Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Apr 1, 2014 - 04:28pm PT
It's dangerous to conflate religious with spiritual. You are doing that, Marlow, which doesn't make it any more real or authentic than lumping biology in with Catholicism (JL)


This analogy speaks volumes about the author's faith in the spiritual: correlating spiritualism with a physical science. No telling where "sentience" will end up, going in this direction.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Apr 1, 2014 - 04:44pm PT
What were you experiencing right before you licked the two terminals of the 9 volt battery?

Thanks for asking, I remember well...

Eyes were closed, and I had imagined back to the moment I tasted for the first time my girlfriend, Judy Veal. She was 13 and I was 15. Yummy! :)
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Apr 1, 2014 - 04:48pm PT
So, too, goes sentience, even though we actually know a lot about it at this point, albeit at the sub component level


Not true at all. What neurology knows a lot about is objective functioning and neural processing which fashions the content of sentience. There is presently no model to illustrate how electrochemocal processes "create" experience. A more nuanced and mature interpretation suggests that the mysteries per sentience are in part owing to those insisting that only a kind of fundamentalist/mechanistic approach, or the default to God, are the only options to understanding subjective experience. My friends at Caltech (all young whippersnappers) refer to such cavemen as Newtonian Knuckleheads. But they have provided no other understanding to my knowledge.

JL

WBraun

climber
Apr 1, 2014 - 04:49pm PT
"Eyes were closed, and I had imagined back to the moment I tasted for the first time my girlfriend, Judy Veal.
She was 13 and I was 15. Yummy!"


So now you admit you were "sentient" ......
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Apr 1, 2014 - 05:13pm PT
Yes, a sentient bio-automaton is what I am.

Consider me the poster child of this truly amazing phenom who's come to terms with it, if you like.

Now it's time we got around to building new organizational frameworks in culture, our world cultures, our civilization, that take advantage of this modern understanding. In the interest of dealing with the truth, of course, and in the interest of living better.
Tvash

climber
Seattle
Apr 1, 2014 - 05:18pm PT
From a NOVA interview with Harvard researcher Andy Knolls:

"What do you think was the first form of life?

It's pretty clear that all the organisms living today, even the simplest ones, are removed from some initial life form by four billion years or so, so one has to imagine that the first forms of life would have been much, much simpler than anything that we see around us. But they must have had that fundamental property of being able to grow and reproduce and be subject to Darwinian evolution.
So it might be that the earliest things that actually fit that definition were little strands of nucleic acids. Not DNA yet—that's a more sophisticated molecule—but something that could catalyze some chemical reactions, something that had the blueprint for its own reproduction.


Would it be something we would recognize under a microscope as living, or would it be totally different?

That's a good question. I can imagine that there was a time before there was life on Earth, and then clearly there was a time X-hundred thousand years or a million years later when there were things that we would all recognize as biological. But there's no question that we must have gone through some intermediate stage where, had you been there watching them, you might have placed your bets either way.
So I can imagine that on a primordial Earth you would have replicating molecules—not particularly lifelike in our definition, but they're really getting the machinery going. Then some of them start interacting together and pretty soon you have something a little more lifelike, and then it incorporates maybe another piece of nucleic acid from somewhere else, and by the accumulation of these disparate strands of information and activity, something that you and I would look at and agree "that's biological" would have emerged."
Tvash

climber
Seattle
Apr 1, 2014 - 05:20pm PT
Spark of Lifists are gonna have to go to flogiston rehab or sub with vaporizing when we synthesize these self replicating RNA like molecules under simulated early earth conditions.
WBraun

climber
Apr 1, 2014 - 05:26pm PT
The sum substance of Harvard researcher Andy Knolls:

"...so one has to imagine....."


And

"I think ..."

He's guessing and speculating.

He has no clue ......
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Apr 1, 2014 - 05:26pm PT
Tvash, have I told you what a breath of fresh air you are? :)

.....

Once anyone of moderate intelligence gives some basic serious thought (a) to a copy molecule, its basic nature and operation, and (b) to the evolution of crude replicators over thousands of generations, then early life via molecular evolution (vivification) is pretty straightforward as a valid and robust hypothesis.

The trouble is, many don't do this. Particulary those with an ax to grind ("I hate brain!"). Further, the problem is compounded because so few even have a background in chemistry, microbiology, cell biology, let alone any "imprinting" on these over many years.

This is where Lgo and troupe "lose THEIR way". Which is "betrayed" by the former's mocking of DNA's evolution.

"You can fight reality, hoping your fantasy will prevail, or you can decide to make your peace with reality and come to like it."

Touching a Nerve: The Self as Brain
Patricia Churchland

By the way, Hawkins, oops, I mean Dawkins, in his works Selfish Gene and Blind Watchmaker covers the topic of evolution of crude replicators in detail.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
U.N. Ambassador, Crackistan
Apr 1, 2014 - 05:29pm PT
He's guessing and speculating.

He has no clue ......

I'd say yes of course he's guessing and speculating. Key phrase - "I can imagine..."

But I would also say he has lots of clue.

However, proof's in the replication. Show me the money!

DMT
WBraun

climber
Apr 1, 2014 - 05:59pm PT
However, proof's in the replication. Show me the money!

Yes !!

However you want me to do the work for you.

You want me to free solo the Rostrum so that you can directly experience how that is .......
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Apr 1, 2014 - 06:11pm PT
Really, isn't a lot of this contention about attitude as much as facts?

"Getting accustomed to the science of the brain can be a vexing business. For example, a renowned if rather melodramatic philosopher hoisted himself up in a conference I attended and, hands gripping the chair in front of him, hollered to the hushed crowd, “I hate the brain; I hate the brain!” Whatever could he mean?"

(1) Perhaps he simply felt exasperated by the blossoming of a field where his philosophical ideas had begun to seem outdated.

(2) Yet he could have meant that neuroscience is mining results that he does not know how to absorb into his usual way of thinking. I am reasonably certain that he does not believe in a soul apart from the brain— that is not the problem. Did he perhaps mean that he does not want to learn about the mechanisms underlying his thoughts and attitudes— mechanisms that involve cells and chemicals interlocked in causality?

Each of us thinks we know ourselves better than anyone else can know us. But if the unconscious brain is a major factor in what we think at this very moment and what we feel at this very moment, the ground under our feet may seem to be falling away."

Proof the word is getting out, albeit in fits...
photo not found
Missing photo ID#351719

"Maybe my friend found himself gravitating to the anti-enlightenment view that the mystery of the brain and how it works is better left alone. Maybe he feels that when it comes to the brain, not knowing is more valuable than knowing. Does he worry that neuro knowledge is forbidden fruit, a Promethean fire, a Pandora’s box, a Faustian bargain, an evil genie released from a rightly sealed bottle? What sense would that codswallop make? Deep resistance to knowledge that betokens a change in a whole way of thinking has a long history."

Churchland, Touching a Nerve: The Self as Brain
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Apr 1, 2014 - 06:12pm PT
This analogy speaks volumes about the author's faith in the spiritual.

--

Faith? I don't have any "faith" in, say, silent introspection. I do have experiences in that realm, however. People ask, "How can you trust what you encounter as being real." Simple: The same way I trust that when I drive down the road I will be able to negotiate reality as I find it and not kill someone. We bet our lives on the verity of our awareness, all day long. And as I have said, if you find something amiss with what I have said about sentience so far, kindly point it out or amend it. More coming soon.

And per DNA inventing itself, "except very, very slowly," I only question the whole idea of mechanical "creation" here, whether by the big bang, or "billions or billions of years," as Sagan used to say, or by God/magic/angle dust, etc. Newtonian Knuckleheads simply refers to our inability to envision any other way to look at the situation. Fruity keeps talking about "outmoted" ways of looking at things but in fact a staunch mechanistic view is looking as sketchy as philosophy per the Hard Questions. But when all you have is a hammer, we will only see nails.
Again, a more nuanced view, sans magic and mechanistic woo, seems likely in the near future.

JL
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Apr 1, 2014 - 06:21pm PT
Fruity keeps talking about "outmoted" ways of looking at things but in fact a staunch mechanistic view is looking as sketchy as philosophy per the Hard Questions. But when all you have is a hammer, we will only see nails.

How tedious. (Where not false.)
No end to the rhetoric, sarcasm, caricature, it seems.

"Scientism is the label sometimes slapped on those of us who look to evidence when we seek an explanation. This label, too, is meant to be insulting and is apt to be followed up with the accusation that we stupidly assume that science is the only important thing in life, that nothing but science matters." -Churchland


"Woe is me. Of course there is much in life . Of course, science is not the be-all and end-all. Early this morning I paddled a kayak out on the waters around Bowen Island, all calm and quiet and magnificent. A mother seal and her baby were hunting fish for breakfast on the far side of Hutt Island. Our golden retrievers were waiting for me when I beached the kayak later. Last week, unaccountably, a raven flew in the back door and perched on the rocking chair. She was utterly statuesque and stunningly huge. All beauty. I talked to her briefly, and then she found her way out again. Balance, dear Aristotle, balance."

Enough Patricia Churchland. Book's available for the interested.
WBraun

climber
Apr 1, 2014 - 06:29pm PT
the only important thing in life, that nothing but science matters.

She makes a terrible mistake.

God IS science itself and thus it ultimately matters completely ....
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Apr 1, 2014 - 06:34pm PT
If Fruity were to junk all notions of intelligent design, then he is left with mechanistic creationism. But rather than mindlessly yack about it, listen to a few leaders in the field.

"In 2009, Harvard chemist George Whitesides was given the Priestley Medal, the highest award of the American Chemical Society. During his acceptance speech, he offered this stark analysis, reprinted in the respected journal Chemical and Engineering News:

"The Origin of Life remains one of the big questions ones in science. It begins to place life, and us, in the universe. Most chemists believe, as do I, that life emerged spontaneously from mixtures of molecules in the prebiotic Earth. How? I have no idea.

Many other authors have made similar comments. Massimo Pigliucci states:

"It has to be true that we really don't have a clue how life originated on Earth by natural means."

Or as science writer Gregg Easterbrook wrote, "What creates life out of the inanimate compounds that make up living things? No one knows. How were the first organisms assembled? Nature hasn't given us the slightest hint. If anything, the mystery has deepened over time."

These quotes challenge a staunch mechanistic view offered by dull folk like Fruity who fob off his version (NOT the version just stated by prize winning chemists and experts) of mechanical creationism as something sure and certain to anyone but a cretin defending a Abrahamistic view of the world. I have no such view whatsoever. It's just that what is being dished out here as a sure thing almost certainly masks a stasis of mind wedded to the idea of creationism, Godless or with a God, it hardly matters. They both sound like woo when facing the Hard Questions.

You’re simply going to have to pony up more than, “It took a long time,” or, “mind is what the brain does,” to curry currency with nuanced thinkers.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Apr 1, 2014 - 06:34pm PT
Good lord, man, are you just not able to read between the lines and put those quotes in proper context? Where is the disconnect, I'm left to wonder. You and MikeL are two peas in a pod.

re: "dull folk"

You just can't step away from it, huh?

.....

I have no such view whatsoever.

And is this really true? Really? If so, then let's see you lay it down in a post right now: Call the Abrahamic narrative that runs through the bible stories... myth. Myth in the pedagogical way, sure okay, but also fictional.

You're on, seize the moment.

.....

Godless or with a God, it hardly matters.

Others may disagree.

I have since I was 12 years old.

.....

Waiting...
Still waiting...

I'll check back in a few... to see if you've stepped up, gotten serious...
WBraun

climber
Apr 1, 2014 - 06:41pm PT
Wait a minute !!!!

So far you are myth.

No one here knows whom you are .....
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Apr 1, 2014 - 06:47pm PT
One might call you blinkered and quite possibly be right there Fruitcake.

Dissconnect? Not so much.

What I see in those quotes is a hope and belief that a mechanistic view can totally explain material reality. It is simply your belief that it will given the time to generate the data. I am only pointing out that leaders in the field have "no idea" if this is the case, whereas you insist that it is a given.

My contention is that creationism, with or without a God, is something worth questioning as a possible glitch in our understanding. There would be no need to curry this notion if the prize winners had "a good idea," as opposed to "no idea." I don't rule out mechanistic factors, but I suggest a look at other approaches might be and certainly will be taken up eventually. And I catagorically reject that the only other path is creationism or magic. Again, this is intellectual stubborness at it's worst.

JL
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
U.N. Ambassador, Crackistan
Apr 1, 2014 - 06:51pm PT
Actually Werner I do not... Want you to free solo rostrum for me, so that I may experience it. I don't want you to replicate life for my amusement, either. But to either I suspect this 'truth' - if a thing can be done it will be done. This applies to nuclear war and the destruction of life as it does the replication of life and sentient machines (like us for example).
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