Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Apr 18, 2013 - 06:10am PT
Study Suggests Life is Older than the Earth


Staff Scientist Alexei Sharov of the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, and Theoretical Biologist Richard Gordon of the Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory in Florida, took Moore's Law, replaced the transistors with nucleotides the building blocks of DNA and RNA and the circuits with genetic material, and did the math.

The results suggest life first appeared about 10 billion years ago, far older than the Earth's projected age of 4.5 billion years.

As our solar system was forming, pre-existing bacterialike organisms, or even simple nucleotides from an older part of the galaxy, could have reached Earth by hitching an interstellar ride on comets, asteroids or other inorganic space debris a theoretical process called panspermia.
rrider

climber
Mckinleyville, Ca
Apr 18, 2013 - 08:46am PT
given Sharov and Gordon, you could say that eventually we will create god (the singularity?)...which would be another kind of Big Bang
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Apr 18, 2013 - 08:50am PT
I've been curious about this question for a while. The problem is that we are dealing with a sample size of one. One planet and one time that life began.

--We see conclusive evidence of life going back to a very early time. Since it happened so rapidly, that suggests that the beginning of life is easy.

--So I was curious if life had begun more than once on Earth. I asked an evolution prof, and he said that all life shares a universal genome, so it looks like life began only once and that all life is the child of that original beginning.

--This begs the question (for the third time): how easy is it for life to form?

We have no idea, or at least I am too ignorant of the topic to give a good answer to that.
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Apr 18, 2013 - 10:02am PT
What if a person's soul consists of all the memories or perceptions of that person by others? When the person dies the soul lives on for a while in memories held by others

If that were true you would have no connection to your soul, since others' perceptions of you are unknown to you and not part of your own experience. So they are not part of you. And all of the perceptions within you, and their relationships and the world-view you have constructed, and your self image, are all unknown to others, who have their own perspectives and make their own impressions of you. So I do not think this idea will hold up.

I still think this is the hardest question there is, but it seems to lie in the relationships those observations have, the model made of them, and central to that is the image of one's own self. I agree its more in the realm of software than hardware and could potentially be transferred to another medium (a back up disk, so to speak) if we could imagine a sci fi technology to do it.

Although, if there were such a thing as a "clean slate", maybe a Terry Schiavo type brain, it would still perceive its environment and maybe have a sense of self and that would qualify as a soul to me.

Base104 my understanding is that over 90% of the time in the history of evolution was spent evolving the first cells. The cellular chemical processes that are common to life seem to just be more and more complex ways to burn energy. That part must have been driven by thermodynamics. A turning point occured when the processes created cell walls, separating the inside from outside and making all things possible. It could be that they just surrounded themselves with their own byproducts, which created a kind of bubble, and there was some benefit to enclosing the process in it. I recommend Dawkins' books, particularly the Blind Watchmaker, for his explanation of pre-cellular 'replicators'. I know Dawkins can sometimes rant but when he's explaining biology he's the best.
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Apr 18, 2013 - 10:50am PT
Base, as for doubting everything in the universe . . . .

Well, . . . what is the difference between that and experiencing doubts when you are dreaming? Or to use Ed's reference to "The Matrix," how do we know that we are not hooked up to a machine in the year 2412, experiencing these very same perceptions here at the computer screen over and over and over? As in "Bladerunner," how do we know that memories and artifacts have not been installed in the waking dream we call our lives?

Well, we don't, and we may not need to know either. What you have that you can call your own [sic] is perhaps the same that everyone else has: WYSIWYG.

Just for the heck of it, suppose that you ARE living in a dream. So what? What really changes for you or about you or the experience you call your life? If you recognized that you lived in a dream, how would you BE (or attempt to be, ha ha) different--and why? I think in some very important respects, nothing would change in the living of your life. Sure, you'd have many new questions you'd be interested in answering, but that's just another, er. . . pleasant diversion for you.


Memories are unreal objects by unreal subjects. No? Then bring yours out and show them to us. Or, show us your mind. Or show us "You."

Perhaps some of you have heard the story of the test a Zen master gave to a supposedly recently realized monk. The master pointed to a half-filled container of water on the floor and asked the monk whether it was half full or half empty. The monk kicked the container over and walked away.
rrider

climber
Mckinleyville, Ca
Apr 18, 2013 - 11:23am PT
WYSIWYG...I like that. Could also stand for "whizzy-wig". Lot of that going around lately.

(sorry, I know i don't belong at this coffe table, but like to listen in)
locker

Social climber
Some Rehab in Bolivia
Apr 18, 2013 - 11:25am PT


Politics SUCK!!!...

Organized Religion is nothing more than a money making SCAM!!!...

Science IS the ticket!!!...

Norton

Social climber
the Wastelands
Apr 18, 2013 - 11:29am PT
hey Locker

what happened to yesterday's avatar picture?


that was always my favorite
MH2

climber
Apr 18, 2013 - 11:58am PT
Memories are unreal objects by unreal subjects. No? Then bring yours out and show them to us. Or, show us your mind. Or show us "You."


We bring out memories in this thread and show our minds and ourselves.

We also stumble over disagreements in meaning.

From what MikeL has said before, I presume he would also consider an electron, for example, to be unreal. Or could he be shown one?
locker

Social climber
Some Rehab in Bolivia
Apr 18, 2013 - 12:51pm PT


"that was always my favorite"...

Even BEFORE I made it???...

;-)

jogill

climber
Colorado
Apr 18, 2013 - 12:52pm PT
And all of the perceptions within you, and their relationships and the world-view you have constructed, and your self image, are all unknown to others, who have their own perspectives and make their own impressions of you. So I do not think this idea will hold up

Admittedly a stretch! But, returning briefly to the idea of multiple deaths, there is a third death beyond the second I described incorrectly as the final death: the death of legend. All of us know something of Julius Caesar, though none of us has a living memory of him. At some point in the distant future, however, he may have vanished from our collective minds, signifying a truly final demise.

We all know something of Elvis, but the visual imagery of him may be with us for thousands of years. Long live the King!

You speak of self-image as an important feature of the soul, but Zen teaches that our self-image is in fact an illusion and with dedication we can escape the condition, returning to our "original face". But what does Zen have to say about the perception of ourselves by others? (JL ???) Do others see into our souls, or hold our souls with truer insight than we ourselves? What of hermits who avoid and are unknown to others - tradition tells us they too have souls. Do they?

This is all questionable speculation, but it is fun to let the imagination run free . . .


MikeL: I hope your return visit to your doctor provides good news. Our thoughts are with you.
cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Apr 18, 2013 - 06:03pm PT
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23401-emerging-consciousness-glimpsed-in-babies.html


...Kouider is careful to note that the results do not offer direct evidence of subjective experience. Although the babies' changing brain activity highlights the development of visual perception, it is not yet clear when the second-stage timings become short enough for awareness to kick in. "I don't know what proof would look like," says Natasha Sigala at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School, UK. "This is as good as it gets for the moment."
WBraun

climber
Apr 18, 2013 - 07:57pm PT
Consciousness and awareness are two different

Modern medical science admits that the heart is the seat of all energies of the body.

The soul is within the heart but is anti-material and is the source of consciousness.
jogill

climber
Colorado
Apr 18, 2013 - 08:23pm PT
There are other "deaths"

Death of the individual human personality in the context of human society, not extinction of the human environment. Species extinction would automatically trigger the third level - for everyone. I meant this in a more religious/spiritual/philosophical sense. And these are just thoughts floating around - not positions I necessarily support.
MH2

climber
Apr 18, 2013 - 08:29pm PT
So when God dies?
jogill

climber
Colorado
Apr 18, 2013 - 08:35pm PT
So when God dies?

Ask the Duck.
MH2

climber
Apr 18, 2013 - 08:47pm PT
OK. But if God died that could be the final forgetting in a religious/spiritual sense. Or if He just forgot.
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Apr 18, 2013 - 08:48pm PT
Thanks Jogill. (I think I mistyped your avatar above, sorry.) No one's in a rush medically. It happens in 15 days.

We bring out memories in this thread and show our minds and ourselves. We also stumble over disagreements in meaning.

Indeed. We write words to each other, we read each others' words, and then we simulate, imagine, or cast scenarios that make sense to us.

We think we know each other. We don't even know ourselves.

Do you know who you are? Or do you find yourself constantly discovering and surprising yourself with discoveries about your personality, your behaviors, your biases, your habits, your preferences, etc.? You're a stranger in your own land.



Call up a memory. What is it? What's it made of? Where does it reside? Where did it come from, and where did it go when it was no longer around? (These are very old mind-training exercises.) What clearly manifests in this regard is not substantive or real.
jogill

climber
Colorado
Apr 18, 2013 - 08:59pm PT
But if God died that could be the final forgetting in a religious/spiritual sense. Or if He just forgot

If one postulates the existence of a God, but the stages I've described don't require a deity.


;>)
MH2

climber
Apr 18, 2013 - 09:24pm PT
I was thinking about a memorial service I recently attended for a gentleman who was almost completely forgotten while he was still alive. The person who arranged the service is a religious believer. The pastor never knew the deceased but gave a wonderful simple talk, and sang. Now that the deceased was with Our Lord the Redeemer he was no longer alone. That was clearly a comforting thought to the woman who had been his only visitor in his last years and stayed with him as he died.

I don't put any stock in religious doctrine, personally, but the way people get together and remember someone who has died moves me to ponder jogill's question.



MikeL,

For what is memory I suggest reading about the Aplysia escape reflex or other work of Eric Kandel.
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