Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Dec 17, 2012 - 01:14pm PT
Base:

After a brief stint as an urban planner, my best friend from HS became a marketer for a subcontractor for spooks. He was good at it. He used to quip that his business was death and destruction, but anyone could see that the work ate at him like a cancer. He fell into drinking, living on his boat alone, with one of the most hollow and cynical views of life and women as I ever met. He was found floating face down next to his boat one morning a few years back. There was a symmetry in that outcome. I wonder what the difference was between him and you.

Be well.
jogill

climber
Colorado
Dec 17, 2012 - 07:02pm PT
If I have a problem, it's with what people do with them or make of them, that's all

Point made. Thx

I wonder what the difference was between him and you [Base]

Wow. Hope it is enormous. (which I think it is)

;>)
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Dec 17, 2012 - 09:32pm PT
Yes, of course.

I loved my friend. With me he was wonderful.

Deep melancholy seems like a cold or flu to me. It just hangs about a person. Wasn't there some cartoon characters who always had little storm clouds directly over their heads, raining on them no matter where they went?

Karma?
pa

climber
Dec 17, 2012 - 10:04pm PT
A question mostly for Mr. Cochrane, who shows deep interest in wildlife, as well as in the sciences.

Speaking of the scientific method and its applications...what do you make of this:

We collar wildlife to understand their movements, habits ect. in a objective way.

The collaring process is extremely traumatic to the wildlife...picture what it takes to chase, say, bighorn sheep with a helicopter,( in their habitat, which is typically steep and full of cliffs) throw a net on them, then, if they survive tumbling down the mountainside for a few hundred yards, cobble them, stick them with needles, and put one (or two) heavy thick collars on them with 3 lb. batteries attached, which they will have to wear, even as they lock horns with their rivals, until they die...

Then, observe their "normal" movements and the way they react to human intrusion.

Would you expect them to behave "normally" after such an experience?
Would a human behave "normally" after such an experience? Our veterans might have a comment or two on this...

Sooo, notwithstanding delicate feelings of sympathy for the poor four-legged sods, how accurate IS the information we gather by using this method?






healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Dec 17, 2012 - 10:33pm PT
pa: ...how accurate IS the information we gather by using this method?

Is there any specific point to that question? And as opposed to no data? Also, most collars have drop-off options and those that don't are typically long-term collars, expensive, and most see attempts to retrieve them. Beyond that wildlife act instinctively and almost all will return to their pre-capture activities as they know nothing else.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Dec 17, 2012 - 11:47pm PT
re: worldworks, different worldworks theories
re: good and evil theory
re: "Papa, why do bad things happen?"
re: ethical responsibilities

It's interesting to compare these two "narratives" or views...

(1) Reverend Anne Richards (this morning on CBS This Morning)

"People want to know they don't live in a meaningless world... Bad things happen to good people all the time. I think that it is important for people to understand that God is not in control of the world. The world is not a puppet stage with God pulling the strings above it to make sure bad things don't happen to us. It's just not the way the world works. God created the universe, set the universe free, we're free human beings and the price for our freedom is suffering and evil."

(2) Sam Harris (2011 debate with Rabbi David Wolpe)

"I think we should think about what this concept of the afterlife does. Just to give some context: We're living in a world in which 9 million children, every year, die before they reach the age of five. Year after year after year. That is an Asian-style tsunami of the sort you remember from 2004, every 10 days — killing only children before the age of five. Think about these children, think about their parents. Know that virtually all these parents are people who believe in God, and were praying all the while that their children would be saved — and their prayers were not answered. Now, the afterlife comes into the midst of this reality, and as a promise that all of this is gonna make sense in the end — that somehow at that the end of existence, we’re going to be let in on the punch line and have a mighty laugh with almighty God for eternity. Now, there is no evidence of that and therefore I think that this concept of the afterlife really functions as a substitute for wisdom. It functions as a substitute for really absorbing our predicament, which is that... everyone is gonna die; there are circumstances that are just catastrophically unfair; evil sometimes wins and injustice sometimes wins; and the only justice we’re going to find in the world is the justice we make. And I think we have an ethical responsibility to absorb this, really, down to the soles of our feet. And this notion of the afterlife, the happy talk about how it’s all going to work out and that it’s all a part of God’s plan, is a way of shirking that responsibility."



Fair to say, it is a battle between conflicting narratives or theories.

BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Dec 18, 2012 - 12:07am PT
go-B im very intrigued by you. And i thank the Lord everytime i read
your posts. do you want to go climbing sometime? im in Josh. pm me.

Your last post is very ligetimate to me! i've never really been concerned
about the evolution-Creation debate,until recently. Seems like its being
provoked in my spirit. im not sure why? But my logical mind is being freshend by my recent studies on this debate..

Something thats funny to me is; in the evolutionist theory of, mutation
to a "higher being", or growing to a "higher conscienceness", and
"the strong will preceed". ALL these ideas of evolving into something
BETTER. When you actually look around, these people are doing SO much
harm to themselves! Physicaly, mentaly, and spiritualy. Their killing
themselves on one hand. And their preaching survival of the fittest
on the other.. Sad thing IS they dont even reconize it.

i guess its not that funny. Its actually very sad

i Hope you have a Very Blessed Holiday!
BB
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Dec 18, 2012 - 12:59am PT
pa
Dec 17, 2012 - 07:04pm PT

A question mostly for Mr. Cochrane, who shows deep interest in wildlife, as well as in the sciences.

Speaking of the scientific method and its applications...what do you make of this:

We collar wildlife to understand their movements, habits ect. in a objective way.

The collaring process is extremely traumatic to the wildlife...picture what it takes to chase, say, bighorn sheep with a helicopter,( in their habitat, which is typically steep and full of cliffs) throw a net on them, then, if they survive tumbling down the mountainside for a few hundred yards, cobble them, stick them with needles, and put one (or two) heavy thick collars on them with 3 lb. batteries attached, which they will have to wear, even as they lock horns with their rivals, until they die...

Then, observe their "normal" movements and the way they react to human intrusion.

Would you expect them to behave "normally" after such an experience?
Would a human behave "normally" after such an experience? Our veterans might have a comment or two on this...

Sooo, notwithstanding delicate feelings of sympathy for the poor four-legged sods, how accurate IS the information we gather by using this method?
te Here

i happen to be lucky enough to know John Wehausen at UC White Mountain Research Station in Bishop CA

it would be hard to find someone more dedicated to the welfare of the mountain sheep, and he spends much of his time observing them from a polite distance

John is incredibly fit and can pretty much keep up with them going up hill(his wife is a medical doctor and serious contender in cross country ski competitions)

and yes, he does catch them for tagging, with a net that is launched over their heads with rockets, i've helped him prepare the net

i don't particularly agree with this method, just because it is so invasive and traumatic for the animals

however as a USFWS employee, i have also participated in similar tagging of pelicans, ducks, and loons; and we have certainly learned a lot of interesting things by doing this, that would be very challenging to learn otherwise...

fortunately the cameras and satellite tracking devices have been rapidly shrinking in size

i think John feels the approach that i have used with deer is invasive and unscientific ...i.e. gaining their trust and joining the herd and hanging out as one of them...as we dodge hunters and dogs and kids through their well designed maze in the woods...

i disagree with the idea of 'wild' animals in a 'natural' environment...

so called wilderness in the Americas has always been a managed environment with humans as a key managing species...arriving Europeans failed to see and understand this until recently...

unfortunately we can no longer reconsider our role and become stewards of the land...everything has been severely damaged by the hands of our greedy and domineering European-based 'society'

our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to repair the ecosystems of our dying planet before it dies
...
the animal people are our brothers and sisters and i do not agree with the idea that they are inferior creatures who only act instinctively

however i agree they pretty much rejoin their herd and habit patterns, although heavily affected by their traumatic experience...just as you would if abducted by 'aliens'...

we should treat them with appropriate respect


a more interesting question has to do with a young woman biologist in Bishop,whose name escapes me, who is similarly dedicated to the welfare of the regions mountain lions.

the managed increase in mountain lion population resulted about 15 years ago in the complete destruction of the southern Owens Valley herd of Mountain Sheep

inspiring a polite discussion between these two field biologists as to what constitutes 'letting nature take its course' and what responsibilities we have for intrusive 'scientific management'
go-B

climber
Hebrews 1:3
Dec 18, 2012 - 07:17am PT
Anticipation brings rejoicing,
I'm another day closer to being before my God!
But enough about me,
Have you made peace with God through our blessed Lord Jesus Christ,
It's closer then YOU think???
pa

climber
Dec 18, 2012 - 08:45am PT
M. Cochrane,
thank you for answering and for discussing the dilemma that sparked my question in the first place...namely, how valid are the conclusions we draw by way of our scientific method, if that very method alters the scenarios (and behaviors) we are observing?
As you said, the animals are "heavily affected by their traumatic experience". Indeed, field observations on the Bishop bighorn herd of Pine Creek are pointing to a change in where and how far they bolt after spotting humans approaching: before collaring became extensive, they would only run a few hundred yards. Now, with over half the herd collared, they are going several miles up canyon, even though weather and feed are not favorable to such movement.

I bring up the question because there is discussion here in Bishop as to climber impact on the Pine Creek herd, now that new routes are being established at a fast pace.
Everybody agrees that the data provided by radar tracking is very interesting. However, it seems difficult to establish whether climbers have more impact, or whether the collaring is a bigger factor.

One can hope that, in the future, more sophisticated and less invasive tracking methods will be available.
In the meantime, it is important to question...not just our methods, but also, the premises that underlie them.
Jingy

climber
Somewhere out there
Dec 18, 2012 - 09:41am PT



Because I never get tired of hear this stuff...
jstan

climber
Dec 18, 2012 - 10:05pm PT
www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Cnj8MIQ0HY


Lawrence Krauss describes a conversation with Freeman Dyson on the subject of consciousness.

Limits on the subject as seen by two physicists.
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Dec 19, 2012 - 01:18am PT
the sciences are certainly a powerful discipline for improving our understanding

however there are problems

it is very difficult to observe objectively, as we are intimately related to the reality that we attempt to observe

the questions we ask do a lot to determine the answers we can get

our limited understanding of reality makes it very difficult to ask questions objectively

and we have a very strong tendency to fill in the blanks with our imaginations when we don't know or understand how things work

working in the woods as a tracker requires a strict state of mind restricting this tendency until the reality of the track proves out the truth of what the animal did

when we impose incorrect suppositions upon the reality being observed, we may get the answers we expect through having influenced that reality with those suppositions

this is my major disagreement with the sciences dealing with behavior and psychology, bu also affects even the most objective sciences

i spent quite a lot of time in basement labs at CalTech with Jack Griffith, who was the first to actually photograph the double double helix of DNA using electron microscope techniques

the process involved taking relatively large cells from planaria raised in a bunch of old re-purposed coke machines and freeze drying the cells in liquid nitrogen and then flash silvering them in a vacuum flask so that you could see the molecular shape of the DNA string with an electron microscope

it took a lot of failed attempts to get it to work

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/cen-v047n011.p010a

i pointed out to him how extensively he was modifying the reality in order to observe it, and he certainly agreed and later made a comment in Time Magazine that his work was less like science and more like witchcraft

my interest in mind/brain/intelligence also led me to spend quite a bit of time in laboratories at UCSF and CalTech looking at brain cell activities and trying to map them to biological and mental functions

again the level of intrusion was so great as to call into question any observed results, i.e. implanting electrodes in the brain

i actually wrote a paper on the subject at one point, relating brain cell activity to computer functionality and music synthesis

much of my professional career has involved using virtual worlds technologies to model what we think we know about complex systems...in order to impose a discipline and honesty upon what we think we know about them and restricting the ability to fudge across the gaps where we don't know...

so we have been having lots of fun with this stuff...but how much are we learning vs how much are we creating the reality that we are supposedly observing?
MH2

climber
Dec 19, 2012 - 11:59am PT
how much are we learning vs how much are we creating the reality that we are supposedly observing?


'Reality' is an inclusive term. Would it be the same question if you asked, "How much are we learning vs how much are we creating what we observe?"

Reality would seem to include things we observe daily, things we observe rarely, and things we may never observe at all. However, reality also includes the thoughts of all the people on earth and mental activity in animals. In this region of reality we at least have the opportunity to create some of what we observe, I hope. Or is that just my imagination?
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Dec 19, 2012 - 01:03pm PT
What a chimera then is man! What a novelty, what a monster, what a chaos, what a contradiction, what a prodigy! Judge of all things, feeble earthworm, repository of truth, sewer of uncertainty and error, the glory and the scum of the universe.
—Blaise Pascal
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Dec 19, 2012 - 01:11pm PT
. . . to MH2's thought:

What you're learning is what you are creating.

There's no "versus." It's all there is anywhere. You're creating all of it.



One cannot disentangle observation from data. Name a datum that does not entail observation (the 5 senses). Put a "5" in chalk on a blackboard. That's an observed datum that most likely brings with it plenty of context that's socially defined. (What does the "experiment" show?) Pure mathematics might seem like it can be observed without distortion, but I doubt it. We are not machines; we have values and intentions. (See Mats Alvesson and Kaj Skoldberg's "Reflexive Methodology, New Vistas for Qualitative Research", 2000, London: Sage.)

Here's a summary of some of the problems with teasing out observation and intrusion from data from Alvesson's and Skoldberg's first few chapters. (This text comes from a review of the book taken from Administrative Science Quarterly.)

Alvesson and Skoldberg position their project in the context of some well-known controversies about empirical or theoretical orientation, about pure or socially constructed data, about the relation between reality and text, and about the detached or involved position of "the author." They avoid the obbligato third way between such dichotomies by sketching a framework for reflective research in four levels. The first level of reflective research is to be found in how the researcher interacts with empirical material and constructs the data. The next level concerns the researcher's interpretation and search for underlying meanings, while the third level is about critical interpretation of the political and ideological aspects of research. The last level entails the self-critical and linguistic reflection of the researcher. . . . Chapter 2 takes up empirically oriented qualitative research methods and techniques, focusing on grounded theory, and also includes ethnomethodology and inductive ethnography. Chapter 3 discusses the interpretations of several strands of hermeneutics, distinguishing between objectivist and alethic hermeneutics. The political and ideological conditions of research, which are a central point in critical theory, are questioned in Chapter 4. . . . A fifth chapter deals with poststructuralist and postmodern ways of looking at language, text production, theory and the authority of research. The sixth chapter . . . deals with three additional orientations. . . language, gender and power . . . .

(I think it should be added that there is no such thing as purely quantitative research.)

Now, if you can find a body-mind organism ("researcher") that does not have intentions or values, then you'd have something VERY Interesting. But then, of course, that mind-body organism wouldn't have much of a basis to care about anything.
WBraun

climber
Dec 19, 2012 - 05:01pm PT
Samsara, the eternal cycle of life.

The so called scientists should study .....

If they don't then they only rubber stamp themselves as scientists and are not scientists.
Donald Thompson

Trad climber
Los Angeles,CA
Dec 19, 2012 - 05:10pm PT
Samsung, makes decent electronics,

Merry Christmas
Mr. Von Braun


What a chimera then is man! What a novelty, what a monster, what a chaos, what a contradiction, what a prodigy! Judge of all things, feeble earthworm, repository of truth, sewer of uncertainty and error, the glory and the scum of the universe.

And also capable of some really damn fancy two step German polka moves.

Merry Christmas Mr. Fructose

Werner goes deep and Duhnold stays shallow

Merry Christmas Mr. Au Naturel

nature

climber
Boulder, CO
Dec 19, 2012 - 05:12pm PT
Werner goes deep and Duhnold stays shallow.


nothing to see here...
jogill

climber
Colorado
Dec 19, 2012 - 06:09pm PT
Pure mathematics might seem like it can be observed without distortion, but I doubt it

You do pose interesting and unusual questions, MikeL.

;>/
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