Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Oct 1, 2013 - 08:20pm PT
I can take the heat on math. I wasn't bad at it, once upon a time, but never got much past multivariable calculus and linear algebra before the lit bug bit hard and I said adios to numbers. I have a few friends who spend their nights working on problems on line with people all over the world.

We all have our passions.

JL
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Oct 1, 2013 - 09:31pm PT
I should have said, "thanks," Marlow. My bad.

I've been trying to be innovative at work, and it's caused a sh*thouse full of work for me. (WHY did I do that?) I'm having difficulty keeping up.


Aphorisms. Mmmmmmm, maybe, maybe not. This thing about "sayings that ring true" is interesting. How or why does that happen? I suppose that the right thing at the right time seems insightful, ingenious, or just "with it," but who knows? It would seem that these sorts of things are just curiosities, until one begins to look around and count them. Then one starts to suspect that syncronicity and serendipity are more than coincidences.

Everything happens for a reason--albeit not reasons that we can understand. A person can argue with those sorts of weirdness, or become sensitive to them. Depending upon which of those choices one would make, what assumptions about the universe are being made? Those assumptions lead to personal definition and outlook.
rectorsquid

climber
Lake Tahoe
Oct 2, 2013 - 12:02pm PT
Science is not a body of knowledge nor a system of belief; it is just a term which describes humankindís incremental acquisition of understanding through observation.

 Tim Minchin

Read his entire speech at http://www.timminchin.com/2013/09/25/occasional-address/
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Oct 2, 2013 - 12:22pm PT
Minching made some good points.

By the way, while I have science and arts grads in front of me: please donít make the mistake of thinking the arts and sciences are at odds with one another. That is a recent, stupid, and damaging idea. You donít have to be unscientific to make beautiful art, to write beautiful things.

And, to reiterate:

Science is not a body of knowledge nor a system of belief; it is just a term which describes humankindís incremental acquisition of understanding through observation.

Bravo.
What has always annoyed me and still does is the tendency of people on this thread and elsewhere in this forum , as well as in certain quarters of society in general----to co-opt science in order to support their political views.
I've spoken out many times against these attempts to draft science to support political and anti-religious agendas.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Oct 2, 2013 - 12:51pm PT
Ward

You're a can full of words. Let me start with this formulation:

You write:
"If you and your countrymen refuse to acknowledge documented history, or prevailing forces, then that is your problem."

My answer:
You see yourself as some kind of historical truth-seer. I have concentrated on what we could agree on already and I will not repeat that. You seem to believe that there are some "inexorable laws of historical destiny" and that you have access to them.

Let me then add that I see ideology as a system that produces consequences that are not in accordance with its intentions and it continues to do so.

And let me then take a closer look at some of your thoughts/historical truths:

You write:
"You ... (have) pitifully embraced a creepy level of dependency on total cradle to grave bureaucratic government control of your lives"

My comment
That's not how it looks from Europe. I'm feeling a great freedom from poverty, freedom to travel, freedom to act, freedom to talk, freedom of access to health services, freedom of fear from being shot. In my part of the world I see a system that produces a lot of consequences that are in accordance with its intentions. America on the other hand has established a system where surveillance is everywhere, where a lot of people feel a need to carry a gun to feel safe, where a lot of people cannot afford healthcare before they are so sick that they are already dying, where the money that should have gone to healthcare goes into the pockets of insurance companies and lawyers. In America I see a system that at present produces a lot of consequences that I can hardly believe is according to its intentions.

You say:
"Your belief system is propped up by an "ideology".

My answer
As you see above the system I know in my part of Europe is producing a lot of consequences that are in accordance with its intentions. To me that's not ideology. On the other hand: In America I see a system that produces a lot of consequences that can hardly be in accordance with its intentions. That's a sign of ideology.

You say:
"Large centralized-planning governments in the West make their increasingly slavish populations overly dependent on massive social spending programs.(military included)"

My answer
As you have seen I'm not able to see that from my part of the world. I have no feeling of being a slave and the system is not making me a slave. On the other hand: When I see the American system with a lot of hardworking people depending on fundraising (a kind of begging) to be able to get healthcare, I see a system that can easily produce the feeling of being a slave. When I see people like jghedge begging for surveillance I see an operational slave.

You say:
"Besides, the point you are making , if it is a point, is meaningless.
Those countries may be less of a cherry for the forces that are hungry ,but they are and will be swallowed nonetheless."

My answer:
This is your prediction. Time will show. My guess Ward is that people like you want such a development... that's what's driving your need to make this prediction...
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Oct 2, 2013 - 12:53pm PT
What has always annoyed me and still does is the tendency of people on this thread and elsewhere in this forum , as well as in certain quarters of society in general----to co-opt science in order to support their political views.
-

Excellent point. I also feel some of us here are saying that every mode of inquiry has limitations, and that while observing and objectifying the external, physical world is invaluable for technological progress and understanding of same, we can't expect science to spearhead our internal adventures because it was not fashioned to that end or for that task. That's not to say medicine, say, doesn't span both worlds, so to speak, but at that threshold where the physical becomes secondary - much as the quantum becomes secondary at the meta threshold - we begin to play a vastly different game.

What both modes of inquiry have in common is observation sans attachment to the outcome. It remains the only constant in exploring such varied terrain.

JL
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Oct 2, 2013 - 01:28pm PT
to spearhead our internal adventures because it was not fashioned to that end or for that task

I agree. My own argumentation has always been philosophical , based upon differing opinions. I have never suggested that science take over anyone's private outlook or that it dominate the public square.
In fact, I have consistently argued against science as the bully boy of politics or any other set of unrelated convictions.

This is your prediction. Time will show. My guess Ward is that people like you want such a development... that's what's driving your need to make this prediction..

LOL. Yeah I want the international moneychangers to ravage little old Finland.
What was actually driving my need was perhaps thinking I could convince someone whose been unknowingly supporting political policies that will ultimately deliver his country into the hands of people with real nefarious intent, away from the mere bungling oil-happy dummies that control it now.

Your quote above is the absolute opposite of the points I made yesterday, or why I made them.

go back and carefully read my posts, and quit trolling and guessing.
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Oct 2, 2013 - 02:06pm PT
Some really nice writing, Marlow.

By golly, you're an intellectual, aren't you? I miss that here in the U.S. I run into it here in university, but that's not the same thing as regular folk who can talk and consider well.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Oct 2, 2013 - 02:12pm PT
Thanks MikeL. I don't like the word intellectual, but I like valuebased stringent thinking. And I do my best not to take off on every tangent offered... lol...

Edited
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Oct 2, 2013 - 03:05pm PT
MikeL is right . You do a good job of expressing yourself in English, which is not your primary language. But then again you are somewhat of an expert on Nordic folk tales and languages , such as the archaic Finnish tongue that inspired JRR Tolkien, for instance, in Ward of the Rings

At any rate I think I have the time to address each one your answers. I promise no bold lettering however:

You see yourself as some kind of historical truth-seer. I have concentrated on what we could agree on already and I will not repeat that. You seem to believe that there are some "inexorable laws of historical destiny" and that you have access to them.

Wow it's as if I were being accused of being a Hegelian. That's a first. ( Master-slave dialectic anyone ? LOL)

I do not consider myself as anything of the sort. A "kind of historical truth seer" hmm.
I will agree that knowing one's history is a tremendous advantage despite the fact that it will make one stand up like a sore thumb at times.
I've also discovered that when arguing politics, and even philosophy, you can clear the room by knowing a few of your historical facts. Especially if your opponent is relatively blank and is blissfully unaware of the historical provenance of his own ideas and positions.

I once argued with a chap who believed the US should nationalize the entire economy. Make it totally government owned and operated.
When I informed him that this very thing had already been tried in places called the Soviet Union , Communist China, and Nazi Germany by Stalin , Mao ,and Hitler--- he accused me of making up my facts. He further claimed not to know who Josef Stalin was.
There is the famous quote by Santayana that everyone should know by now:

"Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it,"

Let me then add that I see ideology as a system that produces consequences that are not in accordance with its intentions and it continues to do so.

That private definition is not shared by others, it is therefore somewhat useless,despite its dynamic utility to yourself personally.
The way I use the word "ideology" is as follows. Please remember this definition for future reference:

"a system of ideas and ideals, esp. one that forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy.
synonyms: beliefs, ideas, ideals, principles, ethics, morals;
More
the ideas and manner of thinking characteristic of a group, social class, or individual."

My rebuttal to the remainder of your post will require more time than I have right now.
Sometime later.








paul roehl

Boulder climber
california
Oct 2, 2013 - 03:57pm PT
What's interesting to me is how math and mathematical relationships imply divinity. Mathematical structures have an ďeternalď nature that indicates a kind of ďarcheĒ or underlying permanence.

The Pythagorean theorem, for instance, exists (in a sense) eternally whether any cognitive being understands or uses it or not. As a numerical relationship It will always exist in this universe. It exists on this planet and it exists on Mars and it seems logical to expect it to exist throughout the universe. Itís hard not to respect that.

I would say that math is best thought of as an indicative, underlying and descriptive construct of the aggregate chaos of nature.
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Oct 2, 2013 - 04:13pm PT
a rich and creative culture . . . 7000 years . . . .

Er, . . . civilization, not culture. It strains the unit of analysis to ascribe beliefs, values, or norms to any culture enduring for 7000 years. Even religions.

Unfettered imagination.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Oct 2, 2013 - 04:29pm PT
Marlow, you never have to go into that corner again so long as you live, not after that last post. But you do have to go to the Zen center down the road and report back.

Life in Norway, right now, or as of my last visit in 12/2012, is the very life I wish we had here in the US. The addiction to keeping the profit margin going strong no matter what has undercut the intention or promise that by doing so, we can achieve what goes on in Norway, and that if citizens did not have the chance to bootstrap themselves up like real men, the authentic Yankee ethos and identity, which made us so great, would cease on the spot.

If we were to judge this by results, the profit as God mythology has been a bedevilment that has gutted our economy and thrown millions into hardship. For example, the idea that we are the only western, modern country without universal healthcare, is a circumstance kept in play because of those who would be done out of the windfalls of commercial medicine.

Once a community reaches critical mass, as we have here in the US, a modicum of socialism, as they have in Norway, is really the only viable option.

JL
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Oct 2, 2013 - 05:06pm PT
I haven't been to Norway since 1992, just for a weekend conference. Nice. I lived in England for a while, teaching at Warwick. I miss the afternoons at the pub with other profs there. The best conversations ever. Daunting, actually.

I agree with John. I feel I am fighting the good (but losing) fight here in a business school. Running courses on business ethics (freshmen to seniors), the biggest challenge I face in class is wrestling against the power of the theoretical beliefs undergraduates have in technical approaches. Of course most of them want to make money, have their own way in the world, assume high visibility positions, but they also express concern for the plight of others around the world. (It's not like they are completely unfeeling automatons who purely seek to manipulate others and strip them of wealth or dignity.)

Nonetheless, these students have somehow bought into very abstract, technical views of the world. They see competition, survival, market tests, personal choice, serving self interests (as enlightened behavior), profit maximization, and free markets as unequivocally good--especially the incontestable power and "beauty" of competition.

It's like wrestling with spirits.

MH2

climber
Oct 2, 2013 - 05:48pm PT

It may or may not have been a Zen center, but Craig Desson undertook a course of meditation, inspired by what he called a deranged sense of adventure. His account of his 10 days was broadcast this past weekend on CBC Radio's The Sunday Edition. He describes the challenges and the results. You can get a taste of what JL calls the hard work and try to imagine where a person could be after years of such practice. At least it is a perspective from outside this thread.



You can go to this link and click as shown in the image.

http://www.cbc.ca/thesundayedition/shows/2013/09/29/episode-09-29-13/













Or in one step go directly to the audio.

http://www.cbc.ca/player/AudioMobile/Sunday%2BEdition/ID/2409373540/


But then Michael Enright will stare at you.

Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Oct 2, 2013 - 06:08pm PT
That was a nice piece by Craig. Note how terrified his discursive mind was going in, thinking that he would in some way lose everything, including his desire to be useful, if he ever slowed down and listened. And what he got just a little taste for is that he had never really been present for his life, or the Beatles, lost as he was thinking about it.

But till someone has such experiences, directly, and for themselves, there's no believing any of it.

What would be interesting would be to do a series of video interviews with someone over a period of several years who began a daily meditation practice and got in a solid group with expert instruction. That's a project worth doing. You would literally SEE the transformation. Like hitting the reset button, as they came out of a deep sleep. Because we all fall asleep so quickly, we have to keep practicing, never arriving, but waking up in stages, and going back to sleep as we go.

JL
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Oct 2, 2013 - 10:06pm PT
Because we all fall asleep so quickly, we have to keep practicing, never arriving, but waking up in stages, and going back to sleep as we go.

Ye Gods, it's true. As someone wrote: the ego has an intense gravitational pull. One might experience an awakening, but the awakening rarely ever abides . . . but it starts a process. The mis-steps / errors that lull one back into division after the first awakening appear to be many and subtle: e.g., the trap of meaninglessness, living in detachment, subtle superiority, drunk on emptiness, and so on. ANY interpretation, no matter how subtle, means one is still somehow in delusion.

MH2

climber
Oct 3, 2013 - 07:14am PT
the trap of meaninglessness, living in detachment, subtle superiority, drunk on emptiness, and so on.


This about golf?
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Oct 3, 2013 - 07:56am PT
^^^^ Lol.

DMT
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Oct 3, 2013 - 08:31am PT
Metaphorically.
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