Author Archives: Contingent, Not Arbitrary

The Jesus Race

In my last post I pointed out some suspicious similarities between the implications of the filioque and the excesses of modernity. Let’s take it a bit further. If the divinity of Jesus is inherent to him as opposed to proceeding from the … Continue reading

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Did the Filioque Ruin the West?

You’re thinking: “How could a single word, added in the sixth century to the Nicene Creed of the fourth century, whose theological implications drove a wedge between the Eastern and Western Churches, have ruined the West?” That’s a good question. … Continue reading

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Load-Bearing Beliefs

The concept of God does a lot of heavy lifting in Christianity. He knows all and punishes transgression, thus protecting you from temptation. He works in mysterious ways and visits the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the … Continue reading

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Tradition is Underrated

Finding good ideas would be much easier if we could run experiments on societies. Indoctrinate a group with a set of beliefs, isolate them in a small village, observe and record the results for a few generations. Too bad about the ethics, the expense … Continue reading

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Unintended Consequences: They’re Worse Than You Think

If we are blinded to the wrong patterns, millions die. This is what happens with communism: try it and you get famine and tyranny. Unfortunately the idea sounds so nice that people keep trying – with predictable results. My lesson here is not “Communism is bad” but a more … Continue reading

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Cause, Effect and Choice

No matter how confusing the world can seem, it is a lawful place. Everything happens for a reason, and every event affects what comes after. This includes our choices. They come from our mental state influenced by our personal history … Continue reading

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The Model that Said Too Much

My model of four types of ideas is more powerful than I expected – too powerful, in fact. Let me demonstrate. Pretty lies are easier to stomach than an ugly truth so convincing ideas are not necessarily good. Safe and easy life … Continue reading

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The Good, the Bad, and the (Un)convincing

In my mission statement I posed two questions: “How do values spread and persist?” and “Which values do good?” Let’s substitute “ideas” for “values” for the purposes of this discussion. The concepts are more general and the word “idea” just flows better … Continue reading

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Mission Statement for Contingent, Not Arbitrary

If I am to get anywhere with this blog, I must be clear on my core task. This is my first attempt at defining it. It may not be the last; my thinking is still in flux. A vital attribute of a … Continue reading

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The Starting Point: My thesis and its implications

I recently had an insight into metaethics that seems worth sharing and further exploration. If the argument has already been made, please point me to it. My thesis can be summarized thus: Value systems are ultimately judged by their results. Lofty ideals count for … Continue reading

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