1 hour with Thomas Aquinas

Over my new years vacation I had an opportunity to challenge a Catholic on the existence of God. I was told that this was a well known fact that has already been proved. Naturally I probed and encouraged polite discussion. The Catholic was not able to communicate the argument to me stating that it was overly complicated however was quick to assign me homework to read a book about Thomas Aquinas and his proof of God. A few observations before I comment on the book:

  • I realize that the Catholic did not understand his or her own position on the matter since they were not able to actually make the argument they they professed to agree with. I also realize that academically I won the debate at this moment since no counter point was actually given.
  • From an epistemological perspective I observed the Catholic claim that reason, emotion, and faith were all valid methods of knowledge. This makes any reasonable argument I make ineffective if it conflicts with the Catholic’s faith or emotion based conclusions.

I decided to take a look at the Thomas Aquinas book until I found an error in his metaphysics. I didn’t have to read long. On page 15 it was stated that Thomas Aquinas holds there can be “forms” without “matter” – that is the existence “immaterial” substance (for which he offers no further explanation). This disassociates existence from identity and allows for “immaterial” things such as souls, angels, God, etc., to have a metaphysical identity without a corespondent existent.

It is a rejection of reason which allows for assigning metaphysical significance to arbitrary concepts and will result in contradictions and ultimately cognitive chaos.

Lessons from Atlas Shrugged

New section – Be Better

I’ve added a new section titled “Be Better” (see the new tab at the top). The name “Be Better” was chosen because it is a terse phrase that represents what I want others to accomplish whenever I have an opportunity to speak or give advice.  This section will contain resources that have directly helped me obtain success in some area of my life. Items on this page must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Resource must clearly identify universally true principles and concepts.
  • Resource must contain insights and wisdom that once realized will be significant time savers.
  • Resource must be effectively communicated.
  • I must personally have used the resource and benefited from it.


The Most Important Test

The following are four questions that reveal an individual’s character, intellectual maturity, and consistency. If voters demanded political candidates to answer these questions correctly before elections then modern politics would not be in the bad state it is in today. The questions:

  1. What is the proper role of government?
  2. How do you differentiate right from wrong?
  3. How do you know?
  4. How would you convince a reasonable persone who disagrees with you that your position is good and proper?

(below the fold)
I am not going to give the answers yet however:

  • They are answerable.
  • They are a product of approximately 2/5 years of studying economics and philosophy.
  • The answers can be proven objectively.
  • I ask them to challenge politicians whenever I get the chance – as of the date of this post no politician has ever answered correctly (not even #1).
  • They are based on four hierarchically dependant branches of philosophy as identified by Ayn Rand.

French ban of full face veils is immoral

France has banned full face veils targeting women wearing the niqab or burqa in public. Reuters

This is an instance where one form of tyranny was exchanged for another. Many Muslim women are coerced by practitioners of their religion (sometimes violently) into wearing the full face veil are now being coerced by the French government to adhere to a dress code.

Laws such as this should not be passed off as a “means to an end” or a “necessary evil”. Remember that moral ends are not realized by immoral means and evil is never necessary.