A Critical, Quantum Gn¤stic Review


David Hume's

Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion

Pamphilus to Hermippus, an Introduction of Cleanthes, Philo, and Demea


Doug Renselle

Doug's Prereview Comments

Parts I through XII titles are com(n)trivances of Paul Douglas Renselle, April-May, 2006.

Pamphilus To Hermippus

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Part VI

Part VII


Part IX

Part X

Part XI

Part XII


Move to any Part of David Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion,
or to beginning of its review via this set of links
says, "You are here!")

Introduce Cleanthes, Philo, and Demea...............Pamphilus to Hermippus



(Verbatim David Hume. Mostly following Hafner Library of Classics, 1948.)

(Relevant to Pirsig, Quantum Gn¤stic Jesuitism, and Quantonics Thinking Modes.)

"It has been remarked, my Hermippus, that though the ancient philosophers conveyed most of their instruction in the form of dialogue, this method of composition has been little practised in later ages, and has seldom succeeded in the hands of those who have attempted it. Accurate and regular argument, indeed, such as is now expected of philosophical enquirers, naturally throws a man into the methodical and didactic [teaching especially to evoke moral learning - Doug] manner; where he can immediately, without preparation, explain the point at which he aims; and thence proceed, without interruption, to deduce the proofs on which it is established. To deliver a system in conversation, scarcely appears natural; and while the dialogue-writer desires, by departing from the direct style of composition, to give a freer air to his performance, and avoid the appearance of author and reader, he is apt to run into a worse inconvenience, and convey the image of pedagogue and pupil. Or, if he carries on the dispute in the natural spirit of good company, by throwing in a variety of topics, and preserving a proper balance among the speakers, he often loses so much time in preparations and transitions, that the reader will scarcely think himself compensated, by all the graces of dialogue, for the order, brevity, and precision, which are sacrificed to them.

"There are some subjects, however, to which dialogue-writing is peculiarly adapted, and where it is still preferable to the direct and simple method of composition.

"Any point of doctrine, which is so obvious that it scarcely admits of dispute, but at the same time so important that it cannot be too often inculcated, seems to require some such method of handling it; where the novelty of the manner may compensate the triteness of the subject; where the vivacity of conversation may enforce the precept; and where the variety of lights, presented by various personages and characters, may appear neither tedious nor redundant."

Our bold and color highlights follow a code:

  • black-bold - important to read if you are just scanning our review
  • orange-bold - text ref'd by index pages
  • green-bold - we see Hume proffering quantumesque memes
  • violet-bold - an apparent classical problematic
    In Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion we mark most 'classical English language problematics' using bold violet. It seems fair to mark our own uses too. As you read do some substitutions on your own: di to omni, con to com, not to n¤t, in to ihn, discard wasted the and when discard is impossible use possessives, etc. See our QELR. See our QELP.
  • blue-bold - we disagree with this text segment while disregarding context of Hume's overall text
  • gray-bold - quotable text
  • red-bold - our direct commentary
  • [] - our intra text commentary

Our many Quantonics' local~online references include:

  • Apple Computer, Inc.'s Digital Dictionary and Thesaurus (we run a copy of this on a G5 2.5GHz quad and CotVNC it, et al., from some text production PowerBooks through CodeTek's Virtual Desktop)
  • Baigent, Leigh, and Lincoln's Holy Blood, Holy Grail
  • Barnhart Concise dictionary of Etymology
  • Cambridge dictionary of Philosophy
  • Columbia dictionary of Quotations
  • David Hume's An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding
  • David Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (text for this review)
    An important peripheral issue relevant our review here is Bruno De Finetti's ~1935-1937 paper, Foresight: Its Logical Laws, Its Subjective Sources, on subjective probability. De Finetti refers Hume's powerful comments here on cause as an apex of human philosophical understanding of 'cause.' We want to spend much timings here discussing Hume's notions of 'cause' vis-à-vis De Finetti's subjective probability and Quantonics' quantum probability.
  • David Hume's Treatise of Human Nature, A - Doug first acquired a personal library copy of this text 2Nov2006.

    Doug believes this is de Finetti's source of extraordinary praise for Hume's grasp of classical philosophical notions of cause; our first focus is Part III 'Of Knowledge and Probability,' Sections I-IV.

    To illustrate what we are up against we offer Section I's 'Of Knowledge,' last sentence, "If [an idea's] weakness render it obscure, it is our business to remedy that defect, as much as possible, by keeping the idea steady and precise; and till we have done so, it is in vain to pretend to reasoning and philosophy."

    Reader, you can see here, how Hume proffers an common classical edict, a mandate to stop reality in order to understand it, to zero h-bar to make quantum reality hold still.

    This is just a huge disappointment for Doug, but not unexpected.

    However, Hume apparently had no intuitions, nor access to memeos quantum, did he? If he did, he might have written, instead, "If [an idea's] weakness render it obscure, it is our business to remedy that defect, as much as possible, by keeping the idea steady and precise; and till we have done so, it is in vain to pretend to classical reasoning and philosophy."

    In that case we can remediate his sentence to say, "If a memeo's weakness render it obscure, it is our business to remedy that defect, as much as possible, by accepting quantum memes of flux as crux; and when we have done so, we can profit exceedingly via quantum ræhs¤ning amd phil¤s¤phy." Paraphrased by Doug - 3Nov2006.

    But not to fear dear readers! Our MicroSoft Book Shelf, says this under Science, 1739, "Hume shatters the connection between reason and the empirical world...If a rock is is not reason that tells us the rock will fall but rather custom and experience. Truths, like mathematical axioms, are true by definition, but to believe that any observed effect follows any cause by force of reason is folly."

    So, as you can see, we have much more David Hume to read and learn and write about.

    One motivation for offering these comments here is that 'cause' is a huge topic, almost omni present' in Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.

    3Nov2006 - Doug.

  • Encyclopedia Britannica
  • EB's Great Books (apparently these are highly 'edited' by 'experts,' ugh!)
  • Elaine Pagels' works, especially The Gnostic Gospels, The Gnostic Paul (see this re: Doug's quantum~gn¤stic usages of 'psychic' and 'pneumatic'), and The Origin of Satan
  • Errol E. Harris' Foundations of Metaphysics in Science (Doug has experienced countless avataronic epiphanies reading Harris...)
  • Frances A. Yates' works, especially Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition
  • Google online (our preferred search engine)
  • Henri Louis Bergson's works: An Introduction to Metaphysics, Creative Evolution, and Time and Free Will
  • Hunter Mead's 1946 Types and Problems of Philosophy (this is fairly old and Mead is clearly a SOMite, but he offers an abundant list of and statements of philosophy's apparently unlimited problems - Doug - 10May2006)
  • Isaiah Berlin's Magus of the North
  • Language references for French (Crown), German (Mueller), Greek (OXF and Ayers-Worthen), Italian (Google), Latin (Cassell's and Ayers-Worthen-a favorite learning assistant), Spanish (Doubleday), etc.
  • Oxford dictionary of Philosophy
  • Quantonics Web Site and its rapidly evolving Classical vis-à-vis Quantum Religion Recommended Reading page
  • Robert M. Pirsig's works ZMM (Quality) and Lila (Quality as Morality; Pirsig's "Quality increment" as a least unit of moral action hints at Planck rate Quality changings and flux~quantized Quality - Doug - 27Apr2006.)
  • Teachers' and Pupils' Encyclopedia
  • The Gnostic Bible, Barnestone & Meyer (ancient gnostic texts which have been found during last ~200 years and others extant and appear paradoxically both gnostic (pneumatic) and orthodox (psychic) are all here; our fav and only yet perused is Philip Gospel, starting on p. 257; note: this is all, due Irenaeus and Constantine, total heresy to 'catholics' — very sad, indeed...we view this as work of Pirsig's "ancients" Doug - 10May2006.)

    Near end of Barnestone's Introduction, p. 27, he writes, "The purpose of cosmic tale, exegesis, and sermon is to convert you, the ancient and now modern reader; to bring you along to a secret knowledge available within you." Our bold, color, and italics. Doug.
  • Treasury of Philosophy
  • Volume Library
  • William James' Some Problems of Philosophy
  • William James' Varieties of Religious Experience
  • William James Durant's The Story of Philosophy
  • Webster's Unabridged dictionary of English Language
  • WWW (multiple online access means)

David Hume lived twixt 1711-1776. Hume was a Scotsman. His interests lay in economy, history, and philosophy. Hume was born into an 17th century upsurge of The Enlightenment borne of dialectical mechanisms proffered by Descartes, Locke, and Newton.

Quantum theories and empirical quantum science have shown us that 'The Enlightenment' was actually an intellectual Endarkenment.

Our approach here, in our critical review of Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, is to juxtapose classical and quantum with a desire to help Quantonics readers commence viewing quantum ways of think~king as superior to antique and cliché methods of thingk-king.

Bold violet semaphores classical notions. Bold green desnouers quantum memes. Hume's original, mostly classical, text appears in column just left. Doug will write comments in this column which are both classical ('psychic') and quantum ('pneumatic') and compare classical notions and quantum memes for you, reader. For example...

Classical notions of 'proof' are invalid in quantum reality. See proof.

Classical notions of 'deduction' and 'induction' are invalid in quantum reality.

Classicists tend to read text literally.

In general, these classical notions among countless others, are simply invalid:

  • ideal objective analysis and differentiability,
  • ideal objective synthesis and integrability,
  • ideal logical deduction,
  • ideal logical induction,
  • ideal logical and physical 1-1 correspondent cause and effect,
  • ideal objective lisrability,
  • ideal logical commutativity, associativity, distributivity, factorability, etc.,
  • ideal logical scalabililty and bootstrappability,
  • ideal physical and logical reversibility,
  • ideal physical measurement,
  • ideal logical and physical invariance,
  • ideal physical and logical repeatability (say of experiment and experimental context),
  • ideal disclosure of complete 'initial conditions,'
  • ideal discovery of complete contextual ephemera,
  • ideal objective, logical, physical notions of point, line, and circle,
  • ideal mechanical operations of negation and subtraction,
  • etc.

Classicists treat negation as objective, quantitative, stable-state-ic, and homogeneous. Quantum reality shows us that nægati¤n is subjective, qualitative, animate, 'pneumatic,' and heterogeneous. Be careful in your uses of no, non, nor, not, etc. Use quantized 'o' characters to suggest subjective negation. If a prefix 'in' is negational replace it with 'ihn.' See negative. See Bergson's Negation is Subjective.

Since Hume is writing mostly about religion here we need to apprise our readers of our intent regarding religion too.

In our view Jesus Christ is n¤t who modern 'catholics' and 'protestants' believe he is. Roman 'catholic' inanes, mainly Irenaeus and Constantine created a 'social Jesus' for consumption by a wide variety of anti-gnostic (i.e., agnostic: 'not' gnostic) people. Daniel C. Dennett in his Breaking the Spell calls them "helpless innocents." But Jesus, according to some Nag Hammadi Gospels, is a gnostic. In many ways, in our view, Jesus is a quantum~gn¤stic.


'Catholic' means 'universal.'

N¤ mæmæ ihn quantum ræhlity, æxcæpt changæ, issi 'universal!' N¤ quantum mæmæs, æxcæpt changæ, can 'catholic.' And then we would QELR it like this: cath¤lihc.

Quantum ræligi¤usly then, ¤nly ævil d¤æs n¤t changæ. Pirsig calls it "ESQ."

Doug - 27Apr2006.

End aside.

But 'catholics' and 'protestants' hate and hated Jesus' gnosticism and call it and called it "heresy." They hate "choice," and individual freedom of choice. They want 'social organizations' to reign over all individuals and impose a 'tragedy of commons religious sense' upon all individuals. Hence it becomes quite clear why Karl Marx viewed religion as an opiate of mind. Of course, real individuals reject vociferously that kind of religious or any other kind of, say Marxian, social hegemony. Yes...we do...

Gnosticism means individual wisdom. Especially self~knowledge as Jesus' teaching method of helping his disciples "find God."

To us, in Quantonics, philosophy is philo sophy. Philo means 'love.' Sophy means wisdom, sophism, light, gnosticism, etc. Indeed, when taken literally, Jesus means light so one hermeneutic of philo sophy is love of Jesus. To us, Jesus' gnosticism is quantum philosophy, with individual emphasis, and notably with social deemphasis. There! Now you have it. See our gnostic updates.

If that view is, in your mind, bogus we just saved you a lot of effort.

If you agree, though, we offer you a superb Chautauqua of quantum learning here. Note that quantum learning is Quality is Moral thus is "didactic." However, allow us to QELR classical 'didactic' as quantum~omnidactic.

If you decide to proceed, may we suggest you read Henry D. Aiken's 'Introduction' to Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion in Hafner Library of Classics, 1948. It is veritably and fabulously beyond superb.

Doug - 26Apr2006.

Page top index.


"Any question of philosophy, on the other hand, which is so obscure and uncertain, that human reason can reach no fixed determination with regard to it — if it should be treated at all — seems to lead us naturally into the style of dialogue and conversation. Reasonable men may be allowed to differ, where no one can reasonably be positive. Opposite sentiments, even without any decision, afford an agreeable amusement; and if the subject be curious and interesting, the book carries us, in a manner, into company; and unites the two greatest and purest pleasures of human life — study and society.

"Happily, these circumstances are all to be found in the subject of natural religion. What truth so obvious, so certain, as the being of a God, which the most ignorant ages have acknowledged, for which the most refined geniuses have ambitiously striven to produce new proofs and arguments? What truth so important as this, which is the ground of all our hopes, the surest foundation of morality, the firmest support of society, and the only principle which ought never to be a moment absent from our thoughts and meditations? But, in treating of this obvious and important truth, what obscure questions occur concerning the nature of that divine being, his attributes, his decrees, his plan of providence? These have been always subjected to the disputations of men; concerning these human reason has not reached any certain determination. But these are topics so interesting, that we cannot restrain our restless enquiry with regard to them; though nothing but doubt, uncertainty, and contradiction, have as yet been the result of our most accurate researches. [PDR note: Classicism views quantum reality and classicism's dialectic engenders evocation of 'dilemma,' 'oxymora,' and "sophist" 'paradoxes.' Quantum reality, to any classical mind, is perverse, perfidious, prevaricative, and equivocal. People who could grasp qualogos like Heraclitus, Zeno, and Jesus, were called "sophists," "heretics," "gnostics," with intentionally malicious denigration.]

"This I had lately occasion to observe, while I passed, as usual, part of the summer season with Cleanthes, and was present at those conversations of his with Philo and Demea, of which I gave you lately some imperfect account. Your curiosity, you then told me, was so excited, that I must, of necessity, enter into a more exact detail of their reasonings, and display those various systems which they advanced with regard to so delicate a subject as that of natural religion. [We worry that Hume's Pamphilus views 'natural' as some classicists do today, as nature obeying man's physical and logical 'laws.'] The remarkable contrast in their characters still further raised your expectations; while you opposed the accurate philosophical turn of Cleanthes to the careless scepticism of Philo, or compared either of their dispositions with the rigid inflexible orthodoxy of Demea. [We like Pamphilus' description of Demea as "rigid inflexible orthodoxy." If that is a valid criticism, it agrees with similar criticisms quantum memes are making today (2nd quarter, 2006) of classical philosophic, religious and 'scientific' notions from yesteryear.] My youth rendered me a mere auditor of their disputes; and that curiosity, natural to the early season of life, has so deeply imprinted in my memory the whole chain and connexion of their arguments, that, I hope, I shall not omit or confound any considerable part of them in the recital." Our brackets, links, bold and color. One may wish to fathom how Doug's RE-fed curiosity abounds during his fourth score; n¤t an "early season," n¤t at all.

Beware classical notions of 'rational' reason!

Ditto determinism.

Hume shows a quantum intuition in his " one can reasonably be positive." This is a very simple way of saying, "Reality is quantum~uncertain."

Beware classical notions of positive. Reality is n¤t classically certain! To claim 'certainty' as classical 'science' does, is to delude self and others.

Beware classical notions of opposite. Ideal classical 'opposites' do n¤t 'exist' in quantum~reality due quantum~negation's subjectivity, discussed in page comments just above.

Beware classical notions of subject. Most classicists place object above subject. Quantum~reality places subject above object.

We worry about Hume's semantic of society. We are, so far, ignorant of Hume's deep philosophical grundlagen. Does he view society as arbiter of common thought? Does he view society as a vessel of massively heterogeneous views and hermeneutics? In classical reality ideal society is a OSFA thought cop polemic. In quantum~reality n¤ two sentients do n¤r can share 'identical' socially 'positive' thoughts. Society which seeks and perhaps imposes static, monistic thought is evil from any quantum perspective. That kind of society is antithetical individuality and freedom of thought. Notice that both classical science and classical religion attempt to do this. 'Catholicism' defines this and owns this as 'orthodoxy.' Orthodox means the right way, one right way to think and believe. It is hilt bogosity. Hume is against orthodoxy. Some call him an "atheist" for this, but others say he does not reject God, rather says humans are incapable of understanding God and in no way capable of 'knowing' what God 'wants.' Hume's God is so far removed from humanity as to be unreachable. So, we preliminarily surmise, Hume says "stop worrying about it." But Hume "worried about it" his whole life.

Why? Discussing religion is, due its almost unlimited philosophical omnifficulties, a major quantum~intellectual~curiosity attractor. Like a second potato chip, one just cann¤t keep away from it.

See Quantonics' QELRs of:

Doug - 27Apr2006.


To contact Quantonics write to or call:

Doug Renselle
Quantonics, Inc.
Suite 18 # 368 1950 East Greyhound Pass
Carmel, INdiana 46033-7730

©Quantonics, Inc., 2006-2012 — Rev. 2Dec2009  PDR — Created 26Apr2006  PDR
(12Jun2006 rev - Alter Pagels' The Gnostic Paul link in references.)
(31Aug2006 rev - Add 'Extended Quantonics Reference List' anchor.)
(3Nov2006 rev - Add Hume's Treatise of Human Nature to ref. list, with Doug's initial comments.)
(24Nov2006 rev - Add pre review comments link.)
(5Mar2007 rev - Repair spelling of 'heterogeneous.')
(29Oct2007 rev - Add 'Beware Rational' anchor to page 2 commentary.)
(21Sep2008 rev - Reformat.)
(2Dec2009 rev - Make page current. Reset legacy updates. Adjust colors.)