Politics, God and Religion vs. Science


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Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 10, 2013 - 09:02pm PT
Werner, you and Largo are creating a false dichotomy. In simpler words, you peg somebody with words such as "Gross Materialist" to make it simpler to attack them.

A false dichotomy is a big political tool. An example: You are either against the terrorists or for them. See? You admit no middle way.

Another rhetorical way to attack somebody is to label them with a catchy phrase to make it easier to attack them. Those are called "weasel words" by Carl Sagan. "Gross Materialist" is one. I should point them out as we move along. The Patriot Act, Operation Just Cause, these words are everywhere, and most people drink the syrup.

It is just debate 101. It keeps things simpler and more polite. It also helps prevent total breakdown into ranting.

When you guys label me that way, I am offended. I know where you are coming from. It is a search for meaning in the most obvious holes in our reality based drudgery. The first person who could think probably asked "Is this all there is?"

These are natural questions, and I think it is pretty silly to like or dislike someone because of their beliefs as long as they don't blow a fuse over it.

I have nothing to offer other than that. Sometimes I'm too busy to keep up, other times I sit back and watch. This is a great thread, though. Many strong minds addressing deep questions and keeping it civil on the internet.

The only exception is when Thechief drops in. He is a mean person I've decided. William S. Burroughs had a great quote about people like him. It basically ends up with the advice to avoid that person in the future. It is tucked away in this spoken word piece, Words Of Advice For Young People."

Here it is. Burroughs was one twisted dude. Has anyone here made it through Naked Lunch?


Feb 10, 2013 - 09:06pm PT
The gross materialists

No one here was named a gross materialist.

Are you attaching yourself to to this label ......?

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Feb 10, 2013 - 09:07pm PT

From an anthropological point of view, it is not surprising that many Muslims are thinking about and having dreams of Jesus. The biggest religious clash in the world right now is between Christianity and Islam. There are many thoughtful Muslims who are appalled at what is done in their name. Not surprising that some wonder what it would be like to be a member of a religion that teaches forgiveness rather than revenge.

Whenever western society has clashed with other traditions, Jesus has entered into the narrative. There was a Chinese man 150 years ago, Hong Xiuquan, who thought that he was the younger brother of Jesus who was called upon to throw the Manchu rulers of China out in favor of Han Chinese and make China Christian. The whole movement in the west is known as the Taiping Rebellion. Needless to say, China did not become Christian and the world didn't end.

The Rev. Moon played on a somewhat similar theme, believing that he had spoken with both Jesus and Buddha who advised him to found a new religion (this in complete contradiction to the Buddhist notion of parinirvana by the way). Likewise there are many other messiah-millenarial, nativistic and cargo cults around the world that interpret events through some form of Jesus and Christianity and their own native traditions. There are sub Saharan people in Africa exposed to the pressures of Islam with similar reactions. And there has been a steady steam of young European and American men who have converted to Islam and gone off to follow the glamor of holy war. Meanwhile, Christianity and Islam together are less than half the world's people.

The Chinese represent 25% of the human race and the Indians 20%. How come you're not concerned with their religious beliefs? Isn't it a little incestuous to focus Christianity's attention so much on converting Jews and Muslims? Can't it just be accepted that there are different interpretations of the same holy books?

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Feb 10, 2013 - 09:37pm PT
In simpler words, you peg somebody with words such as "Gross Materialist" to make it simpler to attack them.

What's amazing to me is that while people can hammer on me hard from a materialist POV, the moment I question same or offer an alternative POV I'm "attacking" someone and should be more polite in the process because I'm offending cha cha cha.

Now BASE, if your experience and view of reality is not based on materialism, kindly spell out where you diverge from the party line, ie that all reality seen and unseen is simply blow back from strictly material antecedents.



Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 10, 2013 - 09:46pm PT
Tossing the word Schizophrenia around as some sort of demeaning joke is barbaric. These people, and others with serious and chronic mental illnesses, live in agony. Just look up the suicide rates. They are astronomic. Shame on you people.

By the way, how do the spiritualists think about mental illness? Where does it come from?

What happens to the soul of a poor creature who kills themself to make the pain go away?

Feb 10, 2013 - 09:48pm PT
Becomes a ghost.

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

Now you have no gross physical body to work in and you're in your subtle body, ghost.

You can't be here nor you can't go on.

Ghost ......

Social climber
Feb 10, 2013 - 09:49pm 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 10, 2013 - 09:51pm 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 10, 2013 - 09:55pm 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 10, 2013 - 10:05pm 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 10, 2013 - 10:07pm 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 10, 2013 - 10:12pm 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 10, 2013 - 10:14pm 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 10, 2013 - 10:21pm 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 10, 2013 - 10:21pm 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 10, 2013 - 10:31pm 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 10, 2013 - 10:34pm 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 10, 2013 - 11:01pm PT
Funny talk from a duck who has spent his life saving material bodies - how many souls have you rescued?

Feb 10, 2013 - 11:12pm 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 10, 2013 - 11:23pm 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.
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