RELIGION: The meaning of Life

Reilly Jones (
Thu, 13 Feb 1997 18:02:06 -0500

Gregory Houston: <I have no desire to attain truth.>

RJ: Well, chalk up yet one more twentieth-century vote in favor of lies and

Gregory Houston wrote 2/13/97: <You are extremely talented in
decontextualization. Bravo.>

Perhaps so, but I didn't show it above. Far from engaging in
decontextualization, I simply repeated the sum total context of your post,
namely, "I have no desire to attain truth." Once you have said this,
everything else you post must be viewed as untruthful, hence, contextless.
Context itself has no meaning absent truth.

<If science cannot prove something as true or false, then science cannot
attain truth.>

Look at science more broadly as technicism, see that there is no boundary
between science and technology, and you will see that technology verifies
the theoretical statements of science in actuality.

<Your desire for truth is more of a religious fixation than any I have

Why bother asserting this, since, according to you, you have nothing
truthful to say? Why bother saying anything at all? To me, your vigorous
support of lying indicates quite a strong religious bent, you worship the
Father of Lies, ol' Beelzebubba.

<Science is fundamentally driven by need and desire. We need to be able to
predict such and such to survive. I desire to predict such and such in
order to survive forever.>

There is a rich hoard of historical literature, much of it
autobiographical, about scientists (and natural philosophers) being
motivated by the pure search for knowledge itself, completely unconnected
to any animal desire for survival. Perhaps they all were lying about this.

<Science is a tool of need and desire. It is an emotive tool, yet it denies
the emotions.>

This is clearly untrue, scientists undeniably squeal like stuck pigs when
their government funding is cut. They get quite emotional about it.

<We cannot even prove that absolute truth exists.>

Who is this "we"? Perhaps you need to broaden your circle of associates.

<It would not even matter if in some freakish sense that I myself did not
"truely" exist.>

This appears to be an agreeable statement.

<Real or illusion, the truth does not matter.>


<Today people say, "God is dead". Tomorrow people will realize that truth
died with him.>

I think you mean that a hundred years ago people said "God is dead." Then
came the filthy French compost-modernists who pretended that truth died
with him. Then came the inability for my children to go out in my
neighborhood without constant adult supervision for fear of the barbaric
perverts who grew up inculcated with your religious beliefs.

<Truth is truth, its either true or false.>

It's true that I cannot parse this sentence.

<I think Descartes proved once and for all with his evil genius theory
that we can never attain truth, because we can never prove it.>

He did? He was French, n'est pas? Well, my microwave oven proved to me
the truth of Maxwell's theories. I realize Descartes did not have the
benefit of microwave ovens.

<How can you be absolutely honest with others when you cannot even by
honest with yourself. You do not know yourself well enough. You are not
aware enough of whats going on subconsciously to imagine that you are being

Do not make the mistake that because you are confused, that others are
similarly confused. This is an invalid deduction. Certainly, since you
have once again repeated that "I have no desire to attain truth," we can
all see that you have no intention whatsoever of being honest, even if you
weren't internally confused.

<The concept of "truth" is not even compatible with Pancritical

This topic came up on the list in March 1994. At that time, I was
concerned, based on the positions that some individuals were taking on PCR,
that your statement above was quite probably true. However, this point,
for me, was cleared up by Max More when he wrote:

"PCR *is* grounded in subjective purposes in the sense that, if my one of
my goals was not to be as rational as possible, I would not be interested
in PCR. Even if PCR can be successfully defended against all criticisms,
it will never appeal to persons who care nothing for consistency, truth, or
reason. In this sense, PCR is grounded in one's values and so is not "smug
nihilism". Note that this is not to say that PCR is *justified* in terms
of one's values; it means only that one's acceptance of PCR is explained
by one's valuing rationality in combination with believing that PCR, so
far, provides the best, most consistent, characterization of what it means
to be a rationalist."

To which I replied:

"I support this unreservedly. I am glad to see it made explicitly because
only by making it explicit does PCR avoid being merely smug nihilism."

Recently, I ran across an analysis of this same point by the philosopher
Etienne Gilson who concluded (rightly) that: "You must either begin as a
realist with being, in which case you will have a knowledge of being, or
begin as a critical idealist with knowledge, in which case you will never
come in contact with being."

What Gilson refers to as the "critical idealist" I was referring to as the
"smug nihilist." Being and truth are, of course, different aspects of the
same ontological primitive. So really, Max and myself are saying the same
thing, that unless you begin with a care for truth, you will never have
knowledge. You cannot begin with knowledge itself and get anywhere at all,
you must begin with caring for truth.

Reilly Jones | Philosophy of Technology: | The rational, moral and political relations
| between 'How we create' and 'Why we create'