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An inquiry into righteousness

Well, I'm not deranged, or an insomniac (I CAN sleep anytime if I wanted to...) But I suppose that I become ever more introspective as the hours tick on. Below is an introduction to what I think will be the start of a much needed series of discussions that I have so far danced around clumsily . This one's long - I'm a night host and thus have the time to hash it out. Take the time to read it in one sitting, if possible, as much of it is flow of thought. Please comment on any errors or issues you find interesting/incorrect. As always, arguing in person is nice, but this allows for better planned responses and fewer hurt egos - none of this is a personal attack on anyone, and it is all quite serious. My ground rules will become apparent, and I think they should be to most people's liking, and reveal more about how I plan to argue my points.

A number of events in my life frequently give me pause for thought. Often, the subject is how much I trust what is around me. I'm a rather paranoid person, since I take few things at face value, and those I do are noted as implausible to cause significant disruption to the fabric of my life.

Even so, of paramount trouble is the topic of faith. I admire those of great faith, since they are happy and have found peace in some way (ie "I'd rather be happy than right any day.") Such is not the case for myself, and it pains me to think that my faith in my beliefs is so small. Many can believe and follow with great passion, and a few are not even hypocritical about it. Small though it is, I could defend my faith against most attacks - mostly since I habitually simulate debates against myself to see how I'd fare against an opponent as thorough as myself; few have ever surprised me with a stroke of logic I was not able to reconcile or refute immediately. Yet, despite my lack of ability to wreck my own faith, I find I must do everything I can to tear it down - I still do not feel I have fully tested my faith against its adversary doubt. Tired and weary, joy is sapped from life, but the assurance of rigorous testing bolsters with its own joy.

Feel free to argue with me, I do not take it as personal - but be prepared for me to be serious. I try hard not to bite when someone fishes for some fun thru mocking me. My beliefs are not to be trifled at, and if provoked, I will defend it - be sure your logic and reasoning is infallible, else I will assume my opponent is being juvenile and thus not worth the effort to defeat. If I suddenly back down or give up either I felt insulted by an argument's lack of forethought, or I needed to pause for thought - a rare challenge I get from few people. It is not that I am some ultra fast-thinking genius, it's just that I have spent the last two thirds of my life interrogating the same things from as many different vantage points, and thus I am usually on familiar ground.

I welcome alternate viewpoints, and I greatly respect viewpoints that are internally consistent. So - AXIOM 1: if something fails internal consistency, then it is wrong. Nothing has a hope against this. No truth is internally inconsistent - should a fault arise, it is no more than a good analogy of a greater truth.

AXIOM 2: We live in a reasonable universe. But be sure you know what reason is. Perfect reason is logically infallible, but logic is not enough. Logic can be led to a great many conclusions through even the slightest error or fallacy. Logic must be tempered by empirical evidence - all the logic in the world cannot unmake something that is clearly right there. If you disagree, you are wrong and are misunderstanding my point through some arcane technicality:
if the universe makes something blatantly obvious, like I point to a chair that someone is sitting on and say "there's a chair" - but another states that the chair is not in fact there, they are wrong. The universe is the way it is because that's the way we see it. Philosophic metaphysics is sometimes an interesting diversion, but it is often used to add noise to a discussion, detracting from the seriousness of the arguments with silly nonsense.

Properly argued, such metaphysical reasoning can be very profitable, but DO NOT waste my time with juvenile ramblings of petty nonsensical inconsistencies that may or may not exist. Be sure your argument is water-tight if you press on regardless, because too many people have attempted to irritate me that way, and so I will lash out with full force against those who use such lines of reasoning with smugness. The most learned and rational people of human history have attempted to make headway to no avail for millenia on these topics. Some humility is required when stepping into the turbulent waters of such complicated metaphysics. I will counter argue to the best of my ability, but I fear being drug under and drowning in someone else's poorly worded or inane metaphysical arguments.

If the previous bit did not make my stand clear: Metaphysics is either reasonable or nonsensical - I believe that the nonsense is pointless and should be ignored, since the reasonable amount of material available and possible is not only rich in meaning and potential truth, but is large enough that no single person has ever made complete sense of it all (I consider Zen enlightenment as an attempt at a shortcut to truth, as opposed to a rigorous search for it, and thus is invalid for attaining an ultimate understanding; even if it were true, it fails to be rigorous and is therefore rationally irrelevant - though perhaps an interesting diversion.) Thus AXIOM 2b: Petty irrelevance and nonsense are paramount to unreasonableness. A high crime indeed :)