Saturday, September 16, 2006

Miscellaneous Musings on Reason and Logic Revisited, Pope Benedict XVI, and Islam

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Miscellaneous Midnight Musings on Reason, Logic, Consistency, and the Importance of Scholastic and Ethical Integrity in Public Disputation

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Miscellaneous Musings:
(On the 9/11 Fifth Anniversary, The Importance of Consistency, and the November Elections)

Just a few quick musings on some subjects in brief...

On the Fifth Anniversary of 9/11

It seems appropriate on anniversary days of major events in history to look back and reflect upon what one was doing on that day or on how that day changed one's life, etc. I remember receiving a phone call where the person on the other line said "how are you doing on this awful, awful morning???" My response was "why is it such an awful morning???" and they said "turn on your TV." I did and thought I was in the midst of a movie or something: it all seemed surreal at the time.

September 11, 2001 was almost three months (eighty-six days to be exact) after my father's passing and a mere seventeen days after his older brother passed on (may they rest in peace). I do not want to go into the whole litany of things I have experienced in this area the past six years but suffice to say, this issue did not resonate with me as firmly as it did with probably most people for some time. It also took time for me to consider all the factors involved in the matrix of sorts and come without contradiction to the views I embodied in early 2003 which are substantially the same as they are now. The invasion of Afghanistan was a slam dunk obviously, the Iraq military involvement took more effort to work through the wrinkles of{1} the problems with memory loss and a degree of cognitive impairment{2} at the time did not help either.{3} But work through them I did fortunately.

On the anniversary, I thought of it a bit on and off while working an extralong day. But I can definitely see some differences in my outlook of sorts from five years ago -one of which I will note here. In looking back now, I recognize to some extent a greater cynicism on my part with a lot of these matters. For a long time it was anger but now it is cynicism -mostly at those who do not bother to take even a moment to rationally consider the factors involved but instead have a knee-jerk reaction one way or the other. This includes not only those who react in the direction of undermining national security and other forms of sedition but also those who blindly accept anything that the Bush Administration says on these matters or otherwise take an overly jingoistic or Manifest Destiny-type outlook on these matters. I cannot say this will change in the immediate future as I value reason and logic too much to not focus on the importance of consistency of principles and the like. Which brings up another subject I want to briefly touch on so here goes...

On the Importance of Consistency

One of the reasons I emphasize the importance of consistency is because my trackrecord properly scrutinized is remarkably consistent.{4} I believe this is a necessary component of truth; ergo it gets frequent mention here and in some form or another always will.

On the November Elections

Some have opined that there will be a tidalwave of anti-Republican sentiment this November aimed as some kind of "referendum" on President Bush. Others have claimed the converse: that the Republicans will consolidate and maybe expand their holdings as the Democrats come apart at the seams. I have noted in the past on various occasions that a year is an eternity in politics. Keeping that factor in mind, it suffices to note that even two months is a long time -maybe an ice age or whatever. My gut intuition on these matters at the moment is the following:

---The Republicans will not lose the Senate. Period. They are vulnerable in the House this is true both by virtue of current circumstances as well as the traditional pattern of parties out of power gaining in the mid term elections of a two term presidency. But the Senate will hold -only 33 are up for re-election and the Democrats would have to hold serve on all their guys and pick up about ten seats or so in the Senate just to tie. (Remember, Cheney is the tiebreaker.) But ultimately I see the Republicans at the moment losing some seats in the House but holding serve. They may lose some in the Senate too but whatever happens, they will retain the Senate no matter what.

Anyway, I will probably say more in the coming days and weeks on this time-willing but what is noted above will have to suffice for now.


{1} As your host does not delete his archives unlike certain-parties-whom-shall-remain-nameless do, readers can peruse them from August 2002 through February 2003 and see the degree to which I was uncertain how I viewed what to do on the Iraq war idea. It took a while because I do not take positions on emotional whims or on transient and speculative data but instead do so on principles and information which is not controverted as much as possible. This is why I have not had to do an aboutface on the war as not a few of its initial supporters did. More could be noted but I think this suffices for the time being.

{2} The way my body handled various life traumas from 2000-2002 was a gradual cognitive breakdown of sorts: a process that started probably in late 2000 but I did not notice it until the aftermath of my father's death and funeral in June of 2001. By November of that year, it was so bad I took a four month web sabbatical and when I returned in March 2002, it had not improved much. By October of 2002, things were pretty close to back to normal but I can see not a few quite-noticeable inconsistencies in my archives from August and September of 2002 viz. post quality. (Some in early October and a bit in November too.) Nonetheless, they remain as they were posted because it was what it was and I will not pretend that things were differently out of a respect for both honesty as well as historical accuracy. Would that more people were concerned about those things but I digress.

{3} This would involve somewhat of a long story to go into and I do not want to do that at the present time.

{4} Emphasis on "properly scrutinized" as ripping bits and pieces from context is not how you properly scrutinize or examine matters. (Something I note here briefly because we live in a soundbyte society where this is unfortunately quite prevalent.)

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Points to Ponder:
(On Some Problems With Apologetics Methodology in a Nutshell)

[W]hen Catholic apologists criticize books and articles that they have not read, cite highly questionable secondary sources that they have not verified, and pontificate at great length about topics on which they have done poor and spotty research, it shows that something other than the truth has been put into the driver's seat. It is not enough to point to past work as evidence that one is capable of good research and a balanced presentation. Past goods don’t excuse present serious errors in judgment, inaccurate and inflammatory rhetoric, and discreditable research. [David J. Palm]

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