Monday, May 09, 2005

Why I Wasn't in Church this Sunday

Please pay attention. It could not be simpler than this.

(Thanks to American Street cohort Flamingo Jones for bringing it to our attention in her blog. Welcome to the Jingo Blogroll, Ms. Jones.)

From David Hume: On Miracles

The plain consequence is (and it is a general maxim worthy of our attention), 'That no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact, which it endeavours to establish....' When anyone tells me, that he saw a dead man restored to life, I immediately consider with myself, whether it be more probable, that this person should either deceive or be deceived, or that the fact, which he relates, should really have happened. I weigh the one miracle against the other; and according to the superiority, which I discover, I pronounce my decision, and always reject the greater miracle. If the falsehood of his testimony would be more miraculous, than the event which he relates; then, and not till then, can he pretend to command my belief or opinion.

Country founded on Judaeo-Christian moral principles my going-to-hell godless existentialist ass.

If I have to start parading around in knee-breeches, frock coats and an enormous powdered wig to keep the Enlightenment alive, then I shall do it, sir, and be damned to you. Be damned to you, I say, sir! A fig for your treachery!


Flamingo Jones said...

Happy to be here! I'm glad to find another soul who appreciates the sheer beauty of Hume's argument.

Flamingo Jones said...

Also, I'll be right there with you, keeping Enlightenment alive. I always thought I'd look hot in a powdered wig.

rameau's nephew said...

I have been steeping in Wolcott and Majikthise, and then went out reenacting Regency Upper Canada this past weekend. Under canvas, around the candle-lit table over port, I heard a new recruit expounding the whole millenialist "what other reason is there for Israel" revelations-end-of-days, Left Behind, Purpose Driven Life, muscular christianity perspective that more and more assumes its own mainstream-iness.

I snapped, and confronted him, with less intention of reasoned discourse, than in the sort of alarmed agitation engendered by the discovery of venomous creatures in the bedclothes. It did not end well, and has left me feeling even more ridiculous for even aspiring to rationality and/or sanity...

Neddie said...

FJ: Only too glad to have found you and your lovely blog. The powdered wig is only made hotter by the correct strategic placement of the Beauty Spot.

RN: Rest easy, O intemperate one. We have David Hume. They have James Dobson. A giant to crush a flea, as your purpose-driven interlocutor can only be characterized -- a venomous creature in the bedclothes.

But you raise a rather more pressing question, namely: How exactly does one go about reenacting Regency Upper Canada? Surely you do some redaction of the course of events; otherwise I should think the logistics become quite a millstone. One remembers the Borges story of the fellow who set out to draw a life-size 1:1 map of the world.

rameau's nephew said...

We do pare it down to commemorating the flashpoints of the 1812-1814 American invasion of the Canadas, which is a phrase that grows ever more unsettling to type...

although, now that you suggest it, there are those who would probably be willing to have a go at doing a bicentennial analog for the next 15 years or so... they barely have lives now...

and, for myself, the military thing is losing its appeal, but living history still has its virtues, as I turn my interpretive efforts to a more enlightened, secular civilian impression, more along the lines of

"Drink good wine, gorge oneself on choice delicacies, roll around on beautiful women, lie on lovely soft beds. Other than that, the rest is nothing but vanity."

what the hell, eh?

The Viscount LaCarte said...

I had to go directly to Neddie to find the exact quote I wanted:

"It is impossible to reason someone out of something that he did not reason himself into in the first place."

Jonathan Swift

Thanks Ned!

- The Viscount