Monday, 26 November 2018

Monday quote

It is frequently a sin to give offense. It is always a sin to take it.

Douglas Wilson

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Self-interest and selfishness

It could be argued that selfishness is a vice of the individual. But it is self-interest that as an individual property, selfishness is only a vice in community.

Self-interest is inherently a virtue and not a vice. It is natural and normal to care for one's well-being. To lack care for one's self is associated with a range of unsavory behaviours ranging from neglect to self-harm. It is right to care one keeps warm, and sated, and free from thirst. And one can seek these things in private as much as he can in community. A hermit looks to care for himself.

Of course a man can care too much for himself, but that is because he has weighted his desires incorrectly: he loves food more than avoiding starvation, and thus becomes fat. Though obesity is hardly in a man's self-interest. The man needs to avoid the idolatry of his passions. Self-control contributes to self-interest.

But selfishness is a vice that one can only exhibit in a community. Those are selfish who care more about themselves than others. The problem is not that he had a second piece of pie, it is that there were others who had none. He may well have 3 pieces of pie at his own table, but not at a gathering where the provision was sub-optimal.

Selfishness is intrinsically a problem of community but self-interest is irrespective of community. Therefore self-interest need not detrimental to society. Selfishness is always bad, self-interest is problematic when it is idolatrous, or when a man is also selfish. But we have seen that all men have self-interest but not all men are selfish.

In order to serve others we must reject selfishness, though that need not mean rejecting self-interest. Service to others may involve going against self-interest, this is the path of Christ who walked towards death in order to give us life. Going without so others can have; giving away our time, property, money; fasting and praying for others. That we have self-interest does not mean we always need attend to it.

But we can also serve others by helping in areas that bring us pleasure. We differ in gifts but also desires. It is no virtue to insist that gardening and visiting and baking and teaching all be performed by the very men who dislike these activities. It may be in a necessity, but we can serve others in ways that also feed our enjoyment. It is not self-interest which damages community, it is selfishness.



Monday, 19 November 2018

Monday, 12 November 2018

Monday quote

We cannot be certain of being right about the future; but we can be almost certain of being wrong about the future, if we are wrong about the past.

GK Chesterton.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

On intelligence quotient and race

I wrote this as a comment on IQ and racial differences some months ago.

I think that IQ is real in that it measures a form of intellectual prowess. We all know people who are more and less intelligent and IQ seems to correlate with that. IQ almost certainly does not measure wisdom (knowing what is good and right).

I also think that an IQ difference between races is feasible. Certain tribal groupings differ in height, weight, eye colour, hair shape, on average.

However it seems to me that IQ likely is associated with many more genes than these other features. I also suspect that IQ is influenced by education despite claims otherwise. There is also evidence of IQ changes over time within a racial group. Therefore I very much doubt that there are significant, if any, differences between races.

So my position is there could be an IQ difference but there probably isn't. IQ does not measure morality. Having a higher IQ is a benefit, probably like being tall, or running fast. Racial differences are averages and do not apply to an individual. And IQ is only one metric, so it cannot be used for a general claim of racial superiority. We are equal before God because of our imago Dei, not because of our skills. And the man who is strong or fast or smart should never boast in this, but boast in the Lord.

Monday, 5 November 2018

Monday quote

I would suggest that God gave us emotions to enjoy and to alert us to pleasures, dangers and the condition of our inner man—not for the purpose of making decisions. For decision-making, He gave us the capacity to reason in order that we might objectively identify the right thing to do on the basis of God’s Word and then discipline the heart to follow after. Under discipline, the heart follows the direction set by a redeemed mind. Left to themselves, emotions generate delusion. Will we think with our feelings or with a Holy Spirit–inspired capacity to reason?

R. Loren Sandford

Labels

abortion (8) absurdity (1) abuse (1) accountability (2) accusation (1) adultery (1) advice (1) afterlife (6) aid (3) alcohol (1) alphabet (1) analogy (5) analysis (1) anatomy (1) angels (1) animals (10) apologetics (42) apostasy (4) archaeology (22) architecture (1) Ark (1) Assyriology (11) astronomy (5) atheism (14) audio (1) authority (4) authorship (11) aviation (1) Babel (1) beauty (1) behaviour (4) bias (6) Bible (38) biography (4) biology (5) bitterness (1) blasphemy (2) blogging (12) blood (3) books (2) brain (1) browser (1) bureaucracy (3) business (5) calendar (7) cannibalism (2) capitalism (3) carnivory (2) cartography (1) censorship (1) census (2) character (2) charities (1) children (14) Christmas (4) Christology (8) chronology (47) church (4) civility (2) clarity (5) Classics (2) climate change (39) coercion (1) community (3) conscience (1) contentment (1) context (2) conversion (3) copyright (5) covenant (1) coveting (1) creation (1) creationism (37) criminals (8) critique (2) crucifixion (13) Crusades (1) culture (4) currency (1) death (5) debate (2) deception (2) definition (16) deluge (9) demons (3) depravity (6) design (9) determinism (25) discernment (4) disciple (1) discipline (2) discrepancies (2) divinity (1) divorce (1) doctrine (4) duty (3) Easter (9) ecology (3) economics (28) education (10) efficiency (2) Egyptology (9) elect (2) emotion (2) enemy (1) energy (6) environment (4) epistles (2) eschatology (6) ethics (36) ethnicity (5) Eucharist (1) eulogy (1) evangelism (2) evil (8) evolution (13) examination (1) exegesis (22) Exodus (1) faith (22) faithfulness (1) fame (1) family (4) fatherhood (2) feminism (1) food (3) foreknowledge (4) forgiveness (4) formatting (2) fraud (1) freewill (29) fruitfulness (1) gematria (4) gender (5) genealogy (10) genetics (6) geography (3) geology (2) globalism (2) glory (6) goodness (3) gospel (4) government (18) grace (9) gratitude (2) Greek (4) happiness (2) healing (1) health (7) heaven (1) Hebrew (4) hell (2) hermeneutics (4) history (21) hoax (5) holiday (5) holiness (4) Holy Spirit (3) honour (1) housing (1) humour (35) hypocrisy (1) ice-age (2) idolatry (4) ignorance (1) image (1) inbox (2) inerrancy (16) infinity (1) information (10) infrastructure (2) insight (2) inspiration (1) integrity (1) intelligence (4) interests (1) internet (3) interpretation (80) interview (1) Islam (4) judgment (19) justice (23) karma (1) kingdom of God (12) knowledge (15) language (3) lapsology (7) law (18) leadership (2) libertarianism (12) life (3) linguistics (13) literacy (2) literature (17) logic (30) love (3) lyrics (9) manuscripts (11) marriage (19) martyrdom (2) mathematics (10) matter (4) measurement (1) media (3) medicine (11) memes (1) mercy (3) Messiah (5) miracles (4) mission (1) monotheism (2) moon (1) murder (5) nativity (7) natural disaster (1) naval (1) numeracy (1) oceanography (1) offence (1) orthodoxy (3) orthopraxy (4) outline (1) paganism (2) palaeontology (4) paleography (1) parable (1) parenting (2) Passover (1) patience (1) peer review (1) peeves (1) perfectionism (2) persecution (2) perseverance (1) pharaohs (5) philanthropy (1) philosophy (34) photography (2) physics (18) physiology (1) plants (3) poetry (2) poison (1) policing (1) politics (31) poverty (9) prayer (2) pride (2) priest (3) priesthood (2) prison (2) privacy (1) productivity (2) progress (1) property (1) prophecy (7) proverb (1) providence (1) quiz (8) quotes (509) rebellion (1) redemption (1) reformation (1) religion (2) repentance (1) requests (1) research (1) resentment (1) resurrection (4) revelation (1) review (4) revival (1) revolution (1) rewards (2) rhetoric (3) sacrifice (4) salt (1) salvation (29) science (44) self-interest (1) selfishness (1) sermon (1) sexuality (17) sin (16) sincerity (1) slander (1) slavery (5) socialism (4) sodomy (1) software (4) solar (1) song (2) sovereignty (15) space (1) sport (1) standards (6) statistics (13) stewardship (5) sublime (1) submission (5) subsistence (1) suffering (5) sun (1) survey (1) symbolism (1) tax (3) technology (12) temple (1) testimony (5) theft (2) trade (3) traffic (1) tragedy (1) translation (15) transport (1) Trinity (2) truth (27) typing (1) typography (1) vegetarianism (2) vice (2) video (10) virtue (1) warfare (7) water (2) wealth (9) weird (6) willpower (4) wisdom (4) work (10) worldview (4)