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Still just fine with the term “God”, but….
Posted: 31 May 2013 02:11 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi,

Pretty rational. Pragmatic. Probably what many here consider mystical. Not religious but influenced by Buddhism, Vedanta, Patanjali, Jesus ( by intuition not the bible ), etc. 

Love hearing about scientific discovery (especially the Natural Sciences). However, I am often just as afraid of scientists as I am of fundamentalists (of other sorts?). Especially in the realms of nuclear physics, genetic engineering and who knows what else is on the horizon.

Never sure what humanism means really.  If I had to use a single term for myself it would be monist.

I was pretty hesitant to wander into this forum, but did find one or two voices that sounded similar to mine. So, there may be more balance to the debates than I expect.

I look forward to learning from you all.  And possibly, teaching a little as well. (Who knows right?)

Thanks.

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Posted: 01 June 2013 01:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hi, welcome.  As far as wariness to join in discussions, just be prepared to back up any assertions that you make, and you should be fine. 

Labels like “monist” are just confusing to me.  Here’s what I believe, in a nutshell: We live in a natural universe.  Everything follows natural laws.  There is nothing that is “supernatural”.  Everything is part of a physical reality. Even those things that we refer to as mental or spiritual or emotional is an outgrowth of physical processes and natural physical laws. (Oh and as far as humanism goes, you can probably infer my views on that from my currently chosen signature line.)

I don’t know what label goes with that set of beliefs, but I would be hesitant to use it, as I expect it could easily be misinterpreted.

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Posted: 01 June 2013 10:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Welcome BR.  We have members with a fairly wide set of views so you don’t have to be concerned about voicing yours. 

Like Tim I believe our species lives in a natural universe without any metaphysical or supernatural myths.  The basis for my humanism is in one simple sentence:  Help whenever I can, and avoid hurting if possible.

You shouldn’t fear scientists because they are merely working to learn how the universe works.  It’s the power-hungry who may put scientific discoveries to damaging uses.

Occam

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Succinctness, clarity’s core.

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Posted: 01 June 2013 01:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Hi, Brmckay,
I think we are about in the same place; I am new and think I can learn from this group. They seem to me like smart people.
I got to this website from a Secular Humanism website.
http://www.secularhumanism.org
They can explain what Humanism means.

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Posted: 01 June 2013 04:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Tim,

The term monism, at least as I use it in a “broad” sense, has two primary benefits.

1. It makes a very distinct point by being more rational than “monotheism”; especially the Abrahamic version of it. “All is God”. “There is nothing outside of God”. Etc.

2. In my mind it also makes more sense than the strict materialism I encounter with scientists.  For example in your statement:

” Everything is part of a physical reality. Even those things that we refer to as mental or spiritual or emotional is an outgrowth of physical processes and natural physical laws.”

I don’t understand the part where mental, emotional and spiritual phenomena are considered adjuncts to physical reality. Are they less “real”? (Forgive me if I have misinterpreted your statement).

Would you also include “instinct” as an “outgrowth of physical processes”.  A question that seems important to ask is; how does instinct express itself? How does it relate to the physical processes of the DNA molecule?

I, would also say that I believe in a natural Universe. All phenomena following the laws of nature. That nature though, for me, is the nature of “God”.  The entirety.  The emergent property of infinite potential.  If I had my way, this would be the starting point for an ideal science.

I’m over simplifying but not by much really.

I like your signature line.  It is similar to something I might say but with a little more emphasis on the parts; the whole waiting patiently in the wings.  It’s very similar to a prayer they use at the local Zen temple before meals.

Thanks to everybody for making me welcome.

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Posted: 02 June 2013 02:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Brmckay “Still just fine with the term “God”, but …”

When did god stop becoming an adjective and start being a noun?

                          *
I think the term “God” has created major problems in mankind’s thinking.
                          *

Example.
My objective was to read and understand the Holy Bible.
Figured it would take me from 3 to 7 years.
Got me several good books, study bibles, time charts and timelines. 

Started with Genesis.
God did this and God did that according to the bible.
But my research showed that these gods had names and there were several different gods.
A couple of the gods are still being worshiped today.
And a couple of the gods that are not being worshiped today, you can go to places like Syria and their churches are still standing. Well maybe not visit Syria today with the war.

And it just wasn’t the gods. Take people like Adam. Means “Red earth man”.
No problem, that’s just the way our naming system works, right?
I mean, Mr. Smith got his name because someone back in his ancestry worked as a Smith. And the same for Mr. Baker.

But the bible did not seem to follow that path.  It is very misleading and confusing.

So I sought help from a biblical institution in Israel that was a major interpreter of old scripts. They were very helpful with information and helping me understand what the problems were with the writings in the bible.

Short form – the information that is available to me by the internet says the bible is interpretations of interpretations of interpretations. Now the interpreters used were not that good. Maybe the best that could be found at the time, but they would not be hired in today’s standards for the job. 

Example. They keep changing the bible from time to time. First it was the sea did not part, the latest is Mary was a young woman and not a virgin.

So, where do I go from here? The OT has if I remember right eleven separate gods who’s name has been changed to just god.

The reason the church did that was for …………

So even if you can get 100% good translations you have another problem. They are just stories that were told verbally for long periods of time. And they fill in stuff for missing data. Stuff like ages of people. When they were missing names of linage they just expanded people’s ages. That’s why there are people who are eight to nine hundred years old in the bible.

Conclusion. If you want to understand god or religion. The bible is the last place you should go. If you want to understand belief, it’s the best.

I feel that I accomplished my task in understanding god and religion. I have yet to read the bible as a whole.  Mainly because there is so much better places to get information today. But I have to go to the bible a lot in my research. One thing I can say is the bible has shown no new ideas or concepts. It’s data is just base on older stories and religions that have evolved.

What do you think would happen today if they replaced the word god the with the original gods name?

By the way, most of those gods had wives.

[ Edited: 02 June 2013 03:06 PM by MikeYohe ]
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Posted: 02 June 2013 03:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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brmckay - 01 June 2013 04:00 PM

Tim, ...  For example in your statement:
” Everything is part of a physical reality. Even those things that we refer to as mental or spiritual or emotional is an outgrowth of physical processes and natural physical laws.”

I don’t understand the part where mental, emotional and spiritual phenomena are considered adjuncts to physical reality. Are they less “real”? (Forgive me if I have misinterpreted your statement).

 

I think that the phenomena we refer to as mental and spiritual and emotional are real. I consider them to be human behaviors that tend to follow the same laws of behavior that our overt directly observable behaviors follow.

[ Edited: 02 June 2013 03:36 PM by TimB ]
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“Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb… We are bound to others, past and present… And by each crime and every kindness… We birth our future.”  Sonmi, 2144.

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Posted: 02 June 2013 03:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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brmckay - 01 June 2013 04:00 PM

Tim, ...

Would you also include “instinct” as an “outgrowth of physical processes”.  A question that seems important to ask is; how does instinct express itself? How does it relate to the physical processes of the DNA molecule? ...

I absolutely think that instincts are passed on genetically.

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Posted: 03 June 2013 11:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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TimB - I absolutely think that instincts are passed on genetically.

I would of course agree.  However, your answer side steps the questions purpose.  How, does memory get transmitted before the brain exists? Maps, to or from Mexico, for Monarch butterflies etc.?

I realise that I better ask you to describe how you define “physical reality” before I press this point further. I might be making assumptions about your meaning.

In the following quote:

TimB - Everything is part of a physical reality. Even those things that we refer to as mental or spiritual or emotional is an outgrowth of physical processes and natural physical laws.

Is this mainly meant to exclude “supernatural” phenomena from consideration?  I certainly would have no problem with this.

With the question about instinct I am hoping to bring the scope of “natural physical laws” under scrutiny. Implying that it runs to the entirety. Ultimately obscuring the distinction between “physical”, “mental” and “behavioural” phenomena.

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Posted: 03 June 2013 12:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Mike - Yohe - What do you think would happen today if they replaced the word god the with the original gods name?

By the way, most of those gods had wives.

It would be a truer reflection of the stage of “conceptual evolution” involved. These are usually really old books.

I learned a long time ago to use my intuitive understanding first, then run it past my rationality.  This is a living process, always being refined.

There is a thread of scriptural sources out there that resonate with the answers I arrive at in this way.  These sources, (people and traditions), confirm for me the potential for enlightenment.

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Posted: 03 June 2013 01:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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brmckay - 03 June 2013 11:52 AM

TimB - I absolutely think that instincts are passed on genetically.

I would of course agree.  However, your answer side steps the questions purpose.  How, does memory get transmitted before the brain exists? Maps, to or from Mexico, for Monarch butterflies etc.?

I certainly don’t know if butterflies have what we typically refer to as memories.  My understanding is that Monarch butterflies who travel to congregate in Mexico have never been there before.  So something that is passed on genetically must be inplay.

How is that something passed on genetically?  The same way that our reflexes are.  The same way that our autonomic functions are. In humans, the same way that our propensity for developing verbal behavior is. The same way that the general shape and coloring of a particular organism is passed on.  The same way that sensory abilities are passed on genetically.  The same way that a general course of development of an organism is passed on. The same way that the course of development of the brain, itself, in an organism is passed on.

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Posted: 03 June 2013 01:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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brmckay - 03 June 2013 11:52 AM

In the following quote:

TimB - Everything is part of a physical reality. Even those things that we refer to as mental or spiritual or emotional is an outgrowth of physical processes and natural physical laws.

Is this mainly meant to exclude “supernatural” phenomena from consideration?  I certainly would have no problem with this.

With the question about instinct I am hoping to bring the scope of “natural physical laws” under scrutiny. Implying that it runs to the entirety. Ultimately obscuring the distinction between “physical”, “mental” and “behavioural” phenomena.

I do not think that anything is supernatural. I consider everything to be part of our physical reality.  Overt observable behavior is obviously a part of our physical reality.  What we call “mental” phenomena, such as thinking, dreaming, remembering, conceptualizing, etc., I consider to be covert behavior, and thus a subset, so to speak, but very much a part, of our physical reality.  I expect that there are physically existing neurological correlates, or patterns of neurochemical reactions within our brains that correpond to all of our behaviors, covert as well as overt.  One day, I expect this will be verified by technology that can effectively enable us to identify these neurological correlates in real time, thus making them no longer covert.  But this may not happen in my lifetime.

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Posted: 03 June 2013 02:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Thanks Tim. Well described. It sort of seems though, that “chemistry” is standing in for “god” in this strict orientation to the physical.

What are your thoughts on “self awareness”?  Or even more precisely the sense of “I”.

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Posted: 03 June 2013 04:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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brmckay - 03 June 2013 02:48 PM

Thanks Tim. Well described. It sort of seems though, that “chemistry” is standing in for “god” in this strict orientation to the physical.

What are your thoughts on “self awareness”?  Or even more precisely the sense of “I”.

In regards to what I was stating, the concept of god, I think, is superfluous.  Except that I would suggest that conceiving of god is also one of the covert behaviors that we do.

Being aware of one’s self, I would say is also behavior.  It is probably enhanced by the development of complex verbal behavior.  The development of verbal behavior requires a listener, thus it occurs in social animals.  But the listener can, also, eventually, be one’s self.

[ Edited: 03 June 2013 05:01 PM by TimB ]
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Posted: 04 June 2013 08:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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TimB - In regards to what I was stating, the concept of god, I think, is superfluous.  Except that I would suggest that conceiving of god is also one of the covert behaviors that we do.

I would suggest that making the concept of god superfluous is useful for narrowing the scope of inquiry, but, it does nothing anymore real than allowing the concept to remain.

Why not work from both ends towards the center?

TimB - Being aware of one’s self, I would say is also behavior.  It is probably enhanced by the development of complex verbal behavior.  The development of verbal behavior requires a listener, thus it occurs in social animals.  But the listener can, also, eventually, be one’s self.

Who though, is it that is aware of one’s self?  The primal “I” could be called God. I will hypothesize that it is not a subset of physical reality, but integral to it.

Inate sentience. Infinite.

Since I’m not likely to prove the above hypothesis by typing about it; we may be getting near the end of this exercise.  I am grateful for the time you’ve taken to engage with me, and hope that the trail we left is useful, or at least interesting, to others.  What do you think?

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Posted: 04 June 2013 09:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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brmckay, I have some ideas on the God question.  Science and spirituality are mutually exclusive IMO.  If events were determined in part by supernatural entities making choices (such as a human soul or a universal soul or God or gods) then science wouldn’t work as well as it seems to work.  I know QM brings up fundamental questions about determinism, but I’ve also been told that Bohmian mechanics addresses those questions.  (Unfortunately I don’t have the education to investigate QM for myself.)

To me science and naturalism is a faith like any other religion.  But science is a religion that seems to work.  I’m not 100% atheist, but science = atheism IMO.

[ Edited: 04 June 2013 09:58 AM by ufo-buff ]
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