Politics, God and Religion vs. Science


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Feb 5, 2013 - 05:59pm PT
The difference between religion and spirituality is so vast that it is safe to say the gulf separating them is as large as the one between science and religion. Perhaps even greater

Well said. In my experiences of separating out the "I-consciousness" from the material body thirty years ago (or the illusion of doing so), the origins of religion became crystal clear, although the dogma and practice is, in my opinion, contrived. Between the quantum and neurological (the physical origins) to the mystical or spiritual (the experience) one cannot draw a definitive line.

As to free will, I tend to think along the lines of a block universe where time and space are infinitesimal slices of something that "exists" and where there might be both free will and its absence - the Law of the Excluded Middle may not be in effect.

Feb 5, 2013 - 06:05pm PT
healyje - "answers HAVE to be provided and a fairy tale will do in the absence of a real answer."

This means you have no good brain.

This means you make up fairy tales in your head and project those ideas onto the world.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 5, 2013 - 06:08pm PT
Atheism provides no answers at all which is quite the contrast to your operatic Vedas. Stop yourself.

Feb 5, 2013 - 06:11pm PT
You just made another fairy tale in your head and project it onto the world.

That's all you know how to do here.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 5, 2013 - 06:19pm PT
As opposed to the sage wisdom of pronouncing people stupid - easy enough I suppose, but is it really all that gratifying? Someone has to be the ST Kalki I guess and I will say you do seem ably suited to the role.

keep your gods straight... http://www.godchecker.com/
keep your gods straight... http://www.godchecker.com/
Credit: healyje

Feb 5, 2013 - 06:26pm PT
It's NOT the source of "Free Will".

I presume by 'it' you mean the nervous system. But if it isn't the source, isn't Free Will at least filtered and expressed through it. Not the same as, "has nothing to do with."

Can a rock have free will?


(not what it sounds like)

Ice climber
the ghost
Feb 5, 2013 - 06:30pm PT
I think Werner insults everybody because he desires reincarnation as a Scarabaeoidea.

Trad climber
lost, far away from Poland
Feb 5, 2013 - 06:47pm PT
If we could discuss free will a bit more, please. It is been a while since I gave it a thought, but let me try to give you my take on free will.

I know that to some of you what I am going to say is very basic, but maybe for some of you it will be something new.

When I was a teenager I was introduced to Newtonian mechanics. It was clear to me that in the Newtonian world there was no place for free will. Why? Well, imagine a simple setup of three marbles on a pool table. Once set in motion, they will follow their predetermined trajectories (regardless if we can calculate it or not). That is a deterministic Newtonian world. It is important to add that since the world is more complicated than in my example, Newtonian world is unpredictable. That is due to the fact that we may never know the initial conditions with 100% accuracy. Still, even if we can’t calculate the outcome, but every move is predetermined, there is no place for free will in this kind of (Newtonian) world. It was surprising to me because I believed in free will. I decided that Newton must have missed something. To the rescue came quantum mechanics. I had learned about Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle and I got my free will back. What is says is that the world has a built in mechanism that prevents as from knowing everything about a small particle, i.e. the more precisely we try to determine the position of a particle, the more we lose information about its momentum. It is not because we don’t have good enough methods and instruments, it is because that is the property of this world. Later on I learned that my conclusions were not shared by some people. Although most interpretations of quantum mechanics include nondeterministic reality, some prominent physicists didn’t think that it would automatically give us free will (Stephen Hawking is one of them).
There is also chaos theory that can give us a “sort of” free will. Since it is deterministic but unpredictable, we just can’t know the future, but there is only one possible future.

At the moment I don’t have a strong opinion on free will.
I was also serious before saying that it doesn’t matter to me whether I have free will or not. I act as if I have one. I am glad, though that science doesn’t exclude it.

P.S. I didn’t want to get into casualty, locality, Bell Theorem, etc. because I am not a physicists and my understanding of those subjects is quite limited.

Some reference:

Interpretations of quantum mechanics:

photo not found
Missing photo ID#288295


High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Feb 5, 2013 - 08:31pm PT
My goodness, if Fox News and the Republican Party gave just half the attention they give to their sex stories (with eye-grabbing pics) they could solve their science illiteracy problem.
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 5, 2013 - 08:38pm PT
I'm still not sure about this free will thing.
Can we really say it "Does not exist" in Humans?

I need more data
Delhi Dog

Good Question...
Feb 5, 2013 - 09:41pm PT
Here's free will for ya,


Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 5, 2013 - 09:49pm PT
If consciousness is not of the brain, what about memories? Are they part of the meat or not? And what is consciousness without memories? And how free is our will if are our decisions are based on memories which are mutable on every access.

Somewhere out there
Feb 5, 2013 - 11:02pm PT
Religion is inflexible. Science is not. I'm not saying that science will cure all of society's ills, since that is not its purpose. Its purpose is to understand the natural world.

 Understanding The Natural World….. Something that the Religious cannot say they hold any part of, or care for.

Feb 5, 2013 - 11:25pm PT

Newtonian systems can be unpredictable even in principle:


Unless Ed helps us we have trouble talking about questions like this in the context of physics. The assumption that all questions have answers which we all can understand is suspect. I think that the possibility of "hidden variables" that would explain why quantum mechanics works the way it does has been eliminated but I am not sure. Quantum mechanics requires a lot of study to understand.

Fortunately(??), we still have these philosophical versions of questions long debated by better minds than ours but which continue to fascinate us.

There is some fun. I am amused by Werner's mind or possibly his spirit denying that it has anything at all to do with free will. He'd make a good Bernard Samson if he'd only learn to operate on a need-to-know basis.


Going back to the 3 marbles. If 2 of them are in contact at rest and you roll the third one towards them, if it hits both of the resting kissing marbles at the same time, Newton's laws don't tell us what happens.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Feb 5, 2013 - 11:29pm PT
Credit: TomCochrane

How can anyone claim that we have a firm grasp on reality when the best understanding of physics, i.e. the standard model, is a complicated mess of subatomic particles and lacks discovery of an observable key piece, the Higgs Boson, without which the standard model collapses? And at best the standard model only explains 4% of the physical universe; leaving the rest to an unobserved speculation about dark matter and dark energy. How can anyone claim that we understand 'reality'??

IMHO Werner Braun has already transcended this level of 'reality' and just finds it amusing to occasionally go slumming here

Feb 5, 2013 - 11:44pm PT
That fits.

Trad climber
lost, far away from Poland
Feb 6, 2013 - 12:28am PT
Newtonian systems can be unpredictable even in principle

Unpredictable, yes. But they are deterministic. That is what chaos theory tells us. Even though we can't calculate the outcome, their "faith" is determined.

In contrast, since quantum mechanics is based on probability we can only calculate probable outcomes. Hence, it may not be deterministic.


Hebrews 1:3
Feb 6, 2013 - 12:29am PT
Your free will is equal to how much rope you have!
Not just chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry!

Trad climber
lost, far away from Poland
Feb 6, 2013 - 01:03am PT
I am half way through an excellent article on the subject of determinism.

Highly recommended!


Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Feb 6, 2013 - 01:21am PT
Didn't CERN already find the Higgs Boson or is there more than one kind of them?
Otherwise I agree with Tom.
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