Politics, God and Religion vs. Science


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Social climber
An Oil Field
Mar 12, 2013 - 12:59pm PT

Since Leviticus wasn't written for us modern people, I assume the rule against homosexuality among men no longer applies as well.

Sorry, but I hear the Christian right quote that phrase in Leviticus as if it is God's law, yet all of the other crazy laws don't apply for some reason.

It will take you maybe 30 minutes to read Leviticus. The book is about God revealing the rules on how to live to Moses. It is far more than ten commandments. There are probably 75 of them.

So you are saying that we can toss the old testament? If that were the case, you could also toss Genesis and then we wouldn't be in this evolution and science quandry.

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Mar 12, 2013 - 01:02pm PT
The idea that another approach has proven to work ...

proven to work? please tell us more, what other approach? and how do you determine that "it worked"?

For most, the proof is in the transformative power of the work on one's interior life. That's what it's all about - but if you gauge "interior work" on a left brain definition you'll just end up in the hilarious and totally mistaken realm of Craig's fuzzy feelings.

I think the easiest way to see how this can "work," in a way in which there is no doubt at all, is to look at the so-called recovery movement. I'm not an acknowledged expert on this, and it is not a legitimate esoteric spiritual tradition like Zen or Sufism, but it has the advantage of featuring millions of folks who have all wrestled with the basic tenets relative to all spiritual practices and the conclusions are undisputed by those who have done the actual work.

First, virtually to the man and woman they will tell you that trying to "figure out" what spirituality is all about is a total waste of time because you simply cannot do so in the normal, quantifying way in which you arrive at data yada yada. This approach, it has been well established by millions, is a total dead end. Go there if you must, but the inability to shift gears and exhibit some mental agility is essential to making progress. The lack of said mental agility, the brutish resolve to simply try and squeeze out some data from any of this is the kind of stubborn simple mindedness that relegates one forever to the sidelines in this game.
Millions will tell you the exact same thing. Nobody "knows" because you cannot objectify the whole, only parts.

So the only way to make progress in this realm is to leave off trying to figure out "what" is involved and to start concentrating on how to get the ungraspible to work for you. Somewhere in there you start getting the hunch that your basic nature is ungraspible as well and that you're working on that in the process.

I gotta work but the "proof" in this instance is that fact that millions of intractable alcoholics can remain sober "relative to them maintaining their spiritual practice." People from the outside - and even agnostics within - will ascribe the result to "things," as their rational mind cannot get hold of what is at play here. It is instructive to go to the old timers themselves and ask about their experience. They will chuckle if you insist that they have misjudged their own lives according to them not being able to pony up data to your liking. You will simply have outed yourself as another who has done nothing but noodle what requires another approach. If they know nothing else, they know that as an absolute fact.

Again, this is not my practice per se, but it does show that there are tangible results to the most God forsaken demographic - intractable drunks, and none of it has to do with believing what your or I believe in.

Other practices are more geared to insight, and the results vary accordingly.

More later. I gotta work.


Mar 12, 2013 - 01:16pm PT
I generously grant to Largo the no-thing at the base of it all. I will inhabit and explore what is left over after that.

Born into the material reality of one's body, in a material universe, one finds oneself inserted into being. Consciousness has the ability to conceptualize possibilities, and to make them appear, or to annihilate them.

Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Mar 12, 2013 - 01:47pm PT
Wow MH2, there's too much in that Sartre book to think about at once.

Mar 12, 2013 - 02:13pm PT
A little something to think about, Don Paul:

Sartre declares that there is not a biological motivation for sex.

Social climber
the Wastelands
Mar 12, 2013 - 02:21pm PT
An alcoholic completely giving up any drinking.....

doesn't that come down to the alcoholic finally reaching their absolute lowest point and then gathering inner strength of will power to succeed in never drinking again?

most alcoholics fall off the wagon again and again and again.....

some, a relatively small percentage, actually never drink again

but is the point that they who succeed at sobriety have discovered their "spiritual" self?

or is it that they had enough successful life experiences prior to alcohol taking over as the dominant waking need that they summoned that prior strength once again?

if that is the definition of spiritual then ok I get it, and so pretty much everything humans do is prompted and driven by previous personal memories

do I get that right, John Long, or is there more to "categorizing" of spirituality ?
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Mar 12, 2013 - 03:21pm PT
MHz his view of love isn't romantic at all. It reminds me why I never got married.

Sartre states that many relationships are created by people's attraction not to another person, but rather how that person makes them feel about themselves by how they look at them. This is a state of emotional alienation whereby a person avoids experiencing their subjectivity by identifying themselves with "the look" of the other. ... The purpose of either participant is not to exist, but to maintain the other participant's looking at them. This system is often mistakenly called love, but is in fact nothing more than emotional alienation and a denial of freedom through conflict with the other. ... At its extreme, the alienation can become so intense that due to the guilt of being so radically enslaved by "the look" and therefore radically missing their own freedoms, the participants can experience masochistic and sadistic attitudes. This happens when the participants cause pain to each other, in attempting to prove their control over the other's look, which they cannot escape because they believe themselves to be so enslaved to the look that experiencing their own subjectivity would be equally unbearable.

Mar 12, 2013 - 03:53pm PT

Veil of Spirits
Veil of Spirits
Credit: jogill

A little graphics to relieve the tedium . . .

Mar 12, 2013 - 04:06pm PT
Check out The Existentialist's Nightmare by Bertrand Russell.

Paul Martzen

Trad climber
Mar 12, 2013 - 06:47pm PT
Largo brings up the idea that the "Recovery Movement" has a high success rate because of it spiritual leanings. These two points are commonly held by believers in those movements. However, many studies which I have read and respected in years past do not support the claim of high success rates.

While AA and 12 step programs often claim 75% or 90% success rates, they only tend to measure their successes. They do not accurately measure their failures and they do not compare their success rates with the spontaneous remission rate. A few numbers that I have heard are that 50% of alcoholics eventually give it up and that on a yearly basis about 5% of alcoholics become sober. Another number that I have heard is that 80% of those do so on their own without any formal intervention from 12 step, treatment centers or so forth.

It has been a while since I really studied this, but my recollection is that the percentages are pretty similar for other drugs as well.

This link is a bit of a diatribe against AA, but it has a lot of good points.

It seems to me that if an alcoholic lucks into a particularly supportive and helpful recovery group, then their chances of recovery should be improved. However, there are lots of examples of well intentioned people and groups who are actually self destructive or bad for those around them.


Social climber
An Oil Field
Mar 12, 2013 - 07:29pm PT
All that Largo can say is that believing it makes you feel better, and helps you to have something to lean on, basically. The 12 step program does have a spiritual part.

You also have some Christian sects that don't accept modern medicine. They will let their children die from a bad appendix.

I was talking to a Dr. about this very topic a few months ago. I think that if it is a minor, the parents can be tried for a crime.

If it is an adult, you can refuse treatment. It comes down to simple things such as refusing blood transfusions sometimes. That is their faith, though. I would wager that without modern medical care, prayer loses far more often than medicine does.

By the time you get your first gray hair, you will have seen friends die by the bottle and even more friends who beat it through AA.

I don't see this as any proof of a spirit. All it says is that belief itself can be important for some.

John will never be able to prove anything beyond the material. Never. He is going on his spiritual quest by a different path than most people of faith, who simply use the religious faith that is available and convenient to them. He has a problem with those for some reason and is trying to find spiritualism inside his self.

He may believe it with all of his heart, but he can't make a compelling argument to sway us. By us, I mean the scientists, the atheists, the Christians, the Krisna's and everyone else.

The mind is an amazing thing, so I would love to hear his reports of his experiences. We could put that in the context of our own experiences.

That doesn't mean that anyone will believe him. I am starting to get into Joel Osteen and am thinking about giving him all of my money. I will get richer if I do.

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Mar 12, 2013 - 08:18pm PT
If there's any hard and fast conclusion I've drawn from life and this thread it's that no one can can compel anyone to believe anything. And no one is going to convince anyone who already has their mind made up. We can certainly entertain ourselves however, in the attempt.

Ice climber
the ghost
Mar 12, 2013 - 08:26pm PT
Mark 16: 16-18 (New King James Version)
16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.

So Klimmer, if you can't drink poison, then you do not believe.
If you do not believe, you will be condemned.
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 12, 2013 - 08:28pm PT
Good stuff
It's hard to keep up on
But if you want to blame me for bumping this thread, please do

"Damn you Dr. F, you just bump this thread to try and get big numbers!"

It's not me bumping it
But who cares, please
carry on...

Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Mar 12, 2013 - 08:32pm PT
Rejecting medicine - that's the Christian Scientists. NOT to be confused with Scientologists. Then you have the quaint Amish. They're just anti science, or at least modern science. Riding horses and buggies and limiting their technologies to pre-industrial revolution, for whatever reason. They can sew a mighty quilt, but where did they get that sewing needle anyway? Did they make it? No of course not, they just bought it at Walmart like everyone else. Those guys set a standard in the Supreme Court for child-abuse. Their idea was that God intended them to be farmers and their children should be working the fields at age twelve, not in school.

The Amish are obviously oddballs, but most religions make a special effort to recruit children. Doesn't a minor child, let's say a 5 year old, have any right to their own mind? It's not education, it's anti education and brainwashing. Children are so impressionable, so trusting of their parents, so malleable. Can you imagine what it would be like to grow up home-schooled by born-again parents who wanted to educate you themselves? It's child abuse for sure.

Social climber
An Oil Field
Mar 12, 2013 - 08:35pm PT

You just figured out that nobody is changing their minds? Ha ha.

It is good company for the most part, and all of the prodding of each other does force us to actually explain why we believe things.

I guess that is it.

Why DO some people believe things?

Seriously. You name it and somebody believes it. What seems obvious and silly to one person is the cherished belief of others.

I guess that if I am going to actually give some advice, it is that before you devote your life and "soul" to something, try to make sure you are right, and if you aren't right, make sure that it helps others. That last part is the hard one.

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Mar 12, 2013 - 09:32pm PT
You know, the astonishing thing about this thread is that someone can know nothing at all about something and still make the wonkiest statements or declarations. I can say till I'm blue in the face that what I'm talking about has nothing to do with beliefs or feelings but people like BASE (no offense intended BASE), who apparently can't read English, continually come back with accusations that the nature of my experience is a limbic (emotional) reaction that leads me to believe in this or that.

What's the value of continually reminded BASE and others that this is in fact an attempt by their rational minds to rope the conversation back onto familiar ground, as opposed to steeping out of the methodology from which they gain no spiritual insight at all - trying to think your way past yourself (conditioning). Never will it work.

The reason I brought up the recovery movement was NOT to laud AA or any other 12 Step movement, but to use that cross section (millions) to demonstrate that those who have approached spiritual matters seeking data and info run into a dead end. Every last time. If you take nothing else away from the millions who have struggled with these issues, take that. Seeking standard data in that realm is like going to the hardware store for milk. It simply ain't there.

What's more, ANY human organization can be viewed in a dysfunctional light because humans are involved. But several things are certain about AA and all the recovery movements.

First, those relying on will power and "manning up" are always the ones who go back to the sauce. Runaway will power is the problem in the first place. Attempts to marshall your inner whatever are bound to fail. Once more, mentalizing is hugely problematic in this regards. "Shut up and do the work." That is how it's done.

Second, for those who have been in the recovery movement for a long time, they will usually put the recovery rate of all addicts (sex, substances, gambling, rage, over thinking, obsessions, etc.) and alcoholics at around 5% regardless of the program.

However, and this is key, of those who actually do the program to the letter, with a sponsor or advisor, the rate of failure or "going out" approaches zero. The problem is that only around 5% of all commers actually do the work. Spirituality is a grueling process and few have the discipline and fortitude to and mental flexibility to give up their standard thinking patterns and go toward the unknown on little or no data. It's a bad bet by any measure, and like wall climbing, few find it to their liking.

You must notice the spectacular resistance of all those evaluating brains out there demanding proofs and data and so forth in this regards. The hard part to accept is that there is no "I" attached to the arguments, it's virtually mechanical and unconscious arguing from the rational mind.

As mentioned ad nauseum, if you are pleased with the progress you have made in spiritual concerns using this approach, more power to you, but to blame the spiritual (NOT religious) for any circling is to sell yourself short.

What was earlier mentioned about Being and Nothingness is worth reviewing. The realm of being is boundless, and trying to reason your way through this terrain is like trying to ice climb in EBs. You simply have the wrong approach, but again, if you're pleased with your success, have at it. We call that "a will gone riot."

High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Potemkin Village
Mar 12, 2013 - 09:38pm PT
the astonishing thing about this thread is that someone can know nothing at all about something and still make the wonkiest statements or declarations.

This is true.

Now compare this thread to this other one:


My goodness, when will the internet cease to impress!

IAmA - How cool! Largo and Werner should start such a thread. They will have to present their credentials of course. :)

Social climber
the Wastelands
Mar 12, 2013 - 09:45pm PT
John Long

in a word, I don't get "it"

I have read every post of yours on this thread and I still don't know just exactly what is the spirituality you refer to, that you claim, infer, that you yourself are knowledgable of and have experienced.

I have asked you twice to please give a specific explanation that a novice like me can understand just what I am missing, seriously it must be a pretty big deal given all the emphasis on this thread

I have not been in the mocking you corner but I feel like everyone else gets what you are saying, everyone else does not, or you are somehow holding back, or you are making it up as you go and there really is nothing to "it" but vaguenesses that make you seem like a knowing guru or something.......

respectfully, can you take a shot at it for me?
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Mar 12, 2013 - 10:05pm PT
Good one Corn Spirit, I am definitely on the same wavelength as Dr Pinker:

It depends on what you mean by "consciousness" -- the word can refer to accessibility of information to reflection, decision-making, and language processes in the brain (sometimes called the "easy problem of consciousness" -- a bit of a joke, because there's nothing easy about it); or it can refer to phenomenal awareness, subjectivity, the fact that it "feels like something" to be awake and aware (the so-called "hard problem of consciousness -- though a better term might be the "strange problem of consciousness). I think we're well on the way to solving the so-called easy problem -- there are neurophysiological phenomena, such as connectivity to the frontal lobes and periodic brain activity in certain frequency bands, that correlate well with accessible information, and there are good functional/evolutionary accounts (related to "blackboard" or "global workspace" computational architectures) that explain why the brain might be organized into two pools of information processing. As for the strange problem of consciousness -- whether the red that I see is the same as the red that you see; whether there could be a "zombie" that is indistinguishable from you and me but not conscious of anything; whether an upload of the state of my brain to the cloud would feel anything -- I suspect the answer is "never," since these conundra may be artifacts of human intuition. Our best science tells us that subjectivity arises from certain kinds of information-processing in the brain, but why, intuitively, that should be the case is as puzzling to us as the paradoxes of quantum mechanics, relativity, and other problems that are far from everyday intuition. [Sorry for the long answer, but that's one of the deepest questions in all of human knowledge!]
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