Tag Archives: criticism

The Edge Challenge 2017: What scientific concepts deserve to be more widely known?

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I recently purchased a copy of Sam Harris’ book Letter to a Christian Nation. I had intended to purchase his book Free Will but changed my mind.

I could say: “Sam Harris is wrong.” But why? Why would-should I? What value can I offer my readers, Mr. Harris readers, The Edge contributors etc., by critiquing an argument I’ve not read, predicated on the logical progression of a ‘related argument’ by the same author? Would I be begging the question the author also begged? Would doing so implicate me in a formal or informal fallacy of logic? Why might a distinction between formal and informal be a barometer of sorts?

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I was interested in his assertion that Free Will is an illusion, and I wanted to listen to a nuanced discussion of solipsism, by someone educated enough to not just know and understand what “begging the question” IS, but also someone rhetorically able to debate and teach. Someone able to frame the limitations imposed by any beliefs that “beg the question,” regardless of the paradigm.

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I then proceeded to observe my navel and inadvertently created circumstances that support his argument. I wanted to buy his treatise on “reductionism.” I knew that my checking account was depleted. I knew that it was likely I would deplete it to danger level before my next pay day, and that should my insecure guilt catch up to me, any purchase I made thru Amazon’s used book market place, would obligate me to pay for return postage. And I bought the book I didn’t want, anyway. I bought other things. All on sale etc,.etc. And here I sit. One week till my next pay day, short on the weekly bus pass to get to work beginning tomorrow and just as shameful, I’m now short of the Uber/Lyft cab fare necessary to get TO CLASS where I’m working on my paralegal associates to compliment my undergraduate degree.

The name of this blog is Borderlands of Health and Wellness. Just in case you’ve forgot.

My fellow Americans, I am a biological member of a family that votes Republican. I currently live in Tennessee, just North of God’s Country, known to fellow Americans and expatriates as The Grid Iron Throne. Alabama.

On my mother’s nuclear family side, the only member SUSPECTED of voting for a member of the Democratic party in the last 65 years (because we are too estranged a unit to discuss such matters unless we intend to SHORTEN a visit, conversation, or FUTURE family get togethers) passed away on All Souls Day, 2012. The “suspect” before returning to The United States for hospice care, was an MD who worked in mental health abroad. On those visits he did make to the U.S.A. before his passing, his daughter always came first, as she should. His other family, (sisters, brothers, cousins, nieces etc. never were guaranteed a visit and got a phone call occasionally, if we were privileged.)

On my father’s side, the LAST purported Democrat, who voted for ROOSEVELT people, was the youngest son of a second wife, a progenitor who graduated from Samford University (a Baptist college affiliated with Birmingham Southern)in Birmingham Alabama and married again after his first wife’s death. What capital, assets, this progenitor possessed, paid for University educations for each of his children until his money was exhausted. My paternal grandfather, saw his father’s assets provide such boons for his siblings and knew, all that would remain for him, would be family land. So he only completed his education thru the 6th grade if I’m not mistaken, and chose to became a farmer.

Why did I begin this post with a clear appeal to scientific literacy, insinuate to the reader that the public intellectual who also promotes the results of The Edge Challenge on his website may be
a) wrong
b) leaving out information
and
c) run the risk of annoying and loosing my readers with a personal anecdote that clearly is moving in a somewhat aposterori direction?

Here’s why.

Historical mimesis. Aristotle coined the term and concept more than 2,000 years ago. There are numerous terms that describe the same phenomenon concentrated in a diverse array of subject matter. I’m choosing this term to essentially “dial down” from the clear and present concerns presented by the first 100 days of the current presidential administration. I can’t speak with complete certainty for anyone but myself, but meta narratives caught many Americans off guard since 2000 A.D. at the very least. Author Sam Harris I wager in his book, Letter to a Christian Nation has predicated his letter-tome on the premise of natural philosophy and mimesis. His argument is aesthetically dependant on begging his own question and I will wager in the paragraphs to follow that at no point, does his book, Letter to a Christian Nation bring up “Universal History.” Sam Harris could and can run circles around me, but it doesn’t change the fact that he has a red ball under a nutshell and is doing a magic trick that makes use of observer bias. It also doesn’t negate his views.

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Regardless of who your family voted for in the 2016 election, Donald Trump has won. Regardless of the origins of The Tea Party phenomenon, it caught fire on both coasts of The United States and burned right to the center. Regardless of how ethnically diverse either political party is in fact, portrayed as, or rhetorically marketed to be, the premise any health care system is based on, operates on the scientific law that human beings have a limited shelf life. We catch fire, we wear out, burn out, burn down.

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I dropped the ball for myself and my family (if idealism is a scientific law) buying Sam Harris book. The review I read gave me a false impression of the content to be found between its covers. Its not without value don’t get me wrong.

But when I am ready to write “The End of History and The Last Woman” I will. And not before. Consider this statement dear academics and fellow writers as my claim to this book, paper and treatise. Don’t touch my book title Mary Shelley.

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I dropped the ball the moment I walked into the Macy’s at The Mall at Green Hills in Nashville and walked to the jewelry clearance rack and purchased Ralph Lauren, Lora and Lilly and INC, item(s.) I got great deals on the prices. I can accept cash tips that MAY allow me to cover my self imposed shortfall before my next pay day. But I’m NOT guaranteed CASH TIPS. EVER. No wellness employer hands out cash to employees at the end of each shift in advance of tips left on credit or debit cards. I just essentially GAMBLED big time for the wrong reasons. Or did I?

Free Will. Free Will? Free. Free? Will. Etc,.

Where is intentionality now? Where is the individual? Am I alone in a forest listening for a falling tree, or am I listening to the delicate sounds of Sturm and Drang? Is it a fallacy of equivocation on my part or let’s say Mr. Harris himself, if he contacted me to state correctly, that to berate myself for my actions would be a morally baseless and abusive action ONLY if I had failed to calculate the odds of receiving cash tips alongside the intervals of time between the point of purchase, number of work days and my departure for my next class?

REDUX

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Moral. Not Mortal. Moral. I will now make a bet with my readers. I will wager a guest blogger article hosted on both this blog and my personal blog, Ashley M. Heidi Carter, that in his book Letter to a Christian Nation, author Sam Harris AT NO TIME draws a Direct dual link between ontology, either theological or philosophical and aesthetics. I wager he never mentions Avveroes (Ibn Rushid’s) The Double Truth. I also wager, he never calls Universal History by that name. To do so…

I know I can and believe many of my readers could, choose a variety of substitute concepts to replace the innate diversity of aesthetics, and still communicate the notion that although human reason can demonstrably exist apart and independent of a divine creator, the idea of ‘natural law’ is bifurcated to include the unknown variable.

Manifest Destiny. Destiny made manifest?

Civics 101 ladies and gents! The Bill of Rights is not a legally binding document. Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying the document “Is a REBUKE.” In America we have inalienable rights. The Bill of Rights famously includes a fallacy of equivocation that HAS BEEN USED TO CREATE THE ILLUSION OF MANIFEST DESTINY IN PERPETUITY. Historically, NO GOVERNMENT can legislate the ontological ACCORDING TO GENRE…and law. Are you sure about that Free Will fallacy Sam? Can I trust your judgement Sam? How far can any of “US” trust you with a Free Will argument today, The 30th of January, 2016. The day the Associate Attorney General of The United States resigned or was fired? Free Will?

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Averroes. Ibn Rushid. The Double Truth. Former President Obama and current POTUS Trump DID NOT EXCHANGE SPOUSES. Let’s ALL REMEMBER NOT TO BEG THE QUESTION (s) of sociology, cultural arrogance and aesthetics. Let’s all remember that axiology is the step child of epistemology and proceed accordingly to our better judgment:Even though none other than Ronald Regan himself was once PURPORTED to have called Osama Bin Laden a “Freedom Fighter.” I think that “quote” deserves a “Fact Check.” If Idolatry is “the problem” why should Sam Harris get a pass for a “IDEOlogical fallacy” rather than a “white lie?”

Letter to recovering addicts and those who loved one

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Atonement: satisfaction or reparation for awrong or injury; amends.

Atonement AA (Step 8): Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

Atonement in a Religious context: Thereconciliation of God and humankind through Jesus Christ.

Closure is the end of something. After being caught sending naked pictures to minors or someone other than your spouse (for those of you who are married or cheating), expect theclosure of your political career and a boycott of your business for example. The cookie cutter definition of psychological closure (which is the topic of this post) is “… an individual’s desire for a firm solution as opposed to enduring ambiguity.”

Closure comes from the Latin claus (“shut”), and has numerous synonyms and linguistic or contextual applications. A road closure blocks that road from traffic. If you find closure after an emotional hardship, you’re ready to move on. An obstruction in a small passage, like a pipe, is also a closure, as is the button on your sweater. In debate, closure (usually cloture), stops debate and starts the vote.

Closure is a principle from Gestalt psychologyand Grief counseling as well.

I did not lose a battle with addiction and did not struggle with chemical dependency.I did not get lost in pop science trying to stabilize my perception of why I could not stop using drugs of any kind.Make a note, that I have just listed TWO reasons why I am blessed and I will return to this at the end of this post.

Process Philosophy:

My first exposure to the drug scene was straight out of a movie and far less glamorous. I was six years old and my father was arrested in the early 1980’s for what the DEA and RCMP said was his role in a 12 million dollar drug sting. He was arrested in Buffalo New York and his face was plastered all over the evening news on all three major news networks. My mother had just graduated from college with two degrees and was denied any opportunity to use her education degree in our community. She was presumed to be too emotionally unstable due to the public nature of my father’s arrest and of course, she was guilty before she was innocent in the eyes of many. Privately, neither of my parents used any kind of drug other than alcohol though they were both children of alcoholics. Of my grandparents, my father’s mother was the only one who did not drink at all.  I saw addiction and abuse from other angles than one would expect.

What do I know about drugs and addiction personally?

I am a sexual abuse survivor: I was a drugfor a sick grandfather and neighbor who could not control himself and who would not and presumably ‘could not’ stop. His excuse I presume would have been PTSD had he been confronted.My mother was anorexic and bulimic until my sister was born when I was 7 years old and used food as a drug. My parents raised me as a vegetarian which was promoted by their religious views at the time and abandoned the practice when she became pregnant with my sister.I have a step sibling who thru a variety of personal challenges of her own, was placed into rehab with Bradford at the age of 13. She relapsed 20 years later and has now recovered but at a price. I have also dated a recovering addict in my youth and as recently as three years ago for a brief time.Due to the fact that I live and breathe and survived childhood (Freud and Jung critics beware) I have had and still have ‘friends’ who used to various degrees. I also have done various drugs both legal and illegal.

What do I know about atonement and closure professionally?

I have a degree in Health and Wellness and have practiced Professional Massage Therapy since 1998.

Why am I writing this post?

I am writing this post for personal therapeutic reasons on several levels. When I began this post, I was thinking about the animosity I hold toward members of my family and how various facts of their lives and my own have been butchered in order to feed conspiracy thinking privately and publicly and how this fostered a burden of liability that cannot and has not been rectified or atoned for privately or publicly. This morning as I continue to draft this post, the topic of criticism of the AA model and religion has reminded me again of yet another angle on my need to compose this post.

When I hear addicts talk about their experiences I am reminded of why group therapy has value. In no other setting are the actions of others and their value systems so exposed. My ex who twice went thru rehab was an accountant. His profession is or was, to use mathematical skills to assign value. Need it be said that group therapy is closed for a reason just as many circles and distribution channels are closed to outsiders? Addicts remain addicted for a variety of reasons.

When friendships and family ties suffer for the sake of an addiction addicts often go thru various stages of grief and denial when they are informed of just how heinous the behaviour and actions of former associates turned out to be. My step sister talked about a theft ring that that bartered for drugs and I know I have heard similar tales as most casual drug users have. What addicts close the door on by speaking only in peer groups are the stories of bodily horror. They leave economic scandals to political media commentators to opine about so they can justify their own narcissism while still using and waving the flag of their choice. Its the stories of rape, child molestation, aggravated assault, forced or cohersed prostitution that trips their PTSD triggers that drive them underground into treatment out of horror and shame. Even then, for some, the horror only becomes real when they lose their teeth thru addiction.

I do not forgive my step sister or her family. All of them, including my father’s wife. As my ex who was an accountant reminded me thru accusation rather than reason mind you, is that addiction paradigms are not without flaws. One of the excuses my step sister and her family used to justify a number of significant transgressions and abuses was a mind body paradigm which presupposed a biological basis for mental processes which veered into hard core scientific reductionism and determinism. In the process of excusing various issues they abused far more and I fear that in their stupidity they allowed and facilitated the projection of larger societal issues into inappropriate contexts.

As an individual, I may one day accept my step mother again. I will always accept my step sisters children. For the time being, I despise her 13 years later. Infinity. Along with her brother and ALL the former friends and associates from two counties that she spread her lies in and MOST of my own home county.

Biological paradigms that mimic horror stories of “the gulag” coming prior to and on the heels of 911 could not be trusted – then or now. That was the genius of Osma Bin Laden and the germ of conspiracy post 911. They lend themselves to the ideas of eugenics and yet more conspiracy. When you know what I do and whom I know and you sit and watch what falls away after the fact you realize how little we know and just how much.

But back to closure and why it is often elusive. Closure is not about acceptance of bullshit decisions, choices or actions. Closure is about reaching a point where free will returns to us.

For those dealing with these issues, remember that free will is not a logical fallacy. Information and paradigms may contain them. Finding peace requires a clear mind. Peace is not a endless journey. It is available. It does exist.

And actions have consequences.