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March 5, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

Lakoff, Donald Trump, Metaphors, and Strict fathers

George Lakoff, who is a scholar of metaphor and politics gives his take on Donald Trump. (link)

Here is my take on Lakoff’s analysis RE: Donald Trump and the Strict Father Metaphor:

Interesting article…..but I think Lakoff is faaaaaar too tied into his pet theory. Speaking of archetypes and metaphors, I’m confused how a “strict father model” would jive with the side-show esque nature of Trump. Its precisely rebellion thats at the heart of Trump without any core of character or ethics–there is no backbone. Trump isn’t the ultimate strict father, but the ultimate rebellious clown & the ultimate flip flopper. Not to mention, Trump is anti-free market on China and elsewhere. Perhaps the “strict father” is just whatever Lakoff wants it to be–in so far as it fits or approximates reality.

February 28, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

Best movies about the Human Spirit


Dead Poets Society

Forrest Gump

Good Will Hunting

Beautiful Mind

Pretty much every sports movie ever made (Miracle about the 1980 US Mens Hockey team comes to mind).

February 14, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

The Death Knell of Materialist/Naturalist Reductionism as an Ideology and Worldview

Materialism/Naturalism versus The Realities of Our Daily Lives:

The universe itself isn’t intelligent. Objects are not intelligent. Thats science.

There is intelligence in the universe. There is intention in the universe. There is purpose in the universe. There is design in the universe. There is beauty in the universe. There is wonder in the universe. There is choice in the universe. There are minds that transcend brains in the universe. There is value in the universe. There is consciousness in the universe. These all are problematic from a materialist/naturalist paradigm.

Because without the above we couldn’t have intelligent conversations. A world of relative truth makes dialog impossible. The world of no purpose collapses understandings of science that stem from the purpose of actions of individuals and groups.
Because without the above we couldn’t be ourselves in the sense of choosing and dignified beings.
Because without the above our meaning and purpose.
We don’t live in a “dadaist painting” Thats not the metaphor of live, otherwise all the academy, libraries, and bookstores would be useless.
The foundation of making choices about dignity, rights, justice, responsibility, duty, and excellence begins with something that is more substantive than just relative.
Because if its all just relative everything you’ve ever done is mostly meaningless and everything you’ve ever read and ever said is mostly meaningless.

What you are observing when you see the implications of intelligence that perhaps suggest that the universe is intelligent, you are actually seeing intelligence that manifests at another level.

We are more than “flotsam and jetsam” as Martin Luther King Jr. aptly pointed out in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. Life is more than just “chemistry, biology, and physics.” Our complex choices, relationships, values, decision-making and deliberation, consciousness, and emotional lives that leaves material-only understandings of reality quite literally “in the dust” and the dustbins of history.

We are a people in search of a new paradigm, a better paradigm that actually takes the lived experiences of human beings–rather than treating them as objects for dehumanization.

Humans are more than food and sex robots. We develop in quirky, nuanced, unpredictable, rich, deep, paradoxical, but also enriching and fulfilling ways. We live in a world in which humans are rational beings and yet so much more–we are relational and communal. We develop as individuals over time through relationship–and reach new heights of understanding.

All of this calls the ontological and epistemological reductionism of materialism on its ill fated bet with history–its not a fulfilling of humanity but the selling out of humanity. It stripped humanity of its uniqueness, personality, subjectivity, identity, emotionality, and relationality. [thats not me, that the feminist talking, but I’ll be glad to agree]. We live embedded lives in systems.

CS Lewis quote

So what should emerge is a radical cognitive dissonance. The underlying ideology of materialism is a monkey in the room–its a shell game–and the jig is up.

[Possible other authors to add–University of Texas and Mary Migdley]

Using reductionism or materialism alone to attempt to understand us is but one part. Remember there was a Romantic period which spoke to the human experience in very deep ways that juxtaposed and intertwined with Enlightenment reason. To attempt to understand humans only through our rationality is to miss the boat. Its to burn down the art museum and every book on literature. It is to set fire to the movie theatre. And to ignore what lies at the very core of the human experience–relationship, family, community, and love.

Love is a dirty word or just a feeling or just a squirt of chemicals in the materialist world. Conceptually the materialist is without recourse or understanding of the phenomena of love that lies at our hearts both literally and metaphorically.

February 12, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

Science vs. Religion: The Great Scientists of Our Time Speak

February 4, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

Nicholas Rescher on Scientism

The theorist who maintains that science is the be-all and end-all — that what is not in science books is not worth knowing — is an ideologist with a peculiar and distorted doctrine of his own. For him, science is no longer a sector of the cognitive enterprise but an all-inclusive world-view. This is the doctrine not of science but of scientism. To take this stance is not to celebrate science but to distort it by casting the mantle of its authority over issues it was never meant to address.

The Limits of Science (Berkeley, University of California Press : 1984).

(I believe I’ve quoted this before, but its worth returning to)


Limits of Science from Nicholas Rescher on Google books

January 31, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

Defining Scientism. What is the difference between science and scientism

Science is a method.  Science is a way of interpreting and understanding the world.  Science also includes a community.

Scientism is a worldview.  Scientism is the attempt to use science to eliminate (the relevance and usefulness of) philosophy, history, psychology, and the rest of the academic disciplines housed on university campuses for the study of humans and the universe.  In short, scientism is a power-grab.  Its also a relatively close-minded power grab in the sense that it attempts to eliminate or undermine what are helpful disciplines in terms of human culture and understanding.  But for an understanding of key concepts–we would be lesser humans.

Also, this move for scientism or scientistic thinking ignores and down plays the day to day experiences of humans don’t occur through science.  My personal knowledge of myself as well as my understanding of ethics, my passions, my goals, and my identity is all subjective knowledge–which isn’t per se scientific.  Its still real–still very real–but the attempt to say that science can tell me who I am is problematic.  Moreover, the idea that scientific facts lead directly to questions of oughtness is also highly problematic.  For instance, that animals have a behavior based on instincts tells humans nothing about how to think ethically about instincts or what they tell us.  Questions of “is” and “ought” aren’t totally separate, however, just because something is doesn’t mean it ought to be.

Its also an attempt to bifurcate knowledge into the personal and impersonal.  The personal versus the universal.  The non-universal, particularly in the context of “objective science” and “repeatable science” becomes irrelevant, meaningless, or useless.  And in doing so an attempt to diminish the role of the personal.  In fact it totally depersonalizes who human beings are.  From certain perspectives it turns us into objects.  It says humans are “just chemistry, biology, and physics.”  It posits that we are just robots responding to naturalistic occurances in cause and effect fashion.  In this way it denies human rationality, human choice, and human dignity.  That move is incredibly problematic for reasons of both truth and ethics.  At the point at which we’ve dehumanized humans–its misunderstood who the human is and particularly who the human is in his/her day to day and at his/her core.


January 20, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

My Critique of Scientism in Rant Form

The problem is those who turn it into an ideology or worldview or belief system aren’t necessarily conscious that they are doing so. Or the ways in which it undermines both human thought and action. (because our daily lives involve 100s of decisions not subject to scientific proof in the strictest sense). Not to mention the wisdom of history, philosophy, literature, art, and those disciplines of the university which fall outside of physics, biology, and chemistry. To follow it to its logical conclusion would be to totally ignore all knowledge that didn’t fall from those 3 disciplines–at the university, at the library, on Amazon, and in our real lives. Its a fundamental impossibility–otherwise you end up jumping into the void of non-knowledge which means throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Unfortunately, Scientism is a dehumanizing sickness of our cultural times. And its not the first time either. The behaviorists if not directly, certainly indirectly did so. All the way back to the Atomists of Aristotle’s time who reduced everything to atoms in a reductionist kind of way. (Sadly that overly simplistic reductionism hasn’t gone away either). Its ironic that a skeptic will be skeptical of almost everything but his/her own skepticism, materialism, naturalism, and scientism. Active denial is often the response that I’ve seen most often. Ignoring the elephant in the room certainly doesn’t solve anything.


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