpose; maybe he was put here present the argument, to have the discussion...or it may be an end in and of itself.... Or maybe it just happened.

I dunno. How could I?

This reminds me -- the Hofstadter's Law T-shirts are still running way behind schedule. Really thought we'd planned for that.


karrde said...

Gotta love Gödel...

You're right, why not?

Tam said...

Why not indeed?

There is a certain subset of people who finds nothing odd about the fact that Tim Tebow hits his knees at the end of the game and thanks the almighty Creator of the universe for taking Denver by six over the Steelers.

Who knew God had an office football pool?

Bubblehead Les. said...

Somewhere in the Middle East:

"Momma, why do I have to where a Burqa?"
"Because Your Father said so."
"Why did Daddy say so?"
"Because the Imam said so."
"Why did the Imam say so?"
"Because the Koran said so."
"Why does the Koran say so?"
"Because the Prophet who wrote it said so."
"Why did the Prophet say so?"
"Because Allah said so."
"Can you show me in the Koran where Allah said so, Momma?"
"No daughter, I can't."
"Why not, Momma?"
"Because I can't read, Daughter.
"Why can't you read, Momma?"
"Because the Imam said so, daughter. Now get dressed and Obey Allah."

Meanwhile, in a bungalow in the Broad Ripple neighborhood of Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. ...

Drang said...

Stop counting! Stop counting now!

Roberta X said...

But there's only 8 billion, nine hundred and ninety-nine million to go!

Dave H said...

"Who knew God had an office football pool?"

So why did He let the Bills beat Denver this year? A lesson in humility, perhaps?

jed said...

Well, if you enjoy forays into the world of philosophy, you might like The Splintered Mind. Or, did I get that link from you in the 1st place?

> Gotta love Gödel...

And Escher, and Bach.

You've probably read The Mind's I. If not, it's worth it.

Drang said...

I started to type "Stop counting names, but I figured if anyone was going to get it, it would be you...

Tam said...

"So why did He let the Bills beat Denver this year? A lesson in humility, perhaps?"

He's gotta let St. Peter and Gabriel win every now and again, or they'll stop betting.