Politics, God and Religion vs. Science


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Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Dec 1, 2012 - 08:15pm PT
"The divine purpose of life explained in one sentence!!

John 3:16

Social climber
joshua tree
Dec 1, 2012 - 08:36pm PT
^^^^Very Spiritual. John 3:17 "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved,he who believes in Him is not condemned.

What is weird is this whole new "prosperity Religion." If you have cable and can watch Joel Osteen or Joyce Meyer, it will blow your mind. The whole point is that if you follow their instructions, God will make you rich in this world.

Osteen, Meyers, preach a "do good works" recieve "good rewards","Religion"

Not very Spiritual

Dec 1, 2012 - 08:45pm PT
It is true that not everything we experience can be communicated... so the idea that we could decant the content of our brain so that our "mind" is stored elsewhere probably doesn't work either... but my guess is that we share a lot of these experiences, many are common, and that if we could occupy another body with our mind many of the sensations would be familiar.

To a considerable extent, Ed, I'm sure this has been done--although not into a purely subjective experience as I or Largo at one time argued for. Cognitive and AI scientists and some cognitive anthropologists have downloaded semantic, procedural, and episodic knowledge structures from primitive tribesmen, chief engineers, and experts and then created manuals, systems, and instruction plans. I'm fine with calling that "mind," at least partially so. Some very complex processes can no longer be managed by human beings anymore, except through AI. Retiring chief engineers who knew everything and how to troubleshoot highly complex systems had their knowledge and intuitions "downloaded" and codified (using a Turing-like extraction process) into systems. When we read a captivating novel or see a moving screenplay, we approach others' minds closely. We get intimate views their visions and their perspectives. Every time you or Largo writes something, we get to see your worlds and minds.

You know my complaints and ideas: (i) As HF has said, I'm a nihilist and sophist. I can't not know what's really true. (ii) As you note, an over-active mind can get carried away with itself.

. . . we shouldn't over think [the complexity of life], [as] it leads to inflating our perceived place in the universe.

I see that we're making everything up. I don't think there is anything wrong with A Constructed World THAT WORKS--until we take it concretely or drop-dead seriously.

On this thread I occasionally throw that monkey wrench in the machine now and then to remind folks that, for the most part, it's all concepts, semantics, stories, driven by emotional or ideological investments and commitments that we've made for ourselves.
Dr. F.

Ice climber
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 1, 2012 - 08:50pm PT
Who's John, and what will he do at 3:16

Dec 1, 2012 - 09:08pm PT
John fell and broke his ankle at 3:16 ????

Social climber
joshua tree
Dec 1, 2012 - 09:26pm PT
Hey Drflorist
Have you ever tasted the flowers on those catti? I,ve tried dozens,
some of them are absolutely scrumptious! dice'em inta a salmon salad
sandwich MMmmmm.

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Dec 1, 2012 - 09:58pm PT
"Who's John, and what will he do at 3:16"



Social climber
An Oil Field
Dec 1, 2012 - 10:55pm PT
Dr. F is quite serious. If you distill natural selection to its true implications, all each species is is a fancy vessel for passing on DNA.

It is an inevitable conclusion to the theory. That is why Dawkins wrote the book, "The Selfish Gene." It is a good book. It doesn't go into any of his atheist crap, which I find annoying from a good scientist.

Social climber
joshua tree
Dec 1, 2012 - 11:02pm PT
Ed sez;

"What the manifestation of that description is doesn't have to look much like a "machine" at all... the biological processes that we hypothesize to provide the physical basis of life don't look much like machines, though they are."

" It is true, that taking these physical ideas to their limits, that we could arrive at the idea that we could fully synthesize life "in a test tube.""

i,m still confused at WHAT you "mechanic types" describe as "Life"

i asked the "evolutioners" earlier to show me the "Life" in Plants.
Where is it? Theres no Brain,so theres no thought or emotions! Right?
A Tomato plant is just a vending machine.only you feed it water instead of quarters

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Dec 2, 2012 - 02:16am PT
Dr. F is quite serious. If you distill natural selection to its true implications, all each species is is a fancy vessel for passing on DNA.

I think it can be taken down several notches to a more fundamental level and say it's the global pool of DNA on the planet which represents 'life'. And that global DNA pool always strives towards the optimum expression of species suited to the current state of the planet. Or, in mycological terms, we and all the other species of life are just the current 'fruiting bodies' of the global DNA pool and were 'expressed' as optimal responses to today's planetary conditions.

That what' important is the survival of as large and as diverse a global pool of DNA as possible, not the survival of any given species. That, if things get really tough - as in, say a comet strike - then whole classes, phylums, or kingdoms of species might be entirely expendable. And when you look at the various and sundry survival mechanisms which have evolved in sporaceous species and Tardigrada over time one one might be forgiven for viewing them as last-ditch mechanisms or 'lifeboats' for global DNA survival across catastrophic planetary events.

That's a bit more of a microbiological view of life, but still one with a lot of valid points to my way of thinking.

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Dec 2, 2012 - 04:18am PT
If one adopts a strictly Darwinian point of view, then I think healyje's life as a biomass rather than individual species is the more accurate understanding.

However, I can't see that the average person will ever be able to live with the idea that they are just a vessel for DNA and their sole purpose is to reproduce. I think that philosophy is potentially dangerous also, as it so easily lends itself to adoption by the rich and powerful as an excuse to further favor their genes at the expense of others. One of the functions of religions in the past was to hold the powerful to some set of ethical standards so that human society did not descend to social Darwinism.

I would even argue that religion has been to human society what genes are to biology, and that both are necessary for human survival. The real challenge is the need for a new belief system and ethics that are based on the needs of the human race today rather than as it was during the early agricultural era. Whether any of the traditional religions mirror a spiritual reality is of course a separate question.

The pressing question for the survival of the human race and any semblance of the current biosphere is whether the best strategy is reforming the current religions towards a more universal, naturalistic, biologically oriented view, evolving totally new religions that are humanistic, global and science oriented, or becoming rationalistic atheists as so many of the highly educated individuals on this thread are content with.

As an anthropologist, I'm sure that new belief systems will be developed and old religions will change if only because that has been the pattern for thousands of years. Much less certain is how many people will be converted to the atheistic, no purpose in the universe point of view. More likely is that Dawkins and Harris will come to be regarded as the founders of yet another American sect.


Hebrews 1:3
Dec 2, 2012 - 05:35am PT
Matthew 17:1 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; 2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. 4 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” 6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. 7 But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” 8 When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.

9 Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.”

Luke 24:34 saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread.

36 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” 37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”

40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” 42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. 43 And He took it and ate in their presence.

44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.

46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things.

1 John 3:1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

Revelation 1:12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; 15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; 16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. 17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.

Revelation 5:1 And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2 Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” 3 And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.

4 So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. 5 But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”

6 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.

8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying:

“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
10 And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.”

11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice:

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:

“Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”

14 Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.

By grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone!


Dec 2, 2012 - 08:54am PT
you say your "thinking mind" is only on-line 15% of the time. I know many meditators would would be happy to be able to achieve that metric.

I'm a retiree who doesn't do much. Maybe the meditators should give up trying to achieve and just take what comes along. I'd be happy to get up above 15% thinking time but tying my shoelaces and other such routine daily activities aren't noticeably taxing to my analytic capabilities.

I know I swore off consciousness only recently but if you send me something to read I'd be flattered.


No doubt there are computer scientists who have an ambition to create a silicon frankenstein but that probably does not show up in their funding proposals. Artificial intelligence research tries to find ways to understand and/or implement subsets of what humans can do, such as recognizing faces or objects in images, as you are well aware. Do you expect to be replaced by software soon?
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
Dec 2, 2012 - 08:58am PT
Hey you guys will like this little quote I just found:

“This is a Christian company,” Mr. Brown announced. “We are all believing in the good Lord. But, as my brother-in-law says, ‘Not so much in Jesus, ‘cause he’s Jewish.’ ”

That pretty much sums up the Red States huh?
Dr. F.

Ice climber
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 2, 2012 - 09:05am PT
Credit: Dr. F.
No, I don't eat the flowers, nor any other part
They are my pets and part of a grand scientific experiment

Dec 2, 2012 - 09:17am PT
I think it's a sophomore's mistake in logic and in articulation to say that survival is a purpose that's engineered by DNA. It's a sign of an analytical muddle.

If you want to honor the tenets of science and its objective approach (and use a strict mental-rational point of view), I can certainly appreciate causal functionalism as "purpose." (Then you'll have to wrestle with notions of free will.)

If you want to use intention as the idea of "purpose," then it makes absolutely no sense to talk about an aggregated level of analysis for specie or "global gene pools." If you are arguing that gene pools have autonomy and intentions, then you don't understand the theory of evolution. Environments "select" variations.

If you think that variations adapt to changing environmental conditions, then you've left the theory of evolution and moved into a mythical point of view on reality where the universe has an anthropomorphic consciousness and intentions.

I personally know of no scientist who argues that the universe or any specie has a purpose. It's a weird idea. Specie are aggregated objects, categories, and signal a level of analysis.

It's strange to me that a bunch of so-called scientific people who want to argue with people of religion are very concerned about purpose. You can call natural selection "a fancy vessel," but you've used an anthropomorphic allegory for something that is a very strict scientific concept.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Dec 2, 2012 - 09:24am PT

it's kind of depressing - we're into the last month now... another year shot, another year closer to death.

Happy Holidays everyone!
Dr. F.

Ice climber
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 2, 2012 - 09:30am PT
I think it's a sophomore's mistake in logic and in articulation to say that survival is a purpose that's engineered by DNA. It's a sign of an analytical muddle.

I think it's the exact opposite

NOTHING is more important than the propagation of the species.

The first billion years in the evolution were devoted to that purpose, the slow process of refining all the little cellular processes and genetic code so that life forms can survive their environment and procreate,
only after those long years of refinement, was life ready evolve into new complex live forms that we see now.

If fact, the very need to procreate over all other things, the desire to live, the mandate to survive, to fight against death, that was the evolutionary guideline.

Because if you didn't have the intense instinctual need to live and procreate, then you were a dead end as a species, and other life forms that were better at it took over.

Trad climber
lost, far away from Poland
Dec 2, 2012 - 09:45am PT
You are saying that we need religion to survive. I can't see it. There are two types of religins, one that provides etical guidance (i.e. christian) and the other that "explains" our world (i.e. greek). Those are complelely different phylosophies.
Could you elaborate?

Dr. F. +1 for DNA.

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Dec 2, 2012 - 10:24am PT

I'm not sure I understand your question? For one thing there are way more than two kinds of religion and most religions do more than just one thing. That's why they are so enduring. Personal belief systems for example, provide answers that may be more satisfying than current religious ones, but they do not provide the fellowship and social services that religion does. They don't provide the same great artwork either.
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