Penny for Your Philosophical Thoughts?
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Friday, April 29, 2005

Read it and Weep!

Here is the recommended reading for the Problem of Tragedy as suggested by York Gunther. It has a different title, but quit trippin' and read!

(slight edit by jes)

Thursday, April 28, 2005


(Sorry Nick...)

Ok, I am going to have a reading group this sat night. It was originally supposed to be at Chili’s, but instead, I am moving it to my mom’s house. We will order dinner, watch House of Sand and Fog, and have a discussion.

My mom’s address is 19700 Trull Brook Dr. Tarzana, Ca 91356

Take the Tampa exit, and go left onto Ventura Blvd. Go right onto Valanden, and then drive straight up for about 3 miles until you reach Corbin.

Go Right onto Corbin, then an immediate Left onto Trull Brook Dr.

Her place is on the left hand side, about 3/4 of the way up the hill.

The number at her house is: 818.881.7791. My cell is 818.606.3235.

If anyone is interested, please join us! Let me know by email


Monday, April 18, 2005


Hey all.

For those of you who couldn’t make the meeting last Wednesday, I will be planning another meeting for this Wednesday, 4/20, 5:30, ST 503.

It will be informal, so if you can’t make it, don’t worry about it.


Friday, April 15, 2005

Atheists and Faith

At the meeting last Wednesday (I encourage all who did not attend to read my magnificent notes below) I overheard the end of the table talking about faith. The point they brought up, and the point of this post, is the idea that in reality, Atheism requires as much a faith as Christianity.

I disagree. Though I did not say anything then, I would like to spark a conversation on the topic now.

First and foremost, when we talk about faith, it is my understanding that we are talking about much more than simply a belief. For example, I believe that the equation2 + 2 = 4, is correct, but certainly, we would not call that belief, faith. Or, for a less self evident example I believe that the places in the world we refer to as France and China exist, though I have not ever seen them. At least in a common (non epistemological - those people are CRAZY) setting, I would say that my belief is not faith.

Faith, as I understand it, is the word we use to describe a type of belief we find to be held without reason. Not to say the belief is illogical, just taken as true without the standard most people place on believing the truth of something. So, for example: I have a GPA that is too low, and my writing sample won’t be up to parr to get into UCLA. Someone may say to me, I have faith you will get into UCLA for Grad school. Though it isn’t reasonable to believe I will make the cut, it isn’t a logical impossibility. To further emphasize my point, if someone were to say something like, “I have faith you will get into Cal State LA”, I would be a bit insulted, as Cal State LA is a bottom of the line fall back program for me.

Anyway, if you talk about the Atheist having faith, you are talking about the Atheist making an unjustified irrational judgement based on the evidence given to him. Or, at least, as unreasonable as the judgement and belief held by a Christian (the belief in God we normally call faith).

This of course, presupposes that the conclusion the Atheist has drawn from the evidence is irrational or unreasonable. But that seems true only from a Christian or perhaps agnostic perspective, and even then, I would say a limited Christian perspective. Certainly, the Atheist doesn’t believe his conclusion can’t be rationally justified. Quite the contrary. The Atheist finds his conclusion to be the most rational explanation. Simply choosing not to allow for the possibility of a beings existence for which there is no evidence for seems prudent. For example, there is no evidence for the existence of a unicorn. That doesn’t mean unicorns don’t exist. It is logically possible that such a creature does in fact exist. But I think we would be reluctant to tell the person who does not believe in the existence of unicorns they have FAITH unicorns don’t exist.

So at least, we can understand why the Atheist would not say he had faith in the nonexistence of God.

But then, some say there are compelling arguments which state that the Atheist is wrong. That the evidence clearly shows that one is justified in believing in at least some theistic perspective. John showed us some of those arguments in his side of the debate on The Argument from Intelligent design, a week ago. If you believe those arguments to be sound I wouldn’t say you had faith in a deity (if that is what the argument leads to), I would say your belief would be justified. I would disagree with your conclusions, but I wouldn’t say your belief in those conclusions meant you had faith in your answer.

Where I do think the idea of faith comes in is when we start extrapolating on the properties of these deities; properties they do not need to have given their role in explaining the evidence presented. So, if you want to say the systems of nature couldn’t rationally be the product of evolutionary force, thus there must be some designer, I would grant you that belief as being one that had nothing to do with faith. It might be a reasonable conclusion. But to then say this being was all good, that seems like a leap that is not reasonable. Nothing about being an intelligent designer means you are all good or all knowing. In this brief case, you would have FAITH this designer was God.

So, to back track, I wouldn’t say that simply being an Atheist or a Theist is a belief I would catagorize as one of faith, given you have compelling arguments to justify your claim. However, the jump to Christianity does seem to be a jump of faith. There are compelling argument that would make the postulation of such a God unnecessary. Moreover there seem to be classic problems that surround the existence of such a God.

It is in this way I feel the belief in the traditional Christian God can be called faith, while a belief in the non existence of God cannot be.

Did I miss the boat? I am sure I will know soon...

Thursday, April 14, 2005

4-13-05 Minutes

Dear Me,
Thanks for taking the minutes. It really helps me out.

* * *

What’s up Kids? For all you who missed it, here are the minutes from our “meeting” at Chili’s. As a general note, you missed a nice time. We were in rare form last night, as we all chatted about, PHILOSOPHY. It was very... uhhh. philosophical!

And stuff

First, we had a few new people join us. Dana (not you, other Dana) (Engineering major) Chris (Urban Planning, senior), Eric (sp?) (Phil Junior) and Dena (Phil Junior) joined us for dinner. So thanks to them! I hope to see you all at the next meeting.

We talked a bit about the debate: It’s official...GO US!

Some of us are going to help out Bonnie Paller with the Phil of Science Conference on April 23. Myself included, now that my original plans fell through.

YOU SHOULD ALL SIGN UP TO HELP OUT PROFESSOR PALLER. We will be handing out name tags and escorting professors around and what not.

READING GROUP PLANNED FOR APRIL 30. We will be discussing the problem of Tragedy.
The following Tuesday, we are meeting at Professor Gunther’s house to discuss the problem further with Sandy Shapshay at 8:00.

She will be talking at CSUN May 4th @ 4.00 in the Whittset (sp?) Room SH 451.

The grad workshop has been moved to May 4th. However, that date is BAD, because of Sandy Shapshay’s talk. Perhaps MAY 11th is better. Nick, hold off for a few days booking the room.

I am going to be auditing classes next fall. I am willing to stay on as President, but given the guidelines of the constitution, (of which we are so mindful) I am not allowed. So we have to chat about how willing we are to break the rules of the constitution (again).

Oh, and before I forget, Nick wants his official title to be Minister of Defense for The SPS. Mike wants to be The SPS Director of Agricultural Design. Given their devotion and hard work these past few weeks, I see no problem with this.

So, it shall be said, so it shall be done.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Next Meeting

Party On, Party People!

Ok everybody... the next meeting, unless Tim tells me otherwise, will be this Wednesday April 13th @ Chili’s on Reseda. It will be a short meeting, as we have only the upcoming Grad School Workshop and the success of the Debate to Discuss. Also, we will decide whether or not we want to do anything else before the end of the school year.

Perhaps we can make Dana’s reading group work...


I will be in ST 503 on April 20th. I will catch up anyone who missed the celebration/discussion then.

Attached in the flyer.


Don’t forget about Sandra Harding
SC 1117 @ 3:30
She will be available @5:30 in ST 503
for an EXCLUSIVE student Q&A session.

Be there or be square, y0.

Friday, April 08, 2005


Oh man guys, we rocked the debate OUT!!!! The whole team really pulled together and produced a quality event. Dana and Josh secured a location, John and Drew and Tammy and Josh Holt and Josh D and Nick and Mike (and even I) worked really hard on the information presented.

Thanks too to all the flyer teams (go Nick and Mike and Dana, the rogue flyer alliance).

For all who didn’t go, I am sorry we missed you. Perhaps next time we will see you there.

I am so pleased with how everything went. The club put on an awesome event!


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Whats up with Da Bate!?

Whatsup everyone, its officially the day before the day before the debate. Are we ready? Do we need to meet up again? I dont know if we have anything scheduled tomorrow (wednesday), but if anyone wants to meet up and go over the debate again before we actually do the damn thing Im free and will be on campus around 5:30. Take care, Nick

Friday, April 01, 2005


DON'T FORGET!!!!!!!!!

The Reading group will be on Saturday, April 2nd @ 2:00 pm. We will discuss the arguments surrounding the debate, which for anyone who doesn’t remember (or wasn’t at the meeting) is

“The Argument from Intelligent Design”

The Pro Side: Joe, Drew, John (for the argument for Intelligent Design)
The Con: Jes, Nick, Dana, Steve (against the argument for Intelligent Design)

Since Joe can't make it, Nick, Mike, and I are going to meet Joe for dinner so we can catch him up.

Make sure you come to the meeting with some sort of argument or information on an article that you think would make the debate more interesting and involving. We will discuss them in depth.

The meeting will be at my apartment: 19143 Victory Blvd #230. Reseda, CA 91335.
Write me and I will give you directions. OR you can see a map here <— link.

My cell is: 818.606.3235
My home is: 818.654.9392