Author Archive for: ‘Mrs. B and The Cat’

Concluding Thoughts on R. L. Dabney: The Sensualistic Philosophy

from my blog

The philosophy of the nineteenth-century sensualists and positivists–particularly Comte, Hobbes, and Mill–assaulted God and science with the same club. Thus, in deconstructing the premises of this philosophical strain, Robert L. Dabney upheld the causes both of God and science.

Evolution theory is not simply unprovable and wrong. The theory attacked the foundations of Christianity: God creating Man in his own image, placing him at the head of an ordered Creation, with a foreknown Fall and Redemption, all for his glory.

Evolution theory turned man into a soulless beast. Its proponents claimed solid, observable facts which were neither. The theory offered nothing to account for man’s God-directed spirit; and so, it attempted to gainsay the existence of both man’s spirit and God.…

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Further Reading in Dabney and Some Thoughts on Creation, Its Laws, and the Irrationality of Evolution

From my blog

Once more, quotations are taken from Robert L. Dabney: The Sensualistic Philosophy, Naphtali Press, 2003.

Robert L. Dabney’s philosophical observations of science are not stale; on the contrary, his observations are still crisp and refreshingly prescient after more than 125 years.

The permeation of scientific thought with Sensualistic philosophy displaced religion with Materialism; creation with force, motion, and chance; God with unknowable, impersonal forces; the soul with nerve bundles; and consciousness with organically advantageous neural impulses. As Dabney notes, we are compelled to look beyond science and philosophy to Biblical revelation “to learn that a man goeth upward and a beast downward” (p. 125).

“That a fortuitous conjunction of atoms should account for all the marvels of design in the universe, and that material mass should be endowed with consciousness, reason, and conscience, are difficulties common to this and all the other phases of this philosophy” (p.

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Ayn Rand: The Failure of Mind as God

From my blog

Ayn Rand (1905-1982) was the great white hope of atheists determined to commandeer rationality. Her philosophy, “Objectivism,” was unique in its separation from the sensualists and its rejection of relativism. She did, nevertheless, hold man’s “own happiness as the moral purpose of his life,” and thus hearkens to John Stuart Mill.

Rand was influenced by Aristotle, Aquinas, and Nietzsche; from Aristotle she took the rational premise, “A is A.” She vehemently attacked every type of gnosticism and every form of empiricism, refuting the notion of what she called “the primacy of consciousness.” The primacy of consciousness is the cornerstone of postmodern thought: the notion that man’s conscious perception defines reality. Thus in this arena, Rand and Dabney were allies.…

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“A Constellation of Graces”

From my blog

I am unsure why the idea of beauty embarrasses me, as though my thoughts are too defective to confess. Often it seems to me that my beauty receptors process input in blunt chunks.

Objects–dwellings, clothing, the stuff of life–engage me with their utility, and beauty somehow is optional. The miraculous intricacies of creation–animal, botanical, and mineral, of the earth, sea, and visible heavens–captivate me; nevertheless, I fear my appreciation is terribly analytical.

But that isn’t what distresses me. The huge and terrible question is: Do I find beauty in Christ? This is where diffidence grips and I fear I am casehardened.

Certainly I find beauty in his Word. But, “He is altogether lovely“ (SS 5:16) refers to a Person, not to a Word.…

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Autumn Color and the Death of the Amish Children

From my blog

Thou art good, and doest good…Ps 119:68

Colors converge toward copper here, passing red, not quite gold. Our chickens are deep golden-buff and scarlet-combed. Crimson-leaved blueberries and cayenne-orange mountain ash berries, saturated in mid-autumn sun, hang on, closer to life than dormancy.

Even in my pleasant garden, I am never unaware of perturbation. Intermittent sirens and helicopters herald the presence of sin and pain and need.

This week a small Amish community in Pennsylvania buried five schoolgirls, murdered despite the girls’ likely compliance with their killer’s demand that they pray for him to protect him from carrying out his horrific crime.

Today, as are all days, is a good day to be a Calvinist.

Only a Calvinist sees events like this in a light that comports with God’s own testimony: the absolute sovereignty of his perfect will.…

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Upward Descent and Other Amazing Deviations: Dabney Dissects Darwin

From my blog

Mid-nineteenth-century evolution theory was a fission bomb forever sundering two ways of understanding life: Either we are related through Adam and unrelated to cantaloupe; or, we are related through protoplasm to both.

Dabney’s chapter, “Evolution Theory” is the Cat’s favorite thus far. He resents any implication that he is descended from inferior wild cats. If left to the wild habitats of his so-called ancestors, the Cat would most probably make his way to the nearest doorstep and yowl for cat food. Notwithstanding the Cat’s defective (though sensorially impeccable) epistemology, he understands that he is a discrete creation made to be a companion to man. This places the Cat far ahead of evolutionary theorists.

Dabney was a contemporary of Charles Darwin (1809″“1882), and thus the beneficiary of the same classical intellectual heritage from which Darwin drew.…

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The House of Mill: All Mirrors, No Windows

This is from my blog, Board Housewife & The Cat

I am still reading Dabney to the Cat. He takes it in through his senses. James and son John Stuart Mill would posit that I, if I formulate any ideas about their work, am experiencing “copies of single sensations.”

The Cat, whose ideation begins and ends with his own sensory learning, disbelieves Mill. The Cat learns everything in one take and finds insulting the idea of copies of his own uniquely perfect sensations.

The Cat does not think that I am as capable a learner as he. According to Mill, the Cat would be right. But the Cat would still be a lower animal in Mill’s scheme, because he cannot name his sensations, and I can.…

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The Pontiff of Humanity

from my blog Board Housewife & The Cat

“The Pontiff of Humanity”

Advisory: Scary content.

The Cat enjoys scaring his friend Zack. He has urged me, therefore, to write about Positivism’s arch scion, Auguste Comte, about whom we were just reading in Dabney. Comte had the modest aspiration of becoming “Pontiff of Humanity.”

Ideas that reject sources of knowledge can get very weird, and Comte quite possibly attained the zenith of weirdness. If we owe our ideas to no sources of knowledge outside of our own experience of phenomena, we tend to become a bit obsessed with ourselves. Thus, atheism is the predictable logical consequence of positivism.

Positivism denies the supernatural, even in light of the evidence of supernatural facts. Thus, the documented miracles that Christ performed on earth before thousands of witnesses would be denied or explained naturally–an impossibility untroubling to a positivist mind.…

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This is from my blog, Board Housewife & The Cat

“And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” Ge 1:31

“And Jehovah God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” Ge 2:16

God put man in the garden when he gave him dominion over the very good world he had made. “But,” touts this month’s cover of Smithsonian, “the real action is beyond our solar system.”

University of California-Berkeley astronomer Geoff Marcy evidently is unimpressed with God’s creation that took him seven days, at the end of which he set an example of rest. “I just don’t see how making an Earth could be hard,” posits Dr.…

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Thomas Hobbes, R. L. Dabney, and the Sensualist Cat

I posted this to my blog, Board Housewife & The Cat this morning.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. Pr 3:5

As I begin to read about the history of ideas, two things happen: First, the more I am called to repent my condonation of bad philosophy by reason of willful ignorance; and, second, the more I learn about the way the Cat thinks.

I am reading The Sensualistic Philosophy by Robert L. Dabney, a 19th-century conservative Southern Presbyterian theologian and philosopher, in an attempt to fill the philosophy gap I left open in my education. I avoided philosophy as much as I could in college, taking only a survey course.

After a two-decade gap, I began law school and was made to choke down something called “logical positivism” in a jurisprudence course.…

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