DEDICATED TO JUSTUS BUCHLER MY TEACHER AND MENTOR

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Pasqual S. Schievella

1914 - 2011

 


Newsday: Audrey C. Tiernan


SCHIEVELLA'S JOURNAL FOR THE PHILOSOPHY OF CLEAR, CRITICAL, AND ANALYTICAL THINKING




 

LANGUAGE AS RELATED TO TRUTH AND KNOWLEDGE
or
HOW AND WHEN TO ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS

 

A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO CLEAR, CRITICAL, AND ANALYTICAL THINKING

MAIN INDEX OF LINKS

PREFACE
WHY PHILOSOPHY?
THE STRANGE WORLD OF THE PHILOSOPHY OF CLEAR, CRITICAL, AND ANALYTICAL THINKING
THE STUDY OF CRITICAL THINKING
ORDINARY LANGUAGE
ABUSE OF LANGUAGE
CLEAR THINKING
CRITICAL THINKING
ANALYTICAL THINKING
CRITICAL ANALYSIS vs SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE
      SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE
      CHURCH AND STATE: EPILOGUE
CRITICAL ANALYSIS vs THEISM
THE GREAT FAILURE OF EDUCATION
      A STEP TOWARD SOLUTION
PRE-COLLEGE CONCEPTUAL PRIORITIES
THE HIDDEN FACE OF INEQUALITY
HEY! IS THAT YOU, GOD? EPILOGUE
      Sources of Knowledge
      PROOF OF SOURCES OF KNOWLEDGE
      TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR CLEAR THINKING
      GOLDEN RULE
      NECESSARY POINTS OF AGREEMENT FOR RATIONAL ARGUMENTATION
      CONCEPTS TO REFLECT UPON
      Assumption vs Inference vs etc.
      (A) VERIFIABLE CLAIMS
      (B) UNVERIFIABLE CLAIMS
PERSONAL BEHAVIOR FOR ANALYTICAL THINKERS
LANGUAGE
      HUMAN USE OF LANGUAGE
      "Levels" of Language
       ELEMENTS OF LANGUAGE
      Symbols, Referents, and Inferences
      Diversity of Referents
      FUNCTIONS OF LANGUAGE
ARGUMENTS
TRUTH
KNOWLEDGE
      CLAIMS TO SOURCES OF KNOWLEDGE
      Uses of the Term 'Know'
      NON-METHODS OF KNOWLEDGE
      SCIENCE
      Scientific Method
MIND
      EMERGENCE OF SPECTRUM OF MINDS:
      OPEN-MINDEDNESS
CRITICAL ANALYSIS GLOSSARY
SUGGESTED READINGS
List of Works by Schievella

Link to International Youth Congress
For more information: See P. Schievella:

PERENNIAL QUESTIONS

      If God didn't create the universe, how did it come into existence?

      Why put so much faith in verifiability when the verifiability principle, itself, cannot be verified?

      How do you know that knowledge is only probable?

      How do you know God does not exist?

      Considering that there is much literature indicating that what we experience and know comes from outside the brain, on what basis do you claim that mind is a function if the brain? 

      Are there not greater minds than yours that believe in the existence of God?

      What can possibly be wrong in believing in a divine Being Who, we believe, is concerned with our welfare?

      Why do you disrespect people who hold beliefs different from yours?

      You are obviously a devotee of positivism, that school of philosophy that reduces all meaningful knowledge to that which can be verified by scientific method.  Among other problems, positivism fails its own test, since it is predicated on an act of faith that cannot be empirically validated.  Where, for example, do you ground your repeated emphasis on the "moral" and" immoral"?  A world of the merely material is a world bereft of ethical value.  If the existence of God cannot be verified, nor can His non existence.  Your assertion eludes empirical proof.  The inability to verify something is not a sufficient reason for rejecting it.  It is reasoning plus faith that leads to truth.  Why, then, are you so opposed to faith in the pursuit of knowledge?

      Why are you so determined to undermine people's cherished beliefs?
 

      If God didn't create the laws of the universe, where did they come from?

      Contingency is a property of everything in the universe, as St. Thomas Aquinas wrote drawing the conclusion that the universe is contingent also.

      You claim that we know there is a universe.  At the same time, you claim that we are never in touch with, i.e., have knowledge of, the ASSUMED physical world because all we are in touch with are our perceptions.  Aren't you contradicting yourself?

      You have said that "of all the concepts of gods, the biblical God is one that it is easiest to prove to be linguistic nonsense. . . ."  Since the Bible is the Word of God, doesn't that prove that God exists?

      You seem to advocate the theory of Darwinian evolution, held through the belief system of atheists, instead of accepting the biblical theory that God created us in his own image.  Why shouldn't people be taught both theories and let THEM decide which theory to accept?

      In your article, "Critical Analysis vs Separation of Church and State," you imply that we should allow teachers on the pre-college level to discuss religious and theistic terminology and that our constitution does not prohibit this.  Wouldn't such a development cause much more harm than good and aren't you misreading the First Amendment?

      The title of your book, Hey, IS That You, God?, suggests that you believe in God or at least are searching for Him.  Yet, your home page seems to emphasize that He does not exist.

      NEWSWEEK published an article entitled, "Science finds God" (July 20, 1998), written by Sharon Begley.  Doesn't this conclusively undermine all your anti-theistic arguments?

      Since there is no evidential certainty that there is no absolute knowledge, isn't it possible that there is absolute knowledge?

      Why can't teachers agree on what is CRITICAL THINKING?

      In the 13th ENCYCLICAL ON FAITH AND REASON, according to media reports, Pope John Paul II is concerned that "modern philosophy has lost confidence in reason."  The Pope fears that ". . . the search for ULTIMATE (my upper case) truth seems often to be neglected."  Commendably the Pope "urged philosophers, theologians, and people in the pews to keep using human reason. . . ."  Unfortunately, he added, "to seek ultimate truth -- not just to examine facts and technological data."  He suggested that philosophers should be reasoning about the following "metaphysical" questions, which have been asked and reasoned about for thousands of years to no avail.  "Who am I?"  "Where have I come from and where am I going?"  "Why is there evil?"  "What is there after this life?"

     It is apparent from your anti-theistic arguments you believe that Good and Evil do not exist.  Great minds, such as Pope John Paul The Second, insist God is responsible for the good in the world, and Satan is responsible for evil in the world.  If so, how do you account for their apparent existence?

      You repeatedly insist that nothing that is incorporeal can exist.  How, then, do you explain the existence of pain, happiness, love, hate, friendship, democracy, motion, and the like?

      Somewhere in your homepage, you state that theism is the greatest crime ever foisted against mankind.  What evidence do you have to support such an outrageous claim?

      You have argued that God, because he is not matter, cannot have a brain and consequently can't see, hear, think, have knowledge, etc.  Haven't you ignored the fact that since He is Perfect in every way, He does not need to be matter and if he were, it would render Him imperfect?

      A few thinkers concerned with the nature of time have argued that it may be possible to "travel" into the future.  Is time travel really possible?

      You frequently have said that laws are constructs and do not in fact exist in the universe.  How, then does the phrase, 'the laws of the universe,' make sense?

      You say, "If God is All Good, He would not have allowed evil to exist."  If He did not, how could we exercise the free will, he gave us, in the absence of evil to compare with good?

      You seem to insist that science is the most important source of reliable knowledge and by extrapolation the "wave" of the future.  Why have you not shown that science does not deal with ethical and moral principles that are so important to the survival of a civilization?

      Most people on Earth including many well-educated people and even scientists, believe there is a god, and have for thousands of years.  On what grounds do you maintain the rightness of your position and the wrongness of theirs?

      Religious music is an integral part of our musical departments and ceremonies in our public schools.  Considering your apparent antithesis to matters religious, would you not at least agree that it is an extremely important part of our spiritual education?

      You have frequently stated that theistic language, as well as some non-theistic language, is unverifiable nonsense.  This is confusing.  I contend that in both cases some such claims can be verified to be false.  If you, as do the Logical Positivists, insist that ALL claims about God are unverifiable, are you not also declaring them to be meaningless, i.e., gobbledygook, gibberish?

      Throughout your homepage you have used the term 'mean' or some version of it.  Yet, you claim that a basic rule underlying clear, critical, and analytical thinking is "No word or symbol has an inherent meaning."  I can only reply that not only do I not know what you mean but nothing in your homepage means anything to me.

     "GOD" SPEAKS TO SCHIEVELLA
      FAITH VS CERTAINTY or Blind Faith
     

     LETTERS TO EDITORS
      EMERGENT EVOLUTION: THE PHILOSOPHY OF CONWY LLOYD MORGAN
      EMERGENT EVOLUTION AND REDUCTIONISM
      ARISTOTLE'S JUSTICE: AND HIS MESOTES DOCTRINE
      JOHN LANGE'S COGNITIVITY PARADOX
      THE ONTOLOGY OF REFERENT
      KARL POPPER'S INDETERMINISM
      INQUIRY WITHOUT DOUBT
      RELIGION, THEISM, AND THE ANCIENT ASTRONAUT HYPOTHESIS
      THE DECLINE OF GREATNESS
      THE METAPHYSICS OF HENRI BERGSON'S DURATION AND INTUITION 
      PLATO, THE ARTIST
      IN DEFENSE OF LIBERALISM
      THE POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY OF ST. AUGUSTINE
      VERIFIABILITY AND THE ANCIENT ASTRONAUT HYPOTHESIS
      OUR GODS WERE PHYSICAL BEINGS or A MILLION TRILLION GODS
      SCIENCE, PROOF, AND THE ANCIENT ASTRONAUT HYPOTHESIS
      LEIBNIZ'S MONAD
     FREE WILL AND DETERMINISM
      THE NATURE OF EXPERIENCE IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF SAMUEL ALEXANDER
      INTELLIGENT DESIGN
      ON THE TERM, 'EXIST'
      CRITICISM OF THE ANCIENT ASTRONAUT HYPOTHESIS REVISITED
      THE UNBRIDGEABLE CHASM BETWEEN SCIENCE AND THEISM

     FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF LIGHT

      THE WILL O' THE WISP OF PURE ENERGY

    

THE TRAIL
THE ROAD TO LIFE
WEEP NOT FOR ME
ALPHA AND OMEGA
MINE AND THINE
THE CALL
THE TURNING STONE
THE WALL
THE WALKING DEAD
RIVER CLIDE
HITLER
ICELAND I
ICELAND II
A TREE
I HATE THE THOUGHT OF DYING
AURORA
FLAG OF FREEDOM
AIR RAID ON SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND
LIFE
A WEE VOICE
I'LL FOLLOW SOON
ETERNAL PEACE
MAN
RAIN
TODAY WE LIVE
TWO LOVERS' FAITH
THE SEMINARY
MY DARLING REBECCA
REBECCA
MY LOVE IS GONE
TRUTH
DEATH
LANDLORD
NEAR AN END

MY PRECIOUS WIFE
NATURE

 

Without the guidance of my friends and colleagues, Lowell Kleiman and Jacques VandeKieft, this project would never have appeared on the internet.

1997 -- 6th edition 2010
by Pasqual S. Schievella