Politics, God and Religion vs. Science


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Feb 20, 2013 - 06:53pm PT
Good answer, but that wasn't really the thrust of my question. Have you "seen" in four dimensions, or have you "seen" the particle-wave duality? I threw in the drug stuff as examples of perceiving things that were beyond normal experience, but I am more interested in things on the frontier of science that seem to defy normal logic.

Thanks anyway.
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 20, 2013 - 07:35pm PT
Credit: Dr. F.

Feb 20, 2013 - 07:38pm PT
Dr F -- "I pointed to my Head, what does that mean, that I live in my brain?"

It means you have no soul.

Having no soul means you have no brain ......

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Feb 20, 2013 - 11:23pm PT
I haven't attacked science. That's a preposterous stance for anyone to take. All I've said is that quantifying deals with the material world, or left brain phenomenon, and of course, from that perspective, "that" (material) is all there is. When the left or discursive mind goes looking for "something," it quite naturally needs some material thing to grock onto lest we're not talking about any thing, hence the left brain is out of a job sans quantification. So it screams, show me how or what the hell you are talking about with all of this spiritual stuff - meaning produce some proof or stuff my mind can evaluate. But what if you went in the opposite direction, with no demands on finding any thing. If you want to know about spirit, there is no other way in my experience. Trying to wrangle spirituality so our evaluating mind can grock on and define has never, ever produced any fruit. Most everyone decides, based on this, that there is nothing there at all. Very few make the effort into going in that other direction, where no thing shimmers on the horizon.


Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 20, 2013 - 11:27pm PT
Werner: The heart is the seat of the soul for the human being.

The heart is ball of muscle which rhythmically contracts to pump blood. Other organs keep working for awhile after a heart stops. Why aren't the lungs, liver or kidneys the seat of the soul? And why would an ephemeral soul need a seat? And how is it that you've come to know this to make such a claim? Last, get constipated and tell me your large intestine isn't the seat of your soul.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Feb 21, 2013 - 12:08am PT
Ed Hartouni Trad climber Livermore, CA Feb 20, 2013 - 11:06pm PT

//Ed, respectfully, do you have some specific comments in response to my struggles to understand what is happening at the molecular and sub-atomic particle level?

i.e. sub-atomic particles are 'thoughts' postulated by 'creative spiritual energy' and molecular persistence is created by encrypted motion patterns at the electron shell level...which we don't have the physical instruments to see...

i realize these would probably be considered pseudo-science unworthy of your attention...but can you tell me why and what is wrong with this line of reasoning from a scientific perspective?

not sure I understand you comments well enough to respond...
let me answer it from an entirely different direction. Your proposed model of the world is that the physical universe is created out of the spiritual universe. I'm not sure what the "spiritual universe" is, but let's go with it for now.

somehow, the spiritual universe interacts with the physical universe... it has to "touch it" (I'm using a metaphor) to engage in the act of creation, you talk about thoughts interacting with molecules for instance.

yet the behavior of molecules, and everything else in the physical universe, can be explained without resorting to the spiritual universe... at least so far as we know. and there are not phenomena in the physical universe that require the existence of the spiritual universe.

but of course there is much we do not know, but the what we do know is rather constraining, it's not all going to be thrown out in a moment by some other super insight... science is not just a set of facts but an understanding of how all those facts come together.

a universe can be constructed in which all of what we perceive to be as "real" was made that way, not by physical processes but by some supernatural force. obviously we cannot understand how this could happen, but that is one of the nice things about such constructions, we are unable to understand how it could happen, it requires something beyond nature.

those are reasonable models of the universe, but they are relatively sterile, they do not produce new knowledge...

one can have the impression that we discover things in science, but that supposes something to be discovered. science, and mathematics, is relatively open ended, that is, we produce more of it in response to asking questions about what we know, and trying to understand those things we don't know.

what astronauts see when cosmic rays pass through their eyes, is the Cerenkov radiation that is produced in the fluid, enough light to be noticed, they don't see the actual cosmic ray itself. In some ways, that is how we "see" all the subatomic particles, by their interactions with bulk matter for which we create some artifice to detect. your electron microscope, for instance.

the quantum mechanical "problem" is not that we are denied knowing the actual state of a system, hidden from our view, behind which everything is deterministic... quantum mechanics tells us that there is no such thing... and that is a testable hypothesis... John Bell did the most to make this testable... Bell didn't agree with the now popular "interpretation" of quantum mechanics... you can read the Wikipedia piece.

These interpretations of quantum mechanics raise a interesting and important point that I've made along the way... that they may not correspond, one-to-one, with the "reality," what we require theories to do is to predict the outcome of experiments.

We develop intuition by building models and making analogies, an important part of that is knowing when your model or analogy no longer applies.

Were does the spiritual enter any of this, but through the mind of a single individual.


Ed, thank you very much for your thoughtful reply, which i think very neatly describes the crux of some of these discussions.

1) Spirit

2) Spiritual

3) Spiritual Universe

i think the challenge in defining these terms is at several levels:

one level is that these terms have been so overloaded by the interpretations of various philosophies as to render them highly questionable at best, which is why some have abandoned these terms for some others

another level is that words are just not adequate for describing something to a person who doesn't share the personal experience being described

another level is that a person who experiences profound spiritual awareness may not know how to relate to a person lacking such awareness without insulting their intelligence and sense of well being

the best way i have been able to describe these terms is by using an analogy with water, which i find somewhat useful if not perfect

consider a quiet pond of water, as an analogy for a 'spiritual world' with a shared creative potential throughout its extent

now touch the surface of the pond and create a swirl, a small vortex of energy that is literally wrapped up in itself...that is a soul or self or I...still a part of the pond, but wrapped up in self-awareness separate from the larger extent of the awareness throughout the pond...this is the effect created by the business of the mind/brain activity

in order for this swirl to regain a level of awareness of the broader extent of the pond requires calming the swirl...quieting the mind/brain activity

now in this same pond add fish, frogs, turtles, lily pads, bikini girls, etc...now try to calm the mind and expand awareness...

oh, and add all sorts of noise and stirred up mud and chemical pollution...

...and note the nature of the challenge...


Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 21, 2013 - 12:42am PT
Tom: ...the best way i have been able to describe these terms is by using an analogy with water, which i find somewhat useful if not perfect

At what point is meditating on no-thing-ness not at all unlike a fish, all alone in the middle of a very still lake, shutting down all cognitive activity to 'experience' the water. At what point is it all simply inarguable intuition, however ancient, institutionalized or deeply held the beliefs.

Also, at times it's hard to distinguish between all the various pantheism, panpsychism, and idealism (absolute, plural, monadism, etc.) philosophies and doctrines and ideas like Rupert Sheldrake's 'Morphic fields'. Seems a lot like a hat rack with virtual hooks upon which many folks claim their hats are for sure hanging.

Feb 21, 2013 - 08:23am PT
Will we ever get beyond our limitations at grasping certain aspects of “reality?”

I think we have done pretty well considering our limitations. How about Stephen Smale proving that a sphere can be everted and Bernard Morin who is blind providing an important insight into a method for doing it?


Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Feb 21, 2013 - 09:50am PT
another level is that a person who experiences profound spiritual awareness may not know how to relate to a person lacking such awareness without insulting their intelligence and sense of well being.

That's not the crux issue in my experience. The crux issue is that people want to have some definition that they can evaluate as being true or false, so set of values or qualities. What they really want is some discrete, finite "thing" that their rational minds can play with. The rational mind is built to do just this - quantify discrete, finite stuff.

Going in the other direction, still using "mind' but no the evaluating mind (many confuse the two as being self-same), we don't so much move in the a direction AWAY from the finite and quantifiable, but into the the mind itself, the open field of being, presence and awareness. This is different than "intuition," which is a function that gives us content of some kind - a feeling, a sensation, an impression, not a number or value , per se, but some "thing," however amorphous, that we can talk about. What I'm talking about, often called "no-mind" in the old literature, is hinted at with "infinity" in English, which derives from the Latin infinitas (unboundedness), itself derived from the Greek word apeiros, or "endless."
In Zen terms, it is the "unborn," or the fundamental nature of existence.

This is an impossiblity for the discursive mind to get hold of because it has no edges to grab. Infinity is truly no-thing, all things having dimension, size, etc. Of course physicists have long concluded that no measurable quantity could has an infinite value. That is - "it is for example presumed impossible for any body to have infinite mass or infinite energy. Concepts of infinite things such as an infinite plane wave exist, but there are no experimental means to generate them."

So there apparently is no way for the mind to handle the unborn (unboundedness) and "measurable quantities" in the same brainpan, at the same moment.

Except there is. We all ARE it all day long, we just don't realize it.


Feb 21, 2013 - 10:19am PT
So there apparently is no way for the mind to handle the unborn


These guys here are so locked in there finite box and they even believe they are the box.

Just like they believe they are the vehicle.

The vehicle can't run with out them.

The analogy of the motor vehicle is a good example for these locked in their box conscious materialists.

The motor vehicle has a creator that created the all the parts of the vehicle.

The operator is not the vehicle but when operating the vehicle they become one with the vehicle but remain simultaneously different.

The soul is the real operator of the material body due to it's spread of consciousness all over the body.

When the soul leaves the body consciousness in the body is not operating anymore and is thus seen as "death" to the materialists.

It doesn't take a 9 billion dollar tube to understand "life" and its origins.

Yet modern science is now the new "Pope" of the masses who are fixed into the box of only body consciousness due to poor fund of knowledge.

In the future we will know is their famous mantra all while it's going on right front and all around them while using only the body of which we are not to understand which we are.

You have to use what you are to understand what we are, ... not to use what are not to understand what are.

Smashing sh!t around in tube that's beyond the limits of the tube will never achieve the goal except only to further reinforce the the illusion that we are only the "limited box" and material body,
of which everything is contained that we can observe, quantify with our limited senses.

Brings us back to Largo's "So there apparently is no way for the mind to handle the unborn"

It's the crux and thus materialist are using the wrong tools and methods and that's why they're stuck thinking they are the gross material body.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
Feb 21, 2013 - 11:08am PT
enough of this existential fluff. Check this out. What the hell is with you pole up yer ass americans?

American Moral Compass Differs Greatly from Canada and BritainFebruary 21, 2013. 6:26 am •

Posted on Aug 7, 2012
In January, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted a three-country survey aimed at figuring out how people in the United States, Canada and Britain felt about specific issues. The idea was not to look at these contentious topics through the lens of legality, but rather see whether respondents would regard them as “morally acceptable” or “morally wrong.”

Out of the 21 issues that were tested in the survey, people in the United States were less likely to find 20 of them “morally acceptable” than their counterparts in Canada and Britain. Even topics that might seem inoffensive in the 21st Century, such as divorce, saw a large variance. While four-in-five people in Britain (79%) and Canada (80%) saw no problem with divorce, the proportion dropped to 65 per cent in the United States.

Prostitution and pornography are two topics where the views of male respondents skewed the national average in the three countries. A minority of respondents across the board looked at both issues as “morally acceptable”. Still, only one-in-four Americans (23%) found prostitution as “morally acceptable”, compared to 34 per cent of Britons and 41 per cent of Canadians. On pornography, Americans were ten points below Canadians on the morality scale (32% to 42%) and eight points below Britons (40%).

In Britain, following years of successful campaigns by animal welfare groups—which eventually led to legislation that banned the hunting of wild mammals with dogs—respondents are definitely more likely to have moral qualms when dealing with animals.

Medical testing on animals is not a moral problem for 38 per cent of Canadians, but the proportion drops to 29 per cent in Britain. The biggest gap observed is on buying and wearing clothing made of animal fur. While half of Canadians (50%) and two-in-five Americans (42%) believe this is morally acceptable, only one-in-five Britons (21%) concur.

Americans were particularly disturbed with a topic that has been heavily discussed recently: doctor-assisted suicide. While 61 per cent of Britons and 65 per cent of Canadians regard this issue as “morally acceptable”, the number was drastically lover in the United States—just over a third of respondents (35%).

The death penalty, abolished in two of the three countries, showed remarkable stability. A majority of Americans (58%) find capital punishment as “morally acceptable”, but the difference with the other two countries was not as sizeable as one might expect (53% in Canada, 50% in Britain). Research conducted in 2012 by Angus Reid Public Opinion showed that 65 per cent of Britons and 61 per cent of Canadians would reinstate the death penalty for murder, which was abolished from their countries in 1969 and 1976.

Still, there are four issues where the public in all three countries is unforgiving: cloning humans, paedophilia, polygamy and infidelity. Contraception, sex before marriage and having a baby outside marriage were not seen as moral problems. But married men and/or women having an affair is an issue that does not get a moral endorsement from more than 14 per cent of people in every country. Once again, America was more unadventurous, at just seven per cent.


Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 21, 2013 - 12:08pm PT
When it comes to experiences, and deep ones, I have spent my entire life collecting them like some people do coins. I've never been able to stop, and when I'm forced into a suit, I start dying after about a year.

So I get experience. I consider myself a connoisseur of experiences and I know that I am in good company in that department.

You wouldn't believe some of the stuff I have gotten into. I'm improving my sailing as fast as I can, and hopefully it will be something I enjoy. Enjoyment doesn't always matter, though.

And I've fallen off of many of Yosemite's landmarks a number of times. It is bliss, in the way that MikeL used to describe his experiences.

The first time, in the few minutes of gear checks and waiting for your turn, you want to vomit. It is like you are committing suicide. Within a fraction of a second of your foot leaving the edge, it is like a gigantic window washer crossed your brain and you get this state of absolute awareness and clarity. It is very powerful and very interesting. Of course the more you do it, the more routine jumps are, until some become very routine.

This was the first one, and the gear was total caveman even 25 years ago. Walt was tripping on 'cid and took the pic. I should write up that experience on its own.

You can meditate for years or just go do this.
You can meditate for years or just go do this.
Credit: BASE104

People don't realize that we weren't jumping things ONCE. I pillaged the valley in one sweet mid eighties summer. We would sometimes hit the ground, pack up, and go do it again and again. In the dead of winter there aren't too many rangers in the valley, and the Rostrum was like that. We would just do it over and over. Nobody knew and it was just fun.

This one has been published a whole bunch. It is the generic base jump...
This one has been published a whole bunch. It is the generic base jump photo.
Credit: BASE104


Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 21, 2013 - 12:22pm PT
So, JL, when you make up words like, SCIENTISM and put it into your first sentence, yeah, it ruffled my feathers. I don't meet people and tell them that I am a scientist. I say I am a geologist.

Science is just curiosity. I used to PM MikeL about how he learned to reach his experiences, because it didn't involve a magic wand. It is inside all of us, this capacity for curiosity. The manic search for experience isn't everyone's bag, but it is nothing immortal or even admirable. It just is.

You did the FA of Astroman, which is cool and all, but what was your experience? Was it routine or was it special, and how?

I wish that I could put some of my experiences into a pill and sell them. We would be the richest suckers on Earth if we could sell them. Both the good ones and the bad ones. Those experiences, and my inability to quantify them is the closest I come to what you describe as spiritual.

Most people thought we were attention getters or doing stunts to get on TV, but no. It was a dirtbag life filled with characters weirder than Camp 4.

Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 21, 2013 - 12:30pm PT
Guys like this, who are in positions of great power because of the committee he sits on, are dangerous. They are willing to disregard everything down to Isaac Newton.

Republican congressman and member of the US House of Representatives science committee Paul Broun dismisses evolution, the big bang theory and embryology as 'lies straight from the pit hell'. Speaking at a Baptist church last month, Broun says that 'as a scientist' he has found data that shows Earth is no older than 9,000 years

In the video, you can see his fervor and mania:

Sorry: Here is where the video currently sits. Note the rapt audience:


Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 21, 2013 - 12:33pm PT

Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.
After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.

Pretty much totally nails it...

As for the qualian idealism, aside from intuition and belief, it's again like the fish letting go to experience the no-thing-ness of water. Totally cool. Every fish should take some time out of their day to appreciate it.

Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 21, 2013 - 01:02pm PT
Another Republican congressman on that committee is Todd Akin. He is the guy who said that in "legitimate rape," a woman's body has measures to prevent an egg from being fertilized.

Another member is a guy from my state who is a vote no clone.

Cuts from the NSF on pure research grants has been getting tighter and tighter ever since the financial meltdown, which is understandable from a fiscal point of view, but these guys want to get rid of all sorts of stuff, including NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), which is partly located in Boulder, and in 2012 gave the United States a Nobel Prize in physics, David J. Wineland.

So it looks like our priorities are all for keeping those Nimitz Class aircraft carriers running around the world and actually doing away with NIST, which costs less than a single B2 bomber. I haven't actually looked that up, but I assume that I'm right...on the cost.

Rejection of science, or burning all of the books, has been done in the past. It tends to lead to periods of barbarism such as the Dark Ages. The Greeks knew soooo much, but it was almost lost to a huge part of the planet.

There are plenty of fundamentalist churches that would love for my city's fabulous libraries to vanish. I doubt they will commit arson, but you get my drift. It is good to live half a mile from a research university.

Science finds things out, and often they tell us stuff that we don't like. What are you going to do? Shoot the messenger or just get rid of him with the easy dirty tricks such as character assassination, which happens to this day. Just look at James Hansen at NASA. The Senate or Congress yanked him up to a hearing a few years ago (long after his "hockey stick" of climate was published) and tried to rip him to shreds.

Now, if that hockey stick built a better bomb, he would be OK.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 21, 2013 - 01:15pm PT
National Institute of Standards and Technology

Of course it should be abolished, only god can set standards.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
Feb 21, 2013 - 01:24pm PT
I'm telling you there are things going on out there being conducted in gods name that is positively barbaric and evil. I am constantly amazed that anyone who claims any affiliation with Christian Principles is not mortally outraged at people such as Broun, Atkin, Rick "Dumbshit" Perry and most certainly any organized religious group responsible for the following:

God Loves Uganda, the Most Terrifying Film of the Year, Premieres at Sundance
Posted: 01/23/2013 2:34 pm

God Loves Uganda premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 18. Directed by Academy Award winner Roger Ross Williams, the documentary examines the relationship between American evangelical churches, their missionaries and anti-gay laws in Africa, like Uganda's so-called "kill the gays" bill.

A growing majority of people of faith in the United States are supportive of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to live and love, but God Loves Uganda exposes the subversive segment of U.S. churches that export dangerous anti-gay belief systems, which have provided momentum for some of the worst anti-gay laws in the world.

"The world has never had an up-close look at how anti-gay animus is exported from the United States to places like Uganda," said Andre Banks, executive director and co-founder of All Out. "God Loves Uganda shows us how the U.S. culture war is being shipped wholesale to Africa, sometimes unknowingly, but always with disastrous consequences. The film should be required viewing.

"The film also raises urgent questions for American people of faith who care about justice and human rights," Banks continued. "The large majority of churches in the U.S. raise money to do good in their communities and abroad. But this film makes clear that we must each be certain that our contributions at the collection plate are not going, directly or indirectly, toward supporting laws that call for the death of gays and lesbians."

"In the well-known trope about Africa, a white man journeys into the heart of darkness and finds the mystery of Africa and its unknowable otherness. I, a black man, made that journey and found... America," Roger Ross Williams said. "I hope God Loves Uganda helps accelerate the good work of organizations like All Out by helping American Evangelicals understand the negative consequences of some of the deadly lessons imported to Africa by some people of faith. We should be terrified by the results of these actions."

Roger Ross Williams won the 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject) with his film Music by Prudence and is the first African American to win an Oscar for directing and producing a film. God Loves Uganda was produced by Julie Goldman and Motto Pictures.

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Feb 21, 2013 - 01:39pm PT
BASE, I didn't make up the word "scientism." It's just fundamentalism applied to quantifying. Fundamentalism asserts that one camp or avenue of inquiry is not only entirely "right," it is one and only and has no fundamental limitations. The assertion, in all cases, assumes that the "proof" of purported truths must be defined by criteria particular to its very own camp. In that way yo have a closed loop resulting in people like Craig screaming for material proof of God.


Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 21, 2013 - 01:47pm PT
The assertion, in all cases, assumes that the "proof" of purported truths must be defined by criteria particular to its very own camp.
As opposed to abstractional camps of fundamentalists who possess purported truths which, almost by definition, can have no criteria by which they can be defined.
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