Friday, July 31, 2009


Beliefnet Community > Thread - Miscellaneous metaphysics: "As my friend and ontological poet Mary-Ella Holst wrote
Two hundred million sperm lunged forward.
I won.
Corrected version. Thanks Mary-Ella.
The poem is 'The Lottery' and appears in her book, Beyond Dreams of Rescue.

It may be hard to find but is probably in the library of a big UU church or may be available from and certainly for purchase from All Souls UU in NYC. I recommend it highly, it is as you might expect from the title, poetry by a very independent feminist and a delightful person."

Purpose in Life?

Beliefnet Community > Thread - Purpose in Life?:
When looking at life in general, many things can be attributed to giving an individual purpose in life.
"I think purpose in life really boils down to make the people who are important to you happy. It starts of course with mom, but expands to family and the larger society of which you are a part. In general, happy friends means good things happen to you which is the selfish interest in having a purpose in life.

If you are part of a religious society buying into the religion will make your friends happy. If you are not, it may be a bit harder and take a lot more empathy and consideration for your friends, but for me it is worth it. I can pick and choose which friends are important to me and act accordingly."

The legacy space is of course part and parcel of the process of making my life a place where friends will be happy. It certainly begins with myself, but selfish indulgence does not do anything for friends, so making myself and my space a better place to be in both for myself and for those sharing it seems to be all the purpose I need.

Philosophy, Science and Religion

Beliefnet Community > Thread - Epistomology issues.:

Philosophy is no more incompatible with science than it is with religion.
Agreed - but, as with religion, letting one's philosophy restrict what science one will accept as valid is not good for the science.

"It is even worse for the philosophy. As we can see here in the defense of an indefensible philosophy. Philosophy even epistemology must accommodate the knowledge of the real world if it is going to remain viable and not cause the philosopher to be a fool."

I used fool with malice aforethought. Anyone who thinks philosophers cannot be fools probably thinks that little tinhorn in the fancy dress in the overdecorated balcony has a direct line to God.

Gender Issues

Beliefnet Community > Thread - Origins Community Room: "For most of my life I have been philosophically against gender identification except for necessary things like medical treatment and sex. In evaluating an activity or the reporting of an activity I try very hard to ignore the gender of the actor. A glorious contralto is wonderful, and a bad one sets the teeth on edge and the bad ones don’t get cut any slack from me because they are male. Similarly in science. Good science is good science and bad science doesn’t get a break from me just because some male has his name on it. Even in sports, as I am not impressed with times and records, a champion is a champion based on their use of their available resources. The fact that males respond better to androgenic steroids doesn’t make them better, just bigger and stronger.

I will admit to a bias for female providers in male dominated fields like medicine and law but that is a rational bias based on the adage that for a female to succeed at all in medicine or law she must be much better than any man. I also like the tag my ex (tenure track medical school 1960’s) used to add: Fortunately this is not difficult."

Monday, July 27, 2009

15 books

Facebook | Home:
15 BooksShare Here are the rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you've read that will always stick with you. They don't have to be the greatest books you've ever read, just the ones that stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes
Elizabeth Black

"Carlin Black
books that stay with you
How do you stop at 15?
East of Eden
Grapes of Wrath
Stranger in a Strange Land
Time enough for Love
Oath of Fealty
Mote in Gods Eye
The Red Pony
Space Child's Mother Goose
The Book of J
The Jerusalem Bible
Ender's Game
The Foundation Trilogy
The Hobbit Quadrilogy
The Lensman Series
Hume's Treatise
Everything I Need to Know I learned in Kindergarten
Not Man Apart"

OMG how could I forget Sweet Thursday, Godel, Esher, and Bach, and The Star Beast.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Magic showmanship

Beliefnet Community > Thread - where is the apeman??:
After all, they [bible scribes] believed the creation was a series of magical events, and magical events aren't subject to time constraints.

"Hey, if the magician reaches into the hat and pulls out the naked lady at the beginning of the show it'll never sell. He has to build up the tension and keep teasing the audience with apples and snakes and voids and chaos, or everybody will go home feeling cheated."

The Bears win again.

Bears in the Adirondacks Defeat BearVault Food-Protection Container - "In most BearVault break-ins, Yellow-Yellow’s radio collar indicated she had been in the area. Eventually, campers began spotting her from afar rifling canisters. There have been no reports of her threatening anyone.

So last year Mr. Hogan introduced the 450, a two-pound cylinder costing about $60, and a larger version, the 500, each with a second tab. On them, a camper must press in one tab, turn the lid partway, then press the second tab to remove the lid. “We thought, ‘O.K., well, one bump didn’t work so maybe two bumps will thwart her,’ ” he said.

But Yellow-Yellow figured that lid out, too.

Last month, her achievements were noted in an article in Adirondack Explorer. And she now appears to have apprentices; campers have reported seeing other bears getting into their BearVaults."

Go Bears!

Free Will

Beliefnet Community > Thread - Why does anyone believe in G-d?:
Only you can decide what you do with your free will that God has given.

"I am not sure where my free will comes from. I suspect from one of my ancestors that decided that the savanna looked more profitable than swinging in trees. Probably one of his buddies told him that if God wanted him to be on the savanna his knuckles wouldn't scrape on the ground like that, but whatever. God still is the conservative guy that says do this it works, and there are always a few of us that use our free will to see if there might be a better way. Some of us think we have found it, and it makes sense for us. Maybe that is why God gave us free will, to find a better way. My guess is that free will came from somewhere else, but it does let us find a different way, maybe better maybe not, but it looks better to me which is why I choose it."

Friday, July 24, 2009

Pizza delivery database

Gmail - Fwd: Is this just comedy or a prediction? :

Anybody that thinks all that isn't available to a determined hacker now is living in a dream world. Most tabs are available to authorized users only, ask Kevin about security for medical records, but big ticket vendors have lots of information and are the usual target for hackers since the passwords are usually scanned from a barcode on the local machine. Although not too long ago some fake maintenance people talked their way into car dealer's business offices and stole a bunch of DMV purchase files. Think about that one.

If you don't like it cancel all your credit cards, pay cash and never have anything delivered. Use only cabs or limos cash only, (no driver's license) use personal ID not SSN for everything, and change it for each use, (make sure the list is paper and in your wallet with the cash. You will still need a checking account since anything over $10000 must be paid by check, but bank needs only ID as long as deposits are small.

We just bought a washer at Home Depot and all we needed to have it delivered, installed and haul away the old one, was home phone and credit card. (They claim they don't keep CC on file. I don't believe them.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

For High Line Visitors, Park Is a Railway Out of Manhattan -

For High Line Visitors, Park Is a Railway Out of Manhattan - "A little more than a month since its first stretch opened, the High Line is a hit, and not just with tourists but with New Yorkers who are openly relishing a place where they can reflect and relax enough to get a new perspective on Manhattan.

Despite the complaints about noise, gentrification and tour buses spewing forth their cargo, many locals have fallen so hard and fast for the park that they are acting as impromptu tour guides, eager to show off their new love interest."

I'll bet it isn't nearly as much fun as when it was trespassing to even think of walking along it. There were fewer of us, but we enjoyed the same camaraderie. On a nice day it was a great way to spend a long lunch hour.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Managing Change Management issues strategy tactics best practices

Managing Change Management issues strategy tactics best practices:
There is no limit to the good you can do if you don't care who gets the credit.
General George C. Marshall

"There’s another level to this idea, one much more difficult to embrace. Assume for the moment you have a truly brilliant idea, but neither the resources, nor the influence necessary to make “it” happen. What do you do?

If you really want to see the idea take off, then you give it to someone who can make it happen. By “give it”, I don’t mean write up a proposal and hand it to someone else. I mean you identify the person who could make this happen and you bring them to the point where they come up with the idea. To a point where the idea becomes theirs – lock, stock and barrel. You take no credit for it.

Objections to this final step are many. The idea of allowing someone else to take credit for your idea is a difficult one to swallow. Look what I did when credit was stolen from me so long ago… I quit my job. With that deep seated sense of ownership to “credit”, how can I possibly justify the advice of putting others in a position to take credit for your ideas? Because it would be your choice. We can choose to do this when we know that we can’t deliver the final achievement, and the person we’re handing the opportunity to, can."

Lots of stuff here for the intellectual property argument. Who should get Credit for the Rachmaninoff Variations on a theme by Paganini Assume for the sake of argument that the Paganini theme was buried in a otherwise obscure piece, and no credit was given. Ethical? If Paganini was a no name contemporary and Rachmaninoff heard it in a cafe and wrote Variations on a Theme what then? Interesting questions. Further deponent saith not.

The Mysterious Downfall of the Neandertals: Scientific American

The Mysterious Downfall of the Neandertals: Scientific American: "Research led by Rachel Caspari of Central Michigan University has shown that around 30,000 years ago, the number of modern humans who lived to be old enough to be grandparents began to skyrocket. Exactly what spurred this increase in longevity is uncertain, but the change had two key consequences. First, people had more reproductive years, thus increasing their fertility potential. Second, they had more time over which to acquire specialized knowledge and pass it on to the next generation—where to find drinking water in times of drought, for instance. “Long-term survivorship gives the potential for bigger social networks and greater knowledge stores,” Stringer comments. Among the shorter-lived Neandertals, in contrast, knowledge was more likely to disappear, he surmises."

And of course the old farts became shamans and invented religion to provide them with a livelihood. They couldn't hunt or gather any more, but they could demand a sacrifice to God who provided all the lore that made the hunt successful. Then anything that God didn't eat they did.

The Mysterious Downfall of the Neandertals: Scientific American

The Mysterious Downfall of the Neandertals: Scientific American:
"Stringer, for his part, theorizes that the moderns’ somewhat wider range of cultural adaptations provided a slightly superior buffer against hard times. For example, needles left behind by modern humans hint that they had tailored clothing and tents, all the better for keeping the cold at bay. Neandertals, meanwhile, left behind no such signs of sewing and are believed by some to have had more crudely assembled apparel and shelters as a result."

Did Omar the tent maker out compete Nimrod the mighty Hunter? It was cold out there in 36000 BC, was portable warmth the deciding factor? Hard to tell, but an interesting theory.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Beliefnet Community > Thread - Why does anyone believe in G-d?

Beliefnet Community > Thread - Why does anyone believe in G-d?:

Some people worry too much about ontological questions - to the point of despair. Realizing uncertainty can be depressing, but also liberating from endless speculation...

Inducing worry about ontological issues is one of the primary marketing tools of religions. Now me? I'm not in the market. Solving the ontological problems seems to be a necessary condition for rational atheism however. I am not sure faith is the answer. I think recognizing the uncertainties of life and being comfortable with the fact that not all questions have definable answers and sometimes best guesses are the best we can do is critical for finally shaking the concept of faith. I try to stay away from faith. Even in stupid things like having faith that the sun will rise tomorrow. I am comfortable with my assessment that the probability of it going nova overnight is negligible as all information is that it will be a few million years before that is expected to happen. I don’t have faith that being ends with death, but I do consider that to be the most probable scenario and plan my life accordingly. If I am wrong, I guess I will deal with the situation the way I deal with new adventures now. I am quite comfortable with Marie Callender’s ontology:

“Life is uncertain, eat dessert first.”

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ring speciation in humans?

Beliefnet Community > Thread - Evolution: Objective Science or Sociological Science?:
If evolutionism is real then the human split has already begun.

It has, it just does not happen on racial lines. Believers tend to mate with other believers, and rational thinkers tend to mate with rational thinkers in ways that transcend traditional racial lines. Frequently 'interracial' couples whatever the hell that means, are both intelligent, think beyond stereotypes, and are looking for a partner that thinks like they do, and can keep up with them in the intelligent thinking department. But similar ethnicity couples may use the same criteria, and just happened to find a partner that looked like a neighbor. But the evolutionary split is the same in either case. Again, I am not making a value judgment that one group is an evolutionary dead end, available evidence says that believers are holding their own. But the ring speciation seems to have begun. Interbreeding is rare.

It will be interesting to see if the Abrahamic believers in particular with their denigration of half of their species as less than the other half will be able to continue to hold their own. The other variable that will certainly affect the outcome is the internet. Unrestricted and uninterpreted availability of information on all matters including those of faith should be fatal to the stranglehold the priesthood has on believers. Whether their God can salvage the belief system will be an interesting evolutionary data point both on the viability of faith based social systems and on the existence and power of God.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Walk with a child.

Beliefnet Community > Thread - When does Atheism become a religion?: "'When you walk, you might like to take the hand of a child. She will receive your concentration and stability, and you will receive her freshness and innocence.' -Thich Nhat Hanh"

The sig of "Habala?!"

I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Maybe because the grandkids are scattered and I don't get to take the hand of a child enough. It may be time to do something about that.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Discovering Meaning and Purpose

Beliefnet Community > Thread :

As people learned that they could think for themselves and perhaps influenced by the 18th century metaphysicians began to question the source of their meaning and purpose in life. Some found it too difficult and fell back on their religious answers. Others perhaps questioned those religious answers and wanted to find out the reasons behind the God source of meaning and purpose. Usually they read their holy scripture for themselves and found major problems with the God depicted therein. At that point quite literally all Hell breaks loose. The individual, usually a teen as this is typically when this independent thinking breaks out, must find new ways of dealing with and controlling the new freedoms and responsibilities hesh finds hermself blessed and cursed with.

Art and music are basic, and experimentation with radical forms of both is common, and self indulgence in several forms are normally experimented with. But eventually most find a source of meaning and purpose in their lives, some back to their milk church, others to alternative spirituality, and some default to the entertainment world with its shallow substitute for meaning and purpose in life. Others use their brains and common sense, frequently in the context of advanced education to examine their lives and find meaning and purpose in serving the society they choose as their own. The choice is normally made deliberately and with considerable thought, although frequently economic considerations may cause some separation in economic and social milieu, but for most meaning and purpose in life is found in serving the society one chooses for hermself deliberately and with much forethought.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Robert Shaw Legacy

I guess it is time to post on my Tong wall my appreciation for the legacy that Robert Shaw and the Atlanta symphony left for choral music. His Telarc collection while may not always be the best available version of any particular choral work is always musical, and brilliantly executed. Overall it is always worth getting one out to refresh your appreciation of choral music.

Shaw always worked hard on the podium. Whether it was a rehearsal or a performance his forehead towel was always soaked at the end. But the results were always worth his efforts.

It was my good fortune to be his "taxi driver" for the rehearsals for the Missa Solemnis he so graciously offered to take for Bob DeCormier when Bob was laid up with an operation. I enjoyed hearing about his trick or treating with his kids, and his thoughts on choral music, and indeed on anything he wanted to talk about. A genuinely nice person to be stuck in traffic with.

I had begun collecting his Telarc recordings when some were still on vinyl, and one of my cherished possessions is the Vinyl Brahms Requiem he gave me for my taxi services. I think I have them all, and they frequently find their way to the CD player either as a comparison or a reference for a new version of the work. My debt to Maestro Shaw is unmeasurable as a choral singer and as a human being. He was a special person.

Pachelbel Canon Rant

For all who know and love Pachelbel's Greatest Hit, that means all who read this blog of course.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Beliefnet Community > Thread :
...we perceive the world causally because it is in our nature (material make up and our experience of consciousness) to perceive it causally.
It may be time to take this part of our nature out from under the rug and see if it is still useful. The post hoc, propter hoc fallacy has probably caused more trouble in science, religion, and life than any other mistake we commonly make. Something happens and the first thing we ask is “Why?” Then we grab the first plausible why we can find and go back into our stupor thinking that we have the answer. When rocks, and spears were social mediators this probably made sense. But in a modern world where nuanced responses to stimuli are necessary the simple causal answer may not even be correct let alone useful. I have learned that jumping to conclusions is normally jumping into hot water, and that rational consideration is normally the best solution to any important decision. And that the initial causal response is usually incorrect.

Especially in science I find the causal assumption to be a pervasive source of error. How many times do we see respected journal articles with a zillion graphs showing correlation, and the inevitable therefore the cause is.... Yet another 95% certainty of error.

Contingent things, Causes and Gods.

Beliefnet Community > Thread - :
Reason and rationality dictate that any contingent thing must (by necessity) have a cause for its being. Therefore in order for anything to exist, there must be something which does exist that requires no cause--and is the cause of everything that is by nature contingent. That is why we say that this non-contingent something has a super-nature or super-being. It is 'super' (beyond) because-unlike us---it does not necessitate a cause for its existence or being.

Sorry, you can’t have it both ways. Either everything is a contingent thing and must have a cause, or there are non-contingent things that have no causes and must be considered unknowable. We can not say that the non-contingent thing has a super nature, we cannot speculate about its nature at all. Nor can we speculate that a non-contingent thing can have any effect at all on contingent things.

Available evidence indicates that if there is a non-contingent thing called God, God has no effect at all on contingent things which exist in the world. We can trace contingent things in the real world at least conceptually, but with falsifiable in theory evidence to the Big Inflation and perhaps beyond, that began the observable contingent universe, with no need for a non-contingent anything to cause any of it. This does not of course prove that the non-contingent thing called by some God does not exist. It just indicates that a non-contingent thing is not necessary for an explanation of the observable universe. And that therefore some other argument for God is going to be needed if the existence of God is going to be asserted.

I am not arguing that God does not exist, just that God is not a cause of a contingent effect. If for example God is present in a congregation of believers, and a believer prays for some assistance there is no way to assign the resulting assistance, if any, to the God or to some other cause perhaps increased mental clarity due to the prayer.

ESP, Magic Thinking, and brain waves.

Beliefnet Community > Thread - Magic Thinking:

Not just ... but ESP, are included in the 'wishes come true' category.

If brain wave synchronization isn't ESP I would like to hear your definition of it.

Musicians sync up brain waves all the time and can even link with an audience. If you don't think a string quartet is mentally a single unit, which frequently involves an entire chamber audience, maybe you better go to a chamber concert some time. In larger venues it is harder to sync up, but it occasionally happens. I once was in a performance of the Missa Solemnis for 2000 people in Carnegie hall that for a moment had 2500 people believing in life after death. As a performer I could feel the energy from maestro, the rest of the chorus, orchestra and the audience all feeding off the Et Vitam fugue."

This was Robert Shaw conducting the New York Choral Society substituting for the hospitalized Bob DeCormier. The whole performance was magical and the melding with the audience was frequent but in the Et Vitam Venturi Saeculi, Amen (And the life in the world to come, So be it.) fugue the Maestro had everyone in the hall on the tip of his baton believing in the music if not the words.

I don't know how much of the Mass Beethoven believed in if any, but in the Missa Solemnis he certainly did his job as a musician and made the whole Mass believable and involving. In a good performance I would expect that a good Catholic or Lutheran would be in communion with God for the entire performance and beyond.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Do Parents Matter?

Do Parents Matter?: Scientific American:Interview with Judith Rich Harris:
"It’s no longer enough to show, for example, that parents who are conscientious about child rearing tend to have children who are conscientious about their schoolwork. Is this correlation the result of what the children learned from their parents or of the genes they inherited from them? Studies using the proper controls consistently favor the second explanation. In fact, personality resemblances between biological relatives are attributable almost entirely to heredity, rather than environment. Adopted children don’t resemble their adoptive parents in personality. I’m not particularly interested in genetic effects, but the point is that they have to be taken into account. Unless we know what the child brings to the environment, we can’t figure out what effect the environment has on the child."

"That’s the puzzle I tackled in No Two Alike. The expanded version of the theory is based on the idea that the human mind is modular and that it consists of a number of components, each designed by evolution to perform a specific job, and that three different mental modules are involved in social development. The first deals with relationships, including parent-child relationships. The second handles socialization. The third enables children to work out a successful strategy for competing with their peers, by figuring out what they are good at."

I find this fascinating in that Harris is most interested in the school environment and how it affects children. She seems to be saying that as parents our choice of schools, and the peer group that the child is a part of in the school is critical. The good news is that kids with good learning genes and good parenting will probably join the "value learning group" if one is available, the bad news is that if there is also a "goof off group" or if the goof off group is dominant in the school parents had better be aware of which group the kids are in and be prepared to take appropriate action to encourage proper group selection.

If I were more actively involved with small children both of these books would probably be on my hot shelf. She seems to be a bit of a contrarian which of course appeals to me. And the fact that social scientists jumped on the heretic bandwagon with respect to her books early and often is a great recommendation. I may have to put the books on the read someday list just for that reason, even though I am well beyond the need for guidance in the small child rearing area. By the time the GGs come around I will be irrelevant.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Can Boomers find a community on the net? : the promised land is under your feet: "Novelist Wallace Stegner was a close observer of American culture. He once observed that people in this country can generally be assigned to one of two categories: “boomers” or “stickers.” He lamented that the former—folks who with very little forethought will pull up stakes and head for the latest boomtown—were becoming increasingly dominant. Modern society, Stegner complained, schools its citizens in discontent and encourages us to “get up and get out.” The itch for greener pastures or greater adventure—symptomatic, perhaps, of an unresolved frontier fixation—is one we just can’t resist scratching. But, Stegner wrote, “Neither the country nor the society we build out of it can be healthy if we don’t stop raiding and running and learn to be quiet part of the time, and acquire the sense not of ownership, but of belonging.”"

There are very few of us who can find what we need for personal fulfillment if we become "Stickers" for the sake of sticking and building and maintaining a community. The school to meet our aspirations may be across the country or around the world. The job we have prepared for may not be in the same community as the school where we learned our trade. Then we grow in our trade and outgrow the job that started our career, or our significant other may have outgrown the community we live in and another community change is in order.

Friends and associates in our monkeysphere also scatter so even if we would like to be stickers, the rest of the community isn't and we are stuck with a bunch of new neighbors, new industries, and even a bunch of new people in our church. that may change it beyond our comfort level.

There may still be a few communities where sticking is a possibility, but they are rare and the vibrant cutting edge industry that is a necessity for such a community, works against the stickers maintaining a stable community.

Where are we to find our roots? Is it possible that soil and bricks are no longer necessary for rootedness, but that the nascent communities on the internet will become the new roots for the boomers? Is facebook our new village green or post office where we get our daily social strokes? Are blogs the coffee houses where we share our profound ideas with like minded profound thinkers? Is our little piece of the net the new community where the boomers are rooted? I think so. There will still be meet ups and face time but they will be increasingly mediated on the net, and with few exceptions community roots in jobs, churches, and neighborhoods will be non-existent.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Secular Ethics

Beliefnet Community > Thread - Why does anyone believe in G-d?:

Primates have evolved in social groups where unethical behavior will normally result in the exclusion of the unethical individual from the social group. In general exclusion from the group is a death sentence unless the individual can find another group which will accept herm. Primates are generally smart enough not to repeat the unethical behavior in a new group.

Humans like other primates conform to the ethics of the group they find themselves in. These may be religious or secular ethics depending on the group. The major difference between religious and secular group ethics is that religious ethics customarily have a way to repent or repair ethical transgressions. Confess your sins or nail them to the cross if you are Christian and all is forgiven.

Expiation for secular ethical transgressions is much more difficult and involved. Serious secular ethical faults may involve the legal system and expiation may involve incarceration, or even execution. Less serious transgressions can result in expulsion from a social group, loss of job, or in science loss of credibility and a resulting inability to publish. But in general in the secular world there is no way to simply repent and have people say OK you can rejoin the society. At the very least there will be a long probationary period where all ethical behavior will be scrutinized closely to determine if membership in the society will be permitted. Although ostracism is not generally fatal in the modern world, it nevertheless is a very serious issue for most people, and ethical behavior according to the ethics of the chosen group(s) is of paramount importance.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Validating emperical observations

Beliefnet Community > Thread - How do creationists explain black people.:
Can you please explain to me how it is possible to validate any empirical observation without employing such metaphysical axioms?
Empirical observations are validated by consistency with other empirical observations which may be of a similar or relevant nature. If one for example makes the empirical observation that young children in learning how to separate self from other will frequently be unable to distinguish between living others, inanimate others such as toy animals, and mythical others like Santa Claus, or the Wizard of Oz. One can validate this observation by observing the child interacting with living others that hesh may not have met previously, a new inanimate toy, and a new myth like God. The fact that God is as real in the mind of the child as the living stranger validates the observation that until a certain age children have a concept of self and other, but the other may not be differentiated.

Playing peek-a-boo with a stranger may be just as enjoyable to the child as having a jack-in-the box pop up. God saying no may be just as frightening to a child as Mama saying no.

Eventually children learn to differentiate the other into classes with varying levels of importance and authenticity. Toys become inanimate objects of some degree of importance and closeness, but recognized as toys. Myths and stories are recognized as such, again with varying levels of authenticity and importance as educational sources. Other people are differentiated into classes with varying levels of authenticity and authority. But even adults may attach undue importance to certain inanimate objects and myths which become idols that distort their outlook on reality.

A ia A

Beliefnet Community > Thread - How do creationists explain black people.:
A is A, and A is not non-A.

Can you please explain to me how that purely metaphysical axiom is somehow untrue?

As with many metaphysical axioms the problem is not that it is untrue. It is just that it says nothing meaningful about A. Everyone from Ayn Rand to theologians to idiots can start with A is A and puffing up their chest say A is obviously A and then go on to bloviate about all sorts of things that must be necessary about A just because A is A.

God is God. God is not something other than God. No problem at all. Absolutely a true statement. But adding a simple property to God, for example God is God and therefore God exists because God can not be a non-existent God, since God cannot be not God, moves beyond metaphysical truth to gross speculation, theory or theology, which of course are equivalent.

Metaphysics in the modern world is not untrue it is just useless.

Well, not really useless, one can spend may enjoyable hours discussing whether Kant's noumenal ontology trumps Hume's empiricism and whether Aristotle is even relevant today, but one must be aware that in metaphysics like theology faith trumps truth. And one must not confuse the two from either side of the discussion.