Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

Search
Go

Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 14761 - 14780 of total 22765 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
May 1, 2013 - 03:30pm PT
So you contend that the "larger logical structure" is happening not "in our minds," but - where, exactly? And where does it exist and by what means is it accessible other than through our experience. I think this goes back to the dream that we can create structures that exist above and beyond human consciousness.

I am content with, and more or less adapted to the idea that human experience is not the sum total of existence.
If the opposite were true, namely ,that the external world is some sort of grand modification of consciousness, you would expect an easily identifiable agency within the mind that would be responsible for the creation and maintenance of the universe. Instead we have , for all intents and purposes ,a relatively passive entity that senses the extraneous world , and consequently spends considerable time and energy adapting and responding to it.
The universe is 13 + billion years old. Human consciousness only a few hundred thousand.
Human subjectivity may not be ultimately confined to the purely physical, but it is not singularly responsible for manufacturing the purely objective and physical as merely an on-going grandiose artifact of raw awareness.
In other words, I come down on the side of the proverbial tree making a sound whether anyone is there to hear it or not.


cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
May 1, 2013 - 03:35pm PT
This is a little like Ed's contention that everything has been well described objectively EXCEPT the problem of consciousness, assuming as he does, that consciousness is an aspect of reality basically the same as most any other "thing" out there - like an oak tree or a shoe horn. When all things are considered as qualitative equals, a one-size-fits all descriptive model is assumed to, well, fit all.

Then what about the state of things before our particular brand of biological consciousness evolved? Undifferentiated flux that only now gives the appearance of having "existed," say, in the form of the geologic and cosmologic records? Or is there some sneaky implication there that consciousness is, in fact, non-biological, against all the evidence at hand? And if so, why does it bother to manifest itself in a biological format at all? What would the point of that be, precisely?

(Same thought as WT's in different terms, essentially, beat me to it.)
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
May 1, 2013 - 03:47pm PT
Trotter and Cintune have pretty well summed up the post modern puzzle over the issue. It's not a new question however but was contemplated by the intellectuals of the Roman era when they first encountered Christian theology. What would be the purpose of the consciousness behind the universe incarnating in human form and what did it mean for other conscious humans incarnated in human form and how would one differentiate between the two? Since that forms the basis of theological debates between the Christian religion and others and has for 2,000 years, it's doubtful the expanded question of why consciousness would choose to inhabit biology will be resolved any time soon.
cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
May 1, 2013 - 03:58pm PT
But the easiest resolution is to dismiss it as simple wishful thinking, seeing as absolutely no evidence for it has come to light in the subsequent millennia. Like all apologia, it depends on the prerequisite will to believe.

Odd that the Romans, though, seemed to have no problem with their deities taking on whatever material form was convenient, but then we don't necessarily have the context to evaluate the symbolism of those myths anymore.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
May 1, 2013 - 04:08pm PT
There is a version of the good ol' fashion ontological argument at work here.

Ontological arguments are arguments, for the conclusion that God exists, from premises which are supposed to derive from some source other than observation of the world—e.g., from reason alone. In other words, ontological arguments are arguments from nothing but analytic, a priori and necessary premises to the conclusion that God exists.

If in the above you were to replace " God" with "consciousness" then you would have consciousness being treated as a priori or as a necessary premise identical with "God."

The crucial difference is that we know consciousness exists, without a doubt.
Consciousness is the new God. Better and improved .
It can't be proven or disproven in any of its overarching claims.
It is an advanced improvement on the good old standard notion of " God"
Not only is the validity of its existence unquestioned ,but it can be shown to be the originator of the cosmos.
Human consciousness is the new central Deity, perfect for both subjective and objective purposes.

I'm reminded of the old Japanese sage when confronted with the early European contacts saying : "...your Gods are impressive"



jstan

climber
May 1, 2013 - 04:17pm PT
Odd that the Romans, though, seemed to have no problem with their deities taking on whatever material form was convenient, but then we don't necessarily have the context to evaluate the symbolism of those myths anymore.
Cintune

On the premise that the Romans followed things Egyptian I went and found:

http://www.fullbooks.com/The-World-s-Greatest-Books-Vol-XI-1.html
Ancient History
GASTON MASPERO
The Dawn of Civilisation

II.--The Gods of Egypt_


The incredible number of religious scenes to be found represented on the
ancient monuments of Egypt is at first glance very striking. Nearly
every illustration in the works of Egyptologists shows us the figure of
some deity. One would think the country had been inhabited for the most
part by gods, with just enough men and animals to satisfy the
requirements of their worship. Each of these deities represented a
function, a moment in the life of man or of the universe. Thus, Naprit
was identified with the ripe ear of wheat; Maskhonit appeared by the
child's cradle at the very moment of its birth; and Raninit presided
over the naming and nurture of the newly born.

In penetrating this mysterious world we are confronted by an actual
jumble of gods, many being of foreign origin; and these, with the
indigenous deities, made up nations of gods. This mixed pantheon had its
grades of noble princes and kings, each of its members representing one
of the forces constituting the world. Some appeared in human form;
others as animals; others as combinations of human and animal forms.

If they were anything, the Romans were very very practical.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
May 1, 2013 - 04:34pm PT
If they were anything, the Romans were very very practical.

Yes ,as regards the worship of deities the Romans were brilliant. As Gibbon pointed out early in his Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire the Romans were generally very tolerant of the religious practices of their subject peoples. ( As long as those practices did not lead to open rebellion) , and understood early in the empire that one of the key elements of the Pax Romana was this religious tolerance.
Gibbon of course made the point that the elements inherent in these various deities were instantly recognizable by the Romans in their own gods and goddesses, which the Romans, of course never took seriously. Actually even readily incorporating elements from conquered lands, as the Greeks did before them.
As a matter of fact , if there was a weakness in the Roman tolerance it took place when the Romans were confronted with subjects that actually took their God seriously, I.e., monotheistic religions like Judaism and Christianity.( one shudders to think what the clash between the Romans and Islam would have looked like)
The Romans made the critical mistake of not really transitioning from a purely militaristic occupation to one characterized by diplomatic approaches, in the case of the Levant especially.This situation resulted in the Romans relying overly much on military repression and incompetent homegrown surrogates- leading eventually to widespread destruction. Nevertheless, Pontius Pilate, for instance, from what we know, did a fairly good job of of walking the tenuous line betwixt his distant militaristic superiors and the constantly restless natives.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
May 1, 2013 - 05:02pm PT
Human subjectivity may not be ultimately confined to the purely physical, but it is not singularly responsible for manufacturing the purely objective and physical as merely an on-going grandiose artifact of raw awareness.


Where you get hung up, IMO, 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." My sense is that you believe the "purely objective" represents a kind of self-same world "out there" which remains the same as we humans come and go and other life forms hove-to and examine "objective reality" which appears EXACTLY THE SAME to all sentient beings, wherever they may be. What you have done here is to anthropomorically conceive "reality," measure it up, and declare our human version to be "objective reality." It works that way and can be tested. Right?

Another interesting thing is the idea of creation. If our minds didn't create it, then God did, or "nothing" created it - as in the big bang. No cigar on any counts. What went bang?

Put differently, the mind experiment about the tree in the forest making or not making a sound is not meant to be answered, but is an invitation to explore what the question actually means - that terms such as sound, makes, forests, etc. are all our own stuff.

IOWs, of course we did not "create" the raw material of reality, which is in fact unborn, but the version we hold to be "objective" is largely if not entirely a human creation. This goes back to what Ed said earlier with his initial statements about Hilbert space - whereby a map of "objective reality" in no wise had to correspond to the soup in a real or exact way. It only has to provide a means for predicting how stuff will respond.

JL




jstan

climber
May 1, 2013 - 05:12pm PT
As a matter of fact , if there was a weakness in the Roman tolerance it took place when the Romans were confronted with subjects that actually took their God seriously, I.e., monotheistic religions like Judaism and Christianity.
WT

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.
cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
May 1, 2013 - 05:12pm PT
the raw material of reality, which is in fact unborn

Quite the equivocal qualification, there.
jstan

climber
May 1, 2013 - 05:19pm PT
Delivered wisdom is like chewing gum at the dinner table. If it does not quite fit, just stick it underneath.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
May 1, 2013 - 05:20pm 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 - 05:37pm 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 - 05:49pm 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 - 06:04pm 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 - 07:56pm PT
Credit: Dr. F.
Another flower to contemplate it's existence
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
May 1, 2013 - 09:32pm 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 1, 2013 - 09:52pm 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 1, 2013 - 10:12pm PT
The impersonal realization of the absolute whole is incomplete realization .....
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
May 2, 2013 - 12:17am PT
^^^ Werner, I think u eat to much Chinese takeout. HaHa
Messages 14761 - 14780 of total 22765 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
 
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks


Try a free sample topo!

 
SuperTopo on the Web

Review Categories
Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews