Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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Malemute

Ice climber
the ghost
Feb 22, 2013 - 01:11am PT
photo not found
Missing photo ID#290916
WBraun

climber
Feb 22, 2013 - 02:06am PT
If a person is certain, the need to learn is moot.

This is never true.

Both material and spiritual have infinite knowledge to learn.

Both originate from the same source ......
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Feb 22, 2013 - 02:12am PT
i have apologized before if i offended go-G, and i apologize again (and wishing i knew who he is behind the odd avatar name)

my intention was to hear directly from him, rather than endless recitation of Biblical scriptures

i started out being fascinated by this thread, and very much appreciate some people who have posted very thoughtful descriptions of their knowledge and understanding, especially Ed, Jan, Largo, wbraun, jogill, Base, jstan, and others

i don't want to bore people by continued attempts to express my own level of understanding

however this discussion grows quite tiresome, not from any lack of intelligence or education, but because of constant bickering between entrenched myopic positions

the bottom line is reinforcing my own conviction that we don't know much and have much to learn

if this thread is going to progress in any worthwhile fashion, everyone is going to have to abandon their foxholes on the front lines and wander around together in no-mans-land

Certainty seems more and more like a pact with the devil if you ask me.

yes
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 22, 2013 - 02:39am PT
I agree, it's unfortunate go-b would never come out from behind the bible and actually speak his own mind.

jstan: As an example consider that the firing of a neuron dissipates energy. If there is to be the potential for a subsequent firing new energy has to be made available. So on a neurological level the processes for generating that energy are put in play by the organism's expectation there may be need for another firing. Indeed our survival quite probably has revolved around evolution of a chemistry allowing that delay to be minimized.

The origin of single cell life is still a complete mystery, but I find the leap to multicellular organisms and the evolution of stem cells to be equally fascinating. I agree there has to be an embedded concept of time for any of an number of cellular functions - genetic transcription and the function of RNA polymerase fundamental among them.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Feb 22, 2013 - 03:34am PT
Thanks everyone for your replies. I think I understand better now the frustrations of the left brain science types. And I think they have two valid complaints.

1. The spiritually oriented people have no common vocabulary to discuss their ideas, a legacy I think from the dominance until recently, of religion over spirituality and the vast range of local interpretations.

2. It is genuinely difficult to express experiences of the right brain in any form of language other than symbolic. Normally our common language from the right brain is art or music or in our case on ST, the common pursuit of climbing.

Using the language analogy, trying to translate what the right brain understands is very much like trying to translate Chinese or Tibetan literally. Take the famous first sentence everyone is taught in Mandarin. Ma ma ma ma? To most it sounds like nonsense syllables and confusion only grows when the translation is supplied, "Why is the woman beating the horse?". To contemplate that, is to understand that there are vast differences in the way languages and cultures are constructed.

Now one can argue that English is more precise and logical than Chinese and also that Chinese is more intuitive and economical and lends itself better to word games. They each have their respective strengths and weaknesses and age old cultures behind them. Both seek to put forth their view. The West wants China to be more scientific, legalistic, and democratic while China is funding Chinese language schools all over the globe to explain its unique and ancient culture. Increasingly they need each other.

So too it is I believe, with the left and right brains, the material vs. the subjective, facts vs. insights, logic vs emotion and beauty. Understanding the spiritual is just further along the continuum of the right brain, but the biggest barrier seems to be explaining how to access the right brain in the first place and why anyone would want to.

healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 22, 2013 - 04:16am PT
Jan: Understanding the spiritual is just further along the continuum of the right brain, but the biggest barrier seems to be explaining how to access the right brain in the first place and why anyone would want to.

One of the benefits of this thread for me has been learning much more about philosophy. My exposure to it before was through compsci and was more on the logic side of things. I didn't realize quite how far such formal thinking stretched in the direction of religion. When you look at the myriad forms of idealism alone and topics such as qualia and emergence you can see attempts to vocalize some of what you construe as 'right brain', but then they appear to come up short and punt which is inherently the problem, particularly the qualia bits. How do you describe 'red[ness]' to someone who is blind or colorblind? What is there to really say about experiencing 'red[ness]' - and why would you need to?
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 22, 2013 - 04:43am PT
material vs. the subjective, facts vs. insights, logic vs emotion and beauty

Here is where I need one of those face palm pics of Capt. Picard that everyone throws up on the political threads.

Sorry, Jan. You seem like a nice person. None of those "vs" qualities are even remotely exclusive of one another.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Feb 22, 2013 - 05:38am PT
Base-

Sorry if I implied they were. Jogill thought I did too a while back. I really do believe that we need to use both sides of our brain whether we think in terms of the spiritual or not. Obviously a lot of people on this thread are pretty good at both. Our society however, rewards left brain pursuits for the most part so we get guys like Dr. F. who obviously uses his right brain to arrange those cacti in the right colors of pots with the right color of gravel, in either symmetrical or asymmetical plantings, at the same time that he insists if you can't measure something, it doesn't exist. My guess is that he doesn't measure all the aesthetic aspects of his cactus plantings, he just eyeballs them and goes with his gut.

This reminds me of my first Japanese flower arranging teacher. Her American students always wanted an explanation for why she did things (always improving them with a snip here and a twist there). She used to say, "I can't explain it to you, you have to feel flowers in your hara". The hara is the Japanese word for abdomen. In other words, you can't explain aesthetics, certainly not efficiently, you have to feel it in your innermost being.

It's also why I can say I have felt the presence of spiritual people even though I have often totally disagreed with their religion. (Hopefully this makes sense)?
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Feb 22, 2013 - 10:43am PT
How do you describe 'red[ness]' to someone who is blind or colorblind?

I dunno but I hope you have more success than having your kid insist that you describe how something tastes so they don't have to try it to find out!


It's also why I can say I have felt the presence of spiritual people even though I have often totally disagreed with their religion.

As have I or similar feelings such as sensing the soul leaving the body (of another, not I) that is inexplicable and profoundly riveting. But is that what I sensed or were my synapses having a little party on my dime? Beats hell out of me, which dosn't in the least seem to diminish the power of the experience due to any lack of certainty.

The certainty thing made me think of climbing on two counts. The obvious one is that if you are certain you will top out half the fun is shot right there - might as well just go open a bag of Cheeto's and see whats on the tube. The other is that topping out is only an attainment of certainty if that is all that matters, which thank god it ain't. Nor is any particular style or for that matter how you chose to climb then is seldom so certain now. Nor is it so important to quantify or record the experience as the more you do, the more it becomes compartmentalized and the less expansively infinite the personal reward, and the more backward in time you look.

In fact the quantifying and recording is mostly a means of communicating the experience.

Weren't we just talking about something like that?

I would suggest that the spiritual is merely a description of the psychological sense of wonder at the unknown elements of our world that intrigue and can even bewitch us. Religion hijacks this powerful "survival" motivator by quantifying and codifying into language for the whole purpose compartmentalizing the process / experience into a commodity of mass consumption. Given humanities tribal proclivities perhaps it is unavoidable but if we could just keep it down to a dull roar, like keeping a few topos and photos but focus on climbing forward instead of backward then the spiritual experience will find its happy place.

Fundamentalism ( certainty ) is our the achilles heel of spirituality
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 22, 2013 - 11:32am PT
I call BS on this "Right Brain - Left Brain" nonsense

My old boss called me TOO Right Brained
and now Largo is telling me that I don't use my right brain, I live in the left side

one word "Malarkey"
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 22, 2013 - 11:45am PT
go-b has not been banished
He is still welcome on this thread, or any other thread

All we asked was that he not "cut and paste" scripture, or scans from a book

Numerous people asked him nicely not to post it, and we all encouraged him to write his own thoughts on the subject matter that he chose.

go-b, come back, please
MH2

climber
Feb 22, 2013 - 11:57am PT
I would suggest that the spiritual is merely a description of the psychological sense of wonder at the unknown elements of our world that intrigue and can even bewitch us.


Well in that case it is still an unknown. Why would our psychology work that way and why do some elements of our world have that effect?

Fundamentalism doesn't seem inherently bad to me, not if your fundamentals are good ones. A better thing to question, I think, is religious doctrine. When they write things down, or tell us that God caused things to be written down, we should be sure that we carefully analyze the message, if we are being asked to model our behavior on it. Largo is wise enough to realize that his experiences in out-there-ness with no thing are not going to assemble into writing despite his skill at the craft.

Nevertheless, words are important, and not just to the so-called left brain. I would claim compassion, whichever side of the brain that comes from, as motivation for not dividing people into left-brain types and right-brain types. Doing so can place barriers in the way of simply appreciating people for what they say and do. Even though such attempts to classify may start innocently, like the IQ test did, or may be obvious to casual observation, like skin color, there is a bad tendency for people to take them for more than they are worth, perhaps leading to insidious or even institutionalized discrimination.

Some day left-brain right-brain differences may become better understood and we may get to the point where we can talk about them without letting our preconceptions and prejudices get the upper hand. Until that day, what do they contribute to the discussion that could not be said otherwise? At the moment referring to them only seems to be a way of saying, "That's why you don't understand." Is that helpful?
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Feb 22, 2013 - 12:13pm PT
my criticism of the "spiritualists" is that they often want the validity of a "physical" existence of their spiritual universe, the fact that it is subjective seems to rank it as something less than the cold hard facts of the physical universe.

I agree. I think that it is increasingly apparent - barring some astounding game changer discovery of a "physical' link between the two worlds - that they are barking up the wrong tree. Yet they seem compelled to do so by the anxiety of watching scientific discovery win all the ball games with the only system that produces wins. The spiritualists enter into a competition that they don't have the tools to win, nor if they could just keep their eye on their own ball, is there even a need to win. Why the need to dominate politically?
WBraun

climber
Feb 22, 2013 - 12:15pm PT
Excellent commentary Ed.

A clear voice to ascend from the rubble .....
WBraun

climber
Feb 22, 2013 - 12:19pm PT
Bruce says;

Yet they seem compelled to do so by the anxiety of watching scientific discovery win all the ball games with the only system that produces wins.

And as usual you're not even in the ball park again.

You keep thinking all this is some kind of competition.

Go play ball in your ball park.

This thread is not a game ......
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Feb 22, 2013 - 12:24pm PT
Werner..... You crack me up! sometimes I wonder what motives you. I really think you should put the bong down and clear all the smoke out of the cave every now and then!
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 22, 2013 - 12:27pm PT
Werner is the Authority of all Wisdom
all the great knowledge from the ages seeps in
He doesn't even need to crack a book, he already knows what the Book Says!!
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Feb 22, 2013 - 01:09pm PT
I think that it is increasingly apparent - barring some astounding game changer discovery of a "physical' link between the two worlds - that they are barking up the wrong tree.

It would be hard to give a better example of entrenched misunderstanding.

There is no link...because there is no separation or separateness...

We are trying to understand the nature of our world, which appears to some as partly inanimate and partly animated alive and aware...you appear to be animated with some level of awareness...so what is the nature of that?

That idea of separateness is contrived from lacking understanding.

Which piece of the baby would you like to have delivered at your doorstep in a box?


The questions we ask dictate the answers we are capable of receiving.

What on earth makes you so certain that any of us know the right questions?
Norton

Social climber
the Wastelands
Feb 22, 2013 - 01:12pm PT
dopplegangers

dammit Dingus, this is serous stuff
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Feb 22, 2013 - 01:12pm PT
Werner is correct that most of the regulars to this thread treat the discussion as a win-all competition.


Himself very much included in this observation. The point I was trying to make, unsuccessfully i guess, is that it is indeed a fools game - so why is so much of organized religion hell bent on competing in a game where they have no business hardly commenting let alone trying to dominate?

Then the wise sage tries to project his competitive tendencies onto me! I'm one of the least competitive types you're likely to tangle with - which sure dosn't translate to meekly accepting loads of bombastic nonsense mind you. I have stated numerous times I have no truck with the spiritual /religious either way unless it attempts to claim domination of fields of enquiry and application where it hardly could punch its way out of a wet paper bag.

Tom - I have suggested that there has been no proof or even compelling explanation either way of "seperatness" or "holistic unity" so no, I am not dogmatic in my position of speculation.

What on earth makes you so certain that any of us know the right questions?


I'm not sure where you get the idea I'm certain of anything after all the blather I just spouted about my distrust of certainty!
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