Politics, God and Religion vs. Science


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High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Potemkin Village
Sep 25, 2013 - 04:19pm PT

"It worked!"


Here's Dawkins and Stewart having trouble over the word "faith" - learning to distinguish between its different forms helps.


There's more to the word "faith" than the Abrahamic religious variety.

Hebrews 1:3
Sep 25, 2013 - 04:46pm PT
Jesus is the lock and key to heaven, but will you use it?

photo not found
Missing photo ID#322909

Jesus paid a debt He did not owe, for one I could not pay!

The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Sep 25, 2013 - 04:52pm PT
So, Gob, just what exactly did you do that was so awful?

Hebrews 1:3
Sep 25, 2013 - 05:01pm PT
Romans 3:21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Sep 25, 2013 - 05:42pm PT
Okay then, never mind. Whatever works for you, dude.

Sep 25, 2013 - 05:52pm PT
The spiritually lacking living entity is a dying fish out of the water .......

The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Sep 25, 2013 - 06:00pm PT
Basically, as terrestrial vertebrates, we are a kind of very specialized, very bizarre fish that about 370 million years ago went on land and lost its fins.

paul roehl

Boulder climber
Sep 25, 2013 - 06:27pm PT
"The spiritually lacking living entity is a dying fish out of the water ......."

Really depends on the definition of "spiritually." I would say anyone that looks at the starry sky with wonder exhibits a kind of spirituality. One doesn't have to believe in untenable Gods to feel the awe and wonder of being, to feel a part of the awe and wonder of being. In fact, the rigidity of some religious dogma can corrupt that very experience.

Social climber
joshua tree
Sep 25, 2013 - 08:04pm PT
"dissipative electrical storms"

From what I gather these electrical storms, are pulses of energy jumping from one Neuron
to another. I say jumping, because there are gaps inbetween them. Sorta in the manner that electricity runs through a copper wire. Always moving and jumping from the orbit of an atom to the next. The meat copper has nothing to do with the production of the energy. It's just a conduit. And we don't really know if this energy storm resides in the meat of the neuron or if its jus hanging out inbetween (floating in water?) waiting to jump aboard the neuron which leads to the desired route to express materially what said energy means to communicate.

To presume that the meat brain's workings creates this energy storm is a leap of faith. The brain does work Exquisitely precise when working with the body's function. But why doesn't it remember exactly everything we ever learned or read? And if the meat brain were in charge why couldn't it produce emotions without some sensory input? Seems a logical brain would have us joyous all the time.

If we look in Genesis. We read how God created the universe. He spoke it into form. What does it take to speak? Don't we first need "will". Then thought to speak? I think this is a fine example of how we are creators each and everyday. I'll bet a burger if when we figure out how the mind works, we'll understand how the universe was created.

Sep 25, 2013 - 10:22pm PT
You and Mr. Llinas have a theory on your hands.

Now I believe the next step is prove it. (I wonder what it would take to do so?)

Not me. I wouldn't touch consciousness with a 10-foot unreal thing. I was only giving an example of a neuroscientist who after many years of work on the physiology of neurons and their connections believes that consciousness could be accounted for by them.

Llinás suspects that synchrony of oscillations in membrane voltage across widely separated parts of the brain may play a role in consciousness. The next step is to come up with hypotheses in the form of, "If my idea is right, then we should find such-and-such when we do this or look there." Llinás is almost 80 years old. He may have kicked back a bit. If you are interested you can read an interview with him:


Myself, I prefer this:

In actuality, however, the above philosophical discussions concerning the extent to which our perception of reality and "actual" reality overlap or match are truly of little importance. All that is required is that the predictive properties of the computational states generated by the brain meet the requirements for successful interactions with the external world.

I of the Vortex, R. Llinás
chapter 6, p. 129

You don't need to know that water is molecules to surf a wave. You don't need to know how an engine works to drive a car. You don't need to know how your neurons function to lead a good life.


Sep 26, 2013 - 08:15am PT
You don't need to know that water is molecules to surf a wave. You don't need to know how an engine works to drive a car. You don't need to know how your neurons function to lead a good life.

This appears to be an orientation to doing or getting things done, rather than to being. Folks like me aren't so very interested in doing and "achieving," because we see that doing doesn't really do any thing. It just looks like it.

It seems to me that there is a very different orientation between almost anyone who is a spiritualist as opposed to someone who is more of a physicalist. A fellow by the name of Stephen Levine, in a book entitled, "Who Dies?", suggests that we are spiritual beings with physical experiences, not physical beings with spiritual experiences.

What most strikes me about the differences between the two groups, especially as I've seen it in our most recent conversations here, is the difference in perception of what is special / awesome / remarkable.

It seems to me that you (or someone who shares the same views) think that objects and all the things that you are aware of are special: DNA, neurons, nebula, cellular structures, chemical reactions, igneous deposits in the ground, the big bang, membrane voltage, and so forth. You think objects are the most interesting and puzzling things, so when it comes to talking about mind, consciousness, being, you most naturally look to other objects and processes to explain them. You appear to think objects are marvelous, amazing, and maybe even mysterious.

I, and other spiritualists (perhaps of a certain ilk), see mind, consciousness, or being as most interesting and mysterious. Moreover, we personally experience mind, consciousness, and being as astounding, as if touched by the hand of God. It is that very experience that may lead to some folks to claim or call out God--because the very experience of existence (perceived pristinely) is so utterly remarkable (undefinable, ungraspable, yada yada). To me, when I'm paying attention to it, experience of any sort (pain, joy, eating, looking out my back window, tasting coffee, having an argument, etc.) is beyond words and thought. Experience is so palpable and rich that I could cut it with a knife. It's multi-dimensional and uses every sense (and many that I don't have names for).

I think climbers can use metaphorical ways to illustrate or highlight these differences. Some love the very experience of climbing, of motion, of being one with the rock, in synchronous symbiosis with the 3 feet of terrain right in front of their face, of feeling the grandeur of making moves high above the ground; such climbers seem to be explorers of experience, of being, where the discursive mind is put to minimal use (maybe even or turned off).

People who solo may especially agree with these descriptions.

There may be other climbers who seem especially enamored with the more technical issues of climbing: being able to circumvent or solve certain climbing problems, rope work, gear placements, setting-up complicated stations, using aid, having new or lots of gear, etc. Perhaps there is also an orientation toward achievement (grades, ratings, summits) in this group. Here, climbing might be viewed more as the planning and execution of expedition rather than the free-flowing experience and the feeling of movement up high and away.

Perhaps my descriptions (or my choices) aren't keenly drawn. But I'm trying to show some difference between the perceived awesomeness and intricacies of objects and the almost raw perceived awesomeness of experience. They present very different views, which I think can be distinguished by juxtaposing doing / achieving and being.

Today I don't teach, so I can bake bread here at home. We love eating this bread, but for me, the very experience of baking provides its own reward. It feels like a virtue.
Credit: MikeL

Sep 26, 2013 - 08:19am PT
You need to know very little to be. That is my favorite orientation. But your cells go on "achieving" even without "you."

Sep 26, 2013 - 08:46am PT
But your cells go on "achieving" even without "you."

Without "YOU" they will be dead .....

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 26, 2013 - 08:57am PT
You need to know very little to be. That is my favorite orientation. But your cells go on "achieving" even without "you."

It appears that way, that consciousness is "soluble" to the the material which "keeps on going" even when we are knocked out sleeping or during surgery. But there's no instance of anything every happening or being separate from consciousness, which many claim "produces" the later by way of chemical processes. When someone is sleeping, we "know" as much only by virtue of some other consciousness, which goes against the common sense notion that he still sleeps even we're not there to see him do so.

And the reason he L. got rid of the notion that matter somehow "crosses over" and becomes mind is that he knew he could never prove it. Ergo the default = matter IS mind. His Uncle IS his Aunt. Heads ARE tales.

Of course such a fanstastic simplification this would never stand in other areas of science - saying A IS B. And not in terms of qualities (the tree IS green), but of basic natures.

Very tricky stuff and very counterintuitive once you start wrangling with it at depth.


Social climber
Some Rehab in Bolivia
Sep 26, 2013 - 09:08am PT

"The spiritually lacking living entity is a dying fish out of the water ..."...

Old news!!!...

Stupid people need to move on!!!...

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Missing photo ID#322729


Social climber
An Oil Field
Sep 26, 2013 - 10:08am PT
I'm sorry, but I don't see how it is tricky at all.

We can look at virtually any organism with a brain and compare them. You are being foolish if you ignore the brain as an organ, and to deny that the brain is the home of consciousness is silly. There are numerous examples of how playing with the brain affects consciousness. Meditation itself has now been shown to affect gene expression, and I believe that it is a good psychiatric tool. One of my old climbing buddies is a shrink, and I've discussed meditation with him quite a bit. He sees awful things all day, and to settle down he closes his office door and meditates for fifteen minutes twice a day or so. He told me that it really helps. Meditation has already been looked at from a formal scientific standpoint, and been shown to have an effect on the human brain. You should feel good about that.

What you are doing is training your brain. You may prefer to insert the word mind for brain, but I challenge you to say that the mind and the brain are different things. They are not, and that is obvious. I know that Werner will jump in here to say that the heart is where the mind sits, but that is silly. The heart is a pump.

JL, I hope you paid close attention to what happened to your mind when under general anesthetic during your recent surgeries. I had half of my knee replaced last year, during this thread, and paid attention.

I remember counting down from ten as the anesthetist leaned over me. The very next instance, I awoke in the recovery room. The general anesthetic totally erased any perception of time or events when under its influence. It wasn't just unconscious, it was no-conscious. It was utterly unlike being asleep. It was like being dead. There were no dreams, and there was no sense of the passage of time.

You may indeed be training your mind to more clearly perceive your environment. There is nothing I know of that disallows this. I just think it is folly to poke fun at the "meat brain" or "scientism." I could make the case that your zen studies are very much like a scientific endeavor.

Not all science is quantitative. Geology is like that. It is more about the relationships of rocks and minerals and understanding how they got there, to be able to unravel deep history. I don't need to use my calculator that often anymore.

You can hand me a rock, and I can tell you a story about that rock. What might look like "just a rock" actually tells you a lot about the history of the place where you picked it up. The big joke about geologists (from the petroleum engineers) is that we are all engineers who could not handle the math. This does have a slight ring of truth to it. Most geology takes place in your head as a 3 dimensional picture of rocks through time (the 4th dimension). To be any good at it, you have to be highly creative and intuitive. Engineers can very rarely grasp the concept of a prospect. They are good for one well at a time, but many of them can't grasp difficult geology.

Seriously. A plain old rock tells an incredible story, especially if you get to see the other rocks around it, in place. I used to be a very good field geologist, and that takes a lot of imagination. Poor field geologists usually have trouble thinking in three dimensions. That was never a problem with me.

I used to think that thinking in multiple dimensions was a gift rather than a learned skill, but after all of this time I have seen horrible field geologists get the knack. It can be learned by nigh anyone.

Anyway, geology isn't that quantitative. You have to understand the chemistry behind some of the minerals, but if you work only, say, sandstones, there aren't a lot of minerals to understand. Mainly just quartz grains. The shape, sorting, and distribution to surrounding shales can tell you a lot.

I was looking at a core a few years ago. Normally when we are drilling a well, we get little drill cuttings that come to the surface in the circulating drilling mud, and the pieces may be a quarter the size of a grain of rice. We look at them under a fairly low power microscope and tell a lot. If you really want to see a lot, you take a core, which is expensive and time consuming. I've take very few cores myself. Most of them are saved and warehoused, so I can yank a core over my zone of interest most of the time, but it might have been taken a few miles away.

So I was looking at a core a few years ago and found the best paleosol that I've ever seen. A paleosol is an old soil layer, the actual interface between the water deposited rock and the air above it. There were rootlets and other clues, but it was really obvious. I could put my finger on it and touch an ancient surface 300 million years old. That, to me, is pretty damn cool.

I can look at the little bedforms and tell you the probable depositional environment of that sequence of sandstone.

My big thing is fluvial dominated deltas, such as the Mississippi delta. There are stacks and stacks of buried deltas, and the pore space between the grains is where oil and gas accumulate.

It is pretty cool. I would love for everyone to come visit and get a free 3 day geology lesson.

These deltas have been drilled through many times, and the distributary channels are fairly easy to map. Same goes for offshore bars, either above or below fair weather wave base. You can identify storm modified deposits, tidal influence, you name it. You just have to learn the different bedforms. Almost all of these depositional environments are going on today, and the old saw went, "The present is the key to the past."

There are very few areas that aren't fully understood. Sure, I can sometimes notice something that nobody else has, but not that often.

Just look at those cobbles and muck that have been dumped onto Boulder. It is a very common assemblage of rocks, a comglomerate. When you go through a road cut and see a similar assemblage, you can recognize it as a high flow regime event. It takes a lot fast moving and deep water to move those cobbles, or that 50 ton boulder that you cast a fly to in a stream. The flood was not unusual to me. You can see these same deposits all over the front range. A 100 year flood isn't that rare. It happens 10,000 times in a million years, which isn't that long from a geologic point of view.

I've read a fair amount of creationist literature, and it is so shallow. The creationists don't dare look closely, because it will rip their beloved literal account of Genesis to shreds.

Just look around if you are climbing or bouldering. Think about how those boulders got there. I don't know whether the Peabodies in the Buttermilks were weathered out in situ or transported by old glaciation. It never occurred to me when I used to ride my bike there every morning.

Geology is cool.

Social climber
An Oil Field
Sep 26, 2013 - 10:20am PT
OK. I look at a stack of deltas deposited during the Pennsylvanian. There were numerous land plants, even trees, which showed up during the Devonian, but the incredibly dense history of the Earth happened with no human being present to witness it.

Nature goes on doing its thing, whether there is a witness or not. To argue that nothing happens outside of human consciousness is a very dumb argument.

You can be pretty sure that the Merced River is flowing downhill to the west whether you are there or not. Humans are only a tiny part of nature, which is a vast topic.

I can't understand why people are NOT interested in science. Nature is incredible.

I am reading a proof of Doug Robinson's new book on how the mind is affected by pursuits such as climbing. It is very cool, but also very deep in chemistry and neuroscience. Doug being the non science type, basically a poet, stepped off into a new realm for him while writing this book.

It is good. He has some incredible tales. Doug is one of my favorite people in the whole world. A very gentle and deep soul.

Sep 26, 2013 - 10:26am PT
To argue that nothing happens outside of human consciousness is a very dumb argument.

Where did anyone ever say such a crazy thing to begin with?

Social climber
joshua tree
Sep 26, 2013 - 11:56am PT

Heads ARE tales

Well if ur pointing at each side of the coin and saying the picture of the head is the same as the picture of the tail then your wrong. Just as you would be if you spun around and pointed at anything in the material world. If there's black, there's white. If there's dark, there's light. If there's gravity, there is weightlessness. If there's growth, there's decomposing. If there's man, there has to be woman. All opposite sides of the coin. And each worth pointing at, separately.
But what happens when we do so? We form bias, and even prejudice. But when we take both pictures and hold them in our hand, and call them a coin. Aren't we then infact taking both sides and making them one? Without darkness we wouldn't know light. This is all relative
in the material world.

But what of the spiritual world. World; if you use the coin Analogy. You'de have to take all the material you see, and all the non-seen forces to make up the one world. One ceases without the other.
Spiritual; rooted down to the most basic common denominator. The use and control of our emotions. What would be the opposite side on the spiritual coin? One side you have emotions, on the other? Non-emotional? Maybe the logical control over said emotions?
Would hate be the opposite side of the coin from love? Is love the opposite reaction to hate? Or is there some middle place, or peace? Can we not stand in peace and have a mindful choice over which side to choose. This free will of choice we can't see elsewhere in the natural world. The earth can't choose to slow down and take a break. The carnivorous animal can't choose not to eat another animal. Through our free will we have the right to choose what to do inorder to receive the emotional response we wish to experience. If we're not being loving, we are not Necessarily experiencing hate. When we're loving, we are embracing said person, place, or thing. While when hating we are opposing said person, place, or thing. This opposing act seems more in line with Mother Nature. So how queer it was for Jesus to say "love ur enemies, and love that which you hate".

Wouldn't this be a vision as to "heads are tails"
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Sep 26, 2013 - 12:01pm PT
Doug is one of my favorite people in the whole world. A very gentle and deep soul.

I don't know him personally but I like him too.

experience of baking provides its own reward.

Hey MikeL this video is for you. Jacque Pepin ( Jack Peh-pan) is my favorite chef of all time. I love watching this dude cook. I know all his many shows in great detail.
Here's one on bread. There is an episode of Essential Pepin that I can't find right now that is more dedicated to bread making.
Jacque tells a story about his father kissing any loaf of bread that he was forced to throw away.

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