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Still just fine with the term “God”, but….
Posted: 04 June 2013 10:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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NO, NO, NO.  Science is just the opposite of faith.  Everything in science is developed by physical experiments or observation and is open to change or rejection if new observations indicate a problem.  Science has nothing to do with religion or god either positive or negative.  It’s totally separate.  Particular scientists, however, may believe in a god, be atheists, be agnostics, or possibly have some other belief system. 

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Posted: 04 June 2013 11:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Occam. - 04 June 2013 10:44 AM

NO, NO, NO.  Science is just the opposite of faith.  Everything in science is developed by physical experiments or observation and is open to change or rejection if new observations indicate a problem.  Science has nothing to do with religion or god either positive or negative.  It’s totally separate.  Particular scientists, however, may believe in a god, be atheists, be agnostics, or possibly have some other belief system. 

Occam

I need faith that I’m not dreaming-up the universe.  Also I need faith that God will not meddle with the experiments.  In other words, I need faith that the methods of science will yield knowledge.  And IMO belief in spirits with free will implies experimental noise.  So faith in spirituality and faith in science are in opposition.  If I trust spirituality 20% then I trust atheism/science 80%.  Anyway, that’s how it seems to me.

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Posted: 04 June 2013 12:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Brm, I really don’t see how adding a supernatural element is useful in explaining self awareness.  It seems like trying to make an equation, that doesn’t really work, add up by putting in a variable that one has pulled out of thin air. 

Also, I am confused by what you are suggesting that there exists some innate infinite sentience that is somehow embodying us, which is the “I” that is aware of ourselves.  This seems nonsensical to me.

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Posted: 04 June 2013 12:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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ufo-buff - ]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.

I am tempted to go along with you. I’m about 90% atheistic in my spirituality myself.  That 90% tends to be 50% rational 50% intuitive.  (At least I hope so.) The other 10% is because I am not 100%  free of a sense of “otherness”.  It would be dishonest to deny a vaguely defined sense of wise companionship to life.

A few points and questions:

- Does “intuition” play a part in science?  Or, is science something that only happens during the reasoning process?  This would be sort of like having a lobotomy.

- The Scientific method ignores God, but can not make God go away.  The Scientific method is just a discipline we employ.  It is not the Universe. It’s discoveries are minutely finite approximations of reality.

- Art, music, etc. represent other equally valid means of exploring our experience. Possibly more valid because, in their highest forms, they engage more of our human potential. Both hemispheres and the “heart”, if you will.

- Of course the term “supernatural phenomena”, is a misnomer. No matter what happens, it is natural. If it seems to ignore laws; we just don’t know what all the laws are yet?

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Posted: 04 June 2013 01:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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TimB - 04 June 2013 12:14 PM

Brm, I really don’t see how adding a supernatural element is useful in explaining self awareness.  It seems like trying to make an equation, that doesn’t really work, add up by putting in a variable that one has pulled out of thin air.

I do keep trying to convince people that I’m not bringing in “supernatural elements”.  There is only one nature, the nature of the Entirety.  For me that is represented by infinite potentiality. 

Also, I am confused by what you are suggesting that there exists some innate infinite sentience that is somehow embodying us, which is the “I” that is aware of ourselves.  This seems nonsensical to me.

This is offered as a counterpoint to your representation of self awareness as a adjunct to physical processes. You must have realized by now that I am inclined to look at things from a significantly different perspective. I see the prototype of our sentience as inherent in the foundations of the universe.  Do you think of the light emanating from a candle as fundamentally different than the light of the sun?  Beyond the qualities specific to their instances?  Is light a singularity or multiplicity?  This question is at the root of our conversation.

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Posted: 04 June 2013 02:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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“Is light a singularity or multiplicity?” Pretty sloppy analogy, but maybe you could grant me the point I’m obviously trying to make.

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Posted: 04 June 2013 03:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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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 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.

If we recognize the universe as a single all encompassing entity, why not call it the ‘Universal Wholeness” of the universe, instead of God?

a) this would exclude supernatural aspect altogether. Everything IS natural.

b) if we accept the notion of spontaneously causal universal evolution, it excludes an outside causality.

c) if we accept a notion of a dynamic (causal) wholeness we know such a “system” would be in a constant state of flux. This would exclude an ‘eternal unchanging being’ .

d) a continual state of flux in accordance with Universal laws and constants would almost certainly bring order to the initial chaotic beginning. This does not require an outside causality.

The use of the word God as defined in religion is a human attempt to explain this natural dynamic universal condition and assigns a purpose to mankind but completely ignores the existence and purpose of millions of other species which were able to evolve by natural evolution. If it seems in the way, kill it!

Religion is psychological affliction from ignorance and only reflects man’s hubris of trying to attain godly powers.  So far the only “godly” powers man has exhibited is the ability to procreate, but no better than every other mammal.  At best we can imitate a few natural functions and abilities of ‘lesser creatures’ and be creative from a human perspective. As to attaining godly powers? The very thought makes me laugh. Yes, when we die we go to heaven and become god’s helpers in ruling the universe. Good luck with that.

As to respecting god’s sublime and divine creations we do a piss poor job of it, especially in the natural law of conservation. Almost all species, except man and a few other parasitic organisms who kill their host, live in harmony with their environment, because it is a survival tool.

IMO, the most productive living atheist on earth is the honey bee. Some 70 % of all life on earth depends on flowering plants and fruit bearing trees, which in turn depends on the tireless work of the bee. It has emerged as one of the most important and essential living things on earth. Bee venom is a perfect natural cure for cancer and with nano delivery technology we can cure cancer.

However, man was not satisfied with the natural order and invented pesticides to increase yields and as a result is killing off the greatest source of life on earth and by the time we can use bee venom, there may not be any bees left. They are dying because we have destroyed their once perfect immune system. Honey is a perfectly sterile food and has an indefinite shelf life. Royal Jelly has some remarkable properties which are beneficial in ways we don’t even know yet. The extinction of the honey bee would a be calamity, with unimaginable consequences.

If anything deserves the title ‘godly creature” and deserves the utmost respect and protection, it is the simply marvelous honey bee.
But alas, we are killing our best friend, because we “know better” than millions of years of natural evolution, but what do we know?  We know God? 

And because we know God, we solve the problem of who has knowledge of “real Divine Truth” with religious wars in the security that God is “on my side”. 

But a dynamic universe does not need any help from anyone or anything. It is a self sustaining and evolving system.

[ Edited: 04 June 2013 03:34 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 04 June 2013 03:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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brmckay,
- The Scientific method ignores God, but can not make God go away.  The Scientific method is just a discipline we employ.  It is not the Universe. It’s discoveries are minutely finite approximations of reality.

Yet religions claim to know who or what created it all? 
Your view of science is naïve. While each discovery may be minutely finite, when we compile all of our knowledge we and up with a pretty good idea of the evolution of the universe, and behold, that evolution does NOT need a god.

As to the persistence of God in society, that has nothing to do with truth, it is just a belief that won’t go away because it is not connected with physical reality at all. It is an expression of our best (perhaps only) asset, imagination.  Those great works of art and music were not divinely inspired, they were ‘products’ of our imagination and the proof of that is the variety of beliefs in an unknown creative causality.  We can make stuff, so why not a God who made all the stuff in the universe?

But God did not make any stuff in the universe and we know this from science. At best God is that which came before reality, but that does not explain anything.

However we do also employ a word which is eminently suitable for identifying causality. That word is Potential, which is defined as a ‘latent excellence which may become reality’.

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Posted: 04 June 2013 05:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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brmckay - 04 June 2013 12:49 PM

I am tempted to go along with you. I’m about 90% atheistic in my spirituality myself.  That 90% tends to be 50% rational 50% intuitive.  (At least I hope so.) The other 10% is because I am not 100%  free of a sense of “otherness”.  It would be dishonest to deny a vaguely defined sense of wise companionship to life.

A few points and questions:

- Does “intuition” play a part in science?  Or, is science something that only happens during the reasoning process?  This would be sort of like having a lobotomy.

- The Scientific method ignores God, but can not make God go away.  The Scientific method is just a discipline we employ.  It is not the Universe. It’s discoveries are minutely finite approximations of reality.

- Art, music, etc. represent other equally valid means of exploring our experience. Possibly more valid because, in their highest forms, they engage more of our human potential. Both hemispheres and the “heart”, if you will.

- Of course the term “supernatural phenomena”, is a misnomer. No matter what happens, it is natural. If it seems to ignore laws; we just don’t know what all the laws are yet?

I bolded the last one, because it seems key.  IMO law and choice are in conflict.  Science is based on the faith that nature obeys laws and has no choice.  We can’t have faith that science is true for nature but then make an exception for the human brain.  We only feel like we are making choices because the mechanism is too complicated for us to understand.

At times I’ve wondered if there might be discrete souls or a universal soul that somehow control the randomness in quantum mechanics.  Maybe structures like a brain can magnify this randomness so a soul can control a physical being without actually being part of the physical universe or violating natural laws.  That would allow spirituality and science to coexist maybe.

I go back and forth on it all actually. smile

Also there is another approach to deciding what to believe: who cares what is true, what belief is most useful?  Science wins that contest easily.

[ Edited: 04 June 2013 05:24 PM by ufo-buff ]
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Posted: 04 June 2013 05:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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brmckay - 04 June 2013 01:10 PM
TimB - 04 June 2013 12:14 PM

Brm, I really don’t see how adding a supernatural element is useful in explaining self awareness.  It seems like trying to make an equation, that doesn’t really work, add up by putting in a variable that one has pulled out of thin air.

I do keep trying to convince people that I’m not bringing in “supernatural elements”.  There is only one nature, the nature of the Entirety.  For me that is represented by infinite potentiality. 

Also, I am confused by what you are suggesting that there exists some innate infinite sentience that is somehow embodying us, which is the “I” that is aware of ourselves.  This seems nonsensical to me.

This is offered as a counterpoint to your representation of self awareness as a adjunct to physical processes. You must have realized by now that I am inclined to look at things from a significantly different perspective. I see the prototype of our sentience as inherent in the foundations of the universe.  Do you think of the light emanating from a candle as fundamentally different than the light of the sun?  Beyond the qualities specific to their instances?  Is light a singularity or multiplicity?  This question is at the root of our conversation.

You should have this discussion with Write4U.  I don’t know if what you are trying to say is over my head or out the window.

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Posted: 04 June 2013 06:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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ufo-buff - 04 June 2013 05:18 PM
brmckay - 04 June 2013 12:49 PM

I am tempted to go along with you. I’m about 90% atheistic in my spirituality myself.  That 90% tends to be 50% rational 50% intuitive.  (At least I hope so.) The other 10% is because I am not 100%  free of a sense of “otherness”.  It would be dishonest to deny a vaguely defined sense of wise companionship to life.

A few points and questions:

- Does “intuition” play a part in science?  Or, is science something that only happens during the reasoning process?  This would be sort of like having a lobotomy.

- The Scientific method ignores God, but can not make God go away.  The Scientific method is just a discipline we employ.  It is not the Universe. It’s discoveries are minutely finite approximations of reality.

- Art, music, etc. represent other equally valid means of exploring our experience. Possibly more valid because, in their highest forms, they engage more of our human potential. Both hemispheres and the “heart”, if you will.

- Of course the term “supernatural phenomena”, is a misnomer. No matter what happens, it is natural. If it seems to ignore laws; we just don’t know what all the laws are yet?

I bolded the last one, because it seems key.  IMO law and choice are in conflict.  Science is based on the faith that nature obeys laws and has no choice.  We can’t have faith that science is true for nature but then make an exception for the human brain.  We only feel like we are making choices because the mechanism is too complicated for us to understand.

At times I’ve wondered if there might be discrete souls or a universal soul that somehow control the randomness in quantum mechanics.  Maybe structures like a brain can magnify this randomness so a soul can control a physical being without actually being part of the physical universe or violating natural laws.  That would allow spirituality and science to coexist maybe.

I go back and forth on it all actually. smile

Also there is another approach to deciding what to believe: who cares what is true, what belief is most useful?  Science wins that contest easily.

There seems to be a control mechanism in the universe as expressed in universal laws. But that does not imply a “motivated intelligence”. At best this condition can be called a non emotional structural pseudo-intelligence.

No one makes these natural laws work. There is no choice of any kind, divine or not.
example, 2 + 2 = 4 is a true statement and cannot be changed, it is inherent in the mathematics of the universe. But does God actively decide that 2 + 2 = 4?  No, it is NATURAL law that if you add two identical quantities you will end up with double the quantity of whatever it is you are counting.  Is gravity a divine act? No, it is an expression of the potential of a massive body to distort spacetime.
It is the massive body that is causal to the phenomon of gravity, not the ‘unseen hand of god’.

There is nothing divine about that consistency. Basically all Universal laws are of this nature. The laws of Cause and Effect are usually very simple, very precise and reliable. Effects are only those expressions in reality which were allowed by causal Potentials. Science’s problem lies in the discovery of these causalities, not because they are divine, but because they involve extremely sophisticated instruments to do measurements.

God is a naïve human interpretation of The Gestalt of the Universe, the dynamic self perpetuating Wholeness. It need no worship, just respect for its awesome dynamic power.

from Webster’s,

Definition of GESTALT,
: a structure, configuration, or pattern of physical, biological, or psychological phenomena so integrated as to constitute a functional unit with properties not derivable by summation of its parts

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gestalt

IOW, even Gestalt is a result, not a motivated intelligent causality.

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Posted: 04 June 2013 07:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Write4U, I agree with what you said in your post.  Would you agree that faith in the value of science and faith in the value of spirituality do not mix?  They can’t both be valid.  Myself and many other people might juggle the conflicting beliefs, but it’s a silly way to be.

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Posted: 04 June 2013 09:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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ufo-buff - 04 June 2013 11:31 AM

I need faith that I’m not dreaming-up the universe.  Also I need faith that God will not meddle with the experiments.  In other words, I need faith that the methods of science will yield knowledge. 

Not really, the universe remains consistent, and most scientists don’t believe in God - or at least an intervening God, so that type of faith is not needed.

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Posted: 04 June 2013 10:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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ufo-buff - 04 June 2013 07:52 PM

Write4U, I agree with what you said in your post.  Would you agree that faith in the value of science and faith in the value of spirituality do not mix?  They can’t both be valid.  Myself and many other people might juggle the conflicting beliefs, but it’s a silly way to be.

I believe it is a matter of interpreting the terms ‘soul’ and ‘spirituality’. These metaphysical concepts identify inherent qualities of all kinds.  They are neutral in meaning in that they can be either positive (good) or negative (bad, evil).

No one disputes there are good and bad souls. Nor does anyone dispute there is good and bad spirituality. In physics these things are identified as “properties” of a thing” and it’s “potential” for positive or negative results.

This is why I mentioned the term Potential which in physics is an ‘inherent latent power’ or a ‘property’ of a thing.

Atoms are very spiritual things, collectively. They contains enormous latent energy and they can be used for constructing an entire universe.

This quote from another forum,

To sum up: metaphysics is purely knowledge based, while spirituality combines knowledge with devotion.

From this I would conclude that the metaphysical knowledge must be obtained before on can experience it fully and properly devote oneself to that experience.  IOW, rather than treating these concepts as separate, they should be considered as a whole.

The more one knows about a discipline, the greater the appreciation for that discipline. The more I learn about the universe, the more awesome it becomes to me. It truly teaches us how incredibly fortunate we are to have the earth as our mother, the sun for it’s warmth, the moon for the ocean tides, the clouds for the rains, the oceans for their almost limitless supply of water.

I should like to see a little more appreciation, respect, and devotion to keeping these physical things pure, because they represent the soul and spirituality of life on earth.  This IS our paradise, an oasis in a deadly universe.

[ Edited: 04 June 2013 11:01 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 05 June 2013 09:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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(Note: A little disconnect on my part. I apologize to Write4U and TimB. The first edition of this cited TimB instead of Write4U for the quotes.  Interesting experience; visualizing the wrong person the whole time I was writing it.)

Write4U - If we recognize the universe as a single all encompassing entity, why not call it the ‘Universal Wholeness” of the universe, instead of God?

I am fine with it.  Though currently I’ve been enjoying the visceral ring of, “the Entirety”.

Write4U -

a) this would exclude supernatural aspect altogether. Everything IS natural.

b) if we accept the notion of spontaneously causal universal evolution, it excludes an outside causality.

c) if we accept a notion of a dynamic (causal) wholeness we know such a “system” would be in a constant state of flux. This would exclude an ‘eternal unchanging being’ .

d) a continual state of flux in accordance with Universal laws and constants would almost certainly bring order to the initial chaotic beginning. This does not require an outside causality.

Since ‘Universal Wholeness’ ecompasses the Entirety entirely there is, by default, no outside causality. The Emergent Property of Infinite Potentiality. Very dynamic, I would say.  Also, it’s own spontaneous Causality. As you say.

If science can refine its understanding of It, It can be taught to the religious. Each generation is seeking a truer expression of it.  We all share an instinct to sort this out.  The ruff and tumble of the jungle tends to distort things, yes, but I think that the greatness of a civilization is reflected in the answers achieved and sustained, regarding this subject.

Same with an individual’s personal quest in the matter.

Write4U - The use of the word God as defined in religion is a human attempt to explain this natural dynamic universal condition and assigns a purpose to mankind but completely ignores the existence and purpose of millions of other species which were able to evolve by natural evolution. If it seems in the way, kill it!

Yes, we have anthropomorphized God, doesn’t mean we can’t turn it around the other way.  As we evolve right.  Sorry ‘Universal Wholeness’.

Here is a point relating to the beautiful perfection of the Honey Bee.  What is it, about the unmitigated naturalness of evolution, that created this perfection? How can we as humans achieve the same degree of unmitigated naturalness in our own interactions with evolution?  I’m sorry, but the answer to this might be the true purpose of religion. No matter what has gone before.  As we see religion expressed now, it is not sustainable. Evolution should weed it out. But also, a science that allows itself to be used to subvert, and even replace natural evolution, will also run afoul of ‘Universal Wholeness’. 

Write4U - IMO, the most productive living atheist on earth is the honey bee.

If this is what you mean by atheist, I’m right with you.  It has been called the TAO.  Original Mind,  The Garden, Buddha Nature, It is also what I mean when I ask, ‘what is keeping me from being like that?’  I don’t much worry about the ‘productivity’ part though;  Just the authenticity of being.  The rest just takes care of itself.

Write4U - But a dynamic universe does not need any help from anyone or anything. It is a self sustaining and evolving system.

And we are its children.  The ones ripened by evolution, to a particular opportunity to know about it.  And I would say, to know about ourselves in relation to it.

[ Edited: 05 June 2013 11:28 AM by brmckay ]
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