Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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Ward Trotter

Trad climber
May 1, 2013 - 08:20pm PT
is in not understanding the extent to which our sense organs and our very brains organize the undifferentiated, unborn soup-of-potentialities into the "purely objective.

No I understand the extent. Take for instance the fact that the brain would be instantly overwhelmed were it to attempt to process all incoming data through the senses. Essentially we now arrive at Kant's description of temporal awareness as being a selection process based upon a criteria that the brain automatically and involuntarily sets up according to the dictates of survival, primarily.
Our brain's on- going snapshot of reality is necessarily incomplete . Most of the external world is below the threshold of our awareness. We are only aware of the bits that are really useful or overidingly important- lest we go mad. Moreover, even when there is under stimulation of incoming information we go mad. As in deprivation chambers.
What this tells me is that the external world is forming the nuts and bolts of our awareness- not the other way around.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
May 1, 2013 - 08:37pm PT
Interesting. Is there a monotheistic belief system that escapes this conundrum?
Alternatively do these problems begin to crop up whenever a systematic approach to life is transmografied into a belief system? Here I am thinking of Buddhism.

What conundrum? I was describing a religious/historical confrontation between the polytheistic Romans and the largely monotheistic religions they encountered in the Levant.
However, It was surely a predicament as you suggest. For both sides.
If you consider these religions at that time we can describe as a type of social technology ,then it becomes a little clearer.
By that I mean one can look at the rise of monotheistic religions as being a social advancement over the earlier , cruder and more unwieldy polytheistic cults . In the same way that many regional human groups began to take to the oceans in longer migratory voyages in widely separate parts of the globe at roughly the same time- these monotheistic religions arose when the socially developmental time was right.
The great monotheistic religions were a proper adjustment to more settled ways of agrarian civilization. Long before the Romans the nascent city states of antiquity were becoming increasingly anti-polytheistic. As evidenced by Akhenaton in ancient Egypt.
Religion for the Greeks and Romans were holdovers from an earlier pastoral herding period to which they adhered to for purely aesthetic reasons.
As such the Romans were thoroughly unprepared for the nouveau fanaticism and millenarianism of Jews and Christians.
It would be a social technology that would eventually overcome Rome itself.
cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
May 1, 2013 - 08:49pm PT
Thomas Cahill's The Gift of the Jews makes much the same case, emphasizing the switch from the pagan cyclic model of time to the world without beginning or end offered up by the pentateuch.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
May 1, 2013 - 09:04pm PT
I buy stuff at auction now and then. This letter by Carl Sagan is pretty cryptic, but seems to fit the general outline of this thread. I bet I can get it pretty cheap.

Credit: BASE104

There is also a signed book by Einstein called Understanding Relativity.

It will be pretty pricey.
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - May 1, 2013 - 10:56pm PT
Credit: Dr. F.
Another flower to contemplate it's existence
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
May 2, 2013 - 12:32am PT
This is a bit disingenuous in that the physicists were talking exclusively about the subatomic realm, with no overt extrapolation to the macro world our awareness inhabits.

Just got home from class.

Let me recap the argument.

I said (to Dr. F.) that naming a thing makes it less and false. The very act of labeling, of saying that some bracketed set of observations IS a thing, turns a beforehand open probability into a thing. That's the result of active observation. That's what Planck and Wigner are saying.

I did not say that only happens at a particular level of analysis. I say that it happens at all levels, on any "thing" that you claim exists. Every thing that you say exists I say you defined into existence.

You imply they (Planck or Wigner) did not mean any or all levels of analysis (the macro and the very micro). Please provide the language they said or wrote that makes that distinction.

My argument applies as high as you want to go and as low as you want to go. Your argument appears to say that there are different laws at different levels of analysis. I say, "How does that work, and how do you make commensurate or translate the differences?"

When I would ask you what a macro thing is--like a table--I ask, "what IS the table." You say something like, "it's made of wood." I say, "what's wood?" and you say, "it's made of cells," and we continue that until we are at the subatomic level or quantum level. Where did we make the transition where we left some laws that govern the macro level and moved to other laws that apply at the micro level? How does that system of different laws of realities work? When and where and how will you make them commensurate or work together? Where did the shift occur?

I suggest you're so deeply ensconced in your paradigm that you can't see the inconsistency and incommensurability of what you're arguing.

Yeah, sure . . . there's this one reality up here at the commonsense, everyday macro level, and then there's this other reality at the sub-atomic level with different laws and principles. How can there be two or more realities at different levels of analysis with different laws, and how do they resolve one another?

You're just not being very careful, honest, and systematic.
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
May 2, 2013 - 12:52am PT
You know, . . . whether or not God exists, whether religions are good or bad, science versus myth, evolution, instinct, politics, etc.--are all relatively unimportant. All of those things are red herrings. They may be analytically interesting, but they are distractions. Just look at your own consciousness, your own existence. Nothing else is worth examining. You don't have to be smart to feel the unbelievable awesomeness of existence. Experience terror, joy, sadness, love, music, flow, awareness in their pure form--or get in touch completely with any "thing" in front of you--and you cannot help but touch the countenance of the Absolute. Most of us just write those experiences off as "weird," as a kind of mental lapse of rationality. They are lapses in rationality because there's no words or concepts to describe them and no categories to put them into.
WBraun

climber
May 2, 2013 - 01:12am PT
The impersonal realization of the absolute whole is incomplete realization .....
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
May 2, 2013 - 03:17am PT
^^^ Werner, I think u eat to much Chinese takeout. HaHa
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
May 2, 2013 - 09:20am PT
Too much Indian takeout would be more like it.

From the Dalai Lama

We need to understand the inadequacy of an educational system so slanted towards material values. The solution is not to give an occasional lecture, but to integrate ethics into the educational curriculum. To do this effectively requires a secular ethics, free of religious influence, based on common sense, a realistic view and scientific findings.
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - May 2, 2013 - 11:04am PT
whether or not God exists, whether religions are good or bad, science versus myth, evolution, instinct, politics, etc.--are all relatively unimportant. All of those things are red herrings. They may be analytically interesting, but they are distractions. Just look at your own consciousness, your own existence. Nothing else is worth examining.
MikeL.

What if you are already in touch with yourself?, you have looked and know yourself inside and out, then what??

I will tell you what, "the distractions", that's all there is!
Climbing is s distraction, work is a distraction, Carrying wood is a distraction, Talk about if God exist or Not.....
examine if life after death is real or not, all worthy distractions
Why?, because it's Fun, that's all we have left.

You seem to profess that we live in some state of delusional mystery. I'm past that, I want distraction.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
May 2, 2013 - 02:35pm PT
What this tells me is that the external world is forming the nuts and bolts of our awareness- not the other way around.


Nope. You have it inverted. Since you dragged Kant into this, look at it this way:

Kant felt that we never have direct experience of things (the "noumenal" world). Rather, what we do experience is the phenomenal world as conveyed by our senses. This equates to the age-old subject–object problem. Where you are getting derailed is in ascribing the creative powers to fashion forms to some agency or non-agency "out there" - a natural enough impulse when we objectify things like evolution, where forms seem to change and morph over time.

Returning to Kant: He couldn't fathom the mind functioning as an empty container that simply receives data from the outside.

"Something must be giving order to the incoming data. Images of external objects must be kept in the same sequence in which they were received. This ordering occurs through the mind's intuition of time. The same considerations apply to the mind's function of constituting space for ordering mappings of visual and tactile signals arriving via the already described chains of physical causation."

IOWs, the mind is if fact largely doing what you are ascribing to those forces "out there."

JL
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
May 2, 2013 - 05:18pm PT
Dalai Lama
We need to understand the inadequacy of an educational system so slanted towards material values. The solution is not to give an occasional lecture, but to integrate ethics into the educational curriculum. To do this effectively requires a secular ethics, free of religious influence, based on common sense, a realistic view and scientific findings.


Credit: TomCochrane
cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
May 2, 2013 - 06:05pm PT
I said (to Dr. F.) that naming a thing makes it less and false. The very act of labeling, of saying that some bracketed set of observations IS a thing, turns a beforehand open probability into a thing. That's the result of active observation. That's what Planck and Wigner are saying.

Well, I don't really think so, they were saying that about quantum particles, not tables and chairs. The reconciliation of the quantum and macro worlds is an ongoing pursuit, actually, there are many competing theories that attempt to bridge the gap, but no consensus yet.

I did not say that only happens at a particular level of analysis. I say that it happens at all levels, on any "thing" that you claim exists. Every thing that you say exists I say you defined into existence.

That's giving me more credit than I deserve, I think.

You imply they (Planck or Wigner) did not mean any or all levels of analysis (the macro and the very micro). Please provide the language they said or wrote that makes that distinction.

It's easy enough to see that they are talking about just the very, very tiny things, not everything. Much of the confusion has come about by way of Schrodinger and his famous cat, a thought-experiment he himself prefaced by saying "One can even set up quite ridiculous cases." The thing people miss is that the experiment is predicated on the decay or non-decay of a subatomic particle, which triggers the cat-killing mechanism. It's not about the cat at all.

My argument applies as high as you want to go and as low as you want to go. Your argument appears to say that there are different laws at different levels of analysis. I say, "How does that work, and how do you make commensurate or translate the differences?"

As i said, this is an ongoing puzzle that the best minds are all over as we speak. I am not among them, but it'll be interesting to see how it works out.

When I would ask you what a macro thing is--like a table--I ask, "what IS the table." You say something like, "it's made of wood." I say, "what's wood?" and you say, "it's made of cells," and we continue that until we are at the subatomic level or quantum level. Where did we make the transition where we left some laws that govern the macro level and moved to other laws that apply at the micro level? How does that system of different laws of realities work? When and where and how will you make them commensurate or work together? Where did the shift occur?

I suggest you're so deeply ensconced in your paradigm that you can't see the inconsistency and incommensurability of what you're arguing.

Of course I'm aware of it, but it's not necessarily inconsistent. Scale matters. For another example look at fractals. They're everywhere in nature, but they seem to not occur at the atomic level and below, and no one knows why that is just yet.

Yeah, sure . . . there's this one reality up here at the commonsense, everyday macro level, and then there's this other reality at the sub-atomic level with different laws and principles. How can there be two or more realities at different levels of analysis with different laws, and how do they resolve one another?

You're just not being very careful, honest, and systematic.

You're entitled to that opinion, but I think you're being premature; the jury is still out on this. Also, you seem to be conjoining studies of mechanics with existential questions that don't really overlap. This idea of "naming the universe into existence" belongs more in the philosophical/anthropological camp, for the time being anyway. And of course I appreciate its poetic validity there. In addition to LeGuinn's Earthsea Trilogy that I quoted from, the topic is central to the worldview of the Australian aborigines, whose whole mythic landscape was brought into being through songs that remain a strong oral tradition. That's all really cool stuff, but still, when I look at my desk and see a toothpick lying there, I'm not about to take any credit whatsoever for its existence, just because I have a name for it. The stuff out there is out there, whether I'm looking at it or naming it or not. That's my story and I'm sticking with it. Been through all that "doors of perception" stuff too, it was loads of fun at the time, but you can't just be tripping balls all the time on the cosmic significance of the grain of sand. Or at least I can't, or just don't care to anymore.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
May 2, 2013 - 06:27pm PT
Another bit of realism while we're discussing perceptions and misperceptions. A worldwide poll of Muslims has just been published and contains a number of surprises. Here's the paragraph that caught my eye.

.....they are in the middle of the pack when it comes to viewing their religion as the one true faith. About 33 percent of US Muslims believe that, similar to historically black Protestant churches (34 percent) and evangelical Protestant churches (36 percent). A higher share of Mormons (56 percent) felt that way, while the level was lower for a number of other faiths. Sixteen percent of Roman Catholics, 12 percent of mainline Protestants, and 5 percent of Jews in the US saw their religion as the one true faith.

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2013/0430/Poll-shows-how-US-Muslims-are-like-Protestants-and-how-they-re-not/%28page%29/2

I've been maintaining all along here that a minority were being held up to represent an entire category which was not accurate. It seems the statistics also bear that out.

The clearest finding of this survey which was not discussed is that the most conservative Muslim attitudes only prevailed in those countries with very low education rates which also coincided with the most extreme dictatorial governments. Iraq and Afghanistan were of course at the top of the conservative list.
cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
May 2, 2013 - 07:08pm PT
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23482-mindscapes-the-woman-who-cant-recognise-her-face.html

Is this woman just not keeping up her end of creating the world with the rest of us?
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
May 2, 2013 - 08:32pm PT
The reconciliation of the quantum and macro worlds is an ongoing pursuit, actually, there are many competing theories that attempt to bridge the gap, but no consensus yet.


This is another one of those "threshold" issues where something at one stage or level of complexity somehow "becomes" something at another stage or level of complexity, sometimes in ways so radically different than the supposed antecedent thing or condition that no one can supply an "answer" how the threshold was ever crossed that holds up to peer review across the board. These range from nothing "creating" everything, or rather, everything emerging from nothing at all; inorganic life self-organizing into self-replicating into biological forms, and biological forms "producing" consciousness, to mention a few. The threshold between the quantum and the next level of complexity up the ladder, approaching "things," can perhaps be lumped into this grouping.

It is interesting to consider the thought experiment that these thresholds do not actually exist in nature, that objective reality is ONLY the quantum level, and that everything up the ladder is some nameless admixture of mind and quantum stuff.

JL
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
May 2, 2013 - 09:11pm PT
That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

Cheers.

You seem to profess that we live in some state of delusional mystery. I'm past that, I want distraction.

Cheers.

Dualistic reality is a dream. To be disillusioned is to be undeceived. Mystery is undeniable. Letting-go of distractions brings wide and deep ease.

One is either confronting reality or denying it. To know a lie is to hate it; to see a lie is to destroy it. Slay one, take a step. Repeat. Lies and demons fight a rear-guard delaying action that expends our resources. They mean to occupy us, not defeat us, but they'll die from inattention. If you take a side, it has you. Battles are won in the same manner as they are lost. Don't take any side.

I follow The First Law of Objective Reality. (There ain't one).

Observation appears to be the only spiritual practice. Once you say, "that's interesting," all witnessing stops.

The impersonal realization of the absolute whole is incomplete realization .....

I wouldn't know.

The Buddhist believes the Christian comes to the final goal once they get beyond God experienced as a person. Christians say Buddhists must go one step further to come to the ultimate of a personal God.
Norwegian

Trad climber
the tip of god's middle finger
May 2, 2013 - 09:14pm PT
fcuk being borne again,
im looking for the
unborne escape,
im crawling back up
into the nearest vagina
of time's undoing.
WBraun

climber
May 2, 2013 - 09:55pm PT
The Buddhist believes the Christian comes to the final goal once they get beyond God experienced as a person.

So that is impersonalism.

Strange they would say that as Buddha was a direct incarnation of God himself.

So the Buddhist were/are following the personal feature of God and not impersonalism.

He preached only ahimsa (nonviolence).

It's impossible to only have nonviolence.

Doctors create violence against the material body all the time in order to repair it.

Violence is required and is eternal.

Buddha wanted to stop the vedic horse sacrifice.

The Brahmans test their Brahminical powers to release the soul of and old horse to get a higher body (human) so that it can advance spiritually.

As this age of Kali descended the Brahmans degenerated and used the sacrifice in a mundane manner to eat and mistreat animals.

There was never such an injunction to do such harm towards animals.

Buddha tricked and indirectly cheated the Brahmins to stop this nonsense and to cause further undo karmic reaction for their transgressions.

Only God himself can trick and cheat perfectly so that one can advance.

Buddhist philosophy is ultimately atheistic.

But Buddha himself was the Lord Himself so indirectly he still maintained the absolute truth by saying there is no god but just follow me.

After Buddha left Chaitanya Mahaprabhu defeated the impersonal mayavadi in a very famous debate and drove most of Buddhism out of India.

All above is just basically simplistic in a nutshell as it is far more involved and is far beyond the scope of this forum to go deep into.



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