IPhone’s Siri won’t refer for abortion: Adopted Steve Jobs’ last word from beyond the grave?

“Siri is doing exactly what it was built to do—provide answers to questions like, “Where can I get an abortion?” using its own algorithms and the online resources it has available to craft answers.”

“Consider the current kerfuffle. This is simplifying things a bit, but the gist of this story is that Siri is getting hung up on a word, “abortion,” because organizations that actually offer abortion services tend not to use the word as much as anti-abortion organizations do. So when Siri goes looking for where to get an “abortion” in the digital wordscape of the Internet, lo and behold, it returns addresses for Crisis Pregnancy Centers rather than Planned Parenthood.” (via Siri is Dumb. There, We Said It. | News & Opinion | PCMag.com.)

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Looks like Atheists don’t believe in logic, either.

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Saint Anselm’s Ontological Argument for the Existence of God

Ontology: The philosophical inquiry into the nature of being. A branch of metaphysics.

The ontological argument was devised by Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109), who wanted to produce a single, simple demonstration which would show that God is and what God is. Single it may be, but far from simple. It is, perhaps, the most controversial proof for the existence of God. Most people who first hear it are tempted to dismiss it immediately as an interesting riddle, but distinguished thinkers of every age, including our own, have risen to defend it. For this very reason it is the most intensely philosophical proof for God’s existence; its place of honor is not within popular piety, but rather textbooks and professional journals. We include it, with a minimum of discussion, not because we think it conclusive or irrefutable, but for the sake of completeness.

Anselm’s Version

1) It is greater for a thing to exist in the mind and in reality than in the mind alone.

2) “God” means “that than which a greater cannot be thought.”

3) Suppose that God exists in the mind but not in reality.

4) Then a greater than God could be thought (namely, a being that has all the qualities our thought of God has plus real existence).

5) But this is impossible, for God is “that than which a greater cannot be thought.”

6) Therefore God exists in the mind and in reality.

Question 1: Suppose I deny that God exists in the mind?

Reply: In that case the argument could not conclude that God exists in the mind and in reality. But note: the denial commits you to the view that there is no concept of God. And very few would wish to go that far.

Question 2: Is it really greater for something to exist in the mind and in reality than in the mind alone?

Reply: The first premise of this argument is often misunderstood. People sometimes say: “Isn’t an imaginary disease better than a real one?” Well it certainly is better—and so a greater thing—for you that the disease is not real. But that strengthens Anselm’s side of the argument. Real bacteria are greater than imaginary ones, just because they have something that imaginary ones lack: real being. They have an independence, and therefore an ability to harm, that nothing can have whose existence is wholly dependent on your thought. It is this greater level of independence that makes them greater as beings. And that line of thinking does not seem elusive or farfetched.

Question 3: But is real being just another “thought” or “concept”? Is “real being” just one more concept or characteristic (like “omniscience” or “omnipotence”) that could make a difference to the kind of being God is?

Reply: Real being does make a real difference. The question is: Does it make a conceptual difference? Critics of the argument say that it does not. They say that just because real being makes all the difference it cannot be one more quality among others. Rather it is the condition of there being something there to have any qualities at all. When the proof says that God is the greatest being that can be “thought,” it means that there are various perfections or qualities that God has to a degree no creature possibly could, qualities that are supremely admirable. But to say that such a being exists is to say that there really is something which is supremely admirable. And that is not one more admirable quality among others.

Is it greater to exist in reality as well as in the mind? Of course, incomparably greater. But the difference is not a conceptual one. And yet the argument seems to treat it as if it were—as if the believer and the nonbeliever could not share the same concept of God. Clearly they do. They disagree not about the content of this concept, but about whether the kind of being it describes really exists. And that seems beyond the power of merely conceptual analysis, as used in this argument, to answer. So question 3, we think, really does invalidate this form of the ontological argument.

Modal Version

Charles Hartshorne and Norman Malcolm developed this version of the ontological argument. Both find it implicitly contained in the third chapter of Anselm’s Proslogion.

1) The expression “that being than which a greater cannot be thought” (GCB, for short) expresses a consistent concept.

2) GCB cannot be thought of as: a. necessarily nonexistent; or as b. contingently existing but only as c. necessarily existing.

3) So GCB can only be thought of as the kind of being that cannot not exist, that must exist.

4) But what must be so is so.

5) Therefore, GCB (i.e., God) exists.

Question: Just because GCB must be thought of as existing, does that mean that GCB really exists?

Reply: If you must think of something as existing, you cannot think of it as not existing. But then you cannot deny that GCB exists; for then you are thinking what you say cannot be thought—namely, that GCB does not exist.

Possible Worlds Version

This variation on the modal version has been worked out in great detail by Alvin Plantinga. We have done our best to simplify it.

Definitions:

Maximal excellence: To have omnipotence, omniscience and moral perfection in some world.

Maximal greatness: To have maximal excellence in every possible world.

1) There is a possible world (W) in which there is a being (X) with maximal greatness.

2) But X is maximally great only if X has maximal excellence in every possible world.

3) Therefore X is maximally great only if X has omnipotence, omniscience and moral perfection in every possible world.

4) In W, the proposition “There is no omnipotent, omniscient, morally perfect being” would be impossible—that is, necessarily false.

5) But what is impossible does not vary from world to world.

6) Therefore, the proposition, “There is no omnipotent, omniscient, morally perfect being” is necessarily false in this actual world, too.

7) Therefore, there actually exists in this world, and must exist in every possible world, an omnipotent, omniscient, morally perfect being.

See nineteen more proofs for the existence of God

On Family, Kids, and Grandparents

1.  She was in the bathroom, putting on her makeup, under the watchful eyes of her young granddaughter, as she’d done many times before.  After she applied her lipstick and started to leave, the little one said, “But Grandma, you forgot to kiss the toilet paper good-bye!” I will probably never put lipstick on again without thinking about kissing the toilet paper good-bye …

2. My young grandson called the other day to wish me Happy Birthday.  He asked me how old I was, and I told him, 62.  My grandson was quiet for a moment, and then he asked, “Did you start at 1?”

3. After putting her grandchildren to bed, a grandmother changed into old slacks and a droopy blouse and proceeded to wash her hair.   As she heard the children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience grew thin.  Finally, she threw a towel around her head and stormed into their room, putting them back to bed with stern warnings.  As she left the room, she heard the three-year-old say with a trembling voice, “Who was THAT?”

4. A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter what her own childhood was like.  “We used to skate outside on a pond.   I had a swing made from a tire; it hung from a tree in our front yard. We rode our pony.  We picked wild raspberries in the woods.” The little girl was wide-eyed, taking this all in.  At last she said, “I sure wish I’d gotten to know you sooner!”

5.  My grandson was visiting one day when he asked, “Grandma, do you know how you and God are alike?”  I mentally polished my halo and I said, “No, how are we alike?”  “You’re both old,” he replied.

6. A little girl was diligently pounding away on her grandfather’s word processor … she told him she was writing a story.  “What’s it about?” he asked.  “I don’t know,” she replied. “I can’t read.”

7.  I didn’t know if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I decided to test her.  I would point out  something and ask what color it was.  She would tell me and was always correct.  It was fun for me, so I continued.  At last, she headed for the door, saying, “Grandma, I think you should try to figure out some of these colors  yourself!”

8. When my grandson Billy and I entered our vacation cabin, we kept the lights off until we were inside to keep from attracting pesky insects.  Still, a few fireflies followed us in.  Noticing them before I did, Billy whispered, “It’s no use Grandpa.  Now the mosquitoes are coming after us with flashlights …”

9. When my grandson asked me how old I was, I teasingly replied, “I’m not sure.”  “Look in your underwear, Grandpa,” he advised  “Mine says I’m 4 to 6.”

10. A second grader came home from school and said to her grandmother, “Grandma, guess what?  We learned how to make babies today.”  The grandmother, more than a little surprised, tried to keep her cool. “That’s interesting.” she said.  “How do you make babies?”   “It’s simple,” replied the girl. “You just change ‘y’ to ‘i’ and add ‘es’.”

11. Children’s Logic: “Give me a sentence about a public servant,” said a teacher.  The small boy wrote:  “The fireman came down the ladder pregnant.”  The teacher took the lad aside to correct him. “Don’t you know what pregnant means?” she asked. “Sure,” said the young boy confidently. ‘It means carrying a child.”

12. A grandfather was delivering his grandchildren to their home one day when a fire truck zoomed past.  Sitting in the front seat of the fire truck was a Dalmatian dog.  The children started discussing the dog’s duties.  “They use him to keep crowds back,” said one child.  “No,” said another. “He’s just for good luck.”  A third child brought the argument to a close.”They use the dogs,” she said firmly, “to find the fire hydrants.”

13. A 6-year-old was asked where his grandma lived.  “Oh,” he said, “she lives at the airport, and when we want her, we just go get her.   Then, when we’re done having her visit, we take her back to the airport.”

14. Grandpa is the smartest man on earth!  He teaches me good good things, but I don’t get to see him enough to get as smart as him!

15. My Grandparents are funny, when they bend over,  you  hear gas leaks and they blame their dog.

Submitted by Bob Stanley

Greg explains why he’s still Catholic, even after all the scandalous nonsense.

10. My spiritual journey has had a certain logic to it. Going from atheist to Evangelical to Presbyterian to Lutheran to Catholic is like a climb up the church ladder. To go back wouldn’t make any sense.
9. Becoming a Protestant would throw me back into that self-selective church thing. Which communion would I choose? Why Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and not Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod? Or why Lutheran and not Presbyterian? Protestants have to make and reevaluate these choices all the time, and it’s a huge headache. When you’re Catholic you’re just Catholic. It’s peaceful.
8. As a Protestant I was always having to explain things to friends and acquaintances. Some lunatic Presbyterian denomination would ordain a gay sea lion and somebody at the office would ask, “You’re a Presbyterian, aren’t you?” Or when I became a Lutheran it was always, “So what’s the difference between the Missouri Synod and the regular Lutheran Church?” Not that Catholics don’t do and say weird things, but there’s an understanding that the Catholic Church is so big and so old and so full of both saints and sinners that individual Catholics aren’t held accountable.
7. When I first became Catholic, I had this extraordinary feeling of continuity with the Church through the ages. I realized that I was in the church of St. Patrick and St. Thomas. Protestant groups broke away, and the tie has been severed to some extent.
6. There’s an amazing amount of freedom in the Catholic Church. As a Protestant you self-identify with a narrow theological and cultural group. As a Catholic you might be an albino assassin or a “we are the church” fanatic, or just the guy who gets dragged to Mass by his mother-in-law. You don’t have to go to Bingo and you don’t have to be a Knight. You can have weekly Bible studies if you want, and sometimes a church committee meets at Red Hot & Blue.
5. Catholics have fewer bizarre hang-ups — about Halloween or beer or evolution. Protestants talk about “Christian liberty,” but Catholics live it.
4. With the certainty of faith, I can say that we’ll never have priestesses in the Roman Catholic Church.
3. The sacrament of penance is a wonderful thing.
2. While God is free to extend His grace beyond His promises, when I receive the Catholic Eucharist I know it’s valid.
1. The Roman Catholic Church is the Church Christ founded. Period.


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Three rational proofs for the existence of God

THE THREE PROOFS OF CARDINAL RUINI

The first speakers, on Thursday, December 10, were Cardinal Ruini and Robert Spaemann of Germany. Both spoke as philosophers.

Ruini outlined three ways of access to God, three proofs of his existence, not theological but rational, and therefore able to be presented to all, not only to believers.

The first way departs from the evident fact “that there is something rather than nothing.” The second moves from the observation that the universe can be known by man. The third is based on man’s experience of a moral law within himself.

The three ways therefore make reference to the “transcendentals” of classical philosophy: to being, truth, and goodness. In making his arguments, Ruini intended to overcome the radical objections that these have faced over the past two centuries, beginning with Kant. But he acknowledged that not even these ways have the power of an apodictic demonstration, one that does not raise new doubts. And so? The cardinal’s final proposal is that the existence of God be accepted as “the best hypothesis,” with a formula taken from Joseph Ratzinger.

Here are the final two paragraphs from Ruini’s address:

“The difficulties of the metaphysical approach in the contemporary cultural context, together with the dilemma arising from the existence of evil in the world, are the essential reasons for that ‘strange shadow that looms over the question of the eternal realities’. Thus the existence of a personal God, as solidly arguable as we have sought to make it, is not the object of an apodictic demonstration, but remains ‘the best hypothesis, which demands that we renounce a position of domination and take the risk of a stance of humble listening’. The implications of such an acknowledgment are great, both for relations between believers and nonbelievers – which, already for this essential reason, should be marked by sincere and firmly held mutual respect – and  for the personal attitude of each believer, and in particular for the fundamental role that prayer must occupy in our relationship with God, so as to be able implore from him the gift of faith, which gives us that unconditional and at the same time free certainty about God which, as Saint Thomas explains, does not in any way exclude the possibility of further inquiry, but supports our fidelity to him, extending to the gift of ourselves.

“I will finish with an observation that seems to me fairly emblematic of the condition in which we are living. There is a profound parallel between the approach to God and the approach to ourselves, as intelligent and free subjects. In both cases, we are currently subjected to the pressure of a strong and pervasive epistemological scientism and naturalism, often unconsciously metaphysical, which would like to declare that God does not exist, or at least cannot be known by reason, and to reduce man to an object of nature among the others. Today, as perhaps never before, it therefore seems clear that the affirmation of man as a subject and the affirmation of God ‘simul stant et simul cadunt’, they stand or fall together. This is deeply logical, because on the one hand it is very difficult to establish a true and irreducible emergence of man with respect to the rest of nature if nature itself is the whole of reality, and on the other it is equally difficult to keep the mind open to a personal, intelligent, and free God – in a way that is true, even if it is ineffable to us – if this irreducible specificity of the human subject is not acknowledged. Bearing witness to the true God and at the same time to the truth of man is therefore perhaps the most exhilarating task that has been entrusted to us.”

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