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ficino last won the day on April 18 2015

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About ficino

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  • Birthday February 26

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    New York, NY
  • Interests
    literature, philosophy
  • More About Me
    ancient texts

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?

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  1. I don't know why people keep thinking that all the ancients believed that the earth is flat. That view does indeed seem to be the one reflected in many OT passages. But by the fourth century BCE Greek scientists and philosophers held that the earth is spherical and had arguments for this. I don't know whether they picked up the idea from earlier civilizations. The Babylonians had amassed a huge trove of astronomical data.
  2. Introduction

    Hello, ExTeknon, and welcome. I hear you on your reluctance to leave the support group and small group suddenly. It took me quite a while to stop going to mass, because I was reluctant to disappoint people who relied on me to do various things and to support what they did. Eventually, when the Catholic bishops opposed yet again, for the umpteenth time, a bill in the NY State legislature to secure rights for gay and lesbian people (this was before transgender people were very visible as a group), I decided I just could not support this organization any more. My faith had dissolved some time before that. rock on, and I hope to hear more from you.
  3. A good video, deserves wider circulation.
  4. Geezer, can you link some of the lectures? Please forgive me if you've done that already and I missed it.
  5. An Atheist Argument for Objective Morality

    End, I've "known" you a long time now, to the extent we know each other online. I've seen changes over the years in what you write, which tell me there are changes in you. As in me. So ... with my husband a semi-invalid, I can't travel to Texas. But rest assured that if we could do it, I'd join you and bring some beers from up my way. Rock on.
  6. Screwing up my kids

    Yes, my father was raised pretty strict Methodist. They signed The Pledge, everything. Later he got interested in eastern religion, Jung, and as an artist, in questions about what is the source of art? So his schizophrenia manifested itself in an amalgam of Christian and mystical imagery with my father as the conquering hero who psychically died and rose again. It was of consuming interest to him but he could never put his ideas into a form he could monetize, bless his heart.
  7. Screwing up my kids

    Hello LostinParis, I am very sorry to hear all this. By Orthodox, do you mean Greek or Russian or the equivalent? I am surprised to hear that Greek Orthodox churches are making a big deal about hell, if that's the group your husband grew up in. My father suffered a psychotic breakdown when I was in the womb. He came out of it mostly, but not completely. He spent the next almost 60 years of his life in the conviction that he had had a mystical experience and had realized the divine part of his soul. His delusions were different from what you describe as your husband's, but yes, the schizophrenia manifested itself in religiously-shaped mental structures. there was no way to argue my father out of his beliefs. He was a good and loving man, but his remaining schizophrenia (so diagnosed decades later as still being there) and belief system--which was at bottom all about him--led him to make very bad decisions. When I was old enough, I got the financial independence that allowed me to limit the effects his decisions had on me. My mother, who had given up her career, was pretty much stuck. There have been many people on this site who are married to conservative believers. I can't advise about your marriage and family from experience, but you can get many good perspectives from people on this board who have been through what you're in the midst of. It sounds as though you are doing a great job of being a mother and wife and human person. Hugs, f
  8. Threatened by my pentecostalist father in law

    Smokey, how horrible. I can only second what others have written and add, I don't know about Australian law, but I've been advised that in New York State, a spouse who leaves the residence reduces his/her chances of retaining the residence in a settlement. Whatever you can do, get those PILs out of YOUR property. And see if you can get legal advice about the consequences if you move out and later on, there is a divorce.
  9. Series of causes

    Thanks for your contributions, guys. I'll get back in several days. Cheers, f
  10. Series of causes

    yes, this Thomistic stuff gets very difficult even to discuss because of the Aristotelian framework in which it is couched. People like Edward Feser try to drop the Aristotelian physics, which they admit is outmoded, but keep the metaphysics. I've been trying to follow through on what look to me like contradictions in Thomism even from within an Aristotelian framework. I'm still not sure how well I've lined up what look like discrepancies to me. Why do I bother? Well, partly because I "work on" ancient philosophy, and partly because I think the modern Thomistic apologists are wrong and dangerous but more persuasive to a certain class of educated person than are the typical Protestant apologists. The Thomistic argument from motion uses "motion" in the Aristotelian sense of "change." Change on that understanding can be locomotion, alteration, or growth/decay. Anyway, thank you everyone for explaining some of the physics. I can't write anymore now; if it seems it's worthwhile and not too much of a time waster, I'll add later.
  11. Series of causes

    Hello gentlemen, I think I've followed what you both have written. However, I want to reemphasize that I am asking about a series of causes ordered "per se", not "per accidens." That is, a series in which each member of the causal series is acting simultaneously or virtually so. Aquinas would be fine with a series of causes/movers going back into infinity if the members in the series need not all exert their causality at once. Series of causes ordered per accidens: example (in Aristotelian-Thomistic lingo) the efficient cause of your conception was your father. Your father dies, you still exist. The efficient cause of your father's conception was your grandfather. And so on. This series can go back to infinity for Aquinas because not all the members are acting at once. All but one or two of them are dead. So the series doesn't constitute an actual infinite. The KCA trades on the above kind of series. So Aquinas rejected the KCA. the KCA has NO RELEVANCE WHATSOEVER to any cosmological argument advanced by Aquinas. Think instead of a flute player playing a tune. The tune is caused by the flute player. When the flute player stops, the tune stops. But the flute player's action, producing motion/change in the column of air in the flute, must itself be caused by something behind it - like the sun, which keeps the flute player alive. All the way up to the Unmoved Mover. The first cause in the series of causes that produces the tune NOW is the UM; proximate cause is the column of air in the flute, and so on backwards all at once. This is a series of causes ordered "per se." This is the kind of series Aquinas brings into his cosmological argument. It's an argument by which no instance of change can occur if there is not some unchanged agent powering the whole series of intermediary causes now. My question was, does the above construction fall apart because the notions of "flute player," "column of air," etc. are naive? That really these break down into an inscrutable zig-zag (I use metaphor) of quantum stuff at the quantum/nano level? That these events are not in an order, they're random, so the "per se" series actually just collapses on closer look into a series ordered "per accidens" - and thus, a series that can go back to infinity?
  12. Series of causes

    Thank you for these responses. I'm mulling them over. Later, f
  13. Series of causes

    Hello all, especially those who know much more about physics than I ... An important issue in Thomistic proofs of God is the appeal to series of causes that are ordered "per se." DON'T CLICK OFF YET!! I read on another board that there are no "per se" ordered series of causes at the micro level. Therefore Aquinas errs. I'd like to know more about this. Below follows my try at a brief explanation. After that, I'm hoping that someone can suggest an answer. What's at stake? Thomistic proofs of God. Here's the issue. Aquinas adopts an Aristotelian conception of efficient causes. Aquinas holds that whatever is changing in respect to property X (location, quality, whatever), must be acted on by something else that causes it to change. While the leaf is moving, on Aristotelian physics, something has to keep moving it. But that something must be moving because something is in turn moving IT. All the way back to an Unmoved Mover, since Ari holds that there can't be an infinite number of movers all moving the X thing at once. The above is a "per se ordered" series of movers/causes. The first mover in the series has to move all the lower movers in order that the last motion occur. This is different from a causal series ordered only "per accidens." In an accidental causal series, the movers don't have to be moving the "moved thing" at the same time. We can have Socrates' father cause Socrates to be born, and then die, but Socrates continues to exist. The causal relation between Sophroniscus and Socrates is accidental. But if Socrates is playing the lyre, the music will continue only as long as he plays. That's a per se causal relation. I have read that if you reduce all causality down to the quantum level, the per se ordered series of causes just fades away, because there are no stable substances or causes or effects at the micro/nano level. There is no unitary Socrates playing a unitary lyre. There are only subatomic particles doing their thing. And on that level, we can't say A is moving B. We can only say there is flux. Why does this matter? It matters because, if per se ordered causal series just collapse into causal series ordered per accidens ... Thomas' goose is COOKED! He has to have causal series ordered per se for his proofs to go through. Thomas himself allows that there can be an actual infinity of causes ordered per accidens. There can be one thing making another thing happen all the way back in time infinitely, as long as the outcome doesn't need its first cause to be acting in the present. This is why Aquinas rejected the Kalam cosmological argument. But if per se ordered series collapse into accidental ordered series, then there can be an actual infinite of causes of the universe, and Thomas' famous cosmological argument fails. So I'm intrigued by the idea that a per se ordered series of movers or causes might just collapse into a series ordered per accidens. If it did, that would be a useful outcome for atheists and a bad outcome for Thomistic apologists. Big stuff and I don't know how to evaluate it. Does anyone have any insights on this? Cheers, f
  14. Precessional Cosmology

    Hello Robert, and welcome. I think I recognize your name from the Biblical Early Writings forum. I used to hang out there but have not done so recently. My parents, esp. my father, believed that Jesus was a yogi who had attained union with God and who taught practices that can enable anyone to progress toward that goal. They believed he lived on after he rose from the dead and that he continued to teach disciples. They thought much of Christianity's narrative was invention that concealed the mystical teachings, though the narrative did allow the ethical teachings to continue. I'm looking forward to more of what you write.
  15. Falsifying Evolution

    Vigile, you mean "the possibility of falsification" or "falsifiability" or something like that, correct?