Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Oct 24, 2012 - 07:43pm PT

"Although it is true that it is the goal of science to discover rules which permit the association and foretelling of facts, this is not its only aim. It also seeks to reduce the connections discovered to the smallest possible number of mutually independent conceptual elements. It is in this striving after the rational unification of the manifold that it encounters its greatest successes, even though it is precisely this attempt which causes it to run the greatest risk of falling a prey to illusions. But whoever has undergone the intense experience of successful advances made in this domain is moved by profound reverence for the rationality made manifest in existence."
--

Panarchy, which underscores the graph above, started as a way to look at government, and was later adopted to systems theory, information theory, etc., and is basically a term devised to describe "evolving hierarchical systems with multiple interrelated elements."

The above graph does in fact show how rational materialism can switch tracks from the many (things) and focus instead on “the rational unification of the manifold,” i.e., the “theory of everything” which dangles out there like the Golden Fleece.

But this shift from the many to the one does not address and in fact is not even aware of the qualitative difference between the spiritual and material, and the ratioinal and experiential, nor yet the need to approach both realms by different routes, so to speak, lest the results are wanting.

Terms like “real,” “manifest,” and so forth betray the materialist and discursive mental terrain. This of course will never bear more than the same fruit since it’s fleecing the same tree – and doing a marvelous job of it. And no harm in that. The difficulties come when we insist that this is the one and only tree and the one and only viable approach – essentially denying the aforementioned qualitative differences and devolving back to scientism. What is missed - and it can be no other way - is the realm that is denied. The fact that it is not found on said "tree" is no fault of the realm itself, rather the approach. But if there is one place where the physicalist's bias is laid bare is in insisting that his tree and only his tree bears genuine fruit. Here, he is betting against himself, since the entire orchard is his by birthright.

JL
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Oct 24, 2012 - 07:50pm PT
Well I guess if there's life on Mars then ours was no accident!!

Jus Search'in
BB
*WAIT*
7th Inning Stretch SF6 - DET1
God Bless America, My Home Sweeettttttttttttt, Hooommmmeeeee.....

Thank You Very Much!
Dr. F.

Ice climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 24, 2012 - 08:04pm PT
Well I guess if there's life on Mars then ours was no accident!!
BB
Well since there is no life on Mars, then our's must be an accident!!!

Is that the logic being used here?

What else do you got?
What about Jupiter, there's no life there either?
Is there life on the sun?.

Klimmer
You have a new student, BB, he thinks there's life on Mars.

I have no further comments that are appropriate for this thread at this time
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Oct 24, 2012 - 10:30pm PT
MH2
In my imaginary example, "now" is whatever metric for "time since the Big Bang" that you prefer. If you are a photon it doesn't matter. But they are just the messengers. To read a clock you need information transfer. We currently use an isotope of cesium "at rest."

So if the sun was switched off and then switched on again. It would take eight or so minutes for light to get to Earth. Since the photon doesn't know time. Isn't it at the sun and at the earth the at the same time. Kinnda like a solid line. And the particles are sequenced like in a dotted line. And they travel through the solid line of light which causes them to vibrate, bounce and spark? This is all in space.
But once it passes the O-zone. And hits our watery atmosphere. Itslows down right? Does it disburse through the water like a prism. Or maybe just like through a window. And finally when it hits earth. It continues to bombard and bounce off. Kind a like silly string?

Jus Wonder'in
BB
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Oct 24, 2012 - 11:19pm PT
blueblocr-

I don't know where you get the idea that only middle eastern religions have a concept of God. I think you would be amazed if you read some Hindu philosophy and theology to discover that they have thought much more deeply about the topic than the Abrahamic religions ever did. If you really want to understand the concept of a trinitarian God for example, the Hindus do a far more comprehensive and intelligible explanation that any Christian I've ever read. By the way, Hindus who have heard of him also believe that Jesus was an incarnation of God, just not the only one.

Buddhist don't believe in a personal God but they do believe in a universe that has many of the attributes of God. Meanwhile, indigenous people all over the world believe in the Great Spirit or the Earth Mother etc.

In the meantime I commend you for taking care of your friend. I had a friend with leukemia in a Japanese hospital that I took care of every day for four months also. It was truly exhausting. Fortunately, my friend survived and that is all 12 years past him.
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Oct 25, 2012 - 12:24am PT
I always wondered why they called it mother Earth ?

When it's mostly water !

Howabout Father Water ?

or Brother Power ?

or Sister Energy ?

Jus Rebel'in
BB
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Oct 25, 2012 - 12:34am PT
Largo: ...and in fact is not even aware of the qualitative difference between the spiritual and material, and the rational and experiential...

My personal take on it is there is a physical world open to quantitative study, but in the "subjective / spiritual / experiential" realm - if you embrace panpsychism - your options for 'investigating' it are entirely qualitative and, in my opinion, quite limited. Why limited? Because you have the same problem as the fish in the oft quoted 'fish-contemplating-water' conundrum. At best you can experience 'flow states', but those are devoid of 'content' in our usual contextual meaning of that word. My own opinion is that while in these flow states all experiential perceptions (quale) related to the 'flow' itself are essentially [internally] generated projections - god isn't talking to you, you are talking to god.

Panpsychistic tendencies aside, though, I believe there are a lot of tangible benefits to experiencing those flow states.
MH2

climber
Oct 25, 2012 - 06:26am PT
But this shift from the many to the one does not address and in fact is not even aware of the qualitative difference between the spiritual and material, and the ratioinal and experiential, nor yet the need to approach both realms by different routes, so to speak, lest the results are wanting.



This wrong statement shows a poor reading, or none at all, of the source of the quote. The whole focus of the author is on the qualitative difference between the spiritual and material. The author acknowledges, emphasizes, and elaborates on that difference. However, the author also had good reason to mention that gaining insights into the way the material world works can be a source of deep admiration, perhaps even reverence, for underlying order in the physical world. Which is what JL was asking for. It doesn't demean spiritual experience to say that similar feelings can arise from experience of the natural world.





BLUEBLOCR,

I like your post a ways back about Derek Hershey, et al. Like Greg Child told an audience, "Climbing gives good friendships, but it can also take them away." As for light, can you imagine what you would see if you were going as fast as a photon?
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Oct 25, 2012 - 08:14am PT
Credit: BASE104
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Oct 25, 2012 - 09:35am PT
MH2 said:

This wrong statement shows a poor reading, or none at all, of the source of the quote. The whole focus of the author is on the qualitative difference between the spiritual and material. The author acknowledges, emphasizes, and elaborates on that difference. However, the author also had good reason to mention that gaining insights into the way the material world works can be a source of deep admiration, perhaps even reverence, for underlying order in the physical world. Which is what JL was asking for. It doesn't demean spiritual experience to say that similar feelings can arise from experience of the natural world.


The screwy thing about this thread is how convinced people are that only they know what they are talking about. I’m sure I’ve been guilty of such thinking myself. But MH2, I dare say what you have above is a shallow and misguided view of what I meant.

Your pull quote comes for an article called “Religion and Science,” written by Albert Einstein which appeared in the New York Times Magazine, I think in the 1930s. It is an article most of us had to deconstruct in undergrad school, and reflects a man whose ideas about spirituality and spiritual people are mostly drawn from old Abrahamic and Jewish traditional points of view, and distorted opinions of Eastern practices as judged by western philosophers like Shopenhauer and Spinoza, who got their information from poorly translated books (if we are to believe the scholarship).

Of course the subject of Albert’s discussion is NOT spiritual as I (and others here, like Jan and Mike) use the term, but religious as it is generally understood: Devotion to a creator God as described by traditional sacred texts/doctrines, basically a cultural and religious protocol based on beliefs.

It is also instructive to note your phrase, “similar feelings can arise from experience of the natural world.” This betrays your belief that “feelings,” or emotional content of some kind remain the polestars of spiritual practices and that said stars can just as easily if not more accurately be seen, experienced and understood, “from experience of the natural world.”

In other words, there is no reason to go to another tree when all the true and valuable fruit is in the same tree (material) you have been shaking all along. You’ve simply given lip service to religious credos and institutions, then backed in to materialism once more.

What I am actually saying is that the qualitative differences between spiritual and religious are as substantial and real as the differences between material and religious. And in the spiritual, as I use the word, feelings and beliefs and even ideas are so much content and have only a passing relevance on the practice.

The real purpose of Einstein’s article is to try and wrest some valid cultural reason for religious traditions to exist, namely, that in principal, they represent a kind of moral glue and traditional backdrop which answers a deep and essential need of humanity. Religion, in principal, contributes to “the achievement of the end” of moral and social order and personal meaning.

What Einstein is striving after here is a practical end point, similar to what Fruity is saying and so is Harris and others: A deep look and appreciation of the natural physical world can provide the inspiration and true knowledge to fashion a rational and workable design for living = our salvation. This, so far, has not worked out at all, because knowledge, facts and figures are not addressing the underlying problem that causes social woes in the first place.


Healyj wrote:

My personal take on it is there is a physical world open to quantitative study, but in the "subjective / spiritual / experiential" realm - if you embrace panpsychism - your options for 'investigating' it are entirely qualitative and, in my opinion, quite limited. Why limited? Because you have the same problem as the fish in the oft quoted 'fish-contemplating-water' conundrum. At best you can experience 'flow states', but those are devoid of 'content' in our usual contextual meaning of that word. My own opinion is that while in these flow states all experiential perceptions (quale) related to the 'flow' itself are essentially [internally] generated projections - god isn't talking to you, you are talking to god.


Well thought out reply. This would take more time than I have to sort out, but I would point out that your thinking is still fused to content, thinking that is what spiritual practices are about, and that what come up in practice is (quale), and that we are creating (projecting) said content, and that the focus is on what that content “God” is saying or how were are responding (“talking to God”). This is a materialists take on the prctice since they only see or can imagine what they can get hold of and grasp, then project that process globally.

In fact, one of the first thresholds of eyes-open meditation is the acknowledgement that all content is impermanent ergo “unreal,” and that all “states” flow or otherwise are themselves so much content and need to be given up.

Over time the focus itself opens up and the fish stops contemplating water adn what is IN the water and realizes that it IS water, that the fish body is just a momentary embodiment. As far-out as this may sound, it is the very opposite of wu wu supernaturalism once experienced. That’s mainly because the subjective/spiritual/experiential realm is not simply a qualitative phenomenon or sum of geysering quale. It is not only more than its parts (quale), it is not an "it" or a part at all.

The main difference is that mind is not a static, quantifiable thing, but a process. This changes everything, IMO, and the results are nothing one can ever have imagined at the outset – sort of like going up on a big wall that never ends.

JL
jogill

climber
Colorado
Oct 25, 2012 - 11:20am PT
The screwy thing about this thread is how convinced people are that only they know what they are talking about

Good one, JL!

;>)
MH2

climber
Oct 25, 2012 - 04:29pm PT
Thank you for telling us what Einstein was striving for, JL.
jstan

climber
Oct 25, 2012 - 04:42pm PT
The screwy thing about this thread is how convinced people are that only they know what they are talking about

You have summed up beautifully what I have been trying to tell you.

As regards Einstein, I suspect not even the docents who worked with him every day would, were they still living, hazard opinions on what Einstein was trying to accomplish, It seems he was a very private man. If there is anything we might learn at this point, is to agonize like he apparently did over decisions. The letter to FDR later on was very troubling to him.

Lincoln dealt beautifully with Douglas' claim that Lincoln wanted to abolish slavery. He said. "Douglas has told you something he cannot know."

Knowing someone's intentions, true intentions, is very likely impossible.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Oct 25, 2012 - 04:54pm PT
Thank you for telling us what Einstein was striving for, JL.


That's passive-aggressive there doctor, and you know it.

But hey, don't take my word for it. Read it yourself and give us YOUR take on it.

Again, IMO, as a good scientist, Big Al was searching the religious community for a result that fit a basic human need. Since science had already supplanted religious doctrine's hegemony per facts and figures, Al was gracious enough to see where the consequent social and moral fruit of old time religion, when soberly practiced, provided the calm and order needed for any society to survive and flourish. As you pointed out, some little awareness of the breadth and profundity of the whole shebang was a miraculous and even divine (metaphoroially speaking for Big Al) experience that he himself had felt when pondering the uncanny interconnectedness he had found exploring the "natural world."

If there is some other import in there beyond the standard physicalist belief system, let's hear about it.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/aor/einstein/einsci.htm

And John G. and John S., per this quote:

The screwy thing about this thread is how convinced people are that only they know what they are talking about.

I also added that I have been guilty of this as well. But that much said, my sense of why this happens in the first place is that people can only go as far as their intellect and experience can take them. People on this list are not prone to believe that there is a limit to what the discursive mind can know, and if there is, it's not so much an issue with quantifying as such, but owing to the complexity of the measured. Until a person has the experience of what cannot be measured, it all sounds like more "content" that is this case is "imagined."

Now for some baseball!

JL
MH2

climber
Oct 25, 2012 - 05:31pm PT
That's passive-aggressive there doctor, and you know it.


And a very ordinary thing about this thread is how people deflect into a conversation about the conversation.


I meant what I said and I said what I meant.
An elephant is faithful 100 per cent.


But thanking you for what you said is not the same as agreeing with you.
Dr. F.

Ice climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 25, 2012 - 05:55pm PT
So Who does know what they are talking about?
Any of us?

What discipline would give the participants the best source of knowledge to know what they are talking about?
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Oct 25, 2012 - 06:12pm PT
When a climber's left Abrahamic religion behind, at some point in his searching and continuing growth he has to deal with a least three subjects. These are:

(1) death - the reality of it
(2) "free will" - the traditional "free will" of the biomachine or ghost or spirit as illusory
(3) innate injustice of life - no Judgment Day for one's enemies

Now I have found it most interesting over the last couple years or so that some like Sam Harris among others think the first two items are the hardest for we humans and our minds to get past. But I think the hardest going forward (up around the bend) may well be #3 esp among those who have experienced it first-hand.

Now of course considering all three realities at once is not impossible either for the inquiring human mind - many in fact, after doing so, come to discover the whole shebang of all three taken together is so burly and despiriting - so super wicked a problem and scary as hell - they throw up their hands, shout "Voltaire was right!" and bail - they retreat back to the Supernatural Comforts (otherwise Abrahamic Indulgences) of their tribe's religious narrative. Esp, I could add, if that's where the girls are. (They are.)

I can and do agree: this modern age exploration and discovery - more or less into the nature of everything - isn't for the faint of heart. Like Harris has said: it's a project and progress is hard.

My most trusted strategy: baby steps.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Oct 25, 2012 - 06:37pm PT
^^^Well said^^^

I drove through Wichita, Kansas today and there was an awesome billboard. It said,

WHEN YOU DIE, WHERE ARE YOU GOING?

beneath it it had two words

Heaven..........Hell

Beneath Heaven was a pretty picture. Beneath Hell it was flames.

This was right on the Interstate. It was a full sized billboard and obviously pretty new. It wasn't like it was written on a board on the side of the road.

That is the worst way to attract an inquisitive mind like mine. Damnit, I want to see some miracles!!

Dr. F.

Ice climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 25, 2012 - 06:42pm PT
It is the opposite of the human default position
Falling into the establishment belief system
WBraun

climber
Oct 25, 2012 - 06:57pm PT
Every moment is a miracle, along with every instant.

The mundaner materialist is just plain projecting their own mundane duality onto the miraculous .......
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