Politics, God and Religion vs. Science


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Social climber
Feb 11, 2013 - 12:49am PT
It is not a corner of darkness, Smoking Duck.

Peace to you, and thanks for the hanging bait - I'm just filled up with herring right now...

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 11, 2013 - 12:51am PT
Do 'you' exist without subjective experience?

As for the question of general anesthesia, it's the same question as Temple Grandin's about death: 'but where do they go'?

On the assumption Largo wasn't awake for the surgery, and my wife is going under on Tuesday, the question stands. 'What' are you and 'where' do 'you' exist while under? The Ether? A morphic field? And how do 'you' make it back to 'you' versus someone else?

Feb 11, 2013 - 12:55am PT

Why bother even explaining this too you.

It's all horsesh!t to you.

One doesn't waste unnecessary energy where it's not needed ......

Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 11, 2013 - 01:05am PT

I have never been able to say that I am truly an atheist. I can argue for atheism from the Abrahamic Religions in what I think is an airtight case if strict adherence to the bible conflits with the most basic understaning of the history of the Earth.

When some poor Christian wanders in here dismissing evolution or promoting the great flood, as Klimmer did only a few posts back by posting links to these creationist websites. Their interpretation of the history of the Earth is totally batshit crazy. It wouldn't pass the first week in Geology 101.

I have no patience for that. It is just silly at this point. The radical Christians, and Republicans for that matter, simply can't accept science as an explanation of the material world, but it does explain it quite beautifully.

Things that are not material..science has nothing to say about. That is where I diverge from Fruity, although only in degree. I agree with him on many things. I agree with Werner on some things. With you John? You are over there in your foxhole and in my mind have toyed with us for two years. From day one you acted ignorant. Why did you do that?

If I had a place to go study Zen around here, I would. Buddhism sounds like the perfect self help course to me. It requires absolutely zero belief in anything without evidence. It doesn't require belief. It just is a way to figure out how the mind works, it is very old, and as far as I know, it hasn't hurt anyone. I have a small area in my bookshelves for books on Buddhism.

But Buddhism is very different from religion.

Feb 11, 2013 - 01:07am PT
He's asking the questions above Ed. I'm not.

I follow your physical explanations.

It's that they are incomplete that is where we have the misunderstandings.

Feb 11, 2013 - 01:12am PT
With you John? You are over there in your foxhole and in my mind have toyed with us for two years.

No he hasn't.

I can see perfectly what he's doing because I have personal experience with this.

He's not toying with people.

What's happening is lack of experience and understanding what John is doing ....

Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 11, 2013 - 01:14am PT
Becomes a ghost.

Suicide you lose your gross physical body which you are not the real owner.

Even if they are living a life of torture? We put down animals when they are old and start to suffer needlessly. In that respect I think that death is a type of kindness.

edit: JL started his What Is Mind thread in a very baiting manner.

I feel like he has been trolling me for two years. From things like "qualia" to calling people gross materialists as an insult...yeah, I think he has baited the sh#t out of at least me.

Do I love my wife and son? Do I get sad or angry? Can I appreciate a beautiful sunset despite know why it appears to set? Do I visit my peach blossoms each spring for a beautiful fragrance? Do I like certain art ot literature or music? Can I love it more than you?

None of this is what I would call materialism. That is just a word that Largo invented to paint others into a corner. He's probably not even aware that that is his first response.

Feb 11, 2013 - 01:21am PT
You're projecting now. Playing God.

Every living entity has x amount of breaths (prana) in their lifespan in the body.

Suicide you will still suffer.

Mercy killing you will suffer the karmic reaction for that.

So the end point (crux) is how to become free from the karmic reaction/s.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
Feb 11, 2013 - 01:21am PT
Seriously how dense are you? Do you think for a minute that I talk about "forbidden secret knowledge" or teach any of this ever in a public classroom? What do you not understand regarding separation of church and state?

Well old boy I asked you a very straight forward question about four times, one you could easily have answered the first time with a simple yes or no yet you chose to reply with a completely vague and ambiguous allusion to the separation of church and state, which can only obliquely have anything to do with your teaching practices.... so no in fact i'm not necessarily the one who is dense here.

I note you still havn't come right out and said "no I don't teach that batshit crazy crap to my science class" which is often a red flag but for the sake of moving on I'll interpret it that way. I must say though you must exercise some strong self discipline to steer clear of it if you seriously offer that creationist website crap as evidence of the bibles grounding in scientific realities.

If you don't do it surely you are aware of the powerful religious lobby to do just that so you must forgive my assumption that you may be one of them.

But anyway perhaps the best way to look at your "evidence " is to consider how a court case would treat it. Assuming that it somehow made it past discovery, perhaps it would recieve the same ruling that more than a few similar cases have turned out historically. Maybe I am dense but I'm sure we can all agree that most federal court judges are not:

Kitzmiller trial

Main article: Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District was the first direct challenge brought in the United States federal courts against a public school district that required the presentation of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution. The plaintiffs successfully argued that intelligent design is a form of creationism, and that the school board policy thus violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.[1]

Eleven parents of students in Dover, Pennsylvania, sued the Dover Area School District over a statement that the school board required be read aloud in ninth-grade science classes when evolution was taught. The plaintiffs were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) and Pepper Hamilton LLP. The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) acted as consultants for the plaintiffs. The defendants were represented by the Thomas More Law Center.[125] The suit was tried in a bench trial from September 26 to November 4, 2005, before Judge John E. Jones III. Ken Miller, Kevin Padian, Brian Alters, Robert Pennock, Barbara Forrest and John Haught served as expert witnesses for the plaintiffs. Michael Behe, Steve Fuller and Scott Minnich served as expert witnesses for the defense.

On December 20, 2005, Judge Jones issued his 139-page findings of fact and decision, ruling that the Dover mandate was unconstitutional, and barring intelligent design from being taught in Pennsylvania's Middle District public school science classrooms. The eight Dover school board members who voted for the intelligent design requirement were all defeated in a November 8, 2005, election by challengers who opposed the teaching of intelligent design in a science class, and the current school board president stated that the board does not intend to appeal the ruling.[126]

In his finding of facts, Judge Jones made the following condemnation of the Teach the Controversy strategy:
"Moreover, ID's backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard."


Judge Jones himself anticipated that his ruling would be criticized, saying in his decision that:
"Those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge. If so, they will have erred as this is manifestly not an activist Court. Rather, this case came to us as the result of the activism of an ill-informed faction on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on ID, who in combination drove the Board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy. The breathtaking inanity of the Board's decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources."[127]

As Jones had predicted, John G. West, Associate Director of the Center for Science and Culture at Discovery Institute, said:

"The Dover decision is an attempt by an activist federal judge to stop the spread of a scientific idea and even to prevent criticism of Darwinian evolution through government-imposed censorship rather than open debate, and it won't work. He has conflated Discovery Institute's position with that of the Dover school board, and he totally misrepresents intelligent design and the motivations of the scientists who research it."[128]

Newspapers have noted with interest that the judge is "a Republican and a churchgoer".[129][130][131][132]

Subsequently, the decision has been examined in a search for flaws and conclusions, partly by intelligent design supporters aiming to avoid future defeats in court. In the Spring of 2007 the University of Montana Law review published three articles.[133] In the first, David K. DeWolf, John G. West and Casey Luskin, all of the Discovery Institute, argued that intelligent design is a valid scientific theory, the Jones court should not have addressed the question of whether it was a scientific theory, and that the Kitzmiller decision will have no effect at all on the development and adoption of intelligent design as an alternative to standard evolutionary theory.[134] In the second Peter Irons responded, arguing that the decision was extremely well reasoned and spells the death knell for the intelligent design efforts to introduce creationism in public schools,[135] while in the third, DeWolf et al. answer the points made by Irons.[136] However, fear of a similar lawsuit has resulted in other school boards abandoning intelligent design "teach the controversy" proposals.[13]

In April 2010, the American Academy of Religion issued Guidelines for Teaching About Religion in K-12 Public Schools in the United States, which included guidance that Creation Science or intelligent design should not be taught in science classes, as "Creation science and intelligent design represent worldviews that fall outside of the realm of science that is defined as (and limited to) a method of inquiry based on gathering observable and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning." However, they, as well as other "worldviews that focus on speculation regarding the origins of life represent another important and relevant form of human inquiry that is appropriately studied in literature or social sciences courses. Such study, however, must include a diversity of worldviews representing a variety of religious and philosophical perspectives and must avoid privileging one view as more legitimate than others."[137]

I know these particular cases don't necessarily represent your arguments exactly but they sure as hell use the same poor quality disingenuous attempt at reasoning. Also it shows how insidious the religious right are in trying to displace science from its rightful role with faith - a goal I'm sure all of us would condemn completely and utterly , including you Klimmer if you do see the sense of separation of church and state.

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Feb 11, 2013 - 01:31am PT
Getting back to first person experience, aside from the fact that it is entirely a "subjective" experience (by definition), the ability to have it is completely mechanical. At least that is a fantastically successful hypothesis. Once the mechanical ability to have the experience ceases, so to the experiences.

You can drag Hilbert space into the equation (of which I rally understand very little), but my leg bone connected to the hip bone model of determinism and causality is really described by your theory that experience is linked only and entirely to material antecedents, that it issues directly from matter, ie the brain, that no other factor is at play in consciousness, and that we need only go unconscious or die and the experience vanishes. This, as I said almost two years ago, was one of the "laws of mind," along with the other, being that the map and the territory (brain and consciousness) are not the very same things.

What's curious here is that while QM and many other disciplines must call in the most fantastic array of "unreal" models to work up their predictions, the moment anyone suggests that there might be more to consciousness than the meat brain, the very people who wrangle Hilbert space call foul, the argument being that we don't need anything extra to "explain" consciousness materially, even though no material breakdown of raw awareness or experience is forthcoming.

You have to wonder.


Feb 11, 2013 - 01:34am PT
Base104 -- "None of this is what I would call materialism."

Gross materialists, is my original statement.

I made that statement to those who identify themselves as the material body ie (I am the body).

Largo didn't originally use that term.

You should be angry at me not him if you want to.

This statement:

"The gross materialists are nothing more than polished robots who's souls are chained and bounded of their own makings ........"

Was aimed at no one individual here.

Yet at same time I had to take heed to it also.

In other words it applies to me too ......


Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 11, 2013 - 02:01am PT
Funny talk from a duck who has spent his life saving material bodies - how many souls have you rescued?

Feb 11, 2013 - 02:12am PT
I've never saved one person.

I've never rescued one person.

Those are team effort. It's not an individual event.

I've never rescued one soul.

It's not an individual event either ......

Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 11, 2013 - 02:23am PT
Since my time here is winding down, I would like to say that this thread has at times been more like posturing rather than explaining.

So Largo wants to peg me as being hung up on scientism. I'd never heard that word before.

I'm heading to Virginia for the summer and maybe bring her around to the Gulf along The Florida Panhandle or even to the Texas coast. If you have ever been to Houston in the summer, it is freaking fungal.

Anyway, she ain't The Beagle, but she'll do. I'm getting pointers from Guido:

SV Janice. My Volkswagon Van to 70% of the planet.
SV Janice. My Volkswagon Van to 70% of the planet.
Credit: BASE104

There shall be no ST surfing for two years, other than gloating now an...
There shall be no ST surfing for two years, other than gloating now and then.
Credit: BASE104

I bought her about three weeks ago.

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Feb 11, 2013 - 07:13am PT
The Pope has just resigned effective Feb. 28.
Now things should get really interesting.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
Feb 11, 2013 - 10:25am PT
Klimmer, here is something else that makes me think again about your circular and ideological driven interpretation of reality (that is, as opposed to reality driven ideology). It i an opinion / observation piece on the Republican / right wing authoritarian psyche but could also be applied to the right wing authoritarian political religious power structure.

It is of course an analogy so in technical terms there are many dicrepancies or incongruities with the whole bible science thing that you brought up. However in terms of illustrating this:

We must interpret our physical observations based on the scripture and not interpret the scripture based on our physical observations.

Which illustrates the fundamental irreconcilible divide that currently and historically has existed between institutional faith and science. It is a divide that religion must reconcile, not science as is clearly evident by the above quoted intellectually aberrant ethic.

So, here is an article by that devil spawn Paul Krugman, deceptive hater of the poor. What I suggest is that while reading this replace every reference to the GOP/ Republican/ Eric "the Dick" Cantor, etc with a reference to institutional religion, such as Pope / Mulah /Pat "The Dick Wacker Devil Spawn" Robertson or similar. Leave all the policy issues as is as there seems to be a direct link in attitudes to policy between the GOP and the right wing religious lobby.

The Ignorance Caucus
Published: February 10, 2013 208 Comments

Last week Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, gave what his office told us would be a major policy speech. And we should be grateful for the heads-up about the speech’s majorness. Otherwise, a read of the speech might have suggested that he was offering nothing more than a meager, warmed-over selection of stale ideas.

To be sure, Mr. Cantor tried to sound interested in serious policy discussion. But he didn’t succeed — and that was no accident. For these days his party dislikes the whole idea of applying critical thinking and evidence to policy questions. And no, that’s not a caricature: Last year the Texas G.O.P. explicitly condemned efforts to teach “critical thinking skills,” because, it said, such efforts “have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”

And such is the influence of what we might call the ignorance caucus that even when giving a speech intended to demonstrate his openness to new ideas, Mr. Cantor felt obliged to give that caucus a shout-out, calling for a complete end to federal funding of social science research. Because it’s surely a waste of money seeking to understand the society we’re trying to change.

Want other examples of the ignorance caucus at work? Start with health care, an area in which Mr. Cantor tried not to sound anti-intellectual; he lavished praise on medical research just before attacking federal support for social science. (By the way, how much money are we talking about? Well, the entire National Science Foundation budget for social and economic sciences amounts to a whopping 0.01 percent of the budget deficit.)

But Mr. Cantor’s support for medical research is curiously limited. He’s all for developing new treatments, but he and his colleagues have adamantly opposed “comparative effectiveness research,” which seeks to determine how well such treatments work.

What they fear, of course, is that the people running Medicare and other government programs might use the results of such research to determine what they’re willing to pay for. Instead, they want to turn Medicare into a voucher system and let individuals make decisions about treatment. But even if you think that’s a good idea (it isn’t), how are individuals supposed to make good medical choices if we ensure that they have no idea what health benefits, if any, to expect from their choices?

Still, the desire to perpetuate ignorance on matters medical is nothing compared with the desire to kill climate research, where Mr. Cantor’s colleagues — particularly, as it happens, in his home state of Virginia — have engaged in furious witch hunts against scientists who find evidence they don’t like. True, the state has finally agreed to study the growing risk of coastal flooding; Norfolk is among the American cities most vulnerable to climate change. But Republicans in the State Legislature have specifically prohibited the use of the words “sea-level rise.”

And there are many other examples, like the way House Republicans tried to suppress a Congressional Research Service report casting doubt on claims about the magical growth effects of tax cuts for the wealthy.

Do actions like this have important effects? Well, consider the agonized discussions of gun policy that followed the Newtown massacre. It would be helpful to these discussions if we had a good grasp of the facts about firearms and violence. But we don’t, because back in the 1990s conservative politicians, acting on behalf of the National Rifle Association, bullied federal agencies into ceasing just about all research into the issue. Willful ignorance matters.

O.K., at this point the conventions of punditry call for saying something to demonstrate my evenhandedness, something along the lines of “Democrats do it too.” But while Democrats, being human, often read evidence selectively and choose to believe things that make them comfortable, there really isn’t anything equivalent to Republicans’ active hostility to collecting evidence in the first place.

The truth is that America’s partisan divide runs much deeper than even pessimists are usually willing to admit; the parties aren’t just divided on values and policy views, they’re divided over epistemology. One side believes, at least in principle, in letting its policy views be shaped by facts; the other believes in suppressing the facts if they contradict its fixed beliefs.

In her parting shot on leaving the State Department, Hillary Clinton said of her Republican critics, “They just will not live in an evidence-based world.” She was referring specifically to the Benghazi controversy, but her point applies much more generally. And for all the talk of reforming and reinventing the G.O.P., the ignorance caucus retains a firm grip on the party’s heart and mind.

Your examples of the Bible providing evidence of scientific credibility illustrates the precise same thinking, and it is no surprise that it is an argument used not to advance knowledge and understanding, but to subvert it for the purpose of maintaining or advancing political power.
If Individuals of faith can become aware of this, with all due humility yet with no direct threat to the continuance of their faith, then there is hope of embracing the full usefulness of science.... as well as delivering a good hearty kick in the nuts to authoritarianism / fascism.

Of course it would require a complete revolutionary repudiation of the institutional power structure and a rebuilding - much like what is required of say, professional bike racing, another institution which is structurally corrupt yet its basic principles, morals and ethics are sound.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
Feb 11, 2013 - 10:33am PT
Base - your brains and experience will be missed. Have an awesome adventure. If there is a god thing / man in a robe / particle out there I bet you'll be getting about as close to it as any way out there on the wild blue yonder. Let us know eh?
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 11, 2013 - 11:29am PT
OK Largo
Let's talk about the non-material

What is it?
Does it exist anywhere outside of a brain??

Non-material entities?
Have we ever encountered any, or do they only exist is said brain?

I feel that Largo has just become an apologist, always looking for a way out of accountability.
All he has to keep saying is that it is beyond our understanding, non-material, always hidden, always out of reach...

and only if you go into some transcendental state, then you can get a glimpse of something beyond human.

I agree that you can get a glimpse of something more, I just say it's apart of your imagination, and doesn't exist outside your mind.

If you can tell us what this stuff is, maybe you can convince us that we are wrong.

Show us this non-material.

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Feb 11, 2013 - 12:17pm PT
Ed got me thinking about Hilbert space, which I haven't looked at in even my most amateur way in years. A friend pointed me at this:

Hilbert space is a vector space.

A vector space is an algebraic structure that contains objects called vectors (in quantum mechanics, these become the wavefunctions), which display the properties of vector addition and scalar multiplication.

An algebraic structure is one or more sets that exhibit closure under one or more operations. An example would be the set of all real numbers under addition. If you add two real numbers, the third element will always be a real number. However, the set of all natural numbers (ie. positive integers) do not exhibit closure under, say, subtraction. 5 - 3 is 2 but 3 - 5 is -2, and -2 is not a natural number. So the set of all natural numbers cannot be an algebraic structure under subtraction (but can be algebraic structure under addition).

An example of a vector space could be the ordinary vectors that you learn about in elementary physics (these are rank 1 tensors), but it could also be the set of all 2x2 matrices. The vector space itself comes with a bunch of axioms for its vectors (rules for how vectors should behave), like invertibility, identity, and associativity. As a vector space, Hilbert space covers both real and complex numbers, and so the wavefunctions (vectors) that live in Hilbert space must be complex-valued.

It's all quite simple, really.

So at bottom, Hilbert is a mathmatical structure in which important ideas and measurements can find play.

And Craig, all of your arguments stem from your identification with the left brain, which is fashioned and evolved to do just what you do with it - evaluate and quantify what is graspable. Should you venture into the right brain, you will find a different world. To the left brain, that world looks "false," imagined, or mentally constructed, just as math folk cooked up Hilbert space.

I see you as throwing a continuous tantrum that right brained stuff is not left brain material you can fit in a slide rule or grind on with a construct and make a prediction. So yu keep saying it has to be something or it's nothing. This is simply the perspective of the left brain. If it has no thing to measure and evaluate, it is out of work and balks.

Simple as that.

Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 11, 2013 - 12:23pm PT
My Opinion
this non-material is a "MAN MADE" concept

thoughts are non-material, yes
and animals other than humans have thoughts, yes
but we are not discussing just normal thoughts

We are discussing gods, spirits, consciousness without brains, thoughts floating in space that we can capture, souls living forever

Why these things, because man made them up to explain things he couldn't understand.

But now it has taken on a new role, NOW- they are the things that we don't KNOW About, the things we Will never know about, they exist in the in between dimensions, non-material, non-physical, out there somewhere...
with the precondition, man's mind can't never understand, they are non-material, beyond our comprehension, just out of reach, hidden from view or perception.

What do I think?
It's just another ruse to get around science, another way to keep us believing in God when all other logical reasoning has failed.

Can it be that the need for God is so strong in some that matter what they learn, they can still just invent a way to justify their belief.

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