Philosophy questions

I moved some pages I had on a different web site to this blog for better visibility and archival. These posts were from 1997 and 1998 which was long before my first blog post (February 3, 2004) and I have given the posts their approximate original date.


The pages moved are:




If you want to comment on one or more of those posts you will have to do it on this post as the comments are disable for posts that old.


15 thoughts on “Philosophy questions

  1. Joe, I’m so glad you posted these old pages which include that 2nd question about knowing truth from falsity. You love to feel superior to people, don’t you Joe? I can just see you through the years asking people that silly question and then pressuring them till they fall apart.

    Has anyone else pointed out that you yourself have taken this from an “authority figure,” that atheist author? That’s pretty funny considering that’s one of the condescending ways you suggested people accomplish this “important” task.

  2. No. I don’t love to feel superior to people. I feel profoundly sad that so many people have such a fundamental mental defect.

    Silly question? It is a question that philosophers have spent their lives trying to answer. It is one of the most fundamental questions of human life. Silly? Again, you demonstrate that you cannot or are unwilling to determine the truth or falsity of your own claims.

    I did not appeal to Smith as an authority figure. Again, you appear have a mental defect where you appear to have a reading comprehension problem and/or inability to determine truth from falsity. Smith merely succinctly repeated the essence of the most successful of the epistemological theories. This theory has been well studied for thousands of years with the fundamentals essentially unchanged (and you should look up the difference between a theory and a hypothesis because a theory is not what most people think it is). There is no excuse for anyone who made it past the third grade and their first science class to lack this process–other than mental defect.

  3. I’m reminded here of some reactions from poor people when they see a rich person.
    “Well, looky here! Who does he think HE is? I bet he thinks he’s better than everyone else. What makes HIM so special. Well, La, Tee, DAH!” and so on, often accompanied by dick jokes and the like.

    It’s a gut reaction, founded in envy. Dogs behave that way too. And communists. Much of the world runs on envy. I guess the solution is to take a step back, try to see our envy for what it is, try to understand the sources of our anger, and try to live with some sense of humility. Still it’s difficult for anyone– even for vastly superior people, like me, who know and understand everything.

    If it’s silly to ask how to distinguish truth from falsity, there are no serious topics.

    I’ve often been criticized for being “too serious”. Apparently, seriousness is silly, which, by extension, would make silliness the only serious choice. I see an old pattern here.

  4. Way to bring them out of the woodwork though, Joe.

    You’ve held up this beautiful, strong and intelligent woman in the sunlight– this foundation of society, and you’ve flushed out the rapists. “Flutter flutter flutter flutter…”

    “Bang!” says the twelve gauge.

  5. mikeb302000,

    I highly recommend you think real hard before typing something to Joe.
    I also highly recommend you think real hard before pressing the Save Comment button.

  6. Joe, sorry to disagree but you’re one of the most obnoxious and arrogant characters that I’ve run into on the internet. Your friends praise you for it, it’s so well known. I believe you love every minute of it and enjoy a tremendous feeling of superiority as you call other folks, some of whom are quite intelligent and reasonable themselves, of having a “mental defect.”

    It’s a very silly question, as I’ve mentioned to you before, for the very reasons you said. The silly part is your demanding an answer from people on the spot to a question that is so broad and sweeping that it has been studied by the greatest minds of all ages, about which PhD theses are written, and to which there is no simple answer. The image of your asking people and insisting on an answer until they crack, or however you put it, is pretty silly too.

    What the hell is Caleb going on about? Is that the same Caleb from Gun Nuts Radio?

  7. … and to which there is no simple answer.

    I dunno. Seems to me that, “By employing the Scientific Method,” is a fairly simple answer, that gets bonus points because it just happens to be one of the available correct answers. But, then, I am a simple kind of guy, who was taught that simple answer at the ripe old age of… hm… about tenish. So how old are you, MikeB?

    Tell me, MikeB, why does that question cause you such tremendous amounts of angst and anger? As Joe said, this particular incarnation of it far predated his and your interaction at Kevin’s site, and far predates either of your weblogging histories, but you react to it with ad hominem attacks, specious allegations, and your standard insinuations and innuendo. Why do you feel that kind of response to be appropriate? Does the topic of truth and how to determine it pose such a threat to your existance? Does it concern you that if people can accurately and repeatably identify truth, they would see through your non-stop lies? Is your solution to that hamstringing everyone else in the same way you appear to be?

    In short, insecure much?

    One thing is for certain:

    What the hell is Caleb going on about?

    Reading comprehension problems indeed…

    At least for that question, Joe actually provided you the answer… seems to me the two with no quick-and-dirty answer are the significantly more interesting ones, and require greater thought an introspection…

  8. MikeB30200,

    It has a very simple answer which is taught to all grade school children in this country. It was a difficult problem thousands of years ago but not anymore. There was (and still is some) disagreement by those that argue religious faith can determine truth from falsity as well. Other than that I don’t know of any competing methods. There is some discussion of interesting corner cases in epistemological circles but those discussions don’t have the potential to throw out the conclusions reached thousands of years ago.

    I honestly did, and do, want to know how you determine truth from falsity. If you want to argue that you know the righteousness of your claims on the basis of religious faith then fine–make that claim. But as near as I can tell you don’t have a process. Every bit of information I have points to Peterson Syndrome. You don’t even really understand the question.

    Even your last comment here indicates that. For example you state:

    I believe you love every minute of it…

    You have beliefs. You do not have knowledge or even know what knowledge is. You appear to be missing the process by which hypothesis’s are tested, rejected, and confirmed.

    Regarding Caleb… No. That was a different Caleb. And again, you have a reading comprehension problem if you don’t understand what he was saying and I don’t believe I can explain it to you. Just as I don’t believe you will understand anything I said in this comment.

    You have a very profound mental defect that is obvious to nearly everyone. That is why I have often said that I wasn’t sure if you were actually just mocking the anti-gun position with your blog posts and comments or if you really believed what you said. I found it difficult to believe that someone could be a functioning member of society and be so stupid/dense/whatever. I since have decided that you are “for real” and that you aren’t stupid in the normal sense. You have a mental handicap but you have developed a compensation method that lets you be semi-functional in many situations. As soon as you try to do something a little outside of normal your handicap cripples your ability to contribute in a meaningful way.

  9. @MikeB30200:

    I have read many posts and comments from Joe. He may have a touch of arrogance, but overall, he usually treads carefully when he knows sensitivity is called for–as some of his recent posts and comments about religion have demonstrated to me.

    All people who are convinced they are right about something, ought to stand up for it; whether this should be called arrogance or not, I don’t know–but I doubt it.

    With regards to the “How do you tell truth from error”, I’ve been meaning to answer that question for months, but I haven’t, for two reasons: First, Joe’s answer is very good, and it makes sense intellectually–indeed, it does not matter if it came from an atheist, because many religious authorities would agree. Second, my answer would come from a mathematical and religious perspective, it is rather complex, but rests on logic, intuition, beauty, and a touch of inspiration of some sort. But even this requires making sure that things match up with empirical evidence.

    I do have an answer for “what do you teach your kids?”: You teach them what you are convinced is true–and if you reach different conclusions, later in life, you try to correct them. I never understood why some atheists felt that religious people should wait until their children were 18 years of age to teach them something so important as the importance of God in their lives, because if God exists, this is a very important thing to teach them. Likewise, knowing that Joe is an atheist, if he didn’t teach his children, from a very young age, that he didn’t believe in God, and why he didn’t, and that he expected them not to believe in God as well, I would wonder why he bothered being an atheist!

    It is our role as parents to teach our children–indeed, to teach as many people as possible–what we believe to be true, why we believe it, and how they could find out for themselves what is true. And this truth doesn’t just cover God and Liberty: it includes mathematics, reading, writing, gardening, and so many other things. Unfortunately, what we can teach is limited by time, which is why we also need to figure out what is important, but we nonetheless teach what we can, to give our children the tools they need to live in the real world.

    Anything less is irresponsible.

  10. Joe, You’re probably right I couldn’t even understand your last comment, I thought it was “ad hominem attacks, specious allegations, and your standard insinuations and innuendo,” but I’m probably wrong.

    As far as not understanding Caleb’s remarks and my inability to do so being so profound that you wouldn’t even bother to try to explain them, you’re right again. What came to mind was a bullying thug with a gun on his hip and a chip on his shoulder, you know the kind who likes to make veiled threats like “I highly recommend you think real hard before…”

  11. “What came to mind was a bullying thug with a gun on his hip and a chip on his shoulder, you know the kind who likes to make veiled threats like “I highly recommend you think real hard before…””

    You are taking the line “I highly recommend you think real hard before…” out of context. It’s important to know what comes after the ellipses, because some things are worth fighting for. We can, for example, complete this sentence with:
    …you attack my family with a pitchfork.
    …you come to my house to get my guns.
    …you take my family away in cattle cars to some sort of internment camp.
    …you take over the Presidency with a military coup.
    …you gather a mob to burn down my house.

    Each of these reasons, and many others, are perfectly valid reasons to make veiled, and sometimes even not-so-veiled, threats. Of course, there are perfectly valid reasons *not* to make a threat, like

    …you keep me from walking out of your store without a handful of cash taken from your cash register.

    in which case, you deserve to be shot by someone who made the veiled threat of

    …you try to take a handful of cash from my cash register.

  12. So, tell us, MikeB, why do you continue to lash out at people, and passive-aggressively attack them? Why is the differentiation between “fact” and “fiction”, and the methods employed to accomplish this, so very upsetting for you? Why do you cotninue to dodge and refuse to answer very simple questions as they are posed to you, while simultaneously parroting back words that you very obviously do not comprehend (Given the evidence you have freely provided us, there is scant little “specious” about anything Joe has said, and he was likewise remarkably direct and up-front, which negates both “insinuations” and “innuendo”.)? Why do you choose to focus so tightly on a perceived, but ultimately irrelevant, “threat”, while exhibiting behavior that only serves to provide even more evidence to support Joe’s observations? If you are so very dead-set certain that yours is the correct way to go about things, why do you refuse to verbalize it, express it, and allow it to stand on its own merits? Why do you insist on making every comment thread you post in all about you?

    Ah, well, more simple questions for you to resolutely ignore. Is it any wonder why so many people have banned you?

  13. The above comments are why I simply instruct my blog software to dump Mike’s, and posts by Mike’s compatriots directly into the trash.

    Can you equate the leavings of him to anything but litter, or scat? It just makes a mess of an otherwise constructive blog, and it invokes responses from thoughtful and reasonable people to fall on deaf ears, and the ears of the choir.

    It wasn’t an easy decision to remove comments, as of a policy I run a blog for discussion above all else, so differing opinions are greatly appreciated, and frankly in high demand.

    But I run a blog for DISCUSSION, not flaming and self-promotion of people who have nothing to promote.

  14. Alpheus, What came after the veiled threat, “I highly recommend you think real hard before…” was none of the examples you gave. Maybe you’re the one taking it out of context. Caleb threatened me about writing to Joe and hitting the save button. And Joe and the rest of you support that. And my pointing it out is why Weer’d disallows my comments. You guys are a barrel of laughs.

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