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Friday, April 11, 2008

The Source of the Black Room

posted by on April 11 at 11:45 AM

In a piece of writing I posted yesterday, I described an empty and black room. While walking home from work, the idea of this black room began bothering me. I knew it came from somewhere but could not determine its exact location.

At around dusk (King Street Station across the street; freight train rumbling under my feet), the location of the room was found. It’s in David Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, “Part Three.” There Cleanthes, who makes an argument for what we today call intelligent design—back then it was called natural religion—presents several fascinating examples to support his position, the most fascinating of which is this:

[W]hen we hear an articulate voice in the dark, and thence infer a man, it is only the resemblance of the effects which leads us to conclude that there is a like resemblance in the cause…
God as a voice in the dark. His creation, this world, as the words of a person we can not see. Cleanthes’ argument as a whole might be philosophically empty, but the example he use to illustrate his point overflows with poetry. Also, wasn’t Luther all about the voice of God? For the theologian who supplied the Protestant Reformation with idealogical weapons, and supplied Hegel and Nietzsche with the words “God is dead,” seeing God contained far less spiritual value than hearing His words in the dark of daily life.

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Stop it Charles, you're undermining my atheism. I'm definitely going to stay away from this guy Hume.

Posted by Grant Cogswell | April 11, 2008 12:06 PM

what color are the curtains?

Posted by mattro2.0 | April 11, 2008 12:19 PM

Your mind may be mistaking the sound of the wind blowing through the key hole of the black room's door for a voice.

Posted by between the ears | April 11, 2008 12:23 PM

David Hume, despite this "natural religion" business, is actually one of the key thinkers of the Enlightenment, and opened the way to making atheism possible. He's a big favorite of mine.

But I think Charles is actually looking for Brendan's theater piece a few posts down.

Posted by Fnarf | April 11, 2008 12:52 PM

I thought it was the voice of Amanda Knox.

Posted by stinkbug | April 11, 2008 3:35 PM

I took a big dump today. And the turd was pointy! It hurt my butthole.

Posted by abe | April 12, 2008 1:30 AM

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