Friday, April 27, 2007


Excerpt from Paradise Lost

I think the following verses are among the most well known of John Milton's great poem:

What in me is dark
Illumin, what is low raise and support;
That to the highth of this great Argument
I may assert Eternal Providence,
And justifie the wayes of God to men.

Paradise Lost

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Thursday, April 26, 2007


Excerpt from Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed

Moses Maimonides is among the greatest of Jewish thinkers.

(M. FRIEDLÄNDER translation)

Book III, Chapter LI

My son, so long as you are engaged in studying the Mathematical Sciences and Logic, you belong to those who go round about the palace in search of the gate. Thus our Sages figuratively use the phrase: “Ben-zoma is still outside.” When you understand Physics, you have entered the hall; and when, after completing the study of Natural Philosophy, you master Metaphysics, you have entered the innermost court, and are with the king in the same palace. You have attained the degree of the wise men, who include men of different grades of perfection. There are some who direct all their mind toward the attainment of perfection in Metaphysics, devote themselves entirely to God, exclude from their thought every other thing, and employ all their intellectual faculties in the study of the Universe, in order to derive therefrom a proof for the existence of God, and to learn in every possible way how God rules all things; they form the class of those who have entered the palace, namely, the class of prophets.

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Excerpt from Augustine's Confessions

(Edward Pusey translation)

Book V, Chapter II

On the Vanity of Those Who Wished to Escape the Omnipotent God.

They discourse many things truly concerning the creature; but Truth, Artificer of the creature, they seek not piously, and therefore find Him not; or if they find Him, knowing Him to be God, they glorify Him not as God, neither are thankful, but become vain in their imaginations, and profess themselves to be wise...

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Monday, April 23, 2007


Skorokhod on determinism and chaos

A. Skorokhod is a big name in probability. The following is excerpted from one of his books:

1.1.1 Determinism and Chaos

In a deterministic world, randomness must be absent -- it is absolutely subject to laws that specify its state uniquely at each moment of time. This idea of the world (setting aside philosophical and theological considerations) existed among mathematicians and physicists in the 18th and 19th centuries (Newton, Laplace, etc.). However, such a world was all the same unpredictable because of its complex arrangement. In order to determine a future state, it is necessary to know its present state absolutely precisely and that is impossible. It is more promising to apply determinism to individual phenomena or aggregates of them. There is a determinate relationship between occurrences if one entails the other necessarily. The heating of water to 100°C under standard atmospheric pressure, let us say, implies that the water will boil. Thus, in a determinate situation, there is complete order in a system of phenomena or the objects to which these phenomena pertain. People have observed that kind of order in the motion of the planets (and also the Moon and Sun) and this order has made it possible to predict celestial occurrences like lunar and solar eclipses. Such order can be observed in the disposition of molecules in a crystal (it is easy to give other examples of complete order). The most precise idea of complete order is expressed by a collection of absolutely indistinguishable objects.

In contrast to a deterministic world would be a chaotic world in which no relationships are present. The ancient Greeks had some notion of such a chaotic world. According to their conception, the existing world arose out of a primary chaos. Again, if we confine ourselves just to some group of objects, then we may regard this system to be completely chaotic if the things are entirely distinct. We are excluding the possibility of comparing the objects and ascertaining relationships among them (including even causal relationships). Both of these cases are similar: the selection of one (or several objects) from the collection yields no information. In the first case, we know right away that all of the objects are identical and in the second, the heterogeneity of the objects makes it impossible to draw any conclusions about the remaining ones. Observe that this is not the only way in which these two contrasting situations resemble one another. As might be expected, according to Hegel's laws of logic, these totally contrasting situations describe the exact same situation. If the objects in a chaotic system are impossible to compare, then one cannot distinguish between them so that instead of complete disorder, we have complete order.

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Friday, April 20, 2007


Amazing but true!

Amanda Marcotte offers a false dichotomy: a supposedly good god allows so much evil on his watch is only a rude question because it’s basically a philosophical dead end. Either god is capricious and allows evil for the hell of it or he doesn’t exist.

Either Amanda is willfully ignorant or she has exceeded her intellectual capacity.

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Reasonable Faith

Reasonable Faith with William Lane Craig

(via Right Reason)

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Christian Turks fear more attacks

MALATYA, Turkey (AP) -- The killings of three Christians in eastern Turkey highlight the country's uneasy relationship with its minorities, and Christians expressed fear that growing nationalism and intolerance could lead to more violence against them.


No surprise here. Islamic Turks are barbarians.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007


Happy Πασχα!

(no text)

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Natural Law in Cicero

True Law is right reason in agreement with nature; it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting; it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions. And there will not be different laws at Rome and at Athens, or different laws now and in the future, but one law, both eternal and unchangeable, will be valid for all nations and all times, and there will be one master and ruler of all, God, for of this law he is the founder, judge, and lawgiver.

(De republica 3.33, as cited by Richard Horsley.)

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