Who never doubted, never really thought ~ E.M.Brainerd

Brainerd on doubt


John Thelwall’s Peripatetic Deism

John Thelwall

The late eighteenth century is often seen as the end of the line for English Deism. Toland, Shaftesbury and Bolingbroke were all long gone and the baton had passed first across the Channel to Rousseau and Voltaire and then across the Atlantic to Franklin, Paine and Jefferson. But English Deism was not dead – although it had been severely bludgeoned by the establishment and overshadowed by Methodist revivalism. It lived on, however, in the minds of the radicals. Men like Robert Owen, Richard Carlile and, the subject of this short essay, John Thelwall. Continue reading

Cosmic Creative Propensity

Interesting essay entitled “What Does Our Understanding of Time Suggest About the Nature of Reality?” at Big Questions Online (Templeton Foundation website).

I was especially taken by the first comment (in the discussion in the right hand column) in which the commenter, George Gantz, made the following observations:

The determinism of the Unitary Block falls apart in light of the issues of complexity/ computability and quantum indeterminacy. Moreover, we cannot deny the evidence of our own experience – the Experienced World is where we live every day…The only answer that seems to make any sense to me is that mathematical laws provide the form into which physical laws (behaviors) emerge, driven by a fundamental cosmic creative propensity… Continue reading

On the pigment vs figment debate

(by which I refer to the discussion about whether colors are objective realities or ideal qualia, not the disagreements that sometimes arise between the functionally illiterate factions who prefer their imaginations to be colored with dyestuffs rather than fanciful ideas).

Physicist Erwin Schroedinger wrote: “The sensation of color cannot be accounted for by the physicist’s objective picture of light-waves.” – But it certainly cannot be accounted for without it. And that is the mistake of idealism. Continue reading

Why atheism entails the possibility of God

The following partial definitions of atheism and materialism are taken from the American Atheists web pages:

Atheism may be defined as the mental attitude which unreservedly accepts the supremacy of reason and aims at establishing a life-style and ethical outlook verifiable by experience and scientific method, independent of all arbitrary assumptions of authority and creeds.

Materialism declares that the cosmos is devoid of immanent conscious purpose…

I think the partial definition of materialism quoted is a denial of the very means by which the author has constructed the definition. That, I think, is the fundamental problem of atheist materialism – it fails to account for the inherent purposiveness and creativeness that its proponents quite deliberately employ in order to formulate and express the principles of their own “mental attitude”.
Continue reading

Robert Owen – Positive Deist?

In the lists of famous deists of the past, Robert Owen is, as far as I can discern, never mentioned. I suppose, as the father of British Socialism, he is too closely related to atheistic communism to be thought of in that light. However, Owen, despite being a vociferous opponent of the irrationalities and extravagances of revealed religions was nevertheless a staunch supporter of religious freedom. His idea of rational religion is captured in some of his writings of which I will mention just two here. Continue reading