05/18/20

Comments on J.B. Stump’s Article (2020) “Did God Guide Our Evolution?”

0001 These comments are offered on my blog as a sample of the character of works that are available for sale at www.smashwords.com.  They seem rather dry and technical.  Nevertheless, they offer an innovative postmodern approach that should interest enterprising students and scholars.  Here, the category-based nested form and the two-level interscope come into play.

These categorical structures are introduced in A Primer on the Category-Based Nested Form and A Primer on Sensible and Social Construction.

0002 J.B. Stump offers his views in the March issue of Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith (volume 72(1), pages 15-24).  Perspectives is the flagship publication of the American Scientific Affiliation.  Stump’s article may be available for download at their website.  If not, please request.

Stump addresses the question, “Did God guide our evolution?”

He reviews several broad ways to answer, then discusses his favorite.

0003 So, does God guide our creation?

What about the scientific description of human evolution?

These questions point in different directions, C2 and C1.

The second direction (C2) is that God intentionally creates human beings in His image.

The first direction (C1) claims that evolution is the best scientific explanation for the origin of our species, Homo sapiens.

0004 These two claims can both be formulated as category-based nested forms (CBNF).

The CBNF contains four expressions.  The fourth is paradigmatic.  A normal context3 brings an actuality2 into relation with the possibility of ‘something’1.  The subscripts refer to Peirce’s categories.

0005 Now, I associate features in each direction to the CBNF.

The normal context3 for C1 is science3.  The normal context3 for C2 is the Genesis portrayal of God’s work3.

The actuality2 for C1 is human evolution2 and for C2 is the Genesis creation of humans2.

The potential1 for C1 is ‘natural selection and genetics’1.  The potential1 for C2 is ‘the picture of humans as images of God’1.

0006 Here is how that looks in technical notation.

0007 So, did God guide our evolution?

According to Stump, the first strategy (A1) for answering the question relies on semantics.

I ask, “What problem does semantics solve?”

Well, I see two nested forms.  How do they interact?

0008 Normal contexts follow the logic of exclusion, alignment and complement.

If they exhibit the logic of exclusion, the nested forms come into conflict.  It’s God’s work3 or science work3.  It is either one or the other.

If the logic is complement, then one could end up with Steven Gould’s idea of “non-overlapping magisteria”.  This is not much of a complement.  Perhaps, a truce is a better description.

If they exhibit the logic of alignment, then one nested form virtually emerges from (and situates) the other.  This structural relation is called a “two-level interscope”.  The two levels are contenta and situationb.  Contenta goes with Peirce’s category of firstness (the realm of possibility).  Situationb associates with Peirce’s category of secondness (the realm of actuality).

The two-level interscope has two flows.

In the upward flow, contenta underlies situationb.

In the downward flow, situationb orders contenta.

0009 So, I have two statements (C2 and C1) and two levels.  Which goes with which?

Here is where semantics comes into play.  Semantics is about language.  When I talk about science, my words are usually content-oriented.  When I think about God’s creation, I am contemplating my own (and everyone else’s) situation.

There is another, more technical semantic argument.  The religious statement (C2) cannot be situated by the science statement (C1), because the Positivist’s judgment rules out metaphysics.  The Positivist’s judgment is developed in Comments on Jacques Maritain’s Book (1935) Natural Philosophy.  I cannot help but smile at this application.  From a semantic point of view, how could science situate a nested form that it cannot consider?

Here is a picture of the semantic-ordered, two-level interscope.

Figure 2

0010 Ironically, this model initiates questions that key into Stump’s second answer, the nomological strategy (A2).  The nomological strategy suggests that the laws of human evolution are not well understood.  The laws of evolution may be, but there is something wrong with their application to human evolution.  Stumps reviews some critical arguments.

0011 The two-level interscope pictured above endorses the “yes, but” character of the nomological approach, addressing the question, “Did God guide human evolution?”

If science is so smart, then it should situate the religious nested form, rather than the other way around.  The fact that the Positivist judgment excludes metaphysics indicates that science can understand human evolution only in terms of material and instrumental causalities.  However, I personally situate the evolution of my species in terms of my religious sensibility, which involves immaterial causalities, such as final attributes and formal design.

What does this imply?

The ultimate human niche is not material.

Indeed, this is the central thesis of the masterwork, The Human Niche, available at www.smashwords.com.

0012 The semantic (A1) strategy may be adjusted by the nomological (A2), producing something like this.

Figure 3

0013 Well, if our hominin ancestors adapted over millions of years into a niche that is not material, then the third answer, the causal joint strategy (A3), comes into play.  The causal joint strategy suggests that God does not obviously intervene in human evolution, but God nevertheless creates.  The question is, “How?”  Stump considers several authors with very curious answers.

0014 These answers have something in common.

They exploit the dynamics of the two-level interscope.

The divine situationb guides the science contenta.

The scientific contenta underlies divine subtle interventionb.

“Subtle” means “below the threshold of detection”.

0015 How could this happen?

I only need to substitute God’s Will3b for the situation-level actuality3b and God’s Presence1b for the situation-level potential1b.

Here is how that looks.

Figure 4

0016 God’s Will3b associates to God’s work3b and what this means to me3b.

God’s Will3b provides subtle guidance to science work3a and what is happening3a.

Subtle guidance underlies the Anthropic Principle.

God’s Presence1b associates to the potential of humans (including me) being created in the image of God1b.

0017 How does God’s Presence1b manifest?

God’s Presence1b is the potential underlying God’s will3b.  Also, it1b stands in the slot 1b, which is the potential1b of situating the content level actuality2a.  This associates God’s Presence1b with the potential of situating human evolution2a.

This potential to situate operates according to joint causes, in the realm of possibility1.

God’s Presence1b virtually situates (and is emergent to) the potential of ‘natural selection and genetics’1b.  The word, “virtual”, means “in virtue” (rather than the modern use, “in simulation”).  The term, “in virtue”, goes with final attributes and formal design.

So, while the stuff of Neodarwinism may be scientifically regarded according to material and instrumental causes, the virtue of God’s Presence1b cannot be fully ignored in either the adaptation1a or the phenotype1a.  This is the central point of the joint causal (A3) answer.  Biologists cannot avoid joint causality when they discuss adaptation or phenotype.  Many modern biologists label God’s Presence1b, “chance1b” or “random1b”.

0018 In sum, divine subtle intervention operates in the realms of normal context3 and potential1, as pictured above.  Neither of these can be scientifically observed or measured.

0019 The pertinence of the joint causal (A3) semantic (A1) approach does not stop there.

Adaptations1a and phenotypes1a are actualities that have the potential1a of underlying human evolution2a.

That means that adaptations2 and phenotypes2 are actualities with their own nested forms.

One can imagine that God directly intervenes in either nested form by manipulating its underlying potential.  Such intervention avoids detection because the actualities, adaptation2 and phenotype2 refer to the same biological entity2.  In other words, two actualities2 constitute a single entity2.  Therefore, the two actualities2 are confounded.

0020 Let me develop this scenario in a little more detail.

Neodarwinism1a consists in two independent nested forms, as noted in Comments on Dennis Venema and Scot McKnight’s Book (2017) Adam and the Genome.  These nested forms belong to the situation-level of a two-level interscope.

In one, natural selection3b brings adaptation2b into relation with a niche1b.  The niche1b is the potential1b of situating an actuality independent of the adapting species2a.

In the other, body development3b brings phenotype2b into relation with genotype1b.  The genotype1b is the potential1b of situating DNA2a.

In the joint causal answer, God could directly manipulate either an actuality independent of the adapting species2a, the foundation of the niche1b, or DNA2a, the foundation of the genotype1b, without detection.  Why?  A change in one can mask a change in the other.  They are confounders.

0021 Here is a picture of these independent category-based nested forms.

Figure 5

0022 The adaptation2 is not the same as the phenotype2.  Each arises from a different potential1.  Each requires its own normal context3.  However, adaptation2 and phenotype2 pertain to a single actuality2, the biological entity, in this case, the human being2.  The human being is the intersection of adaptation2 and phenotype2.

According to the chapter on presence in How to Define the Word “Religion”, intersections are mysterious.  They contain contrasting features that cannot be resolved through the logic of noncontradiction.  Biologists present distorted views when they claim that evolution consists in either natural selection or DNA-based body development.  The intersection of these two nested forms codifies what biologists are really trying to say, but fail, because of preferences for either natural history or genetics.

0023 So, the joint causal answer suggests that, even if God directly manipulates the actualities underlying the niche1b or the genotype1b, scientists could never detect the intervention, because the evolved biological entity2 is an intersection, filled with contradictions.

Here is how that looks.

Figure 6

0024 This brings me to Stump’s favorite strategy (A4), the epistemological.

The epistemological strategy highlights the contrast between science work3a and God’s work3b, while simultaneously asserting that they cannot be divorced.  I am a product of human evolution2a.  I am created in the image of God2b.  Science work3a is what is happening3a. God’s work3b is what this means to me3b.

Here is a picture of that strategy.

Figure 7

0025 Now, I address the elephant in Stump’s room.

I do so in a roundabout way.

I start with a question about the question.

0026 Does God guide human evolution?

What is the difference between this question and…

Did God guide human evolution?

0026 One strategy to answer this question is semantic (A1).

Human evolution is in our past.  Are we no longer are evolving?  It sure seems that we aren’t.  In fact, who knows what we are doing?

0027 What does this imply?

The nomological strategy (A2) comes to bat. 

Homo sapiens comes into existence, and lives for some time, in the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

Currently, we are no longer in the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

Therefore, our current Lebenswelt is not the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

I conclude that a transition from one Lebenswelt to the other is missing in current accounts of human evolution.

This missing element is hypothesized in The First Singularity and Its Fairy Tale Trace and reflected upon in Comments on Original Sin and Original Death: Romans 5:12-19.  This transition is dramatized in An Archaeology of the Fall, available on www.smashwords.com.

0028 With this said, the joint causal strategy (A3) cannot be ignored.

If (as proposed in The Human Niche), humans adapt into the niche of immaterial triadic relations (such as the category-based nested form), then God’s work3b virtually situates nature’s operations, as understood by science3a.  In our evolution, the material world enters into an evolving awareness of immaterial triadic relations, without compromising its instrumental and material causalities.

0029 On top of that, the epistemological strategy (A4) says that God’s work3b and science work3a cannot be divorced, in the same way that what this means to me3b cannot be divorced from what is happening3a.

0030 So obviously, the elephant in the room is concordism.

Did God guide human evolution?  How does God guide us today?

These questions aim to harmonize scientific formulations and Biblical revelation.

Stump is on target.  Four different strategies apply.  But, the target is so much larger than he realizes.

For example, Comments on Christy Hemphill’s Essay (2019) “All in a Week’s Work” introduces a harmony between cognitive psychology and metaphors within Genesis 1.

The concord between humans created in the image of God2b and human evolution2a will prove to be multi-faceted, addressing who we are2b as well as who we evolved to be2a.

0031 My thanks to J.B. Stump for publishing his evocative article.

****

Feel free to e-mail comments and corrections.

05/6/20

A Theology of the Deep State (Part 2)

The two-level interscope is typical for sensible construction.  Sensible construction does not ask, “Why?”.  Sensible construction assumes that, whatever we are doing, it’s okay.  The perspective level is never questioned, unless something goes horribly wrong.

Here is a picture of the society tier for Big Government (il)liberalism.

Figure 2

If there is anything hidden within the perspective level, it is this: The milk2bC must flow1cC.

That is, the milk of the federal government2bC.

There are no suggestions for why the milk must flow, except for the fact that so many institutions3aC demand sovereign power3bC in order to implement2bC their organizational objectives2aC.  Institutions3aC that do not appeal to Caesar3bCoften wither or mutate into institutions that do.  Mutation is facilitated through infiltration by believers2cA in a particular (sovereign-entangling) righteousness1aC.

Each organizational objective2aC is a god.

Some call them “sacred cows”.

Since each organizational objective2aC emerges from (and situates) the potential of righteousness1aC and since righteousness1aC is inherently metaphysical in nature, the deep state consists in a wide range of cults (institutions3aC) that have a common feature.  Each righteousness1aC accommodates a call for sovereign power3bC.

Diversity is the strength of Big Government (il)liberalism.

However, there is a problem.

All the advocates claim to be “not religious”, even though they are.

Why?

Why do the advocates for Big Government (il)liberalism, who congregate in cults3aC, claim to be “not religious”?

Well, the American Constitution’s first amendment states that the federal government shall not establish a religion.

Consequently, acolytes of the deep state define “religion” narrowly, with intellectual constriction, as falling into bins labeled “Christian”, “Jewish”, “Islamic” and so forth.  In this way, they skirt the question that cannot be confronted.  Why is their righteousness not “religious” as well?  These state-entangled institutions3aC implement organizational objectives2aC that situate the potential of righteousness1aC.  Why is their metaphysical righteousness exempt?  Why are not they “religious”?

This crucial point is ignored by current experts in Sociology, because they are committed to Big Government (il)liberalism.  Okay, that’s a cheap shot.  But really, the answer demands a definition of the word, “religion”, that does not simply slap labels onto people.  Do any sociological theories explain why the labels work?  Or, do the labels explain themselves?

The course, How to Define the Word “Religion” offers a novel definition, one that is not hemmed in by a deep-state historical narratives or restrictive legalisms.

But wait, the indoctrinated… er, educated citizen replies, “Okay, let’s be sensible.  These state-entangled institutions, and their advocates, say that they are not religious because they are not ‘Christian’, ‘Jewish’, ‘Islamic’ and so forth.  This is obvious.  Everyone agrees.”

Shall I venture a translation?

If you disagree, no milk for you.  Instead, you will feel the sovereign’s teeth.

This is a word-game, where so-called “enlightenment” institutions3aC advocate for certain laws and decrees2bC in order to promulgate their organizational objectives2aC, yet declare themselves to be “not religious”.  Why is their righteousness1aC different from the righteousness1aC of institutions that fall under the label?  How do their missions2aC differ from the Christian, Jewish and Muslim missions2aC?  Why do they say that they are not religious?

Oh, yes, that gets around the first amendment.

Clearly, the veiled perspective levelc of the deep state encourages subsidies2bC for innumerable “points of light”, institutions3aC that self-identify as “not religious”, yet are founded on diverse calls to righteousness1aC.  These cults3aC that have a character in common.  Each point of light3aC signals its virtue1aC, while demanding that state laws and decrees3bC implement its organizational objectives2aC.

The advocate-lobbyist says, “Our missions2aC are ‘not religious’, yet are necessary for the organization of a righteous society.”

The advocate-lobbyist cannot say, “There may be a reason why the organizational objectives2aC of all deep-state institutions3aC call for the exercise of sovereign power3aC. But, we cannot know the reason until the milk becomes all there is.”

Only then, will the veil be pulled back and the perspective levelc revealed.

What do we know?

Big Government (il)liberalism establishes institutions3aC that declare themselves to be “not religious”, even though, like Christian, Jewish and Islamic institutions3aC, they contextualize organizational objectives2aC that emerge from (and situate) the potential of righteousness1aC.  Their declaration exempts them from the first amendment of the American Constitution.

Big Government (il)liberal organizational objectives2aC have a common feature.  Their2aC implementation relies on sovereign power3bC.  Since sovereign power3bC is not subject to its own laws and decrees2bC, then the resulting institutions3aC participate in the sovereign’s state of exception.  In fact, the sovereign3bC is the only one who can bring contemporary trends to fulfillment by cultivating a state of exception2cC.

The federal government not only has established a host of religions3aC, each standing as a point of light in a New World Order, but all these religions3aC vicariously participate in the exception2cC that contextualizes sovereign power3aC.

What does this imply?

The theology of the deep statec is yet to enter into consciousness in our current, Enlightenment-celebrating, Zeitgeist.  State-entangled institutions3aC are everywhere.  Few have eyes to see.  Many avert their gazes.  The suprasovereign levelcC stands behind a curtain and will step out only when a state of exception2cC brings all into relation1cC.  That moment will be a revelation.

There are signs of a future unveiling. The hour draws near.

Consider Comments on Peter Burfiend’s Book (2014) Gnostic America.

Consider Comments on Eric Santner’s Book (2016) The Weight of All Flesh.

These works belong to the Intimations of Political Philosophy series, available at smashwords.

Broadcaster Steve Deace reads the writing on the wall, announcing, “We are not dealing with a political party.  We are dealing with a cult.”

The federal government has established a legion of religions3aC, each declaring itself to be “not religious”.  Plus, each has one other feature in common with all others.    Where are the intellectual tools to articulate these sociological phenomena?

05/5/20

A Theology of the Deep State (Part 1)

It is official.  The federal government has established a religion.  May I propose a label for this new referent?  Let me call it the “deep state”.

Others call it the “administrative state”.

The imprimatur comes when Steve Deace, broadcasting on Blaze TV from the heart of America’s flyover country, states the obvious, saying, “We are not dealing with a political party.  We are dealing with a cult.”

For example, only a cult can perform the purgation and humiliation rites afforded to Brett Kavanaugh, then a nominee for the Supreme Court of the United States.  Now a member of the SCOTUS, this individual is forever branded by one accusation.  The accusation, while never proven true, is justified by its reliance on an organizational objective, claiming, “Believe the woman, for … (whatever righteousness applies)”.

Righteousness1aC is the nectar of religion.

Organizational objectives2aC are like gods.

Hey, what are those subscripts?

Subscripts are introduced in A Primer on the Category-Based Nested Form and A Primer on Sensible and Social Construction.  The “1” indicates Peirce’s category of firstness, the realm of possibility.  The “2” denotes actuality in a category-based nested form.  The “a” refers to the content-level of an interscope (a category-based nested form composed of category-based nested forms).  The “C” points to the society tier (the third tier in a category-based nested form composed of interscopes).

The three tiers are societyC, organizationB and individual in communityA.

Yes, this notation introduces a novel approach to Sociology.

Plus, this approach is worth looking into.  Homeschoolers should consider the course titled, How to Define the Word “Religion”.

Why?

State indoctrinators define the word so narrowly that it seems that they are covering up a topic much larger, and more interesting, than churches, synagogues and mosques.

This brings me back to the prescience of the broadcaster noted above.

The immediate stimulus for the broadcaster’s response is a coronavirus-related national work-stoppage.  The statistics associated with the unfolding pandemic simply do not support the drastic, uni-dimensional, solution of a total shutdown, bringing the US economy to a standstill.

Yes, in economics and politics, there are two dimensions.  There are trade-offs.  

Yet, in the matrix of the administrative state, there are only organizational objectives2aC.  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and other state-cults3aC focus on saving lives2aC.  We must save lives at all costs1aC.

Organizational objectives2aC emerge from (and situate) the potential of righteousness1aC.

The problem?

They2aC may come into conflict.

One solution endows each insitution3aC with a similar character.  In the case of the deep state, that character is a demand for sovereign power3bC.  Sovereign laws and decrees2bC are necessary in order for each institution3aC to achieve its organizational objectives2aC.  This imperative1cC satisfies the potential underlying all legislation2bC: the possibilities inherent in order1bC.

Picture piglets struggling to latch onto their mother’s teats.  Each has its own agenda.  Of course, these agendas conflict.  Yet, a certain order is achieved as long as the mother offers her milk.

Or consider the abandoned infants, Romulus and Remus, suckling the teats of a she-wolf. Surely, the Romans offer a more evocative icon of the feminine nature of sovereign power.  Believe the she-wolf and she will offer her milk, instead of her teeth.

To Marxists, there is nothing more.  The sovereign3bC must be the exception1cC.  The state3bC must not be subject to its own laws2bC. The milk2cC must flow1cC.  The milk2cC sustains order1cC.  Order1bC is to sovereign power3bC as righteousness3aC is to institutions1aC.  Listen to the speakers.  Hear the talking heads.  Every shill3aC signals a virtue1aCthat calls the citizen to a righteousness1aC that seeks to establish order1bC.

There is nothing above sovereign power3bC.

Yet, there3cC is.

The problem is that we cannot envision it2cC.

Here is a way to picture the society tier for Big Government (il)liberalism.

Figure 1
04/3/20

An Intimation (or a Proof) of the Actuality of God

In the previous blog, I left with this two-level nested form.

Figure 1

The two level-nested form characterizes sensible construction.

So, even though there are missing elements, I may draw sensible conclusions.

Here are some.

The content-level actuality of God2a must be assumed in order to obtain the situation-level nested formb.

The Divine Presence1b is the situational potential of the actuality of God2a.

The normal context of the Divine Will3b and the potential, the Divine Presence1b, virtually emerge from (and situate) the actuality of God2a.  So does the secondary causation in creatures2b.

We (humans) do not know the normal context3a and potential1a that accompany the actuality of God2a.  These slots are not truly empty.  Rather, they are opaque.

I can speculate as to how the actuality of God2a becomes apparent in history, by examining the astrologer’s vision, which has a similar relational structure.

Here is a picture of the astrologer’s vision, derived in the three prior blogs.

Figure 2

How did this relational structure come about?

I suppose that methods for reading the heavens1b are already formalized in the Sumerian Dynastic civilization of southern Mesopotamia, starting around 3000 BC.  While that is five thousand years ago, the condition of unconstrained complexitystarts 2800 years earlier, with the first singularity, as discussed in An Archaeology of the Fall

Yes, history has laws.

The first law is history is that our current Lebenswelt is not the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

The second law of history is that history has a beginning, around 7800 years ago.

This year may be labeled 7820 Ubaid Zero Prime.

The third law of history is that history is the story of unconstrained complexity.

The fourth law of history is that the potential for unconstrained social complexity begins at the start of Ubaid in southern Mesopotamia, then radiates from there to other cultures of the time.

At the site of initiation, Ubaid villages (0 to 1800 U0’) grow and transform into Uruk town-chiefdoms (1800 to 2800 U0’), which develop further into early Sumerian city-states (2800 U0’ on). 

The fifth law of history is that history is entangled with the semiotics of speech-alone talk.

What does this imply?

The astrologer’s vision develops in our current Lebenswelt, in an effort to sensibly comprehend mundane events in an increasingly complex, rapidly changing, social world.  The Lebenswelt that we evolved in disappears behind the horizon of the first singularity. Why?  Hand-speech talk and speech-alone talk have different semiotic qualities.  The traditions of one cannot survive in the other.  No written mythology of the ancient Near East (with one exception) pierces the veil.  What does this suggest?  The Ubaids cobble together their own formula for grasping what is going on in our current Lebenswelt.

So, the astrologer’s vision is conceived in mundane events during the formative Ubaid period.  The Ubaid not that much different from now.  Everything changes.  Yet, everything stays the same.  Everyone acts as if the current social world has been there forever.  Everyone faces different challenges within that social world.  In dealing with those challenges, the social world changes, sometimes quietly and sometimes boldly.

Here is a diagram of the seed of the astrologer’s vision.

Figure 3

The proto-astrologers had only to look to the heavens to see a parallel to events on the mundane plane.  The sky is always in motion.  The sun moves.  The moon moves.  The roving luminaries move.  At the same time, the stars do not move.  They do not change their relative positions.  So, astrologers connect the dots.  The stars coalesce into constellations.  The constellations along the transit of the sun, moon and planets gain value because they are the like the numbers on a gigantic mechanical clock.

The constellations are fixed and continually accrue mythic associations.  Perhaps, this is how Capricorn, half-goat and half-fish, constellates the image of the Mesopotamian god, Ea, who lives on land during the day and in sea at night.  As mentioned in the first blog in this series, the zodiac sign of Capricorn pictures the earthly-watery mix of the Ubaid, Uruk and Sumerian ecological and social worlds.

A connection between the always changing, yet always familiar, motions in the mundane world2b and the movements of the superlunary beings against the fixed constellations2a, grows into a formal system for specifying how events in the celestial sphere presage events in the mundane plane.  The result is the astrologer’s vision.

The astrologer’s vision is a template for remembering past worldly events and for contemplating future events.  The astrologer’s vision solves problems inherent in unconstrained social complexity2b by incorporating both change and stasis into a coherent theoretical system1b, where mundane events2b virtually situate (and emerge from) celestial conditions2a.

My example comes from the gospel of Matthew.  Astrologers from the east, the lands of the Medes and Persians, follow a “star” and bring gifts to the infant Jesus.  The fact that the child is of humble origins turns out to be significant.  The Trinity works within their cognitive game, implicitly unveiling a larger picture, an intimation of the actuality of God2a.

Here is a diagram of the journey of the magi.

Figure 4

Indeed, the astrologer’s impulse, like the magi’s fancy gifts, seem weirdly confused.  Surely, the magi anticipate a figure of future authority, but greet a somewhat befuddled young couple.  Then, like the astrologers before them, they transcend their own expectations.  They know that any celestial event2a must be read in the light of both the (unmoving) zodiac signification3b and the situation at hand2b.  The events2b,2a remain actual.  The reading1b accommodates.  The astrologer bends like a willow.

Now, allow me to compare the journey of the magi with a prior figure, an intimation (or proof) of the actuality of God.

The relational structure begins with the situational actuality2b.  The causation exhibited by creatures2b mirrors mundane events in our world of motion2b.  Creatures act the same over and over again.  Yet, they are wily and adaptive in unusual circumstances.  Similarly, our behaviors and traditions in unconstrained social complexity establish habits and routines.  Yet, the unexpected always arises, calling for us to be cleverer than we otherwise would be.

The journey of the magi adds a sublime twist to this comparison between two situation-level actualities.  The birth of a royal child in the sublunary realm2b mirrors the secondary causation of creatures2b.  It is as if all life is honored in the journey of the magi.

What about the situational normal context3b?

Astrology puts our earthly turmoil2b into the normal context of something that does not itself change, the twelve signs of the zodiac3b.  For a particular celestial event, one sign will dominate, as in the example of the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in January 2020.

The zodiac mirrors the Divine Will3b, which is unmoved and multifaceted.  The Divine Will3b contextualizes our worldly affairs2b.  Like the numbers of a mechanical clock, the Divine Will3b orients the moment at hand2b.  Like the zodiac, the particularity of God’s Orientation2b is revealed.  Everything has a proper season.  Contextualization of our worldly events2b by the Divine Will3b allows us to remember, contemplate and decide.

What about the situational potential1b?

The Divine Presence1b addresses a moment in time.  So, does the magi’s reading1b.

The magi’s reading of celestial events1b tells us of the nature of the Divine Presence1b.  The Divine Presence1b is the potential1b of the actuality of God2a in the same way that the magi’s interpretation1b engages the potential1b of the actuality of celestial transits through unmoving constellations2a.

For the magi, the celestial sphere2a contains motion (the sun, moon and the roving stars), as well as a lack of motion (the stars in the constellations).  These two features allow reading1b to occur.  The regularity of celestial motion contributes to habits of interpretation, styling astrological hints and suggestions.  The permanence of the constellations, along with the finite number of moving celestial bodies, contribute to astrology’s foundation.

For primary and secondary causation, the actuality of God2a transcends time and enters time.  Here, time parallels motion.  God’s transcendence of time is like the lack of motion of constellations.  God’s entrance into time parallels the motion of celestial bodiesTranscendence speaks to the exclusivity of the Divine Will3b.  Entrance addresses the inclusivity of the Divine Presence1b.

Yet, while the Divine Presence1b manifests in every moment in time, the entrance of the actuality of God2a into the flow of time divides all time.  The Incarnation fixes one moment in the continuum of time.

The journey of the magi is significant in this regard. The gospel passage in Matthew highlights this precise moment, when the secondary causation of creatures2a simultaneously fulfills the primary causation of the Divine Will3b and realizes the potential of the primary causation of the Divine Presence1b.

The relational structure of the journey of the magi mirrors the relational structure of primary and secondary causation involved in the theodrama of the birth of a king, whose kingdom is not of this (mundane) World.

In this mirror, I can see an intimation (or proof) of the actuality of God2a.

04/1/20

How much potential does tiny Pluto have?

In the last two blogs, I discuss a contemporary gift, from modern magi to Christian newborns, in the parallel relational construction of astrology and the Thomist’s insight into primary and secondary causation.

Here is a picture of the association of primary and secondary causation with the category-based nested form.

Figure 1

For astrologers, the superlunary sphere parallels primary causation.  The sublunary plane matches secondary causation.

Here is how that looks.

Figure 2

My example entails a celestial event on January 20, 2020, the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto at the edge of the constellation of Capricorn, teetering into Aquarius.

Saturn is a massive planet.  It is visible to the unaided eye.  Ancient astrologers tracked this “roving star”.

Pluto is a dwarf planet, invisible to the naked eye.  It is 0.2% the volume of Earth.  Tiny Pluto is discovered in 1931, during search of the Knieper Belt, inspired by a perceived incongruity in the orbit of Neptune.

The year of discovery stands between the two great Battels of the Enlightenment gods, the naïve battle among the Mercantilist gods (1914-1918) and the hot battle among the Fraternal Ideologies (1939-1945).  What better time to discover a distant invisible roving star and label it with the name of the pagan god of the underworld?

Pluto seems large at first.  Improved measurements reduce its size.  More dwarf planets have been found.  Eris, discovered in 2005, is slightly larger than Pluto.

So, why would a modern astrologer worry about Pluto?

Why not only follow the visible planets tracked by our ancestors?

The periodicity of Saturn is a little over 28 years.  Many modern humans live to see two full orbits.  This short periodicity may capture the psychology of the mundane world, but not the sociology.  Sociology requires longer periodicities.  Pluto’s circuit of 248 years fits the bill, as do the legitimate planets of Uranus (discovered in 1781, 84-year orbit) and Neptune (discovered in 1846, 165-year orbit).

What does this imply?

The addition of unseen, distant planets with multi-generational periodicities offer modern astrologers the long periods useful for sociological readings.

Now, I return to the nested form for the conjunction of Pluto and Saturn in the constellation, Capricorn.  The Wuhan plague starts right before the inauguration of this year of the rat.

Both the mundane event and the celestial conjunction are real.  An actual event2 occurs on Earth.  A potentiating event1occurs in the heavens, within the normal context of Capricorn3.

However, the conjunction between Saturn and Pluto is also actual2.

Is there a way to configure the category-based nested form in order to account for the realness of the celestial event?

Yes.  One way follows Peirce’s secondness.  Secondness consists of two contiguous real elements.  The nomenclature is one real element [contiguity] other real element.  For example, I could write, celestial event [contiguity] mundane event.  However, there is no material or instrumental causality between these two real elements.  So, this route is blocked.

Another way is to construct two category-based nested forms and hierarchically arrange them.  One nested form enters a situation level (corresponding to actuality).  The other nested form enters a content level (corresponding to potential).

The relation between situationb and contenta is the same as between actuality2 and potential1.  Yet, the relation occurs between nested forms, rather than elements with a single nested.  The qualifier “virtual” (meaning, “in virtue”) denotes the distinction.  Situationb virtually emerges from (and situates) contenta.

In sum, the actuality in the celestial sphere2a may be distinctly separated from the mundane plane2a through a two-level interscope, as described in A Primer on Sensible and Social Construction.

Here is how that looks.

According to this sensible (two-level) construction, the mundane plane2b virtually emerges from (and situates) the celestial sphere2a.  

Ironically, this relational structure also applies to both genetics and natural selection, as demonstrated in Comments on Dennis Venema and Scot McKnight’s Book (2017) Adam and the Genome, as well as Speculations on Thomism and Evolution.

Notable, for both genetics and natural selection, the content levela is relatively independent of the situation levelb and contains a potential1b exploited by the situation levelb.  For astrology, the situation levelb places the content levela within a mythic framework1b that is tested by the congruence between actuality2b and potential1b, in the normal context of astrology3b.

The fall of Wuhan2b passes the test and addresses the question, “How much potential does the miniscule Pluto have?”

But there is more.

The celestial drama of Pluto, Saturn and Jupiter entering into Capricorn2a can be read in light of events on earth2b.

Pluto enters into the constellation of Capricorn on November, 2008, during a world-wide financial crisis.  Easy-finance mortgages, packaged in the USA, are sold throughout the world.  When the bubble bursts, powerful Wall Street companies swoon.

Central banks save the day by propping up financial firms.  In the following years, debt levels rise, extraordinarily, surpassing the debts of 2008.

Now, in early 2020, dozens of economic bubbles are ready to pop.

In 2008, the H1N1 virus jumps to humans in Mexico.  In 2009, the so-called “swine flu” produces a small panic.

Meanwhile, in 2007, Chinese and American scientists collaborate on research into the SARS virus, which swept through Asia four years earlier.  They publish detailed studies of bat-associated coronaviruses.  This work is continued by scientists at the Wuhan Virology Institute, with subsequent publications, even to the unfortunate outbreak.

All it takes is a small tear in a bio-protective suit to release a genetically modified virus into the populace.

Pluto is a tiny player.  Yet, events2b in the fields of finance and virology readily play into the image of a minute celestial being, fully capable of exerting its influence within each constellation2a.  Pluto is a sign of death and renewal.  Capricorn is associated with sovereign power and political order.

In contrast to dwarf planet Pluto, Saturn is massive.  Saturn enters the constellation of Capricorn in December 2017.

At the time, in the USA, President Donald Trump finishes the first year of his term.  National politics is rent by (false) corporate media narrative explaining why Hillary Clinton loses the 2016 election.  The (fraudulently initiated) Mueller investigation offers promise for revenge.  (Innocent) General Michael Flynn (under tainted legal counsel) pleads guilty to lying to the FBI.  Republican candidate, Roy Moore, loses a senate bid in Alabama under the weight of (numerous, manufactured and media-driven) accusations (for sexual misbehavior 30 years prior).  Q posts on the dark web for the first time (and is later vilified and ignored by corporate media).  A foot of snow falls in Georgia.  The city of Atlanta is paralyzed.  Facebook admits censorship.

Worldwide, Britain triggers article 50 of the EU constitution.  Mohammad Bin Salman becomes heir to the Saudi throne.  The nineteenth congress of the Chinese Communist Party names Xi Jinping to a second five-year term, then ends without naming a successor.

Saturn is all about time.  Time reveals all things.  Already, in the first quarter of 2020, the American news of 2017 is shown to be deceptive (see parentheses above).  World news of late 2017 is similarly qualified as Saturn passes through Capricorn.

Jupiter enters Capricorn in December 2019.  It will leave December 2020, after Saturn and Pluto are no longer in retrograde.  The mythic attributes of Pluto, Saturn and Jupiter entangle.  The first complete conjunction occurs January 12, 2020.  Pluto leverages the weight of Saturn in a mythic story1b, telling of the fall of Wuhan and the spread of a novel coronavirus2b.  The mundane plane1b resonates with the celestial sphere2a.

What lesson can I draw?

The story, told above, addresses history and sociology.  Pluto’s advantage comes from its extraordinarily long periodicity.  It lingers within each constellation.  It moves slowly, just like sociological transformations.  Seven visible planets go into conjunction with Pluto as it passes through each constellation.  Saturn goes into conjunction with Pluto every 33 years.

The last time Pluto passes through Capricorn is from 1762 to 1779, during the corruption of Louis XV in France.  King George III rules Britain and milks her colonies.  Frederick II serves Prussia, winning battles and promoting Enlightenment ideas.  Maria Theresa, daughter of Charles III, rules the Hapsburg Empire.  Catherine the Great captures the throne in Russia.  The Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth suffers losses in 1772.  Mohammad Karim Khan Zand rules Persia, ending 40 years of war.  The Ottoman Empire suffers peace and militarily falls behind its European rivals.

1762 through 1779 marks a calm before the storms of the French revolution and the American insurrection.  Germany, Russia and Austria partition Poland. The Enlightenment reformer, Joseph II, follows Maria Theresa.  Persia enters civil war after the death of its regent.

In many ways, the current transit of Pluto recapitulates its previous passage through Capricorn.  The deaths and rebirths of many political-religious unions are already underway, include those political systems that claim to be “not religious”.

The long periodicities of Pluto, Neptune and Uranus offer modern astrologers a vantage not available to ancient astrologers.  Long periodicities allow the contemplation of a sociological spiral through history.  The ancient astrologers thought that the mundane world lives within celestial cycles.  Now, modern astrologers imagine a spiral, where celestial cycles are superimposed on an unfolding that transcends the rhythms of the heavens.

The wise men in the gospel of Matthews catch a glimpse of this theodrama, when they lay their gifts before an infant king.  They follow the stars.  Look what happens.  Surely, they did not anticipate…

Astrology expresses the same relational structure as genetics and natural selection.  Yet, it operates to bring the mundane plane into mythical union with the celestial sphere.

Astrology also expresses the same relational structure as primary and secondary causation, offering an intimation (or proof) on the actuality of God.

Just as, in astrology, the motions of the celestial bodies2a are independent of events on the earthly plane2b, yet are situated by the mundane1b, the actuality of God2a stands independent of primary3b,1b and secondary2b causalities, yet is situated by themb.

The primary causalities of the Divine Will3b and the Divine Presence1b do not physically move.  Secondary causalities2b, exhibited by creatures, facilitate bodily motion.  The actuality of God2a gives rise to the unmoved (Divine Presence1b) Mover (Divine Will3b), just as a celestial actuality2a underlies the zodiac’s constellation3b and the astrologer’s reading1b.

This implies that, just as the planets move before stationary luminaries in the celestial actuality2athe actuality of Godmoves before the actuality of God within the Divine Realness2a.

These parallels are gifts, from the astrologer, to the modern scholastic.

03/28/20

Magi Bear Witness (Part 4)

The zodiac sign of Capricorn serves as a normal context3.

In the previous blog, I consider the imagery of Capricorn in light of the first singularity.  Capricorn associates to the manifestation of civilization in southern Mesopotamia after the first singularity.  Surely, such a claim fits with the standard mythic connection between Capricorn, sovereign power and order.

Several weeks have passed since the conjunction.  I may now look back and assess how the sublunary realm2 appears to manifest the potential of this conjunction between Saturn and Pluto1.  Saturn is the titanic god of time, itself.  Pluto rules over the stark duality of death and rebirth, along with all its resonances, such as darkness and light.

I ask the following question in the middle of March 2020.

Is there an event that brings, to light, an incident that says, “Your time is up.”?

Such an incident would conform to the anticipated actuality2.

There is a candidate.

Earlier, doctors in the city of Wuhan sound warnings.  On January 12, 2020, they are suppressed and ordered to sign self-effacing documents.  Why?  The city prepares for a pre-lunar new year banquet.  The feast will be the send-off for millions of its citizens, who plan to return to their hometowns and villages to celebrate the new-year holidays.  This is the year of the rat.

Nine days later, on January 21, 2020, government authorities place Wuhan and adjacent cities under lockdown.  Wuhan surrenders to a plague.  The disease rapidly spreads throughout the world.  Eight weeks later, quarantines and lockdowns occur in South Korea, Italy, France, Spain and the United States of America.

Here is my assessment.

Figure 4. Dynamics of astrology

Surely, there is no instrumental or material cause acting between the normal context3 and actuality2, as well as between the potential1 and actuality2.  Direct causality is the stuff of modern science.  Disciplinary languages, mechanical and mathematical models, as well as measurement and observation are imbued with the character of actuality2.  But, actuality2is not all there is.

I cannot smell, taste, touch, see and hear a normal context3 or its potential1.  Yet, I sense their relevance.  I cannot observe or measure them.  Or can I?

I can observe and measure the Saturn-Pluto conjunction.  Isn’t that real?

Yes, but I cannot bring the conjunction1 into relation with actuality2 without a triadic relation.  A normal context3 is needed in order to bring the potential of the superlunary event1 into relation with the actuality of a sublunary event2.  A sublunary event2 emerges from (and situates) the potential of the superlunary event1.  The fall of Wuhan, and all its sequelae2, emerges from (and situates) the potential of the Pluto-Saturn conjunction1, in the normal context of the sign of Capricorn3.

This nested form belongs to modern astrology.  It touches base with the views of ancient astrologers, such as the magi, the wise men in Matthew’s gospel.  It parallels primary and secondary causation, familiar to medieval and modern scholastics.  There is more to the world than the category of secondness, the realm of actuality.  Humans cogitate in the way of the category-based nested form.  Both modern and ancient astrologers offer the newborn Christian a gift, an insight that bears witness to a relational structure, common to all and endowed by our Creator.

03/26/20

Magi Bear Witness (Part 3)

But, aren’t there two actualities?

There are events on earth.  There are events in the heavens.

One belongs to actuality2.  The other is held by potential1.

So, how does the modern astrologer, like the magi of old, offer the newborn Christian a gift?

Recently, a particular set of celestial events unite modern and ancient astrologies.  Modern astrology considers the influence of celestial bodies that cannot be viewed with the naked eye, such as the dwarf planet, Pluto.  Premodern astrology considers planets visible to the unaided eye, from Mercury to Saturn.

The notable event is the conjunction of Pluto and Saturn in Capricorn on January 12, 2020.  This particular conjunction is one step in a minuet involving Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter and Mars, dancing on the dividing line between Capricorn and Aquarius.Here is the nested form for this celestial event.

Figure 3

03/24/20

Magi Bear Witness (Part 2)

The indirect causality of astrology, as well as of primary and secondary causes, is captured by the four statements embedded in the category-based nested form.

Let me consider astrology.

An actuality2 occurs our sublunary world.

Its normal context3 and potential1 pertains to the superlunary sphere.Here is how that looks.

Figure 2: Dynamics of astrology
03/21/20

Magi Bear Witness (Part 1)

According to the gospel of Matthew, after Jesus is born, wise men arrive the East, following a “star”.  Of course, the term, “star”, must be broadly construed, pertaining to the superlunary domes, as opposed to the sublunary planes.  The motions of superlunary beings represent ‘something’ to the magi, corresponding to ‘something’ in their sublunary situation.

They read the “star” as a sign of a birth of a king.

The magi are “magical” is so far as this: There is no direct cause whereby a divine superlunary being activates, moves, arranges or manipulates ‘something’ in our sublunary realm.  Yet, causation appears to be present.

In Comments on Fr. Thomas White’s Essay (2019), “Thomism and the New Evangelization”, available at smashwords.com, one finds a parallel with primary and secondary causation.  Primary causation entails God’s Will and Presence.  Secondary causation pertains to God’s creatures.  Creatures exhibit secondary causation, without compromising the primacy of God.

The “magic” at the heart of modern and premodern astrology re-articulates a foundational distinction in the tradition of Thomas Aquinas.

How do these indirect causalities operate?

Here is the picture.

11/30/19

Saturn-Pluto conjunction and Jupiter-Pluto Conjunction in Capricorn, 2020: Resonances with the First Singularity

The gospels tell of magi, astrologers from the East, following a star (or maybe a planetary alignment).  Today, a similar phenomenon occurs.  Starting at the end of 2019, Saturn and Pluto enter conjunction in the constellation Capricorn.  Then, Jupiter enters the same constellation, coming close to Pluto later in 2020.  Astrologers watch wide-eyed.

Imagine the possibilities.

Saturn is the planet of civilizational systems.  Time eats its own.  The deep state runs, no matter who is in charge.  Then, it runs out of Time.

Pluto is the planet of death and birth, destruction and renewal.

Jupiter is the god of sovereign and worldly order.  His decrees are like bolts of lightning.  He rules the pantheon.  He enforces the laws.

Then, there is the constellation of Capricorn, the house of government.

Pictured as a goat, I imagine the constellation opening its doors to planners, workers, scientists and sensible thinkers. These people climb mountains, one step at a time.

But, the ancient image of Capricorn is far more curious.  The constellation has the head and torso of a goat.  It has the abdomen and tail of a fish.  For this reason, it is called the “sea-goat”.

This is the representation that I would like to discuss.

The ancient Greeks have a playful explanation for Capricorn.  Pan, already half-human and half-goat, finds himself in a tough spot.  Other gods transform into animals in order to escape the predicament.  When Pan tries, oops, he turns into half-goat half-fish.

Even further back in time, the Sumerian civilization has a god, Ea, who brings the arts of civilization to humans.  During the day, he comes on land.  Then, at night, he retires to the water.  Does that sound chimeric?

Now, I make a dramatic play, by asking, “Could both Ea and Capricorn stand for some event that the ancients forget, yet remember in their divine images?”

An interesting answer comes from Razie Mah in An Archaeology of the Fall and The First Singularity and its Fairy Tale Trace.

The bi-modal god, Ea, and the sea-goat, Capricorn, stand for the formation of the Ubaid culture of southern Mesopotamia, around 7800 years ago.  Over the next three thousand years, the Ubaid becomes the Uruk and the Uruk becomes the Sumerian civilization.

So, how is the Ubaid culture both on land and in sea?  How is it half-goat and half-fish?

The Sumerian language provides a clue. It is a linguistic isolate.  It does not belong to any family of languages.

Why is this so?

It is a creole.  A creole forms when two disparate cultures are thrown together.  Trying to get along, they produce pidgin, pieces of language, that are sown together into a new language by later generations.  A creole fits the image of a chimera.

How did this happen?

During the Developed Neolithic, say nine or ten thousand years ago, the Persian Gulf is dry land.  A wide river valley holds a narrow gorge, carrying the flows of the Tigris, Euphrates and other rivers.  Two separate Mesolithic cultures settle the two habitats.  One comes from northern Mesopotamia.  These folks are farmers and stockbreeders.  They settle the valley.  Here is the goat.  The other comes along the coast, probably from the East.  These folks have reed boats and live off the marsh.  They settle the gorge.  Here is the fish.

Around eight thousand years ago, the ice age ends and the current interglacial begins.  The sea levels slowly and powerfully rise.  Sea water fills the gorge, then submerges the surrounding broad valley. These two cultures are thrown together.  Each culture loses its hand-speech talk.  The resulting creole, Sumerian, is the world’s first speech-alone language.

Yes, the Ubaid emerges from both land and sea with a new way of talking, speech-alone.  All their Neolithic and Epipaleolithic neighbors still talk with a combination of manual-brachial gesture and speech (that is, hand-speech talk). The semiotic differences between speech-alone talk and hand-speech talk are huge.  Speech-alone talk potentiates civilization in southern Mesopotamia.  Speech-alone talk spreads on the wings of mimicry to adjacent hand-speech talking cultures, then flies to all corners of the Earth, seeding unconstrained social complexity along the way.

Our current Lebenswelt is not the same as the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

Two gods stand at the threshold.  One dwells in Sumerian myth.  The other lingers in the heavens.

The end writes the beginning.  The beginning writes the end.

Todays’ astrologers watch as Saturn and Pluto come together, then Jupiter and Pluto, as well.  They join in the House of Capricorn.  What do the heavens portend?  Astrologers strain to imagine the possibilities.  Here, is another one to consider.  Capricorn resonates with the first singularity, the potentiation of all civilizations.  In this constellation, the planets align.