Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Sep 13, 2013 - 05:08pm PT
It will be interesting to see Ward, how it works out. We could as a society respond by waking up and getting more competitive and there are indications of that. Or we could retreat into a kind of nativistic religion where we look to the past and ignore materialism altogether. Right now it seems that both approaches are being taken by minorities of the populace while the vast majority plod on wondering what's happening.Then again, even if we become half of what we were, we still live in a country with so many resources that we'll still be better off than most others on the planet, and perhaps that's what the plodding majority sense already.It isn't the traditional American dream at any level, but we might decide, given the rest of the planet's oncoming travails, that it's good enough.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Sep 13, 2013 - 05:58pm PT
We could as a society respond by waking up and getting more competitive and there are indications of that. Or we could retreat into a kind of nativistic religion where we look to the past and ignore materialism altogether. Right now it seems that both approaches are being taken by minorities of the populace while the vast majority plod on wondering what's happening.

I think that global forces are beginning to arrange for a paradigm shift in this regard ,Jan.
The US has been living in a bubble since WWII . Our economy has been preeminent. We have hitherto called all our own shots . Because we have enjoyed the better part of a century devoid of any real competition, such a pampered state has conditioned us to think and behave in certain kinds of ways that tends to render us incapable of looking around the corner, or of pulling up our pants .We assume that our present status will continue unabated, along with the hubris of thinking we are the sole controllers of our own destiny .

I see this all undergoing a radical transformation. The chickens will come home to roost.
We are now just another player in a global card game and becoming gradually subject to the same rules as every other player.
This in and of itself will produce tremendous change in the years ahead. We have a political system that will continue to hobble us with multi- trillion dollar debt. We have no major manufacturing base any longer, our educational system is becoming woefully incapable of meeting the challenge, and more of our notes are being held by the other players.
Despite our strengths we are becoming increasingly vulnerable on every front.

I don't think we'll be allowed to sit around and get overly religious, or any other inappropriate response to this dilemma, such as class warfare, elitist social engineering, political tinkering and squabbling, or, alas , over- reactions to religious zealots.
Our problems have rapidly outgrown the traditional hackneyed responses and empty nostrums.
It's soon becoming the fish or cut bait moment--- a harshness we as a society haven't faced for quite some time.
We've been living like a bunch of spoiled rich kids who refuse to realize daddy's estate is in serious hock to the village bankers who grow increasingly sullen.

Yes it will be interesting to see if the current generations have the Mojo to face these predicaments head- on, or in lieu of that , as you suggest , sort of just lie down, dial into their social media and celebrity culture, and take a Rip Van Winkle nap, while other regions , and other cultures seize the lead and the sharp end of the rope in the world economy.

Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Sep 13, 2013 - 06:07pm PT
Another moment of truth is when we finally wake up to the 1% and how much they have drained from the rest of us while they got their minions re-elected with flag waving and Bible thumping.
go-B

climber
Hebrews 1:3
Sep 13, 2013 - 09:27pm PT
Paging Dr. F...

Positivism
As Christians, we derive our worldview from God’s Word. But there are others who only believe things they can prove with scientific testing. They believe that talk about God is meaningless because we can’t see, smell, taste, touch or hear Him. In this message, you’ll hear why “Positivism” as a worldview is insufficient.

http://www.ligonier.org/rym/broadcasts/audio/positivism1/

Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 13, 2013 - 10:32pm PT
It just so happens the whole universe is made of... wait for it... material.


The Universe is thought to consist of three types of substance: normal matter, as fruit pointed out above, ‘dark matter’ and ‘dark energy’.

Normal matter consists of the atoms that make up stars, planets, human beings and every other visible object in the Universe.

As humbling as it sounds, normal matter almost certainly accounts for the smallest proportion of the Universe, somewhere between 1% and 10%.

What's more, even this normal matter is not the solid stuff his fruitness hopes for. Behold the the concept of matter waves or de Broglie waves, "reflecting the wave–particle duality of matter, or the particle-wave duality of waves, depending on how you frame it."

JL
MH2

climber
Sep 13, 2013 - 11:19pm PT
Believe the smoking duck-god WBraun


Dr. F.

Boulder climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 13, 2013 - 11:37pm PT
Credit: Dr. F.
Dr. F.

Boulder climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 13, 2013 - 11:38pm PT
Credit: Dr. F.
A little bowl of pebbles that grow
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Sep 14, 2013 - 12:32am PT
What do you mean when you say that agreed-upon reality is indicated by labels, etc.? Do you mean simply that we must communicate somehow if we are to look for agreement on what happens and why? The need for some kind of language seems unavoidable.

(Apologies, MH2. I'm way out of town, and I'm grading.)

Werner really provides the definitive answer. It's all God, the absolute, ultimately spiritual.

Conventionally, labels and models and theories posit things in the universe, MH2. That fine for just talking among ourselves, but we then take those "things" seriously and concretely. We believe "things" (e.g., chairs, countries, people, anger, democracy) exist independently, statically, definitively.

I've tried to point out that "things" can't be found. No thing is real. Things just Seem to be real, and that seemingness is supported and reinforced at every turn socially, psychologically, linguistically, and cognitively in so many ways. Labels, frameworks, models, abstractions, categories, etc. are all placeholders for conceptualizations.

"There is a label, so it must refer to something!"

Find it definitively, once and for all, finally, without exception, under all conditions, with boundaries, within a bounded context, with final precision.

The closer we look at anything, the more it appears to slip away from our grasp. It's only when we talk about things generally that we appear to agree what we are talking about.

Can we use words to talk? Sure, no problem. Should we take our words to represent the universe properly--concretely, seriously, as referring to things that have independent, never-changing state of existence?

No. We're only pointing with words and concepts, and what we are pointing at doesn't really exist.

"You will not apply my precept," he said, shaking his head. "How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"
("The sign of the four,"--Sherlock Holmes)
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Sep 14, 2013 - 11:08am PT
MH2

Hehe... a smoking spider... as we both realize it could be poisonous... the spider... the smoking... until we know... That's knowledge. And, yes, WBraun could be...
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Sep 14, 2013 - 01:55pm PT
Experiences aren't Everything. But they provide a doorway to pristine awareness of the natural state.

Whatever is experienced is not mental. What one experiences is not a mental event but arises as the state of pure and total presence. Whatever arises is like a dream image which cannot be grasped.

Do not obsessively characterize internal or external entities as credible, apart from being mere objects from one's point of view. If non-conceptual clarity can be allowed to arise, one can cultivate its uninterrupted continuity and allow openness and clarity to unite. What then appears will often seem unreal; dreams will appear lucid; and waking life will seem like a dream. Talk will begin to sound incoherent and in-determinate to one.

This notion I'm pointing to is neither shamatha (quiet nonconceptuality) nor vipassanya (getting insights). What I'm pointing to is being fully present in experiences--not as objects--but as radiant clarity of the natural state. For example, when anger arises, it arises as an energetic manifestation of clarity, as the energy, as fresh awareness of the particulars of a situation. Anger can be seen and experienced, but the particulars of the situation are not longer irritating. Anger is seen and allowed to self-liberate. All "things" can be experienced like this.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Sep 14, 2013 - 03:05pm PT
Whatever is experienced is not mental. What one experiences is not a mental event but arises as the state of pure and total presence. Whatever arises is like a dream image which cannot be grasped.

Everything we know and can observe about experience tells us--- that it is a mental event. Evolution has perfected a brain and a nervous system that dials in the external world for the purpose of survival.

What this means is very simple to grasp actually: the brain uses whatever is at its disposal to effect the outcome intended: the survival of the animal.

The development of concepts, abstractions , ideas , and notions are evolutionary in origin.
They further the goals of biologic survival and are natural and inherent. Abstractions are not antithetical to pure experience, they are a naturally arising augmentation of non-conceptual experience.
Experience that proceeds without concepts are essentially primordial, observed more clearly in organisms that lack a highly developed brain. The purest expression of this level of experience can be observed in unicellular organisms that possess no complex nervous system nor brain to generate concepts and abstractions.

By "concepts and abstractions" I do not mean understanding Einstein or composing a symphony, not in this context. I mean the process of interrelating divergent mental pictures to create an instant strategy of action:
A lone human is foraging for plant food. Suddenly he is aware of a salivating tiger that wants to munch on him.
He instantly reacts by attempting to flee the scene.
His brain has already interrelated the tiger as a killer, a bringer of death, his tribe's enemy, more powerful than him.
He visualizes where he needs to run what he has to do , what direction he must flee, where his tribe is located.

All these experiences are conceptual, serviced by memory and learning. The tiger has not killed him , not yet, but he is an abstraction that represents death. The path through the jungle where the man must run is conceptual, and becomes crucially useful only inasmuch as it can be instantly abstracted from the rest of the environment.

Abstractions and concepts arise out of a need by the brain to process and integrate experience to maximize the imperative of survival.
Conceptual" mental" experiences are not inferior, illusory, nor antithetical to forms of experience that are primary, non-conceptual , and non-integral.

W.T.

Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Sep 14, 2013 - 03:15pm PT
I found this of interest.





Only hope we find GOD again before it is too late!
1.3003464000@web181603.mail.ne1.yahoo.com

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:
I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.

In light of recent events--terrorists attacks, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school .
The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said okay.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with, 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit.

If not, then just discard it. No one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards, Honestly and Respectfully,

Ben Stein
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 14, 2013 - 04:38pm PT
Whatever is experienced is not mental. What one experiences is not a mental event but arises as the state of pure and total presence. Whatever arises is like a dream image which cannot be grasped.

Everything we know and can observe about experience tells us--- that it is a mental event
--

Ward, what kind of honest attempt did you make to try and understand what Mike was saying? One thing you can be sure or - he's not guessing.

My impression is that your response was a kind of knee-jerk retort from the level of your experience and knowledge, which says to you that all of this occurs at the level of material (mental), or stuff. Drop below and see for yourself, losing along the way the belief that "below" is a mental phenomenon, as well as the question that "what else could it be but mental?" That's the point in dropping. To find out "what else."

But don't go here unless you want to find out. Otherwise, it's all mental, right?

JL
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Sep 14, 2013 - 05:04pm PT
Ward, what kind of honest attempt did you make to try and understand what Mike was saying? One thing you can be sure or - he's not guessing.

My impression is that your response was a kind of knee-jerk retort from the level of your experience and knowledge, which says to you that all of this occurs at the level of material (mental), or stuff. Drop below and see for yourself, losing along the way the belief that "below" is a mental phenomenon, as well as the question that "what else could it be but mental?" That's the point in dropping. To find out "what else."

What do you mean by "honest attempt"?
This has nothing to do with honesty or what I need to do.

MikeL made a post about what he considered the nature of experience ---and I disagreed .
I don't have to do anything or prove my honesty in any way.And I don't have to meditate or start checking out new books at the library, or walk around the block to establish my bona fides in being able to weigh in on this subject.

I will reiterate. I consider what you have termed "below" as a primal level of unicellular consciousness.
This blank, non-conceptual level of experience has been around a lot longer than the more complex higher brain functions.
This is precisely why you guys are numbed by its glow and its primordial rapture .
You are convinced you've uncovered a more authentic experience.
And you have, in a way.

Jingy

climber
Somewhere out there
Sep 14, 2013 - 07:55pm PT
For the Christian, the self and the self's creator is all that there seems to be. They are likely to say "This world was made for humans and we have a duty to use it all for what it is worth before the creator takes it away".. which, I know for certain, no religious type would ever say out loud with those words in that order with that intent…. but you have to agree… it seems that this is their mindset.

I don't think this is so. World, solar system, galaxy, universe and what ever else is out there that we have not yet figured out or found is all most certainly not "made for us" or even with "us" in mind….

We are all the same form of energy that started this universe spinning. That began this life-cycle for everything. We are not all that matters. As I see it nothing matters but what we make of it.

Food for thought

Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 14, 2013 - 10:38pm PT
Ward, out of one side of your mouth you declare that you have no need or desire to do anything new to understand anything Mike is saying. If you ask Mike, he will make it perfectly clear that what he is saying is the result of many decades of applied technique. He didn't arrive at his conclusions by accident, and you can't get there by accident any more than you can know physics having never done the work. Imagine simply skipping over studying the course work, then declaring to the world that you need not show any bona fides "to weight in on the subject."

Well, of course you don't, but insofar as what is being said is not an idea or a speculation, by virtue of what, exactly, are you drawing your conclusions? Thinking about it?

And your description of a "blank" conscious field has no bearing whatsoever on what we are talking about. How did you arrive at this idea of a "blank mind?" Sounds like someone got poleaxed. Is that what you imagine happens in meditation - you lean to draw a blank?

Mercy . . .

JL
MH2

climber
Sep 15, 2013 - 01:14am PT
No thing is real. Things just Seem to be real


What is the difference between being real and seeming real? Why do you capitalize 'Seem'?
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Sep 15, 2013 - 02:40am PT
Ward, I tried writing something clearer to you, but at the moment, I can't seem to do it very well. When I try, I end up making the ideas more concrete and serious than what they are, which is a contradiction to the very ideas I'm trying to communicate. Ha!

----


MH2, I capitalize words to emphasize them (rather than other ones). Ever hear of an amphiboly? In the sentence, "Eat Your Soup," one can communicate different meanings depending upon which word is emphasized.

(i) EAT your soup (quit playing with it).
(ii) Eat YOUR soup (not your sister's).
(iii) Eat your SOUP (not your ice cream).

-----


Ron:

After teaching ethics this summer to students in a Masters of Finance program, I found it very difficult to get them to declare explicitly what they thought business ethics is or should be. Not only did they not want to take a stand, they didn't think it was anyone's right or ability to say what others should or should not do. To them, only if something was illegal, was it unethical. Like the good rationalists they thought they were, they tended to defend the assumptions of economics (profit-maximization and serving self-interest) as "right" instead.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Sep 15, 2013 - 02:49am PT
Surprising science
http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/science/2013/09/this-insect-has-the-only-mechanical-gears-ever-found-in-nature/
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