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The Heretic

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  1. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Season preview   

    Well. Brees looks like he's in midseason form.
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  2. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Season preview   

    Miami Dolphins: With a talented & young roster, solid QB & potential playmaking, the Dolphins may be ready to snatch the AFC East division away from the Patriots' deathgrip.

    QB Tannehill has been improving every year, reading the defenses better, but he must start getting rid of the ball and stop taking sacks. Maintain composure in the clutch. At least he has a new arsenal: second year Landry, newcomers Jennings and Stills. RB Miller was solid last year, with 1000 yards and 5 yards per carry. Expect more this year behind an improved line.

    Their OL must gel in a jiffy. If LT Albert regains his form after that ACL tear, the entire line will be plenty stout. The rest of them are young and cursed with potential. Turner has been having a great camp, and James can only improve after a tough rookie year last year.

    On defense, the Dolphins' DL looks loaded: free agent DT Suh has to be double teamed, taking pressure off great pass-rushing ends in Wake and Vernon. Mitchell will man the remaining tackle spot, and rookie Phillips has potential. However, their LB corps sucks. Only LB Misi is a legitimate starter. The rest of them is either underwhelming (Jenkins) or suspended (Jordan) or just plain hopeful (McCain and Sheppard). At least with that terrorizing DL, the linebackers won't have to worry about blocking and the safeties will have more opportunities to blitz.

    Coach Philbin has survived fiasco and scandals and mediocrity so far, but is he capable of taking this team to another level? The first half of the Dolphins' schedule is easy, but I can't see Tannehill taking the next step to the Pro Bowl yet.

    Prediction: 9-7

    Atlanta Falcons: Good riddance to Mike Smith. Coach Dan Quinn will bring positive energy and personality, but for some goddamned reason, the Falcons kept incompetent GM Dimitroff. He's bombed four drafts in a row, believe it or not. The Falcons have top shelf talent, but they still have no depth whatsoever.

    Matt Ryan is a top 10 QB, and he proved himself with a productive season behind a tissue paper strong line last year. WR Jones is awesome, one of the top 5 in the entire league, but he has to stay healthy for the entire year. However, Roddy White has declined lately, no longer possessing that speed, and TE Douglas is gone. There's only castoffs and stiffs at TE, and they don't know who will emerge at RB: rookies Freeman or Coleman. Pay extra attention to rookie Hardy, who might surprise at the slot receiving position.

    At OL, the Falcons are set at both tackle positions. LT Matthews is healthy and will dominate in the Falcons' new zone-blocking schemes. But they have to figure out the guards and center ASAP.

    After going tits up last year with a historically pathetic season, the Falcons' defense just cannot go anywhere else but up. CB Trufant is an elite talent, and can become a bonafide shut-down corner. At the other corner spot, Collins has the physical size, but not the defensive presence. Rookie Kevin White may solidify that nickel corner spot, though Alford is a dud in man coverage. Moore is a solid safety, but he gotta get healthy quick cuz Coach Quinn's defensive scheme asks a lot out of their safeties. The Falcons upgraded their horrible LB corps by signing Durant, who can run sideline to sideline and cover. Reed will be a solid run stopper at the other LB spot. After failing to sack anyone last year, the Falcons drafted edge rusher Beasly to help out stiffs Biermann and Goodman. Perhaps Hageman finally realizes his unlimited potential?

    The Falcons' schedule looks screwy (4 NFC East teams in the first 5 weeks), so they might be limping at 1-4 before playing anyone in the NFC South division. Despite a solid bunch of playmakers, I don't buy that defense or the lack of depth.

    Prediction: 8-8

    San Francisco 49ers: Harbaugh jumping ship opened the floodgates, and a bunch of 49ers split for greener pastures. They have to reload, if not exactly rebuild, because there's still some talent leftover. QB Kaepernick has to reach another level and carry the entire offense. Despite being a brilliant dual threat, with incredible mobility and a potent arm, he hasn't mastered the subtlety of the position (accuracy and efficiency). If the 49ers simplify the offense, let Kaepernick call plays earlier, give him the time to evaluate defenses, and rely on the running game more, the 49ers may surprise. RB Hyde is solid, and they signed Reggie Bush. Despite his advanced age, WR Boldin is still around, making tough catches. WR Torrey Smith will take the top off on those deep routes. TE McDonald has unrealized potential, and veteran Davis still has something left in his tank. Their OL will not be as good as it used to be, but Staley is solid at LT and will keep Kaepernick clean.

    On defense, the 49ers need to replace 2 starters on the DL and 3 of their top 4 linebackers. Hopefully Navarro Bowman will regain his old form after that horrific knee injury almost 2 years ago. He was the best LB in the league, so something resembling that will be huge. Inside LB Wilhoite is solid, but he no longer has Borland or Willis around. NT Williams will keep blockers off Bowman. Defensive ends Lynch & Brooks show promise, and Carradine, if healthy may make people forget about Justin Smith.

    The 49ers have a tough schedule and with that talent drain, the Vegas oddsmakers knocked off 3 games from their win/loss total. New coach Tomsula will bring change from the domineering Harbaugh, but he doesn't have enough at hand to return the 49ers to their recent glory.

    Prediction: 6-10
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  3. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Season preview   

    Green Bay Packers: The Vegas favorites to win the Super Bowl next year, the Packers are led by the best QB in the game and the most explosive offense, which may challenge scoring records. Whether they can win it all depends on their defense and if Coach McCarthy doesn't grow a brain and outsmart himself. Again.

    Besides a great QB in Rodgers, the Packers have an excellent OL, with tough interior and excellent outside protection. RB Lacy doesn't have great vision, but he gets the tough yards. Their WR corps (Nelson and Cobb) is nearly unstoppable, for they catch everything and run excellent routes. Unfortunately, their tight end corps is below par, at either catching or blocking.

    On defense, the Packers tried to fix their linebacker issues by moving Clay Mathews inside, which worked for a spell, but he's way too versatile to be pigeon-holed. If the Packers found someone else to man the inside LB spot, and unleash Matthews at opposing quarterbacks, their defense will improve. For the pass rush, Peppers must continue to produce, get sacks, even though he's at the tail end of his career at 35. However, they have not improved against the run, which was middling last year. In the secondary, they've cleaned house, dumped a couple of starters and drafted two cornerbacks in Randall and Rollins. Starters Hayward is an athletic corner with excellent cover skills, but Shields must become more consistent. At the safety spots, Clinton Dix is maturing after a spotty rookie year, and Burnett is a great run stopper, but he isn't much on deeper plays. The Packers' special teams are a weakness that must be corrected ASAP: their kicker is below average and has no range on kickoffs, and their punter has lost his confidence.

    Coach McCarthy has to grow a pair in the playoffs and trust his offense a bit. The schedule is no picnic: Seattle, Dallas, and the fast defenses of the AFC West. If QB Rodgers performs at MVP level, the Packers can run away with the NFC North division. The playoffs are another story.

    Prediction: 12-4

    Houston Texans: The Texans are in their second year under Coach O'Brien, and they're loaded with talent, but as usual, the QB position (former New England Patriot backups) doesn't inspire confidence. Mallett and Hoyer bring different look to the position.

    Mallett has a powerful arm, and he steps into his throws. Too bad he has zero athletic ability, with no agility whatsoever. He cannot improvise if there's not enough room for proper QB mechanics. But he might be better than Hoyer, who's on his fifth team in 3 years. Hoyer has neither the arm strength nor the accuracy of an average QB. This situation might not matter much after all, because Arian Foster just went down with a groin pull. The Texans are heavily reliant on their running game, which means they'll have to reconsider their RB corps and sign someone legit, like Ray Rice. At WR, despite the loss of Andre Johnson, the Texans are buying high on DeAndre Hopkins, who proved himself last year. Expect him to truly explode this year, if the QB position is even average. Newbies Washington and Strong have potential as well. The OL must improve on their 23rd rank in yards per carry, but there's insufficient depth.

    J. J. Watt is easily the best player in the league, a completely destructive defensive end, but he cannot do it alone. IF DE Clowney is back at full strength, he will draw attention away from number 99. There's not much else in the pass rush department: Mercilus is solid, but strictly backup quality. And there's nothing worth writing home about the outside linebacker position. Thankfully the front three is - Crick is a clean up artist. New free agent signee Wilfork will upgrade their nose tackle position, even though he's pushing his mid thirties. LB Cushing used to be something - then injuries and PED suspensions happened. Tuggle and McKinney show promise, but they must improve their technique. After cutting SS Swearinger, and dumping Lewis, the Texans anticipate discipline and accountability with replacements in Moore and Brown. At cornerback, Joseph and Jackson will supply excellent run support.

    The Texans must win at least 10 games to qualify for the playoffs, but despite all that talent, the QB is not good enough.

    Prediction: 8-8
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  4. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Season preview   

    Regardless. The Jets were going to suck.
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  5. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Season preview   

    New Orleans Saints: After finishing a disappointing 7-9, due to slippage on offense and a major collapse on defense, the Saints are at a weird place: they still have enough talent left to dominate the weakest division in the NFL, but there's not enough to prevent another season of backsliding to mediocrity. Yes, QB Drew Brees was not as good as he used to be in 2014 (yards per attempt fell to 7.5, for example), and his WR corps weren't as good (safety outlet RB Sproles left, TE Graham had a bad shoulder, rookie Cooks missed half of the year, Colston couldn't get open anymore). However, Brees still has good arm strength, vision and footwork. He is susceptible to pressure up the middle, but the Saints upgraded at Center with Max Unger from Seattle. He'll solidify the line, help out Lelito and rookie Peat. But the offensive line is still largely unproven. RB Ingram will assume starting duties, although he isn't as fast as Pierre Thomas was last year. C.J. Spiller will take over third down duties, and bring a playmaking threat. If he sublimates his talents with the team, they'll be better than last year. Look for Brees to get in sync with new targets in Toon and Coleman, but they lost all-world Graham, Stills (15 yards per catch) and Colston might be on a permanent decline. However, the Saints still suck on defense, and Rob Ryan has been vastly overrated in that department (one top 16 finish in the last 10 seasons). He tends to go with exotic packages and plays when simple plain vanilla formations would suffice. The Saints dumped Gallette, an effective pass rusher, leaving Cameron Jordan behind, although they signed Spencer from Dallas to offset the loss. Rookie Kikaha might surprise everyone, but he's damaged goods. They got a nice inside LB in rookie Anthony, and if Vaccaro can rediscover his ability at Safety, there's hope. If the Saints return to form on offense, force more turnovers this year, they can win the division even with an average defense. After all they have an easy slate down the stretch.

    Prediction: 11-5

    Cleveland Browns: If 7-9 passes for a successful season in Cleveland, what would they do if the Browns actually won the division, made the playoffs, and – Heavens To Betsy! – win the Super Bowl? First of all, the Browns do have a legitimate defense, stacked with talent and depth, strong running game, and a cohesive front office. But what alas! they still don't have a true quarterback. The Browns moved on from Hoyer for a veteran in Josh McCown, who will provide a steady hand, and keep the seat warm for backup Johnny Football. WR Josh Gordon was a great talent, but he might not play again because he's a knucklehead. Moreover, TE Cameron left for the Dolphins. At most, they signed Dwayne Bowe from KC, who hasn't rediscovered his form in 2010, and they got Gabriel, a promising field stretcher, and a mighty mouse in Christian. At RB the Browns have young talent in West and Crowell, who combined for near 1300 yards and 12 touchdowns, and they added insurance in Johnson – a home-run threat. On the OL, the Browns are absolutely loaded: a healthy Mack at Center, the great Thomas at LT, and emerging Guard Bitonio. Even their weakest guy, Schwartz is average. Luckily the Browns did not lose anyone on defense: CB Haden leads a stout secondary, with S Whitner and ballhawking Gipson. On the DL, the Browns replaced Rubin with rookie Shelton, and veteran Starks at the DE. There's plenty of depth to engage in situational playmaking. There's solid talent at LB, but the young guys need to mature a bit. If the Browns fix their special teams (more accurate kicker with stronger leg) and QB McCown turns out to be serviceable, the Browns will finish over .500. But if he falters or gets injured, the Browns won't score enough to win more than 5 games.

    Prediction: 7-9
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  6. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Season preview   


    San Diego Chargers: instead of the usual mad scramble, the Bolts opened great with 5-1 and then backslid their way out of the playoffs. This year, QB Rivers has a great collection of talent on offense, and the defense is built from outside-in. Last year, the Chargers were horrible with running the ball, so they drafted Gordon to fix their problem. He will be great on the ground, but he has trouble catching the ball. The offensive line is decent on the left side, but weak elsewhere. After a bad season in 2012, people wrote off QB Rivers, but he was resurrected in 2013 with an MVP caliber season. But last year, he started to fall back to the middle of the pack. His immobile body is nearly destroyed due to zero protection up front over the years, but he still can throw the ball, and he has WR Floyd, Allen, and Johnson, as well as holdovers at TE with Gates and Green. The Chargers couldn't really rush anyone on defense last season, so they hope Ingram will somehow get healthy and start living up to his vast potential. There's nothing else from the defensive line to expect anything except mediocrity. Besides All-Pro Eric Weddle at Safety, and solid corners Flowers and Verett, the defense could be better. As long the Chargers stay injury free, they'll finish 10-6 and make the playoffs. This just might be their last season in San Diego, so there's serious external uncertainty.

    Prediction: 7-9


    Tampa Bay Buccaneers: After collapsing to 2-14 last year, there's pressure on coach Smith and GM Licht to rebuild in the right direction. They drafted Jameis Winston to be their QB of the future, and luckily they have all-pro talent in important positions. Winston has all the tools (size, arm strength, touch) but he has to demonstrate maturity and poise in the face of a mad dog blitz. He has plenty of talent on the offensive side of the ball, with a strong interior offensive line, and excellent pass catchers in WR Mike Evans and veterans in Vincent Jackson. But there's nothing in the backfield, or at TE, worth mentioning. Besides the immensely talented DT McCoy, the Buccaneers don't have enough pass rushers, or a great secondary, besides the very solid CB Verner. Coach Smith will try to turn this around, but there's not enough talent to survive the NFC South.

    Prediction: 5-11

    New York Giants: After shitting the bed in 2014, the Giants must regroup quickly to survive a cutthroat division in the NFC East. Oddly enough, they did not change much on offense, besides drafting Flowers for left tackle and signing RB Vereen for third down situations. At least they have a Super Bowl caliber QB in Manning, who seems to have figured out the new offensive system under McAdoo, and a great WR in Odell Beckham. Returning WR Victor Cruz might take pressure off Beckham, and help diversify the offense. The Giants were horrible against the run last year, forcing them to change things. Hankins and Bromely will get more playing time on the line, but they still have problems at linebacker and the secondary. They have solid corners, but little else worth mentioning. DE Jason Pierre Paul suffered an accident with fireworks in the offseason, losing a finger and severe burns on hands and arms, so he might not be 100% in time for the season. Without a healthy JPP, the decidedly mediocre Giants defense will be below average. The Giants will be potent on offense, but nothing on defense will prevent them from being at the wrong end of shootouts.

    Prediction: 7-9
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  7. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Season preview   


    Chicago Bears: The front office reloaded with solid Coach Fox and GM Pace, and the roster is pretty young. The offense is still led by talent at key positions (QB Cutler, RB Forte, and WR Jeffery). The defense overhauled, and will now be in the 3-4 formation, a linebacker heavy lineup. But they only have one legitimate LB: free agent Pernell McPhee. The others are either converted DE, play them off the ball, or nickelbacks, and play them closer to the ball. The DL has potential, with Houston coming back from injury and Ratliff, plus young talent in Ferguson and Goldman. The Bears have reloaded the secondary with CB Porter & S Rolle. Now, the OL is another story. Besides Kyle Long, the line is between mediocre & horrendous. If they can't gel in time, it won't matter how great QB Cutler and the other skill guys play. Cutler is now 32 and learning another offense, and has to win over the locker room. The NFC North is just too stacked.

    Prediction: 4-12

    Washington: The Skins have gone into a new direction with new GM McGlouhan (value signings and a real draft plan), but they still have the same coach in Gruden. His inexperience and inability to maximize talent was exposed last season. Hopefully that is fixed in the off-season, and they figure out the million dollar question at QB with Robert Griffin III. I think RG3 still has potential, but he must fix several techniques (ball control, coverage read, etc.). Lucky for the Skins, they have a legitimate backup in Colt McCoy if anything happens to RGIII. Skins have a decent WR corps in Jackson and Garcon, and TE Reed, and they will get open for deep gains. The OL drafted Scherff, who will open holes for RB Morris, a solid runner himself. However, their secondary is horrible, and put up one of the worst defenses in league history last year (allowed 108.3 QBR, 7.7 yards per attempt, 67% completion). Luckily, CB DeAngelo Hall will be back after a nasty Achilles tear. The others are unproven, but they will be better than last year. The front 7 will still be solid, even though their best player from last year, Orakpo, left. The Skins still have Kerrigan, who played well despite Orakpo missing most of 2014. Rookie Smith will replace veteran Murphy on the line, and help improve the run defense. Free agents DL Paea and Knighton are both upgrades from last season. But they still have a hole at LB. Also, the special teams must improve (31st in 2014), but they must find replacements for their below average incumbents at kicker and return spots. Unfortunately, the Skins have a tough schedule, and with the uncertainty at QB and coaching, they can't be locks for the playoffs in the NFC East.

    Prediction: 5-11

    St. Louis Rams: They're starting over – sort of – with a brand new QB in Foles, with the same old Coach in Fisher. He's got plenty of talent, so it's time to deliver with a winning season and a playoff date. Nobody knows if Foles is legit, because his magical season in 2013 didn't carry over to 2014. If he doesn't get flustered under pressure, he'll be fine. At least he'll be an upgrade over the fragile Bradford. They've reloaded the roster: 5 rookies for the OL to begin with, and gambled on an injury risk in RB Gurley. But he might not be ready in time for the season, and the Rams will have to rely on inferior talent in the backfield, and mediocre WR corps. Under defensive coach Gregg Williams the Rams are still as stout as ever, with incredible depth on the defensive line, and amazing bookends in Chris Long and Robert Quinn. Defensive tackles Donald and Brockers, as well as free agent Fairley, will annihilate offensive lines up front. It's just too bad that the Rams don't have much elsewhere on defense. Just potential. Their special teams is among the best in the league with Punter Hekker and Kicker Zuerlein, and great return and coverage units. Despite a great defensive front, it'll come down to protection: Foley won't get the same he got in Philadelphia, and with a tough schedule, that's All. She. Wrote.

    Prediction: 6-10

    Seattle Seahawks: A lousy yard away from back to back Super Bowl rings. The Seahawks return the same cast of superstars, loaded with an embarrassment of riches everywhere, and they stole Jimmy Graham from the sinking New Orleans ship. Now, their offensive line, a question mark last year, is even more depleted with the trade of C Unger. They're pretty solid with LT Okung, but RT Britt couldn't block without holding. Luckily, the OL doesn't need to be great, cuz the Seahawks have QB Wilson and RB Beast Mode. Even though there's no true WR, the incredibly athletic TE Graham can stretch the field like one, opening up room for WR Baldwin, a great route runner and makes the tough catches. The rest of the corps is pretty much unproven. On defense, their depth will be tested with health issues to Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman and Jeremy Lane. There's nothing behind the starters at linebacker and safety, so LB Wagner and SS Chancellor must stay healthy for 16 plus games. Coach Carroll lucked out with a massive gag job by Coach McCarthy in the NFC title game, and choked himself with that brainfart at the 1 yard line. His coaching style is predicated on a locker room that buys in and shares his unbridled enthusiasm, and he practices his guys like they're hungry and unproven. But they're loaded with veterans. Their schedule is pretty tough, with every NFC playoff team on the road, plus playoff contenders from the AFC, also on the road. The Seahawks are frontrunners in the NFC, but they must stay healthy, hungry, and ignore their contract issues.

    Prediction: 11-5
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  8. The Heretic added a topic in Play   

    2015 NFL Season preview
    In this thread, I'll be posting more exhaustive previews of each team, and will post a bunch once a week. First up I have 4 teams from the AFC.


    New York Jets: The Jets have moved on from the Rex era to new Coach Bowles and GM McCagnan, who should work together better than their predecessors. The roster is talented at WR, but mediocre on the line. QB Geno will return as the starter, but he must improve (stop holding the ball too long, read safeties better, maintain mechanics while on the move) if the Jets want to win more.

    Luckily the Jets have a potentially great defense, with an improved secondary (3 brand new and superior replacements) and a schematic genius in Bowles. He will likely blitz more with safeties and inside linebackers than Rex did, and stick with what worked in run blitzes. They will have to generate pass rush from other sources than their problematic LB corps, but there's talent in Davis and Coples. The DL is completely outstanding with Harrison and Richardson up front, and Wilkerson inside. Rookie Williams will have to step up during Richardson's 4 game suspension. CB Darrelle Revis is back from New England, and will team up with free agent CB Cromartie to terrorize receivers.

    The Jets also dramatically upgraded their WR corps with free agent Marshall, who will get open and catch tough receptions. Rookie Devin Smith will take the top off with his insane speed. RB Ridley and Stacy will help out incumbent RB Ivory with versatility. Free agent Carpenter is an upgrade on the OL, loaded with solid tackles in D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Giacomini, and a great center in Mangold. But as usual, it comes down to the QB, so they will need everyone else to step up to keep pressure off from Geno Smith. As long the offense doesn't cough up the ball, the defense will keep them in every game.

    Prediction: 6-10

    Indianapolis Colts: Built to win now, with league MVP frontrunner in QB Luck, and a loaded roster, (upgraded RB and WR spots), playoff experience, as well as a cake walk schedule, the Colts have high expectations for this upcoming season. However, they reloaded with veterans at the end of their careers (Andre Johnson, Frank Gore, Trent Cole). They have a solid secondary in S Adams and CB Davis, but the linebackers are pitiful (can't cover or blitz). Their defensive and offensive lines are below average up front, and DE Mathis is 34 & coming off a ruptured Achilles tendon. Coach Pagano needs to improve his play calls, schematics, and other aspects of coaching. Most important of all? Luck needs to step it up in the playoffs. He's been as bad as notorious choke artist QB Dalton, surprisingly enough.

    Prediction: 13-3

    Oakland Raiders: They upgraded the coach from crappy to serviceable with Jack Del Rio, and the talent level is improving. The defense has been brutal against the pass (30th in sacks and 30th in takeaways), so they have to step up. DL Edwards, Mack and Tuck must get more sacks, help out their young cornerbacks. The offensive line, solid last year, picked up C Hudson. Rookie WR Cooper, free agents RB Richardson and Helu will help the offense improve, and veteran WR Crabtree will be solid. QB Carr proved himself last season with a powerful arm and steady leadership, but he must cut down on turnovers and improve accuracy. If the Raiders cut down on turnovers, and force the other team into giveaways, they will start winning again, after 12 straight losing seasons.

    Prediction: 6-10

    Cincinnati Bengals: Despite having what appears to be the deepest team in the league, they have nothing to show for it other than choking in the playoffs. They have talent as well (WR A.J. Green, RB Hill & Bernard, DT Atkins, etc.), but no results in the playoffs. Is Gingerbread QB the culprit? He needs to spread the wealth more instead of chucking it to WR Green every down. They need guys like WR Jones and Eifert to recover from injuries and help draw pressure off Green. RB Hill & Bernard are a great versatile combination, and the OL is very solid. Bengals need to generate more sacks, cuz they were dead last in sack percentage. QB Luck exposed this weakness in the playoffs. Luckily the Bengals got DE Johnson back, but they need Atkins to generate more turnovers after slumping for the past two seasons. Also, the secondary show promise, although their veteran corners Hall and Pacman need to be consistent, and their young talent Kirkpatrick and Dennard need to step up. If the pass rush steps up, the Bengals will have an elite defense and surprise everyone in the playoffs. Despite having a stacked roster, they're still not very good at QB.

    Prediction: 10-6
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  9. The Heretic added a post in a topic A new Problem of Evil?   

    The question "what is fragility of value" or more astutely, "why do we need fragile values" is ambiguous. Posing the question is a demonstration that fragile values haven't become a necessity for the question poser, but fragile values should be necessary even for anyone who hasn't seen the point. The ambiguity comes from the fact that fragile value cannot be defended in terms of its utility. Utility is a form of evaluation that is essentially self-centered. When I ask what purpose fragile value serves, I am actually asking what purposes does it have for me.
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  10. The Heretic added a post in a topic Good Philosophy vs. Bad Philosophy   

    Fair enough. Thanks for the links and I'll try to check them out over the holidays.

    Might even be arsed enough to post on good vs bad philosophy, but in a philosophical manner, instead.
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  11. The Heretic added a post in a topic Good Philosophy vs. Bad Philosophy   

    To be frank I am not impressed with this OP. It seems less like an ideal introduction and more of a quickie grab bag of links with slapdash information.

    All you really had to do was post links to Hugo's Introducing Philosophy series and save yourself the time. Had you been a little more honest and earnest with your time and energy, you might have written a coherent piece that is both personal and illuminating.

    As for your remark, that philosophy cannot define philosophy....

    Had you asked some of the others who are slightly more familiar with the subject, this thread might garner more than crickets so far, and this would've been my answer:

    An alternative to the standard cookie-cutter history of philosophy, I present the subject as a “way of thinking” that investigates the Big Names as character studies and intellectual portraits.

    This way of thinking shows the interaction between the individual thinker and his social/cultural millieu that produces a certain philosophical temperament, which results in a particular philosophy.

    In this demonstration, there are as many ways of doing philosophy as there are philosophers, because the potential convergences between individual personalities and the culture is infinite.

    E.g., Plato grew up during the Peloponnesian War, which meant he did not experience a world free from the fervor of warfare. That resulted in a rebellious distance from empirical reality and an idealistic bent to withdraw from the given. Plato became an adult during a charged time of cultures and empires, a growing cosmopolitan that stretched vision beyond the tribe and expanded awareness of the world as a cutthroat marketplace of gods and customs and opinions. This challenging perspective influenced the content and temperament of Plato's philosophy. That is why he sought to transcend the transient chaos of appearances to locate secure foundations in the single and good unity of being.

    E.g., Aristotle's philosophy reflects his pupil Alexander's empire in which his logical and empirical investigations were made up of Alexander's ambitious campaigns, resulting in an empire of knowledge. Just like Alexander's limitless greed to conquer the world, Aristotle's temperament was an stubborn asceticism with dogged practice that constantly applied logical and moral abilities. Where the growing cosmopolitan or imperialism and warfare created a rationalistic aloofness in Plato, in Aristotle the same factors resulted in a rapacious empiricism that joyfully engaged with the world.

    E.g., Nietzsche's temperament and method is related to the secular growth in education in the modern world, in which one of the chief characteristics of modernity is the impossibility of a complete education. Classical education was about inculcating the student in a mature conformity to a finished work. But in modernity, the world has crumbled due to dynamization, there can no longer be any finished world for the student to conform. Nietzsche, in rebellion against this situation, came up with an aesthetic weltanschauung that could function as a program for human elevation in the post-classical age, helping emphasize self-realization in the place of self-understanding. In order to pull this off, Nietzsche had to transvalue the texts and values of the educational system. This called for a temperament, a parodic genius that gleefully destroyed all traditional genres of discourse.

    The endless cultural and personal and material factors in each thinker's particular situation, as well as the temperament and philosophical systems under question, leads to the obvious inference: any realtionship between the two is possible.

    TL; DR: philosophy is best left to philosophers.
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  12. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NBA Playoffs Picks   

    If LBJ stays in attack mode the entire time, and Kyrie Irving is healthy, the Cavaliers can possibly stretch the series, turn it into an attrition and wear down the Warriors' superior depth.

    If the Warriors take care of the ball, and both Splash Brothers show no lingering effects from the Conference Finals, continue to bomb the ball, defend and pass well, they'll win. They are the class of the 2015 NBA edition, and clinching the title will ensure that they are in the All-Time Great Teams club.*

    Warriors should win in 6, but don't be surprised if the Cavaliers steal this.

    * 1964 Celtics, 67 Sixers, 71 Bucks, 72 Lakers, 86 Celtics, 87 Lakers, 91 Bulls, 96 Bulls, 2001 Lakers, 08 Celtics, 12 Heat, 14 Spurs
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  13. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NBA Playoffs Picks   

    Klay has a concussion. No timetable has been decided. If he misses time, the Cavaliers can hide Irving on defense and stick Shumpert on Curry.

    That might be enough for the Cavaliers to steal one of the first two games. Even though the Warriors are older, they may end up like the 2012 OKC Thunder: immensely talented team with the brightest of futures, going up against a physical MVP rival.
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  14. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NBA Playoffs Picks   

    Now would be a good time to mention the following:

    The Warriors opened at -6, and -270 for the series. +230 for the Cavaliers.
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  15. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NBA Playoffs Picks   

    The Atlanta Hawks' ignominous sweep proved that they were pretenders, rather than true contenders. The Cavaliers seem to be firing all cylinders on offense and defense, and roll into the Finals with sky high confidence. They'll need every inch of it, as well as health for Kyrie Irving to derail what seems to be an all-time great team in the Golden State Warriors.

    Anyway, the Warriors should be favored over the Cavaliers, if Irving is still limited by that knee. When healthy he can offset even the nuclear destinations of the newly christened MVP. Moreover, had Kevin Love stayed healthy, he would be the matchup nightmare for the Warriors cuz they'll have to stick Draymond Green on him and watch LBJ destroy their weaker defenders. The Cavaliers at full strength easily disposed of the Warriors in the regular season.

    But that was then and this is now, and I don't think Irving will be 100% until after a month's rest, Warriors in 6.
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  16. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NBA Playoffs Picks   

    2015 NBA Playoff Conference Picks

    East Conference Finals

    Atlanta can win because they're still being disrespected despite winning 60 games in the regular season and homecourt advantage. That disrespect can motivate teams, and this Hawks team is very balanced and rather confident. As long their defensive ace Carroll can minimize LBJ, keep him firing bricks from outside, that will force the rest of the Cavaliers to play beyond their capabilities.

    However, Cleveland will win because they still have the best player in the league in LBJ who will have plenty of help from a solid roster. Irving will have had enough rest for his knees, and be rejuvenated, and the perimeter corps will keep the Hawks' defense from collapsing into the paint.

    Cavaliers in 6

    West Conference Finals

    Houston could win if Dwight Howard completely dominates the interior, controls the boards and slows down the Warriors' high octane offense. They are surging after an incredible comeback from two straight 25 point blowout losses, and may need every inch of that to counteract one of the best teams in league history.

    Warriors will win because MVP Curry will win his matchup with his main rival, the Beard and the Houston depth will be woefully exposed in this series, what the top-heavy Clippers couldn't. After all they are deeper, stronger as well as mentally tougher, and the aura of destiny.

    Warriors in 5
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  17. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2015 NBA Playoffs Picks   

    Which series are you looking forward to the most?
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  18. The Heretic added a topic in Play   

    2015 NBA Playoffs Picks
    Eastern Conference

    Brooklyn Nets @ Atlanta Hawks
    The Nets can win if C Brook Lopez keeps playing like an All-Star and overpowers C Horford, forcing the Hawks to double-team him and open up shots for the Nets' perimeter guys. However, the Hawks will win because they are a well-oiled machine where players will consistently step up and cover for one another. Moreover, they're a confident team led by a superior coach, and will be too multi-dimensional for the Nets to counteract.
    Hawks in 5

    Boston Celtics @ Cleveland Cavaliers
    The Celtics can steal this series if their deep backcourt controls PG Kyrie Irving. The Celtics actually flourished after the all-star break, and are rolling right now. However, the Cavaliers will win handily because LBJ will dominate the Celtics by feeding easy buckets to C Mozgov and PF Thompson, taking pressure off playoff-rookies in Love & Irving.
    Cavaliers in 5

    Milwaukee Bucks @ Chicago Bulls
    The Bucks can steal this series if F Middleton limits Butler and PG MCW destroys Rose, and their collective athleticism and length forces the tempo into their liking. However, the Bulls will win because even if PG Rose and SG Butler are shut down, they can go to Pau Gasol – he averaged 24 and 13 against the Bucks this season. The Bucks do not have enough offensive firepower to keep up with the now-versatile Bulls (Noah and Gibson up front, Dunleavy and Hinrich from outside, and the unstoppable Mirotic off the bench).
    Chicago in 6

    Washington Wizards @ Toronto Raptors
    The Raptors can win if PG Lowry wins his matchup vs PG John Wall, and they actually play defense for a change. The Wizard will win if Wall relentlessly attacks the hoop instead of settling for the open jumper. As long the Wizards play stout defense and slow down the pace to prevent the Raptors from going off, the series won't go the distance.
    Wizards in 6

    Western Conference

    New Orleans Pelicans @ Golden State Warriors
    The Pelicans can win if Anthony Davis completely dominates the paint and limit the Warriors to jumpshots. Yes, they're good from outside, but they're also prolific slashers. However, the Warriors will win cuz they're nigh invincible at home (39-2), and they have a stout interior defense in Bogut and DPOY favorite, Draymond Green. Expect the Splash Brothers to detonate regardless of what the Pelicans do.
    Warriors in 5

    Dallas Mavericks @ Houston Rockets
    The Mavericks can win if SG Ellis offsets MVP candidate Harden, on offense and defense both, and both PF Nowitzki & SF Chandler are effective and productive. However, the Rockets will win because of the Beard, who hasn't led the team into the second round. As long Howard controls the paint and the combination of veterans in Prigioni & Terry step up, the Rockets will eke out a competitive 7 game victory.
    Rockets in 7

    San Antonio Spurs @ Los Angeles Clippers
    The Clippers will win if PG Paul consistently feeds PF Griffin inside, who can out-athlete either defender (Splitter or Duncan) and control the pace. However, the Spurs will win because they're peaking at the right time. Even though they're playing on the road, the veteran Spurs will not get rattled. Expect SF Leonard to dominate his inferior counterpart in Barnes or Crawford and lead the Three Amigos to the second round.
    Spurs in 7

    Portland Trailblazers @ Memphis Grizzlies
    The Blazers can win if PG Lillard and PF Aldridge dominate, and their bench steps up. However, the Grizzlies will win as long they go through their bigs in PF Randolph and C Gasol. The Grindhouse is a tough place to win. Then again - neither team is at full strength, so it could come down to whichever team's replacements steps up.
    Grizzlies by 6
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  19. The Heretic added a post in a topic NBA 2014-15 Season predictions   

    I have to admit this was one of the worst seasons I've ever seen - so wracked with injuries.

    When you have guards like Curry or Harden as MVP favorites, but compared to the talent pool of the NBA in the 90s, they wouldn't even crack the top 15, you have to reconsider this season from a historical POV.

    Picks will be posted shortly.
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  20. The Heretic added a post in a topic Roberto Bolaño's "Antwerp"   

    For the Bolano virgin, which of his books do you recommend?
    Usually I try reading the oeuvre of a great writer chronologically. But perhaps not a good idea in Bolano's case?
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  21. The Heretic added a post in a topic On Being Human   

    I'm reading as I go and I was reminded of this great line from Schiller:
    "While the Gods remained more human, the men were more divine.”
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  22. The Heretic added a post in a topic On Being Human   

    Niven, I apologize for the utter lack of activity. TGL moves even slower than it used to, due to a smaller pool of active users. I will try and contribute with something more substantial than a quote, hopefully.

    So, what follows is a narrative that may help contextualize the concept of “human” throughout recorded history. A few insights gleaned from a fellow theothanatologist led me to the speculation that the changing nature of teleology must have given birth to the modern sense of being human, and explain the divide between the modern human and the ancient mortal:

    If religion is essentially a teleological explanation, which presupposes that human life or the natural world has a purpose, and likely a hidden one, then this will serve as a key to the following insights:
    Teleology in the ancient Hebraic culture from 800 to 150 BCE was the belief in Divine Will.
    Circa 350 BCE, for the Hellenistic Greeks, specifically Plato, teleology was the notion of the Ideal Form. But the older Hellenic Greeks subscribed to Fate – an existence without teleological explanation.
    By 300 CE, Platonism and the Hebraic culture merged the Divine Will and the Ideal Form and emerged as Christianity, which in turn became secularized as Western Culture thereafter.
    Prior to the enlightenment, up till 1650, the center of authority resided in God, and institutionally, the Church. After the Enlightenment, about 1800, the center of authority had transferred to human reason.
    A couple of decades later, Nietzsche declared that God was dead. However, Nietzsche also conceived a repository of two thousand years worth of inertia in teleology as Hinterwelt – the illusion of the after-world: heaven.
    Despite the Enlightenment, we still held onto Hinterwelt, because teleology left too deep an imprint on Western culture. Religion still lingers, even though God has died.

    This gradual shift in teleology must also have shaped the archaeology of the human.
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  23. The Heretic added a topic in Extend   

    Birdman: A Critique of the Superhero Genre?
    Last night as I sat down to ink a page of Pantheon, I watched the latest and greatest from wunderkind director, Innaritu, Birdman. Suffice to say, I had to hit pause every now and then – between dipping the nibs in the fountain inkwell – to reflect on the just-witnessed intense scenes. At the end of the film, it all clicked – it was, indeed, a critique of the superhero genre – but at a cost.

    The film works on several levels: the satirical level, the meta level, the tragic, and best of all, the self-referential absurdist level. The naked misanthropy was delicious – each character kept creating fresh delusions in the process of shattering their older delusions. Riggan (Michael Keaton) is your classic failed narcissist – shallow, self-centered, but self-hating and caustic – while being constantly plagued by the Birdman, a hilariously macho superhero he used to play in the distant past. Casting Keaton as a former superhero reinforced the ironic metatextual sentiment – and no doubt this also applied to Ed Norton as the deadly serious veteran of method acting.

    Several times, some character condemns the superhero genre as some pathetic wish-fulfillment, but the film successfully drew us into the exact same trappings of the genre with spectacular magic realism. The dichotomy between entertainment and art – between the comic book superhero Birdman and the hard-boiled truth of theater - is mere artifice, a house of cards that eventually exposes theater as just another escapist fantasy.

    Inarritu's attempt at the critique of the superhero genre reveals a level of maturity he did not achieve in his earlier films (21 Grams, Babel, or Biutiful) because he managed to sublimate his moral vision (which is prone to fatalism) with cinematic and narrative devices. The cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki unleashes his full talent with long takes of unbearably intense scenes. As the film barreled to a hyperrealistic climax, I'm left wondering whether this paralleled Inarritu's own sense of directing, whether Birdman is the confession that Inarritu was always already the superhero director he wanted to be.
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  24. The Heretic added a post in a topic NFL 2015 Super Bowl Picks   

    Pete Carroll's explanation for that play is akin to saying "they knew Michael Jordan was getting the ball so we gave it to Dennis Rodman."

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  25. The Heretic added a post in a topic NFL 2015 Super Bowl Picks   

    I am hosting a SB party at my house and you're all invited. We will order pizza and cook rare meats on the grill in the backyard. Beer and wine will be a'plenty.
    No pets or pissing on the rug.
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